Monday, 13 May 2013

Introducing Monday's Multiple Mum- Tales of a Twin Mum #MMM

My second wonderful mum of multiples who has agreed to guest post about parenting twins is Karen from Tales of a Twin Mum.
Karen's recently emerged from in tact from potty training her boys so is definitely a must read in knowing what our next milestone will be.

I love reading a blog about someone who has done things the other way round to us, had twins and then a singleton. It's always amazing hearing the comparisons between parenting processes and the million dollar question as to which is easier (and no-one ever answers the same).

I'll leave you to read on, needless to say I'm in awe of this 5ft mum!

So here we go, a tale of two boys and their little sister:
My name is Karen and I’m a freelance writer. I’m a northern lass living on the south coast and I have incredibly itchy feet at the moment. We’re contemplating where to relocate to begin our next adventure (Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Australia are three possibilities – watch this space!)

I’ve just written a book about having multiples and am currently searching for an agent and/or publisher. I’m also a bit obsessed with travel, although we don’t have the finances to do it as often as we’d like anymore, so I have to rely on writing travel articles instead.

My family consists of myself and my husband (known affectionately as ‘Husband’ on my blog) who is a helicopter electrician, our three and a half year old non identical twin boys (known as T1 and T2) and their baby sister Evangeline (known as E) who is eight months.

What was your reaction to finding you were going to be a mum of multiples?
So excited and amazed as there weren’t any in our family and it was a complete bolt from the blue. I still get goosebumps thinking back to the day we found out.

What did you want to know?
I wanted to know how it worked; how was my small body (I’m 5ft) going to possibly fit two growing babies. After I got my head around that I wanted to know EVERYTHING. Should they sleep together, could I breastfeed, how would they be born, how would I get out with two babies – everything!

What was the best piece of advice you received when you were pregnant?
Join a twin club. I joined when I was pregnant and it was the best decision I ever made. The greatest support you can receive is from people who know what you’re going through and who can give you practical advice, and the only people who really understand are other people with multiples.

What support networks do you use?
The Fareham and Gosport Twin Club! They were my lifeline and I’m still great friends with many of the members now, although I don’t get to as many of the coffee mornings anymore as life is just so busy.

My family are all around Lincolnshire so aren’t close enough to offer regular help, and my in laws are about a 45 minute drive away so they sometimes help with babysitting.

How was your pregnancy?
Most of the pregnancy was fine. Being the size of a house was uncomfortable and challenging, but it was all bearable and I loved seeing the look on peoples’ faces when I told them I was expecting twins. Towards the end I developed pre-eclampsia and obstetric cholestasis, which combined with the fact I had two large babies for my size meant I was put on an emergency C-section waiting list. After ten days or so in hospital waiting I eventually had the boys by C-section at 38+5.

How did labour go?
The boys arrived a healthy 5lb13 and 6lb13, but I lost a lot of blood due to the above complications. It was a scary time for both myself and my husband (scarier for him as he was rushed out of the operating theatre with the babies, while I was in and out of unconsciousness) but the staff were great and I felt in the best possible hands. The consultant was able to stop the bleeding with medication in the end, and after quite a few blood transfusions I was back home with my boys after just two nights in the hospital. I was left quite shell shocked by the experience though and I’ve learned that no pregnancy and birth run according to plan.

How did your other half cope?
The scare in the hospital really panicked him, but in terms of the babies he was amazing. He took over straight away as I was so poorly, so he had to learn how to change nappies and help position them for me to try breastfeeding (as I was having blood transfusions so couldn’t move much). He had four weeks off work (2 weeks paternity leave and 2 weeks annual leave) which really helped us settle into a routine and allowed me to recover from the operation.

What are your three best investments for multiples?
For newborns I’d say swings which gave them somewhere safe to sit and doze while I cleared up or had a coffee, a twin breastfeeding pillow as this helped me combination feed for the first three months and bouncers which I found essential for bottle feeding when they got too big to have one in the crook of my arm and one in between my legs.

I’ll be cheeky and add one must-have for toddlers too – Boomereins. They’re retractable reins a bit like dog leads on a waist belt. I think they’re just amazing if like me you have a pair of runners.

What have you done as a mum of multiples which you never thought you’d do?
Written a book! I’d always wanted to do it but never found the time. Now technically I have less time than I’ve ever had but I still somehow pushed myself to get on with it. It has taken me three years to get there, but I’ve done it! Now the hard work is underway looking for an agent because I’m so passionate about the subject and I can see a gap in the market for my take on the subject of coping with multiples.

What’s your best piece of advice for the early days?
Sleep whenever you can. Don’t worry that the house is a mess. Take offers of help with a pinch of salt (and if anyone does offer, pin them down to a date as quickly as possible as people quickly forget to help with the cleaning when there are cute babies to cuddle).
Go out for a walk, even if it’s freezing – fresh air really does help make the world feel a brighter place when you’re exhausted.
If you can, try to make up some meals for the freezer, and stock up on easy meals like jars of pasta bake which you can throw together easily in a couple of minutes.
Don’t listen to stupid comments by people who don’t have twins.

How has your life changed, now you are a mum of multiples?
I’m happy tackling anything now, nothing phases me. It has also made me more independent – I think because many of the offers of help didn’t arrive when my boys did, I just learnt to get on with it and not rely too much on other people.

At this age, what are the best things about your multiples?
That they understand what I’m saying to them now (not that they listen very often) and that they can tell me about things like what they got up to at preschool. I love hearing their excited stories about how many worms and snails they found in their bug hunt in the playground. I also like that they understand bargaining now – “if you don’t eat those carrots you can’t have any yoghurt for pudding” (cruel but useful when you have picky eaters who refuse to eat everything).

What have your multiples done which have made you laugh most?
Typically I can’t think of any one thing at the moment, but toddlers come out with the funniest things. They have me in fits each day. T1 in particular is a little monkey and often when I get up I find him running around their bedroom wearing a pair of swimming trunks on his head for no apparent reason.

What’s your best distraction for avoiding tantrums, arguments and/ or confrontation?
Bribery – rather than saying if you do x you’ll get a sweet, I tend to go for something like “ok if you want to stay at the playground on your own you can, and T1 and I will head home and have a biscuit – bye!” and usually the other will stop screaming and come running after us pretty quickly.

Also, simple distractions like “I bet you can’t tell me what colour that car is” or “who can be the first person to spot a bus” sometimes works when they’re having a tantrum on the walk to preschool.

How has having multiples changed your life for the better?
It has been the best experience ever; having twins makes you feel special. It makes you realise you can tackle anything and survive. And it melts my heart to see them snuggled up together in the same bed at night because they’ve fallen asleep reading together. It’s a bit like climbing a mountain – it’s hard work but worth every step.

Karen's blog is Tales of a Twin Mum, serving as a taster to her awaited book!

1 comment:

  1. Aw, love Karen. Laughed out loud at the part about not listening to stupid comments off other people. Am excited to see the book get published. :)


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