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Pregnant with twins--Help me think clearly

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
Okay, I need help. I am a WAHM of a beautiful 14 month old girl. I do part-time freelancing work during naps, at night, and on weekends. In addition to his full-time job, my husband moonlights at 3-4 additional gigs, which means a lot of long hours and weekends away. We are JUST keeping our heads above water financially, and we can't afford childcare or other domestic help. Our nearest family lives a 4-hour drive away, so we are pretty much doing it ourselves. The first several months of my daughter's life were TOUGH, but even though we're still working very hard, we're doing well now.

We were planning on giving ourselves a few more years to get on top of things before trying for another, and we wanted to stop at 2. So it was a not-entirely-pleasant shock when I found out I was pregnant again. (One little lapse on my birthday, idiots.) But we had JUST worked through the fear and other negative feelings and gotten to a point where we were excited about another baby, even though it wasn't exactly what we'd envisioned. "As long as it's not twins," I joked.

Ha ha. Of course, it's twins. I'm 8 weeks along now, and in a complete panic. Literally, like heart pounding, can't sleep, crying at every opportunity, PANIC. We JUST bought a small 2-bedroom apartment and moving right now is not an option without serious financial losses that we can't possibly absorb--oh yeah, also, it's a 4th floor walk-up. And space is the least of our problems. My daughter will be 22 months if the twins go full-term. I will certainly have to stop WAH for a time, which probably means MORE work for my husband, hence less support at home from him--and STILL no money for help. Returning to the workforce full time is not going to be a financial gain with the need for childcare for 3. (Also it's not what I want for myself or my family.) Plus I can't imagine how it will feel to my daughter to grow up as the one non-twin, and it breaks my heart to think of losing any part of the beautiful relationship we now share. Not to mention the possibility of bedrest during pregnancy and complications after birth!

I just can't, can't, can't, can't see how my family could possibly take the addition of two newborns--but if it IS possible, I very much want to see how!!!!!! Because we have not ruled out the possibility of termination (it's that dire--please keep your opinions and judgments to yourself), I can only talk to my husband (who of course is not neutral) and one trusted friend (who's a great listener but, having never been there, has limited insight).

So, please, anyone who's been there before--twins and a toddler or more on a limited income without close extended family--help me find some clarity. I am NOT looking for anyone to tell me this will be easy, or even less near-impossible than I fear. I'm also not looking for anyone to weigh in on whether or not I should keep the babies. I just want to know, practically, if you have done anything like this, HOW???? Are there options / resources / ways to get support that I'm not thinking of?

Any and all experience and advice appreciated.
post #2 of 40
Oh Mama, I know EXACTLY how you feel.

Here is a thread of mine from early in my pregnancy:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ght=depression

You get no judgement from me. The same thoughts crossed my mind too. And I won't lie, this is the hardest thing I have ever done. They are almost 9 weeks now and our lives are forever changed (in some good ways and some bad). I will say though that I love them and am glad that they are here.
post #3 of 40
I seriously considered abortion.

As I said in the other thread, I'd just had four babies in four year and I was WHACKED on little sleep, constant nursing, non-stop demands. And then I got pregnant when my youngest was 8 months old. I didn't want another baby. I had plans that didn't involve another YEAR of doing nothing with myself but baby care. My daughter was very high needs and I knew that bringing another baby into the mix was almost impossible. Just like you, I thought "no way".

But as I'd already had an abortion many years ago and I knew what the emotional and mental ramifications were going to be I decided I just could not go there again. Not as married person with options. I was 16 and unmarried (and stupid) before, I was able to let it go much easier. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that as an almost 30 year old married woman.

Then, at 20 weeks, we found out through routine u/s that we were expecting a daughter AND a son. Too late to change my mind then!

The last two years have been a ride. Very tight financial situation, no family, six kids under the age of six. I won't tell you it was easy. I won't tell you that you can do it. I'm still not sure how I pulled it off, to tell you the truth. I went full term and nursed my babies (NO money for formula) and cloth diapered part time to save money.

Then, in December of that year when the babies were 7 months old, my husband lost his job. We moved in with friends, which eventually destroyed my friendship with that family. We applied for food stamps and moved into an inexpensive rental in the shadier side of town to make it happen.

In August of last year my marriage imploded. We're hanging on by fine threads these days.

Would I take it back? If I could go back and terminate before I knew it was twins? No. I am so in love with these two children. It's not easy, it's just worth it.

I don't envy you, having been there. Many nights I lay awake, horrified that we were going to be adding to a family already on the brink and a mother already at max capacity. I cried, I was sick to my stomach. Oddly, once we found out it was twins I sort of just threw my hands up and laughed manically. What else could I do!?

I wish you all the best.
post #4 of 40
Oh goodness, that is so tough. I feel for you. I was devastated when we found out it was twins and we did IVF so it was a very planned pg. The thought crossed my mind many times of wanting to scrap the whole pg and start over, I felt so betrayed by my body and the babies (I know it's weird) and just wanted to run away. We don't have the same financial strains as you although we aren't rolling in money by ANY means. I work one day a week plus call and hate every minute of it but we need the money. I am not sure how I would survive without the help of my mom and grandma but somehow I would. I will tell you this, these babies are the greatest blessing along with my firstborn son. I spent the entire pg just dreading being a mom to twins and fretting of the huge changes for myself as well (mostly) as my son. It has all worked out though but there have been times that I have just closed myself in my bathroom and cried for over an hour because it is so much work. My son has done amazing! He adores them and they adore him. I am at a point now, four month into this, where I experience more bliss than any other emotion......I won't pretend that it isn't without help though, I have been on celexa for a month now for ppd. We also are in a place that is quickly becoming too small for us but we do at least have three bedrooms. We cosleep though so we don't even use the babies' room except for diaper changes.

I know I haven't given you any advice or thoughts on how to make it work because I don't have any. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone and that someone is thinking of you in this difficult time. I guess the best I can say is that somehow, it just works out. Best of luck with whatever you decide and may you find peace with your decision.

Dena
post #5 of 40
HUGS! And remember to breathe.

Here are some thoughts, in no particular order:

1. Ways to get outside help: local churches will often send people to your home and/or meals for the first x months, and probably longer for multiples; local high schools may require community service - would helping you count? Your local Mothers of Multiples group would also likely help.

2. Ask your neighbors ahead of the babies' arrivals if they will pick things up at the grocery store for you, etc., then be sure to enlist their help when you need it. You cannot be afraid to rely on near strangers if that's what you have. People like to help; it gives us all a feeling of usefulness.

3. Four flights of stairs sounds somewhat nightmarish, truth be told. However, you can easily babywear two babies at once for months, even years, so there ya go.

4. If you breastfeed and buy second hand anything that you need, your expenses will not increase by a whole heck of a lot. Also, if you put an ad on craiglist or contact your local Moms of Multiples group, I bet you could get baby clothing and gear for nearly free or free.

5. Two bedroom issue - our babies slept in our bedroom for the first nine months. In many cultures around the world (and up until the last hundred or so years in our culture), the entire family sleep in the same room. It may not be your idea of right or heaven, but I bet you could make it work.

6. Your comment about having just worked through fear & negative emotions re: more children really struck me. I tend to think that the universe serves us things when we are ready, whether or not we realize our own potential and the meaning of the situation.

We're here for you.
post #6 of 40
My pregnancy was planned and I still cried for days straight when we found out it was twins. It got pretty dark and scary for while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kjoy2 View Post
People like to help; it gives us all a feeling of usefulness.
Totally. If you decide to go through with this, people will offer to help. Everybody will get that this is a really hard time. You just need to give them specific tasks to accomplish and don't be proud about it.

I'm wondering if you could get somebody to throw you an alternative type of shower, where people sign up to help with specific tasks (bringing a few frozen meals, folding laundry on x days, helping you out the door to pediatrician appointments, grocery shopping). I don't know if that would work, or if it would even address your main challenges, but it might be worth a thought.

In particular get your friends with kids to take turns minding your daughter for a few mornings a week. For me, the hardest part of having twins is figuring out how to occupy my toddler; I keep thinking that if I only had one baby I could just pop it in a sling and then play with my toddler. But with two babies, it's a real struggle.

My babies are four months old and things are starting to get a lot easier. We have a routine; there's never a dull moment but it isn't chaos either. But those first four months were pretty rough. I really don't know what I would have done without help.

Good luck, and I'll be thinking about you.
post #7 of 40
I'm so sorry that you're in such a terrible place right now. You're in shock. Shock is a tough state for processing. I wish you the best.
post #8 of 40
I don't really have anything useful to say. I am still pregnant with our twins, so I don't have any real life experience yet. I am also worried about how I will maintain my relationship with my 18 mo daughter. I just want to say that I am thinking of you, and I am sending good wishes to you and your husband, whatever you decide to do and however you work out the next few years. I definitely recommend trying to visit a parents of multiples group. I have gone a couple of times and it has been so helpful to see just normal people coping with twins. And although most of them had more help than I will have, they just made it seem more doable than all of the books and internet postings I have read.
post #9 of 40
Our twins were our first and we were also barely making it financially. I had a good job but had to quit at 28 weeks because I got put on bed rest and needed the money from health insurance. (they paid part of my salary but I had to be unemployed - don't ask!). When the babies were born my husband had just lost his job two months after we bought our house. We were terrified! We went to the local pastor in our new community and asked him what to do. He put us in touch with a financial aid group within the community and we received a check for a nice sum and over the years have periodically received money from them, especially around the holidays. I am sure that your local church/pastor can help you sort through what you are feeling and even help with clothing, meals, someone to help do laundry and grocery shopping. I found it very difficult to ask for and accept help, I am truly stubborn that way then I had twins. You have no choice but to ask because if you don't ask, you don't get. Nobody knows that you need help unless you say something. We had a school across the street and I walked in there one day with these two cute little babies and asked the guidance councellor to help me find two or three seniors to come by our house three times a week to help and it was a godsend.

Once you tap into your local resources I am sure that you will get the help that you need. You found the right place to come. We are here for you.
post #10 of 40
i don't have any other children, so take this for what it's worth, but i had no help whatsoever with my twins. my husband works full-time and i have always done 99.9% of the night parenting (they are now 13.5mos).

mine came early, at 32wks, and spent a month in the nicu. the first ~4 months were the hardest thing i have ever done in my life. i won't lie to you. i think the sleep deprivation is the worst part. but... i managed. and it progressively got better. now, at the age they're at, they will hang out and play and do their thing for a nice long while while i get work done, make dinner, etc. it's just the first like 6mos that are completely insane. but when you think about it... it's 6 months. it passes. and as they get older and into a routine, are able to amuse themselves, etc... it gets so much easier. i am able to maintain my business from home, take care of the kids, cook all meals, keep the house relatively straight (i do have a housekeeper 2x/month, a luxury, but if i didn't it would be ok - my toilets just wouldn't be as clean). again, i don't have a toddler. but i don't have any help, either.

big huge hugs. the idea of 2 babies is absolutely terrifying, even if you're prepared for them. but once they arrive... and you settle into a groove... twins are awesome. watching them develop differently, interact with each other... it's just such a wild wild thing. is it easy? NOPE! but nothing worth it usually is......
post #11 of 40
Twins are hard, but they are also immensely rewarding. Our twins are 3 months old and our only children. My husband and I both work from home, which has been great for childcare, but crappy for the finances. I generally can't get more than 8 hours of work done a week. So far we've managed to keep up with the laundry (including cloth diapers), but we eat junk and cleaning only happens when somebody is coming over. As far as space goes, we live with my folks, so we share a room with the babies. It's tight, but it's also efficient.

Learning that it was twins was definitely a shock for us, especially me. There was no way that we could afford daycare for two infants, so one of us would have to stay home with the babies whether we wanted to or not. Twins meant reevaluating all of my plans. In spite of all the terror we felt, we couldn't help but feel blessed. Spontaneous twins only happen about once in 100 pregnancies. We figured that these two little souls needed to come together and we were chosen to be their parents because we could handle it. And you know, over the past few months we've been approached by parents of twins of all ages and not one person has said, "I wish we hadn't had them." As hard as it is, we all get through the rough first months.

If you do decide to continue with the pregnancy, here are somethings I wish I did and that I'm glad I did:
  • Take good care of yourself and do everything you can to carry those babies full-term.
  • Make sure you have maternity coverage and consider applying for state assistance to pay for the birth.
  • Plan to breastfeed. Then plan to pump and introduce a bottle early so you can take some time away from the babies.
  • You will probably feel like you're doing a terrible job at first because you can't answer all their cries/meet all their needs right away, but that's how it goes with twins.
  • Try to start putting them to bed a before you and your husband retire for the evening. It's amazing what 2 hours as a couple will do for your sense of well being.
  • Expect it to be overwhelming at times. It is. But, you'll find that you develop time-/effort-saving techniques pretty quickly.
  • Tandem nurse at first, otherwise you'll feel like you're feeding them ALL the time.

Good luck! You have more strength and resources than you realize.
post #12 of 40
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your responses. My husband and I have been GOING THROUGH IT for the past few days, and we haven't made a decision yet, but it's done me a world of good to know that I'm not alone.

When we had our daughter we were SO naive, and we thought we could do it all by ourselves, and only when we hit a wall a few days in (she was tongue-tied and we had serious nursing issues) did we call anyone. We got a rush of lasagnas delivered, and then everyone disappeared again. (Our friends at the time were mostly young and single and clueless--we've since made more friends with kids but not a whole hell of a lot.) The newborn phase for us was just completely bananas, and almost drove us nuts. I know we learned a lot from our experience, so it wouldn't be exactly the same kind of horror, but then there are all the ways it would be so much harder, because there are two, plus our toddler.

I talked to my husband about asking for help from friends, family, church, community. Asking for help is VERY hard for me, but for him it triggers some deep self-loathing and rage. He declared that NO WAY were we going to go to people and ask for that kind of help. This is one of his core "issues," and I think I have a pretty good idea about where it comes from (old family stuff, naturally), but when he goes there he's totally unable to get any perspective or even connect with me. Somehow he'd have to get past this in order for us to do this, and I just don't know how that is going to happen. I suggested to my husband that we make an appointment to talk to someone at our church (we're Unitarians, so it's a liberal church)--just to TALK to someone, to help us sort through what we're up against--but he refused because we've been such lousy church-members. We've gone to services maybe twice in the last year because it seems like our daughter is ALWAYS napping! And we've had a hard time paying our church dues.

This is threatening to turn into a rant, so I'm going to let it go at that. Thanks for the stories and the company.
post #13 of 40
I felt the same way when I found out I was having twins. In fact, I'm still struggling with the fact that I now have twins, even though they are here (I just talked about this in my post - Twins as 3rd and 4th Children). No judgment here. How are you doing? Nanasi had some really great bullet-points, and everyone else has offered great advice as well. If you decide to have the twins, you will somehow figure out what you need to do to make it work. Will you enjoy it? Who's to say, but that's why we have antidepressants (spoken somewhat tongue-in-cheek - I'm exploring natural remedies). As everyone else has said, the first few months will be tough, but I'm sure that in at least 95% of all cases, the sleep deprivation is alleviated eventually...Yes, twins are a lot more work than 1; yes,they will both scream at once and it will be unsettling, but I'm guessing that you will physically be able to handle it, and most people seem to say it gets easier at 4-6 months.

I was thinking about your apartment situation and remembered that one of my twin parenting books talks about this. It suggests carrying one in a carrier and the other in one arm, leaving another arm free to hold onto the railing. It also suggests putting them in a light-weight side-by-side stroller and backing them down/up the steps -- proceed with caution! Once they can hold up their heads and are less wobbly, you might be able to carry them both at once fairly easily? If none of this sounds workable, what about sub-letting for a bit?

As far as having to stop working at home - could you hire a student as a cheaper "mother's helper" who could entertain the kids while you work from home? Also check out colleges with nanny programs -- I'm sure there are quite a few in NYC? I know sometimes the students have to do a practicum in a person's house as part of their degree -- you could sign up to do that, and it shouldn't cost you anything. You would probably have to be at home while the student is there, but you are working from home anyway. Could you make more $$ if you WOH part-time, and therefore be able to afford chld care for a few days a week? Personally, I find work to be a refreshing break; if you feel the same, I would seek out any way to continue.

Finally, regarding the relationship with your dd who will be 22 months, and her potentially feeling left out b/c she is not a twin: IME, this is surmountable. They will all be close enough in age that they will likely all play together at some point. Also, it's likely that at some point, the twins will be sleeping at the same time (morning nap, afternoon nap), and your older dd will not be taking a morning nap, and then eventually not taking an afternoon nap, leaving you a lot of time to spend with her individually. If this doesn't happen, you can always carve out some time for your older dd individually and leave the twins with your DH. If there's one thing I've learned about having four kids (though I'm still new at it!), it's that the kids like that there are now more kids. My 5 year-old and 2 year-old love to interact with each other, and they both think it's pretty neat that there are 2 babies on the scene. Who's to say whether they will someday be on a therapist's couch complaining that they were displaced by twins at a young age -- right now they same to be enjoying it...

Obviously no one else here can know whether this is right for you, but I do think most of us humans have an innate ability to adapt to very difficult situations and to come up with workable solutions. I have no idea whether you (or any of us) were "meant to do this," but I do think its doable if you do choose to do it. Again, it may not be something you're happy about right away (I'm hoping my outlook turns around eventually), but you never know how you'll feel about it when they are 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, and so on.
post #14 of 40
....
post #15 of 40
I've wanted to come back since I posted and add something but haven't had the time. (LOL)

Having twins, once I get past the really hard parts, has been amazing. It's been very special. Not that I don't love my singletons, because I do. Something about having twins is different though and has been a seriously neat experience. I don't know what you'll decide but I will tell you that it's been a crazy, bad, wonderful ride and I'm glad I got on.

Re: your husband....I don't know what to tell you there except in my relationship I'd probably say "I respect your right to not want to call people. You'll have to excuse me while I get the help that I need". He's not going to be able to help you with your three babies while he's working two jobs, eh? So, someone is going to have to do it. If you decide to carry forward, get help despite his issues. You're going to need it.
post #16 of 40
Two years ago I had an ultrasound that showed twins. I cried. I already had 3 children and we are far from well off or even "comfortable". We struggle like so many. Then at 10 weeks.....I miscarried. I would take back every tear if I could. I often wonder what my children would look like. I could have managed. And you can too. I never thought of terminating but I did secretly daydream about how easier it would be to miscarry. I felt so gulity when it happened. It felt as if because I was worried about money, my body, my sanity with raising 5 kids that I worried myself into a miscarriage. But that was far from the truth.
My husband grieved. Truley grieved!! It caused such turmoil in our relationship. He mourned as if one of our children that are here and alive had passed. We didn't really speak for weeks, which was very tough. I still don't really bring it up and when we see twin children....it makes us stop and wonder.
I know my story doesn't really have much meaning to you or helps with wise words of advise. But you are not alone in being scared. Everything will change but you will adapt. You may have to move closer to family or get assistance at the state and federal level but that is what it is for. Times are hard and you need not be afraid to extend out a hand and ask for help. You have been blessed. A friend told me once when I was pregnant with them that God wouldn't give two babies to a family if God didn't think they were incredible parents twice over!!
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mojobot2000 View Post
I suggested to my husband that we make an appointment to talk to someone at our church (we're Unitarians, so it's a liberal church)--just to TALK to someone, to help us sort through what we're up against--but he refused because we've been such lousy church-members. We've gone to services maybe twice in the last year because it seems like our daughter is ALWAYS napping! And we've had a hard time paying our church dues.
I'm pretty sure the Unitarian church wouldn't hold this against you -- it might be a good place to go to work through this!
post #18 of 40
I saw this posts in new posts eariler, and didn't answer. I still don't know if I should. I had a very close friend with very similar circumstances to you.
Her eventual choice was to terminate one of the babies and keep the other. I don't know if you have thought of this as an option or not. It may not even be possible depending in the type of twins. It wasn't a horrible experience physically for my friend although she still has enotional stuff going on.
I just wanted to offer it as a possibility...
Much love to you all x
post #19 of 40
I'm only about 10 days into life as a twin mamma with a two year old too - so, I may be in a honeymoon phase; but it hasn't been bad. Honestly, I spent the last 30+ weeks fretting about how everything would work; how we would survive financially, how my son would adjust, everything. So now that I have an idea, I'm relived. My son is adjusting just fine, he has his moments; but he's proud to be a big brother. Our friends are stepping up big-time, and I haven't even had to ask for help - they're just offering. Having people make you food or take your toddler to the park for an hour is a pretty easy request - even for people who don't know much about kids. I would also suggest checking in to WIC and other social services for dental/medical expenses - often a family of 5 qualifies for services that a smaller family misses. Even if you just get some cheap diapers, every bit helps. I think it's good to remember that you have a a really good chance of a healthy, complication-free pregnancy too - lots of twin momma's on this board can attest to that! This is a pretty random message; but I definitely hear what your saying; and just know that if you decide that this is where your life is headed, it can be done. It may not always be pretty or pleasant; but it is do-able.
post #20 of 40
How about an update mojobot2000? I've been checking to see how you are.
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