what you wish someone had told you when you were expecting multiples - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 08:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas,

I'm getting a little scared thinking about how to cope when my little ones come.
So I thought it would be nice if there was a thread where multiple mamas could tell us expectant multiple mamas what they wish someone had told them about
* birth w/ multiples as well as
* raising multiple newborns/babies/toddlers.

We are so priveledged to have so many great ladies with multiple experience here so lay it on us!
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#2 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 11:47 AM
 
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I wish someone had told me to take advice that comes from singleton mamas with a GIANT grain of salt. It really is a truly different experience.

Good luck to you! It's hard and exhausting, but it's a wonderful feeling to see the two beautiful little people you created.

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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#3 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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Oh, I also wish someone had told me to read up a bit about preemies, just in case. I was in total denial that I could go into PTL, and it happened to me. We got through it just fine, but I would've been better prepared had I read up a bit. Even when I was on hospital bedrest and dilating at 27 weeks, I didn't study, which is really kind of silly. Positive thinking is very important, but so is being prepared for any eventuality!

Betsy, mama to beautiful, strong MZ twins Lillian and Kate, born 11 weeks early on January 10, 2006.
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#4 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 11:57 AM
 
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"RELAX! Things will be fine. Give yourself time to learn. Trust yourself"!! Especially with the breastfeeding thing...I got SO MUCH, "Oh, my gosh you're going to do WHAT!??!?!" that I felt overly defensive to the point where, when I faced adversity and trouble with BF, that I believed all the negative things people said. So....I gave up before I gave myself (and my babies) the chance to learn! Even from pro-BF people...they came across like nursing NAZI'S and stressed me out so much about just taking it easy...giving myself time to learn. Both my babies had trouble latching, I had let-down issues, pain and big nipples for little babies. I wish I would have figured out how to nurse ONE and then the OTHER, instead of being pushed to nurse them BOTH and at the same time right off the bat. I would have nursed much longer, if I had just taken it easy. R-E-L-A-X when you can! Read all you can, but don't set your expectations TOO HIGH on yourself...just take it all as it comes!!
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#5 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 12:47 PM
 
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I wish someone had told me how very different it is from a singleton pregnancy and that when your about 6 mos. do nothing and rest as much as you can because you feel like your about 8-9 mos at that point. Also to listen to your body and don't push it. I didn't take my doctor seriously (the way she came across) but if I had heard it from another mother things would have been different. I ended up with preterm labor and bed rest for 6 weeks, because I over did it. I was very active with two older children. Being this was my third pregnancy I was a pro at BFing, but I strongly suggest to read all you can and have contacts that you can call to get immediate help if you come across a problem and to ask as many people as you can for there advice and suggestions about Bfing and use what works for you.
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#6 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is great advice mamas! Keep it comming!
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#7 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 02:00 PM
 
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Okay...some Mama's may shoot me for saying this but....:

I wish someone would have told me that it's much easier then I thought it would be.

I didn't have two "easy" babies and the road certainly wasn't bump free but it truly has been so much easier then I ever dreamed it would be. My pregnancy was BEAUTIFUL from start to finish. I got tired, bloated, cranky...all of that but it was still an amazing experience. The birth was undescribable. To have birthed my sweet Lillie and then my OB saying "Okay...one more to go!" was music to my ears. One more to go....how lucky was I?!?! And then there was my precious Faith. Such a miracle...such a blessing. Watching these two blessings grow up together is truly a gift from God.

I did my best to not let the doubt creep in. I couldn't let myself doubt my body, my spirit or my ability to be a great Mama (most days.....) to all three of my girls. Positive thinking!! That's what I wish I had been told.

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#8 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 02:06 PM
 
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I don't have multiples but I have a close friend who does. I think that for her the most important thing would have been expectations of what else you could accomplish. She never learned how to tandem nurse and so she was nursing nonstop for 2.5 years. She had a bit of a breakdown because she wanted to "accomplsih" so many other things. I tried to help her to understand that mothering is about enjoying the journey. She was so much happier when she just let go and enjoyed the moment.
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#9 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 02:18 PM
 
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Mom to Dakota (6), Coy, (4), Max, (4), Lily (4), and Auri (June 19th 2010)!
Visit Lily's site at www.caringbridge.org/visit/lilymathis1
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#10 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 02:27 PM
 
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I wish I had known about the pubic symphisis pain. I had it for months and didn't know what it was. It was more excrutiating than natural labor and childbirth of twins, but it lasted for months. Also, I had very strong, very frequent Braxton Hicks and I honestly thought it was pre-term labor. Eventually I just figured these things out on my own, but it would have been nice to have expected them. Also, I wish people had told me about post partum depression. I really wasn't expecting to get it and when it started happening I didn't recognize/acknowledge the symptoms. PPD is VERY, VERY common with moms of multiples and it is important to acknowledge it quickly and find support among other moms of multiples. I am still experiencing it 8 months pp but it has been so much better since I found my support system.

Blessed mama of four
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#11 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 02:30 PM
 
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To have diaper stations in every room especially if you have a multi level house. And that y ou won't lose the baby weight the same way people do with a singlton I still looked about 6 mo prego after 3 mo pp with the boys.
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#12 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 03:02 PM
 
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look for a cotton diapering service in your area and include that in your wish list for gifts, or just do it yourself for a while. It is nice nice to just stick your dirties from the week out your front door and come back to a bag of new ones. We did it for a full year and have just recently stopped and are now washing our own.

When friends and family say to let them know if you need anything, go for the fooooood. My motto is still "We never refuse free food"

I'm sure I'll think of some more...

mom of twins.gif boys born 9/13/05 and dog2.gifdog2.gif

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#13 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 03:10 PM
 
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I have to agree with 1Plus2, I found mothering mulitples to be easier than I had expected. But in all fairness - they were my first, and are still my only children - so they remain my focus as well.

Some advise I did receive that I found invaluable (likley the reason they have been easier than expected).

1. get them on the same schedule. This is so very important to dh and I - allows us to still have time together, remain calm, and ease into transitions with daycare and babysitters. They eat, sleep and play at the same time - such a relief.

2. Not read or listen to horror stories. Whenever approached with "one time I heard...." I just politely stated I was only allowed to hear happy, good luck stories - nothing negative. When I found out I was having twins, I read so many books I freaked myself out, sure as can be I was having premature, unhealthy babies. That is when I stopped reading anything scary.

3. Dont wish away a minute of it. I see so many moms saying "i can't wait until they are out of diapers", or "I can't wait until they are walking", or "can't wait until they are sleeping through the night". While they are all struggles in our own way - I never wished away a minute of it - it truly goes fast enough on its own.

Best of luck to you - dont worry at all - you have been double (or triply) blessed, and you will do exactly what is right for you and your babies - Congratulations!
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#14 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 07:20 PM
 
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I also found it easier than I expected, but #1 was a super intense high need, no sleep required kid. . . great for getting me up to speed for the twins.

I however, LIKED them on different schedules. That way, I only had one infant to deal with at a time. At about 6 months they were sortof on the same schedule and it was ok.

Ignore all the baby schedulers!! And boy are there hundreds of them!!

RELAX, it will be OK.

Courtney wife to geek.gif and mom to 4 boys: chicken3.gif   . I need caffix.gif !
They're not typos. . . I can't spell!
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#15 of 67 Old 09-25-2006, 11:57 PM
 
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I wish someone had told me how very different it is from a singleton pregnancy and that when your about 6 mos. do nothing and rest as much as you can because you feel like your about 8-9 mos at that point. Also to listen to your body and don't push it. I didn't take my doctor seriously (the way she came across) but if I had heard it from another mother things would have been different. I ended up with preterm labor and bed rest for 6 weeks, because I over did it. I was very active with two older children. Being this was my third pregnancy I was a pro at BFing, but I strongly suggest to read all you can and have contacts that you can call to get immediate help if you come across a problem and to ask as many people as you can for there advice and suggestions about Bfing and use what works for you.
I did exactly the same thing. I ended up in the ER at 17 weeks positive that I was having a miscarriage because I had spent all day moving and woke up in a pool of blood. Everything was okay, but I learned that i had to take it very VERY easy. I thought I was being good by not lifting anything heavy, but I really really overexhausted myself by being up on my feet for way too long and making beds, getting things settled, etc.

Honestly, and this is sappy, but I wish someone had told me what an overly abundant and generous blessing having twins would be. I heard a lot of things negative and positive even from other MOMs. I heard a lot of tips, a lot of warnings, a lot of pity. I spent a lot of energy wasted during my pg with this feeling of dread and "what did I do to deserve this". I remember during my post partum phase looking at them after all the birth drama had passed and they were finally together (ds was in the NICU for a week) and sobbing because I had this overwhelming feeling that I had made a huge, huge mistake that I could never take back. It was a big release of all the stress that surrounded the birth, but also this feeling of sheer hopelessness. The newborn period was very hard for me. I think its hard to bond right away with two or more, and I was so weak from the pg and sleep dep, it took a very long time for me to feel confident that I could care for both of them by myself. While it is true that these babies have changed our lives forever, and life has not been easy all the time since they have been here. But they are absolutely and without a doubt two of my biggest prides and my heart. I think every parent is surprised at the amount of love they feel for their child. But with multiples it is just that- multiplied.

Now I only wish I'd had triplets. *Ducking from all the triplet moms* ha ha ha.
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#16 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 12:15 AM
 
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Don't have much time to post and am also a relative newbie to this twins thing, but I'll echo the RELAX mantra! I won't say to lower your expectations exactly, but to be very, very flexible about just about everything--take things as they come, take a breath and then do what you need to do--I say this about birth, the newborn period, dealing with older kids, what you can accomplish in a day, EVERYTHING!
For me it was not too much different from my singleton pregnancy, except it was accelerated by about 8 weeks--I had a very easy twins pregnancy by comparison and the labor and delivery was a breeze. I, for one, am fond of having the boys on the same schedule as it brings a bit of predictability to the day and ocasionally a moment of time to spare for my daughter--but you'll surely find your way and what works best for you!

Cindi, mama to Hannah (7/04) :, Eli & Sam (6/06) :
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#17 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 12:45 AM
 
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First - congratulations! Having twins is wonderful!

I would completely agree that the best advice is going to come from other parents of multiples. Many well meaning parents of one caused me stress as a young and naive parent of twins.

I wish someone had told me:

-- that front to back strollers fit through doors better than the side by side ones (unless they have made them smaller since my twelve year olds were babies.)

-- to mark my identical twins with either a bracelet or some other form so that when everyone is helping change diapers and get babies down for a nap etc., confusion would not result in who had which baby. (we had an incident where we had to back track to determine who had which baby because their color coded hats got taken off!! I can’t say we definitely, 100% got it right... )

–-be prepared for the things people you don’t even know will ask you - such as was this a natural twin pregnancy ??? And for everyone being absolutely fascinated - it is well meaning, but can be sometimes be too much.:

I would also agree with others who have said - don’t stress about it. It isn’t always easy - but it is a blessing and something very very special.
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#18 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 10:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by kangamom View Post
Honestly, and this is sappy, but I wish someone had told me what an overly abundant and generous blessing having twins would be. I heard a lot of things negative and positive even from other MOMs. I heard a lot of tips, a lot of warnings, a lot of pity. But they are absolutely and without a doubt two of my biggest prides and my heart. I think every parent is surprised at the amount of love they feel for their child. But with multiples it is just that- multiplied.
: What she said.

Karen - Mama to Haven (9/00) , Lillie & Faith (MZ - 12/02) and my first homebirthed baby, Willa (3/08)
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#19 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 04:51 PM
 
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Thanks Karen

I thought of another thing I wanted to say that I wish someone had told me. That is that when you walk out the door with your double stroller loaded with babies, you become an instant celebrity. It really freaked me out at first. I was used to people oohing and aahing over new babies, but with singletons they get over it pretty quickly. You might get a few strangers come up and ask questions but for the most part you're left to do your shopping or eating in peace. With the twins it went to another level. I can hear people whispering about us and pointing us out to their children. I see people staring at us out of the corner of my eye. I've learned to pretty much ignore it, because it falls into that same category of how people seem to turn their manner switch to "off" when they see twins. I also learned not to try not to leave the house with the babies without being totally confident of how I looked. There is nothing worse (to me anyway) than having a completely rotten day with baby/kid stress, being undershowered and underslept, having to sit in line for 20 minutes at WalMart listening to other people's screaming babies, and have every old lady in the store come up behind you and say, "ooh, are they twins?? I was supposed to have twins, I always wanted them my cousin's friend's sister had them and it was so hard for her blah blah blah...' Sometimes I just don't want people to talk to me. I decided if I had to go through that I'd better at least have my lipstick on. So, in a nutshell, be prepared for lots of attention.
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#20 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 06:06 PM
 
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Okay...some Mama's may shoot me for saying this but....:

I wish someone would have told me that it's much easier then I thought it would be.

... Positive thinking!! That's what I wish I had been told.
that's pretty much what I was going to say. I spent the first 6 months of my girls' life waiting for it to get so horribly hard that I couldn't manage, but finally realized that I was managing!

So I would say, believe in yourself, yes it's hard at times, but it's also a *lot* of fun. You can do it!
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#21 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 07:06 PM
 
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Thanks Karen

I thought of another thing I wanted to say that I wish someone had told me. That is that when you walk out the door with your double stroller loaded with babies, you become an instant celebrity. It really freaked me out at first. I was used to people oohing and aahing over new babies, but with singletons they get over it pretty quickly. You might get a few strangers come up and ask questions but for the most part you're left to do your shopping or eating in peace. With the twins it went to another level. I can hear people whispering about us and pointing us out to their children. I see people staring at us out of the corner of my eye. I've learned to pretty much ignore it, because it falls into that same category of how people seem to turn their manner switch to "off" when they see twins. I also learned not to try not to leave the house with the babies without being totally confident of how I looked. There is nothing worse (to me anyway) than having a completely rotten day with baby/kid stress, being undershowered and underslept, having to sit in line for 20 minutes at WalMart listening to other people's screaming babies, and have every old lady in the store come up behind you and say, "ooh, are they twins?? I was supposed to have twins, I always wanted them my cousin's friend's sister had them and it was so hard for her blah blah blah...' Sometimes I just don't want people to talk to me. I decided if I had to go through that I'd better at least have my lipstick on. So, in a nutshell, be prepared for lots of attention.
So true! I've found that if I'm having a day where I need some attention, I use the double stroller. Otherwise, I try to go more incognito and put one in a sling/carrier and use a single stroller, or have my daughter sit on one side of the double.

Cindi, mama to Hannah (7/04) :, Eli & Sam (6/06) :
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#22 of 67 Old 09-26-2006, 09:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cdahlgrd View Post
Ignore all the baby schedulers!! And boy are there hundreds of them!!

RELAX, it will be OK.
Just reading this thread, I'm expecting twin boys soon. I am SO glad to read this. I've had a lot of twin moms who told me that I HAVE to read Babywise :
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#23 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 12:16 AM
 
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One more thing I forgot to add be prepared you will get some great biceps from lifting holding your twins it's another great benifit.
You will get lots of advise only listen to people who have twins all the singlton moms who try to tell you things just smile nod then walk away.
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#24 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 12:51 AM
 
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Exactly what kangamom said (that celebrity thing is just bizarre - especially when you're the type that's not comfortable with all that attention). To add to that, be prepared to have people physically stop you. I had a man grab our stroller as we walked by so he could show his wife our 5 week old twins! It was crazy. I've had other people touch them - even when I was wearing them! One lady fixed one of my twins ears which was folded (he was in the Mei Tai on my chest) and several people have gone to put fallen out binkies back in their mouths! I would never think to touch someone else's baby like that! But people do it.

I wish I had been prepared for the ppd. For me, the thing that affects me the strongest is when my older kids aren't quiet enough when I'm trying to get the babies down for a nap or to bed. Might want to be prepared for just how on edge you might be when dealing with the challenge of soothing 2 babies while having an older child doing everything in their power to get your attention or simply just be loud b/c they're playing, etc. That's been hard.

Finally (about birth) - if you're planning a vaginal birth, be prepared for the fact that the contractions can pull the cord of baby A back into your body (at least somewhat) so make sure that it's NOT clamped with those metal things that look like scissors. A plastic clamp is okay but cord ties are even better. This was THE most painful part of my labor with them (when that stupid metal thing was being pulled up into me). Because it was being pulled into me, it was not easy for the midwife to get a clamp up above it so she could remove it. That was just awful. Might as well not use the metal clamps in the first place.

Oh, and that pph is more likely following a multiples birth so do what you can preventatively now and just be aware of its possiblity.

And read good twin birth stories (mine is linked in my sig)!!!

Good luck - it truly is a great thing! We're all very lucky!

Mama to four remarkable kiddos, all born at home.
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#25 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 03:48 AM
 
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I wish someone had told me to just expect not to sleep.

I also wish someone had told me that at near-40, with almost two decades of independent living under my belt, I was really really really going to need other people in my life on a daily basis, to help out. If you're closer to people in your life this may be easier on you but it came as quite a shock to me. Now I won't have it any other way, but I had to learn the hard way that reaching out for help ain't a crime.

I wish I'd looked more at my babies and less at what people told me about what gear I needed. I did use quite a bit of gear, and didn't feel one bit guilty about it (another tip - don't feel guilty about it. Use what works to keep the screaming down. Swings, exersaucers, jumperoos, double slings, sling plus backpack, huge double stroller in the house, whatever. If they're not screaming it's all good.). But I wish I'd absorbed a bit more of their personalities before spending so much money on a double stroller, which was not a good purchase for us. We ended up getting much more use (still to this day) out of an $11.00 single stroller plus a homemade gift sling. Anyway, long story short, don't shy away from gear if it helps, but genuinely look at what actually works for your actual babies rather than just accepting what manufacturers say about what it should do. If you're an experienced MDC mama you may have better success with that than I did.

The big thing I DID hear and still tell myself almost daily is that any change, no matter how slight, in a household with young twins is enormous and takes days, weeks, or months to adjust to. Minimize any outside commitments, don't be afraid to say "NO" when people ask you do to - well, anything. My doctor, also a mom of now-teen twins, says that by the time they're 5 years old you can do most things again. That's five YEARS, not weeks or months. Somehow I did not internalize that message until they were about 6 months old. You'll do better.
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#26 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 03:50 AM
 
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Just reading this thread, I'm expecting twin boys soon. I am SO glad to read this. I've had a lot of twin moms who told me that I HAVE to read Babywise :
Um, no. Read Mothering Multiples, available for cheap from LLL. And though I'm not a huge Dr. Sears fan, Nighttime Parenting rocked. Both of these should be in your local LLL library (my local LLL library sits in two plastic boxes next to my computer - wanna come over and browse? ).
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#27 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 10:50 AM
 
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Mine pertains more to the actual pregnancy, but I really wish someone had told me to trust my body and that everything didn't have to be so medical. I hadn't found MDC yet, and my pregnancy was sooooo medicalized. I really believe that the way it was handled by the docs caused some of my problems and the premature delivery of my twins at 34 weeks. I also wish that SOMEONE had told me that I could carry my twins to term. There were so many people around me telling me that it probably wouldn't happen and that I should prepare myself for early delivery and a NICU stay that I eventually just accepted it as truth.
So many things I would've done differently with my pregnancy if only I would've known.
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#28 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 01:56 PM
 
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Mine pertains more to the actual pregnancy, but I really wish someone had told me to trust my body and that everything didn't have to be so medical. I hadn't found MDC yet, and my pregnancy was sooooo medicalized. I really believe that the way it was handled by the docs caused some of my problems and the premature delivery of my twins at 34 weeks. I also wish that SOMEONE had told me that I could carry my twins to term. There were so many people around me telling me that it probably wouldn't happen and that I should prepare myself for early delivery and a NICU stay that I eventually just accepted it as truth.
So many things I would've done differently with my pregnancy if only I would've known.
yeah that me too...oh man, I went to L/D like dozens of times...I also wish someone would have told me about Nourishing Traditions and the WAP pregnancy/nursing diet...I probably wouldn't have put on sooo much weight on my butt and thighs and the babies would have gotten more.

Everyone was telling me I was "too small" to carry twins term even though I'm 5'6" and medium build. I wish I hadn't bought into all the negativity and fear mongering -- wish I had found MDC beforehand and read about the AWESOME mamas here who had wonderful homebirths with full term babies.

I wish fewer people had told me how terrible it would be etc etc....because it was and it has been very difficult for me, but I didn't need all the negativity beforehand, kwim? I totally believe pregnant moms need as much happiness and optimism as possible to grow big healthy babies and stay healthy as well.

I wish someone had prepared me for the NICU experience -- for staff who would discourage me from breastfeeding. I didn't know that I could say "no bottles"...I didn't know that I could demand to breastfeed my babies, I had never heard of an SNS or fingerfeeding. I DO know that not ALL women do well with a pump!! All those LLL and LC women did was tell me to pump etc etc -- well I was and I was barely getting jack! I *still* can't pump jack yet I can fully feed one of my 11 month old sons just fine with plenty of milk. If a pump doesn't work for you -- all the fenugreek and whatever is not going to help, because it isn't an issue of actual supply -- it is an issue of stimulation and body signals and letdown. Why is this information NOT common knowledge?? ALL the women I knew from my 7 weeks of NICU pumped at the most a couple of weeks! So I know this is NOT a rare thing.

whoa -- sorry this turned into a rant...but I am just kicking myself for how ignorant I was and just wishing I could rewind time and do things better. Another thing -- I am SICK to death of hearing, "the c-section probably saved your babies lives" or "I'm sure it was safer for the babies" MY @$$! I was duped, coerced, violated etc etc...and the end result was a wounded wreck of a new mom with two micro tiny babies struggling for their lives in the NICU. I will probably be scathed for the rest of my life.

I'm sorry again for the rant...just listen to your body and don't let those docs force you into anything you'll regret. You can do it -- you were made to carry full term healthy babies!
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#29 of 67 Old 09-27-2006, 03:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twins10705 View Post
Another thing -- I am SICK to death of hearing, "the c-section probably saved your babies lives" or "I'm sure it was safer for the babies" MY @$$! I was duped, coerced, violated etc etc...and the end result was a wounded wreck of a new mom with two micro tiny babies struggling for their lives in the NICU. I will probably be scathed for the rest of my life.
Me too, Momma. I so, so feel ya.
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#30 of 67 Old 09-29-2006, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Don't worry about posting your negative experieneces as well. We want to hear those things that other wouldn't tell us and the hard stuff is part of that!
Thank you mamas of multiples!
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