back to blogging

I have not been blogging much. Life with twin toddlers, homeschooling, and my job has really been a lot, and to be honest, I struggle with my mental health on an almost daily basis. The days that I’m home with the kids without my wife I find especially taxing. I often cry. I am so sensory defensive, that the constant noise and touch really puts me on edge. I also have a hard time with visual clutter, and I’m sure that you can imagine there is SO MUCH mess and clutter with four kids! We did clean out our garage and back patio to use as space, which was helpful, but it is also more space to clean up. It seems impossible to keep on top of everything.

I used to be the type of mom who prided myself on taking the girls on adventures, learning from exploring our local area as well as places farther away. It is just too much with all four. Even the trips we have taken have felt almost unbearable and miserable to me. I never dreamed I’d be the type of mother who finds mothering so painful. I might be getting old… I feel I’ve aged 10 years or more since the twins were born. My face in the mirror is one I hardly know. My energy is always low. I feel it’s hard to get up and get moving all day long. I’ve had labs done, and nothing physical has shown up. I’ve lost over 20 pounds, and I still don’t feel better. I have a job that for the most part I like, and find fulfilling enough. It’s not like it’s an amazing dream job, but it’s good enough that I’m content to stay there for a long time. I have a wonderful, happy marriage. I enjoy homeschooling, planning the curriculum, learning alongside the girls, and spending much more time with them than I would get to if they went to school.

But I struggle. I struggle so much. The mess, the screaming and shrieking, and the toddlers clawing or jumping on me really make me feel a sort of insanity. I often burst into tears when they make yet another huge mess. I feel knots in my stomach thinking of spending a whole day doing that. Do other twin moms (or any moms) also feel the same? Maybe we are all sitting in our homes, silently drowning. Maybe it would have been easier if my sister, friends, or other family members were around. Maybe I have developed more mental health problems than I had the first time I had a toddler. It’s hard to say.

I have stopped writing. I stopped blogging or journaling. I have stopped sharing myself much with the world, except for some facebook posts of events or shared instagrams about certain topics of interest. There just isn’t much to share. The same droning on and on, mindless venting and complaining about toddlers, messes, finances, and all of my parenting mistakes. I have stopped wanting to travel, or at least the thought of traveling with all the kids is a strong deterrent. There are some places in this country I’d like to see, but I no longer care if I go to other countries. This was such a huge desire for my whole life until recently, it feels shocking to write it, but also it is very true. I have stopped enjoying it when I do travel. I just want to go home and be done. I am unable to financially afford 6 plane tickets to anywhere, in any case, even to make it home to see family in Michigan. I have developed a fear of flying that I never used to have. I feel like avoiding it altogether. On my days off, I have started wanting to just… stay home. Not go to parks or museums or anywhere. Just stay home, and bear it. Everything feels much too hard.

I got a certain journal for Christmas that I wanted, and have yet to even open it. I can only rarely do things I like (read a book, do a puzzle, sit quietly in nature) so most of my “down time” is spent on screens. I sometimes want only one thing: to sleep. Sleep just a little more. I am often very homesick, but not for any home that exists anymore. I miss my grandma’s house, my grandparents, knowing that I could “go home” and they would be there. I miss lying in the comfortable saggy old bed in the parlour bedroom, listening to the news from the livingroom that my grandparents were watching, moonlight coming in through the window over our fields. I miss feeling that I was walking on the blades of grass, small stones and dirt paths, that my ancestors walked upon, and knowing I was in my place. I miss the smell of Midwestern rain, the crisp fall breeze, the damp grass in the morning, the silence of a snowy day. Sometimes it feels like I will never truly be home again. Certainly, the property being sold to people I don’t like, makes it impossible to even think of that place as home even by association.

Mostly, I miss feeling that I am a person of my own. That I have a self. It is hard to remember that feeling, even. Who was that person that loved to travel? That sang along passionately to favorite songs? Who liked to do things, got excited, had things to write about? I barely know.

This is perhaps just what it means to grow old. Maybe my grandmother felt the same sense of loss and distance from her younger self as her children got older. Maybe by the time they were grown she was someone else entirely. Maybe she wished she could get a little bit of the younger woman back, or maybe by the time she was my grandma, she no longer wanted to. I wish she was here to ask.

they’re here!

We have twinsies! We are beyond exhausted, running on only a few hours of sleep per night. Good god. The first 24 hours was the hardest, because the boys were starving and frantic for milk that hadn’t come in yet. We had to start snaking a little tube into their mouths while they nursed and feeding them. They are great breastfeeders, there just isn’t enough colostrum to fill their little tummies! So basically they were nursing and fussing around the clock, until we started supplementing. But my wife’s milk is coming in more and more, so we’re hoping for a great first weight check tomorrow!

The birth went smoothly, and we had only two small snags: Baby B, Basti, lost too much weight the first day (11%), and Lindsey fainted after her first shower. But everything went fine other than those things!

I missed M, my original baby, while at the hospital for 3 days. We’ve been delirious, hallucinating even, on so little sleep. People have sent food, and money, to help us, which is a godsend. My mom has helped by staying at home with the girls, making breakfast, doing laundry, and so many people have chipped in to provide transportation for the big girls’ school and other things. It honestly takes a village, and I haven’t been afraid to ask for help! We’ll take all the help we can get!

One funny thing that happened is that we got a good look at the placenta after, and it appears not to be a single placenta, as all the high-risk perinatologists thought! It is, instead, two placentas fused together. Incredibly rare! But this also means the boys could be fraternal, not identical! We’ll only know by doing a DNA test. The pathology of the placenta will also confirm that it was two placentas, not one.

From Minnesota Center for Twin and Family research:

Though fraternal twins have their own separate placentas, sometimes the two fertilized eggs implant close to each other in the uterus, which can result in their placentas fusing. The two fused placentas look like one placenta, causing them to be mistaken for identical twins.

This is a fairly common mistake; as many as twenty percent of all twin births are misidentified as identical or fraternal. This confusion is one reason why we take special steps, such as sometimes taking blood, to determine if twins are identical or fraternal.

So! They appear to not be mo-di twins at all, but fused di di twins! Crazy! Sometimes they look identical, and sometimes they don’t, so the jury is still out. Personality-wise, Mr. Joe is the stronger sucker, and usually more demanding as far as wanting to be held, or wanting to eat. Basti is more laid back, ok with lying flat in a bassinet to sleep while swaddled, and a sleepy feeder who sometimes needs lots of encouragement to finish a meal. They both weigh pretty much the same and were the same length. They have medium to light brown hair, and very dark blue eyes! They were both born with the same sacral dimple, no birth marks, and perfectly formed everything.

Over and out… struggling through the first stages of twin mom life, but happy to have them here!

Baby A (Mr. Joe) and Baby B (Basti)

mother of more things

The title of my blog changed (once again) with my return to the blogging world. I’ve been all kinds of mothers… foster, adoptive, special needs, step, baby loss. Time to add another label to that list! My wife and I are expecting identical twins at summer’s end!

Trust me when I say that “identical twin mom” was not even remotely on my radar as a title that I would ever be picking up. Nor was “mother of 4”! A little over two years ago, in fact, I was contented with the fact that I would have an only child! As it turned out, my little only child is way happier with siblings (she’s a natural at middle-childing) and I’m beyond grateful that I’ll be parenting a fullĀ herdĀ of children with a wonderful partner. Life can be so unexpected!

For now, we are completely unprepared for twin life, and just enjoying the fact that the pregnancy is healthy and things are going well. In the future I’m sure there will be much angst over which double stroller to buy, how to avoid mixing them up, and the fact that we will never sleep again!