You just got slammed with the shocker that you're pregnant with twins. Now what? It's a headspinning, terrifying, and thrilling time to be sure (check out my blog post from when we first found out to see how we reacted). There are a few things you can do to help you come to terms with your new (probably very unexpected) situation, start actually being able to sleep again, and keep you and your little ones healthy and comfortable. Here's what helped me:
1. Read BOOKS and beware of Google
As far as educating yourself, the Internet can be both a blessing and a burden. Think twice before googling certain questions and phrases - what you find can be absolutely terrifying and cause much unnecessary anxiety. That said, I did a LOT of googling in the first few weeks and do not regret it. But I know my mentality - I'm definitely the "prepare for the worst and hope for the best" kinda gal, and I find reassurance in understanding the worst that can happen, knowing the signs and symptoms, and then brushing it off and not worrying about it unless it actually happens. If this doesn't sound like you, then stay away from Google!
2. Take a twin specific class
If this will be your first birth, you should take a birthing class. A class through your hospital or birthing center can be great because they will go over the policies and procedures and you'll know better what you can expect. However, if there's a specific method you want to learn that is not offered through your hospital, you should definitely look elsewhere. Hypnobabies and Birthing From Within are a couple of great ones you might want to consider if you're trying to go for a natural birth.
Keep in mind, however, that these birthing classes are usually focused on first time parents having ONE baby. Birthing twins, either vaginally or via Cesarian, is a whole other ball game, and for that you need to take a twin specific class. I took two recently and can't recommend either of them highly enough!!
Twiniversity runs two different 3-hour classes on the first and second Monday nights of each month in New York City, led by Twiniversity's HILARIOUS founder, Natalie Diaz. Their 101 class covers everything from what items to include on your baby registry, to what you can expect during a vaginal or Ceserian delivery, how to find a nanny and pediatrician, and how to deal with NICU time. Their 201 class covers things for the babies' first six months, like how to breast or bottle feed, sleep train, diaper, travel, etc etc. Each class is $160 per family, includes a fabulously yummy Italian dinner, and you'll be sent home with a big bag of swag, including pacifiers, bottles, and Natalie's best-selling book, What to Do When You're Having Two.
Twin Love Concierge (TLC) offers "Expecting Twins" workshops in the Tri-State / New York City area (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Lower Westchester, Northern Westchester, Connecticut), Los Angeles (Hollywood & Pasadena), Boston, Miami (South Miami & Biscayne), and Houston. The 2-hour class costs $105 per couple and covers everything from what gear you do and don't need, preparing for the birth and NICU, what to expect in the first few weeks, and techniques for breast and bottle feeding. You'll be added to a private Facebook group of TLC grads and be sent home with a Parent Pack of useful information and helpful charts. In New York City, TLC also offers a 3-hour long "Bringing Home Babies" class which is a combo of the above twins prep and a RN-led birthing class specialized for twins, a great option for those in the NYC-metro area!! It costs $250 per couple.
3. Join local and virtual twins clubs
Virtual twins clubs on Facebook can be extremely helpful and supportive, but as with Google, can overwhelm you with heartbreaking stories and negative comments as well. So, join at your own risk! Personally, I love love LOVE the Private Page of National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs Inc, a 10K+ member Facebook group. Have a question about whether or not something is normal, want feedback on baby names you're considering, or just want to compare bump photos? Post away!! This group has been so amazingly helpful to me!
You should definitely search out your local twins group, and depending on where you live there might be several. You can do a search on the Multiples of America site, or ask in the above mentioned Facebook group for a recommendation in your area. My local group is run through Yahoo and charges a $20 membership fee, but the amount of for sale and for free items being offered via e-mail every day more than makes up for the joining cost! You can seriously find just about anything you need - you shouldn't have to pay a cent for your double snap 'n go stroller, those are a dime a dozen in these twins groups! I snagged a My Brest Friend Twins Nursing Pillow for $20, picked up bags of maternity clothes and a baby swing for FREE, and am lined up to get a matching set of 2 Pottery Barn cribs and changing table next month. SCORE!!! Not to mention you can arrange meet-ups and make lifelong friends with some of these families.
If you're in Brooklyn, definitely join FB's Brooklyn Parents of Twins as well as the Yahoo group BBPOTC - great for buying / selling twin gear for cheap (and lots for free, too)!
Other great virtual Buy/Sell/Trade for twins groups are:
4. Keep an open mind and positive attitude
You may have certain expectations for your pregnancy, birth, and new family life. But you should probably go ahead and throw those out the window. You are "high risk" and will be treated as such, no matter how healthy you and your babes are. You will give birth in the OR (yes, even if vaginally) with upwards of 14 medical staff in the room with you. You and your little ones will be the center of attention, for better or for worse, for a long time to come and you'll have to deal with daily comments ranging from "Are they NATURAL??" and "Are they identical??" (even when they're obviously boy/girl), to "You sure have your hands full!" (like, DUH!)
So, the quicker you can come to terms with it and not only accept but be happy with the new normal, the better! Cuz... TWINS!!! That is freaking AMAZEBALLS!!!! Welcome to the club ^_^
5. Read my other twin-related posts
If you want to read them all, click and scroll through the categories of "Twin Pregnancy" and "Twins". If you only have time for a few, here are my faves:
6. Document your pregnancy!
Whether this is your first or sixth pregnancy, twins are something incredibly special. If you go full term, your belly will grow to a size you never knew possible!! So, embrace it and document it!! Be sure to take weekly photos - share online or keep them for yourselves, with or without a shirt, just be sure to document it because you will look back on those fondly with your children and just not believe you were actually that big!!! I decided to make a stop motion video of my belly growth, it was pretty easy and an amazing keepsake, check it out here:
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1), focusing on fun and honest product and travel reviews, saving moms time finding the best for their families! Find what you need in the menu bar or search section above!