Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Large Families and Twins ~ Part One

Every time a new circumstance occurs in life, I feel compelled to do new research. It is my signature move. Funky worm on the tomato plants? Research. Unidentified stain on the carpet? Research. Illness? Rash? Research. Twins? Research.

My modus operandi regarding the twins phenomenon involved asking (discreetly- as I didn't want to get flamed!) on the MOMYS Digest for Moms who had twins after already having a houseful of children, to contact me. (The MOMYS digest is for Moms who have had at least four children in eight years or less, in order to share practical help for women who have children fairly close together.) Since any responders would have lived to tell about it, I figured that these women were the ones to ask.

One Mom in particular was extremely helpful. She acted much like a beloved best friend who would sit you down on the couch, point her finger gently in your face and give you a strong word... in love. Her advice came just hours before my meeting with the midwife for the first time since discovering I was carrying twins. That one e-mail, along with that one meeting with the midwife and our discussions following, have drastically altered the direction of our family during the next few months. This thing is far bigger than I had imagined.

With my history of some early deliveries, my status as an "elderly grand multipara" (a fancy way of saying that I have had several children and I am now considered old) and our desire to not have twins in the NICU, the midwife's strict instructions involved, "Three up, one down". After every three hours of being up and active, I am expected to rest horizontally for a full hour. I was told to be glad, as this was a concession based on our lifestyle with a house full... she normally requires "Two up, one down." Talk about forced scheduling, this is it. (Now where'd I put that MOTH schedule?)

I want to share some of the advice I received from the MOMYS, as I have found very little in my searching for help for families who already have a large family before twins arrive. Much like Holly shared about children with Shingles because of how little she was able to find, I want this information to be out there somewhere for other families who may be looking. Susanna in particular, was a wealth of advice on this topic ~ for Moms expecting twins as well as others who may know someone having twins ~ that I want to share her e-mail in full.

I will split her letter up into several parts, but here is the intro:
Dear Julie,

I'm going to be straightforward in hopes that you'll take it seriously and avoid some of the avoidable problems ahead!

There was only one thing that I didn't do that I should have done, that every single twin book or article told me to do, and every single other twin mom told me was most important. I did everything else right, but the lack of this one thing made the whole experience almost nightmarish for the three weeks I was on bed rest before the birth and the almost seven weeks postpartum until they both began nursing and sleeping through the night. We were desperate for help. My husband's three weeks off following the birth was ludicrously insufficient for the needs of the household. I wish I would have taken all that counsel seriously. I was too sensitive to others' seeming reluctance to help, too proud to let most people see our household in need (messy or dirty, including children!), too hesitant to ask for help in even modest amounts, especially if I was sure they would think we were just having too many children if we couldn't handle it ourselves. I think my reputation also hurt me. Nobody was close enough to realize the trouble we were having, and when I did attempt to verbalize how things were going ("I feel like we're drowning..."), I think they didn't really believe that the capable Susanna really needed help - I was just being too picky and unwilling to let things go for a while or something. We simply have not faced such tremendous stress before or since...

Stay tuned for Part Two...


  1. So in your hour lying down.. call one of the kids and do a head count.. do this regularly. Last week, I worked with the boys outside doing some prep for renovations - it was cold, my 4yod refused to be dressed properly, but when we came in, so did she.

    However, the 2yob was outside, no one did a head count. His pants were too big, and so in stepping on the ankles, he managed to pull his pants off. HENCE - when my hubby came home about an hour later, 2yob was found pantsless and cold, crying at the front door. No one heard him knocking or calling, and I was down for a rest. I felt HORRIBLE.

    Remember your headcount - even if you're lying down.


  2. Oh, Julie, I can't help with your laundry or cooking or cleaning from 1000 miles away, I wish I could. You and your family will continue to be in our prayers.

  3. oldpathsfamilyfarmApril 30, 2008 at 5:09 AM

    Sombra! Oh. NO! Poor little guy. I wonder if he'll come in with everybody else next time? Hee Hee.

    Mr. Visionary bought me a recliner this weekend that swivels... so I can sit there and see 90% of our living areas depending on which way I turn (or which way the Little people spin me...oy). That is my place for resting during the day... feet up, but eyes open. Good advice.

    Thanks, Kelli... you are a Dear.

  4. "elderly" grand multipara?

    Oh my dear, that's borderline insulting!!!

    That's just not fair... elderly indeed!

    The advice you posted sounds great. I would summarize it as saying, "don't be too proud to admit your humanity!" ;-)

    Take care of yourself and those little ones.
    I am anxious to find out what you're having...are you going to fill us in before the big event?

    grace and peace,

  5. oldpathsfamilyfarmApril 30, 2008 at 10:22 AM


    I'm not even filling *myself* in. We don't find out the sex at all... I love that surprise at the end!

  6. Hi
    I found you via Amy(to train up a child)'s prayer list on her blog today. I just wanted to let you know that I prayed for you today that all would go well with the rest of your pregnancy and delivery.

  7. Hi,
    I wanted to let you know that you are in my prayers!


Before writing your comment, be sure to read the Fine Print!