Overwhelming

I had to chuckle when I read the following comment by my friend MyTwoLines: “I am so impressed by all you do taking such good care of them…it must be overwhelming but you seem to do it with ease!” Thank you for the compliment, MTL, but this could not be further from the truth!

I just want to put it out there: most of the time, I feel like I’m in survival mode. I feel outnumbered. I feel like I’m failing because I’m not able to give as much one-on-one time as I want to each baby. There are a list of “extracurricular” things I want to do during the day with my babies (tummy time four times, feeding them oatmeal, reading books, playing music, sitting in the bumbo or in the corner of the sofa, nursery rhymes, baby ein.stein, having the two of them play together in the activity gym, taking them for a walk in their stroller). Very, very rarely do I get all of that done. In fact, I would say never. I do some of those things, but the hours pass and I just can’t get it all done before they are zonked out for the night. Never mind the required feeding, burping, bathing, changing, rocking, etc that goes on around here. I am not complaining one bit, but just being honest. These babies are amazing and getting to be a mom is incredible, but the journey so far has been pretty tough.

In a span of 29 days from October 7-November 6, my babies broke eight bones. That is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. We were quite abruptly introduced to pediatric emergency rooms, narcotics, pavlik harnesses, orthopaedists, casts, and x-rays on a weekly basis. I had to become a lion who refused to surrender my kids to “protocol”–no unnecessary x-rays, no unnecessary touching by staff, no unnecessary vitals. I’m probably infamous at our local children’s hospital by now, but that’s what this experience will do to you. I was just trying to save them from additional pain. Along with the bone issues, we were simply first-time parents trying to adjust to the shock of having two tiny babies (with days and nights mixed up) who depended on us for every need. Then throw in the clubfeet treatment, bone-strengthening infusions, pediatrician appointments, and physical therapy, and you have one seriously overwhelmed mama. I have had many tearful breakdowns over the past nearly five months. Despite my intense love for my babies, at times this has all felt like too much. And I grieved over the fact that instead of enjoying this time, I have spent a significant amount of time stressed and sad and helplessly watching them hurt.

Thank goodness, our world changed for the better once we discovered a medication that helps to strengthen babies’ bones. It has literally been a miracle drug for us so far. But despite the medicine, we walk on eggshells with our babies–not allowing them to be held by many people, feeling our hearts thump when they cry, and being mindful of their fragile bones in everything they do. And yet, we remind ourselves how lucky we are to have twins and not have to worry about their breathing, their weight, their heart rate, or their lung development. In that way at least, we are lucky.

This post is just meant to show that I am not handling this with ease. Quite the opposite, actually. I feel like I’m just marching forward, putting one foot in front of the other, checking things off a list, doing what I have to do. I take Violet to the next step in her clubfeet treatment. I take them both for the miracle drug infusions every eight weeks. I take them to the pedi for immunizations every few months. I work with their physical therapist to help them get stronger. I take care of their basic needs and play with them and hug and kiss them. And I’m trying to enjoy these days while our babies are small, because I know that time is fleeting and we won’t have any more children. During tough times, moms find strength they didn’t know they had. And that’s what I’m doing!

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4 responses

  1. I can’t remember the last time I put a comment on your blog (I can’t remember a lot of things anymore — I’m sure you understand!) but I have read about all of the challenges you all have faced. It is hard enough to have twins — I have struggled, too — I have cried a LOT — I have felt overwhelmed and outnumbered — but to have to face the type of difficulties you have must be SUPER challenging. All I can tell you is this — it should get easier! Early on, many other parents of twins told us, “Oh, once you get through the first year…” or 18 months or 24 months (seems like everyone has a different timeframe) “… it gets easier.” That seemed like a long way off during the first six months or so. But now that we’re 15 months into this, I know they were right. It does get easier. You adjust to motherhood more fully. You gain confidence. The babies become more communicative and honestly, more fun. So hang in there. You are doing great. Being in survival mode means you are surviving. And soon, you will not just survive, but thrive! You’ll get to do all of those things you so want to do with your beautiful girls.

  2. Antie Em….I hear you. You’re not a super star. But all we’re saying, is that to us, you are. We all get tested in different ways, and we admire your strength. You may not feel like you have any, but we see it. I truly don’t know how you’re doing it, but you clearly love your daughters more than anything and have found a way to cope….the best you can. I’m thinking of you!

  3. Em…I am SOOOOOOOO glad you posted this because I was wondering when you would finally speak out about you being overwhelmed at times. Raising babies is tough tough work and added special needs (bone issues and club feet) on top of it is completely mind blowing to me. I am glad you finally seized your opportunity to vent. Take care…

  4. I totally understand being overwhelmed. I had my twin boys in December at 35 wks 5 days. They were smaller than predicted, had to stay in NICU for 22 days, I am breastfeeding but started out breastfeeding each of them and pumping after each feed and now trying to make enough milk to feed them and trying to get things done for them and I am back at work already. There are just not enough hours in a day. I am glad to see that you are doing well, even though at times it’s overwhelming, and I am glad to see that the girls are thriving and beautiful

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