Good morning 2015!
Do you want to know how I awoke today? To pictures and surprised comments blowing up my Facebook feed. You see, my friend Lise had twins yesterday and she kept it a secret! Yes, she really did. “How”, you may ask? She just did.
I caught her in it about 4 weeks ago. She was on bed rest and she said something that made me curious but I didn’t push the issue. And then she ‘fessed up. If you’ve ever seen a woman pregnant with twins there’s a line on her abdomen that is drawn between the two babies- the borderlands. I’ve seen this before. Let me tell you a story that I’ve been wanting to write for a few months now….
Early last year we got word from family members that a new baby was on the “to be made” list for 2014. Family who have had to go a more planned and medical route for making a family. It happens. This would be their fourth. There’s more to their story that isn’t mine to tell. When I saw T. for the first time in February and she was SO sick, I chuckled to my husband that I thought she was having twins. I’ve seen it before- so sick, so early. She asked me point blank if I thought she was- what could I say? I had to smile.
I always wanted twins. My aunt had twins when I was a teen and I loved the thought of two babies and double the love and snuggles! I was always a baby person. Even from a young age I would be the one who would hold the babies rather than play with cousins or friends. In church I was always on the nursery schedule. My teen years were spent babysitting- sometimes 6 nights a week. I loved little ones. Dirty diapers, temper tantrums, bedtimes, bath time, feedings- none of it bothered me. I knew someday I wanted to be a mother and in the mean time, I enjoyed the chance to love on everyone else’s babies.
So back to the story….
In April we got a message privately:
And so it was confirmed. But as you can see in this photo, this couple was not new to the parenting gig and I knew right away they would need help; and lots of it!
I sent C. and T. a long-winded message(of which I am quite proficient I’ll have you know). I let them both know that having been the new mom of four babies in five years, I was well aware that they would need help. Whether it was twins or not made no difference, a fourth pregnancy is exhausting. I think my words to T. were like this: “you will hit a wall and you will be done- you will need to sit and do nothing…and that’s when you need to call me.”
But here’s the thing: they live an eight hour drive away. This is not as easy as jumping in the car for a weekend. And so as May and June rolled around we all had to start figuring out what was going to happen. I sent my daughter there for 3 weeks in July. Summer heat and a pregnant mommy is hard enough but add an extra bump and this mom was going to need extra hands and feet for trips to the park. But it’s all good: Emily loves those kids and those kids adore Emily. So off she went…
Can I admit that it was right around this time I started to panic? I was worried.
I was worried I wouldn’t be able to do it. I thought I was too old; too out of touch with little ones and busy households. I figured I might clash with T.’s housekeeping style(I have no style- she’s super organized). I felt inadequate and suddenly realized maybe I over-promised. Have you ever done that? Said you could do something but when the time came, you felt too small for the large task? I didn’t have my own house in order. I wasn’t in great physical shape. My fibromyalgia symptoms were flaring up more aggressively over 2014 than previous years. Mornings are brutal. Pain management was sketchy at best and I was suffering with unexpected random migraines. HOW was I going to jump in and fulfill mothering and housekeeping? I just didn’t know. But I will tell you what I did know:
This family didn’t have a lot of options. Yes, they have family. But family with little ones and obligations. And I remembered back to my own struggles with a newborn and three little kids: you just cope. You just maintain a level of chaos and then POOF! one day, it’s over.
So I waited and prepared the best I could. I finished up some custom furniture orders and tried to get my kids ready for the fall– a whole month early. August 1 I received a message from C. “When can you come?”
So this was it. I thought maybe they could hold off until late August. I asked for 2 weeks. That was terrible. But I wasn’t ready. Thankfully, they had one option for temporary help. Long story short- that was short lived and they had to scramble till I got there on August 19.
6:30 a.m. is really early to wake up when you are used to teenagers and no morning obligations. REALLY early.
But that first day, we did okay. And then the next day, we did okay on that too. And we just found a loosey-goosey, mumbling, fumbling rhythm. I’m pretty sure I drove them nuts. I could barely form a coherent thought before 9 a.m. I’m not a busy homemaker. But you know what? I was there and T. could sit all day and be the host for her two growing babies. That was my job: to keep the home fires burning while she did all the hard work.
So the days turned into weeks and E. started school, an early snowfall leveled me with my ONE AND ONLY migraine while I was there. 32 weeks turned to 34 and we all breathed a sigh of relief. And then…..babies! Two gorgeous, healthy, beautiful babies were born at 34 wks 2 days. A boy and a girl. Both over 5lbs. Both with minimal issues.
For the baby lover in me, holding these two precious beings was about the best thing ever. But that wasn’t my job. My job was E.- 6yrs, L.-4 yrs and M. – almost 2. And we had some good days. ( and some not so good days). And I cooked and cleaned and laundered and watched and waited and rescued and mediated and rested and woke early…..and then it was time for me to go home.
I would have loved to stay and be the baby cuddler and diaper changer. But 5 weeks was long enough. The babies came home, Grandma moved in, my job was done and that was that.
You see….sometimes your job is not what you think it is. Sometimes your job is just to be available. And do the work.
And sometimes when you do the hard things, you make bonds and friendships for life. Because there is NOTHING like washing another man’s underwear or watching a new mom pump her milk for hours a day. Nothing. :)
Part 2 is coming up on another blog…..all about how to help new parents and how NOT to help. Believe me…there’s a BIG difference.