Twin politics…

The winter months bring a lot of rain to Brussels. This means I get soaked a lot because waiting for the rain to stop and only bringing your children to school when it’s dry, is apparently not done.
The boys also don’t like the winter weather. They especially hate strong winds. ‘Make it stop mommy,’ they tell me. If only I could. So often the boys are under the plastic cover to keep them warm and dry.

But twins would not be twins if they did not have different opinions. So one of the boys always wants to be under the cover, the other one often does not like it. ‘I want to be in the rain,’ he yells in frustration while trying to kick the plastic off.
Sigh, so what do you do here as a twin-mom? I tried to explain many times that they had to work this out, seeing that we only have one big cover and one of them really does not want to get wet, but somehow their debate skills are not up to that yet.

In the end I tried to compromise and fumbled around with the plastic until I had a solution that satisfied them both but looks very strange.
Not to mention the look on the faces of many passers-by, wondering why one of my kids is getting soaked in the rain. Guess they never had a determined toddler…

Sleeping together -twins

One of the questions that is asked most amongst twin mothers is: do you let your twins sleep together?

For me it was clear even before they were born I wanted our boys to sleep in the same bed for a while. It was not only a romantic idea about twins having a special bond (and looking so beautiful together), but also inspired by practical reasons: I wanted them to be used to each other, especially to each other’s noises and sounds.
When our boys came early and had to stay in the hospital for many weeks, we expressed this wish to the neonatal staff and as soon as it was possible they were put together in the same warming bed. Not only was it a great sight to see them cuddling up together, it also comforted me a lot to know that even when I was not with them in the hospital, they were never alone but always had each other.

When they finally could come home with us we had a beautiful twin crib waiting for them. They slept in that for many months and my theory really worked; the boys were so used to each other’s sounds that they never woke each other up. Now don’t get me wrong here: they did wake up a lot, we did not sleep through the night or anything remotely related to that. But they did not wake each other, so when one had been fed and was sleeping happily and the other one was suddenly crying his heart out, he did not wake his brother.

From the twin crib they moved on to two baby beds. The first year they were put right next to each other, but then we moved them half a meter apart as the boys started partying together and deliberately waking each other.
Soon we will move them to bigger beds, but they will continue to share the same room. I like to think it makes them bond more.

And to this day my theory is still working out, when one of them wakes up in the night for whatever reason (bad dreams, not feeling well, in need of a cuddle, need to do a pipi etc.) the other one is not woken up by his crying.

Today is World Prematurity day!


World Prematurity Day on 17 November is one of the most important days in the year to raise awareness of the challenges and burden of preterm birth globally. World Prematurity Day calls attention to the special issues facing infants born prematurely, celebrates the development and growth of older babies and children who were born prematurely, and is a great day to support members of your community who work with newborns or premature infants, or are parents adjusting with a prematurely born infant.
The day was initiated by EFCNI and partnering European parent organisations in 2008. The international co-founders LittleBigSouls (Africa), March of Dimes (USA) and National Premmie Foundation (Australia) joined the celebrations and made World Prematurity Day an intercontinental movement. Meanwhile, countless individuals and organisations from more than 100 countries join forces with activities, special events and commit to action to help address preterm birth and improve the situation of preterm babies and their families.

What is Prematurity?

A full-term pregnancy lasts between 37 and 42 weeks, and “prematurity” describes when a baby is born earlier than 37 weeks (gestational time). Prematurely born infants face many special issues, which can include breathing difficulties, feeding difficulties, and low birth weight. Prematurely born babies generally have a longer hospital stay than babies born full-term, and many end up spending time in NICU units (neonatal intensive care) or special care nurseries until it can be established that they are stable and healthy enough to be brought home. This can be a very difficult time for many families.

There are some risk factors for having a premature birth, such as the mother’s general health and lifestyle choices, and carrying multiple babies (twins or triplets), but for many mothers who deliver a premature baby, it is unexpected, with no discernible cause or identifiable risk factors- mothers under excellent prenatal care, who do everything “right” can still end up delivering their baby prematurely. If you are pregnant, it is a good idea to learn the warning signs of pre-term labor, which include cramping, regularly times contractions, and backache, and discuss pre-term labor risks and planning with your care provider. If you do believe you are experiencing pre-term labor signs, it is critical to seek medical attention right away, because there are steps that can be taken to manage, delay, or prevent a baby from being born prematurely.
Thanks to advances in modern healthcare, the prognosis for most babies born prematurely has improved dramatically. Statistically, the earlier a baby is born, the more serious his or her health problems are likely to be.

 

A day like this is a great reminder of how grateful I am to live now with the medical advancements of the last century. Our boys arrived very early and had to stay in the hospital for a month. It was a difficult time, but the hospital staff was so supportive. I don’t even want to think about what could have happened, had we lived in different times. 

 

Back from holiday – elbow pains…

I apologise for the silence here. There was a school holiday in Belgium and we took the boys to a holiday park last week. We had a great time, although with every holiday we somehow don’t end up very rested. Haha, as if!

It was the first time we did not use our buggy at all, we walked everywhere with the boys and they did really well. I did discover something interesting though. You can have muscle ache in your elbows!

It took me a while to figure out how this came about. But in the end the answer was simple. It was the walking of course, one boy on each side holding my hand. You’re not just dragging them because they walk slower… when they get in a mood and don’t want to walk (faster) they will work against you and pull. So this week no pain in my shoulders due to pushing a heavy buggy, no, this week my elbows had their turn… 

Announcing twins

Keep calm!

We were over the moon when we realised we were expecting twins. Of course it did take a few weeks to get used to the idea of what this meant, so we first took our time together.
But honestly I was also worried about all the things that could go wrong during the pregnancy, as twin pregnancy can be more complicated. So we were quite late in announcing the news.
Our parents were the first who heard and we announced our news by visiting them and just telling them we were pregnant. They were of course very happy and emotional about it. And only when they got used to the idea we added: by the way, its twins!!
The effect of this was quite nice so we stuck to it when we told others. Every time we said it, we thought it was more hilarious. We really had no idea what we were in for, haha!

Anyway, apparently we could have been a lot more original in the way we told everyone. I found this page with 15 great pictures of how you can announce a twin pregnancy. So if you are expecting twins now, take your pick.
I am very curious though and would love to hear your stories: How did you announce your pregnancy to your family and friends?

Smile!

When you go somewhere with twins, you usually get a lot of attention. People nod friendly, start to smile when they notice you or even say ‘Bonjour’. The last two years I got very used to greeting and smiling to people I have never seen in my life. But recently I realised that those people don’t actually see me at all.

When I bring the boys to school I always come across some very friendly people. But when I have dropped the boys of and walk back the same route on my own, those friendly greeters are suddenly completely different. I smile at them and they don’t response at all, it’s like they have never seen me in their life.  And suddenly I realised that this is probably true, all those friendly people were only looking at my boys…

The twin shopping trolley

I first heard about twin-shopping-trolleys in a Facebookgroup for twin moms in the Netherlands. More and more moms seem to have asked their local supermarket for one and all over the Netherlands they appeared in the supermarkets. Sadly nothing like this ever happens in the customer-unfriendly supermarkets of Brussels.
So when I visited the Netherlands I was so glad to actually spot a twin trolley and use it before the boys will be too big. I really loved it!

So a big THANK YOU to all the Dutch supermarkets making the life of twin moms easier.

(Our boys liked it a lot but actually prefer walking around the supermarket themselves now…)