Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Having More Kids After Twins

It's inevitable - after you have your twins, or even while you are still pregnant - people will start asking if you are going to have another baby.

It's sort of like asking someone in the middle of running a marathon if they plan to run another. If your body is aching and you are struggling to keep moving, you want to shout "No!" But if you've caught another wind and you're having a good mile you might think, "Definitely!"

It's sort of the same with kids. Some days you think, "I cannot possibly handle another" and other days you think "Let's have 100 more!" 

For us I think we knew we would try for a third without question. The real question was when. 

Brooklyn left, Bailey right. 17 months.
I've read a lot of twin forums and asked women in my moms of multiple clubs about the best spacing between kids. The answers seem to be all over the board. A lot of people tell you to wait till they are out of diapers, while others say it's easier to never have a break in diapers and keep them all close in age. 

There doesn't seem to be a perfect age gap. If the kids are all pretty close in age, it will be a little crazy at first but there will be a strong bond between all. If there is a bigger gap, the older kids will be able to help more with the baby and will be more independent, but the sibling bond may not be as tight. For me personally, I have a brother who is almost three years older and a sister who is six years younger and I am close with both. I think siblings can still be close no matter what the age difference, it just depends on what is best for your family. 

If we'd had just a singleton instead of twins, I think we would have tried to space the second kid to be about two years younger. Instead, Brooklyn is one minute younger than Bailey. Still, as we thought about it, we decided to use the two year gap as a goal for baby #3. 

About a month after the girls turned one, we started seriously talking about it. A few initial concerns:

1. What if we had twins - again?! I was a little worried about having twins again. Don't get me wrong - I love my girls so much and there are so many cool things about being twin parents and watching them grow up together. But having another set of twins would be insane. 

I asked my doctor about this possibility. She said while the chances of having twins again does increase after having a set already -- you are, in fact, four times more likely to have twins again -- it's still pretty rare and has never happened in their practice. If you normally have a 1 to 3 percent chance of having twins (without fertility assistance), than you have about a 4 to 12 percent chance of having a second set. Low odds, but still a factor. 

You have to prepare for it as a possibility, but understand that you will more than likely just have one baby. 

2. Day care (and diapers) times three! We also had to talk finances. Three kids in daycare is expensive, but we were able to tighten our budgets and felt comfortable being able to afford daycare costs. Think about all the costs associated with a new baby - including your health insurance deductible and out of pocket costs. 

3. Mentally - can mommy and daddy handle another baby? When I think back on how crazy the first six months were, it makes me pause as I wonder about bringing another newborn home. Feeding two premature babies every 2 to 3 hours round the clock was difficult. I struggled with breastfeeding and pumping. We were both exhausted. But I feel ready to take on another newborn. From what most of my twin mom friends have told me, having just one infant at a time will be a piece of cake after doing it with twins. (I'm sure there will still be hard moments!)

Twin belly vs singelton belly, 20 weeks.
Actually I am really looking forward to the newborn phase. I got 12 weeks paid maternity leave (which is very, very lucky) and the girls will still be going to daycare while I stay home with the baby. I am excited to have some one on one snuggle time with my new little pumpkin. 

4. Attention wise - will Brooklyn and Bailey be okay with another baby? Two year olds still need lots of mommy and daddy time. I do worry sometimes if there will be enough of me to go around, but I think we will make it work. For Christmas we are buying them baby dolls to play with and trying to prepare them for the new baby coming. They are still too young to understand but I keep telling them they have a new baby sister coming. One tip my cousin gave me that I will use when new baby arrives is to make it a point when you put the baby down for a nap to say in front of your toddler, "Okay baby, mommy is going to play with Brooklyn and Bailey now." The older kid hears all the time "hold on, the baby needs this or that" so it's good to say it the other way too. 

Cutest ladybugs! 
5. Pregnancy - is it crazy to be pregnant while running after two toddlers? Honestly, it is sometimes. Both girls are in a clingy stage where they want to be held all the time. I was so tired in the first trimester but still had two kids to take care of, plus work. I go to bed as early as possible and my husband is wonderful about helping with housework and rubbing my back when I need it. I try to be realistic in what I can and can't do. We've eaten more take out than I would like but sometimes I just don't have the energy to cook like I normally would. And I do my best about being healthy in this pregnancy for baby #3. I wish I had more time to work out, but I do what I can. I try to get up early in the morning to squeeze in a yoga DVD or a walk on the treadmill but it doesn't happen every day. All you can do is the best you can.  

I think I was also nervous about having a difficult pregnancy. Twin pregnancies are high risk and mine was no exception. I was put on bed rest at 26 weeks with preterm labor issues, was in and out of the hospital, had to have steroid shots at 30 weeks and a bunch of meds to stop labor, etc. I was lucky to make it to 34 weeks. I had my girls via c-section and they spent 11 days in the NICU. 

Baby #3 is a girl!
In comparison, this pregnancy has been a breeze. The morning sickness was hardly there. Sure I was tired in the first trimester but not at all like last time. I feel much less nervous too without having to worry about preterm labor all the time. Ideally I would like to go full term, have a vbac, hold my baby right away, and leave the hospital with my baby and avoid the NICU. Fingers crossed!

So what did we decide?

Just to go for it! I got pregnant immediately after stopping birth control and baby #3 (another girl!) is due at the end of April. Brooklyn and Bailey will be almost 23 months. A lot of people thought we were totally nuts for having another so soon. Three kids under age two IS a bit crazy. But we know that and we are ready to take on the challenge!

If you have any questions for Maggie, CLICK HERE to email her!

1 comment:

  1. "It's sort of like asking someone in the middle of running a marathon if they plan to run another. If your body is aching and you are struggling to keep moving, you want to shout 'No!'"

    WOW! I kid you not, this is EXACTLY how I respond to others when they ask about the next baby. I LITERALLY tell them I'm in the middle of a marathon and cannot even begin to think about the next one at right now. Great analogy!!!

    I appreciate all of the thoughtful reflections on considering baby #3. Can't say I will be following in those footsteps anytime soon, but glad to know this is a good place to start when the time comes!!!