When I think back to when I had my twins, it was one of the worst moments in my entire life. No, I’m not referring to my beautiful, miracle babies that I prayed for and begged for, I’m referring to the circumstances in the weeks afterwards and my state.
I was induced because one of my girls was diagnosed with IUGR and we knew she would be going to the NICU to gain weight. What we weren’t expecting was her sister joining her when she was about 16 hrs old because of suspected neonatal pneumonia. So here I was, spending my first 10 days postpartum being torn in all directions. Obviously I was with my babies as much as possible but there was no place for me to stay so at nights, I’d go home to sleep and see my 2 year old.
My girls were born Wednesday night and by Friday, my husband was back at work. Although my girls were in adjoining rooms, I still had to go from one room to the other and take turns cuddling, feeding, changing and doing skin to skin. I was supposed to be pumping every 2-3 hours as well. My schedule was that I would take my son to school, head over to the hospital and switch with my husband at about 10 PM. When I would get home, I would stand at the counter and scarf down whatever meal was brought that night, being too hungry and tired to sit at the table. After that, I would go upstairs, take a shower and collapse with complete exhaustion. And the next day, I would do it all over again.
Yes, I know it was only for 10 days, but it was enough to give me PTSD. During those 10 days, we were transferred to a different step down hospital. That was also traumatic. It was a completely new way of doing things, and the facilities were nothing compared to where they first were. The chairs they had for the parents were beach chairs. The type with the plastic strips. Those were the chairs for the NICU parents to spend hours, days, weeks on. Being an introvert, people pleaser and to-a-fault independent, I didn’t accept or ask for help, I just did.
I remember one day driving down to the hospital and I got pulled over for going 60 in a 50 zone. When the cop came to the window I just burst into tears and I couldn’t stop crying. He didn’t ask me what was wrong, just handed me a ticket and told me I could fight it. I also remember I was about 3 days postpartum and made a trip to the store to get the bottles and nipples they recommended. I remember thinking, what would these people say if they knew I just gave birth to twins 3 days ago and I’m bringing these bottles to the NICU for them. My babies came home after 10 days, but the damage was done. My first 10 days as a new mom to twins was simply defined by the above experience; most of it is remembered, but I’m sure a lot has been blocked out as a coping mechanism.
We came home Saturday night. My nanny had left for 6 weeks the day before we brought home the twins and my son started his 2 week winter break the week after they came home. I was given a shit start. It was all shit. There was no special bonding time, drinking in their newborn magic. Lounging around doing skin to skin, smelling their little heads, marveling in the greatest miracle that ever was. There was none of that. I was pushed to my brink physically, mentally, emotionally and that was my introduction into motherhood the second and third time around. There is so much room for improvement. There must be a better way.