Finding out I was a dad expecting twins
When you’re due to get up at 3:30am to go to work the last thing you want is somebody waking you up at half-past midnight. That’s what my wife did when she had a positive pregnancy test though. Then she was sent for blood tests which confirmed it. Being the forward planner she is, she immediately ordered and bought a pram. A couple of days go by and we head in for our first scan at the hospital. They do not prepare you or warn you whatsoever that they are about to give you big news. “There’s two heartbeats, so you’re having twins!”. Bam. Jawdrop moment. Wave of emotion. What will we do?! I’m one of those dads expecting twins! Well, it turns out we will return a pram and hunt for a twin pram instead!
Getting ready for twins
As with any pregnancy you can never be 100% prepared but in this situation you have doubled the unpredictability. Having a twin pregnancy you fall into a category of high risk pregnancies and therefore have more hospital visits and scans (so get ready for that). My wife suffered terribly with sickness throughout the pregnancy, often completely incapacitated by it. Cue my first daddy duty, cleaning sick buckets etc, and this was just the beginning. By the time we went for our last scan, growth had slowed, so they decided the best course of action would be to get them out. Tomorrow. 24hrs notice on a c-section which my wife had ideally wanted to avoid. There are many days in my life that I’ve forgotten but that 24hr window will stay with me forever. The day my beautiful babies arrived and changed the world I knew in the most extreme but fantastic way.
What I want to share with dads expecting twins
Fortunately I don’t know any different and so cant really say if it’s harder or easier to have 2 babies but I can tell you a few things I learnt that nobody tells you about twins and multiples.
1. You’re going to make them cry whether you like it or not.
If you had nothing else to do in the world except look after a child then you might be able to give them enough attention to keep them from crying most of the time. Reality is, we all have things we need to do regularly that stop this from happening, and it’s only natural for there to be tears in childhood. When you are caring for twins though, there are certain things you can only do with one at a time, and the other one is going to cry. Changing nappies, playing a game, getting them changed, getting them out of a bath, putting them in a bath, etc etc.
I try to keep it even and fair between them in who does things first but I highly doubt they see it that way. Once you come to terms with the fact that you can’t be in two places at once this things get easier.
2. You’ll have to deal with the cliché questions and comments.
If I can make it once round the park without a complete stranger saying one of these witty comments to me then either it’s raining or I’ve forgotten to bring the kids.
- ‘Double Trouble’
- ‘You’ve got your hands full’
- ‘Buy one get one free’
Genuinely have no idea why so many people think that we want to hear it, or that they are the first person to ever say it to us.
FYI They’re not trouble, they’re lovely. Of course I’ve got my bloody hands full these boys are the size of rugby players. Nothing is buy one get one free, it’s buy two pay for two.
3. You will become creative.
Creativity is not something that comes naturally to me, I’m not artistic or particularly emotionally expressive. However, where there’s a will there’s a way, and having twins gives you a hell of a lot of will. Sure, this is true of all parenting but when you have teething twins who need the nations favourite pain relief product for under 3’s and you don’t want to overdose one and give the other nothing, you quickly discover a creative talent you never had. Suddenly I can use two hands to spoon food into two mouths, I can see hazards approaching while simultaneously doing the action song, and I can do 15 voices for 8 characters every night of the week.
Those are my 3 essentials for the early years with twins but there are also questions I know most dads expecting twins will still have running through there heads. I have answered these as best possible below but the answers to these will vary depending on your situation. Hopefully my answers will guide you with your own answers.
Questions you may still have
The expense of twins? What you expected Vs what it is?
There are very few things that you can only buy one of. Clothes, nappies, food, wipes, milk, bedding, toys (generally) will all need to be doubled up. Wherever you can save money, do it. You only need one changing table, one prep machine, one bottle sanitiser, white noise machine, etc. If you or the kids can only use one at a time then don’t buy two. Also, high cost items such as a motorised baby basket are not to every child’s liking, so if you are going to get them then buy one first and test it out with both babies. Easier to sell one item than two if your babies don’t use them or need them.
I expected babies to be a massive financial drain and for us to scrape by, but with proper planning and budgeting you’ll get by. We stockpiled nappies and wipes pre-birth and I think we only bought wipes about 1 year in. I would definitely recommend cheeky wipes (or any re-usable wipes) as a more environmentally friendly option.
How do you and your partner cope? Are you a tag team or do you do it together?
This will be different for everyone but the biggest thing here is to try and have some sort of support network around you while also working together. Whether that taking it in shifts with your partner or having granparents or aunties and uncles around its gonna help massively.
I was lucky enough to have paternity leave, parental leave and annual leave to give me the first month of my twins lives off work. During this time we were figuring everything out together and pretty much just surviving! Then I returned to work, and eventually my wife returned to work also. We were lucky enough to have a support network in place that meant I could work full time and my wife worked 3 days a week, then later on, full time aswell. I worked earlies (4am till 1pm) and she worked lates (12pm/4pm till midnight). It was a rough couple of years to be brutally honest, working full time and solo parenting when at home.
Do you have a routine?
One of the most important things for dads expecting twins to think about is routine, routine, routine. I absolutely stand by routine. Without a fairly strict routine it would have been impossible to get to this point! When one wakes, we wake the other. When one eats, they both eat. Bedtime routine has been pretty much the same since 4 weeks old. They started skipping a night feed at 14 weeks ish, and have slept well ever since. We never put them down before 7:30pm and never keep them up later than 8:30pm. You need to find the routine that works for you and stick with it.
Do you get them confused?
I’m not going to say I’ve never got it wrong but for me, James was a pound heavier than Max so for the first 6 months I could tell if I picked them up. Then once they developed their own personalities, I could tell them apart after a few moments. Most of the time it’s a case of a slightly different physical attribute, like who’s got shorter hair. As long as they both get fed, bathed and the right medicine etc then my job as a parent is done. They have a lifetime of being called the wrong name and also pulling pranks on people so we try not to worry about it too much!
More questions you may still have
- How are they with each other?
- Do they like the same things?
- Are they telepathic?
As dads expecting twins there so many more questions you may have and far more things I wasn’t prepared for when it came to parenthood. Most of these inside my own head though. The thing is… part of the joy of being a parent is learning the answers to these questions as you get to know your own children. I have many more things to look forward to on my journey, and they are coming faster than I can prepare for. I wouldn’t change a single moment though, and I’m becoming proud of the dad my boys are turning me in to.
Are you expecting twins or have you got twins?
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