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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

seeing double - TWINS! - Christy Hoffman

So happy to feature momma, Christy Hoffman, on the blog today in our series Seeing Double - TWINS! She has the cutest little ones, a boy and a girl who are not identical twins but way too cute for words, and even a third new baby who just arrived recently! She is a busy mom, who focusing on the positives of having multiples. I LOVE her advice - not to totally think about how hard having twins may be, but how FUN it is and all the laughter that comes along with it. 

Thanks, Christy, for sharing your beautiful family with us!

All photos from Christy Hoffman

1. How did you find out you were having twins? 
I found out I was having twins kind of late in the game. I had a miscarriage a few months before getting pregnant with the twins and so I was slow to go to the doctor because I wanted to make sure we were gonna make it. I think my first appt was about 14 weeks, but I was already wearing maternity clothes and was wondering if it were possible. My sister had twins the summer before me, which is the only reason the possibility was on my radar. 

Long story short they scheduled me for an ultrasound the day after my first appointment to check dates. 

I looked at the ultrasound screen and saw these two dark circles with little blobs in them and blurted out "is that two?"
2. What was your original reaction to finding out you're having twins? 
I was totally excited to have twins. I absolutely loved the idea. I had actually prayed for twins after my miscarriage, it made me realize how much I wanted children.
3. How old were your other children at the time you found out about twins coming?
The twins were my first.

4. What were you most nervous, scared, worried, etc. about with having twins? What thoughts ran through your mind initially?
I really did not have a ton of fear after the initial period of fear of having another miscarriage. I felt like God reassured me that these kids would be ok, and I held on to that throughout my pregnancy. But pregnancy did bring out the protective mama bear in me.
5. What helped you to prepare for twins? How specifically did you prepare for twins?
We were actually pretty unprepared. We moved from our 3 bedroom house into a 1 bedroom apartment about one month before they were born, because we wanted to save money and if there was a chance I could stay home we knew we needed to downsize and live frugally. We were not expecting them to come as early as they did!
6. Any good books, Web sites, etc. for those having twins? 
I didn't read too much, a little of what to expect and a book on multiples that my sister handed down to me. And "the contented baby" book after they were home and we were ready to start a routine. That really worked well for us.
7. What were some lifesavers to you, things that helped you when the babies were born - baby must haves? 
The snap n go double stroller frame... Made it possible to leave the house!

8. How did feeding twins go for you, breastfeeding or bottle feeding, what worked, what was challenging? 
I wanted to breastfeed so bad. The twins were born two months early at 4 lbs and 4 lbs, 6 oz. they spent their first 3 weeks of life in the NICU and we spent those weeks driving to the hospital 40 minutes every day to see them and spend time with them. 

They first ate with a feeding tube, then a bottle. I pumped religiously every 3 hours and the one thing I could do for them was make milk. I tried to breastfeed them every day at the hospital as well, but ultimately they chose the bottle over the breast, and we struggled over it for about 3 weeks and everyone cried a lot, so we threw in the towel. 

I pumped exclusively for 9 months, but after the twins came home, rest suffered and I struggled to make enough milk. My vast freezer supply dwindled and found that I had to supplement with formula. I hated that and felt like it was a failure on my part, but the babies did great and eventually I got over it. After two bouts of mastitis my milk dried up and that was the end of it. I started making my own formula at home and the babies thrived.
9. What is the best part about having twins?
There are so many awesome things about having twins! They are so funny, I love how they interact with one another, I love to see how different they are too, and they always have a buddy which is amazing.

10. What are some challenges overall with having twins?
When you get into the difficult stages you have to contend with two. They are kind of like a gang, they roll together, get in trouble together, you tell one "no", the other one is right there going oh what's he doing, I wanna do that too.
11. How do you manage two at the same age at the same time, meeting their needs, etc.? What helps you?
Schedule, schedule, schedule. We established a routine with them early on and we stick to it pretty religiously every day. This summer is really the first time we have deviated from the schedule some and it's worked okay, because we go back to the schedule after. So now they are a bit older we have a little more flexibility.

12. What is unique or special about having twins?
They always have a buddy. And the bond between them is amazing. It is so fun to watch them interact. They have their own language that they speak with one another and they understand each other perfectly. I think from the outside people tend to be in awe of twins, it's mind blowing to have two babies at the same time, lol.

13. What is your advice to a new mom with twins? 
Don't be afraid to ask for help! And if you don't have anyone around who can help you, figure out a way to make it less insane. Whether it's that you decide to shower everyday, or you take time to eat - even if they are crying, find ways to take care of you! 

Take it one day at a time, take deep breaths, try to enjoy the little things! And remember any stage that you are in will not last forever, you will get through it and it does keep on getting better and better!
14. What do you wish someone had told you about having multiples?
That it is so much fun. People tend to focus on the work of taking care of two infants or two toddlers. We always get the comments "Oh you have your hands full". Or when I was pregnant it was a look of shock and "that's gonna be a lot of work" or whatever. 

Truthfully, I've probably never laughed more in my life - they are such a blessing, they are so funny and fun and brilliant, and yes, it's tough at times, but it's also a boat load of fun and laughs and I wish people would be faster to recognize that it's truly great to be a parent of multiples, you get to see and experience so much.

15. Can you share a typical day in the life with twins or a great story of the two of them?
Our typical day usually starts with them waking around 7 or so (every once in awhile my son Joshua will wake up super early but I usually don't get them out of bed until 7  or so) It usually starts with them bouncing in their cribs, talking to each other, laughing, singing (They love "the wheels on the bus" right now) 

I get Josh out of his crib first and he runs out to the living room immediately and grabs his yellow wooden car, and grabs his sister's pink car and runs back into the bedroom to give it to her. 

My daughter Avery will immediately ask for milk which sound more like "Bulk". So we go out to the kitchen, get some "bulk" and they play while I make breakfast. We've abandoned high chairs for a little wooden table and chairs set, and that's where they eat. Then it's usually play time until naps. They sleep for two hours, we get up, have lunch and then depending on what is happening that day we either gather our things and go somewhere, or one of the Grandmas comes over to help. Bedtime routine, with bath, teeth brushing, then diapers, pjs, a tiny bit of milk and bed by 7, although this summer it's been later.  

Now things have been totally thrown off with the addition of #3, but we are working it out slowly! Getting out of the house is near impossible when it's me against 3. ;)
16. What are three things you know for sure about twins?
1. If one is getting into it (trouble, or whatever), the other is getting into it.

2. Even though they wear the label "twins" they are as individual as they come. They just happen to have the same age.

3. People have no filter when it comes to twins - you get a lot of attention when you go out and about and the comments range from offensive to hilarious. My personal favorite: "are they identical?" (one is a boy and one is a girl and they don't look anything alike -dark hair, dark eyes vs. blond hair, blue eyed) )
17. Anything else you want to add?
Had to include a snapshot of the littlest addition to our family, born just two weeks ago! And breastfeeding beautifully, so I feel like I am making up for what I lost out on with the twins. Having three under the age of two - it's crazy! But we are adjusting slowly.

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