I got home a little after 8pm today, changed out of my uniform, took the dog out, and then proceeded to feed Lydia. My usually smiling, giggly Lydia was borderline cranky and very hungry. As I fed her, she slowly started falling asleep, ignoring the noises coming from River bouncing on her little bouncer. Lydia let out a nice burp, rubbed her squinty eyes, and I put her on her bouncy chair so I could do the same for River. While River was draining her bottle while half-asleep, I looked over at little Lydia. She was sucking her thumb, her crazy Mohawk still sticking straight up, and her other little hand was over her forehead.
I started to cry.
The hardest thing about having twins is having to pick and choose who to hold before bed, who to go to when both are crying and upset, not being able to snuggle each of them for a long period of time individually, and making sure I split time between them equally. My biggest fear is that they’ll think I love one more than the other. My biggest regret is feeling this way.
River came home 11 days before Lydia did. That meant more 11 days of individual snuggles, naps together, singing, humming, soothing, and loving than Lydia. During those 11 days, I still went to the NICU and spent 2 to 3 hours with Lydia, snuggling her, making sure my teardrops didn’t fall on her tiny face, and loving on her. But how do you make up for 11 extra days of just you and mommy? How do you forgive yourself for something you really had absolutely no fault in, such as having one baby come home before the other, subsequently starting to form a maternal bond? I won’t lie, there have been plenty of times where I’ve realized I am a little closer to River than I am to Lydia. There were days where I thought I actually favored River – she was more active, spent more time awake with us, giggled and laughed more. When Lydia came home, I still snuggled her just as much as I snuggled River, but I never got to have time for only her in our home. It’s different than spending a day by her little open-crib thing in the hospital. As much as I did skin-to-skin with Lydia at the hospital, it just isn’t the same as having the freedom of doing it in my own home, in my own time, without having to time myself to make sure both girls got the same amount of cuddles, love, and attention.
Now, with them getting bigger, all this new-found guilt has been hitting me hard and at the most unexpected times. I think back to the times River had with me and I feel bad Lydia didn’t get more individual time with me when they were much smaller. I was so terrified of her getting cold or overstimulating her or terrified of the ever-lingering thoughts of her having bouts of Bradycardia like she did while at the hospital that, when it came to snuggling her, I was in too much of a hurry to “let her rest” and never really felt the closeness that I got to feel with River in the beginning. And babies don’t wait for their turn very well, especially a vocal baby like River. She’ll definitely let me know when she doesn’t want to be put down, unlike Lydia. Lydia will just chill there when you put her down, and it makes me sad at times. I don’t want to have to choose between the calm, easy going baby and the vocal, less patient baby.
But such is life when you have two of the same age, going through the same growing pains and needs at the same time. One will always have to cry a little more, one will always be doing the cutest things while you’re busy feeding the other, and they will always look at you with longing eyes when their sibling is being held or soothed. I’ve been trying to turn this weird guilt into a motivation factor to snuggle them as hard and as much as I can. I hope that it’ll diminish as they grow, but I don’t want that to happen so soon. They’re about to turn 8 months old, and it’s gone by so fast! I don’t want to find myself wishing time away just so this silly feeling can find its way out.
They’re so cute, and so loved. I really hope they know just much we love them, and how much we cherish them for being so different so fast. A mother’s love can be such a heart-wrenching experience sometimes. It’s such a different kind of love. I’m unable to put it into words, and that should mean something.
Time to finish this glass of wine and go stare at them while they dream away.