In the #tweetfleet SincFerguson mentioned he was at the hospital with his wife and his twins may be on the way. We had some back and forth about how he had no idea what was coming and I felt inspired to write this post. It is only referentially associated with Eve so go ahead and leave if horror stories are not your cup of tea.
College guys gone? Ok, on with the show.
Since many twins are delivered by c-section instead of naturally due to possible complications with birth order, etc, you will probably spend four to five days in the hospital. If these are your first kids, you will go from bumbling pretender to accomplished dad pretty quick because your wife will most likely be laid up with a gash the size of your forearm on her belly held closed by FUCKING HUGE STAPLES! Taking them out on day four, by the way, involved wicked looking pliers. But I digress.
Since your wife cannot get out of bed you will quickly learn from the nurses how to change the diapers, swaddle the baby, hold it correctly, bathe it, all the shit that dad's of singletons don't need to learn so fast. You are on an accelerated training program, pilot, SO PAY ATTENTION! Within 48 hours you are flopping those babies from hand to hand like you have been doing it for years, swaddling like a pro.
However, you will start to get very, very tired. Exhausted even. Those babies need to eat every four hours and the nurses in the hospitals are militarized in their precision for waking you up and making sure you get moving. Now singleton dads have it a little easy: maybe the nurse or your recovering wife gets up and changes the baby and your wife breastfeeds the new bundle of joy while you snooze in the chair/cot. You, on the other hand, now have the new title of Baby Fluffer: you wake up and change one baby, hand it to mom to eat, and then comfort and change the other now hungry baby, then pass it off to mom to eat as you take the filled baby back, burp it, talk to it if it want's to visit for a bit, and then put it back to sleep, put it back in the bassinet, and then get ready for the second twin to burp and put back to sleep. You're not parents, you are a full fledged assembly line.
By the time you leave the hospital, the routine is pretty much imprinted into your brain and you begin to believe you can handle this. You poor deluded fool. The first month is easy, albeit exhausting. Sleep deprivation is your worst enemy but if you are fortunate family members and friends offer help so you can grab sleep, check internetz, generally feel human. Your poor wife, if she is breastfeeding, is lucky to get time to put her shirt back on. Best bet is to learn how to dual feed both twins at the same time or else she will be a constant milk bar. But let's assume it works out, OK? You can hope.
Anyways, eventually the family and friends come around less often, you go back to work (at least physically sense long term sleep deprivation turns you into a living zombie for all intents and purposes) and life begins to take its toll. House work slowly falls behind and it begins to become a struggle to keep the basics going like dishes and laundry. Free time becomes a mythological creature. Parent's of a singleton can swap each other out sometimes to give the partner a break; twins are often swapping each other out to make sure both parents are constantly busy. Its two versus two but you are OUTNUMBERED.
And then they start teething. Dear god, how did we survive those months?! First one twin started and he needed constant attention and comfort because "GODDAMIT DAD MY GUMS FUCKING HURT!" and the other twin learns the joys of lying on the floor for long periods of time. Then the fucking white enamel pokes through and you think "whew" when another tooth starts erupting and you go through the process again OR the other twin discovers his teeth hate him too. We were fortunate; we didn't have colic.
Now, you can use some pediatric pain meds to offset some of the pain but really, you can't dope up your kids for the months it takes for all those teeth to work their way through. You have to suffer through it. Our mantra was "This too shall pass" and its true.
After three months we gave up breastfeeding because we just didn't have enough milk. It was heartbreaking to watch my wife slowly devolve into a ball of misery as the twins got hungrier and she never had enough to fill them and she got seriously chapped and agony and constantly in the chair feeding and eating for her often meant at the same time as the twins were feeding, but it had to be done. As soon as we switched to formula things got a hell of a lot easier all round: babies sleep longer as formula is harder to digest and takes longer, I could swap out feedings in the night (she took the 1-2 am feeding, I took the 4-5 am one, so we both upped our continuous sleep period and the kids ate less often.
Slowly, sanity returned. Teething passed, night time feedings became farther separated, the necessary regimentation of the day got the twins into a routine that allowed us to actually make it through the day. At about 7 or 8 months they started sleeping from 10pm to 6am and life became great again. Its amazing what a regular 7 hours of sleep can do for you. By the time we got to their first birthday we were on cruise control and laughing because having two one year olds discovering the world at the same time is hilarious!
Then we accidentally got pregnant with their little brother. That's a story for another day.