Presented by The Dance Academy
Since 1987, The Dance Academy in Holland, PA has been offering professional dance training with a personal touch, instilling the love of dance to students and families throughout Bucks County. Under the direction of Miss Donnajean Kline (BFA in Dance, Temple University) and staffed by a group of highly-trained instructors, The Dance Academy has acquired countless awards and accolades each year at local, national, and international competitions. Through recitals, competitions, advertising publications, professional companies, and tours; Dance Academy students are spreading their passion for dance both here in the States as well as on international stages.
In the interest of full disclosure, the title of this column was borrowed from sister’s birth announcement. That’s because our little family is about to grow by a factor of two. We knew my little sister was expecting her first baby but we were all surprised to find out she’s expecting her first and second at the same time. Our family is getting its first ever set of twins. And to answer the first question everybody asks after they find out, no, they did not have IVF. They are having natural surprise twins.
After we learned there were twins in the mix, things got about twice as exciting. I had already bought her the book that served as my pregnancy bible, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” With this news that book must be tossed out the window to make way for the new rulebook, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting Twins.” First, she is experiencing every symptom of pregnancy times two. I can’t even imagine how much nausea she is experiencing, but I see a lot of things on the horizon that I never had to think about, two car seats, double the feedings, mountains of diapers, synchronizing sleep schedules. So much to think about. To get a handle on the fun of twins I took a moment to ask some of my seasoned twin moms for advice.
One of the most prominent twin moms in my orbit is the amazing Janet Germiller. She has not just had multiples, she’s had multiple multiples. As a mother of seven, she knows a thing or two about having a baby or two. Janet first had a singleton, that’s the kind of babies I had, then 19 months later, she had triplets. Then she had one more singleton 15 years later, followed by twin girls, who are now seven-years-old.
I also spoke with a local mother of identical twin boys Michelle. Her set is almost all grown up and ready to go off to college. She's been in the trenches of twin mommy hood and is almost to the finish line.
Read on for my twin mom Q & A:
“What does a twin mom need more than anything?
Janet: “If you are talking baby shower gift, I would suggest 1) two baby swings. Calming a fussy baby when you are tending its twin becomes so important. My baby swings were worth their weight in gold. 2) if you plan to nurse, a nursing pillow. I tandem nursed and tried to make do with pillows for a while but I just couldn't find a pillow set up as well as the nursing pillow.
As far as intangible items for a new twin mom, I would say (a twin mom needs) to be ready to accept help. You will have to lose control of how the housework is done, how your babies are fed/changed and even what food is served (friends bringing you meals), if you accept the generous offers of others to help you.”
Michelle: “For me, while being prepared for their arrival was most essential, it was being gifted with a postpartum doula (what's a doula you ask?) that helped the most after the babies (who were two months premature and came home hooked up to apnea equipment) were released from the hospital. Having had a c-section and needing to continue to heal, but also wanting to bond with my boys, I found the doula’s support to be just what I needed.”
Is there something us singleton moms might not know when it comes to having twins, as far as difficulty sleeping, feedings?
Janet: “I'm not sure if a singleton mom would understand the weight of the attention we get when out in public with our kids but everyone has comments or questions or opinions. The comment “I'm glad it’s you and not me” comes up most often and to hear that multiple times per outing just wears a mom down. In outings with my triplets, people would gather around my triplet stroller making comments and observations as if I wasn't there. Every single person would look and stare as I would walk through the mall. I even had someone drive on to the grass when I was walking down the sidewalk because the driver was looking at me and not the road. Also, having multiples is very isolating. It is a big deal to pack up the kids and go anywhere. It is very hard to accomplish anything outside the house when you are outnumbered by small babies.”
Michelle: “Feeding was done in different forms. I found the nursing pillow to be very helpful. I could either have one up to my breast while the other leaned against the pillow and was bottle fed. I tried breastfeeding them both at once, but it was too difficult and did not work. As they grew, I was able to find ways to prop them up and bottle feed them together. I also, and I’m not sure if they still sell them or not, had bottles with nipples that were detached from the body and connected via a tube, so if the boys were in the stroller or the car seat, or on the floor, I could put the nipples in their mouths, mount the bottles safely, and let them suck away. “
Did you join any support groups?
Janet said she joined the national organization Mothers of Multiples which was helpful in providing emotional support and companionship. She said it also has fabulous clothing sales which will become essential with multiples.
For Michelle, Mothers of Multiples was not around when she had her children. She briefly joined a Holistic mom’s organization aimed at getting like-minded parents, interested in holistic health and green living, together. She said it was also supportive, helping both her and the kids develop bonds with others. They also had regular speakers to share information about holistic living.
BY NICOLE LOUGHAN