I had a moment the other night. Many people, me included before I had a large family, think that moms with lots of kids have it easier. That they are more patient, more loving, that their children are more manageable. But the truth is that even moms with lots of kids have moments when they think this is all a little too much. Moments we don’t brag about on Facebook.
Since the twins were born, the nights have not been great. But while I am severely sleep-deprived, I am functional as long as the routine holds. I can deal with a crappy night. But when it gets crappier, I have moments. Moments of intense frustration, almost anger.
Ève sleeps better than Lucas. She usually wakes-up once a night between 3 and 4 am after going to bed between 6 and 7 pm. She nurses quickly and goes back to sleep. Lucas sleeps with me and wakes-up constantly. I ditched the clock when it started to make me angry. I don’t know how often he wakes-up and it’s better that way.
The other night, around 11 pm, Lucas woke-up as usual and I nursed him for a good half-hour. Then Ève woke-up against regulation. She wanted to nurse too but there was no more milk. I only have one working boob. When it’s empty, I need to give it some time to refill. That’s just The Way Things Are. But Ève was not buying it. My husband tried to cuddle with her but she became completely hysterical. I tried to nurse her for comfort but she wanted FOOD!
I tried giving her a bottle but she refused. For a while, she was fine cuddling with me, her watchful eyes wide open. I felt so lonely in the silence of my house, hearing my children and husband snore in the comfort of their beds. For a minute, I hoped that someone would come and sit with me and commiserate on the great injustice that was befalling me. Eventually, after a third dry nursing attempt and following return to bed, she lost it. I offered the breast again and instead of taking it, she grabbed it with her sharp little nails and violently threw it away. It hurt so much; I was so mad, I yelled “ENOUGH!” put her gently in her bed still screaming and walked-away. I may have slammed her door. I went downstairs and crashed on a couch. I heard my husband walk over to her room and pick her up.
I was mad at my body for failing me. Mad at the”insufficient glandular tissue” that made it impossible to produce enough milk for two babies. I was mad at myself for taking it out on Ève, for feeling so misunderstood and helpless, for expecting my 13- month-old to get it. I was mad that my husband had to go comfort our baby because I was too mad to do it myself.
I went back upstairs. I was eventually able to have a let-down and she accepted it as enough of the Good Stuff to return to sleep. My husband said “She needs as much closeness and affection as Lucas, she’s just not as good at asking for it.” And he is right. Lucas is cuddly and melts into your arms like soft butter, Ève gets mad and trashes about until you force the breast or the soother in her mouth and hold her tightly. Only then does she realize that you are here for her.
I went back to the day I found out I was pregnant with Baby#7. I drove the children to school on a snowy morning, stopped by the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test, came home and took the test with my coat still on, in the downstairs bathroom by the garage door. I remember standing in the mud room thinking “Well… Here’s Lucas…” We told the children about the new baby on a car trip to Florida. When I found out we were having twins, I was so thrilled by this gift of life. A little freebie. A #8 tucked-in with #7. I was looking at our Florida pictures later that year, wondering how crazy it was that we had two babies all along. A little stowaway! For some reason, even though both babies were conceived at the same time, I always thought of Eve as my little stowaway, my little freebie, the little #8 tucked-in with #7.
When Eve woke-up the next morning, I went to nurse her. She laid her little head in the crook of my arm and relaxed against my chest. I stroked her soft wispy hair and kissed her warm round forehead. I looked at her soulful half-moon eyes and told her “I’m so happy you came along. I love you”
And it was all forgotten.
9 thoughts on “My little stowaway”
This is a beautiful post.
I loved reading your story. I too have twins who are now 2 and 3 other children.
Hi Angela! Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by. 🙂
Your post is very encouraging. I had one of those nights the other night with my 7 month old and while she is not a twin, I am not a very good milk maker, and I often feel like a failure in that department. My babies never sleep through the night because of it. I shed tears, get angry at myself, it breaks my heart to haer my baby cry in hunger and secretly envy mama’s who can nurse with no problem! SO I know what it like and your post reminded me I am not the only one and was encouraging to this mama’s heart. Thank you.
Hi! Thanks for the visit, I’m glad my post was encouraging! My friends were having a chat about oversupply the other day and I was so envious. Of course, they don’t find it enviable at all 🙂 The journey of breastfeeding and supplementing the twins has been a challenging one for sure. To avoid getting in a vicious circle of supplementing and decreasing my low milk-supply even further, I spent the first 6 months counting every ounce of formula and always making sure the babies were really hungry (ie fussy!) before breaking-out the bottle. Now at 13 months we are finally bottle-free, Yay! it’s not an issue during the day when I can give them a snack or a sippy cup but nights can be tough. Hang in there! You will see a difference when solids are well-established. I’m so happy I kept it up.
Thank you Andrea! 🙂 this is by far my most popular post. Keeping it real!
Hi, I’m a stowaway from PWPL. I can completely commiserate with your feelings. I have 6 kids under 10 and the first two are boy-girl twins. My youngest, a girl after 3 more boys, is almost 6 months and keeps a similar schedule to your twins. I also have the same nursing issue with my right side producing far less than my left (why was I given twins?). Lately I have had so many nights where anger at sleep loss (and the attendant back pain) surfaces far too easily. I can only pray at those times even if it is angry prayer! You are doing a fabulous job, those kids are gorgeous and I take great comfort in knowing that other moms feel the same frustration that I so often do.
Hi Elena! Thanks for stopping by! Twins are a crazy wild ride, I have to admit. The reward comes in proportion of the effort but man! It’s quite the effort! I hope that you will visit again 🙂