Monday, July 31, 2017

What it's really like to have infant twins: Marriage.

I really wish I had better advice for this topic, but I think it's important to talk about anyway, even though we are still trying to figure it out ourselves. Having kids definitely changes your marriage! Every season is hard in it's own way and has it's own challenges, but now that we have three young kids, we look back at our time before kids and think about what we did with ourselves.

Kids take up so much of your time. It's demanding and stretching, but beautiful and rewarding too. Having kids, especially very young kids, has been really good for our marriage in some ways, but also really hard too. Our twins are almost five months, so we are really still figuring things out. Since our twins came, it's been wonderful to see Kley be a father of three. Watching him interact with our girls has been great. I don't doubt at all that he loves them wholeheartedly and takes great care of them. But, there have been so many times these last months, especially in the first three months when sleep was so sparse, where we would fall into bed at night and say how much we missed each other. Physically we are together and both here, but not connecting emotionally or talking about anything other than parenting/childcare related things.

When I look back on our time in the NICU, there is a tiny piece of me that misses it, though I would never want to go back- it was very difficult and I don't wish anyone to have to endure a NICU stay. But, the tiny piece that I miss was the feeling of us against the world. It was neat to be there together, staring at our two new babies, wondering how we would ever do it, but we have to because there they are and they need to be cared for. You'll do anything to help them. As hard as it was and how desperately we wanted to get home and all be together, somehow having NICU babies bonded Kley and I together in a new way. It was just us two there and we had to figure out what we were going to do and work together. Our partnership was strengthened.

Basically the first three months were pure survival. For the first two, we had to wake them every three hours to feed, and when I say "had to wake them" it's a big joke because they were up multiple times in between feedings too, so there were very few times we actually woke them up. We did have amazing help from our moms during this time or else I would have probably fallen asleep standing up during the day, but we had really no time to connect as a couple because it was constant baby care (and Norah care) and when our heads hit the pillow we were going to sleep. Our sleep was so limited that there was no time to talk about anything together. That was really hard. We'd lay down and say that we missed other, and basically be asleep before we could say anything else. Even after they turned two months, when we didn't have to wake them anymore, it still took awhile before they got used to sleeping through the night, so we took rotations sleeping on the couch so the other could get a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep in bed. That was tough too, because I felt like we were never together. We were always just trading off and helping each other.

Currently, our twins are sleeping much better and have fallen into more of a predictable schedule. This has helped so much. It's still challenging, but it feels so much more manageable than the first couple months. Most nights now they are sleeping through the night (amazing!!), and sometimes wake once in the early morning, so I'm so grateful that I can count on at least a couple good hours of sleep before they wake up. This has brought back a little alone time with Kley after all three are sleeping, because we don't feel like we have to go to sleep immediately to survive. It's so wonderful to have an alone conversation without any children around.

We have gone on a few dates since the twins have been born, and I have new respect for dates. I've always loved going on dates with Kley and thought they were very important, but they are valuable to a whole new level now. We have had so much fun together and really made the most of the time, because we know that alone time doesn't come often and how important it is for our marriage. I used to be pretty stingy about dates and not want to spend a lot of money, but now it has a whole new meaning because eating a meal together, hot, without children, is absolutely incredible. I love eating with my kids too, but dates are so special now and very worth every penny you spend on them. I know it's hard to carve out time together because there isn't a lot of it, but do it! It's been a life saver for us- good for your marriage and good for your sanity. (On our last date night, we commented how special and rare it was to hold hands while walking! Not that we don't want to, but right now it just doesn't happen often because we are almost always carrying children/bags or pushing strollers!)

It's been hard to connect spiritually since the twins have arrived too. We really need help in this area and have acknowledged that. While we really want to try to do better, we also know that this is a really demanding season, so we will try to make the most of the little we can do. We have a devotional we read together before bed, and I admit that way too often I zone out because I'm so tired, but now that they are sleeping better than they were, I really want to try to get more out of it. We've also said that we want to get back into praying together. We were never fabulous at it, but we tried to pray together before going to sleep (not every night, but at least some nights). That did not happen when we were so tired and we want to bring it back!

So, I wish I had better advice, but we are learning. It's been valuable to us to go on dates, even if it's just a few. This sounds silly and simple, but just talk to each other about your day. That can easily get lost when you are in baby land. We try to laugh together and make jokes. Even when you are so busy and so tired, it helps. We have had to apologize to each other a lot when we snap or speak angrily when our patience is worn thin. Try to do little things to help each other. Even something as simple as grabbing the other person a burp rag or diaper when needed goes a long way. Acknowledge that you miss each other, that you value their parenting help, and that you are so thankful to partner together in this. It's just a season. It can sometimes feel like a very long season, but when I think about our girls growing up, it helps me to treasure these months when they are so small.

Kley, these months have not been perfect, and I can't wait to have more time to connect with you, but for now, I will take all the small moments I can get. I love you so very much and you are the best dad in the world. I am so grateful to be married to you and I would choose you again every time. I'm so glad we get to do this together.




4 comments:

  1. This is a beautiful post! We never stop learning!! ❤️ Keep up the good work-God is by your side ALL the way!

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  2. So true even when it isn't twins!! Marriage comes first, but so hard when the kids in need are right in front of you!!

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    1. Yes! It's hard to find balance during the very demanding early months, but good to remind yourself that this won't last forever (even when it feels like it will), and we will miss these days when we are older!

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