Monday, November 15, 2010

Two vs. One: Part 1

When I announced that I was expecting for the second time, everyone's first question was, "is it twins again?!" to which I answered a very relieved "no!" Their next comment to me was always something along the lines of, "well, one baby will seem so easy compared to twins!" And that's what I was hoping, too. I didn't want to jinx myself and end up with a colicky baby so I tried to keep hush about it. Now that Matteo is here (and more than 3 months old!) I no longer have to worry about that. He's no longer a newborn and I can now compare notes from his first 12 weeks with the twins' newborn days.

As expected, having one baby is way easier than having two. For me, it's so much more than just a question of two vs. one. I always said that I was grateful to have two (mostly) happy newborns and not one very fussy one. So, here is what really stands out to me as the difference makers in my own two vs. one experience.

Preemie vs. Full-term:

Sebastian and Collette came nearly 6 weeks early and that impacted a lot of what we had to do for them as parents. Going back and forth to the NICU, measuring their every ml of formula-enhanced breast milk, lots and lots of doctor visits. It was the main reason I pumped instead of nursed. Having two preemies was scary and stressful, for the most part.

But, as new parents, I must say that there were nice things about it, too. The nurses taught us so much about how to care for a newborn and they got the twins on a wonderful eating schedule that made sleep very possible for both of us. With Matteo, the nurses didn't show me anything with the baby. I got no CPR training, no lesson on how to bathe the baby. Hardly any free stuff. And then two days after giving birth, they kicked us out. Of course, I left the hospital with an 8lb. baby who could nurse without any issues so it was fine. I would take a full-term baby over a preemie any day but there were a few benefits (for us) to the latter.

Overall, I worry much less about Matteo and a lot of it has to do with how he started his little life. Some of it has to do with now being an experienced parent, which I'll get into in a separate post, but mostly I trust nature to take its course with him. With Sebastian and Collette, I still find myself using their adjusted age in my head sometimes. Not sure when that will go away...

(Of course, not all twins are preemies so this experience is certainly not universal for twins and their moms. And there are lots of singletons born prematurely, as well.)

Stay tuned for Part 2. I gotta spread this one out if I'm going to make through my mini-NaBloPoMo.

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