Side note: I rarely refer to Miles and Vivienne as "the twins," because I recognize them as distinct individuals. But for the sake of this post, calling them "the twins" will just make it simpler.
Here are just a few of the differences:
- Much less pregnancy weight and swelling with a singleton and a much easier recovery. I weighed 209 lbs when I gave birth to the twins. I weighed 187 when I gave birth to Evelyn. Both of my births were vaginal, so I was lucky not to have a c-section recovery either time.
- With the twins, we kept a log of every single pee, poop, feeding and pumping session for about the first 6 months of their lives. I have a black speckled notebook that has notes cover-to-cover full of every biological function. With Evie, we kept a record for about 24 hours. Of course, the twins were only 6 and 6.5 lbs and Evie was over 8 lbs, so that allowed us to relax a little more about her feeding and growth.
- With the twins, I had to pump after every single feeding (which with twins is about 15 times a day) for 15 minutes for the first 2 weeks. That means even at night, including all the pump cleaning, etc... and the twins basically never took a single bottle (so this milk was never used to actually nourish them). The reason for this was to build a mega-supply that could sustain two babies. It was totally worth it, but I sure could have used that extra hour of sleep at night instead of pumping.
- With the twins, we had to feed them using a supplemental nursing system (SNS) for the first few weeks. It had to be washed every time, and we had to feed each baby separately. It took forever to get to work properly (because it would clog or not fit in their mouths quite correctly). Jason and I spent so much time staring at the the tubes of the the SNS and asking,"Do you see bubbles?" "Oh, I think I see bubbles!" "I think it's working!" "Oh, wait. Nope. Darn it. Let's reset it." "Do you see bubbles now?" (I was seeing bubbles in my nightmares after about a week of this.)
- Once Jason went back to work, I had two babies crying during the day. I could only pick up and soothe one baby at a time, and I basically had to just listen to the other baby scream while I tried to calm the first baby. With Evelyn, I only have to soothe and feed her. At night, when she was fussy, at least Jason and I could trade off. With the twins, we were both walking around like zombies, bouncing a baby, singing incoherent lullabies and trying to keep ourselves from passing out.
- With Evelyn, the breastfeeding has been so easy. I only had soreness for about a week. With the twins, I was sore for about 2 months. I was so sore that I would actually cry when they wanted to eat, because it hurt so bad and I didn't think I could do it again. My toes would curl up from the pain. TWO MONTHS. I'm so glad I pushed past that time, but the pain (on top of the sleep deprivation) was no joke. I am so thankful that I was able to breastfeed them for 14 months.
- Now I only have to listen to one baby scream in her car seat. It is still extremely unpleasant, but at least it's not two babies in surround sound, filling my car with their pitiful cries. This also applies to taking them for walks. When I took the twins for walks, I would be over a mile from home and they would both start screaming. Now, imagine you're by yourself, on foot, a mile from home with two screaming newborns. It's not pretty, people. Not pretty.
- Evelyn is only one baby to wake us up at night. Oh my gosh, I can't even tell you what an incredible difference this is. It was months before the twins got down to one feeding. Evelyn was basically only waking up twice from the second night of her life on, and now she's down to just one feeding (and has been for over a week now). This is a lifesaver.
- It is so much easier to tote around a singleton. I can throw her in the sling and I can shop or do dishes or make the bed. With the twins, even if I had one in the sling, the other one had to either be happily sitting alone (not likely!) or asleep in order for me to accomplish anything. It's also so nice to only be toting around one infant carrier. Though the twins did provide me one heck of an upper arm workout...
- I love being able to breastfeed Evelyn wherever I go. With the twins, I had to nurse them at home (because I always nursed them together), and then "the clock" started (the 3-hour-you-have-to-get-home-before-these-babies-implode clock). Even if I had been willing to nurse them separately, if I nursed them "on the go", it would take me years to do one and then the other. I quite literally never left the house for much more than 2 hours. In contrast, I fed Evelyn at Chick-fil-a the day after we brought her home from the hospital. I have fed her at my parents' house, church, museums, parks, friends' houses, restaurants, on the side of the road... anywhere really. There is so much freedom in this. It is an absolutely enormous difference.
- I must say that having twin toddlers is probably advantageous at this point, because they love to play together (when they're not fighting over something). I think it was easier for them to make the adjustment of adding Evie to the picture.
Both of my mothering experiences have been incredible. Being a twin mom is such a unique experience, and I feel so blessed to have had two babies at once. For all the challenges they presented, I also got twice the smiles, twice the giggles, twice the hugs, twice the snuggles and twice the pudgy little toes. But it has also been so wonderful to now focus on my single, beautiful baby girl.