I don’t know why I thought motherhood would come so easily to me.
Conception; clearly not easy.
Pregnancy; not the most fun I’ve ever had.
But being a good English major, I thought I could read and research my way into knowing all the things.
I mean, I read several books on all the topics ranging from sleep schedules to twin breastfeeding.
I pinned articles and blogs on what to pack in your hospital bagto what you need to know the first few weeks.
But in Natalie-fashion, the plans, the pins, the articles, the books did not prepare me for the emotions, the exhaustion, nor the inadequacy that I would feel as a new mom.
In my mind, I thought, “there are two babies, and two of us. We got this.” Plus, “your maternal instincts will kick in as soon as the babies are born,” everyone kept reassuring me. And in some ways, they did. But in all transparency, I remained pretty numb my first weeks of motherhood. I’m really not ashamed of this but truly grateful to God that He was once again protecting me during those first fragile weeks.
Crews was in NICU on breathing tubes and feedings tubes. And the numbness was a saving grace. As Jason and I pulled away from Northeast Georgia Medical Center, I was calm, possibly even internally giddy, to be driving north to our home with just one baby boy; Ryder, AKA kickin’ chicken. One baby I could handle, but two . . . that remained unseen. Until that point I had only had one baby since birth. Ryder and I had reached an understanding, as long as he remained calm, so would I.
So as Jason drove as slowly as he ever had north on 365, our God of peace was watching over me. I knew I would see Crews in just a few hours. I knew he was in far better care than I could have provided. I knew that I had so much to learn before bringing him home. Before officially starting my role as a mother to two.
Our first night at home was pretty wonderful. I ate. I showered. I shaved. I slept. I kept Ryder on the same feeding schedule at Crews in NICU; 9-12-3-6. That’s right 9AM, 12PM, 3PM, 6PM, and on and on it went. And every time I fed Ryder, I prayed for Crews. Nothing elaborate; just soft whispers of his name. Soft praises of His name. And to pretty much everyone’s surprise, no tears.
As the days waned on, Jason and I fell into a new routine. I was up every three hours with Ryder who was gracious to stay on this schedule. One of the grandparents would come every day to sit while we traveled to see Crews at either 12 or 3. Crews was under “no stimulation” except for feeding. So, when he was being fed, I wanted to be the one to do it. Thinking about it now, I’m emotional. His swollen body on IV fluids. His little hands and feet taped with sensors and IVs. But then, I was numb. I seldom cried. But now, looking back, the tears fall easily. Swiftly.
By the third week of motherhood, this routine of back and forth, up and down was starting to get to me. Every day we drove south hoping the drive north would include a plus one. Every day seemed unfair to both sons. We were constantly leaving one for the other. So, when Jason and my mother-in-law scheduled an in-home interview with a nighttime nurse, I was too weak to protest. Months before however, I had put up an epic fight.
It was February. It was a Sunday. I was hysterical. “Hell no,” was I going to have a total stranger move into our home a few nights a week and mother my sons for me! I had not even entered my third trimester and already it felt like others were making plans for me, not with me. Being unable to articulate the pain and hurt feelings from this “suggestion,” all I could manage to weep out was “I didn’t ask for this.” My mother-in-law took it as “I didn’t ask to get pregnant with twins,” I meant it as “I didn’t ask for you to find me some hired help.” Just another example of our sixteen-year pattern of miscommunication.
But after I shot her down, we did not breach the conversation again. Jason and I finally settled on a “once the boys are here, we’ll decide” agreement. I know it sounds terrible, but I just felt like it was bad luck to make plans for two babies when in my heart I was still holding my breath until I heard theirs.
But after they were born, after Crews seemed so fragile, and Ryder seemed so small, I had no fight left. On a Thursday afternoon she arrived. With a contract in hand and a check waiting on her, this was not an interview, it was a first meeting. She started on a Sunday night and later that week, Crews came home.
The control freak, prideful version of myself (you know, that side you try so desperately to hide) wishes I could say that I didn’t really need her as much as everyone thought I would. But in reality, I needed her more. When she started I described her “intrusion” as “a bitter pill to swallow” in a group text to my family. In my mind, even life-saving medication was bothersome when being force-fed.
But once again, let’s chalk this up to one more way I have been oh-so-terribly wrong as a mother. Her help, her guidance, her mentorship, but most importantly her friendship has been gracious, as in divine, God’s grace. Not an intrusion.
She taught me how to feed them.
How much to feed them.
What to feed them (four formulas later).
How to bathe them.
How to clip their nails.
How to handle an ingrown toe nail (yes, I embarrassingly caused that one).
How to swaddle them.
How to create a routine.
And has gone with me to every doctor’s appointment including their first shots, where we were both proud that I didn’t burst into tears alongside the boys.
I have affectionately referred to her as my Mary Poppins. I may not live on Cherry Terry Lane nor craftily written a rhyming advertisement like Jane and Michael, but yet out of thin air, she appeared. When I need it, she gives me a pep talk, or quietly shoos me out of the room. And yes, we can be seen at play time or bath time sporadically breaking out into song (we both love Disney’s Spotify playlist). And with just a few weeks left on her contract, I feel deeply lost and emotional about losing her. Like Mary Poppins, we knew her presence would only be temporary. This is what she does. She teaches new mothers (especially of multiples) how to do just that; become mothers.
I never thought I would be one of those over protective mothers. You know the kind. The ones who have a hard time leaving their kids, taking their kids places, or trusting others to do what is best for their kids in their absence. Well, yep. You guessed it, I’m the worst! I’m so terrified to ruin our schedule. To ruin what is working that we have not deviated from this routine since they were born. That’s right, in sixteen weeks! Now on a four-hour schedule, don’t think about asking me to go anywhere around 7, 11, or 3 because that’s feeding time, and 90 minutes after that, we nap. Some people think this rigidness is crazy but unless you’ve held two screaming newborns at the same time, don’t bother trying to reason with me. It’s working. And I owe the sanity, the sleep, and the success to her.
Which brings me to you, dear friends. I know I have asked a lot of you all in the past. So many prayers. So many tears. So many heartaches. But you have been there through it all. I have just one more small favor to ask. I need another Mary Poppins to swoop down on my doorstep come late November. Another God-ordained, miracle worker to come to our home during the week to watch over precious Crews and Ryder. I live in Banks County, not exactly Atlanta where in-home nannies are few and far between. But maybe, you know of someone. Or at least, can pray alongside us for someone to come into our lives.
God has been so gracious to provide all our needs, so I am confident He will provide this need as well. But in the meantime, when I get down on my knees to pray, in their nursey as they fall asleep at night, I thank God for her. And every time, the tears come. To entrust someone with your most precious possessions is a great honor. God entrusted His son to us. And now I must entrust my sons to Him.
Thank you, friends for your prayers.
Thank you for your recommendations.
To God be all the glory! Great things He continues to do.
The Big Bang Theory, Series 03 Episode 23 – The Lunar Excitation