Recently, a good friend of mine found out that the baby she is expecting this summer is actually two babies: twins! She’s excited, but needless to say, also a little overwhelmed about the whole thing. I don’t blame her! How does a new mom prepare for having twins?

This situation inspired me to start a new feature here at Mom for Less, called “…Now What?” As moms, we all face unexpected circumstances, whether it’s multiples, premature birth, an unexpected diagnosis, or something else equally as serious. The “…Now What?” series seeks to provide wisdom to moms from other moms who have been there. I truly believe that as moms, our best resource is each other. Sharing our experiences with each other helps us to prepare, and lets us know that we aren’t alone.

I am so excited that our first contributor in the series is the awesome Caryn Haluska of Living With Logan. Caryn already had five kids when she found out she was expecting twins. In addition to taking care of her “monsters” and blogging, Caryn has worked tirelessly to help a little boy named Deeds get a service dog. She’s just an all-around amazing person, and I am thankful that she answered these questions so honestly.

Please tell us a little bit about you and your family. Sure! There are nine of us in total. The Daddy, me, and 7 monsters. The last two are twins, and they will be 3 in June. My other five are 17, 14,13,11,and 5.

What was your first reaction when you found out you were having twins? I would love to say that I was nine kinds of thrilled. But the circumstances surrounding it were not ideal. I was nine weeks pregnant, and had started bleeding, and passing tissue. Because I had been through a miscarriage prior to this pregnancy, I was fairly certain I knew what was happening. I was getting an ultrasound prior to my doctor ordering a D&C, and that’s when I found out. I called my doctor a liar, made them restart their U/S machine 7 times, and was not allowed to drive home, because the only thing I could say for an hour was, “oh, SH**!” Also, I made the doc call the Daddy, because he knew I was going in, and he thought it was for D&C prep, so I figured it would be best if a medical professional called the man at work and dropped that particular bomb.

How did your your family react? The Daddy was admirably calm. I didn’t even tell my family until I was five months pregnant. At that point, there was no hiding it. I’m not married to the Daddy, and I have 5 other children from a previous marriage, so it wasn’t something I was really fired up about broadcasting to the world, in the beginning. BUT. Once I got over that, the Daddy and my family were great about it!!

How was your twin pregnancy different than your previous pregnancies? Certainly the early bleeding and tissue thing was different. I also had to be medication and on bed rest for the last three months because of excessive pre-term labor, and had a hospital stay for a few days at one point, with shots at very specific intervals to stop contractions. Normally, being pregnant for me is very easy, little to no morning sickness, I feel great. This twin pregnancy was not something I was prepared for, in terms of how it was harder on my body, and how I always felt like I was wrapped in bubble wrap.. It bothered me to be coddled. Now, I understand the necessity. At the time I was just irritated. I kept telling people this wasn’t my first pregnancy, and I wasn’t stupid.

Tell us a little bit about the birth of your twins. My twins were born at 37 weeks, which is term for twins. After all the bed rest and all the worry around week 24 and all the extensive efforts to “let them bake a little longer”, when it was all said and done.. they took their sweet time! LOL I had never had an epidural before, but HAD to have one with the twinnies’ birth, in case of emergency c-section…also something I had never had before. Baby A was head down, Baby B was breech, so they reserved a surgery suite, and I had to deliver there. We almost didn’t make it, because I had a pump for my epidural, and I overdosed on it! LOL I got checked for dilation in my hospital room where I was laboring ( I had been at a 4 for over a month), and my CNM nearly had a heart attack. Baby A was all but crowning. I had no idea!

What was the most surprising thing about having twins? The way they move in utero. I can’t explain it, I won’t even try.

Any tips for moms expecting twins? Get. A. Nanny. for the first 6 weeks. A family member, a neighbor, a friend, a teenager… whatever you can afford for as long as you can afford it. I had to return to work when mine were 3 weeks old. I was so tired, I literally do not know how I lived through it. Also? Do NOT let your doc discharge you as though you had a routine single birth. Stay in that hospital double the time for twins, triple for triplets, etc. Here’s the thing… your body needs more time to recover after a multiple birth. I didn’t know that. But, my baby B was in some distress, so I told my doc I wouldn’t leave for home without him. We all went home 4 days after birth.

Can you recommend any resources for moms that have twins or are expecting twins? There is a yahoo! group out there for multiples. That helped me a lot. Other than that, I really didn’t use any other resources. This is partially because I was working an 80 hour week until I was put on bed rest, and partially because when I WAS on bed rest, I couldn’t get to the desk top! But more than that, it wasn’t my first pregnancy, so I was kinda quiet about needing resources. I just watched a lot of A Baby Story and used a LOT of Kleenex. The hormones, my GOSH!! I know. I’m really NOT a good example.

Please share anything else you feel would be valuable for new or expecting twin mamas! Here are a few things I learned: RLS. Common with any pregnancy, more so with multiples. Take a calcium/magnesium supplement to help ease it. Prenatal vitamins. TAKE THEM. Getting osteoporosis after having twins? Not cool.

Double breast pump.Buy it from the hospital. I have used several over the years. The hospital has really high quality ones for a REALLY low price, and it saved me. One of my babes could not latch on. He HAD to have bottles to learn for the first month. Even after that, I was working. And people? 8 ounces of milk every two hours? You really don’t want to do that with a hand pump or a single, battery powered pump. Really. Take it from me.

I know you’re all excited to get out there and buy all kinds of cute things for your babies. Don’t buy formula. Don’t buy the most expensive bottles. DO buy unscented wipes, newborn size diapers, onesies, unscented lotions, etc. Why am I telling you NOT to buy formula? Because with multiples, it is common for the babes to not tolerate the same brands and bottles/nipples. At one point, we were having to use a specially blended, pre-digested, hypoallergenic formula for Logan from the pharmacy in Dr.Brown’s bottles, while his brother was guzzling down Enfamil in regular Gerber bottles. Really. Save your money. You cannot return formula to the store. My advice? Ask for gift cards to Walmart or Target or wherever you shop when people ask what you need, so you CAN go out and get whatever formula your babes need. That will also come in handy at the pharmacy in those stores, should you need to visit there after their arrival.

Thank you so much Caryn! Please be sure to check out Caryn’s blog, Living With Logan. If you have a topic you would like to see covered in the “…Now What?” series, let me know in the comments!