Oh Yeah, I Forgot About the NO SLEEP

I’m in twins hell. I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel at least. Being that these are my second and third children, I know the drill. I’m sorry to tell you, it’s hard. Really hard. At night. You never know which baby is crying at first and when it’s both at the same time it’s a nightmare. Since this is my blog and I can say whatever I want and honesty keeps me from having a drug addiction, I will just say that there have already been times when I’ve yelled loudly in my head “WILL YOU STOP CRYING ALREADY DAMN IT!” And then I feel all bad and shit cause, my God, they’re babies – preemies at that. But it’s hard to be up all night. And sometimes, and I know I’m preaching to the choir, there seems no rhyme or reason that the baby is crying.

It takes a lot of stamina to have twins or a new baby period. Not only do you have to deal with lack of sleep, your grouchy husband from his lack of sleep, a toddler and the babies but you are also quite a bit heavier (if your normal like me) so you don’t even feel like yourself.

I don’t want to be all depressing all the time. The babies are very cute, growing like weeds and eventually this will all be worth it. I must say, the guilt doesn’t go away. I try to take the advice from my own first book but I don’t feel as bonded with these babies as I think I’m supposed to. Between pumping (which I recently stopped), feeding, dealing with constipation, trying to get them on a schedule etc. there’s very little time to just stare at them and feel that gooey love that we all believe we’ll feel and some of us do. I know from experience that it will come but right now I vacillate with feeling like a shitty mom and knowing everything I feel must be normal. Unless I’m a sociopath which is not entirely out of the question.

I’ll leave you with this, the one great thing about my daughter being three is she is as obsessive about music as I am. So right now we both love the song Paperweight which I mentioned in my last entry and we both happily listen to it 100 times a day. Most people would find this irritating but my daughter and I are happy as pigs in shit starting our song over and over. Although, Elby has no problem YELLING at me not to sing. Apparently only she can sing and it’s her turn all the time. I, of course in my tired state do not have the energy to teach her not to speak to me that way. And then I think of Marilu Henner you know, Elaine from Taxi, who wrote that book “I Refuse To Raise a Brat” and feel guilty but then I just checked it out on Amazon and it only got two stars so it must not be possible and I must be human!

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on January 12, 2008 1:52 amUncategorized27 comments  


  1. MereCat said,

    Bless you, bless you, bless you! I remember the early days all too well, and you’ve described it perfectly. With twins, it’s just all the time. They do outgrow this stage fairly quickly, but while you are in it, it feels like forever. Hang in there! You are doing way better than you think!

    | January 13, 2008 @ 9:30 pm

  2. Erica said,

    Thank god someone is willing to admit how hard it is. I think we need more of that and less of the “oh you fall in love with your baby immediately and it’s so wonderful and happy” stuff. Because yeah some do, but it’s ok if you’re having a hard time keeping the screams inside your head.

    | January 13, 2008 @ 9:42 pm

  3. Tuesday Girl said,

    I remember this with my twins too, although I bet it is harder with preemies.
    It won’t last forever. I promise.

    | January 13, 2008 @ 9:54 pm

  4. margalit said,

    Preemie twins are hard and the nights suck. One of the best pieces of advice I ever read regarding twins came from Dr Spock. I know, he was old fashioned 15 years ago when my babies were infants, too. But in his book he says “Go into debt if you have to, but GET HELP.” Truer words have never been spoken. I tried to handle it for about 3 weeks before I broke down and got an aupair so I could get some sleep.

    Because they’re so immature and their nervious systems aren’t yet developed, they yell a lot more than regular babies. One of the things you have to learn to do, and it’s VERY hard, it to walk away and let them cry. Go out in the back yard for a bit. THey’ll be fine. NOthing bad will happen to them just because they are crying. But you need the break.

    Lastly, my daughter was the tough one, and she didn’t sleep until she was 18 months old. She HATED to be held or touched, so bonding with her was almost impossible. I remember the first time she let me hold her, she was almost 7 months old. We’re TOTALLY bonded now, and so damn close it’s ridiculous, but then…nope. Not at all.

    So give it time. It does get different, not necessarily better!

    | January 13, 2008 @ 10:31 pm

  5. gmcountrymama said,

    You will feel more bondy once they do start sleeping more. It is hard to feel anything, at least for me, (except anger-which I don’t have any trouble feeling)when I’m tired.
    T is the same way with music. We can listen to a song over and over and he has no problem telling me to stop singing!

    | January 13, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  6. thepsychoexwife said,

    It’s very hard, and mine were 11.5 months apart, and both premature, not even close to what you have! I honestly can’t imagine dealing with twins though I help out my best friend everyday with her 2 year olds. All I can say is, if someone offers help TAKE IT. And if they don’t, ASK FOR IT. Mothers as a species tend to think we should be able to handle anything, and we simply can’t all the time. Pay someone so you can take a nap, or trade time with another mom, it’s totally worth it.

    | January 13, 2008 @ 11:24 pm

  7. Becky said,

    For what (my also extremely sleep deprived mind) it’s worth, I don’t think you’re a sociopath. I’m not a “little baby” person, and having 2 of them to deal with at all hours of the day sounds horrid. Full of the cute, but still.

    Anything I can do for you from afar? I’m still up at all odd hours of the night, so I do know how you feel. We can simultaneously watch really easy to understand movies all night long together, or something.

    Hang in there. People tell me this ends at some point in time. (then again. “people” told me that the weight would fall off when I breastfed. I think they were lying to me. Jerks).

    Shit, I’m not making any sense.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 2:35 am

  8. mommymae said,

    i figured your absence was indicative of your time spent with the babes. like others have said, it does get better. get help if you need it. preemies are a different breed and you have 2 of them. don’t forget to take care of yourself in the midst of all of this.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 4:03 am

  9. just4ofus said,

    I agree that you must get someone to help you so you can get a good stretch of sleep.
    Even if it just one night.
    I remember wishing that God would give me the flu so I could lay in bed and sleep and so that someone else would have to take care of the children.
    Wishing to be ill. Really.
    Then when I was almost over the edge.. someone would help and I would get that 5 hours of sleep.. and it was enough to bring me back just to the edge.. not over it.
    Get Help so you can Sleep.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 2:37 pm

  10. Giovanna said,

    Your feelings….normal.
    Truth….first year is hell.
    But you get through it…w/major bags under your eye. 2nd year is better…3rd year even better. Our guys (who were preemies too almost 27weekers) are 4 now and I can honestly say…it’s fun now.
    Warning…potty training…SUCKS! I thought it was almost as bad as the first year.
    Happy blogging.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 2:47 pm

  11. Anonymous said,

    I felt that I hadn’t bonded with my twins the way I had my other children as well…I truly missed that one on one snuggling, and felt like everything revolved around the monumentous tasks of feedings and diapering.

    They’re 9 now, and while I still feel like I missed out on certain things, I’ve accepted that.

    It does get easier.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 3:32 pm

  12. Kyddryn said,

    When my girlfriends get pregnant, I give them a little pep talk. I call it the “Things no one else will tell you because they’re evil and they want you to suffer.” speech. It’s truncated, ’cause I felt bad about taking up so much of your space with my nattering, but in a nutshell:

    Pregnancy is only pretty from the outside. From the inside, it’s a train wreck. Things swell. They get displaced. They stop working entirely. Your body goes haywire and you have suddenly lost control. You feel huge, unwieldy, and unpleasant towards the end. The last six weeks of pregnancy are the worst. I danced for two hours – bouncing up and down and jumping, mostly – on a concrete floor at a concert six days before I had my son. I wanted him out.

    Labor isn’t always fun or easy, but it’s survivable, and there’s nothing wrong with using whatever modern medicine can offer by way of making it easier, if that’s what you want. I was in labor for 36 hour without medication before I let the doctors talk me into that c-section that I didn’t want (long, long story). Different people, different tolerances. You are not a bad person because you don’t want to be in pain. You are probably more intelligent than granola weirdoes like me.

    Not everyone can breast feed. That’s ok. You are not a bad mum. If you do what you must to feed your child, then that is the very definition of a GOOD mum. Mine didn’t work. About 1% of the women in the world have that problem. I am not evil on two legs because I’m using formula. I am also not setting my child up for disadvantages or making him weak and stupid. I am FEEDING him the best way I know how, and unless you want to pop a tit in his mouth for me, shut up. Quit making assumptions about how lazy and thoughtless I am.

    The first six to eight weeks, it can seem like all the baby does is eat, sh*t, and cry. It never says thanks, never smiles or coos or cuddles, just demands more, more, more. It doesn’t care that you need to eat, sleep, and bathe once or twice a month. It only cares that it has needs that you must meet NOW or all is not well.

    Loving the baby from the very first moment is a myth. Of course you CAN love the little wrinkled mess from the start, and if you do then good for you. But if you don’t…if you find yourself resenting this bossy stranger who has rearranged your life for his own means, if you find that you want an identity of your own that isn’t “so and so’s mum” or “bringer of food and wiper of bottoms”, if you find that you want to scream at the helpless, completely reliant upon you, needy little mite…well, you’re not a bad parent or a bad person. It’s perfectly natural to WANT to drop the kid down a well. That’s when you hand them off to whoever will take them and go have some time in a quiet room. Go take a shower. Brush your teeth. Sing Beethoven’s Ninth six times through. Whatever. Hospitals ought to assign every mum of a newborn someone who’s only job is to take the baby when mum needs those precious few minutes. I had my mum for the first week, but after that it got a little hairy.

    Babies spit up, fuss, get gas, get sick, scream for hours on end for no reason, and generally create chaos. They take up every waking moment, every available resource, and unless you are careful will completely remake you into their personal slave.

    It doesn’t get better or easier just because it isn’t your first.

    I often get stares of utter horror from anyone who ISN’T the mum-to-be when I give this little talk. I guess I’m supposed to blow smoke up their asses. Too bad. I love my friends, and I want them to have a little warning.

    At the last, I tell them something else that is equally true. Sometime after that first six to eight weeks, the baby will smile. He will be crying, wailing as if the world is ending, and nothing anyone else can do helps. There is no comfort to be had. And then YOU pick him up, and he stops crying. A big, fat tear rolls down his cheek, he blinks, and then he cuddles into you because YOU were what he needed most in all the world and now all is well. There will come a time when your kiss is all he wants to make the hurt or disappointment go away, and then you understand…being “mum” is the most powerful thing in the world. If you can make it through those first weeks of utter hell, you get your magic moment, and all is…well, not “well”, but better. And it keeps getting better after that. The frustrations change – they don’t go ever go away if my own mum is to be believed – and so do the triumphs and the things that make you feel like a hero.

    Sorry it’s so long…and yes, it really IS the nutshell version. I hope you feel better, soon. I hope the twins will hurry up and figure out what a terrific mum they have…and that you ARE their mum, and the best person they have in their lives…and they tell you they know it with smiles and a little quiet. You can do it. Thanks for giving us (we?) readers a glimpse and the opportunity to cheer you on.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 3:36 pm

  13. Melanie said,

    “It’s a rollercoaster, and no, you can’t get off.” Is what the NICU nurse said to me before I took my daughter home. Her brother had already been home for a month, and she was being discharged (with a heart/apnea monitor) because there was nothing *really* wrong with her (other than the stopping breathing thing…eh..no big deal). They wanted her out of the Special Care Nursery because she cried too much and it was disturbing the other babies. OMG. I had no idea what to do. I so clearly remember the first night home – in the car seat, in the bouncy chair, in the swing, on the washing machine on a spin cycle (BTW, whose brilliant idea was that!?). I think at one point my husband came in at 4am and I was vaccuuming with a screaming baby in a sling.
    As everyone says, it does get better. Just know that you are not alone. If your babies are fed, dry, comfortable, and safe, take a minute for yourself. Not because you are worried about hurting them or anything, but really to remind yourself that you are doing a great job. Hang in there…

    | January 14, 2008 @ 4:05 pm

  14. Michele R said,

    When my first baby would cry & cry, I would hang out in the basement, doing laundry, of all things. It was the furthest I could get away from his room and still be in the house. I would feel so guilty. And I would just mutter and talk away to myself, where no one else could hear me.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 4:13 pm

  15. Stefanie said,

    That saddest thing is I have help. But it doesn’t feel like I get a break anyway especially on weekends because my three-year-old is so constant and my husband is working round the clock. Sometimes when they’re all three going off at the same time I feel I may seriously lose it. But during the week at least there’s someone to share feedings and let me make a phone call even if we go completely broke for the priviledge

    | January 14, 2008 @ 4:42 pm

  16. Jenny said,

    The Marilu Henner book sucked big balls. I bought it, its mostly easy psych type paragraphs writter by her co-writing partner, who is a shrink, with periodic storytelling by Marilu a la “my life was tough as a kid and my parents didn’t take any crap off us and we survived.” Totally worthless.

    Re: the constipation – a little assvice – did anyone ever tell you about putting dark Karo syrup in the bottles? Ask your ped- but probably for their age and size you can do 1/2 tsp per 6oz or so, once or twice a day. My kids were so constipated I put a full tsp in every single bottle, every day, and they still pooped rocks sometimes, but it really did help.
    PS – It works for you too – natural and non-cramping laxative, put a tsp in your coffee for a few days and life will be much better! Sleep or no sleep, pooping is just as important, isn’t it?
    Hang in there.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 6:40 pm

  17. Surcie said,

    By contrast, your book has 4 1/2 stars!

    There’s a reason why sleep deprivation is a popular means of torture. You just can’t expect to be in your right mind when you’re not getting enough rest. Under the circumstances, nothing you think or say should be held against you. Try not to hold it against yourself. ; )

    | January 14, 2008 @ 8:21 pm

  18. Everyday Superhero said,

    It brings me back to when my twin boys first came home from the hospital. It’s all an “oh God I miss sleep” haze. They grow up, I think,… it just happens very very slooowly.

    Having come out the other side unscathed enough to have more kids, I can tell you that I am never more proud of myself than when I remember that I survived twin preemies.

    You can do it. I had mine on a three hour schedule (which I never managed with subsequent babies) and if one woke up, then I woke the second. If I was only going to get two hours between feedings, then I wasn’t going to let the second twin interrupt it.

    Good luck.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  19. Lynnie said,

    My mother-in-law had an “I hate the baby” garden. The baby had colic, poor woman. She had the most beautiful garden. And she SHOULD have — she spent many many hours out there!

    My own mother kneaded bread dough. I don’t know how edible it was, but she sure pounded away on it. In her case, though, it wasn’t so much my new baby brother as it was we three girls, all under the age of six.

    Preemie twins. My Lord.

    | January 14, 2008 @ 8:54 pm

  20. Catwoman said,

    Oh those heinous few weeks (months?) and you have two babies. Forget about the bonding pressure, it’s hard enough to do it with one, but now you’ve got two babies and unless you’re cross eyed (which you don’t seem to be in your pictures), you couldn’t stare lovingly at them both at the same time anyway.

    You’re fantastic. The babies love you and at some point, they will sleep through the night.

    And then I’ll hate you and wonder how this can be, when my toddler still wakes up in the middle of the freaking night for the most random reasons like “hey, the moon’s out!”

    | January 14, 2008 @ 11:01 pm

  21. carrie said,

    I watched my twin nieces everyday for their first year, and I know how hard it is – and I got to give them to their mama at the end of each day!

    Don’t be afraid to ask for help – there are probably a lot of people willing to help if you just let them know!

    | January 15, 2008 @ 3:05 am

  22. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said,

    The first three months with twins are a nightmare. Then it gets better. I promise.

    | January 15, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  23. Miss Perfect said,

    I remember the newborn stage. And, I totally remember repeating the mantra “it has to get better. it can’t get worse.” And I only had one.
    But, it gets better. Promise.
    Try to get someone to help. Anyone. My saving grace was going to playgroups where other babies cried so I remembered it wasn’t only me. But, I only had one.
    Hang in there.
    Oh, and the bonding thing – it comes. I promise.

    | January 15, 2008 @ 11:48 pm

  24. Candace said,

    No need for me to share all my depressing shizz right here in your comment section but since you brought it up…..
    I had a 2 year old and just one new baby and NO SLEEP and a husband working all the time. It was major “down came the rain” by brooke shields (only it was me and I didn’t have a book deal) and it doesn’t matter how much help you have, it’s the psychological break you never get because you be the MAMA!
    I know you know it gets sooooooooooo much better. And as for raising a brat, I highly doubt that’s possible for you. But I do think you could raise a girl with a mighty fine wit, tude and point of view.

    | January 16, 2008 @ 1:46 am

  25. Denise Thomas said,

    Stef – Hello from your completely absentee friend. Listen, this is as hard as it gets, no joke. You are full on in the hardest, hardest part, and I know absoluetly that you are doing a great job. Go easy on yourself, and remember that all of you will get through this. In the meantime, call me anytime and cry at me if you need to. THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT IS OK!!!!!!!!! I’ve been where you are, and I will ALWAYS take your call!!!

    | January 16, 2008 @ 1:57 am

  26. Anonymous said,

    You’ll hear this alot — it gets better — and it does. I have to share my Gremlin dream. Sometime in those first few weeks I fell asleep for a few moments and this is my nightmare: I feed (nursed) a baby in the bedroom, then I feed a baby in the living room, then I went down the hall and went into another bedroom and feed another baby, back to the living room and feed another baby, back to the bedroom and there was another baby to feed, it just went on and on, and I was screaming to wake up and everytime I looked into a room there were more babies!!!!! In my dream, I finally see my husband and I yell at him to stop getting them wet!!!!!!
    Christine (mommy to 3 boys)

    | January 16, 2008 @ 2:02 am

  27. Cheryl Lage said,

    You’re in it and describing it perfectly. Know and remember (amazing how one can remember despite the sleep-deprivation that one would assume would dull the memeory) all too well those feelings…especially the guilt.
    Wish the pro-bonding folks would be a bit less vociferous with we twin mamas….same with those who declare “You will know what each cry means.” More than often I did NOT even know which baby was crying. But as Sarah Goon Squad states, after the first 3 months (for me it was 3.5) it does get boatloads better….

    Although I am still waiting for guilt dissipation and mine are 6…

    Hang in there, and stay honest. It’s refreshing for us to read, and hopefully cathartic to compose.

    | January 16, 2008 @ 4:28 pm

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