I once had it pointed out to me that within challenge there is change. The saying came back to me this week as I contemplated some of the challenges and changes that have come from our experience as a multiple family. (First change: knowing what a ‘multiple family’ means. Unless you’ve had twins, triplets, or more in your family, you likely don’t use the words singleton or multiple when describing children.)
I was nearly 20 weeks into my second pregnancy when my husband and I learned we were having twin boys. That was a Monday morning. Tuesday morning the hospital called, asking me to come to the Maternal Fetal Department for a follow up. We learned that our boys were identical twins with a severe form of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS). One baby was given a 60% chance of survival. The other had only a 10% chance without intervention. Wednesday morning we were on a flight to Toronto, leaving our 16-month-old daughter with her grandparents.
The 24 hours from hearing our diagnosis to being in front of the surgeons were some of the most difficult of my life. But we were lucky. The surgical team at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto met with us on Wednesday, performed a laser ablation surgery on Thursday, and discharged us on Friday. By Saturday, we were on a flight home, the odds of our boys surviving now closer to 80% and 60%.
During this time, I knew about Moncton Multiples, but didn’t really engage with the group. So it wasn’t until after our boys were born and home from the NNICU (they were born at 32 weeks and spent 35 days in the hospital) that I started to turn to the group online for tips and advice. Then we started going to family events, MoM’s (Moms of Multiples) nights, and taking part in the twice-a-year consignment sale the group runs (if you’re reading this over your Saturday morning coffee, we’re at the Coliseum right now). Two years ago, as I sat around a table filled with laughter and love and a dozen or more other Twin and Triplet Moms toasting another successful fundraiser, I started to really grasp the powerful change that the challenge of raising our twin boys had brought to my life.
I didn’t grow up in New Brunswick and before our boys brought us into the world of Moncton Multiples, I still hadn’t found my place in this province. I worked, socialized, took part in community events, but I just didn’t feel that extra connection that starts to make a place feel like home. Moncton Multiples has given me a village to help raise my children and so much more. I now feel the tug on my emotions when I think about leaving here.
It’s not just about having other people around who understand some of the juggling it takes to raise twins. It’s about finding a group of people who support each other. People that make meals for families facing a hospital stay. People who offer free babysitting for a few hours, because they know how hard it is to find either family or strangers able to take on the task of two or more babies at once. People who reach out and ask if today was a better day than yesterday. People who celebrate your wins and listen to your losses. Finding these people has helped me find myself in New Brunswick.
She Said appeared weekly in the Times & Transcript and other New Brunswick newspapers for three years. Photo by MeganMcKinley Photography, with thanks to the lovely ladies at the 2015 Moncton Multiples retreat.
For more on our family’s journey with premature birth, time in the neonatal unit, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and raising twins, check out these posts.
You might also want to read our story shared by Today’s Parent.