What It's Really Like To Have Twins Tracey Harrington McCoy

Big brother Kai with Ryan and Reese

“Ohmygod,” I sputtered. “OHMYGOD. Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. OHMYGOD. Twins? TWINS? For sure? Like, for sure, for sure? Two babies? TWO OF THEM? THERE WILL BE TWO OF THEM AT ONCE??”

My brain shut down a little when my doctor told me the news. It didn’t seem possible. My son had just turned one– how was I possibly going to care for THREE little babies? I was having twins? WHAT?

I was surprised, shocked, scared and instantly overwhelmed. The excitement didn’t come until I found out I was having identical twin girls. Who doesn’t love the idea of cute pigtails and pretty little dresses?

But, truthfully, I spent much of the pregnancy terrified. Identical twin pregnancies are considered high risk so I was monitored very closely. The doctors made it sound like I could go into labor at any moment so those nine months were spent on absolute high alert.

And when I wasn’t hyperfocusing on every little ache or shooting pain, I was freaking out about the prospect of managing three little ones. I’d wake my husband in the middle of the night, worried about our ability to juggle three children. I called my mom every week, making her promise she’d help me. I bombarded moms of twins with questions all day, every day. “Do they wake each other up when one cries in the middle of the night?” “Can you breastfeed two babies at once?” “What is the best double stroller?” “Which cars fit three car seats in one row?” “HOW DO YOU DO IT?”

On November 20, 2012, Ryan and Reese were born. Our family of three was now a party of five. And the chaos began.

The background track at our house alternates between a baby crying and a toddler whining. The washing machine and dryer constantly run. The number of dirty diapers produced by my household rivals any daycare in the country. Showering is no longer part of my daily routine—it is a special treat. If I can get a brush through my hair in the morning, it’s considered a big win.

Twins are hard. Navigating which of their screams needs attention first is a challenge that’ll never get easier. When I hug one, I instantly feel guilty about the other one. In addition to a greater diaper load, it’s an unexpected balancing act. I constantly (like every fifteen seconds) wonder how mothers of triplets do it.

Every so often, I catch the girls giggling in a corner or my son kissing a twin on the nose and it makes my heart explode. It doesn’t make the diapers less stinky or the screaming less shrill, but it’s incredible nonetheless.

When I think about their teenage years, my brain hurts. I know as that time gets closer, I’ll start waking up my husband in the middle of the night again, wondering how we’ll manage it. I’ll call my mom every day asking for advice. And hopefully, I won’t spend too much time in the principal’s office after the twins have pulled the ol’ switcheroo.

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  1. Identical twin girls called Ryan and Reese? Am I reading that right? Still mourning the breakup of Reese Witherspoon’s marriage to Ryan Phillipe?

  2. I am a twin myself, recently turned 18, and I gotta say, my sister and I did pull the old swticharoo several times when we were younger. Also, as we’ve grown older, we’ve become two very separate people. With two separate people comes two separate groups of friends, two different work colleagues and so on. So the fun will really start when they hit school! Have fun with your little ones, our Mum always said that with us, we always had each other to entertain ourselves, so you can be getting on with that big pile of washing you have stacked, or emptying that dishwasher – that’s probably the upside of having twins anyways! Also, a lot of kids wanted us over at their houses to play with, I say the kids, but I found out recently that their parents would beg us to come over just to entertain their child for a while! Gives both parents a break :)

  3. I am a twin myself, recently turned 18, and I gotta say, my sister and I did pull the old swticharoo several times when we were younger

  4. You are amazing :) I am a mother of a toddler and expecting a new baby this winter and every night I lie awake wondering how my husband and I will welcome another addition to our party of three. Your story, whilst short, was inspiring and uplifting. I cannot wait to see how my daughter will soon adore our new addition. I am sure my heart will explode to pieces too. Sending you positive vibes and all the love. x

    Mikki

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