If there had been a book like Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories & Advice from Parents of Twins, Triplets & More when I was pregnant with twins, in the NICU, or at home caring for two infants, I would have eaten that up like a salted caramel chocolate bar.
When you’re a NICU parent, the only people who can even have an inkling of an idea as to what you’re going through are other NICU parents. Thanks to my local moms of multiples group, I had a built-in network of moms to visit me while I was on bed rest, guide me in the NICU days, and listen to my venting once I came home and wondered why my children no longer slept. And probably most importantly, I received support – reassurance that my preterm delivery wasn’t my fault, breastfeeding encouragement, and the coveted “me too” that we all yearn for when making emotional connections.
And I got oodles of book recommendations.
Without certain informational books, I wouldn’t have known what to expect logistically. They helped me physically prepare for twins (or at least gave me the impression I was preparing, because there really is no way to prepare to bring home multiple infants!) and even helped me realize that I was developing preeclampsia, which was soon confirmed by my doctor, and I was put on strict bed rest.
But what I lacked was a collection of personal stories, something that would tell me what it was really like to carry, deliver, and raise twins, a collection of vastly different experiences that I could relate to, or even those that I could not.
While Multiples Illuminated is of course focused on life with multiples, there are several sections of interest to NICU parents and parents of preemies.
Co-author Alison Lee writes about how to have a healthy multiples pregnancy, tips for navigating the NICU, and breastfeeding preemie twins.
Moms will surely relate to Janine Kovac’s heart wrenching account of her first day in the NICU in her essay “Small Comforts.”
He is supposed to be cloaked in darkness, surrounded by water, floating in an anti-gravity environment to strengthen muscles and joints. Human beings were never meant to live in a plastic box. Even if that plastic box keeps them alive.
This is the most unnatural thing in the world.
Writer Amy Paturel shares the guilt she felt when her twin boys were born just shy of 34 weeks.
I watched helplessly as the nurses in the NICU tried to mechanize the human processes I had been providing for my babies. In an instant, they became their primary caregivers— not me and Brandon. I wasn’t the first, the second or even the third person to hold them. I felt cheated. Guilty. Like I was already failing as a mom. I couldn’t keep my boys safe. I couldn’t soothe them when they cried. Those duties fell to others more qualified than me.
I don’t want to spoil it for you, but know this: whether you are a multiples mama or not, you will relate to these NICU stories. Because none of us are alone. We’re all in this together, growing, learning, healing.
Multiples Illuminated is the brain child of writers Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee. Find out more at MultiplesIlluminated.com.
Buy the book!