Full-time work and full-time twin mom: the how-to guide in times of a global pandemic

The plan was perfect: take a little time to ease back into work by working part-time while my husband would get our twin girls started in daycare. Then, by May, he would drop the kiddos off in the morning and I would pick them up in the afternoon. Then Corona happened.

The reality is this: We both have finally arrived at positions in our jobs that we love. It is challenging, but very rewarding. And we have 11-month old twin girls at home with no help because there is a global pandemic.

Here are my 2cents of advice for everyone in a similar situation:

1.) Know how much sleep you need and get that amount at least four days/week 

My sweetspot is seven hours. I am a morning person and that means that I am sometimes going to bed ridiculously early to catch up on sleep. Not sleeping enough puts me on edge, at work and with the children. So no compromise here.

2.) Meal prep in advance 

Hangry eating binges happen, no doubt. But they do not make me feel that great. I prepare healty nutrition-packed lunches in advance and have healthier snack options ready.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.) Love your life. Every minute of it. Even in the most impossible moments. 

My husband put it this way: It looks like a Hangover 4 movie in our living room, but we had a great nap.

4.) Communicate to your work 

Obviously not everyone’s workplace is understanding. Last week both my husband and I had simultaneous calls and I decided to take the girls on a walk while being on a quite important call. I informed my colleagues in advance that I will have to be outside walking. I also emailed all my material in advance and let them know about my points just in case something would not work out with the call.

5.) Wash your face, put on real clothes and treat yourself well  

I love my PJs and hoodies and while it has certainly been awesome to be a little more chill about clothing and appearance in the beginning I have now started to dress myself, dress my babies and switch my camera on during work calls. On the weekends we do something special, like a bike ride with picnic.

There are days when I am surprised how well this is working and then there are those devastating days when I am questioning everything. Overall, I would not want to have it any other way.

How long working in double shifts from work to babies is possible? I have no idea.We hope to have an au-pair starting in August and dearly hope that the girls will be able to start daycare at some point in 2020.

Twin-Update: sIUGR – the new vocabulary to learn

Dizzy sunrise over Kassel

It is early Tuesday morning and as I am writing this I am eagerly awaiting the doctors’ rounds in the hospital to convince them to release me today.

It is not a normal Tuesday, today my step sister is getting married which is the only reason I am in my home town Kassel. The babies gave me yet another scare and I was put on bedrest for the time being. One would think that is gets easier, but as time goes on, my tummy grows and this pregnancy wears me out more and more.

I have been receiving a lot of love and support in the last weeks and I am truly thankful for all of it. I have decided to be more open about what is happening no matter the outcome because I am hearing and seeing lots of people struggle: with getting pregnant, with complications, with loss, with postnatal issues such as career nose-dives.

And as many of you know I am not planning to become a stay-at-home mom, I am not planning to give up triathlon training and my active lifestyle, I am not planning to stay in Germany for too long. Yet, being pregnant comes with many people throwing their opinion and advice at you (or even better: German folks knowing already what I am going to do and how I am going to feel) and even without weekly visits to prenatal specialists and the constant fear of potential loss on mind I am finding myself in a mudpile of feelings questioning a lot of things, especially the role of women and family policy in Western countries.

Selective Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Before getting into that rant, however, here are the facts: I am in my 24th week of pregnancy, both girls (yes!) have active heartbeats. While we had been prepared for a complication called “Twin-twin-transfusion-syndrom” where the blood exchange between the babies is becoming one-dimensional with one baby being the donor and one the receiver, it has turned out that the babies have a very rare different condition called selective intrauterine growth restriction (sIUGR). For reasons unknown, one twin is not getting enough from the placenta, thus staying behind in development. So far we have a 28% growth discordance. Some twins are born with one being half the size of the other.

SIUGR is categorized into three different types depending on the blood flow pattern in the umbilical cord. When the minimum criteria were met for our baby to be called a growth-restricted twin the doctors were under the impression that we are dealing with type 1. Type 1 means that both babies have a good chance of survival and they can make it beyond 30 weeks of pregnancy.

Right before Easter the doctors noticed a connection between the babies that had a blood flow pattern that was all not too great. We were sent home with the option of terminating the growth-restricted twin (that’s what I mean when I talk about little scares).

One week later, after we had taken a break in Croatia, soaked in some sun and rested a lot, the little one’s heartbeat was much better.

Treatment of sIUGR

We are now doing something called “expectant management”: monitoring the babies each week, taking it day by day. The next four weeks will be critical. Technically, the babies have reached liveability, but since the little one is almost two weeks behind her chances are pretty daunting currently.

The doctors & staff at TU Munich’s hospital have been very helpful, explaining everything to us, comforting us, always making time.

I will give more updates soon.