Multiples Arithmetic

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This is how I entertain myself.

I had an ob/gyn appt today and here’s how the conversation went with the nurse who was gathering my information:

Her: How many pregnancies have you had?
Me: 5.
Her: Any pregnancy losses?
Me: 3.
Her: How many live births?
Me: 4.
Her: Okay… wait, 5 pregnancies total and 3 losses?
Me: Yes.
Her: And how many live births?
Me: 4.
Her: Did any of those children pass away after birth?
Me: Nope.
Her: Something’s not adding up. How did you have 2 pregnancies that resulted in 4 live births?
Me: Two sets of twins.
Her: You could’ve just said that in the first place.
Me: I could have but where would the fun have been in that?

Something's not adding up. How did you have 2 pregnancies that resulted in 4 live births? #twinparenting Click To Tweet

I haven’t been blogging lately, but you can get another laugh by checking out “What good is being married to a computer geek if i can’t take advantage of him?” or cry with me at “The desperation of infertility“.

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Helene, on Being “Cautiously Optimistic”

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We have every reason to be cautiously optimistic,” she had said, as I pressed my cell phone harder against my ear, wishing so much that I had misunderstood her.

While tears filled my eyes, I asked, “So are you saying that there’s very little chance that we’ll have any viable eggs to work with?

Well, no, I didn’t say that. I think we should just be cautiously optimistic,” she tried to explain. I imagined her on the other end of the line, keeping a close eye on her watch, anxiously wanting to get off the phone with yet another desperate, yet hopeful infertility patient.

My chin quivered, my hands shook and it felt as if my heart would burst right out of my chest. “What EXACTLY does cautiously optimistic MEAN?!” I screeched loudly into the phone. “Does it mean that you think my eggs are crap? Does it mean you’ve seen eggs like mine make beautiful embyros?! What the HELL does it MEAN?!

Tim reached over from the driver’s seat and touched my arm, silently willing me to end the phone call and just accept the news for what it was.

We had been driving home after my egg retrieval during our 1st IVF cycle, when my RE called to deliver the news that most of the eggs which had been retrieved were not in good shape. She had called them “dark and grainy“.

No one had ever used the phrase “cautiously optimistic” with me.

Was it a good thing? A bad thing? I had no clue at all.

Within time, I came to learn that it meant something bad was in store for us…something tragic, heartbreaking and completely gut-wrenching.

The phrase soon became a personal jinx of some sort. Everything would be going along just fine and then a doctor or a nurse would randomly throw out, “We should just continue to be cautiously optimistic,” and I knew our fate had just been sealed.

As we anxiously waited for the blood results of that first IVF cycle… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

As we sadly listened to our RE explain that sometimes 6 weeks is just too early to see a heartbeat… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

When we learned that we had lost that baby, the good news was at least now we knew I could get pregnant… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

As we switched RE’s and were given all kinds of false hope that the 2nd cycle would be successful… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

When that same RE looked me straight in the eyes and told me my dreams of having a biological child had already slipped out of my grasp but there were still lots of options available to us… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

During our 3rd IVF when we begged and pleaded with him to allow us to transfer 4 embryos because we simply couldn’t bear any more heartbreak, we compromised and agreed to transfer only 3… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

After we learned I was pregnant with twins, every time I would experience sudden cramping and/or bleeding… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

Each time my body went into pre-term labor… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

After giving birth at 32 weeks, I watched with both overwhelming joy and anguished sorrow as my first-born miracle babies were whisked off to the NICU… let’s be cautiously optimistic.

Soon enough, we stopped hearing that dreaded phrase… as our twins were released from the NICU after 26 days and we entered our home for the very first time as a family of four. Something we believed would never happen.

After four months had passed, I lost another pregnancy… yet I had no idea that I had been pregnant until I was in the midst of a miscarriage. Even though there had been no time for dreams and hopeful expectations, I still grieved, blaming my damaged body once again for another devastating loss.

When I went in to my doctor’s office for a follow-up, I asked him if he thought I may be able to get pregnant again on my own in the future. His words stung me as I heard, “I would like to think so. You have every reason to be cautiously optimistic“.

Soon, there came a time when hearing that phrase didn’t hurt so badly anymore. I’d hear someone casually mention those two seemingly innocent words and it wouldn’t phase me in the least. The pain and burden of infertility had finally passed and wasn’t as fresh in my mind anymore.

Until we decided we wanted more children. I knew exactly what was in store for us as we begin another IVF cycle with our frozen embryos when our RE said, “All I ask is that you be cautiously optimistic“.

Yes, cautiously optimistic… with tragic results yet again. Another pregnancy loss. More tears and agony. And even more anger, bitterness and confusion than ever before.

After the loss, as I broke down in my OB’s office, I begged her to explain to me why… WHY did this happen again. Was I selfish for wanting more children? What had I done wrong? Is it because I wasn’t cautiously optimistic? WHY?!

She answered, gently, “These things just happen, sometimes we’re never meant to understand why. I know you want more children. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t. You’ll come to terms with it somehow. I know you will.”

Never once did she mention the distressing phrase I had come to despise hearing. Every single time I had heard it, throughout my journey of trying to conceive, my stomach would turn and my heart would sink.

As I went about my daily life, I knew I had to accept that more children may not be in our future. It was difficult and there were still times that I would find myself sobbing out loud, especially as my babies began to outgrow their little onesies and my broken heart reminded me that there may never be another baby to wear those same clothes.

Let’s be cautiously optimistic“, I thought I heard God whisper to me one morning while deep in prayer, as I begged for relief from the burden of grief. I thought I had overcome it but deep down I knew I hadn’t. There would always be a void in my life for what could have been… what should have been.

Three months later, I became pregnant with Garrett and Landon… our second set of twins. A completely (and surprisingly) spontaneous pregnancy.

It wasn’t supposed to happen. They had all said we would never conceive a take-home baby on our own without medical intervention, even as they made empty promises and advised us to be cautiously optimistic.

But finally, after everything, we had beaten the odds. Suddenly, it was okay to be hopeful, to feel excited and full of joy, to experience nothing but happiness and pure bliss… to be optimistic, WITHOUT caution.

The words "cautiously optimistic" plague an infertile woman who just wants to be a mother.

This post was originally published on I’m Living Proof that God Has a Sense of Humor as part of Pour Your Heart Out with Things I Can’t Say.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Helene Tells All: The Honest Truth About the Process of Becoming a Mother

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(This post was originally published by HDYDI contributor  on her blog I’m Living Proof that God Has a Sense of Humor.)

I’ve written a post or two about what no one tells you about parenthood… motherhood, to be more specific.

However, what about what it takes to achieve motherhood… you know, the nitty gritty part.

I realize for some people this is the FUN part… the “let’s do the nasty and get ourselves knocked up” part, where they partake in a few minutes of sexual activity and then get back to their everyday lives without a care in the world.

Then there are those of us, me included, who can’t seem to get pregnant… to save our lives, no matter what we try.

A humorous look at the nitty gritty of conception for the infertile mother-to-be.

Here’s what no one tells you about the process of BECOMING a mother:

  1. All those myths about sexual positions and the like may not (and probably will not) result in a pregnancy. You can lay on your back with your hips propped up and your legs in the air for a whole 15 minutes after sex… that ain’t gonna make you a baby.In fact, all it will bring you is a horribly painful UTI, as well as an uncomfortable wet spot that you’ll be stuck sleeping in… again.
  2. Your sexy, hunk of a man will no sooner become nothing more than a piece of meat to you. When he starts accusing you of just using him for his body, that’s when you know you’ve hit an all-time low… that, and he finally catches on that the reason he can’t sleep at night is because you’ve been secretly switching his caffeine-free coke with regular coke so his sperm would swim faster.Oh, and for what it’s worth, referring to his sperm as “baby batter” will, more than likely, not go over well with him.
  3. You don’t even go the extra mile anymore to spice things up. Instead of dressing in sexy lingerie and cooking him his favorite meal as a way of buttering him up, you meet him at the door after work wearing absolutely nothing, and yelling, “Hurry up and get naked… my ovaries just shot out an egg like 38 minutes ago! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s GO!”
  4. There is no such thing as “not in the mood” when you’re trying to make a baby. Tim once pulled that excuse on me, to which I responded, “I don’t need you to be in the mood, I don’t need romance… hell, I don’t even need foreplay… I just need your half of the DNA, for crying out loud!”
  5. You’ll have major fights over the silliest things. God forbid he turn up the heater at night and now you have no idea if your temperature is really based on the fact that you’ve already ovulated or if it’s a false reading because you were sweating in your sleep.You can’t believe that he won’t reschedule his business trip for the week AFTER you ovulate. I mean, the world can certainly wait for him to make a deal with Kawasaki for a new voice-over IP but I only get ONE chance each month to hit the baby jackpot.
  6. Infertility is an equal opportunity employer. It will target you, hunt you down and make you suffer. It doesn’t matter if you’re the next Mother Theresa, sharing all your wealth with the homeless people downtown under the freeway… and it doesn’t matter if you’re the most selfish, disrespectful person on earth.Infertility doesn’t care who you are or what you’ve done.Even though it’s not the elite group people want to be a part of, there is a sisterhood among those of us women who have been forced to join the ranks. You could have nothing else in common with another woman except for your mutual diagnosis of infertility… and suddenly she becomes your closest friend and confidante.
  7. It’s okay to be angry with God. He totally gets it.When a pregnancy doesn’t occur within those first few months of trying, you’ll chalk it up to bad timing. Any longer than that and you start to wonder if maybe God has it in for you.You’ll try to strike up a bargain with Him… you’ll go to church/temple more often, you’ll stop swearing, you’ll give half of your paycheck to the poor… all that and more if He’ll finally bless you with a baby.Don’t be surprised if He doesn’t answer your prayers right away. That’s not how He rolls.But don’t ever lose hope or faith. That really pisses Him off.If with each failed cycle, your determination to become a mother only grows stronger and more persistent, that’s the work of God right there.
  8. Never say never.Traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture, femoral massage, drinking Robitussin by the gallon, gorging on baby carrots and pretzels, peeing on ovulation sticks, taking pictures of ovulation sticks and posting them online seeking your friends’ opinions, buying stock in Preseed, avoiding oral sex like the plague because you read somewhere that saliva can kill sperm, forcing your husband to stand in front of the mirror and stare at your boobs with you in search of any tell-tale signs of early pregnancy, comparing your cervical mucus to pictures on the internet because you need to be 100% sure that this is what egg-white cervical mucus looks like, bitterly shopping at Target at midnight because chances are you won’t run into any pregnant women, leaving a voicemail for your ob/gyn, asking “Can you please tell me EXACTLY how low and open my cervical opening needs to be during ovulation?”, nonchalantly jamming 22-gauge needles into your own ass cheeks even though you’re normally scared shitless of even the smallest of needles, understanding what the acronyms 2WW, IUI, FET, AH, ICSI, DPO, DPT, BFP and BFN stand for…I’ll repeat it again…never say never.
  9. It’s all worth it in the end. Everyone will tell you that a million times and then some during your entire struggle of trying to conceive. You won’t wholeheartedly believe it, though, until you finally experience parenthood yourself.Trust me when I tell you that even though you’ll be severely sleep deprived and not know which end is up half the time… and you’ll still bear the battle wounds and scars of infertility… you’ll appreciate parenthood that much more, specifically because of what you had to endure to get there.
  10. With that said, don’t be surprised if, at least once a day, you find yourself wondering why you wanted to be a mother so badly… especially when you’ve gone days without a relaxing shower, hours without a meal to satisfy your grumbling belly, or a meaningful conversation with someone who doesn’t need their ass wiped or a bottle held in their mouth.Even though you desperately wanted to be a mother, you’re also entitled to have your bad “why me” moments, as well.It doesn’t mean you’re not in love with parenthood or that you don’t appreciate this blessing which God has bestowed upon you… it just means you’re human.

This post was originally published on I’m Living Proof that God Has a Sense of Humor.


Infertility TalesThis post is part of Infertility Tales 2014, How Do You Do It?‘s series to raise awareness about infertility and its impact on families. Please take a moment to read through some of the personal stories of loss, pain, fertility treatments, and success.

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Potty Training 101 – According to a Toddler

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Categories Parenting, Potty Training, Toddler Thursday4 Comments

I was one of those parents who feared that her children would go off to college in diapers. No, seriously, I was. Because that’s my kind of luck.

So imagine my surprise when Garrett, one of my twins, at the age of 2 1/2 (31 months, if you want to be exact) suddenly announced, “My diaper is yucky” and tore it off faster than my husband tears out of here for work every morning at 8:07 am on the dot.

I replied, “Well, if your diaper is yucky and you don’t want to wear it anymore, you’ll need to use the potty”. My jaw hit the floor when he said, “Okay” and walked into the bathroom, sat down on the little potty seat and peed!

It was THAT simple, my friends.  And I didn’t even have to pull my hair out or scream obscenities into a pillow.

As parents, we bang our heads against the wall, frustrated with our children over such milestones as potty training. It’s definitely not for the weak at heart. When it comes to potty training, there’s a lot to be said about waiting until your CHILD is ready… not when YOU’RE ready. 

If Garrett could give some pointers, I would imagine there would be some important things he’d want all us frustrated, exhausted parents to know.

Potty Training 101 - According to a Toddler from hdydi.com

Potty Training 101 – According to a Toddler

That’s me on the right. Just ignore my twin brother who’s pouting because he’s NOT potty trained yet.
  1. This is the most important rule. I’m just gonna come right out and lay it on the line. I am in control here. Not you. Not Daddy. Not the moon and stars in the sky. MEI am in control. I will use the potty when I am good and ready… and not a minute before that. Yeah, yeah. I know you gave me life and all. Save your breath because I really don’t care.
  2. Let’s go over the rewards system. If I’m gonna be honest here (which you know is RARE for me) the one reward that means the most to me is just seeing you incredibly happy. I mean, if seeing a little bit of pee in the potty from little, old me makes you beam with pride, I’m all for it.With that said, if you INSIST on giving rewards, here’s a list I put together which might be helpful:
    • candy (preferably, lollipops… lots and lots of lollipops)
    • stickers (of all my favorite tv/movie characters, definitely not Big Bird… he kinda sucks)
    • temporary tattoos (the ones with skulls, not the ones that say “My mom rocks”)
    • time-out for all my siblings (hey, it’s MY reward… don’t ask any questions)
    • toys (let’s be clear… good things do not come in small packages! The bigger the better, just sayin’)

     

  3. Pull-ups vs diapers. Honestly, there’s no difference. Pull-ups are really just glorified diapers. And they’re more expensive. Save your money and just get me a big screen TV for my room.
  4. Underwear – okay, here’s the deal. It is of the utmost importance that you let me go to the store with you and choose whatever underwear I want to get. Running into the house all excited with a bag full of new underwear that YOU chose from Target isn’t gonna go over well with me. Just so you know.Remember, the control issue? It all goes back to that. If you come home from the store waving a package of new underwear in my face that I did NOT pick out myself, then you should fully expect a huge setback, more than likely, in the form of a big steaming pile of poop on your white bedroom carpet. Yep, that’s how I roll. With your kind of luck, you actually won’t discover it until you step in it.
  5. Please, please, please try to make this whole potty training thing entertaining for me. Here’s what’s UNacceptable:
    • You sitting on a stepstool in front of me, staring me down as if your brain can telepathically send a message to my bladder and my colon, urging them both to take quick action so you can go update your Facebook page, bragging about how awesome you are at potty training your child (as if…)
    • Calling the entire family into the bathroom to watch me perform. I know it’s hard to resist because I’m just so darn cute sitting on the pot. I mean, I’d want to stare at me too. But now that I’ve agreed to give up diapers, I have the right to privacy in the bathroom. I’ve earned it. Oh, and before you even think it… YOU, however, do not have any right to privacy… like, ever.
    • NO taking pictures of my poop and e-mailing them to Daddy at work with the subject line reading, “You HAVE to see this”. My poop can only truly be appreciated in person.  If he’s lucky and I’m in a good mood, I may just produce another whopper on the weekend for him to experience with his own eyes.
    • NO saying, “How can such a little body make such a big poop?” Let me just remind you that YOU do the cooking around here. I can’t help that my body considers most of the food you make garbage.
    • Singing silly, stupid songs (say this 10 times fast successfully and maybe I’ll consider holding my bladder for an entire night so you can get 8 consecutive hours of sleep – but, then again, don’t hold your breath).

    Here’s what I think is super fun… see, I’m a huge Disney freak. So my mom let me pick out my own underwear at the store and of course I picked all Disney characters because I’m cool like that.

    This is a picture of me, proudly holding all my underwear…

    IMG_2194

    I know… so cute, right? Anyway, she tacks them to the wall in the bathroom

    right next to my little potty, like this…

    IMG_2195

    While I’m doing my business, I stare at them and imagine Dori saying, “Just keep peeing, just keep peeing” and Buzz Lightyear saying, “To infinity and beyond…” when I flush the potty.

    It’s FUN. I totally dig this.

  6. There WILL be regression… when you least expect it, of course. Like, say, when we’re at a playdate at someone else’s house. Or when you finally decide to be brave enough to take the entire family out for dinner.It’s not that I’ve forgotten how to use the potty… it’s more that, for some reason, you got in your head that YOU are in control. This is simply not the case.

    am in control and this is how I put you back in your place (must we review #1 again?). You’ll look disappointed and say, “Now, why did you do that? You know how to poop in the potty!”

    Yeah, see, that isn’t the point… of course I do. It’s YOU who has forgotten how we play the game. And sometimes you just have to reminded of who the REAL boss is.

  7. Lastly, don’t be in such a hurry to rush me through the potty training process. Remember, I’m only this young for a little while. Cherish these times and appreciate them.Trust me, you’ll think potty training was a breeze compared to the hell I’ll put you through when I’m a teenager.

So there you have it… potty training 101, in a nutshell, courtesy of yours truly…

IMG_1857

Helene is a 40-something, married, stay-at-home mother to two sets of twins.  With only 2 years between both sets, she maintains that having a wicked sense of humor is key in raising multiple multiples.  

To follow along on Helene’s real-life, tell-all adventures of parenting twins x 2, please visit her blog at I’m Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor.

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Things Kids Say: Thanksgiving Edition

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Our kids came up with some quotable quotes this Thanksgiving.

  • MandyE‘s daughter, 4-year-old Baby A, told Mommy that she was still hungry after a huge lunch and two desserts. How? “My tummy digested it really quickly. It’s already in my intestines, Mommy! I need more pecan pie!”
  • When MandyE’s daughter said, “Mommy, last year I think you gave us gifts on Thanksgiving, didn’t you?” it took her a while to realize they were thinking about the small goodies they got on Valentine’s Day. Since then, both girls have been repeating, “Thanksgiving isn’t about gifts; it’s about family,” over and over… as if to temper their expectations.
  • One of Helene‘s younger twins, Garrett, aged 6, told her, “Mommy, I’m so thankful for you that in another year or two, as soon as I can wipe my own butt, I’ll wipe Landon’s butt too so you don’t have to do it anymore.”
  • His twin brother, Landon, had his own gem: “I’m thankful that Mommy makes me try new foods because now I like turkey legs. I’ve expanded my horizons.”
  • Sadia‘s 7-year-old daughter J, sampled her apple pie only after Mommy spelled out the ingredients for her. “This is so good! The ingredients say it should taste like apple and sugar, but it tastes like love.”
  • One of Jen Wood‘s 4-year-olds says he’s thankful for Ironman. The other replied to her, “I love you,” with, “I love Batman.” It appears to be a superhero kind of year.
  • Dana‘s 7-year-old boys came up with this impromptu ode to turkeys:

What have your children said to you that will stay in your memory forever?

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Trust Your Instincts as a Parent of Preemie Twins

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“Here you go, honey.  Everything you need to know about the NICU is in here,” the kind nurse explained, handing me a thick, white binder.

24 hours prior, I had given birth via c-section to my first set of twins at 32 weeks after a distressing, eventful pregnancy.  My brain was still a foggy mess from all the medications that had been pumped into my system in the operating room and I hadn’t even held my babies yet.

Advocate for your preemies; even if you don't have medical experience, you are the expert in your child.

My newborn boy/girl twins were whisked away to the NICU so quickly that I only got to lay eyes on them for a few mere seconds, not quite long enough to imprint their tiny faces into my memory

When I was finally able to see my babies, my husband led me into the NICU.  My eyes searched the various bassinets and my heart felt heavy when it became painfully obvious I didn’t know which children were mine.

I felt helpless.  Shouldn’t a mother be able to recognize her own babies? Their cries? Their faces? Their scent?  Something, anything?  And who was taking care of them anyway, while I spent their entire first night and day of life tossing my cookies up into a bedpan?

This is when the nurse had handed me “the NICU manual”.  She introduced herself to me and added, “I’ll be caring for your babies tonight.”  Go ahead and add an overwhelming sense of guilt to all the other emotions I was experiencing.

She continued, “When you get back to your room later, if you’re not too tired, go ahead and look the manual over and let us know if you have any questions.”

Instead, I went back to my room and sobbed for hours. This is not exactly how I had envisioned my entry into motherhood.

During my pregnancy, I had imagined giving birth to full-term twins and bringing them home with me when I checked out of the hospital.  I had fantasies of breast feeding them round the clock and handling motherhood like a boss.

However, every evening as I exited the NICU, I watched new mothers leave the hospital in wheelchairs with their bundles of joy clutched tightly in their arms….while I left empty-handed and heavy-hearted.

Advocate for your preemies; even if you don't have medical experience, you are the expert in your child.

During the day, I would spend every waking minute at the NICU, yet when I was away from my children at night, I felt detached.  I still didn’t FEEL like I was the mother of newborn twins.

It wasn’t until one week later when I found myself disagreeing with one of the NICU nurses about my son’s reflux issues that it finally happened.  My instincts took over and my inner “Mama Bear” emerged out of nowhere.

“I really feel like you’re pushing him too quickly. He’s not ready to increase his feedings yet,” I argued.

“He’s ready. He’ll be just fine,” she tried to persuade me as she rushed off to take care of another baby.

I followed her and begged, “Please, just listen to me. Can we go back to the lower amount and just give him some more time?”

She turned and looked at me. “I’ve been a nurse for 20 years, honey. He’ll be fine.”

I stared at my precious baby boy lying in his bassinet, completely depending on me to do what was right for him, and something snapped.

With authority in my voice, I said, “I understand you’ve been a nurse for 20 years. And I trust that you do your job well. But my gut is telling me that he is not ready for more.

He gags with every feeding, he pukes it up immediately….it is too much for him. It absolutely kills me that he has to be in here with tubes and wires coming out of every orifice, that I wasn’t the one to give him his first feeding or change his first diaper….and that medical staff are making decisions about my children without consulting my husband or me first.”

Advocate for your preemies; even if you don't have medical experience, you are the expert in your child.

I continued, “I am his mother and I am making the decisions for him and for my daughter. I will speak with  his doctor tomorrow when he’s here but until then, please decrease my son’s feedings back to the lower amount.”

The nurse smiled warmly and gently touched my arm.  “Baby,” she said. “You are going to make a wonderful mother.”

With tears in my eyes, I replied, “I already am.”

And that is the exact moment I came charging head-first into parenthood, finally understanding that I was not just an observer in my children’s medical care but I was their mother, their advocate…the one who gave them life, the one who would walk the ends of the earth for them and had every right to be involved in all the decisions that were being made for them.

Ultimately, that thick, white NICU manual helped educate me on all the terms, procedures and tests that are associated with a premature baby.  However, just like with full-term babies, there is no manual in existence that can prepare you for parenthood and all the emotions that go along with it.

There is no doubt that the NICU nurses and doctors are wonderful and amazingly skilled.  They will teach you how to change a poopy diaper on your fragile 2-pound baby and how to remain calm when your preemie forgets to breathe.  Some may even help you attach nipple shields to your breasts to help your babies latch on, should you choose to breast feed.

Advocate for your preemies; even if you don't have medical experience, you are the expert in your child.

And you’ll deal with 10 different nurses in a 2-week period and various doctors will rotate on and off…all the while you’re a constant in the NICU, trying to make sense of all the opposing suggestions from each of them.   One nurse will tell you that your preemies are ready for bottle feedings while the next nurse totally disagrees.  It’s enough to make your head spin at times.

The most important piece of information I can share with you, as I learned, is to TRUST YOUR GUT.  If you’re not comfortable with something, speak your mind, share your suggestions, have a discussion with the medical staff.   Make sure you understand and feel satisfied with every detail of every procedure and test, as well all medications being given to your babies.  Do not be afraid to ask questions, share concerns or have a difference of opinion on what is best.

With my 2nd second set of twins, I insisted that they only be allowed to sleep on their backs (not their tummies) while in the NICU because I remembered how much my husband and I struggled getting our 1st set of twins to sleep on their backs upon coming home after they had only slept on their tummies during their 4-week NICU stay.  Sure, some of the nurses weren’t exactly thrilled but, in the end, I didn’t care about what made their job easier.  I needed them to do what was best for my babies.

It’s not about being besties with your favorite NICU nurse.  Yes, we all want the nurses and doctors to like us and not to dread all interaction with us.  But, at the same time, you may have to ruffle some feathers in order to get the quality care and service your babies deserve.  This doesn’t mean you have to walk around like a certifiable witch, it just means that a dash of respectful assertiveness and a sprinkle of tactful sensitivity will serve you and your babies well.

Remember, you are an essential and valuable partner with the NICU team, in terms of caring for your newborn preemies.   Your babies are depending on you, as their parent, to advocate for them.  It may be awkward at first as you venture into this uncharted territory but, soon enough, you’ll get the hang of it.  And you will be a much stronger, more assertive parent than you ever thought you could be.


Prematurity Awareness Week 2013: How Do You Do It?

World Prematurity Day November 17In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely, 1 in 10 in Canada. Worldwide, over 15 million babies are born too soon each year. While not all multiples are born prematurely, a multiple birth increases the probability of an early delivery. Babies born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation, are at a higher risk for health complications in infancy, some of which can have long-term effects. Full-term infants are not all free from their own health complications, of course.

In honor of November’s Prematurity Awareness Month, led by the March of Dimes, How Do You Do It? is focusing this week’s posts on The Moms’ experiences with premature deliveries, NICU stays, health complications, special needs, and how we’ve dealt with these complex issues.


Helene is a 40-something, married, stay-at-home mother to two sets of twins.  With the first set of twins born in October 2004 and the second set of twins arriving just two years later in March 2007, she maintains that having a wicked sense of humor is key in raising multiple multiples.  

To follow along on Helene’s real-life, tell-all adventures of parenting twins x 2, please visit her blog at I’m Living Proof that God has a Sense of Humor.

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