Meet a How Do You Do It? author

Jeanene

Jeanene (and her husband Kelly) are raising a “second set” of kids together. They have six children by birth between them, ages 17 to nearly 30 (his two daughters, her four sons) and are now parenting boy/girl “functional” twins, Isaiah and Zoe. Isaiah was 4 months old when Zoe was born. Both kids came home as newborns in 2011, and were adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day, November 17, 2012! She shares the perspective of raising multiples through adoption. She also speaks from the position of raising kids as "older parents," something that Jeanene and her hubby have found is becoming a more and more common experience. Jeanene is a passionate landscape, wedding, and portrait photographer, but has put the business side of photography on hold to focus on the special needs of her kiddos as a SAHM. Her days are now spent in a mixture of play, occupational therapy, and everyday life with two year olds running around. Think messy! When she has time, she enjoys casual photography, hiking, fly fishing, hunting, reading, writing and working researching the best ways to meet the needs of her sensory challenged kiddos! She blogs about foster parenting, adoption, and life with two toddlers at www.amiraculousmess.com.

Welcome 2014

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Categories Attitude, Household and Family Management, Mommy Issues, Parenting, Toddlers2 Comments

The paint is peeling, the floors are dirty, the bathroom needs cleaning in the worst way… and I am living my dreams tonight.

The steps need swept and the dishes need washed, there is laundry piled high… and I am living my dreams tonight.

Diapers need changing and noses wiped, my sweetheart leaves crumbs on the table and something smells not quite right… and I am living my dreams tonight.

New Years Eve 2013-Michelsen Home

There is a fire in the hearth and a tree lit with abandon. Dogs littering the floor, and piles of “things” that need organizing. Squealing toddlers fight over a cherished toy… and I am living my dreams tonight.

I don’t always remember, but right here in this moment, I am so aware…

I am living my dreams tonight.

Happy New Year, folks. Let’s remember that we are already blessed!

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Toddler Thursday: Hard-Wired for Grace

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Categories Attitude, Parenting, Toddler Thursday2 Comments

So many of the lovely MoM’s here will write from a place further down the road when covering Toddler Thursdays! This has been a rough few weeks, adjusting to Zoe hitting TWO (yes, that loudly)! And somehow, because we adopted from foster care, it’s like I think I must get it perfect for them. Not sure what that is, but I look forward to reading those posts written from down the road a ways.

Because, from where I stand, this is all I’ve got! Bottom line? Grace.

Kids are hardwired with grace in their hearts and it is a good thing. Because I have yet to listen to a single mama out there who did not lose their cool at some point with their toddler. Make it TWO toddlers, both two years old and well… it’s a done deal! We’ve all had those moments. My greatest comfort is in knowing that my children and I will wake up tomorrow to a new day. We all get another chance at this.

This last week I saw a video posted on Facebook. It started with a bunch of moms talking about how they feel about themselves as a parent. Then they came back to watch videos of their kids saying what they think about them when asked to describe mom. Aw, heck. I’ll just show it to ya…

So, now that we are all crying (again), here is what I have to offer you: It’s ok.

If you mess up, just get up. The very fact that you worry so much about whether you have enough patience with them, or whether you can do this at all is because you love them, desperately! That is worth holding close to your heart.

Try to breathe in the NOW. Be. here. now. Don’t get stuck in regret over yesterday (or ten minutes ago). If you need to apologize, do so. But, then move on.

If you need to work on a particular area of self-care, or self-discipline, do so. For example, I take making sure that I get quiet time each day before getting my little ones up very seriously. I owe it to them and to myself to make sure that I prepare for our day!

Accept the grace they offer to you. Offer the same to them. Pour that grace into the moments you have left for today. As they say, time is our currency. The thing is, as moms, we are spending our time and theirs. Let’s not blow it all on regret. If we do, we miss out on truly *seeing* the moments like this one:

Early Winter 2012-3354-2

Our kids are hardwired with grace in their hearts for us. That grace means you can start over tomorrow.

It’s ok.

Where have you seen grace slip in? What do you do to take care of yourself so you can take better care of your family?

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Special Needs: Adopting the Drug Exposed Newborn

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Categories Adoption, Parenting, Special Needs, Theme WeekTags 3 Comments

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.


Adopting from foster care means being open to the reality that the child you take into your home is likely to have been exposed to drugs in the womb. Many folks would love to adopt, but are afraid of the issues that they might face. The “scariest” reality for most is caring for a newborn who experienced drug exposure in utero. I have lived out that reality more than once, and two of those children are now my darlings for life! In fact, we are just emerging from year two of having functional multiples, who are also special needs kiddos. I’m here to tell you, it was SO worth it. It was beautiful! And, it isn’t as scary as you might think!

In the Beginning

Our journey started out with preparation. I found all the info I could get my hands on about drug exposure and its potential effects on newborns/infants/toddlers. The very best source of information that I have found is the Pediatric Interim Care Center, in Kent, Washington. They have a very helpful website, but, it is a lot of information to sift through. So, instead of just leaving you with the main link, I will include the two specific links that provided the most helpful information for our journey.

  • The first is the potential symptoms exhibited by newborns who have been exposed to drugs.
  • The second is the tips they provide on the care and handling of such a newborn. This is lifesaving information at 3am when baby is screaming, let me tell you! Absolutely essential!

I cannot say enough about this organization! They take phone calls from panicked foster parents, 24 hours a day and will walk you through what baby is exhibiting, and why, and how to address the need. Again, they’ve saved my bacon more than once!

Sensory Processing Disorder

The list of possible issues that any given child can develop as a result of drug exposure in utero is nearly endless. The many variations are just as daunting! I won’t try to cover all that info here. In my experience, the top issues that can interfere with a child’s ability to manage life well fall under the umbrella of Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Our two kiddos were on opposite ends of the spectrum of SPD in many ways, so I have had two of the most common kinds of extremes under one roof.

Here is my very, very, very favorite video explaining SPD and its effect on the people who have it.

That is one brilliant child! He and children like himself (and my own kiddos) have opened my eyes to a broader view on life. There is value in every day. And every child has something to give that is unique and precious!  Take it one moment at a time, mining for the gold that is in each day. But I digress!

Isaiah’s Journey

IMG_8893-1
Isaiah boy’s first bath. He looks like any other newborn and in many ways he was very much like any other newborn. Yes, he smiled like that from day one!

Isaiah was born at 37 weeks with a very “small cup” for tactile stimulation, especially oral tactile stimulation. It overwhelms and confuses him. He also had a very poor suck reflex. He was easily overwhelmed by taste, scent and sound, to the point of completely shutting down and sleeping around the clock because of an odor that had assaulted his exquisitely sharp senses. Therapists refer to his issues as sensory defensiveness. This translated into feeding difficulties.

I was horrified to realize that the nurses at the hospital are not trained specifically in how to handle newborns who are drug exposed. So, the nurse had been just holding him on his side and letting formula dribble into his mouth. She did not understand what he needed to have any hope of coordinating his movements and eating successfully! We initially fought against failure to thrive. And Isaiah was put on the same formula created for preemies. He was simply burning too many calories in his efforts to eat! Isaiah required feeding every hour to an hour and a half, around the clock, for the first several weeks of his life. And, he had trouble keeping the food in his system for any length of time. At one month of age, he had just gained back up to his birth weight.

He also exhibited signs of “dyspraxia”, a general term covering all sorts of developmental coordination issues and very low muscle tone.  At ten months old, he still could not sit up reliably on his own. His nervous system was unable to keep signals straight. It was difficult for him to translate brain signals into muscle motions. Or to coordinate movements for things like chewing, swallowing, or catching himself if he began to fall. Those things were very real challenges. But, he is living proof that early intervention is everything to the special needs child. Today his nervous system has caught up in that area to the developmental level of a child who is older than himself! He still has issues with food. But, honestly, what two-year old doesn’t? More and more, the issues I see don’t look all that different from those of other kids of the same age.

Zoe’s Journey

Zbaby-2908
Zoe girl at roughly 2 months old. Those bright eyes lit up our days!

Zoe, on the other hand has a very “large cup” for tactile stimulation (especially oral). She will put anything and everything in her mouth, even at two!  As an infant and young toddler, she would chew on everything. All infants learn by mouthing objects in their world. Zoe simply could not get enough sensory input no matter how hard she tried. People would come into our home and ask where the puppy was! To this day, she sleeps in a crib that is the very cute equivalent of a padded room: she has special safe bumpers that go around each crib slat, rather than just lining the bed. They work great and keep her from chewing on the wooden crib slats. She is what they call a “sensory seeking” child, always striving to fill her very large bucket that requires sensory input and is never full.

Always… that is, until it comes to proprioception and vestibular movement. As an infant, she would stiffen her whole body up and push you away. I had never experienced anything like it with a newborn. I often heard people comment that she was hard to hold because they were afraid that her pushing would cause them to drop her. Now we understand what she was experiencing. The therapist called it gravitational insecurity.  Zoe has a very hard time judging where her body is in relation to everything else in her world. At that time, she found certain movements dizzying and incredibly unsettling.

Today, she will enjoy a mild amount of swinging, has started climbing more, and even goes down the slide at the park! All of that is thanks to Early Intervention.

Early Intervention Programs

drugexposedThe good news is that the Early Intervention programs in most areas are able to pick up on these issues from very, very young, and work with the child to develop the skills they need. So, the thing to keep in mind is that these issues do not have to be permanent. With some help their nervous systems can mature and learn to process the information needed to navigate their world. Zoe may never be a ballerina. But, she can now run and climb and play. She is developing new skills every day!

These issues are not unique to infants who are born with drug exposure. There are many children who live with SPD and other cognitive issues who are helped everyday by these same therapies.

The chances are that many who would consider adoption through foster care programs have already been exposed to kids with these same needs. For example, that child who seems very clumsy? Trips over their own feet? Perhaps bumps into walls more than the average kid? That could very well be a child with dyspraxia. It’s really not so different. Don’t let the labels scare you. These are children! While it is challenging, caring for a newborn who has special needs is not much different from caring for any newborn. You find out what they need, how to do it, and you provide for that need.

I hope that if you sense the call to adopt on your life, this information will encourage you to do so! Do not let fear of drug exposure stop you.

Today, looking at my darlings…I really don’t see anything but typical two year olds! As our doctor recently told us, if no one had known that they were drug exposed newborns (and thus immediately placed them and their development under a microscope from day one) our doctors would be reassuring us all along that they are well within the “range of normal” and to “just give it time”.

They are so very worth our time!

Jeanene and her husband Kelly are raising a “second set” of kids together. They have six children by birth between them, ages 17 to nearly 30 (his two daughters, her four sons) and are now parenting their boy/girl “functional” twins, Isaiah and Zoe. Isaiah was 4 months old when Zoe was born. Both kids came home as newborns in 2011, and were adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day, November 17, 2012! She shares the perspective of raising multiples through adoption. She also speaks from the position of raising kids as “older parents,” something that Jeanene and her hubby have found is becoming a more and more common experience. Jeanene is a passionate landscape, wedding, and portrait photographer, but has put the business side of photography on hold to focus on the special needs of her kiddos as a SAHM. Her days are now spent in a mixture of play, occupational therapy, and everyday life with two year olds running around. Think messy! When she has time, she enjoys casual photography, hiking, fly fishing, hunting, reading, writing and working researching the best ways to meet the needs of her sensory challenged kiddos! She blogs about foster parenting, adoption, and life with two toddlers at A Miraculous Mess.

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Twinfant Tuesday: Why Not? (And Earplugs)

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Categories Adoption, Balance, Emotion, Feeling Overwhelmed, Frustration, Guilt, Infants, SAHM, Special Needs, Toddlers, Twinfant TuesdayTags , 8 Comments
zoe girl-1466
Yeah, that look on Isaiah’s face? We all had that look in that first year after she came home..often!LOL!

Famous last words! “Why not?” Those were the words that kicked off my first year as a mom of functional multiples!

It was two pm on Friday, November 18, 2011. I was standing in my living-room-turned-nursery, bouncing my four-month old (then) foster son when the phone rang. They had a little bitty girl, a little bitty girl they had thought about calling us for placement ten days earlier when she was first born, but there was a family who “had waited longer for placement of a little girl.” So, they tried placement there first.Thing is, it didn’t work out for that family. I laugh looking back at it now; I didn’t even ask why! I just said “Sure, why not?”

After all, all of our paperwork as foster to adopt parents said “female 0-2 years of age”. Everything. This was the moment we had waited for and dreaming about for years! I had suffered a pregnancy loss of a daughter midterm over 17 years ago. The desire for a little girl of my own never went away.

Of course, we hadn’t planned on two babies. There was nothing in our paperwork that said “boy”. I have four boys by birth! But when they called us for him four months earlier, we just knew that this was our boy. So, there I stood. Nodding, twinkling, smiling at my husband who was shaking his head in wonder, and boom! It began. Our first year of life with two teeny little people!

First quarter. Year one.

Zoe was a screamer. Yes, really. She was sweet. She was beautiful. AND she was a screamer! I already had some experience with having two. We had another little girl for a month, off and on, as a respite baby. Seriously, I thought we had experience! So, yeah–small detail–that other little girl was not a screamer.

We didn’t even make it back home before we knew why it “just wasn’t working out” for the other family. That foster mom was a single mother and had to work full-time. Dealing with that shriek all night every night was just not in the realm of possibility for her. Heck, it pushed the limits for me!

Yes, really! This is survival man!

So, while the other MoMs here have touched on organization, asking for help, and keeping a positive perspective, (all absolutely critical to surviving the first year. I guess that last one could be a part of my strategy as well.) I, on the other hand, will address ear plugs. That’s right. You heard me. Don’t have any, do ya? Ear plugs!

I don’t know about you, but crying babies have always created a great sense of alarm in me. I am really sensitive to sound anyway. On the flip side of this issue, I am very musical. I can get lost in a melody for hours. I can hear a song one time and sing it back to you note for note, verbatim. It’s of like a photographic memory, but in my case audiological memory, for lack of a better word. Unfortunately, this was no melody!

The incredible urgency to fix.it.right.now.whatever.it.takes has always been an issue for me. And that was before I heard Zoe cry. Zoe’s cry could make the hair stand up on the neck of any parent. We finally dubbed her “Sonic” because we were pretty sure that even after she stopped shrieking 24/7, some of the sounds she emitted were dolphin-speak and could only be heard on dry land by canines! Really.

Once in a phone conversation my sister asked me, “Is that a car alarm?” My reply? “Um, no. That is my daughter.” It made me want to pull my hair out. Honey cried all of the time. The first three months were just torture for all of us. There were moments when I had to just go lay her down in her crib, walk away, and cry myself for a few minutes before trying again.

Epiphany

The earplugs entered the game the first time I was alone on a road trip with both babies. I was delivering one of my older boys to college. Holy-Screaming-Banshees-Batman. They both started in. It was dark. Exhaustion loomed. I had already been crying. Dealing with empty nest feelings while raising two toddlers is an interesting experience, but I digress. As the decibel level began to climb, I simply could not imagine enduring the remaining two hours ahead of me!

It was then that I remembered that I had read about a mom of twins who used ear plugs in the car, among other places. I laughed when I first read her story, but suddenly it made sense! And in my fervor for better preparation, I actually had some in my bag.

At first, I felt foolish pulling off the freeway to dig for earplugs. Then I felt guilty.

After a few miles of relief from the most intense of my physical responses to their crying, I was able to think clearly. I realized that there really was nothing more I could do. I had already stopped and fed everyone; Zoe had cried through most of the meal anyway. They had clean diapers. What they needed now was sleep, and to get home. There were over two hours of road between us and home.

The earplugs remained in use. After a few miles of my being calmer and not fussing about them fussing, there was silence. I have never been a CIO mom. I just can’t do it. I wear my babies. But, I had to learn to separate myself a bit from the crying when there was nothing more I could do to help them. And drive. That was a big epiphany for me.

Today

Earplugs are now a very important part of my life in parenting multiples. I have two-year olds, and Sonic Girl is alive and well! Add to that the fact that there are mornings when my son is obviously going to have more sensory issues than on the typical day–or maybe I am just not really awake yet–and you can see where these could come in handy!

They allow me to ignore two-year old tantrums. They enable me to stay calm when caring for a child who has suddenly gone all “exorcist” on me. Have you ever dealt with a tantrum from a child with seriously high muscle tone? They sort of levitate! And it is usually during a diaper change. Earplugs allow me to step back, think calmly, and make good decisions. And they keep me from adding to the stress/tension/chaos.

Please note, the earplugs do *not* make it so I cannot hear them at all. They just take the painful edge off of the screaming/crying/hysteria.

Of course…it didn’t hurt that they were so darn cute!

So, there ya go. My big tip from the first , and now second, year of life with two little screaming babies: earplugs and deep breathing. It saved my sanity more than once! Try it. It just might save yours!

 

Do you have any unorthodox approaches to handling tantrums? How do you stay calm and ignore two-year old behavior?

 

Jeanene

Jeanene (and her husband Kelly) are raising a “second set” of kids together. They have six children by birth between them, ages 17 to nearly 30 (his two daughters, her four sons) and are now parenting boy/girl “functional” twins, Isaiah and Zoe. Isaiah was 4 months old when Zoe was born. She blogs about foster parenting, adoption, and life with two toddlers at www.amiraculousmess.com.

 

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Functional Multiples

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Categories Adoption, Different Gender, Frustration, Functional Multiples, Loneliness, Mommy Issues, Parenting, Perspective, Relationships, SAHM4 Comments

Zoe and IsaiahThe first thing I noticed when I arrived here at HDYDI is that the focus is on “moms of multiples”, and not specifically “moms of twins and triplets.” Because of that, and the invitation to share my perspective, I knew I had found a place to belong!

In a recent conversation, I mentioned that most folks have referred to my kidlets’ particular situation as being “virtual” or “pseudo” twins.  However, I think it is more accurate to call them “Functional Multiples.” The next question was “what thoughts lead you to that conclusion?”

I had to think about that. Until that moment, I just knew it “felt right.” I am a word person way down deep in my soul. The meaning of a word matters to me. By definition…a “twin” is  one of two children produced in the same pregnancy. Period. I am all about validating the experiences of those around me. We all have a story to share. I don’t need to claim elements of your experience to confirm my own! I am not the mother of twins. I am most definitely a mom of multiples!

I can relate to many of the first year experiences of mothers with twins. I remember the 2 am feedings. I remember holding my breath, hoping the other baby would not wake. Of course, that was before I learned to go ahead and wake the other baby and feed them so that I wouldn’t need to get up again in less than an hour!  I also remember the first real road trip that I took alone with both babies screaming in the backseat. I thought I would lose my mind. It’s amazing how quickly you learn that screaming will not kill them, and is sometimes unavoidable! *Secret confession #1…I have since developed the habit of using ear plugs when the screaming is unavoidable and going to push me over the edge!

That is why I am here! I want to share in the common experiences. Having two little ones at the same time is incredibly isolating!  I have always been a “run for the hills” outdoors kind of person. Any chance I get I am *outside*. I am a landscape photographer by passion and profession! But, in that first year, I often wondered when I would be able to get out of my house on a blue sky day again! In fact, there were days when my response was more about sleep deprivation and less about logic where I wondered if I would EVER get out of the house again!? As far as I could tell spontaneity just exited my world, stage left!

Early on I searched for support. I researched the subject of “pseudo twins” and looked in vain for online groups of moms who are like me. There is a ton of “research” and opinion on the subject, most of which is very discouraging to a vulnerable mama with two growing babies in her care. Loads of criticism and debate are available at the click of a mouse, but little to no support for those of us already walking out this dynamic. The only advice I found that was of any comfort came from moms of multiples by birth. I can relate to the mom piece of this in so many ways!

I hope that by calling my babies “functional multiples” I can communicate my respect for the difference between what my children are experiencing and that of multiples by birth. At the same time, I hope to draw in other MoMs who may not fit into the typical scenario.

Thank you so much for inviting me to pull up a chair!

What do you think when you hear the phrase “Functional Multiples”? Does it make sense to you?

 

 

JeaneneJeanene (and her husband Kelly) are raising a “second set” of kids together. They have six children by birth between them, ages 17 to nearly 30 (his two daughters, her four sons) and are now parenting boy/girl “functional multiples”, Isaiah and Zoe. Isaiah was 4 months old when Zoe was born. Both kids came home as newborns in 2011, adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day, November 17, 2012! She shares the perspective of raising multiples through adoption. She also speaks from the position of raising kids as “older parents,” something that Jeanene and her hubby have found is becoming a more and more common experience. Jeanene is a passionate landscape, wedding, and portrait photographer, but has put the business side of photography on hold to focus on the special needs of her kiddos as a SAHM. Her days are now spent in a mixture of play, occupational therapy, and everyday life with two-year olds running around. Think messy! When she has time, she enjoys casual photography, hiking, fly fishing, hunting, reading, writing and working researching the best ways to meet the needs of her sensory challenged kiddos! She blogs about foster parenting, adoption, and life with two toddlers at www.amiraculousmess.com.

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An Unlikely Pair: Living with Functional Multiples (And, Hi, Nice to Meet You!)

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Categories Addiction, Adoption, Attitude, Different Gender, Diversity, Family, Functional Multiples, Parenting, Perspective, SAHM, Special NeedsTags , , , , 8 Comments

Summer 2013 -8423We are blazing a trail here, my hubby and I! Our family does not really fit into any established category.

Yes, I am most definitely the mother of multiples. But, am I the mother of twins? Mmmmm… No, not really.

The days look really similar to life with twins, but they are not. My children are not twins in the traditional (or even biological) sense. They did not share my womb. They were not born on the same day, although I have heard of the Irish mom who gave birth to twins, her first daughter at 23 weeks and the second daughter eighty-seven days later! So, maybe what day they were born isn’t as much of an issue here. Of course, the fact that they are not even biologically related is the real kicker!

We know they are not twins, yet we are parents of multiples, just the same. Our situation, although not unique, sits in a different category altogether. There are those that would argue that we don’t even belong here on a blog about multiples. I don’t suppose it really matters in the end. I can tell you it was tough! I see my life in many of your stories.

A bit of our story

We have six older kids, and when we realized they were all flying the coop at once, we decided we needed some new life in the home. We looked into foster care.

At the same time, I was studying to become a Chemical Dependency Professional, and the plight of drug-exposed newborns was near and dear to my heart. I studied the physiological effects of drugs and alcohol on the brain in adults. Let me tell you, watching an infant struggle with the pain and misery is a whole other ball game!

We sought training via an intensive care nursery in our state that specializes in caring for and teaching others about the effective handling of drug exposed and drug addicted newborns. In June of 2011, we got word we were fully licensed and ready to go!

Isaiah

On July 11, 2011, our son (then foster son) came home at 24 hours old. It was appalling to realize that the nurses at our local hospital had zero experience or understanding of how to care for drug exposed newborns. They told us that he was having issues with feeding, but they weren’t quite sure what to do to help him. They had a “good luck with that!” attitude. Thank goodness we had been trained!

Our journey had begun.

For the first four months, Isaiah was the only little one in our home. I spent the first two of those months helping him gain weight in spite of the drugs passing out of his system. I had to help him cope with the sensory overload that was his constant state. The tremors were incessant. He often whimpered as if he were in pain.

I cared for him in our basement bedroom, with the lights low and a soft sound machine for background noise. I needed to wake him to eat every one and a half to two hours for the first two months of his life. That sounds easy enough, but part of his response to sensory overload was to shut down and sleep. He slept eight straight hours after his first supervised visit with his first mom. He was only 3 days old and already struggling with failure to thrive. We simply could not wake him! Still, we tried, every hour until we succeeded in getting him to eat.

In spite of that regimen, Isaiah lost over a pound in his first week home, and only gained slowly and painfully for the first two months. If they had not placed him on the higher calorie formula intended for premature infants, I am sure that it would have been even longer.

Infants who are meth exposed are notoriously plagued with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and often have, shall we say “explosive,” diapers. They also commonly have trouble coordinating the muscles in their mouth to suckle and swallow effectively. So he lost far more than we could get into him at first. Such is the life of many foster moms!

And then things got really interesting!

When four months had passed, Isaiah had recovered from the withdrawal phase.  Life was settling into something that looked a lot like “normal”.

What do you know? The phone rang! Enter Zoe.

Zoe was also drug exposed, although primarily to an intense nicotine addiction. There was secondary exposure to methamphetamine. She screamed twenty out of twenty-four hours a day. The first three months of her life were a constant struggle to keep her calm and comfortable.

At the same time, we had our Isaiah evaluated by the local Birth to Three program and began his Occupational Therapy for dyspraxia.

Zoe was three months old before we had made a discovery that resolved many of her early issues. The introduction of a probiotic to her diet stopped the screaming like flipping a switch.

New normal

We settled into the therapy and care routines that carried us through many months. Today our lives look a lot like the typical life of parents with two-year old twin toddlers.

Functionally speaking, Isaiah and Zoe behave much like twins. They are very close. They have started to build their own language and pretty much drive each other nuts 24/7!

Occasionally they have other issues tied to their sensory integration difficulties. Zoe struggles with “gravitational insecurity” and Isaiah has multiple sensory issues including feeding/textures, certain sounds, strong smells. We are preparing to go through an 8 week-long session of the Wilbarger Brushing Protocol in hopes that we will help his nervous system to develop the capacity to filter some of these things out. Therapy keeps us busy.

In the midst of all of that we have the joy of watching these two phenomenal little people grow and develop into who they were meant to be, just like any other parents of multiples. While the kids don’t share that biological connection, in all things functional, I am most definitely living the very busy life of a mom of multiples! I have the same joy. The same intensity. A different perspective.

I’m looking forward to connecting with other mamas out there who are in the same boat!

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