Ask the Moms, part 5 – Pregnancy discomfort

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Categories Ask the Moms, PregnancyTags , 6 Comments

Do you have a question for the moms of How Do You Do It? Ask away in the comments of this post, or through our Features page!

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Today’s question comes from Jen, who is somewhere in her 30+ weeks of twin pregnancy, and also has a toddler at home. She wants to know if we have any suggestions for alleviating discomfort.

Oh, Jen. That sound you heard was the collective groan of remembrance and sympathy from the HDYDI moms. Some people swear you forget things about pregnancy and childbirth. But we twin moms will never forget how uncomfortable those final weeks were. We literally feel your pain. And while we have some suggestions, the hard truth is that the only cure is delivery. We hope the next weeks fly by.

There are some ways to take the edge off, however. Some of our favorites:

  • Pillows, pillows, and more pillows. Send your husband to the guest room if need be, because there will be more pillows surrounding you than you thought humanly possible. Between the knees, under the belly, one to hug, one behind you (so you don’t roll onto your back)… etc etc etc.
  • If heartburn or sleeping position are an issue, lots of people spend the end of their pregnancy sleeping (or at least attempting to sleep) in a recliner.
  • Warm baths or showers for that aching back (though if it’s already “out,” consider cold instead of heat. I found that if my back had already “gone out,” the heat just further inflamed the injury. See what works for you.)
  • Go for a swim. I was a terrifying sight to behold at 35 weeks pregnant in my blue gingham maternity bathing suit, but the relative weightlessness and freedom of movement in the water is really nice. Just beware: you feel extra heavy when you then have to get out of the water.
  • Check out those belly support belts they sell at maternity stores. Sometimes it takes just a touch of the strain off of you, carrying that immense load in front.
  • Just keep drinking a ridiculous quantity of water. Yes, you have to pee every 25 minutes, but you’re going to have to do that anyways, so better to be hydrated and stave off extra swelling and contractions. Rest, drink, pee, repeat.

As for caring for a toddler, all we can say is to get as much help as you possibly can. Mothers (-in-law), sisters (-in-law), cousins, neighbors, friends. Hire a middle- or high-school mother’s helper if you can. There’s no real tricks to make it easier at this point, and it may be wise to have a setup in place before your twins are born. So your toddler is used to her “special friends” who come over just to shower her with attention.

Unfortunately, Jen (and the rest of you nice pregnant ladies out there), there’s only so much we can offer as help on this one. The late weeks of a twin pregnancy are just plain awful most of the time, and you just have to try out every single position you can think of to try to get a few minutes of relief. All we can say is “hang in there, you’ll make it.” Oh, and try not to kill people who say genius things like “enjoy your sleep while you still can!” We know what it’s like. You haven’t slept for months. I remember thinking that first night in my hospital bed post-cesarean was the best night of sleep I’d had in the better part of a year. No joke.

Good luck to you, and we can’t wait to hear about those babies! (And we’ll try to address the car issue, too, maybe next week?)

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Ask the Moms, part 2 – Pregnancy nutrition

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This week’s question comes from Shree, who is about 20 weeks pregnant with mo/di twins. She wants to know what the moms of How Do You Do It? did with regard to nutrition during pregnancy, and whether or not we followed the guidelines in Dr. Luke’s book, When You’re Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads. She also has the special concern of being a vegetarian, wondering about getting all she and the babies need while avoiding meat. So, here we go. Ask the moms, and we shall answer. This one’s for all the pregnant ladies in the hizzouse…

Yours Truly (Goddess in Progress) – Stats: gained 65 pounds (lots of retained water/swelling at the end), delivered at 36 weeks, baby weights were 6lb2oz and 4lb8oz.

I did read Dr. Luke’s book, and thought the recommendations were good in theory, but insane in practice. I thought I’d have to immediately quit my job so that I could eat, drink water, and sleep all day long. But I did try to make sure I was eating a fair amount, and while I did not forgo junk food altogether, I remember wanting to feel like most of the things I was consuming had at least some positive nutritional value. At work, I’d often take an early break in the morning and go to Starbucks, where I’d get one of their sausage and egg sandwiches (so tasty, plus protein – bummer that they’re discontinuing them!) and a chocolate milk (dairy!). A favorite workday lunch was stir-fry from the Thai place around the corner – lean chicken and lots of veggies. I definitely paid a lot of attention to having a source of protein at every meal. I also knew I needed extra iron, which I used as a great excuse to have cheeseburgers frequently. :-) I briefly, after reading the Dr. Luke book, created an elaborate spreadsheet to see if I was getting all of my servings every day. I don’t think it lasted 24 hours. Ah well. Oh, and then there was the water. I started the pregnancy with a minimum of two quarts a day. By the end (yay, pregnant in July), my trusty Nalgene and I made it through well over a gallon each and every day.
From the archives: Here’s what I thought when I read the book, and a wake-up call over the importance of hydration.

Cheryl – Stats: Gained 45 pounds (but lost a few before delivery), delivered at 36w5d, baby weights were 5lb14oz and 4lb14oz.

When I picked up the [Dr. Luke] book (mid-way through my pregnancy), I did feel a bit intimidated by it…my doctor assured me that I was on target weight gain-wise, so no, I decided it would be more stressful than helpful to attempt…especially with a “belated” start. Naturally dodged the recommended “avoids,” and genuinely tried to get more protein “down.” Nitrates I know are oft-verboten, but I craved gas station hot dogs (yes, the spin in the grease kind), and relented often. Since that was an a-typical craving for me in a non-pregnant state….felt it must be one those “trust your body” motivations. (Doc okayed in moderation!) Ate a lot of double cheeseburgers as well…protein intake was a primary concern nutritionwise for me. Did eat a great deal of dairy, too….always felt like the preggers Lucy Ricardo when I did! If I had to define the “diet” I followed, I’d have to say I went with the “Go With Your Gut” diet! Our kids were slightly small for their gestation, but both were breathing well and did great from the get-go, requiring no NICU time at all…nursery gen pop right away! With the benefit of time, we now know our “smaller” baby, our daughter is simply DNA destined — as opposed to prematurity/prenatally predisposed due to diet — to be small/svelte. She’s been a 3% weight curve girl and just now at age six rose to the 10%. Nuts and tofu were big satisfiers for me, as were yogurt, ice cream and homemade milkshakes and smoothies. If you are finding a craving a true craving (a palpable compulsion as opposed to “Hey, I can have 70 cookies, I’m pregnant!”), so long as it poses no danger (ask the OB-GYN), I’d go with it!

American Wife – Stats: Gained about 50 pounds, delivered at 37 weeks exactly, baby weights were 5lb7oz and 4lb14oz (no NICU!)

I don’t even know who [Dr. Luke] is! I did not avoid eating anything, unless it made me physically sick! I couldn’t drink coffee, or eat any fish that I cooked (yet I could eat cooked fish from a restaurant, as well as sushi). I tried to work in lots of Omega 3’s, so I used the Smart Balance PB, and ground flaxseed (which can go into almost anything). Also when I made mac n cheese, I used cottage cheese instead of milk for extra protein. My advice is to mix proteins and fruits! Cheddar cheese & Granny smith apples! Peaches & Fresh mozzarella with a little bit of balsamic (MY FAVORITE!). Salads with walnuts/pine nuts, fruits (mandarin oranges are good), and dark leafy lettuces/spinach with balsamic dressing. Another thing I did was to make smoothies using frozen and/or fresh fruit and either yogurt, soymilk, or sometimes tofu. I got lots of recipes from vegfamily. Here’s a decent guide to some foods that have important vitamins. A few more suggestions. Oh, also don’t eat an entire quart of Dulce De Leche by Hagen Daas in ten minutes, trust me. It tastes great going down, but coming up….
From the archives: How I got off to a really bad start.

LauraC – Stats: Gained 54lbs, delivered at 36w3d, baby weights were 6lb3oz and 6lb1oz.

Dr Luke book: YES. I read it the day after I found it was twins (18 weeks) and followed it to a T. I ate 100g+ of protein every day and 4000-5000 cals a day, as directed in the book. I avoided anything that made me vomit (eggs, soy, nuts, beans). And I generally gave in to real cravings. I was a vegetarian for 10 years before getting pregnant. Every form of vegetarian protein made me instantly vomit for the length of my pregnancy. I made the decision that the health/growth of my boys was more important than my reasons for being vegetarian and started eating meat. You CAN have a vegetarian twin pregnancy but I would recommend reading nutrition labels to get accurate protein counts. The book “Your Vegetarian Pregnancy” was helpful to me too until my m/s got so bad. The only special thing you would need to watch is your iron level. You should talk to your doctor about that.

CarrieinAK – Stats: Gained 65-70lbs, delivered at 36 weeks, baby weights were 4lb11oz and 5lb6oz

I am not sure of the nutritional guidelines in the Dr. Luke book (I didn’t read it). I just tried to aim for about 3,500 calories a day (more than likely I ate around 4,000 calories), with around 75-100 g of protein…and a helluva lot of agua. I ate a lot of homemade egg salad, bean burritos and cottage cheese. I was a vegetarian for 28 1/2 years (raised that way), until I got pregnant and started eating chicken a couple of times a month. My body craved it. I did avoid soft cheeses, etc…all the usual guidelines. And I’d never had fish before, so sushi wasn’t an issue. Kids were born at 36 weeks (exactly) and they weighed 4 lbs, 11 oz. and 5 lbs, 6 oz. Reid had been diagnosed with IUGR, but once they were “out”, their weights were way different than the ultrasound said they were.

Krissy – Stats: Gained 49lbs, delivered at 39 weeks, baby weights were 7lb12oz and 6lb12oz.

I have to say that I didn’t count calories at all, but I did try to follow the basic March of Dimes guideline (24lbs by 24 weeks gestation.) I had major adversions to most healthy foods…could barely choke down a salad, which I typically adore. I tried to eat nutritious foods, but I definitely ate more high calorie crap than I ever had in my life. I avoided the usual stuff (soft cheese, fish, etc.) and avoided most artificial sweetners.

Cynthia – Stats: Gained 40-45lbs, delivered at 34w5d, baby weights were 5lb11oz and 5lb2oz.

I read the book cover to cover and then put it away. I applied some of the general concepts to my eating/shopping/cooking routines but I did not take the book out and try to follow verbatim. I avoided the soft cheeses, sushi and (obviously) alcohol and caffeine. Although I did have the occasional glass of red wine or cup of half-caf coffee to hold off a migraine. My concern was protein (see below) but I also just tried to eat veggies at every turn. Thankfully I enjoy them so it wasn’t too hard. I was not a vegetarian by choice. However, with pregnancy I tend to develop a severe aversion to meat (gag reflex and all). Particularly chicken, but pork and beef as well. I was religious about drinking high-protein Boost shakes (chocolate, of course) 3 times per day. My twins were misdiagnosed mono-mono until 23 weeks. I had read on the monoamniotic.org website about mommies drinking Boost or Ensure so I just started. Once I found out they were mono-di, I was still worried about TTTS and knew that Dr Delia (sp?) recommended protein shakes for those diagnosed. I figured if it helped once diagnosed, perhaps it would help to do proactively. At the end I felt so big that I was struggling to get in enough of anything (good or bad) during the day and I felt like the Boost helped me with the calories in that regard. I did put them in the blender with fudge swirl ice-cream somewhere around 30 weeks. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right? :-)

Rebecca – Stats: gained 38lbs, delivered at 36w2d, baby weights were 6lb6oz and 5lb15oz.

So, no, really didn’t follow the Barbara Luke book. My weight gain got quicker towards the end. I had at least 2 weeks where I gained 4 lbs a week, which I think is what the Luke book doesn’t want you to do. Don’t they think you should do the weight gain pre-20 weeks? No NICU time. Roomed in and came home with us. Oh, I also had a really easy pregnancy—no blood pressure issues or sciatica or diabetes or anything. Or preterm labor–just my water breaking. I avoided unpasturized stuff, alcohol, all but one serving of caffeine a day, sushi, undercooked meats, cold cuts. Hmm, can’t remember if there was anything else. I tried to eat more protein than usual. I’m not a real big meat eater, so I tried to get chicken on salads, eat more cereal (for milk), yogurt, even some of the South beach diet bars, which have extra protein. I was also focused on avoiding empty calories, so I cut out crackers and cookies and stuff, for the most part, after the first trimester (first trimester, goldfish crackers were my friend).

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The man in your bed

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Categories Family, Identical, Infants, Mommy Issues, Multiple Types, Pregnancy, RelationshipsTags , , , , , 10 Comments

Some time around the 3rd month, I rolled over one morning after a (blissful!) 4-hour stretch of sleep to find a man in my bed.  As I rubbed my sleepy eyes to get a better look, I wondered…”who was this mysterious fellow that I had, apparently, spent the night with?”, and then I noticed that he looked suspiciously like an exhasted version of the man I married a few years back.

When B and I first found out that, “Surprise! It’s twins!”, after the initial shock, I found myself more in love with my husband than ever before.  Those 9 months of waiting and anticipating were amazing!  We’d go out to dinner and talk endlessly about how, in a few months, we’d be bringing our boys hiking, camping and out to dinner.  We found ourselves constantly repeating, “I can’t wait when the boys….XYZ”.  We’d plan our future as a family right from the dinner table. 

What was missing from all of our discussions was how having twins would affect our marriage. 

Fast forward 9 months and, although the love was still there, our relationship as husband and wife changed.  Drastically.  For the first 3 months, instead of B the Husband, I was now co-habitating with B, the Father of my Children.  He went from Husband to Teammate/Nightshift worker/Sandwhich maker/Diaper changer/Guy who poured my miniscual amounts of EBM into little plastic bags to be frozen.  Our deepest conversations usually happened at 2am (the end of his “shift”), when my Teammate would give me a quick report on what time each kid peed, pooped, slept and ate.  We’d slap eachother’s hands with a “TAG!  You’re it!” gesture and we were off to our respective posts.  B to the bedroom for some zzz’s before getting up to go to work and me to the family room where I would watch over the babes. 

Oh, those first months were tough!  Between sleep deprivation, hormone fluctuations, doctor’s appointments, visitors, and breastfeeding struggles, there just wasn’t enough time for “us”.  Rarely did we kiss, rarely did we hug, and rarely did we have enough energy to ask how eachothers’ day had gone.  For two people who once decided to share the rest of their lives together, this was quite a change.

No book, magazine, pre-birth class or best friend can prepare you for the post-birth relationship that you’ll have with your spouse.  There’s the BAD:  You’ve just washed the 21st bottle of the day and the sink is finally empty until your husband decides he can’t take the extra 1.3 seconds to put his dirty silverware in the dishwasher (where it belongs).  You yell.  He yells.  And then the babes start yelling (even louder than you both combined) and procede to projectile vomit all over the couch cushion that you just steam cleaned for the millionth time since D-Day.  And then, of course, you forget what you were even arguing about because you are both attempting to rescue a kid from Lake Vomit.  And then there’s the GOOD:  The kids are both quiety asleep in their bouncers, keeping their Soothies in place.  The dinner that your neighbor graciously prepared is piping hot and ready to be enjoyed.  You both sit down at the table (at the same time!).  And finish the entire meal, all while engaging in conversation that doesn’t include the word “poop”, before the kids wake up to be fed.

Because hindsight is 20/20, I compiled a list of little things that you and your spouse can do during the first (exhausting!) months in an attempt to shift the focus back to the real reason why you started out on this Great Adventure called Parenting:  LOVE!

  • Say “please” and “thank-you”.  It sounds lame, but they aren’t called The Magic Words for nothin’.   
  • Take a break, alone, at least once a day.  And no, pumping breast milk in a quiet (and kid-free) room does not count. 
  • Take a break, together, once a day.  When both kids are asleep, try to spend a few minutes re-connecting, even if it’s just doing the dishes together for 10 minutes (though, this isn’t really a “break”).  Talk about your day, ask your spouse where he’d like to go on vacation (in 2 years), or what book he’s looking forward to reading (and yes, you will read for pleasure again one day!  I promise).  Just don’t talk about how exhausted you are and that you’re not sure if you’re going to make it through the next day without a stiff martini.
  • Hug and kiss your spouse.  Seriously.  It only takes a second.
  • Focus on the positive.  The first few months are rough, but they will also be filled with some of your most cherished moments.  Enjoy the little things that matter.  Sure, feeding two infants at once is anything but easy, but really…how many people in this world get the chance to do this?  Just knowing that you ARE doing it is and, by god, it’s working!, is reason to celebrate!
  • Don’t keep a tally.  Maybe you had to fold the 4 loads of laundy that have been sitting in the Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper for 2 days straight, but your spouse fixed the wobbly wheel of your used Snap-n’ Go (without having to ask him!) that you discovered after today’s pedi appointment.
  • Plan your first night out.  Someday…soon…there will be a time when you and your spouse can get the hell out of the house.  Together, sans the bundles of joy.  It’ll be exciting and it will be terrifying.  But, it’s got to happen sooner or later…and, anticipation is the best part!  What restaurant will you go to?  What will you order?  Will you be able to finish an entire glass of wine without feeling highly buzzed?

It was’t until the sixth-month mark that I finally started to recognize the man in my bed.  Even if I’d occassionally find that same man on the couch, after kicking him out in the middle of the night to make room for two squirmy kids.  

Our babes are almost 13 months now, and B and I are still attempting to figure out the delicate balancing act between career, children and marriage.  They say you can’t have it all.  But damnit, I’d like to try.

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Inquiring twin moms want to know

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Categories Famous Twins, Multiples in the News, Pregnancy12 Comments

~First, a shameless quick plug: Don’t forget to submit a question for this week’s Ask The Moms segment! Post it in the comments here, or through our Features page.~

Pregnant J.LoAnywho, last week brought us the news that Jennifer Lopez gave birth to her boy/girl twins. Congrats, J. Lo, and a hearty welcome to the secret society of twin moms. I hope that your fame doesn’t prevent you from connecting with others around you, as I have found networking with fellow twin moms has made a big difference in my life. Hey, feel free to visit our blog, even! :-)

I was struck, though, by the short announcement carried by all of the news outlets. Time, date, weights, genders. Parents are thrilled. End of story. Clearly, the interview was not conducted by a mother of twins. While we certainly like to hear the stats that were reported, the questioning would have taken a more detailed turn if we had been in charge. It’s not even a fame thing, we give this same interview to any new twin mom.

How many weeks were you? First thing we want to know, and a stat that any twin mom will immediately relate to you. Anything before about 34 weeks is pretty preemie. The 35-36 range gets a nod for being solidly average. 37 and over and you start to enter the realm of impressive, and you’ll get immediate sympathy as we know how uncomfortable you must have been. As for J.Lo, I’m assuming at least 35+ weeks, as the weights on her kids (5lb7oz and 6lb) were very respectable.

Any NICU time? Another factoid we’re all ready with. We know what it means if you say they were there “for 37 days, but were just feeders and growers.” If you managed to avoid the NICU altogether, more power to you.

If someone is feeling bold, we might ask whether or not you had a c-section. Practice varies so much between different hospitals and doctors. Is one baby breech? Discordant size? Only one head-down but you went for the vaginal, anyways? Did you get the dreaded combo platter (baby A vaginal, baby B emergency c-section)? The moms of How Do You Do It? speculate J.Lo had a vaginal birth, given the reported 12-minute separation in times of birth – way more time than your standard c-section, but probably not so long that she had one vaginally and then a c-section. The time of day (just after midnight) also suggests it was not a scheduled c-section. That’s our guess, anyways. 

Then, we’ll ask you about your pregnancy…

Did you have to go on bedrest? It’s not the news anyone wants to get. “Restricted activity.” Sometimes they just tell you to put your feet up, sometimes you’re only allowed to get up for the bathroom, and the really lucky ones get hospital bedrest and learn about things like steroid shots and terbutaline. Good times.

Any other complications? Pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, any other of those rotten side effects of pregnancy. We sure hope you avoided them, but we know that sometimes you don’t. Especially with the extra strain that double babies put on your body.

When did you find out it was twins? Some of us have an early ultrasound for any number of reasons, and pretty much knew all along. Some bounce along happily all the way to 20+ weeks, and then get a big surprise at the anatomy ultrasound.

If you have identicals, we might even ask if they were mo/mo, mo/di, or di/di twins. We not only know what the abbreviations stand for, but we know that each step along the spectrum means a whole different level of risk. But we solemnly swear that we will never ask J.Lo or any other mom of boy/girl twins whether or not they’re identical. Argh.

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So, fellow moms of multiples, what other questions are on your standard twin-mom interview sheet? Note that these are the questions other twin moms ask. We’ll deal with the crazy questions other people ask some other time.

And, for the record, I went to 36 weeks exactly, c-section (baby B breech and discordant size, born 45 seconds apart), a week in the NICU just for transitioning. No bedrest, but pregnancy-induced hypertension and a lot of associated swelling/water retention. And we found out at an ultrasound around 6 weeks.

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Semblance of my Former Self

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When I was pregnant with my boys, I remember very early on being obsessed with looking at belly shots. I can’t tell you how many times I googled “pregnant twin belly photos.” I just couldn’t fathom what two babies growing on the inside of me would look like on the outside. And honestly, I was scared to death. When I started telling people I was pregnant with twins, just after their elated congratulations would come, “you are going to be HUGE!” Thanks, that’s just what I needed to hear. So what better place to go and find out exactly how huge I would get then the Internet! Big mistake.

I found several sites dedicated to pregnant bellies with twins and triplets, along with blogs and personal websites. And what I saw, in many cases, was even more frightening then what my imagination had conjured. Crazy stretch marks. Full-term size at only 25 weeks. OMG! What was going to happen to me?!?! And then I hit the mother of all pictures that induced such fear and spine-tingling horror…the postpartum photos. What the hell is “twin skin?!”Now, I’m not a vain person. But I am 5’3” on a very good day and weigh about 120. Aside from thinking about these frightening future aesthetics, I wondered if my body could even handle this?

33 weeksWell, of course it could…and it did. Despite being fairly paranoid of how enormous I was getting, I lucked out and didn’t reach full-term size until I was 33 weeks. I delivered at 36 weeks, thank god, because my belly felt like it just couldn’t stretch any more. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t get my twin “badge,” or I like to say “badges,” because if these suckers were like girl scout badges, I’d have a whole sash filled in. Yes I have stretch marks. Yes I have twin skin. Yes I have a herniated belly button (the outie that just won’t go back in). Yes I have diastasis (my very own abdominal crevasse). Yes I want my old stomach back!

I think some women are blessed with a combination of great skin genes, a long torso, height in general, and can manage to have a twin pregnancy without all the postpartum ugliness. But I think most moms of multiples have a constant reminder of their pregnancy written across their tummies. I’m not trying to scare any preggos out there who are reading this, I just want to be realistic. Because I deluded myself while I was pregnant, rubbing tubs of 100 percent organic cocoa butter and vitamin e thinking I would be spared. I would be one of the lucky ones.

I know everyone is different, but it wasn’t until six months postpartum that I could even look at my stomach in the mirror without totally cringing. The good news is that after a year, I’m starting to get used to how my stomach looks. It’s actually not THAT bad. The stretch marks have definitely faded, and if it weren’t for the hernia, I’d feel pretty comfortable with it all. My husband tells me that when the time comes (i.e. when we are officially “done”) and if I’m so inclined, I should just get it fixed. And I’m so NOT the plastic surgery type, but I have to say the idea of walking into Dr. Reys’ office on Dr. 90210 and asking for a “BJJ” – belly button job – is hysterically intriguing to me. Because really I should get a hernia fixed, shouldn’t I?!?! And while I’m there, I might as well get my abs pulled in and skin smoothed, too, right?

And just like that those badges would be gone, forever erased from my twin mom sash. But I don’t think I’d mind a bit, because these two beaming faces smiling up at me are all the reminders I need.

oz and abieP.S. Just like my obsession with researching pregnant bellies, I did the same for the ultimate stretch mark solution. I now rub my belly with some stuff called Bio-Oil and I’m convinced it helps. You can get it at Walgreens.

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There Are Two Things In Life For Which We Are Never Truly Prepared: Twins

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Categories Family, Pregnancy9 Comments
Clarity and Moxie at 7 weeks

“What do you mean, TWO MORE?”

That was my exact reaction to the ultrasound technician when asked us how we’d feel about having two more babies, in addition to our first daughter. The thought of having twins made me want run for the hills never crossed my mind. The tech was nice enough to send me on my way to the bathroom to empty my obnoxiously full bladder. I remember walking down the hallway thinking “What the hell just happened?!” On our way out, the staff expressed their congratulations, to which I just muttered, “Ha. Yeah. Thanks.” Then I cried. I cried for a good twenty minutes. I cried when I told my parents that we weren’t just expecting one baby. We are not talking tears of joy here. These were tears of absolute fear of what was to come in October. How are we going to handle two full-time careers, two babies, and a five year old?! How will we afford to feed and clothe everyone? How will we afford DAYCARE?! At one point, I even thought to myself, a lot of pregnancies start off as twins and we are only seven weeks in. There’s always a chance of losing one, and that might be for the better.

Around week twelve, after a night of some – ahem – one on one time with my husband, I noticed some spotting as I went to the bathroom. A quick call to my OB’s office led me to believe that I could be possibly suffering a miscarriage of one or even both babies. Once again, there were tears. After only a few weeks of knowing that I was pregnant with twins, I became confident in my ability to handle fact that life was going to get a whole lot harder in a few months. I wanted to meet both of these babies. This is how it is supposed to be! No way was this happening to us. Thankfully, we were able to see them the next morning at an emergency ultrasound. Two strong little heartbeats inside two little tiny black blobs.

Here comes the mushy part. All of the fears that I felt at the beginning are now completely overshadowed by the feeling that comes over me when the twins smile at us, when I see them looking at Monkey (my big girl), and yes, even when they have smelly butts. Now I can’t even imagine what it would have been like to have had only one more. Oh wait, yes I can. Do I wish I had that? Absolutely not. Besides, playing Guitar Hero is more fun at night once everyone has gone to sleep.

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The First Months: Actually Leaving the House

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Categories Breastfeeding, Feeding, Formula, Infants, Pregnancy, Travel5 Comments

After a particularly successful outing with my nine month olds, I was reviewing the trip, analyzing it to figure out exactly why it went so well. And although I doubt I could duplicate the success of the day, I have noticed a few themes that occur more often than not on our good days. As such, I would like to pass along a few tidbits I have learned over the last few months…most of which I learned the the hard way!

When I brought home my two little screaming bundles of joy from the hospital, I was so relieved to be freed from the confines of my pregnant belly, that I couldn’t wait to get out and about without the careful chaperoning of my husband. However, as a new MoM, I wasn’t going anywhere with out said shrieking bundles. The first few weeks I had lots of family help, and was chauffeured as I wasn’t able to drive post c-section. But bright and early on a Monday morning, 3 weeks after Faith and Jonathan were born, I was on my own. So what did I do on my first day flying solo? Well, I went to the mall.

I desperately needed to be around people, and simply could not tolerate being in the house another day without going a little stir crazy. I can’t remember much about that trip, but I do remember the drive home, because both babies were WAILING the whole time. My hormonal nerves were frayed, and I begged each red light to change. Obviously, I had pushed the envelope, and was now paying for it. I arrived home with two babies who were certain they were starving, and were going to pass out if they were not fed right now! After feeding them, they quieted, and my stress level lessened. I realized that I should have fed the babies prior to loading them into the car and heading home…and that is tip #1. Always plan your outings around your feedings.

Babies with full tummies travel and tolerate changes much better than hungry babies. Expect your newborns to need to be fed while you are out and about, and prepare for it. If your babies are drinking their milk in bottles, they can be fed two at a time while in their carseats. If you will need a private place to breastfeed, consider nursing in your vehicle, or in a handicapped changing room. The handicapped rooms have enough room for maneuvering a double or triple stroller, and are great for quick diaper changes, far removed from the prying eyes of all those interested in your “double trouble” duo.

My second tip would be to #2. Quit while you are ahead. And by this I mean, reconsider your time-line. Before I was a mom, I could easily go from one store/activity to the next, with barely a bathroom break in between. But my little ones do not have the ability to go from location to location without a break. Lets face it, no matter how scheduled we try to be, there is nothing like two or more infants to throw a wrench in your perfectly choreographed day. If you overbook your day, or your expectations are too high, you might find yourself frustrated, and itching to check just one more thing off of your to-do list. I vividly recall feeling so annoyed that my babies would barely tolerate one (1.7 mile) trip around the park….didn’t they know that Mama does two laps? I definitely had to change my thinking.

Today, we left our outing with enough time to get home for naps, and before the kids melted down. In this way, I ended the trip feeling quite pleased with our day, rather than put out that I couldn’t window shop/walk/sip my coffee longer.

Lastly, I want to talk about # 3. Technique. The idea of loading and unloading my kiddos from the house to the car and getting them into different restaurants/stores/doctor’sappointments was overwhelming for me. Before I gave birth, I couldn’t imagine how to do it. My babies were in infant car seats from 0-6 months. To get us out the door, I would:

  1. Load babies into car seats, and place by front door.
  2. Run purse, water bottle and diaperbag out to car, and start it with A/C or heat on, depending on the weather.
  3. Carry the babies to the car and snap them in. When they got older and heavier, I would leave one on the front porch, and snap the sibling into the carseat base.
  4. Repeat.

From six months on, we have been using convertible car seats. The trick that I employ is placing a pac-n-play by the front door as a “staging area.” I will take one child out to the car and come back for their sibling, who was contained in a safe place. This has become especially useful as the babies have recently started to crawl. Using the pac-n-play provides me with peace of mind as I shovel the walkway, or scrape ice from our windshield.

I also like to keep a bjorn or similar carrying device tucked into the basket of my stroller. This has come in very handy during meltdowns, and I can comfort one by carrying them while having my hands free to push the other baby in the stroller. It is hard on the back, but then again, nearly everything about motherhood hurts my back!

Also, whenever possible, I park near handicap entrances, and utilize the ramp, automatic doors and lower curbs. And a good trick for grocery shopping or doing your Target run…place one infant carrier in the front of the cart, and carry the other in a bjorn or sling. This leaves your cart free for your purchases.

Leaving the house with two babies is absolutely possible, and totally necessary for the mental health of MoM. Remember, you are strong and capable! The way I figure it, the very worst thing that could happen is both babies could cry/scream/poop/pee/vomit and you could turn into a hormonal pile of mush. Face it, that could just as easily happen at home! But at least this way, you can make good use of the Starbucks drive-thru!

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