Take 12

I sat in the NICU in a daze.

“Ding Ding, Ding Ding!”

IV fluids- complete

“Ding Beep Beep”

Respiratory rate- dropping

“Ding, Ding”

Oxygen Saturation- Low

Cameron, otherwise known as the boy twin, had just finished a feeding through his NG tube. His alarms went off while he worked hard to release a preemie sized fart – poof.

The sounds of the NICU echoed in my head like the intro to the Pink Floyd hit “Money”. I had 12 weeks of FMLA, and my 12 weeks had begun.  My Joy turned to Fear.

In the US the only nationally recognized benefit for parental leave is FMLA. Though it protects your employment for 12 weeks, FMLA is an unpaid benefit. Like many women in this country my pay is not a supplement to my family’s well-being; it is essential.
My choice to take 12 weeks was a sacrifice, not a luxury.

And yet, I am one of the fortunate.  Many women who qualify do not have the choice to take the full 12 weeks of FLMA.  They have to return to work after 6 weeks short term disability to avoid the crippling financial hit. Short term disability is not a fully paid benefit, and it is not available to all. As a result, some women go against their Doctor’s orders and take only 2 weeks!

My friend, let’s call her “Sally,” planned to take 6 weeks of leave.  Her baby was born early and needed time in the NICU.  She made the decision of considering the NICU as daycare, so she could spend her 6 weeks with her baby once released from the hospital.  Sally returned to work 3 DAYS after giving birth and 2 weeks before it is considered safe to drive.  She risked postpartum hemorrhage and bleeding to death in order to have time at home with her baby.  That is a calculated risk that no one should be comfortable with yet many women face. She, like many, had no choice. In fact, approximately 25% of women return to work within 10 days of giving birth.

“What do you need? How can I help? What can I do for you?” The people in my life repeatedly bless me with their graciousness; however, it is often difficult for me to accept help or to articulate what is most helpful.

I need time to bond and get to know these new beautiful people who rely on me and their father for everything.

I need time to help my older children feel secure in their new roles as our family org chart widens.

I need time to heal from my emergency C-section and 9 month pregnancy.

I need time to make breastfeeding work, or at least give it a try.

After I tallied up the paychecks missed, insurance contribution due, hospital bills and new price of childcare, I was overwhelmed.  My mother suggested I create a crowdfunding project to help fund my leave. I felt embarrassed as a working woman to seek crowdfunding as my only resort.

There had to be a better solution.

We can register for gifts, so why not time?  People want to help.  Why should I feel embarrassed for being truthful about the help I need?

We need to feel empowered to value the fleeting time with our families that we will never get back.

We need a shame-free platform where working moms can register for what they want more than anything.

We need to encourage and help working parents to take 12 weeks for their health and the health of their babies.

It is my belief that women are some of the most creative, focused, and determined beings I know, yet most of us venture into the transition of maternity leave and the return to work with little to no preparation. As a result, we are left feeling defeated, alone, and overwhelmed.

We need Take12.

Take12 is my answer to the maternity leave crisis. With Take12 no working mom will need to feel as helpless as I did. Through Take12 I am committed to building a community that will empower parents to mentally, emotionally and financially prepare for the transition of becoming a working parent.

If you are a mom preparing to take maternity leave, log on and create your Time Registry.  We are here for you step by step as you set up your profile and prepare mentally, emotionally, and financially for your maternity leave.

If you are a Friend, Family Member, or Co-Worker of someone who is expecting and preparing to go on maternity leave- buy someone snuggle time, nap time, NICU time, an hour, a day or a week of time to spend with their bundle of joy. Follow along on their registry as the new Mommy updates you with pictures.

It’s time to give the most precious gift.

To the Human Race


Dear human race,

let’s stop killing each other.

I realize this may be harder than it sounds, but I have some ideas that I’d like you to consider. This will only take a minute of your time. I also realize there are a lot of us, so I will single us out individually and you can choose to only read the parts that pertain to you.

To the published journalist- not just the one who studied journalism in school and earned a degree but to you as well. Yes you, the one with the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. account. Take accountability for the things you publish. Though you may not have the credentials to be considered a published journalist, every time you say something, post something, share something, like something comment and so on you are a published journalist.

Your words matter.

Your voice matters.

Think about what you are putting out into the world. Those things are taken literally and they matter. Once you hit send or post your words are permanent.

They don’t go away.

They create something.

The next time you say something that is against something else consider being for something instead. I don’t just mean for something so that you can be against something else – let’s choose to be pro love instead of anti-hate. Let’s choose to take accountability for the things we create. Just like viruses can kill people, going viral can be at just as damaging

To the person with skin,

yours is beautiful.

As someone else with skin I can’t believe that some of you have been treated so badly because of your skin. My entire life I’ve never known what it’s like to be treated badly because of my skin and it makes me sick to think that some mothers wake up every day in mourning or afraid for their children’s lives because of their beautiful and perfect skin. On behalf of the human race I am deeply sorry and I am saddened that this is still the case in 2016.

We desperately need to start seeing past each other’s skin as though it’s our own children’s and need to see people as they should be seen- beautiful creations who are perfectly and wonderfully made. If we want this systemic cycle of killing, violence, and hate to stop we have to stop isolating and dividing ourselves by the skin we can’t control and start valuing each other’s lives. I suggest we start with those who have been persecuted quite enough.

To the person with ears, and by ears I also mean eyes,

listen.

I keep hearing this directive for me to use my voice. That if I have a voice and I am not using it then I am part of the problem. How can you effectively use your voice if no one is listening? I suggest we all take a step back, stop talking and listen.

If everyone’s talking at the same time in my house, no one can hear anyone. To the point where if someone were actually in trouble everyone’s talking could put them in greater danger. All the noise that we continue to create has become a race to see who can talk the loudest without having to listen to the person standing next to them. I have to admit this is an area where I have some trouble finding the end solution. What I have noticed is that it’s almost impossible for everyone to have a voice and for no one to have a side.

Our voice  has become the tool we use to grasp onto other peoples ideas and inevitably isolate each other further. Why do we all have to have a voice when some of us have not earned the right to speak? When some of us really have nothing to say? Why can’t we all listen first, and then have a discussion if there is room for one. Can our voice be in our actions instead?

To the person who believes in something,

understand that you are what you believe in.

It is your responsibility be what you believe in. For instance, if you believe in God you are a reflection of God on this earth, you were made in God’s image. It is your responsibility to love others the way that God loves you first and foremost. If you believe in the power of the universe, you are the universe. It is your responsibility to be what you want to manifest in this world. If you don’t believe in anything, believe in yourself and be the good you want to see in this world. Take responsibility for the energy and behavior you contribute to the human race.

Be good to each other. None of us are all correct in the way we try to get our point across. We all have something to learn from each other. We all need to actively look for those opportunities.

Human race, we need each other to survive, so let’s stop killing each other.

Last First Times Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

“Time may change me, but I can’t trace time.”

The late, great, David Bowie had it right.

I started writing this post 1 month ago and a lot has happened:

…Despite my best effort to squeeze his cute little thighs into the same Sesame Street patterned diaper forever, Cam officially moved into size 1 diapers a couple of weeks ago.  I cried.

In theory these types of milestones are to be celebrated.  My (once preemie) babies are growing fast, healthy, and strong.  However, I can’t help the automatic loop of “Landslide” that plays in my head every time I fold up a Newborn onsie and put it in the donate pile for the last time.

When Charlie was a baby I would pat myself on the back each time we hit a milestone because I had miraculously made it through another day with my firstborn.  I would think to myself “maybe one kid is enough, how do people survive with two?!”

Looking back on the early days with Gus I can hardly remember what he looked like as a newborn.  I spent so much time helping Charlie, then a toddler, through the transition that I barely remember relishing in the newborn stage at all.  I also set out on a new career path at the end of my maternity leave with Gus so the excitement of a new venture put a haze over the fleeting seconds I had with my tiny man.  Gus grew like one of those plastic pills you put in water that morph in to a sponge dinosaur.  Overnight he went from 7lbs, 10 oz to small man.

With the twins I find myself holding on to each tiny change the way a little kid holds on to the leg of her parent as they leave for a business trip.

NOOOOOO, why are you already in 3 month pj’s?! You’re barely 2 1/2 months old!!! (Cam smiles and coo’s back) Aww wait, you couldn’t do that yesterday!  You are so cute!!! Wait, you’re already engaging with me?! NOOOOO!

“Turn and face the strange”.

Embracing the changes and living in the moment is the only way to live but it’s also much easier said than done.

This week we are moving out of our house that we have lived in for the past 3 1/2 years.  I LOVE this house.  It has been the absolute perfect house for our family.  3 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, perfect amount of living/entertaining space, cozy, tons of character, great neighbors, Swimming pools and walking trails, PERFECT!  Then, two months ago we grew by two more family members.  Just like that I found myself relating less to the couples of “Fixer Upper” and more to the couples on “Tiny Homes.”

I realize that many people have lived in much smaller setups and have lived to tell about it, but my flash forwards to 6 people all over 6 feet tall sharing one (very small) full bathroom began to haunt me in the night…

Since I wrote this we moved to a new house, I went back to work, the older boys finished 1st grade and preschool, he twins turned 4 months old, and I turned 31. Time is flying faster than I can process it.  I am starting to understand why other twin moms say that “the first year is a blur”.

I am excited to get back into the habit of writing on a regular basis again. I figure that in a couple of years we should unpack our last moving box. Until then I will work on getting a grasp on my rituals again and enjoying every moment with my quickly growing babes. My thought is that if I remember to check in with myself and chip away at simple personal goals, then I will not lose myself in the vortex. By simple I mean elementary- in fact, I can only muster up 4 goals for this week.  10 years ago I would have had 10 goals for each day.

Goals for this week:

  1. Work out 3 days for 20 minutes- I am setting my work out goals low because it has been A WHILE and I feel that if I make my goals attainable I will have a better chance of success.
  2. Write 2 blog entries.
  3. Unpack 3 boxes- It took me until today to find my home computer charger in a random box.  It was packed with a bottle of multipurpose cleaner, my son’s microscope and last year’s taxes. Naturally.
  4. Wake up at 7am sharp every day (including the weekends)- I want to conquer my morning ritual this year. Getting my internal clock set now that the babies are sleeping through the night will be crucial.

Wish me luck!

 

 

 

 

 

Overrated Accomplishments

Last night when my husband got home from work I took the 15 minutes before preparing dinner to get out of my bathrobe and take a shower.  While standing under the seemingly heaven sent hot water as the steam filled up the bathroom, it occured to me:

This was my first shower in five days.

Now before you drop your phone or computer or whatever it is you are reading this on (hopefully not a television screen due to my previous statement making national news- “crazy mom of four institutionalized for publicly admitting to self neglect of epic proportions”) I have taken a couple of baths in the five day period.  When the two older kids are finally asleep and I am between pumping and feedings I would rather sit in a tub where it is much easier to enjoy a glass of wine, a piece of chocolate, and a fraction of a book.  Multitasking is everything these days and I can’t risk getting water in my wine by attempting to drink it in the shower now can I?  That would just be sad.

The truth is that since the twins arrived it has been almost impossible to fit a shower in during the day.  More often than not, I feel that us moms like to gauge the insanity of our lives by whether or not we are able to take a shower among other seemingly simple tasks: drinking coffee while it’s still hot, putting on real pants, applying make up, going to the bathroom uninterrupted.  I say no more. The pressure to achieve and the guilt that tags along with it is too much.

This morning for instance, I woke up feeling refreshed and motivated to start eating healthy after an intervention I had with myself last night.  I finally admitted that any time there has been popcorn in front of me over the past 2 1/2 months, I have eaten all of it.  Microwave popcorn- all of it.  Boom Chicka Pop Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn (that cursed purple bag that always ends up in my Target cart)- all of it.  Chicago mix from Costco- I can’t really say… it was a one time thing… I must have blacked out- all of it.

popcorn

I skipped into the kitchen and poured a cup of hot coffee with a small splash of organic half and half and stevia.  I took out some frozen sprouted Ezekiel bread and popped it in the toaster with my organic peanut butter on standby.  All I needed to prepare was my grass fed plain yogurt, berries, and ancient grains granola when Gwen began to cry.

I ran upstairs (I could grab her and be back downstairs by the time the toast popped up) to smell that she had finally pooped for the first time in three days!  This needed to be addressed, the toast still had time.  Before I began to change her I ran back down and threw my coffee in the microwave for 2 minutes.  I ran back up to change Gwen.  When I unzipped her pj’s I realized- this was an up the front and up the back-er.  Total strip down, clean with a washcloth, new pj’s, the works.  Mid change Cam started screaming.  Bloodcurdling screaming.  I brought Gwen down in a blanket and fresh diaper- no clothes.

Coffee was getting cold in the microwave.  Toast had popped.

I picked up Cam and he gasped quickly while catching his breath. He just wanted to be held in that exact second.  Gwen began to cry- she was getting cold in her dinky receiving blanket.  I put Gwen in her fresh clothes as my phone alarm went off- It was time for Gwen to eat. No wonder she woke up. I had forgotten for a brief moment in my health food guru inspired nirvana that my own feeding schedule is a luxury tucked into the feeding schedule of the twins.  I set Gwen down as she began to scream.  She was not feeling patient this morning.

I ran down to the kitchen to prepare the breast milk I had JUST pumped into a bottle and grabbed my freezing cold coffee out of the microwave. I destroyed my toast as I hastily carved peanut butter into it- damn organic peanut butter has the consistency of cement.

I ran back up the stairs with everything in my hands, took one bite of my sludge-covered cardboard toast, threw back a swig of iced coffee, picked up Gwen and gave her the bottle. Peace.  I totally forgot my yogurt, granola, berry combo- maybe I’ll eat it for dessert tonight with a bag of Boom Chicka Pop.

We are all just trying to stay afloat half the time. Next time you are tempted to take note of all of the things you were unable to accomplish on a given day, stop yourself and admire what you did achieve.  Caring for a newborn (or several) is no small feat. Caring for children is what sustains the human race.

Showers are overrated.

 

 

 

 

 

Ode To Minnesota

When Chris and I found out we were pregnant with our first son Charles, we decided the responsible thing to do was move.  Afterall, I could not fathom pushing a stroller on the subway and our Williamsburg, Brooklyn apartment was not rent controlled so affording to live in our hip neighborhood was a fleeting reality.  I clearly remember staring at the cemetery off the BQE as we drove away in our Uhaul with my two Chihuahuas on my lap and tears streaming down my face.  I left my friends, my job, my dreams, my community and as far as I knew my 22-year-old identity behind me and I was en route to the ONE place I said I would NEVER live- Minnesota.

We landed in Coon Rapids at my sister-in-law’s house because we had not yet figured out where we were going to live and she graciously insisted we would stay with her- a MN virtue I would come to recognize in others as well. I felt like Dorthy as I looked down at my two small dogs “Well Peanut and Brutus, we’re not in Brooklyn anymore.”  My understanding of what MN consisted of was loosely based off of a Coen Brothers film and the song “Proud to be an American.”  I was overwhelmed by the pick up trucks, Calvin and Hobbe’s bumper stickers, 1980’s ramblers, “family dining restaurants”, and mini malls that seemed to pass us on every corner.  I refused to see anything positive about our new “home”.

With all changes in life, we have two choices- we can kick, scream, fight and feel bad for ourselves until our faces turn blue with the hope that playing the victim will bring us some sort of self indulgent justice; Or, we can listen to what God is trying to tell us and open our minds and hearts to how he is working in our lives in ways we could have never orchestrated on our own.  I was in the former state.

Year after year I planned on how long I would tolerate living in MN and when we would make our move out to CA like any normal NYC transplant- In my mind, MN was a brief stop on my ultimate trek West.  Meanwhile I failed to realize that I was planting my roots deep as MN was enriching my life with all of it’s gifts and supporting me in ways no other  place  could have.  Cultural diversity, a vibrant music and theater scene, a booming restaurant scene, state of the art hospitals and progressive maternity care, highest rated school systems, environmentally sound EVERYTHING from locally sourced farmer’s markets and park systems to transportation and recycling programs, Northern excursions to Lake Superior and some of the most beautiful scenery around.  In fact what I came to realize was that if it weren’t for the winter, MN might be the most coveted place to live in the US.

What has been most life changing is the strong sense of community in MN.  When I first moved here I felt like an outsider as most of the people I met were from here and in some cases seemingly clicque-ish.  What I have learned is that most people don’t leave MN or if they do, they come back to “settle down” or give back to the community that they are so closely connected to in some way.  Our friends here (including co-workers, customers, and neighborhood acquaintances) have become our family.

When I learned that I was pregnant with twins, my boss sat me down.

“Now I realize that because you are having twins that you are most likely considering moving to North Carolina to be closer to your Mom.  I don’t blame you. BUT I AM going to try my hardest to convince you to stay.”

The truth was that I had already considered that scenario a million times over and although I miss my parents and family on the East Coast on a daily basis, leaving MN would mean leaving my other family.  The family of friends and community here in MN that has found us over the past 8 years.  The family that has nurtured and allowed me to flourish through some of the hardest transitions of my life. The family that escorted me into becoming an adult who values things now that my 22-year-old self didn’t even know existed.

Yesterday I was watching CNN as it covered the death of Prince.  Prince was born in, raised, and never left Minnesota.  He possessed that insistent graciousness to all who knew him, including his community here in Minneapolis.  In the 1999 interview with Larry King, Larry questioned Prince in his decision to stay in Minnesota to do his work and create his music (instead of putting down roots in LA or NYC).  Prince simply replied

“oh yeah, Minneapolis has always been the bomb.”

It is no surprise that people flooded the streets last night in front of First Ave for an all night sing along/dance party in his honor.  Minnesotans are proud to stick together. They support their communities in ways that most major US cities do not.

As I pack up our house to move (yes we are moving with newborn twins and yes we are insane) to our forth location in MN since we arrived 8 years ago I feel very excited and blessed that our network in the Twin Cities area will continue to grow. I expect we’ll feast with our new neighbors on some tater tot hot dish and Surly Beer while playing “corn hole” by the lake- we have over 10,000 to choose from don’t ch’ya know.

 

No More Busy- Mommy Time Outs

Maternity leave with the twins is flying by at a rapid speed- presumably twice as fast as my past experiences with my singletons (the word used by moms of multiples when referring to a one-kid-at-a-time experience).  People always say to me “Wow twins!  You must be busy!”  Yes I am “busy”, but not simply because of the twins.  I also have a seven year old, a four year old, a husband, two dogs, a full time job, a house which I am moving out of and an essence of a social life- all of which I am extremely grateful for because quite frankly, I enjoy being that kind of “busy”.

These things that fulfill my life which classify me as “busy” are simply my priorities.  These priorities bring me great joy and motivate me to be the best person I can be.  We live in a society where the term “busy” has become a badge of honor.  To me “busy” represents the inability to say “NO” to time wasters and stress inducers in some futile attempt to do everything and “have it all”.  We don’t allow ourselves to slow down enough to ask ourselves what it is we really want to fill our lives.

What I have found, if I were to answer honestly, is that aside from the intrinsic chaos of taking care of two newborns at one time, I am not very “busy” right now.  I have my hands full with the work involved to address the needs of my children, but this work enables me to engage with them as we learn more about each other.  I also have plenty of quiet moments with the twins.  True, some days I do not have time to shower, but mainly because I do not prioritize my own hygiene and I lose myself in the time I have with my babies on those days as I am still learning how to balance my needs with theirs.

My goal is to have this balance figured out by the time I return to work.

Mommy Time outOther days I prioritize my “me” time especially when I find I am feeling stressed, drained or stir crazy. I shamelessly ask for help from my husband or a friend/family member. I put on a face mask, take a bath, drink a glass of wine, eat some chocolate, and read (or look at the pictures in) my favorite magazine.  On days where I’ve really lost my sense of self I may even leave for a trip to Costco.  OK, so I’ve only resorted to this once, but it was insanely rejuvenating.

The goal of these mommy time outs is to return connected, engaged, and motivated to continue to bond and engage with my babies. The most dangerous part of hiding behind the label of “busy” is that we do not take time for ourselves and we risk forgetting who we are and what we stand for.  Soon enough all of our once cherished priorities become grouped into the same category as dentist appointments, oil changes, and grocery shopping. The more we forget who we are, the more we take our gifts for granted.  It’s time we encourage each other to slow down, ask for help and stop striving for busy if it’s not the best use of our precious time. Stop and SMELL the ROSES! Oh man, maybe it is time for that shower.

My Due Date- The Twins are here!

I celebrated my due date on Saturday with my two beautiful 5 week old twins at home.  I can truly say I have no idea where the past month+ of my life has gone.  Cameron Evans and Gwyneth Marion came in to this world at 34 weeks and 5 days gestation like a lightning bolt, .  After coming down with “Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy”- a very dangerous rapid onset, and difficult to diagnose liver disease- I was admitted to the hospital and the babies were delivered via emergency C-section within an hour of my diagnosis.  God’s hand was perfectly at work as the babies were both over 5 lbs, and my condition started to reverse itself almost immediately after they were born. The doctors all suspected I would need at least a week in the ICU.  God knew that the babies needed to be born that day and that nobody’s “decisions” were going to get in the way of his perfect plan.  There was literally no time to discuss breech vaginal delivery (for baby B) or elective C-section, or trial of labor, etc.  The decision was made for us and the outcome was miraculous.Twins NICU

The babies spent a week and a half in the NICU and another half of a week in the Special Care Nursery.  Traveling back and forth from the hospital to the NICU was an eye opening experience.  We were so fortunate to only be there for 2 weeks with healthy, thriving babies who just needed some more time to grow before coming home.  My new found respect for NICU parents and NICU nurses is beyond words.  Gwen was able to come home one day earlier than Cam because she is an over achiever with a healthy competitive side (that’s my girl!) and proved she could eat faster than her brother.  Cam, not taking kindly to being shown up by his younger sis, rose to the task the following day. On Thursday, February 25th we were able to begin our lives at home together, never to sleep again!

As sleep deprived as I am, I wish there was some magic I could utilize that would slow down time.  Other twinning moms out there might call me crazy, and I know what you are thinking.  I am caught in a whirlwind of diaper changing, around the clock feedings, pumping, babies crying in stereo, pumping, lack of proper personal hygiene routine, pumping, C-section recovery, Dr’s visits, diapers, feedings, and pumping.  This however is my third, and most likely my last time with a newborn(s) at home and I know all too well how fast this time goes!  The coos and grunts, the snuggles, the smell of a newborn’s head as they snore on your chest, the way my husband talks to the babies in his own personalized voices, the giggles a newborn’s fart can solicit from a 4-year old (and a grown adult for that matter),  the incredibly precious inexplicable miracle of it all.  I want to bottle up all the goodness and be able to remember it all clearly.  I know that as much as I promise myself I will be in the moment and not forget the way they look and sound at each fleeting milestone, I will forget as time carries me along quickly.  For now, Cam is sleeping peacefully and Gwen needs me- or at least her diaper does…Twins Shoot

The Waiting Game

The day I met my first child was one of the best days of my life.  It took 48 hours in the hospital, 15 hours of Pitocin, oh yeah and 9 months (10 really) of pregnancy before hand to get there.  I felt like the end would never come.  There was a time in my labor during transition when the pain was so consuming that all I could do was talk to my son in hopes to end the waiting game.  I remember saying to him “Come on Charlie, Come on!” in a meditative state.

The moment he was born and the nurses placed Charles on my chest, I had this blog1profound sensation of recognition when I saw his face. “Oh of course that’s what you look like, I know you” were the only thoughts that went through my mind. Before the rush of euphoria and intense joy washed through me driven by a love I had never known before, there was this simple and surprising moment where I completely recognized Charles as my son, whom I had somehow known my whole life.  All of the waiting game worries of nursery set up, birth plans, car seat installation, maternity leave preparation washed away- that was all filler stress to help bide time until this moment when I was able to connect with the only person I had ever met who came straight from God, to my heart, to rely on me for everything.  I had the same experience on the day our second son Gus was born.blog2

How can I possibly prepare myself for what that moment will be like with twins?

The past week for me has been driven by physical discomfort and sleep deprivation and has included surprising moments of dread and fear.  I feel overwhelmed with birth plans and “what if’s”.  When my friends ask me how I am doing I automatically give them an inventory on my physical condition and an update on my most recent midwife/perinatal appointment, but is that really how I am doing?  To be honest I am freaked out by the unknown surrounding this birth-

When will it happen? How will it happen?  Will I have to have surgery for the first time ever and experience local anesthesia?  What risks am I facing? Will my boys be scared? Will my heart explode when I see those babies for the first time? Am I ready to accept the magnitude of that blessing and “allow” my life to be impacted so drastically?  Do I have what it takes?

Although all of those questions are valid, none of their answers actually matter.  The truth is that while it’s great to be well informed and to have a plan of what I want and do not want, my only real objective is to get those babies here as safely as I can. In truth, the details are out of my control and when I meet those babies for the first time none of my filler stress that I am focusing on now will exist.

So it’s time to get excited!  As long as the waiting game feels like it’s taking forever, I might as well enjoy it!  I will enjoy my family of 4 before we grow by 2 more awesome people that will only make us more complete.  I will enjoy the sleepless nights while the babies are kicking me instead of crying to be fed and held.  I will enjoy scaling back at work and challenge myself to continue to remove myself from projects instead of stressing and involving myself in new commitments. I will be proud of my capable team members who will carry on just fine in my absence- there will be plenty of booze to sell when I return.

Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!

Even in moments of intense anticipation we only have one day at a time and the most important choice we can make is to relish every moment as a gift not drive ourselves crazy with “what if’s” and uncontrollable scenarios.

As the great Mark Twain said,

“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

 

33 Weeks Pregnant with Twins – 3 tips on Staying Sane

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OK, I’m 33 weeks pregnant with twins.  What I can’t seem to wrap my brain around is how I potentially have 5 more weeks of bigness ahead of me.  My waddle is full on penguin strut.  Baby A (the boy) is head down and attempting to figure out an exit strategy and baby B (the girl) is trying to head butt her way through my rib cage.  These kids are determined little buggers and I must say I admire them for it.

My fashion choices are extremely limited at this point.  My daily outfits consist of one of the three pairs of maternity pants that still “fit” me and a maternity support tank with a warmer layer over top of it.  Basically I rotate 3-4 different outfits throughout the week.  Except for the the fact that I am really attempting to spread out my outfits so the same people don’t see me in the same clothes all the time, the lack of choices is really quite liberating. In my final weeks I may consider committing to full on uniform mode.  Same outfit.  Every day.  Your welcome world.

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I am grateful that the MN winter weather has decided to be freakishly springlike.  I cannot close my coat and I refuse to buy a new (or used) one at this point.  If it gets seasonably frigid all of the sudden, my plan is to wrap myself in a twin size comforter to get to and from the car.  I’m sure the security guard at my office will love stuffing me into the elevator- I’ll just have to arrange for my boss to be waiting at the top floor to fish me out.

This week went very fast and everything is feeling quite real at this point as my husband and I are faced with some delivery choices and my need to slow down has become undeniable.  I certainly want these babies to stay in for as long as possible and all complaints aside, their health and best chance at a strong start is my number one priority.

Last week I listed 5 tips on staying sane– this week I have 3.

3 Things That are Keeping me Sane at 33 Weeks

  1.  Ordering gear!- Piece of advice to all moms- become an Amazon Prime member.  With your membership you are automatically enrolled as an Amazon Mom and have all of the benefits of free shipping, discounted prices, subscribe and save (which offers 20% off all diapers!) etc.  When I found out I was having twins I created an Amazon Baby registry and because of my Amazon Mom status, I received a 15% off “completion discount.”  Whatever I did not receive from my registry from friends and family, I was able to purchase at this discounted rate.  My thoughts- if you are going to buy anything at all for your new baby, even if this is your 3rd or 4th child, create a registry on Amazon Prime! This week my stroller, car seats, diaper bag and some sheet savers arrived and it felt like Christmas morning!  I am in love with the car seats- I chose to get Maxi Cosi Mico infant carriers (one pink, one grey) as they have very high safety ratings and are known for their light weight.  I expect carrying around 2 infant carriers to give Madonna arms, but I don’t want to throw out my back in the process.
  2. My Husband- I am a type A personality.  There, I said it.  I like to think I am relaxed and that I always go with the flow, but the truth is when I commit to being “laid
    image back” about something, it is not before I have identified the ways to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of my relaxed state. “Taking it easy” and “scaling back” are jargon that I honestly do not understand.  I have had to ask each of the midwives at the practice I go to describe these terms in their own words.  Until I am put on prescribed bed rest, I may not fully grasp the general concept. My husband Chris has allowed me space to grapple with my difficulty of admitting when it’s time to opt out of social engagements, retreat to my bedroom to lay on my left side when all I want to do is get through folding an entire basket of laundry, or hibernating in the bathtub when my body has called it quits for the day.  He allows me this freedom by taking the reigns with the boys, cleaning the kitchen, vacuuming, making dinner happen every night and simply respecting the fact that he will never be asked to carry around two large babies in his abdomen.  He does not love to talk about the ways in which he will miss out on sleep once these babies arrive and has had a couple of WTF moments along the way (as pictured), but that is yet another one of the many reasons we are both glad we have our doula on board- doulas offer mental and emotional support for both the mom AND her partner.  More Twinning Dad WTF moments to come.
  3. The 52 List Project“- Last week I mentioned my need for journaling. I am also an avid list maker.  I LOVE lists because I feel a deep sense of accomplishment when I get to cross things off.  The 52 List Project is an awesome little book of lists created as a “year of weekly journaling inspiration” by Moorea Seal. Sometimes when my brain is totally clogged I overthink everything including simple exercises like journaling- it’s funny how easy it is to overcomplicate something as simple as writing down what’s on your mind.  This beautifully designed book is a fun tool to help get the juices flowing.  My favorite list so far is “List the Sountrack of Your Life Right Now”… “Under Pressure” by Queen/David Bowie and Tim Ferris Podcasts are the only things I have written down so far.  As a true music lover, this list has helped me indicate that I need to commit to some serious quiet time with my music library and iTunes stat!

 

Let’s DOula This!

In my first video post I start the discussion of birth choices by talking Doula appreciation.  I learned in the making of this post that I need to find the attachment to my handheld bloggie camera stand, but I fear it may be lost in an “army guy bin” somewhere in the house.  I also need to figure out how to save the video on a more flattering screen shot- growing pains!

My husband and I are very grateful we will have our doula (and friend) Sondra with us when the twins arrive.  She has already been a wealth of support and information.  There are many options out there for experiencing your best birth and taking the fear out of the labor experience.  I think it is incredibly important to ask questions and explore options.  In the meantime, spoil your favorite Doula today with a sweet “Let’s DOula This!” hoodie in the Gear section of my blog.  For more information about Doulas in your area check out http://www.dona.org/.