Month

January 2016

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/.

 

How to Pack the Hospital Bag

Today I went in for an appointment with my midwife and learned that I am 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated.  Whaaat?  I realize this is technically nothing to freak out about until it’s time to freak out about it, but I also decided two things:

  1. I need to actually SLOW DOWN and listen to my body
  2. I should probably pack my hospital bag so my loving husband doesn’t get stuck doing it in some emergency situation, preparing me with a toothbrush and a pillow stuffed into a plastic shopping bag.

Packing your bag for labor and delivery is totally subjective to your own preferences.  I know some friends who like to bring their own clothes for labor and for ASAP in postpartum recovery.  They also like to pack several baby clothing options and supplies to start dressing their bundles of joy in cute threads as soon as they can.  I am the total opposite.  Perhaps it is my love and appreciation for delegating tasks, but I like to pack as little as possible and rock the hospital supplied wardrobe for most of my stay.  My thought is quick clean up, easy openings for frequent check ups and breast feeding, and little to no laundry to worry about the second I get home!  Bring on the gowns and gigantic net undies, I’m all over it.  Whatever your preference on how many personal items you want to come equipped with, when packing your own hospital bag it is important to consider a couple of major points

  1. What will your hospital have there for you? – Even if you prefer to wear your own clothes during and immediately after labor, there are many items that your hospital can provide you with.  It is extremely helpful to take the tour of your hospital before you begin packing and ask plenty of questions.  My hospital for the twins is a brand new facility and has moved to the top of my list for weekend spa options.  Some of the things that I know will be there waiting for me are: hospital gowns and postpartum panties, feminine postpartum products, breast pump and supplies, hair dryer, I pod dock, on staff massage therapist and acupuncturist (I know right?!), essential oils, postpartum Epsom salts, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, swaddling blankets, baby caps, baby shirts, flat screen TV with DVD player, pillows etc.  If your hospital does not supply these items you will want to pack them yourself! With the birth of my first son I packed WAY too much stuff that I didn’t use- now that I understand what accoutrements come with my hospital bill I feel compelled to utilize them.
  2. How long might your stay be?– This is a tough one to foresee especially for twin moms.  If the babies need time in the special care nursery or NICU your stay may be prolonged.  However, if you are simply considering YOUR stay before discharge, a vaginal birth is usually 3 days and c-section can be up to 5.  Again, good questions to confirm with your health care provider. If you miss a couple of items, send a significant other, friend, relative out get them- this is one of those times in life we need to get used to asking for what we need and welcoming help!
  3. What are a few of your favorite things?- I am of the mindset that the hospital stay can be an enjoyable experience.  I like to bring things that make me feel cozy and pampered.  Sure there is a lot going on and you are exhausted and there is plenty to learn and get used to before they send you out into the real world with you new babies, but there is also a lot of snuggling, quiet time and bonding that goes on uninterrupted that you do not get back- try to enjoy every second!

hospital bag1

Labor

Labor can take a while.  A very long while in fact.  Pack things to entertain yourself.  I am brining an adult coloring book, my iPad, a camera, some DVDs (I always bring Ever a After and The Princess Bride- these are two of my faves that keep me totally distracted and in my happy place), and thank you cards (I am insanely behind on my thank you’s already).  I may use all of these items, I may use none of them.  Whatever electronics you choose to bring, bring the chargers too.  Also, do yourself a favor and bring a set of headphones as well as an auxiliary cord. If your hospital has an iPod dock, I guarantee it will not be compatible with your phone/device.  Murphy’s law, bring the cord.

hospital bag2

Postpartum

Again, when it comes to packing for the hospital I am a minimalist.  If you prefer being in your own clothes, this is where you will want to add some high waisted cotton panties of the sexy granny variety, loose fitting/drawstring pants and shirts.  I will probably add some over sized button up night shirts to this category incase I get tired of my hospital moo moo.  If you do the same, consider a button down for easy skin to skin/nursing/postpartum checks.  Cozy socks, slippers, hair ties, supportive (non underwire) nursing bras, a massage roller, flip flops (for easy walking to and from bathroom/shower), and fabulous robe are also a must in this category.

hospital bag3

Toiletries

My hair hates me.  Unless I’m at home and I take the time to wash and style it correctly by blowing it out with patience and smoothing it with a straightener, I just give up- there is no happy medium.  Quite frankly, good hair is not a priority for me while recovering from labor, therefore I am totally prepared to spend my stay looking like a member of White Snake.  Nonetheless, bring supplies that will help you feel clean and fabulous.  Also hospital air is dry, so be sure to pack plenty of moisturizer.  I like Mario Badescu night creams because they are super hydrating and they don’t break the bank.  Also Tarte makes some great maracuja oil products including a face oil and eye cream that are great- I found a travel pack that is perfect for the suitcase- available in my Twinning Mom Must Haves shop.

 

hospital bag4

Babies

Items to bring for baby can include however many outfits you prefer (consider pictures you may want to take) going home outfits, pacifiers, swaddling blankets, diapers and wipes, non-toxic toiletries per your preference (the first bath usually occurs at the hospital), etc. Again, most of these key items are also available at the hospital.  With both of my babies I had wished that I didn’t pack diapers because I have always had an awesome nurse who hooked us up with packages of diapers and wipes before leaving.  This time I will have no shame in not packing a single diaper- I may even consider bringing and extra empty suitcase to fill with hospital diapers.  Just kidding.  Kind of.

Some other things to bring along include:

Nursing Pillow for holding and feeding- Consider a pillow specifically for twins- in my research the two best options are the Twin Z pillow and the My Brest Friend Twin pillow.  I’m getting both!  If you plan on nursing, take advantage of your hospital opportunity to seek advice from nurses and on staff lactation consultants while you and your babies learn how to nurse.  If your hospital does not supply breast pumps, bring yours from home just in case.

Pillows and favorite blankets- The hospital has plenty of linens, but nothing beats your own pillow.

Car Seats!!!- Make sure the bases are properly installed.  You will not be allowed to leave the hospital until they see your car seat.  Safety first!

Clothes for Partner– Or you can let them worry about their own clothes, though it may not be on their mind and pictures will be taken- I would hate for my husband to chose to wear his White Snake concert T-shirt and accidentally match my hair.  People would really start to get the wrong idea…

Twinning Moms, please chime in if you have anything add to this list!!!  My two experiences were with singletons and I would love to hear of any helpful items I might be missing.

32 Weeks Pregnant with Twins – 5 Tips on Staying Sane

 

32 weeks

Woah babies!  32 weeks pregnant with twins. So just for some context, I am 6 feet tall.  Although my lovely husband took this picture at a very flattering angle, I would like to note that I feel more like a beluga whale at the present moment than the watermelon on a toothpick I appear to be in this image. Based on my last ultrasound at 30 weeks the babies are approximately at 4 lbs each right now (they are both measuring 1- 1 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule).  After adding on the weight if all of their “gear,” well, that’s a lot of baby- I’m lucky to be tall and have the space for these kids to stretch out. My heart goes out to my shorter moms of multiples friends who are tasked with carrying the same amount of weight.  You’re all badasses, especially if you are continuing to wear shoes with laces- then you go on my hero list.  I gave that up months ago.

Here we go,

32 weeks2

That’s better.

To Sleep or Not to Sleep- 5 things that are keeping me sane

Sleep is definitely difficult to come by these days.  I think it’s a mixture of several reasons including general third trimester insomnia, heartburn, lack of comfortable position options, heightened irritability- the sound of my husband snoring makes me want to check in to a hotel etc.  Here are some things that are currently helping me stay sane.

  1. Daily baths– I know it’s tough to get time alone if you have older kids in the house.  In fact, it’s sometimes damn near impossible.  Part of a “relaxing” bath is managing one’s own expectations.  Like most bathroom experiences, I cannot promise that your 4 year old will not barge in several times hoping to discuss matters like “mindcraft guys,” the most recent case of abuse from his older sibling, protest against bedtime, or his own need of the bathroom.  Nonetheless, if your belly is floating and you get to quiet your mind for a short period of time, it’s worth the daily attempt. (Take caution to not get over heated and be careful entering and exiting the tub).
  2. Small frequent meals– I have found that the nights when my heartburn is most disruptive (or makes me have to vom) are after the days that I have stuffed my face to where my squashed stomach could not accommodate.  The other day at lunch for instance, I was inspired to chow down on yucca fries, black bean hummus with veggies and pita AND fried fish tacos with coleslaw.  For lunch.  And I ate it all.  I am eating for three!  What’s the big deal?!  Well after having a small dinner and a snack before bed, I woke up in the middle of the night and had morphed into a fire breathing dragon and was so uncomfortable that I actually got up and paced for an hour before taking some chewy TUMS and going back to bed, sitting up.  Not worth the three course lunch.  Conclusion- eat small nutritious meals so your digestive system has time to do its thing while being jumped on by two people.
  3. Journaling– Working full time (that includes you SAHMs), taking care of house and family stuff, carrying twins, and preparing for their arrival is a lot.  If you’re anything like our family it may also be just be the tip of the iceberg.  Getting things out of the brain and physically onto paper helps me clear my brain for sleep. Writing (with good ole’ pen and paper) like reading, also helps me to get actually tired.  Just try to resist the urge to take one more look at Pinterest or any other screen activities before you close your eyes (I am guilty of this on many occasion) or you may accidentally go right back to the overstimulation starting line.
  4. Dark Chocolate Covered Acai Berries from Costco- ‘Nuff said.
  5. Lots of Pillows in All the Right Places– I wish I could say I’ve mastered this one, but I am a novice at best. In fact, I will do an entire video post on just this subject alone, a: for some comic relief and b: so we can try to figure it out together. If you have a fancy body pillow, use it!  Supporting your belly, legs (hip alignment) and back all at the same time is the key.  My issue is, this is the most weight I have ever asked my belly to carry and circulation in one position for too long of a period becomes a bi*%# forcing me to roll over. Long story short, I go to sleep like a happy little beached whale wrapped in a pillowy, fluffy bliss and wake up tangled in a confusion of blankets and stuffing similar to Scrooge’s experience in “The Christmas Carol” when he wakes up disheveled in his bed curtains after dreaming he had just plummeted into his own grave following his visit from the ghost of Christmas yet to come.  OK, so maybe it’s not as dramatic as a visit from the grim reaper, but it feels pretty darn close at 3:30am when you realize your one chance at making it the whole way through the night has vanished. I realize this is partially conditioning for the zero sleep I will be enjoying a month from now.

None of these tips prevent me from truly struggling through some days or snapping inexplicably when my 7-year old whines about what’s being served for dinner, but some of them have helped me enjoy this ride on the struggle bus to the 32 week mile marker.  Besides, who really needs to win a “mom of the year award” anyway?- I would most likely lose the registration form before entering the competition.

Joining the Twin Mom Club- the Ultrasound

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Men plan, God laughs… My husband and I had a perfect plan.  We have two awesome boys and found ourselves in a perfect position to have one more child because three is a magic number, right?  Unlike the arrivals of our other children, we were PREPARED this time!  We had our finances in a good spot, a house we loved, and the timing of our other kids’ ages perfectly spaced to only need to pay for one child in daycare.  I used ovulation kits to assist in carrying out the details of our plan to make the third child a girl by following Dr. Shettles method – it did not occur to me that on the cycle where my test read “no peak” fertility that I may have tripped the system by releasing more than one egg… God certainly has a sense of humor.

I waltzed into our 20 week ultrasound with excitement and had totally and officially ignored the fact that I felt so many differences (hospitalizing morning sickness, early kicks, tightness and fast bump growth, blinding round ligament pain all before 20 weeks) with the help of validating, nonchalant reactions from friends and family- “Meh, it’s your third.  You just grow faster with your third”.

My friend Elizabeth showed up to the ultrasound with three balloons- pink, blue, and purple as a sweet gesture. It was her job to keep the sex of the baby a secret until our perfectly planned reveal party.  Little did she know that her carefully selected balloon bouquet gift was actually foreshadowing the moments ahead.

The technician, Derrick, was cool and relaxed.  He had a beard and the demeanor of my favorite drinking buddy from Williamsburg, Brooklyn circa 2006.  In fact we may have split a pint of Guinness over a game of pool in a past life- entirely possible.  Derrick placed the wand on my belly with the screen facing only he and Elizabeth.  I looked at Elizabeth for cues, although this being her first ultrasound, I was not concerned by the immediately puzzled expression on her face.

There is a certain monotoned way that one tends to deliver everyday information.  For example, “It’s Tuesday” or “I’m hungry” or “I just brushed my hair”.  This is the tone Derrick used to say

“You have two babies.”

“Hah” I laughed.  Derrick would say something like that, he’s so funny and sarcastic.  My new craft beer drinking ultrasound tech friend WOULD be a jokester like that.  What a goof.

Elizabeth’s eyes widened to the size of saucers.  Why wasn’t she laughing at Derrick’s funny quip?

“Wait, what?” Perhaps I misunderstood.

“Uh, yeah, you have twins” reiterated Derrick.

“Shut up” I waited for him to crack a smile. “Seriously, shut up.”

Elizabeth laughed and covered her mouth. My husband stood up. I was stuck on the table and could not articulate anything but “SHUT UP!”

Derrick excused himself as this ultrasound was all of the sudden outside of his qualifications.  My husband and I realized in that same moment that this was beyond our qualifications as well.  In that moment, without feeling in my face and with tears in my eyes, I felt God smile down on us and chuckle.  We should have known better.

So here I am, totally blessed and finding myself a part of a new club- learning as I go. So far, the twin moms I have met are a supportive, badass, crew who simply do not have time to judge or tell you the “right” way to do things.  They are tough and don’t sweat the small stuff and I am inspired and honored to be a part of the group.

I want this blog to be a place for information, venting, and a good laugh for all women, but especially dedicated to twin moms out there who, just by waking up and facing every new day find themselves a tWINNING mom!!!