Hello Everyone! Enormous thanks go to our wonderful MoM’s who have agreed to “try out” for HDYDI! We are beyond thrilled that so many of you are reading along with us, and we hope you enjoy our contest week. Please vote for the author you would like to hear more from, as the authors with the most votes at 12:00am Eastern Time on Sunday, June 7th, will be invited to write for HDYDI. Enjoy and PLEASE VOTE!
Barb is an average mom with many hats: Wife of 8 years. Mommy to 2.5 year old boy/girl twins and a 4 month old boy. Teacher of pre-teens with Autism. Newsletter editor for a Mothers of Multiples Group. Daughter, sister, aunt, friend. Boo-Boo kisser. Potty Trainer. Breastfeeder. Mac n Cheese maker. Grocery Shopper. Babywearer. Working Mom. Coupon Saver. Learner. Reader. And Blogger (of course!). You can read more about her “Twinkies” and “Cupcake” at My Sweet Life.
Strength in Numbers
When an ultrasound at 12 weeks unveiled the surprise that we were expecting twins, the first person I called was my Mom (of course!). The first person to actually SEE the image though was my friend Kerry – mom to then 2.5 year old twin girls. We casually stopped by with our first ‘baby’ picture. She knew what she was looking at right away – two babies – and quickly began to let me know what I did (and did NOT) need two of.
Ironically, Kerry had just recently heard about a local Mothers of Multiples (MoM) group and was planning on joining, so that fall, we attended our first meeting together. I must admit, it was nice to walk into a large group of unfamiliar faces with a friend, but I could tell right away, that all those ‘faces’ would soon be friends, too. I remember sitting at the table with all the new members…there were 4 or 5 of us I think, including another MoM-to-be who was due just 3 weeks ahead of me with boy/girl twins, too.
That fall, I got lots of advice and encouragement from moms of singletons and multiples and weighed it all as my pregnancy progressed. At my 33 week appointment, I ran into my fellow MoM friend who was due just before me and she anticipated meeting her bundles soon due to more and more contractions. By 34 weeks, my health deteriorated and I was admitted for an emergency c-section due to pre-eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. After 28 long hours, I finally got to see my precious babies in the NICU. As I was rolled into the NICU, still woozy from the Magnesium Sulfate, I heard a familiar voice – my fellow MoM friend. Her twins had been born 2 days before mine were and we happened to be in the same pod in the NICU together. It was so comforting to come in each day and have a friend to talk to who was going through all the same things I was.
Once we were home, I was so thankful for the friendship and support that I already had in our MoMs group. Some MoMs called or emailed to check in on us. Other MoMs brought us dinner. Lots of MoMs offered advice and encouragement when the breastfeeding was overwhelming. Many MoMs lent a sympathetic ear when I cried when I went back to work. They all helped in so many ways! I got another round of advice when baby #3 came along this year, just 2 short years after the twins. Another MoM friend of mine was pregnant at the same time as me (with a similar age gap between her twins and baby #3) and she had her little girl just a few months before me so we’ve shared lots of ups and downs, once again.
There’s the fun stuff, too! Play dates! Mom’s night out! Mom to Mom Sales! Holiday parties! Meetings! Dinners! Family Picnics! It’s fun for you and the kids. Play dates are manageable because everyone looks out for each others’ kids and we all know what it’s like to juggle kids. Plus, Jacob & Sarah have already made so many twin friends from the group (and even happen to go to day care/school with several sets of twins from our group). Our monthly meeting gives us all a chance to get out, catch our breath, vent, boast, talk and laugh. We all get lots of laughs over the latest kid antics. We can all relate to the highs and lows and help each other make it over each new hurdle at each stage.
I’ve made so many great friends (several of us get together frequently for play dates on our own as do many other MoMs/friends in the group), learned so much, and been able to do the same for other new MoMs. I took my involvement one step further and got involved with the group’s governing board. Our chapter has around 80 members and it’s great to get to know them all, hear their news, answer their questions, get advice, get involved, and have fun!
So, my advice to you if you’re expecting multiples, have toddler multiples, have school-age multiples…any age really! – look up a local Mothers of Multiples group now and get involved! I was so glad I had heard about it before I had the twins, but it’s never too late to get involved. You’ll be so glad you did!
After 12 years of marriage, family and friends finally stopped asking Jennifer and her husband when they were going to have a baby. Then, suddenly, surprise! Not only did they discover they were pregnant, but found out they were having twins during their first ultrasound on Valentines’ Day. Jennifer had a rough pregnancy and spent the last 13 weeks on hospital bed rest terrified that each day would be the day the Twinsies were born. It hasn’t been easy in the 21 months since then. Jennifer returned to work as a middle school teacher when the Twinsies were 4 months old while her husband stayed home with the babies. They’ve been evacuated from their home twice due to wildfires and Jennifer’s husband spent 4 months in the hospital very ill. Through it all, family, friends and Jennifer’s Twin Momma BFFs have kept her sane. Well, that and sharing every crazy thing that happens on her blog: http://uribetwins.blogspot.com.
The Dreaded Binky Debate
Binky. Pacifier. Whatever you call them, there is a ton of debate about giving them to babies. I read a lot of articles before Gracie and Luke were born about pacifiers. Some of the articles led me to believe the Twinsies would be irreparably harmed by the use of binkies. They assured me that they would have horrific teeth. Sorry, that’s a given. They are our kids after all! They assured me that my children would be 10 years old and still using a binky because they would not be able to part with it. Then, other articles reassured me that using a binky allows babies to soothe themselves. My sisters both told me over and over that their children never needed binkies and that my children should not either. Blech! The whole debate made my head hurt!
Taking into consideration all that I had read, I decided, and convinced my husband, that binkies were NOT to touch the Twinsies’ mouths. After all, I did not want 37 year olds living at home because could not grow past their infancy! That is, of course, until I was rolled into the NICU and saw my tiny newborn babies with their little binkies in their mouths. The nurses had decided for me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to rip the offending binkies from them or just leave them be. But, when I saw Gracie calm down as soon as the binky was placed in her mouth, I realized that I was being lame. I was using fear created by everything I had read to keep my children from experiencing calm when I could not be there. The nurses couldn’t be there 24 hours a day, hovering over the babies, and neither could I.
When we came home from the hospital, I tried to use the binky only as needed and discovered that the babies only really wanted them when they were very tired. I could also use them to get a few more minutes to prepare bottles when necessary. Honestly, Gracie and Luke spit the binkies out more than they kept them in! The hospital had provided us with Soothies and, while they seemed wonderful, they were more trouble than they were worth because they did not have anything that would catch on the roof of the babies’ mouths to keep them from falling out. This was problematic when they would spit out the binky and I needed to run from wherever I was to pop it back in before my babies started to wail.
We eventually found one that worked for us, the Playtex Ortho Pro, specially designed to provide room for growing teeth and to stay in the mouth when the babies relaxed. We love these things! I’ve recommended them to new moms everywhere. In fact, I actually stopped a mom in Babies R Us from choosing another one for her registry and insisted she add these instead. They’ve been life savers to us. The best part is that Gracie and Luke’s teeth are fine even though they still use the binkies.
Yesterday, Gracie and Luke turned 21 months old. By some standards, their binkies should be a thing of the past. They are not and I’m not apologizing for it. We’ve been through serious craziness this year with being forced from our home because of the wildfire and my husband’s 4-month hospital stay. Binkies continue to serve as a comfort to Gracie and Luke and I’m grateful for their help.
Before you start to worry that the Twinsies will be taking their binkies to college, I’ve noticed that Luke, at least, has already started to say good-bye to his binky. His favorite binky action is to toss it as hard as it can possibly be tossed. Occasionally, this means that binkies are found under carseats, in the trunk, 1/2 mile back down the road. The binkies are also a source of fun because of Musical Binkies the Twinsies play all day. Gracie will start with the pink one and Luke will start with a blue. By 30 minutes later, Luke will have stolen Gracie’s binky and run away, happily. Gracie steals Luke’s binky more often. They think it’s fun. It can be frustrating, but when it comes down to it, the binky is still needed at bed time. The binky helps Gracie and Luke when they are falling asleep. About an hour after they fall asleep, the binkies get spit out. If they wake up in the night, they have learned to feel around for them and stick them right back in.
So what is the Binky Plan? Well, in order to make sure that I’m not having to conceal binkies in suitcases as they go off on their honeymoons, I’ve started keeping the binkies away from the Twinsies’ immediate sight. They no longer use them at all during the day and only request them when we are on long car rides or as they are falling to sleep at night. One article I read said that babies will wean themselves from binky use and the more of a deal that I make of it, the worse it will be. They seem to be fine if I hide the binkies. The only issue is when they are tired.
Still, I don’t want to be a Mommy with 3 year olds still using binkies. In fact, if we can be done with them before they turn 2, that would be awesome! I’m thinking we’ll start slowly trimming off the tips once we are settled back in our house. That way, Gracie and Luke have a little help deciding to get rid of the binkies on their own.
Shall we start a countdown? T-minus 2 months and counting…
Do/did your twins use pacifiers? What advice do you have for helping to end their use?
“Sometimes on the way to a dream you get lost and find a better one.” That could be the theme of Nicole’s adult life to this point. She wasn’t planning on being a single mom at 25 years old. She wasn’t ‘supposed to’ end up with triplets when they were just praying for one more. She wasn’t ‘supposed to’ be a SAHM. And yet she finds herself now in her thirties, the mother of four amazing little beings (a nearly 7 year old boy and 1 year old g/b/g triplets) and the wife of an incredibly loving and supportive husband. While her knack for detail, efficiency and order has come in handy with their brood, she’s pretty sure that it’s her candor and sense of humor that get her through the daily grind. That and the smiles, antics and unconditional love of the four precious lives that have been entrusted to her and her husband.
So When Does It All Sink In?
Just last month our family celebrated a milestone – our triplets one year birthday. One year ago, these three little beings came into this world and life would never be the same. Lately, people can’t help but ask, “So how does it feel?” “Does it seem like a year has gone by or has it felt longer?” Now that’s a loaded question!
There are days when it seems impossible that one year has already passed. I’ve learned that those are the days when I am most present. Those are the days when I marvel at the progress and development of these tiny miracles who came into this world weighing barely four pounds each. Those are the days when I watch as they sleep & remember a time when just one crib was enough to hold all three of them. Those are the days when I come across a rogue ‘preemie’ outfit, hold it to my face and inhale deeply – breathing in the memory of those first few days. Those are the days when I sort through pictures of them still in the NICU – on monitors and IVs…and then I am yanked back to reality (quite literally!) as one of my three little monkeys pulls on my hair, demanding my attention. At one year old, two of the three have already begun to walk. Our home is full of the babblings of three ‘toddlers’ (!?) – ‘mama’, ‘dada’, baba’ and ‘na-na-na’ (no, no, no). There is laughing and mimicking and the daily blossoming of personalities. All of this in just 12 months?!
And then there are the times when it feels as though it’s been at least a decade already. (Cliché images of the child in the backseat asking every ten seconds, “Are we there yet?” come to mind.) Those are the times when their simultaneous crying brings me to tears. Those are the times when I have to look at a calendar to remind myself of the date because each day just blends into the next. Those are the times when I think of all of the diapers, the wipes and the bottles…the days when I am so tired I can’t see straight. Those are the times when I dare to glimpse ahead to bottle weaning, potty training, ‘the terrible twos’ and sibling rivalry, and I sigh as I pour myself a glass of wine. Those are the days when I give myself mental ‘pep talks’, reminding myself that ‘someone’ up there thought I could do this (and pray that my husband will be home soon)!
How does it all feel? What’s this first year with triplets been like? In a word- ‘surreal’. From the moment they were born…no, wait! – From the moment they told me that we were going to have THREE, it’s been surreal. Anyone who knows me has probably grown tired of hearing me say that word this year. But only those who know me very well know that it’s often been said with sadness, frustration and yes, judgment. And so being the lover of words that I am, I decided to research what I have allowed to become a very powerful word in my life. And this is what I’ve learned…
Surreal: bizarre, weirdly unfamiliar, distorted or disturbing, like the experiences in a dream
Yes, ok – that fits – kind of. But to be more thorough I mean ‘surreal’ in terms of, “Holy $%&! – I have FOUR children now!” I mean that for the past two years there has been a voice inside of me wanting to scream, “Wait! Hold on just a minute! Let me absorb what it feels like to be told that IVF is our best option at another child. Let me take in all of the fertility information and understand what will be happening to my body. I don’t want to mess this up…inject what where? Give me just another second to look at the pictures of our embryos and decide how many to transfer. Wait! You said the chances of all three implanting were 1 in 75,000…there are how many in there???” When I say ‘surreal’, I mean the absolute awe of feeling THREE tiny human beings flipping and kicking inside of you. I’m talking about the joy and gratitude and perfect love I saw in my husband’s eyes on the day they were born. It was surreal for me to watch his heart grow that day. I mean the indescribable feeling of having three sets of eyes trying to focus on you from their cribs in the NICU. Surreal is how it felt to watch my firstborn 6 year old son sit in the NICU and take turns holding his new siblings. I’m referring to the enormous sense of responsibility my husband and I now have. I’m talking about the pressure of keeping my ‘NICU notebook’ in order…who was fed how much at what time? I’m talking about the mixed emotions of joy, anxiety and love (coupled with exhaustion) on the first night ALL of our children were home together. Surreal is taking them for their wellness visits…three exams, three sets of inoculations, three co-pays! It is all of the love and support we got from friends and family. When I say it’s surreal, I mean that I sometimes get so busy with the ‘doing’ required of me as a mother of three infants and a first grader, that I can become detached from the actual experience…enter guilt and judgment. I mean that because I love them all so deeply and want so desperately to do right by them, sometimes all of my energy is concentrated on the endurance, the organization and the patience it takes to raise them. And because of all of this, I’ve spent a lot of time judging myself, wondering when I was really going to ‘feel’ it, when it would all sink in – the huge reality of the last two years.
So yes, this first year has been ‘surreal’…it has been quick and busy and draining and challenging and overwhelmingly emotional. And that’s the reality of it, and it’s ok. You see, because in the end, that is how my family came to be.
And bear with me here, because the deeper I dug, the better it got. I learned that the antonym of ‘surreal’ is ‘ordinary’. As I read it, I could breathe easier and a smile slowly spread across my face. Because if the antonym of surreal is ordinary, then the antonym of ordinary is (drum roll, please…) EXTRAORDINARY! How cool is that?! EXTRAORDINARY…that is what my life as a MoM is. It is ‘unusually excellent or strange; very unusual and deserving of attention and comment because of being wonderful, excellent, strange or shocking’.
That is my family’s story. It is who we are and how we came to be. And that’s pretty extraordinary!