Archive for May, 2008

We had a very un-eventful pregnancy from the start. I found out at 8 weeks we were having twins…not only that but i knew at 8 weeks that they were identical twins. We found out at 14 or 15 weeks that we were adding 2 more girls to the mix. My 20 week u/s was fine…i didn’t do any other genetic testing. My original due date was Jan 20th…but my dr. said right away with the being identical we’d probably do a c-section around 37 weeks…maybe 38. Every appt was just fine..i know we were very blessed to have such a great pregnancy…less the puking that seemed to go on forever. I was never put on bed rest…but i put myself on it the day i found out i was having twins! LOL! I was already a SAHM, so i remember most days just laying around most of the day and eating(how else do you fatten up two babies growing inside of your belly?). I do remember that i was very very sad that we had to cancel our SECOND trip out of town with my, then, 21 month old…we had this awesome trip planned to go to Vegas, to stay at my favorite hotel(mandalay bay) with my parents. I kept thinking i’d start feeling better and we could go anyway…that just didn’t happen. I also remember cancelling on our sitter the night of my birthday(june 12th) b/c i was SOO sick and couldn’t quit puking. We didnt’ make it back to that restaurant until just a few months ago! ūüôā

We had a planned c-section the day after Christmas. Knowing how hard it was going to be to raise twins and a 29 month old we looked into au-pairs for some help. Julia came to us, the October before the babies were due. She was able to get settled in, i was able to get some restand Hannah(our older little girl) had a play mate. It worked out well, for a while. The girls were born the day after Christmas via c-section. It was all planned..the girls were 36w4d and weighted in at 5.7 & 5.11. The dr. wanted to take them as early as possible due to them being identical and the risk of TTS(twin to twin transfusion syndrome). Although, he was pretty sure they didn’t have it, he wasn’t 100% sure. They did end up with TTS. It was so weird b/c they were alway within ounces of each other in weight, which is a tell tale sign of TTS. The only sign they had was that Sarah had bloody purple hands & feet and was very very bright red and Samantha was as pale as a sheep. We were very thankful that he took the girls when he did, otherwise the TTS could have progressed quickly and we could have had a bad situation. Since the life of a red blood cell is 120 days…it took about 2-3 months for one baby to lighten up and the other to darken up.

The night before they were born i couldn’t sleep. Not that i could sleep very well the last two months, considering i was sleeping on the couch(it was closer to the ground and i could just roll off), but that last night was BAD. I was told not drink or eat anything after midnight, so i set the alarm clock in the living room for midnight, so i could stuff my face one last time and drink as much water as i could, before i was cut off. Sure enough, got up at midnight(i don’t even think i was sleeping anyway), had some deserts(it was xmas night, so we had tons of food in the fridge), had some food and a ton of water. AHH…much better.

We had to be at the hospital to check in at 8:00a so we got up early, packed Hannah up to go to my sisters house and left. We dropped Hannah off around 730a that morning and took the short drive over to the medical center. That was such a weird feeling…knowing when i got back in the car i’d be a mom of THREE! Oh My, was i really ready for this? We valeted the car and walked up to the 7th floor(labor and delivery). We rang in and they let us in…i got a room right away and got into my gown and the waiting began. We had lots of people coming and going…one for the dreaded IV…the one thing i have always dreaded since my first pregnancy with Hannah. Fortunately, the IV went in just fine. Then they monitered the babies…but only for about 20 minutes and everything looked fine. In between all of this, i was dying of thirst. I was begging and begging for water. I finally convinced the sweet little nurse that i HAD to have some ice chips or i was going to dehydrate soon. She argued with me and said that was what the IV was for…but i still didn’t give up. FINALLY, i sent my hubby out to beg for some ice chips…the lady brought in a cup of ice chips..but said “One at a time”. Well. little did she know that i was going to down them and beg for more. She gave me more but said…don’t blame me when you get sick. I said “i PROMISE i won’t.” LOL! Finally at 10a my dr. comes in and asks if i’m ready. Uh, YES, I’m ready! So, they came in and rolled me down to the OR. It was weird..laying on a bed and being rolled around like i was incapable of walking. Kinda fun..but made me feel helpless in a way.

The OR is weird and smells like bleach to me. It’s SOO bright and COLD! I laid on the bed while my dr. got out his handy dandy little voice machine and dictated a whole bunch of info about me(weight, age, health, date, time, etc). While all this was going on…i was lying there and Paul was getting his scrubs on. For some reason he had to wait out in the hall for a while…then they called him in as they began the procedure. So as they wheel me in to the actual OR they tell me to get off this one bed and on to another bed. WHAT? I had to pretty much roll off of one bed(the whole 200lbs + of me) and climb up the little step and up on to another bed. It was HILARIOUS and i wish it had been recorded…seeing a gigantic woman rolling from one bed to the other. What were they thinking? I crawl back up onto the other bed and the anesthesologist comes in for my epidural. A sweet nurse gets in front of me so i can lean on her(my hubby wasn’t in the room yet) so he could put the epidural in. Few pinches, some cold sensation, and it was IN! Ahh…that epidural can do some wonders. I lay back down and i remember very vividily that there was a nurse in there, really cute, young and SOOO sweet and she was talking to me the whole time. Almost to the point that i was annoyed..but she was just SOO excited…she said that she had twins that were 4 or 5..and that they she hadn’t delivered a set of twin in a while. I think most women that go down to the med center with multiples go to tx. womens b/c they have a level III NICU. The hospital i chose did not…but if there had been problems, they would have just rolled the girls right on over to Texas Childrens(through the tunnells)…so no biggie for me. Anyway, she kept talking and talking and was soo sweet. Finally, i see all these people gathering around me..and they brought my hubby in for the big moment.

First, they kept poking at me to make sure i couldn’t feel anything…they kept asking “can you feel this”…nope, just the pressure. I remember lots of pressure and tugging and i kept asking over and over “are they here yet”. My poor hubby just kept saying no…they are still cutting. Then i started to smell burning…YUCK! I guess as they cut, they carterize your skin so it doesn’t bleed so much. Then i hear the dr. say…”baby A is out”. I hear a loud SCREAM! Samatha was out. Then i feel a ton more pressure…Sarah was breech so it took a bit of pulling and tugging to get her out. Sure enough less that a minute later i hear another scream. Sarah was out! They wisked them off to get weighted and cleaned up..and i remember asking my hubby over and over…”did they look ok, did they have ten fingers and ten toes?” He said, yes they looked fine. I was a bit worried b/c i refused all the genetic testing b/c my dr. all along said that doing genetic testing on the girls could always lead to false positives and in turn lead to doing a amnio…which was not an option for me(i was only 30 & healthy).

After the babies were born they were wisked off to their little isolettes, cleaned off and checked out by the 5-6 people per baby(nurse, neo, etc). They said everything was fine and brought the babies back in while i was being stitched up. I remember this part all too well. I remember my dr. talking to another dr.(i guess there were two dr’s in the room doing the delivery..perhaps b/c of them being twins). The dr.s were talking about fishing and vacations and all sorts of fun stuff. I was thinking to myself the whole time: “are you serisous, are they seriously just chatting away while i’m ripped open, probably bleeding to death.” Ok kinda dramatic…but it was kinda funny. Here you are, laying on a table…just had two babies, there is blood everywhere and your insides are laying on the table and the dr’s are just chatting away about life. FUNNY! Then the nurses brought the babies back in…everything was fine. The nurse hands one to Paul…he brings her over to me to see…AHHH..relief…she is precious! Then she tries to hand the other one to me. WHAT? IS SHE CRAZY…i’m being stitched up and i’m totally out of it. I looked at her and said, “i can’t hold her i’ll drop her!” The sweet anestheologist said, “can i hold her for you?” I said, “Sure, because i can’t hold a baby right now.” So he held her for me and i just looked on…antoher precious baby. TWO babies…still amazes me today!! I just laid on the table and cried…and i have to say, i saw a tear or two in my hubbies eyes too(sorry hunny, i know i’ve just embarassed you b/c men don’t cry)! ūüôā

Then they roll me into recovery. I was shaking and shaking. I was freezing and feeling REALLY bad. Paul went with the girls over to the nursery and then to my room to call everyone, so he wasn’t with me at all. I kept telling them..i NEED more covers. I think they may have put 5 or 6 of those warmed(in a big oven) blankets on me to keep me warm. I was furiously shaking and then it hit me. I was trying and trying to cough. I DID tell the dr. before the surgery that i still had the cough i had had for 2 months before the babies were born. He kept giving me meds..they just didn’t work. Anyway, the nurse in recovery said “you CAN’T cough!” “You will pop your stitches out.” I just nodded as i had to cough soo bad and i kept trying but i was so out of it, nothing would come out. Finally the lady went and told someone and came back with the MIRACLE “stop coughing” drug. I don’t know what they gave me…but i didn’t have to cough at ALL after that shot. AMAZING. Oh, but then came the puking. This is where the ice chips came in…all of a sudden, laying there, i kept trying to talk and tell them i felt something coming up. I was just about to puke all over myself and the nurse came running with a little puke pan and shoved it against my chin, as i puked and puked. Thank goodness for the puke pan…otherwise i would have been covered in puke…thanks to the ice chips i probably shouldn’t have eaten. I have to say, laying in the recovery room was so peaceful. Weird, but peaceful. You get to just lay there and do nothing. People are watching you…but you can nod off…sleep, dream about laying on a beach in a bikini, do whatever you want to do for a whole hour or two. It was weird..but nice and quiet!

I think i finally got up to my room that day at 12noon or a little after. Then almost immediately they rolled the girls into my room. Again, OMG, there’s TWO of them. It hit me again…i was looking at these two precious babies…soo amazing. I had a feeling of being over whelmed. A good feeling….but i was still in disbelief of the whole twin thing…until i saw them both after the drugs had all worn off. They were beautiful..and soo tiny compared to Hannah who weight 7.4 lbs at birth!

Getting out of bed after getting back from recovery was bad. Now, again, i had gained 65lbs this pregnancy so i wasn’t one of those moms that just bounced back and lost the weight. I gained TONS and TONS of water weight from the IV. I have ONE pic of myself in the bed and a few of me holding the babies after the c-section that no one will EVER see till i die! LOL! I looked horrible. So, getting back to getting out of bed. Yeah, that was funny. I was sooo scared to move…and it hurt so bad i was pressing the button every 15 minutes for more meds. I don’t even know if they helped or not b/c the pain was still bad…but it was worth a try. I finally got out of bed that evening and walked like 10 steps and back. Progressively it got easier…but the first few days were really bad. I think they last day i was there(Friday), Paul & I took the babies for a whole lap around the maternity ward…with the babies in tow. THAT was our first day of feeling like a rock star. EVERYONE out in the hallways were talking about us and stopping us to see the babies. THAT was the first day, of the comments that will go on, until my girls are old enough to be individuals and try to not look alike…as i know i will face one day, probably when one child comes home with blue hair and purple nails! LOL It was amazing how many people walking to other peoples rooms looked on as we each pushed a baby down the hall. I was so proud of myself. I did it…i made two precious babies…and i got to keep BOTH of them and take them home with me.

As we were leaving the hospital that same day everyone we passed was staring at me. One poor lady was so nosey she came right up to me and told me her story(i don’t even remember it now), but just stood by me as i waited for the valet to bring our car around and just stood there and stared at my babies…one in each arm! (yes, that is really me…with cankles and so swollen i could hardly fit into my twin pregnancy clothes)!

The girls were able to come home from the hospital with us and while we were in the hospital we were very lucky to have my sister(who has a daughter that is 3 months younger than mine) keep Hannah. The best part was that she actually lived right across the street from the hospital and would drop Hannah off downstairs a few times a day to come see the girls.

Since i have been on both sides of the spectrum with a vaginal delivery with Hannah and c-section with the girls…i’m going to say that their are pros and cons to both. Hannah actually ended up breaking my tail bone b/c she was in my birth canal for soo long. I had to go to a spine dr. who gave me some anit inflamatories and pain pills but would not operate due to infection. It still, till this day, hurts when i sit on something hard. The C-section was awesome…i didn’t feel a lick of pain, but the staples annoyed me afterwards & I think it hurt pretty bad and was very itchy. Of course, i will always have a “battle scar”, but it’s turned out well b/c when Hannah asks how the babies came out i can show her my scar and not go any further into details.

When we came home from the hospital we had a nightmare on our hands. We had been in the process of remodeling our new home(but the bathroom add on was the major mess left) and the contractor had been acting kinda fishy prior to us leaving to the hospital. He wanted extra money and came in and showed us all the great things he was going to do to the semi-added on bathroom. He wanted an extra 5 grand and we finally agreed on 3 grand the day before christmas. WHAT A MESS! We came home to our bedroom opened up to all the elements outside…no nursery, the house was a mess & our contractor wouldn’t answer his phone and disappeared. It was cold outside and the bedroom wasn’t even closed in….the bathroom didn’t have sheet rock…we could see outside from our bedroom. We had to play musical bedrooms…and the whole ordeal was a nightmare! That is definitely a part of my birth story and coming home from the hospital that i really hope to forget one day. I just know karma will come back to bite that bad man in the keister for what he did to us. A mom always dreams about bringing their babies home to a beautiful nursery full of stuff…we brought them home to a pack n play and no cribs in sight as we were in the middle of such a huge mess that had been going on since Sept. The humorous part of this whole ordeal was that we thought as pay back we’d call the bad man everytime we got up to feed the girls in the middle of the night(12,1,2,3,4am). Of course he didn’t answer…but his phone was on b/c it rang. It really makes for some good humor in the middle of the night when your sleep deprived and freezing due to the big hole in the wall in the bedroom next door! ūüôā I can laugh at it now…i guess if it’s the worst part of my birth story…it wasn’t that bad. My babies were healthy and that was always #1 on my list.

We had Julia stay with us through June and after that i was on my own. As much of a pain it was having a foreign person stay in your house, eat your food, party till all hours of the morning and just totally annoy you, Julia was a life saver since i didn’t have family that could come over and help on a daily basis. In all reality, i probably could have done it with just the twins…but Hannah needed a playmate. She needed someone to play with, someone to color with and someone to take her outside to get fresh air. In June, i fired Julia and took over. It was hard for a while…but you do what you have to, to make things work. Paul started taking Hannah back to MDO(mothers day out) and i kept the girls with me on those day. We didn’t get out and do much…but we did do a TON of walking up and down the street with the girls. Looking back…i just did what i could to keep my head above water. We had interviewed a few people after i fired Julia. BUT thinking about it…i decided it was easier for me to just do it on my own and not have anyone invading my space. I still feel like i made the right decision! And after Julia left i just had this feeling of peace come over me. Like i was able to get up and walk around in my pj’s all day…not brush my teeth if i didn’t want to…and not have to worry about another mouth to feed since she coudn’t cook for the life of her.

I can’t say this road has been smooth sailing for us the entire 17 months…we’ve had some bumps along the way, lots of colic and crying babies, sick babies, and sometimes i even felt like i had a touch of PPD…but the extent of my PPD was crying and telling my hubby a couple of times how much i hated my life(as my babies were crying and i was on the floor crying with them b/c i didn’t know what else to do for them). That is definitely all over with now.

Now that my girls are 17 months old…it’s a breeze. I still have some issues taking them all out together but it’s just a learning process. You learn what’s easy and what’s not so easy and you adjust your life.

My girls a few days after delivery, Hannah was 29 months!My girls at 17 months & Hannah will be 4, August 1st!


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Well since it’s finally starting to warm up and Memorial day is upon us, I thought I would go over some great outside toys for toddlers.

First of all, if you have a child that is walking and old enough to NOT eat sand, i highly recommend a toy that includes sand. We just bought one and it provides hours of entertainment for my girls. There are many different ones to choose from including a Sand table, sand BOX for the younger ages), water table, sand and water table and many different fun tables.

We actually had a sand BOX(they vary in prices and can run from 30-80 dollars), for my older daughter when she was younger..she loved it, but it was a MESS to get her out of it…and keep the sand inside the box. I always had to strip her down before we went in the house so i didn’t track sand everywhere. You HAVE to be very careful about keeping the lid on it closed when your not playing because you’ll find tons of bugs and ants inside if you don’t close it with the lid(also found surprise bird poop every once in a while..YUCK). Like I said, they are fun for the younger babies who can sit up and play…just remember to strip them down and brush off sand before entering the house or car.

A SAND table is great for children from the time they can pull up or standup. The good thing about the SAND table is that it’s only sand…no water involved and your child is not sitting in the actual sand v/s a sandbox. So this is great for the younger children. The negative part of buying a SAND table is that it’s ONLY sand…so when your child is old enough to play with sand and water…you have to invest in a new one. The sand tables all run about 50.00 each. I do not recommend buying the Step 2 version of this…i checked out the reviews and most say that the lid is very flimsy and leaks. I couldn’t seem to find any other, well built sand tables…but i’m sure they are out there.

A Sand & water table is another option for younger children. We just bought the step 2 sand and water table and love it! For younger children i would buy this…add sand and plug the water side…then add sand to that side too! That is what we did, as i had first added water and both of the twins thought it was bath time and got drenched, in the two minutes i walked in the house to get their snacks. Mine was 80.00 and most sand and water tables run about the same. We had originally bought a portable step 2 sand and water table…but it was REALLY small and truly made for one or maybe two children. I wouldn’t recommend it for more than two for sure. The big step 2 sand and water table is great! The umbrella is actually big enough to cover up the children while playing in the sun and the cover is rather sturdy and doesn’t seem to leak at all. I would recommed moving it away from the house though…as i thought it’d be fun to put it on the porch but there was sand everywhere and i caught a couple of sneeky babies trying to get inside the house with bowls of sand! We moved it out to the grass and that seemed much better and they aren’t so tempted to bring bowls of sand in the back door of our house. ūüôā

A water table is another great idea. I think this is more for older children…over 2 years of age. Most water tables run about 30.00 and should probably be filled and drained each time due to mold and algae. We don’t have one…but Hannah’s school has one and sometimes they’ll fill it up with water and bubbles and i hear it’s one fun sight to see!

We also just purchased a little tykes picnic table(the smaller version). My girls LOVE the table and we leave it outside..but have brought it in for snacks and my neighbor uses her’s for her children to eat their meals. My girls started using it about 2 months ago and they figured it out pretty quickly. It’s really nice to have outside and feed them snacks and drinks on while they are playing outside. It’s very sturdy and holds it’s color well even in the bright sun.

Another great outside toy for children is a playhouse. We had one for a while…i’m embarrassed to say we got it out of our neighbors trash on heavy trash day! LOL! It was nice but old and the front door had fallen off. The girls did LOVE it, as soon as they were walking. They would all run in and open and close the windows over and over again. We got rid of it because it was falling apart and since we bought the gigantic play system in the back we didn’t want to have one more thing for the poor lawn mower guys to move and/or mow around. These play houses can run big bucks(so i’d try to buy second hand or get ready to spend a good 400-500 dollars on one). The hard part about spending this much money on a play house is that you never know if your child will really like it or play in it. My sister(hope she’s not reading this) bought one and found out not to long after they went and spent big bucks…that her daughter was allergic to mosquito’s and so they can’t really play in the play house much. We, on the other hand, used our trash diver one, for hours on end.

For the smaller children they have the climb and slide toys. We also had one of these. We had the little tykes version and it was awesome! We bought it for our daughters 2nd birthday and we definitely got our moneys worth out of it. It’s worth the 200 you’ll spend on it, it keeps it’s color well, and i ended up selling to another/fellow MOM for half the price.

Of course, last, but not least are an infinity amount of ride on toys out there to purchase. We have a few ride on toys that are foot propelled that the twins really love(ours are all in the house.) My neighbor has the toddle coupe buggy and her kids all love it. We are thinking of buying one…but we’re waiting until we remodel our back patio for that. I did just purchase some really cheap foot propelled cars that have handles behind, so they can rotate and take turns riding and pushing. My were bought at walmart and are REALLY cheap and tend to flip b/c the plastic is soo cheap and the toys are soo light. I originally bought one because we had a little tykes one and they fought and fought over that one…then i bought the cheapie one and they fought over THAT one…so i went and bought another cheapo one…so now we have two cheapo flipping cars in the house…makes for lots of noise, crying and flipped cars…but the girls love riding them…so we’ll deal with the cheap part b/c that’s part of life when you have to buy TWO of everything.

Water toy wise we’ve had two toys my girls love.

One was a cool little sprinkler with hands that spray all over the place. This is great for anyone old enough to walk that loves water(make sure to put it in the grass). Most of these sprinklers are pretty durable and i wish i had bought one earlier…as we just got our first this year and all 3 of my girls love it. This is another toy that provides a good hour or two of enjoyment…and boy it helps them nap good or sleep good at night! It tires me out just watching them run around the yard.

Last, but not least, is a $7.00 pool we bought at walmart 3 years ago. It’s plastic and very very durable! You can add as much or little water as you’d like. The girls LOVE this pool. I also add some bath toys to it when they are playing…which also adds to the entertainment. The trick is how to get them all rangled back into the house after a fun afternoon in the pool. I strip them down into their birthday suit right in our back yard. Wrap them in in towels and dump the water. If the water is gone your children will be more likely to actually come inside. Of course for me, the twins follow Hannah where ever she goes…so i coax her to go in and then they follow…makes for less tantrums when it’s time to move back inside the house! ūüôā

Hope this blog was helpful to all the mothers out there getting ready to purchase their first outside toy or toys. There are so many choices out there…it’s hard to pick. My best advice to you is to check reviews and ask around. I’ve learned the hard way over and over, as i’d just, on a whim, buy something and decided i didn’t like it later. Through all my purchases and mistakes, i’ve learned to check reviews and ask around.

One last final tid bit of advice…I just learned TODAY that if you do play with sand, have a sand and water table, sand table, or go play at the beach, baby powder is the magic potion that magically removes sand off hands and feet. It’s amazing and i can’t wait to take it to the beach because i really don’t like the feeling of sand all over your body after building sand castles and playing in the salty water…the baby powder should do the trick! Try it out if you haven’t already…it’s AWESOME!

Have a Safe & Happy Memorial Day!

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Compared to the other ladies¬†at HDYDI, I’d say my birth story is, well..a¬†bit boring.¬† Not that the birth of our sons, Finn and Reid, were anything but boring.¬† Because it was, hands down, the most memorable day in my life thus far.¬† But, there were no surprises on their actual birth day.¬† We came into the hospital that afternoon knowing full well that births (especially multiple births) rarely go as planned.¬† But, to our surprise…there were no surprises!¬† I arrived on time, the doctors arrived on time, the C-section went without a hitch,¬†and the boys did just as well as our OB¬†hoped they’d do.¬† I’d even¬†scored the room on the Mother/Baby Unit that the nurses, for the past 4 months, had been saying they’d save for their “twin mama”.¬†


However, in¬†the spirit of Birth Story Week here at HDYDI, I’ll tell you the nitty¬† gritty.¬† Even though I really think that¬†it could¬†just be¬†summed up like this: “Two babies.¬† Bothbreech.¬† One diagnosed with IUGR.¬† Two Grade 3 placentas.¬† One scheduled C-section.¬† Two happy parents.” But, that wouldn’t be as much fun, now would it?¬† After all…who doesn’t like telling the story about the day that changed your life forever and made your heart swell with love, joy and pride?


Some background info

Both of the boys had been in a breech position since week 28.¬† At the 32 week mark, my OB said that the likelihood of Baby A transitioning into a vertex position was very low.¬† It was then that he dropped the C-bomb.¬† I had been planning a natural delivery since Day 1…no drugs, lots of deep breathing, visualizations, peaceful music, a belly dancer (kidding on that one)…you know, the whole nine yards.¬† Well, that went right out the window during the office visit.¬† It took some time and contemplation to come to terms with the surgery, but I eventually took comfort in the fact that I knew (approximately) when these babies were going to be born (my OB would not let me go into hard labor).¬† I was especially glad to know that I would most definitely not be pregnant forever.¬† As much as I didn’t believe it.¬†


At¬†week 34, a 25% discrepancy in weight between Baby A and Baby B was found.¬† It was decided that we’d wait another week and, if the weights didn’t equalize, the boys were going to be born no later than 36 weeks.¬† Another issue that was uncovered at the 34-week mark was the deterioration of my placentas.¬† It was determined that both placentas had enough calcification to be deemed Grade 3.¬† There was certainly time, but not much, before these puppies were going to cease supplying nutrients to our babes.¬† Not a good thing.


At 35 weeks, there was still a weight discrepancy, and Baby B (Reid) was diagnosed with Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), so we knew that they were going to be born one week from that day.¬† However, I wanted to deliver at a hospital that¬†was not equipped to handle babies with major breathing issues.¬†¬†So, I¬†was required to¬†have an amniocentesis to determine lung maturity.¬† This was scheduled for January 25th at 8:00am.¬† My due date was February 26th, 2007.¬† Finn and Reid were born on January 26th, 2007…exactly 36 weeks.


I know this is a ‘birth story’ and not a ‘pre-birth story’, but I must mention something about the amnio.¬† It was beyond strange!¬† The only way I can describe it would be the sensation of being uncorked.¬† I felt like a bottle of wine that someone was decorking.¬† The pressure was intense, but the feeling was just plain weird.¬†


Regardless, after delivering the test tube of¬†fluid in which surrounded my children to the laboratory, I was driven to the hospital to undergo my daily Non-Stress Test.¬† I was having some serious contractions, so they checked me.¬† I was still holding steady (from the morning ‘check’)¬†at 2cm and 75% effacement so they released me after a couple of hours.¬† When a baby (or babies) is breech, there is risk of a prolapsed umbilical cord.¬† This is a obstetric emergency with a 11-17% mortality rate.¬† High enough that you don’t want to chance it.¬† And the more I was dilated, the more dangerous it was to send me home.¬† But fortunately, I hadn’t had any cervical change in almost 3 days.¬† Either way, I was to spend the next 36 hours doing nothing.¬† This was no easy task for someone who hates sitting still and furthermore, had a lot of stuff to do before becoming a parent!


Birth day

Fast forward to Friday, January 26that 3pm.¬† I showed up at the hospital, thirsty and starving, wearing the one and only outfit that still fit.¬† My husband and I were loaded down with our backpacks, pillows, Boppy, breast pump and diaper bag.¬† I got dressed in the hospital gown, took a dose of some crazy concoction to settle my stomach, got my IV and was hooked up to the fetal monitors.¬† The boys were very active and I was having some wicked contractions.¬† I think the boys knew that something was up because they were more active than they’d ever been.¬† Either way, after experiencing the contractions I was more than a little relieved that I had an automatic¬†‘out’ for having to deliver naturally.¬† Let’s just say I was very happy when the anesthesiologist strolled in.


After signing my life away on stacks and stacks of paper work, I had my father-in-law take a few pictures, one of which highlighted my cankles.¬† canklesbellyI felt like a big water-logged rubber ducky.¬† And, you can see by the extremely unflattering photographs, that I also looked like one.¬† After a few camera clicks, the nurses asked everyone to leave the room (including my husband, which I was surprised by).¬† I was asked if I needed something for anxiety (I declined, surprising even myself) and then told that it was time to be shaved.¬† For some reason, I didn’t even think that they would have to shave me.¬† Down There.¬† But, I guess it does make sense, after all.¬† ūüôā¬†The shaving experience reminded me of the time when I had¬†the not-so-good idea to dry-shave my¬†under arms one morning in 10th grade because I really wanted to wear my favorite tank top to show off my tan.¬† Yah.¬† Bad idea.¬† If I could do it again, I think I’d get a Brazilian wax done beforehand and call it a day.¬† It’s not comfortable and the nurses are anything but careful.¬†


After the shave, it was time to head into the OR.¬† I did a few stretches because I knew that I wouldn’t be on my feet for quite a few hours.


As I exited my room, I was greeted by my regular OB, my mom (she’d flown in from Oregon that morning), my in-laws and my husband.¬† I gave them all one last pre-motherhood hug and told them that I’d see them in a few.¬† Brook would follow me into the OR once my spinal was in place.¬†


It seemed that from the moment I entered the OR, I just could not stop shivering.¬† I know this is¬†normally a¬†side effect¬†of the anesthesia, but I hadn’t even¬†got up on the table yet.¬† I think it was just my nerves.¬† The thought of me being cut open (while awake!) was a bit much for me at that point in time.¬† I kept shivering and my teeth kept chattering as I laid on the table.¬† The anesthesiologist told me that I was going to have to stop shivering before he could put the spinal in–you know, that whole ‘precision’ thing.¬† I tried, but I couldn’t, so one of the lovely nurses gave me a warm blanket and that did the trick.¬†


The anesthesiologist sat me up and explained the procedure.¬† A nurse was in front of me to lean on as I hunched over and she also helped to quell my nervousness witha hand massage.¬† It would have been nice to have my husband there during the spinal, but I realize this isn’t procedure.¬† As the anesthesia entered my body, it felt as if someone dripped a cool, thick liquid slowly down my back.¬† By the time she laid me back down, I was numb.¬† The feeling of knowing that your body IS there, but not having any control of it from the sternum down, is classified as ‘creepy’ in my book.¬† Just for fun, I tried to pick my leg up, asking a nurse if, indeed, I had picked it up (she said, “nada!”), and then laughing because of the weird-ness of it all.


When I was fully numb and settled, they let my husband into the room.  He was told to sit to my left.  I remember him holding my hand, being comforted by his touch, and thinking, that in a few minutes, we were going to be responsible for two tiny little human beings when I barely even felt grown up myself. 


Let the show begin

With all 10 ‘team members’¬†in place, my OB said they were going to go nice and slow…that they weren’t in a hurry, so to just relax.¬† All I was concentrating on was whether or not I heard a baby crying.¬† I made him promise to clearly tell me when each baby was out.¬†


At 4:01 pm, they broke Baby A’s (Finn) amniotic sac.¬† On the video my husband shot it took precisely 1 minute and 11¬†seconds of tugging to get Finn out.¬† His brother and he were wedged in there.¬† Tight.¬† I don’t have to go over the, ummm,¬†pressure that you feel as one surgeon is pulling a kid out, while the assisting surgeon is pushing on your stomach like he’s kneading a huge hunk of bread dough, because that was already covered in the other HDYDI¬† birth stories.¬† But I will reiterate that, yes.¬† It is in.freaking.tense.¬† I found myself making grunting noises as I was being pulled and pushed around.


At¬†4:02pm, Finn Andrew finallyenters¬†the world, feet first (weighing 5 lbs, 6 oz.), after what seems like eons of them pulling, poking, tugging and pushing to get him lodged out from underneath his bro.¬† “Baby A, 4:02pm”, my OB says.¬† He doesn’t cry.¬† They suction him.¬† He still doesn’t cry.¬† The OB cuts the cord, hands him quickly to the nurse, who wraps him in a towel and gives me a very quick half-second glimpse of my first born son, and then hands him through a window that lead into the NICU.¬† I was scared to death that he wasn’t crying.¬† I’d watched enough Discovery Health to know that you want a baby to cry.¬† Crying is good.¬† Crying means the baby is breathing.¬† Finn was not crying.¬† I tried to stay calm, with the help and reassurance of Brook and the anesthesiologist, because I still had one baby left inside of me.¬†


At 4:03pm, they break Baby B’s (Reid) amniotic sac and he pops right out feet first…screaming!!¬† It was the sweetest sound I had ever heard.¬† I cried and laughed all at the same time.¬† For whatever reason though, they didn’t let me see the little guy.¬† He was the one they were worried about (though he was a plump 4 lbs, 11 oz.), so he was quickly wrapped and shoved into the NICUwindow with Brook on the nurses heals.¬† Once I¬†heard Reid¬†cry and then about 30 seconds later, the distant cry of Finn (finally!), I relaxed and settled into a post-birth happy/exhausted state as my OB started singing something in Russian.¬† I drifted in and out of this state of mind as Brook snapped a few photos and some video and came back to show me our new sons.¬† I asked him if they were okay about 1,000 times, in between gushing over the pictures and videos that were taken minutes before.¬†¬†¬† But truth be told, I really, really, just wanted a nap.¬†


I was given a shot of Demerol and, man, did this make me loopy!¬† The next thing I know, I’m in the recovery room being handed a cell phone.¬† It was my dad.¬† I really just wanted him to be there.¬† I didn’t want to talk to him on the cell phone.¬† I wanted him by my bedside, so he could give me a hug and tell me that I was going to be okay at this whole mom-thing.Gotta love the drugs

I was a mess.¬† I felt drunk.¬† I felt stoned.¬† I felt…not like a mom should feel.¬† I kept questioning my ability to care for two newborns.¬† Telling myself that I was already a bad mom.¬† It was horrid.¬† The nurses assured me that this was just a side effect of the Demerol and that I should just try to sleep.¬† I tried, but I couldn’t.¬† I was too full of emotion and, being that I had not drank anything for nearly 13 hours, I was¬†exceptionally thirsty.¬† I begged the nurse for some ice chips.¬† When she brought me the cup full of icy bliss, I instantly felt better and my spirits were lifted.


While I was in recovery, Brook was still going back and forth between myself and the NICU…bringing me more photos and videos of the boys.¬† I couldn’t wait to get a good look at them, but I had to keep waiting…not exactly sure what for…but¬†the waiting¬†felt like a lifetime.¬† So, I tried to get a few winks in between the nurses poking and prodding me.


FINALLY!¬† It was time to meet my little ones.¬† The nurses¬†were going to wheel me into the NICU prior to¬†heading to¬†my room in the Mother/Baby Unit.¬† When I was rolled in, they brought Reid over to Finn’s warmer.¬† The two of them together.¬† It was beautiful.¬† It was surreal.¬† I tried to touch them, but I couldn’t get as close as I would have liked.

¬†mama meets the boysThe NICU nurses said that they were doing great and that I’d be able to hold them within the hour.¬† I was then wheeled to my post-partum room where I again nodded off.¬† That was, until my husband decided that what I really could use right then was a stuffed monkey.¬† There were only two monkeys that I wanted to see…and neither of them were stuffed.



At 6:32pm, I was able to hold both of my babies for the first time.  It was pure love.  Times two.

double the love

I managed to breastfeed both of the boys and they seemed to do okay for 36-weekers.¬† It did, however, take forever for them to latch on and, once latched, they immediately fell asleep.¬† This was only the beginning of our breastfeeding saga, but we’ll save that for another day.¬† Although the boys were doing well, they did have a bit of a problem regulating their body heat, so they were constantly being whisked away to the nursery for check-ups.¬† In between check-ups though, we did a lot of staring.¬† Staring¬†in awe of the two little miracles that we had created.¬†



Around 7pm, I was having some very intense pain.¬† I can¬†normally tolerate pain¬†fairly ¬†well, but this…this was bad.¬† The nurses figured out that something wasn’t quite right when I answered “11” to their question on my pain level on a scale of 1 to 10.¬† I had said it was a “2” less than 20 minutes prior.¬† I was restless and agitated.¬† I kept hitting the button for more morphine, but it clearly was not working.¬† So a call to my OB was made and, within 20 minutes, I was given¬†another (magnificent)¬†cocktail that took my pain level back down to a “2”.¬† After that, it was alllll good.¬†


That night, it was a mix of visitors, phone calls,¬†never-ending breastfeeding and cups and cups of (ahhhh...) water.¬† I felt as if I couldn’t get enough water.¬† And the best part about drinking all of this water was that¬†I didn’t have to get up to go to the bathroom because I had the catheter!¬† I remember being hungry, but not really wanting to eat.¬† Although, as a side note, this all changed the next morning when I felt as if I would never be able to consume enough food.¬† I would order sandwiches to my room in the middle of the night and check the “hearty” portion on my room service menu.¬† I don’t remember ever¬†being more hungry in my entire life as I was the first two weeks post-partum.¬† I guess making milk (or colostrum, rather)¬†for two babies is hard work!


Something that I was not at all prepared for was the swelling that came post C-section.¬† Admittedly, I gained a lot of weight.¬† More weight than I should have.¬† And for someone who is 5′ 3″ tall (on a good day), add another 70 pounds to your body and it’s bound to protest.¬† My body protested by giving¬† me a horrible case of carpal tunnel syndrome.¬† Throughout my pregnancy, sure, I had my share of uncomfortableness and sleepless nights.¬† But nothing compared to the¬†immense pain, numbness and tingling in my hands.¬† I couldn’t grip a pencil, let alone type on the computer all day for work purposes.¬† The nights were even worse.¬† I’d sleep withbraces on bothwrists and prop them up on pillows.¬† I’d watch what I ate, careful not to consume too much sodium (i.e. my most favorite Mexican food meal…it was a shame), as that just made the water retention even worse, which in turn aggravated the carpal tunnel syndrome.¬† I spent the better half of my pregnancy worrying about whether or not this would disappear after I gave birth.¬†


The night that Finn and Reid were born, I was graced with the worst pain, numbness and tingling I had yet experienced.¬† I felt uncomfortable even holding a baby because I couldn’t feel whether or not I had a good grip on the little guy.¬† Sleeping was out of the question because the medsthat I was taking for the¬†post-surgical pain did not help the least bit withthepainfrom the carpal tunnel syndrome.¬† The nurse promised me that it would be better in the morning, that after the birth of a baby (or two), your body holds onto water like an industrial-strength sponge.¬† It was a rough night, but I made it (thanks to many, many ice packs covering my hands and wrists!).¬† And the next day, after getting up to walk, the swelling was considerably better.¬† However, it wasn’t until¬†6 weeks post-partum¬†that I had the sensation back in the majority of my fingers again.¬† I am very thankful that I do not live with this on a day-to-day basis anymore.


Walking around the maternity ward, in between breastfeeding sessions, was my saving grace for a fast recovery.¬† Although the nurses and doctors advised me to slow down, I really felt that the more I moved, the better I felt.¬† If I didn’t have one or more kids attached to my boobs, I was out walking laps around the ward…often times pushing a couple of bassinets.¬† I went very, very slowy…but it was movement nonetheless.¬† I found that the Percoset they were giving me (after removing the Morphine drip) was making me tired and unable to focus.¬† I was having such a hard time withbreastfeedingas it was, I didn’t need the added complication of drug side-effects to make it even more difficult.¬† So, I told them to give me half of a dose.¬† I found that this was a good amount to limit my pain, as well as keep me aware of it so that I wouldn’t over-do it when I walked.¬† I was discharged from the hospital with a¬†prescription of Percoset, but I never did¬†end up taking it¬†after the second day of being discharged.¬† I relied on regular doses of Motrin.¬†¬†The twice-daily¬†(very slow) walks around the neighborhood really helped aid in my recovery.¬† It’s important to stay on top of your pain management, but it’s also very helpful to move as soon as you are able.¬† ¬†


Wow!¬† For a “boring” birth story, this sure is a lot of writing.¬† And the life that I have right now is certainly anything but boring!

lots of energy

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With the birth week theme of this week, I thought I’d focus the Foodie Friday column on foods that are great for new moms to have in the hospital or in the house once they (and babies) come home. I think this is especially key if you are breastfeeding, because you will soon find that you can out-eat any teenage boy you know—even the varsity sport playing teenage boy. It’s stunning.

Lesson #1: Food in the hospital is terrible. Really awful. You haven’t eaten for two days, what with¬†hours of ¬†labor and a c section (they made me wait about 15 hours after my c section to eat solid foods), and there on your tray is this “mushroom ravioli” which consists of two cold ravioli, covered with canned mushrooms. Seriously, it was awful. Happily, our hospital is within spitting distance of a Whole Foods, where my husband would often make emergency food runs. The best thing someone brought me in the hospital? A chocolate milkshake from Friendly’s. It was so, so good. However, although the food in the hosital was horrible, they did have a coffee & cookie cart that came around every afternoon around 2-3pm. It was fantastic–five kinds of cookies to choose from, or coffee, tea or hot cocoa. For a mom who had been up for days, a bit of sugar and caffeine at 3pm was just what the doctor ordered. I really missed the cookie cart when I got home.

Lesson #2: Breastfeeding moms, as I mentioned before, can eat a TON of food. I always craved sweet stuff. Chocolate chip cookies were a staple in our house those first few weeks. Juice, which I almost never drink, was suddenly so, so tasty. Remember, even if you’re not breastfeeding, you’re¬†awake A LOT. Which means, you get hungry.

Lesson #3: Food you have on hand should require little prep—can it be eaten cold? That’s the best!—and hopefully eaten with one hand. Often, your other hand will be busy. Often, you have one bite and come back to it 10 minutes later. Most foods do not survive six re-heatings in the microwave in a tasty manner. Some of the best foods to have on hand were cookies (see above–yum), a big fruit salad, pasta salad and easy snacks like cheese and crackers. A friend made us some granola, with nuts and coconut—so good! This also is a easy but filling food for new moms. We still make a fresh batch of home-made granola every couple of weeks.

What did others find were the best foods to have on hand those first few weeks home? Share your ideas!

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I hardly know where to start with this post…there are so many thoughts swirling around in my head regarding the birth of Jonathan and Faith. But first, I think you need a little background info.

Due to infertility treatments, I knew I was pregnant with two babies almost immediately. And as soon as I could, I got my hands on some “Twin Books” and started reading. And planning. And hoping.

I had a very healthy pregnancy, but it certainly wasn’t pain-free! I had joint pain, nerve pain, growth pain and skin pain. Basically, anything that could hurt, did! But amazingly, it didn’t slow me down too much, until I hit about 31-32 weeks. At a routine ultrasound, the tech thought that she could see my cervix shortening. My OB placed me on modified bed-rest (lay around as much as possible), and so I did my best to comply. Around 34 weeks, the doctor realized that my cervix was strong and not shortening at all, so she lifted my restrictions. Apparently, the tech made a mistake, and I never had had any issues with pre-term labor.

The entire time I was pregnant, I agonized over the method of delivery. Over and over I said, “I just don’t want to do both.” The babies were constantly changing positions, but at 33 weeks, they switched to vertex/vertex. And at 36 weeks, they were back to breech/transverse, with enough fluid to move again. It was driving me CRAZY! I am a planner, and I wanted to just plan what we were doing, and have time to mentally prepare.

At 36w5d, I started having contractions. After a few hours of mild contractions every 5-6 minutes, we went to Triage to be evaluated. By the time we were in triage, hooked up to a bunch of machines (3 monitors, bp cuff and pulse ox) they were every 3 minutes, on the nose! We were getting pretty excited!

I wasn’t in any pain, just uncomfortable. The exams stunk, of course, but the doctors and nurses were all nice. Technically, I was still pre-term, so they gave me a shot of trebutaline to see if it would halt the contractions. It didn’t, but I did feel like I just drank a lot of coffee or finished a hard workout. Very shaky.

Next, I had to drink a liter of water, so see if that would stop the contractions. It didn’t. All of this was to see if I was in actual labor or not. Well, the deciding factor is cervical change, and mine wasn’t! So home we went! It was mentally very discouraging to think I was going to be not-pregnant soon, and then be sent home!

The doctors told me to come back when I was in hard labor or if my water broke. I was so overwhelmed when they told me I would have to go into HARD labor before they would do my c-section (they were still breech/transverse). That just did not seem fair!

Day after day, I plodded along. Even though I couldn’t sleep, and had a lot of pain, I was able to do a lot of things. I was huge and cumbersome, but once I was given the all-clear, I resumed cleaning, laundry and other chores.

Finally, the doctors scheduled my c-section for May 15th, 2007. As 39 weeks pregnant, I walked into the hospital hugely pregnant, and walked out a Mama! I was incredibly nervous about the surgery, but even more so the epidural. I was so nervous, that I couldn’t walk myself to the OR. I was shaking too badly, so they took me in a wheel chair. Once in the OR, any sense of dignity flew out the window. I had already been shaved with a dull razor, and barely had any clothes on. Then I was asked to haul my giant self up onto the table, gown flapping open. The male anesthesiologists prepped me for my spinal, and it wasn’t fun. First of all, they asked me to sit cross-legged on a board the same width as a piece of paper! And on TV, a kind nurse holds your hand/head, but I was on my own. The numbing medicine hurt like hell, and they had to try several times to place the actual spinal. I know I was moaning by the end, but later realized that I had just been a guinea pig for a student doctor.

They laid me down quickly, as I was rapidly losing sensation in my lower half. They pinched me, and I felt it, and then I was totally numb. The next day, I had big bruises and sore spots where they pinched me with their instruments. At this point, they inserted my catheter, prepped my belly and brought my husband in. They started the surgery, and kept the draped close to my face, and didn’t allow my husband to peek. I heard all sorts of things, felt tugging sensations, but was strangely removed from the situation. When they delivered my son, they held him up over the drape, and I shied away from him because he was dripping globs of blood! My daughter was quickly delivered, but I don’t remember seeing her. My husband says they did show her to me. All I remember is hearing the doctor tell the anesthesiologist to start another IV, and I was rather focused on what was happening to me. They asked my husband to leave, and began working on me. I was losing a lot of blood, and my uterus wasn’t clamping down quickly. I heard this strange thud over and over, and I still don’t know what that was. Eventually, the resident finished fixing me up, but told me she wrenched her shoulder as she never had to work that hard to help a uterus clamp down before. My regular OB left before my surgery was completed, as she had to deliver another baby. Before she left, she did say that she though Jonathan and Faith were the biggest twins she had ever delivered at 7.12 and 6.12.

When the OR team was done with me, they asked me if I wanted to hold the kids on the trip to the recovery room. I didn’t even realize they were still with me, I thought they went with my husband. I was vehemently opposed to holding them, as I was totally numb and thought I would drop them! All three of us met up with my hubby and went to recovery. My parents, MIL and aunt were there to meet the babies. They all held the kids before I did, as I was still in shock, couldn’t feel my arms and didn’t feel ready to hold them. I was so focused on the trauma my body had just gone through, that I felt somewhat removed from the situation.

The nurses asked me if I want to try breast feeding, which I did, but we sorta had to prod my family to leave first! The rest of the first day is a blur. I know I felt like crap, wanted to vomit and had hot flashes. I know that I was overwhelmed that I had to start nursing the kids so quickly. After carrying them for 39 weeks, I was ready to share the workload withsomeone else! I was in bed until the next morning, with an IV in each hand and a catheter. I was on Vicodin and motrin once the IV drugs wore off. I had to remember when to ask for them, and that was hard to do. I was able to hold down some liquids the next morning, which meant frequent trips out of bed to the bathroom. There were some near-fainting episodes, but hour by hour, I felt better than the hour before. The very worst after effect of the c-section was the gas pain. My stomach sounded like it was giving off sonar-pings, and the air was moving so strongly that if I placed my hand on my stomach, it felt like there was another full-term baby kicking in there. I actually wondered for a while, if there was a third baby in there!

The kids roomed in with us, but I did send them to the nursery at night. I was so exhausted, and each mew and yawn they would make would keep me up. Unfortunatly, I was too keyed up and uncomfortable to sleep, so when we were discharged on the 3rd day, I was pretty exhausted.

We were so very blessed that our children were so healthy. The never needed oxygen, or intervention of any kind. They had no health concerns, and never left our side. I was intensely aware of how wonderfully the pregnancy and delievery had gone, and every day I am thankful that they are growing up to be strong and healthy children.

The only complication the kids have, is mild developmental dysplasia of the hip. Ironically, this was caused by their extreem lack of space in the womb!

In retrospect, I think I expected to be more emotional about their birth, like the women on TV who cry when they first see their children being born. But for me, I truly think I was in shock, and could only process so much at a time. I fondly look at their newborn pictures and video, and wish I could remember more of those first few days, but on the other hand, I have had a whole year of images and moments to fill my heart to overflowing. The birth was just the starting point of our lives together, and what a good life it is.

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It took me a long time to get pregnant. When I finally did, my doctor was quick to point out to me all the possible issues that can be associated with a twin pregnancy; gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, preterm birth. Really, she was a bit of a downer. I spent a decent amount of my pregnancy thinking about how I would manage with preemie babies. And then, I passed the 30 week mark, and the 32 week mark and the 34 week mark. By the time I got to 36 weeks, I was thinking those babies would never arrive. Seriously, I hadn’t even had a contraction. Not one! And then, two days later, my water broke in the middle of the night. Off we went to the hospital to have those babies! I STILL didn’t have any contractions until after I got to the hospital.Abigail, a few hours old

Baby A (Danny) had been vertex and Baby B (Abigail) had been transverse since about 24 weeks (they kept saying they could move—and the babies never did) so they gave me the choice of a C section versus vaginal birth. Huh. I was not really ready for that kind of choice at 3am. We chose Option #2, the vaginal bith, and then, 18 hours later, changed our minds and went for the C section. What happened in between was not so fun and involved stalled labor, some epidural issues, a fever and some really strong wishing that I had picked Option #1. The details don’t really matter–and honestly, I don’t remember a bunch of it– the summary of it is: we had two healthy babies. I was ok (as ok as you can be after abdominal surgery) and the babies were ok. They were born at 9:05pm and 9:06pm on Easter evening. Danny came first, at 19 inches and 6lbs 6oz. Abigail was second, and not as ready as Danny–they had to break her water before getting her out and she was kind of blueish, with a lower APGAR score than Danny. The doctors said that sometimes the second baby, who is not as engaged in the labor, is not as prepared for the birth. She was 18.5 inches, 5lbs 15oz. I wasn’t able to see them that night because they were struggling a bit at first and needed to be monitored in the step-down nursery, but by 7am the next morning, they were hanging out with me & Seth in my hospital room. After that time in the nursery, they were able to room in with us.Danny, a few hours old

I thought I would summarize what I learned from the whole experience:

1. They will offer you the choice of c section versus vaginal. I really wish I had just picked that c section at 3am, but you never know what’s going to happen. Lots of women have twins vaginally with no issues. But, be ready for that choice. And, if you want to change your mind later on, you’re allowed. They don’t really tell you this, but you can push for the c section. I did, although eventually the OB pushed for it too–once she realized I wasn’t progressing past 9 cm.

2. It’s really a pretty medicalized process. I don’t mind doctors or hospitals, but it was not that pretty picture from tv. Really not. A lot more doctors (or residents) and A LOT of people messing with stuff down there. In the OR, there will be a ton of people. Maybe 18 or so were in ours–people for me, people for the babies, I swear there were even a couple of tourists who wandered by. Ok, maybe not, but it felt like a lot of people. And, they kind of ignore you and go about their business.

3. C sections really aren’t that bad. I’d heard a lot of hype (“it feels like your intestines are going to fall out”) but while it hurt, it hurt a lot less than labor. And the pain meds work. The recovery was really pretty good for me. I know some people struggle with it, but it was no where near as bad as I was expecting. However, tell your husband (or whoever is there with you) NOT to look over the sheet. There is much more of you on display (and out of your body) than should EVER be there. He does not need that image of you.

4. There is not a lot of help in the hospital for breastfeeding, especially breastfeeding twins. (This may be different for other hospitals). Talk to your pediatrician when you leave the hospital to see how the babies are doing. Mine was fine with their eating because they started gaining weight at day 6. Ready to leave the hospital

5. If you have a c section, you really need the other parent in the room with you to take care of the babies. Getting in and out of bed was quite challenging (and I think fairly funny to watch). And, there are two of them. I think Seth had some fantasy of sleeping at home in his own bed. Yeah, not gonna happen. The one day he had to go home for a few hours (we were there Saturday to Friday), I had to get my mother-in-law to come in and help me with the babies. Those first few days I just wasn’t up to double baby duty.

6. Although I didn’t have any trouble with postpartum depression, lots of women do. Several risk factors apply to many of us moms of twins (or more!); 1) Having multiples 2) Using IVF 3) Having a birth experience that is traumatic or unexpectedly bad (baby in the NICU, medical issues during C section, scary moments for mom or baby). It’s not to scare any of the pregnant moms (I had all three risk factors and did fine) but it’s always good to know what to watch out for, so you can catch any sign of PPD early and be aggressive in addressing it. Because taking care of newborn twins is hard enough—you don’t need to be dealing with full-blown PPD at the same time.

7. On a less serious note, Goddess in Progress mentioned being wary of the photos you convince your husband to take while high on the anti-pain cocktail they give you. I would also caution against “drunk dialing” various family and friends once you come out of surgery but are still wacked out on drugs (and you really will be, if they give you the good stuff). Yeah, I still haven’t lived down the phone calls I made to friends and family—at midnight on Easter Sunday. “It’s not so late, honey, they won’t mind me calling!” My brother still cracks up remembering what an idiot I sounded like (as I think he described it, as if I were 8 tequila shots in to a night out on the town—I wish! It wasn’t that fun, really). Seriously, wait until the next morning, or assign this task to hubby.

It’s hard to imagine that Danny at 13 monthswas over a year ago. The one thing I learned from this is that no matter what the birth experience is like, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is the little guys who come home with you, and the fun (and exhaustion) of watching them grow and develop. Check out how much they’ve grown in the past year! Abigail at 13 months

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Coming to Term(s)

In honor of birth story week, I sat down to write up my experience. I’ve been reading the stories posted here with such voracity, identifying in some way with each one. I love reading them! Then I turned back to my own story. Hmmm…

Well, the funny thing about my birth story is that now that nearly five years have past, the details are getting hazy. At the time, I could recite every cm dilated I was as each day passed – but now, I only remember the big pieces. And I think that’s okay. I have written the details down in the boys’ baby books, and now I’m happy just to enjoy the days that we have together as they come.

So maybe my story is going to be a little less detailed than the ones we’ve seen so far this week, but maybe that’s okay.

I don’t think there’s anything unique about my birth story compared to other moms of multiples that I know. And while it’s fun to scare the heck out of the singleton mommies, I try to spare them most of my story, as it’s not quite fair to make those comparisons.

My initial pregnancy was pretty normal, up to week 19. And by normal I mean that I thought I was having ONE BABY. At my first ultrasound at 19 weeks, the sonographer started the show and asked, “So you already know you’re having two babies, right?” Our reaction was stunned silence. And then crazy joy. Two babies would be wonderful and perfect.

At 31 weeks, I was HUGE. I had gained nearly 50 pounds. I was extremely swollen. My legs and feet were completely inflated and hard – if you poked me, it stayed indented. Yuck.

At 32 weeks, I was told that my blood pressure was climbing. My body was reaching the end point. They hospitalized me and started me on magnesium, which turned into the worst 24 hours of my life. I was so worried about my babies, knowing that it was too early for them to come out, and yet, the torture of the magnesium was almost unbearable. Magnesium is given intravenously to stave off early labor. It makes you feel as if you are burning up from the inside out. You aren’t allowed to drink water either – they only give you a few CCs of ice chips each hour. I wanted what was best for the babies but felt that I wasn’t doing such a great job.

After two days, my doctor decided I wasn’t getting much better and labor was imminent. The hospital we were at was not equipped to handle my babies should they arrive so soon, so she transferred me a local hospital with a Level II NICU. An ambulance ride later (my very first), I was at home in a new room in a new hospital where they were much more used to delivering multiple babies. They immediately took me off the magnesium and everything else. It was an entirely different attitude. I felt so much better and was more confident that everything would be okay.

The next few days I spent on my left side with continual baby monitors strapped to my belly. I would have given anything to lay flat on my back or at least to have flipped to my right side. Anything except that I knew it was best for my blood pressure, and hence, the babies

At 33 weeks, my water broke at 4am and I was taken in for an emergency C-section by 8am. By 8:21am, our two baby boys were out of me and into the NICU.

It really happened so fast that I can hardly remember the details. I know I was an enormous cry-baby about the contractions. Once my water broke, the pain of those contractions was CRAZY. I still cannot imagine how anyone goes through natural labor and I have the HIGHEST respect for anyone going that route. Once the spinal took effect, it was smooth sailing for me. I was in no pain and felt only a lot of being moved around behind the curtain. My husband watched the whole thing and was pretty amazed to be talking to me like normal on one side of the curtain and see the whole other side where the babies were coming out.

Our boys were born seven weeks early and weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces and 4 pounds, 7 ounces. Big boys really, comparatively. Once I realized that I had nearly nine pounds of children inside me, I decided it was kind of understandable that my body was done. I had had seven weeks to go. Who knows how big they would have been by then?

They stayed in the NICU for four weeks. That was interesting in many ways – lots of days where they would get better and stronger and healthier and then lots of days where they would fall behind again. The biggest benefit that I see now from our stay there, aside from the phenomenal care we received, is that my boys were on a feeding and sleeping schedule from day one. That helped tremendously when we got home. We had a routine and we knew what to do with our babies. I am grateful for that.

Once we got home, we had a rotation of family members come to stay with us for about four weeks. One of those weeks, my husband stayed home with us too. Our families all live out of town, which never mattered before the babies arrived. Once we got home from the hospital, I saw that this was going to be a challenge. It’s still our biggest challenge as parents – we don’t have family around to help us get a break.

I went back to work full-time after 12 weeks of maternity leave. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It took a long time to adjust. I learned that the only way I made it work for my sanity was that when I got home, I only focused on my babies. I didn’t balance the checkbook. I didn’t cook anything. I didn’t do laundry or clean. I just played and cuddled and snuggled and played some more with my two baby boys.

Okay, at some point, we did need to eat. LOL. But we did all those things after the babies were down “for the night” (which is a relative term depending on the night). After they were in bed, we did all those things we needed to do to take care of the house and get ready for the next day. Even now, I make it my priority to truly BE with my kiddos when I’m with them and save all the other stuff for when I’m not having kiddo time.

The moral of the story? My husband and I learned early on that we had to very self-sufficient, we had to give each other lots of breaks, we had to keep our connection to each other going and we had to let a lot of things go. A LOT of things. Like cleaning. Eating hot meals. Socializing. Those things just fall by the wayside because they have to. The most important thing is to keep ourselves sane and healthy and to focus on our family. That’s what works for us.

And my biggest piece of advice from the whole birth/coming home experience: hire a cleaning lady. You will never regret it.

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