Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

This morning, one of my husband’s college friends sent news that they’re expecting twins. I have heard of a lot of multiples since becoming a twin mom, but all of those announcements have been through my local multiples group. This is my first experience with a real-life friend becoming pregnant with multiples. I had no idea how excited I would be!  I can’t stop myself from making the longest mental list of advice (and assvice). Before responding to their request for advice, I need to narrow down my response. So… what three things would you tell a real-life friend expecting multiples? They already have one kid, so they’re not rookie parents. Here’s my gut reaction advice:

1. Pick up Dr. Barbara Luke’s book When You’re Expecting Twin, Triplets, and Quadruplets. Read the nutrition information, pre-term labor, and prematurity sections. Post the pre-term labor signs on your fridge.

2. Make sure you are going to an OB that specializes in high-risk (or multiple) pregnancies.

3. Line up as much help as humanly possible for after the babies are born.

What do you think? What would be your best three tips?


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My pregnancy superpower

Reading the comments on my recent bed rest confession post, I was stunned at the number of pregnant moms who took naps. I took maybe three naps my whole pregnancy. I tried to figure out why I didn’t nap more and that’s when I remembered… my Pregnancy Superpower. It was a power so powerful I could not discuss it. I was too afraid to jinx it. I was worried I would get pelted with rotting vegetables by other pregnant women.  And I will tell you, it was awesome.

Almost every night of my pregnancy, I slept 10 to 12 uninterrupted hours. In a row. No getting up to pee. No tossing and turning. Sometimes on weekends I would sleep 14 hours, going to bed at 10PM and waking up refreshed at noon the next day.

The thing that disrupted my sleep more than anything was my husband getting up to pee in the middle of the night. Or my husband tossing and turning, frantically worried about the impending TWO BABIES!

Before the vegetable pelting begins, think hard and tell me your Pregnancy Superpower. I know you all have one. I read your blogs. Some of you never had pre-term labor. Some of you had full-term vaginal births. Some of you never puked in public.

And follow-up question: what Pregnancy Superpower other than the one you had would you want to have? My answer: None! I’ll never get to sleep that much again until the boys move out of the house.

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(In no way does this post intend to belittle anyone’s experience on bed rest.)

I was on some form of modified or strict bed rest for 14 weeks when I was pregnant with my boys. Fourteen weeks. It was hard, boring, scary, and long. But you know what? I have a secret!

I really miss being the ultimate couch potato.

There are two things I miss so much I could cry. I miss watching hour after hour of television with NO GUILT. With the help of my TiVo boyfriend, I got to watch anything I ever wanted to watch – movies, dramas, reality shows, comedies, baby shows. And the TiVo remote was mine, ALL MINE. No constant whining for Dora when I want to watch Rock of Love (which obviously I do not really watch in front of my boys!). No handing the remote to my husband.

The other part I miss? STUFFING MY FACE. I made the most of my 5000-6000 calories each day. I’d love to say I ate organic and low-fat meals. Nope, I stuffed my face. Lunch was mac and cheese covered in bacon. Afternoon snack was a chocolate milkshake. I lost count of how many large roast beef sandwiches I ate from Arby’s. Arby’s! And I ate every bite with not one single moment of guilt.

Would I ever want to live through that experience again? Absolutely not. But I would love to have just one entire day laying on the couch watching all my shows, stuffing my face, and having someone wait on me hand and foot… all GUILT FREE.

Tell me your true mom confession!

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When I found out I was pregnant again after having multiples, I panicked. I cried. I stressed.

Did I mention the multiples were only 8 months old when I got the news? And my “big” girl had just turned 3? And some amount of bedrest would be all be guaranteed with my history? Yup. Scary stuff.

My husband talked me down off the ledge. I had the support of an amazing family. I had a job with wonderful benefits and an incredible amount of understanding. I mean, it wasn’t fun telling my manager that I was pregnant again when I hadn’t even been back five months from the last maternity leave, but the conversation went more smoothly than I could have ever dreamed.

Now that the baby is four months old — and since Goddess specifically asked about it this week — I’ve been thinking: is it as hard as I thought it would be? Would I do it again?

Yes and yes.

I won’t lie: going through a higher-risk pregnancy with multiples SO young was treacherous. The boys didn’t walk until the last six weeks of my pregnancy so they needed to be carried around. A lot. I was told to lift “nothing”. Hmmm… The boys also didn’t sleep through the night until the same time. I needed more sleep than ever. It was hard. THEN came bedrest.

I kept telling myself, if I could just make it through the pregnancy, things would only get easier with every passing day after that. And, for the most part, THEY DO. Sure, kids get sick and there are the normal daily challenges. But really, now that my body is my own again, it’s easier to take all that in stride.

There are certainly things that are more difficult, but in dealing with them, my husband and I find our own positives. We’ve had to face some really hard facts and make some hard choices. The biggest issues, of course, revolve around money and time and how it seems we never have quite enough of either. But, the process of making these big decisions has really brought us together. Our relationship is stronger and we are better parents for it.

One thing I had been excited about was the chance of a “do-over” with a singleton baby. That has been wonderful. I find I am so much more relaxed with this baby. And I am able to really savor and enjoy little things like going out with just a single stroller. Or not having to run home from an outting to breastfeed because unlike the days of tandem nursing, I can modestly feed one child at a time in public.

We’ve also noticed that Aaron and Brady are treated less like “twins” with the addition of the new baby. The focus from the outside world is no longer on the fact that they are multiples. When strangers meet us, they almost always focus on the family as a whole rather than singling out the boys — at the inevitable expense of their sister —  which I love.

Aaron and Brady are also incredibly loving and accepting of their new brother. I really believe that the fact that they are multiples plays a part in this. In their whole lives, they’ve never been the “only child”. By definition, they are accustomed to sharing — their parents’ attention, their stuff, their space.

So, more kids after multiples. Clearly it is an issue for you to take up in your own family. But for this family, it was the greatest give we could have received. It’s challenging. But then again, was life really easy before? No. And it’s a whole lot more rewarding now.

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Never having been pregnant before, I wasn’t quite prepared for the onslaught of unsolicited advice and commentary that folks would feel inclined to impart on me. Following are a few of the more memorable ones.

“Oh my gawd, you’re fat! How far along are you?”

Back when I was 20 weeks pregnant, I went to get a haircut at a place close to my office. It was the second or third time EVER going to this stylist, which made the comment – THE ONE YELLED OUT FOR ALL TO HEAR – even more shocking. The crazy thing is that that wasn’t even the worst thing she said.

“What is your weight gain goal?”

O.K., so in certain circles this question is benign and legitimate, particularly as it relates to a multiple’s pregnancy. Say, circles of…WOMEN. So you can imagine why it is that I threw up a little bit in my mouth when my MALE CO-WORKER asked me this. AT LUNCH! I gave the guy an opportunity to crawfish out of this one, but he didn’t take the bait.

“Wow, twins! One for each of you!”

Sure, I get the sweetness in that, but the way I see it, they’re BOTH for both of us. And we’re both for both of them.

“How perfect: a boy and a girl. Your family is complete.”

After we knew I was pregnant with twins, one of the most anticipated moments was finding out the sex. Somewhere around 19 weeks it was determined that I was pregnant with a boy and a girl, although earlier in pregnancy – at the time of a nuchal translucency ultrasound – it was thought to be two girls.

As far as ‘completeness’ is concerned, I think that the “boy child + girl child = complete” is a residual extension of the “mom + dad + white picket fence”, buoyed in tradition and the affinity for balance and even numbers. And people like it even better if the boy child is older. Like in our case where that is true, people’s response has been “oh, good.” Like they are relieved. Why is that, anyway? The truth is, had I been pregnant with one child, or two of either sex, it still would have been perfect, just as it is perfect for any combination of loving parent(s) and the children they are blessed with no matter how they arrive.

“So you’re done, huh?”

Do other twin mom’s get this question? I haven’t heard this question asked of mom’s who have a singleton and then another singleton. Apparently, it’s not beyond reason that they would have more. I’ve definitely heard it asked of mom’s who have had however many followed by multiples. My uterus, however, gets the same rebellious attitude about this question as a teenager told that they’re grounded the night of a big party – the one where they were going to get drunk for the first time. And you know how disappointing that can be.

For those that are currently pregnant with multiples, or if the multiples are already on the outside, what are some of the more outrageous questions or comments you’ve received? And what was your response – whether out loud, or in the case of intending bodily harm, in the silence of your imagination?

Rachel’s personal blog can be found at RaJenCreation.

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I originally posted this entry on my personal blog, Laura’s Mommy Journal, when my boys turned 8 months old. During my pregnancy, I was on some form of bed rest for three months. I thought I would post it over here where some of the bed rest mamas could appreciate it.

Today is the day the boys have been outside my body longer than they were inside my body. This is a very significant milestone. Some people might say I was lucky to only be pregnant 8 months. Those people are completely insane.

Rookiemoms.com suggests an Inside-Outside party where you do all the things you didn’t get to do while you were pregnant, such as drink wine, eat soft cheese, and ride mechanical bulls. That isn’t quite enough for me… I also want to intentionally avoid things I had to do while I was pregnant. I’m celebrating ALL DAY peoples.

Here’s what I will do:

* I will stand for longer than 10 minutes in a row.
* I will go for a walk farther than one block.
* I will walk up and down the stairs of the house however many times I want.
* I will shower for as long as I want.
* I will wear a shirt that covers my entire belly.
* I will wear a shirt that has no stains since I can reach the table now.
* I will wear shoes.
* I will be able to see my toes.

Here’s what I will not do:

* I will not lie on my left side.
* I will not lie on the couch watching TiVo.
* I will not watch Baby Story, Birth Day, Adoption Story or anything on TLC or DHC.
* I will not eat mac and cheese with bacon on top. (30g of protein)
* I will not calculate how much protein is in everything I eat.
* I will not count anything – contractions, kicks, protein grams, glasses of water, weeks pregnant.
* I will not ride in a wheelchair.
* I will not take an iron pill, a Flintstone vitamin, or a drug not approved by the FDA for my condition (terbutaline).
* I will not use a mirror to check my entire belly for stretch marks.
* I will not call the kids Alien and Skeletor.
* I will not have strangers staring at me scared that I am going to give birth right in front of them.
* I will not give Jon an update on the status of belly button.
* I will not say to Jon, “I think my belly is bigger today.”
* I will not summon Jon into the room to help me pick up something I dropped on the floor, to refill my water, to change the room temperature, or to say hi.

On second thought, I really miss summoning Jon. Those were some good times. I probably can’t get away with that anymore unless I throw out the whole “I am the mother to your children!” line. I haven’t busted that one out yet, so today might be a good day to try it. Oh Jon…

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This past Sunday my twins turned one. I can hardly believe it. The year absolutely flew by.

I had been planning to write a little post on surviving your first year with twins, but as I started thinking about what I would say, I started to realize something. This year wasn’t just about survival. Sure, in the beginning, it was a seemingly never-ending cycle of feed, burp, nap, diaper change, repeat. And we did it all in a sleep-deprived haze. There were also the sleep issues and many, many ear infections, and bouts of bronchitis, croup, etc. Maybe THOSE parts were about survival.

But this year was so much more. This year absolutely changed my life. As a mother, as a wife, as a daughter, as a person.  Here’s how:

  • I no longer procrastinate. In my pre-twin life, I was a master procrasinator. I find that since becoming a Mother of Multiples, I no longer have that luxury. If I have 5 minutes to do laundry, I better do it. If I don’t, it may sit there until next week. Act now or forever miss your opportunity. Things are actually getting accomplished around my house and often in advance of when they need to be done! I’m also more productive in the office because I never know when I’ll need to take an emergancy sick or vacation day to tend to a child.
  • I am learning to be flexible. (I’m still working on this, but getting much better!) In life, things happen. Even with the best of intentions, schedules and routines, there is bound to be a kink in the plans at some point. In the not-so-distant past the unexpected speedbumps in my routine would have thrown me so far off course I couldn’t recover. With twins, the bumps come frequently. I have no choice but to adjust and keep moving forward. We are all happier and more relaxed as a result of Mommy’s new abilities.
  • Immediate family now comes first. Growing up, I saw my immediate family (mother, father, brother and me) as one unit. Our unit was part of a bigger, extended family but I knew that the four of us were our own, standalone group. When I got married and even when I had my singleton, I still saw myself as part of that original core unit. It was only with the arrival of the twins that I’ve realized: we’ve now become our own unit. And I finally feel comfortable scheduling, planning, and standing up for what I think is best for this immediate family.
  • I appreciate the female body (even) more. Pregnancy and childbirth is an amazing experience. But carrying and delivering multiple babies goes beyond words. Then, watching my body provide nourishment for the two babies at the same time…there are no words.The female body is an amazing, amazing thing!
  • I am much more patient. I have developed a much higher tolerance for noise, hair pulling, eye poking and monotonous play. I am content to sit on the floor for 45 minutes and let the kids climb on me; I no longer worry about what’s NOT getting done when I sit there and I no longer worry about moving on to the next activity. This one is fun? Let’s stay with it. As a result, I’m more patient with my husband, my dog and my co-workers. I am not any more patient while driving, but I’m working on that.
  • I want to be there for other people. Having been through the high-risk pregnancy and the NICU experience (twice), and ending up with all of these beautiful, healthy children has made me so very greatful for all that I have. As a result, I have been finding joy in helping others – even others I don’t know. My charitable donations are up, I’m donating more time (yes, time!), I’m just generally more involved in the world around me. And I enjoy it.
  • I love my husband (even) more. I’ve made no secret about how involved my husband is. I didn’t think before the twins arrived it was possible to love him more. But watching him step right up and help with them and our daughter and with me…I guess it was entirely possible. Ditto that feeling for my mom and dad.
  • I consider my situation to be my own and don’t compare it to those around me. I no longer compare my life to the lives of those around me. I feel more free as a result. Is my life crazy because I have twins? Yup. Is your life crazy because you have one baby? Or six? Yes. And Yes. Our situations are not the same; we are all different. There is no point in comparing whose life is harder or who has it better. I just make the best of what I have and I don’t worry about what others are doing.
  • I find the humor in things. Two little boys alternately projectile vomiting at a 3-year old’s birthday party? That would have made me cry two years ago. Now, what choice do I have but to laugh?

So, Happy Birthday Aaron and Brady. You have made me a better person. I can’t imagine my life without you little monkeys!

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