Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Twin Pregnancy...

When I was pregnant I was constantly looking on blogs of twin mamas trying to find an answer to one random question or another. Most of the time it was just curiosity about other twin pregnancies, so just in case anyone is searching my blog for information about my twin pregnancy-- here it is! Commonly wondered questions....

How did you get pregnant with twins?
  • It was our second round of IVF with ICSI. We transferred two day five blasts. Each baby was his own egg and sperm, making our boys fraternal twins.
How long did you carry your twins?
  • I carried those little buggers all the way to 38 weeks 2 days. Yes, I agree, I deserve some sort of medal for that :)
Did you have any bed rest, if so, when?
  • I was asked to be on modified bed rest for about 4 hours one day after a mild spotting indecent around 25 weeks-ish. It turned out to be nothing and I never had another issue.
Did you have your babies via c-section or vaginal childbirth? When was that decision made- was it your choice?
  • I gave birth to our boys via c-section. The decision was made at 34 weeks. We had been talking about it at my appointments for weeks because of how the boys were positioned (baby A head down and baby B transverse breech). For several weeks my doctor was more than willing to try for a vaginal birth, but cautioned me that it may end up in a 'full birthing experience' with both a c-section and a vaginal delivery. At my 34 week appointment the doctor I saw did a quick ultrasound that revealed baby B's hands and feet were pointing up toward my head- meaning in the event I needed a breech extraction, there wouldn't be much grab onto. I decided to schedule a c-section and my OB was pleased with this choice. 
If you had a c-section, would you choose to do it again if it was your choice? Will you attempt an VBAC if you have another child?
  • I would absolutely choose to do the exact same thing if I had to do it over. Getting pregnant was very dramatic, then I had a very normal healthy pregnancy and I didn't want to end a beautiful time in my life with a traumatic/dramatic birth. Our birth, while surgical, was amazing and perfect for us. I seriously doubt I will attempt VBAC. The c-section with the boys was flawless and I really had no complaints in healing. 
Healing from a c-section, how'd it go? Any tips?
  • Honestly? It was not difficult at all. I consistently took the pain meds for about a week or 10 days and then was weaned off of them completely at the 2 week mark. I was released to drive at two weeks and had already taken walks in our neighborhood previous to that point. I was sore, but never ever in excruciating pain. As for tips... MOVE! As soon as you possibly can have the cath removed and start making your way to the bathroom on your own. Take a shower and get up and walk the halls with you babies- I am sure this is part of the reason my recovery was so easy.
What was the hardest part of your twin pregnancy?
  • Waiting for them and worrying about them. I worry about them from day one, but never enough to take away from that amazing 9 months of my life. Just a mama's worry- I'm sure it will be something I do for the rest of my life. They are my babies... my very, very, very wanted babies.
Best twin advice you got before having your boys?
  • Get out of the house! It is SO easy to get out when they are tiny. They'll sleep the whole time and rarely fuss if you are quick to leave after a feeding and make sure to get home before the next. 
  • Get them on the same schedule from the get go. We literally started the boys on the three hour schedule the day they were born, and to this day we pretty much stick to it throughout the day (thank goodness, not at night!). 
  • Nursing twins is HARD try, try, try to be flexible! It isn't the end of the world if you can't tandem feed- lactation consultants, doctors and nursed will tell you it is, but know that you CAN nurse your babies separately if you want/need to. Not nursing the most efficient way does not mean you will stop in the first few weeks, if you are committed to working with your babies and being patient with yourself you can do it! I've nursed my boys at least partially since birth and they are 5.5 months old. I'm ready to be done, but I'll keep nursing throughout the day for a couple more weeks and then we'll try just nursing morning and night and see what happens. If I can't I'm ok with it, if I can, great! My biggest advice to you is don't keep nursing because you 'should'... that is ridiculous and will just build resentment of your babies. Nursing is not what is best for everyone and that is OK!
Weight gain during pregnancy and weight loss after birth?
  • I gained 40lbs exactly while I was pregnant with the boys, the majority was gained toward the end of my pregnancy. I then lost all of it in the first 4ish weeks not making any attempt to do so. My doctor suggested starting birth control sometime between 2 and 6 weeks postpartum and THEN I started gaining it back. This was also a time when the boys started going slightly longer stretches at night between feeding which could have also added to the weight gain/ change in metabolism. My sister-in-law totally warned me this would happen when I started nursing less. So here is my warning to you-- be prepared and change your diet accordingly!
Birth control after an IVF twin pregnancy? Really?
  • Here is what my OB said.... What if?? He said however unlikely you think it is, remember that it certainly IS possible if you are having sex to get pregnant. While neither of us thinks the probability is super high, it is there and bottom line- I'm not ready, my body isn't ready, my husband isn't ready and my sweet baby boys aren't ready for another son/daughter/sibling just yet. 
  • I chose the mini pill because I was breastfeeding, but will change to a more effective pill once the boys are weaned in the coming weeks/months.
  • I gained weight and my supply changed when I started the mini pill, be prepared. 
Favorite baby gear?
  • Double Snap'n'go stroller
  • Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch sling. Its not being made anymore so you'll have to find one at a consignment shop/sale-- seriously the BEST though. Great for both babies early on while they are tiny and perfect still for one baby at 5.5months.
  • Boppy pillow... or six. We have two and I'd always like at least one more! The twin nursing pillow is kind of a pain- to me, not worth the $$.
  • Swaddling blankets with velcro closures.
  • More burp cloths than you think you could ever possibly need.
  • Bottle drying rack... please just buy one- I promise you'll need it. 
  • Baby saline nose drops-- they melt the goobers away and make breathing so much easier for those tiny noses that are full of goop from gestation/birth. I also love grape scented boogie wipes.
  • Bedside co-sleeper, less useful in the long run, but better than a pack and play in the beginning. We borrowed one and LOVED it until the boys finally grew out of it. 
  • Paper plates, frozen meals, and someone to bring you fresh ready to eat fruits and vegetables!
The first few weeks... any tips?
  • Be prepared with a clipboard/spreadsheet to jot down things like who has had wet/poopy diapers which side they fed on, how much formula they drank.
  • Be flexible. Every day will likely be a bit different- try to not book lots of visitors too far in advance. Some days you'll want to just be with your babies and not have others around fussing over you or your perfect little bundles!
  • Have baskets in various places with supplies in them. We had a diapering basket in our bedroom, the nursery and the living room. 
I'm sure there are several more things that mamas pregnant with twins would like to know-- feel free to either leave a comment or shoot me an email, I'm more than happy to share what I've learned in the last year!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

5 months

FIVE.MONTHS.OLD. I cannot believe my babies are already getting so dangerously close to being closer to ONE than their birth. I may be biased, but I think they are just about the cutest, sweetest boys on the planet. Sure we have moments when we are at odds, but for the most part they REALLY love their mama, and she loves them right back.

We are back to sleeping through the night.... most of the time. The boys are currently in a crib next to our bed. We out grew the weight limit on anything else they could sleep in together, so here we are. It isn't ideal, but with A being pretty attached to mama and wanting to be able to at least see me when he goes to sleep this is where we are. I know someday they wont need/want me so much, so I'm soaking in these days... and nights... and super early mornings :)

In the last few weeks the boys have started to really interact and it is VERY obvious how much they love each other- it makes my heart nearly explode on a daily basis! Huge kisses for each other, big smiles when they see each other and they are constantly holding hands. They are best little buddies- brothers. Neither my husband or I had a same sex sibling, so I think we probably find their relationship extra sweet- something we never were able to experience.

H can still wear a few 3m things, but for the most part is in 6m for length. He still has a tiny little waist, so pants are a problem. He is wearing a size two diaper, but I think a three is right around the corner. H LOVES playing with toys that light up or sing and is pretty good at rolling both ways, but often gets frustrated and wants help getting off his belly. I'd guess he weighs somewhere between 14 and 15 lbs.

A is still a bit on the tiny side, but after his weight check last week he is now back on the growth chart... at like the first or second percentile for weight. However, in three weeks he gained nearly 2lbs (up to 12 lbs 9oz as of last Wednesday), so I'll take it! He is fitting well in most three month clothes, but they are starting to get a bit short. He is wearing a size one diaper, but we are phasing them out as soon as the last of them are gone which should be about a week from now. A loves to be standing, and would stand on your lap all.day.long if you let him. He CAN roll both ways, but would generally prefer not to. The poor guy is still dealing with a bit of reflux and is on zan.tac to help.

This past month we've given the boys their first tastes of solid foods and for the most part they did well. They  haven't outgrown the push-out reflex yet, so we've decided to give them a but more time with just breast milk and formula and we'll try again in the next couple of weeks. For now, the boys eat  six times per day-

  1. Only breast milk
  2. BF + 4oz
  3. BF + 4oz
  4. 6oz -- we just started this yesterday on their 5 month birthday. I'm trying to phase out breast feeding at the 3rd and fourth feeding of the day.
  5. BF+ 4oz
  6. BF+ 4oz
I don't have anything against breastfeeding, but holy cow its a lot of work, and when they are getting a bottle in addition every time because I don't have enough milk it seems like its time to phase out at least a couple of nursing sessions... for every one's sanity!

The boys are sleeping from 11pm-ish until sometime between 6 and 8am. Then, they wake up, breastfeed and get right back into bed for another 2-3 hours... it.is.heaven! Naps are pretty hit or miss, but generally there are a couple of hour long naps per day.

I've been working on this post for over a week now, and the boys turned five months yesterday, so I think I'll call it quits and just post before it gets lost! I'm sure there is more to write, but for now, this will have to do- there is laundry to do, bottles to wash and babies who will be hungry soon. So, here's an updated picture of the munchkins.... aren't they just the sweetest???

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wonderful, but not easy...

Generally speaking, our days run like a well oiled machine. The boys wake up sometime between 6 and 8 to breast feed (depending on if they woke in the night to eat) and after being nursed and changed they get swaddled back up and back into bed until sometime between 9 and 11. After that we are on a 3 to 4 hour rotation all.day.long. It is a delicate dance of nurse, bottle, diaper, play, nap... over and over. Once per day play is replaced by solid food-- which is a complete joke at this point and is really just learning to sit in a highchair and open their mouths for the spoon. On most days the boys are up for the day by 10ish in the morning and are in our bedroom for their final feeding of the night at 10pm.

It sounds easy enough, and in reality it is easy enough- unless someone throws a wrench in it. Things like doctor appointments, fussy babies, company or occasionally something as simple as the TV being on while I'm nursing. Generally we're quick to recover, but other times it can be an hour before everyone is calmed down and ready to move on to the next step of the dance. Take today for instance- H woke up from his nap a bit early and instead of having to keep in quiet until it was actually time to nurse I just sat down with  him and started nursing. On any other day, this would have been EXACTLY what he wanted... today, not so much. He proceeded to scream and then suck and whimper, then scream and arch his back, then suck for a few minutes. I had his bottle already prepared so I fixed my shirt and tried just giving him the bottle- also, not a winner. I tried changing his diaper- no dice. I even went to my typical last resort for these types of things- I turned Micky Mouse Clubhouse on... Still screaming. By now it was time to feed A, so I had to just allow H to scream and cry while I fed A.

(As a sidenote, I think this is one aspect of twin parenting that singleton parents really don't seem to understand. Imagine your absolute most frustrating moment with your infant and then keep in mind a twin parent likely has another baby to take care of at the same time. Sometimes that means remaining in the same room as one sleeping baby with your screaming second baby. Sometimes the sleeping baby doesn't wake-- other times he/she does and then guess what? you have TWO screaming babies who cannot be reasoned with. Cue a third crier.... Mama. )

I cannot say this is the norm at our house, but to say that everyday is a piece of cake, is just not being truthful. Days are trying and hard and exhausting AND wonderful. I say all of this to illustrate the point:  while  being a mama to twins is perfectly wonderful, it is far from perfectly easy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Tall Order...

2013 has a though act to follow as 2012 was far and away the best year of my life. Here's a little year in review:

We rang in the new year knowing we were expecting, and I was feeling pretty certain it was twins. Just a few days later my suspicions were confirmed- TWINS!! This was also the month we graduated from our RE after a 17 month relationship with her.

We saw the OB for the first time and decided to see her only until about 28 weeks when we'd transfer to a doctor in the same health system who would deliver at the hospital we had chosen just incase our boys needed a nicu.

We had our first real ultrasound with the OB. We found out that baby A was most certainly a boy, and baby B was most likely a boy! Holy cow, two baby boys!

We started the month off finding out we were for sure having two boys and they received their names. We weren't sure who was who yet, but the names were set!! I was diagnosed with slight placenta previa, but was told it would most likely move before delivery if I was considering a vaginal birth- which I was at that point.

We had two ultrasounds in may both showing healthy baby boys and the placenta issue had already resolved. In may I passed my glucose test which was a bit unexpected and also had a spotting scare. Thankfully, it was nothing and we spent the weekend with family celebrating our boys at our first baby shower!!

We met our delivering doctor for the first and second time and really liked him. I celebrated my 29th and final birthday without children.

I had a few more OB appointments and determine after a couple of ultrasound a c-section is the way to go for a variety of reasons. We schedule the boys' birthday- weird feeling! We celebrate our 6th anniversary.

We had a couple of appointments and thought we may be having the boys a little early because of slightly elevated BP and a wacky urine sample, but when rechecked the following day, everything was just fine and we ultimately made it to our scheduled c-section at 38w2d. Bright and early on a Wednesday morning I gave birth to two perfect baby boys weighing in at 7lbs 11oz and 6lbs 5oz. -- that is FOURTEEN pounds of baby and over 1/4 of the weight I gained.
We spent the final two weeks of this month getting to know our boys and not sleeping much! It was the absolute best month of my entire life.

Hubs took the remainder of his paternity leave and we kept learning everyday how to take care of two babies! Each day got a little easier.This month we had some weight checks for our boys who ended up being a bit on the small/ slow grower side after they were born. We started supplementing with more formula and we saw not huge but adequate gain from both boys. I had my first bout of mastitis- horrible!

We took our first overnight out of town trip! It took a week to pack and prepare, but the boys did awesome- slept the whole car ride and did great at night too! We celebrated their first holiday- Halloween at Hub's office party. I had what I thought was the beginning of mastitis again, but it ended up being an easier fix with some Rx nipple cream.

The boys started sleeping more at night and so did we! We went out of town for five days for Thanksgiving and it went really well. We also celebrated the boys with a baby shower with hubs' side of the family. We got so many great gifts for the boys and many, many books instead of cards.

It was just a great ending to the absolute best year of my life. We started Christmas traditions with the boys, celebrated with family and looked back at what we were doing a year previous- finding out we were pregnant, sharing the news with our families, etc.

I know it isn't for everyone, but I can very honestly say I would live 2012 over and over again given the chance. It has been the sweetest season of life so far. Pregnancy and the first months of motherhood have been nothing short of magical. Sure it's what I've hoped and prayed would come, but I always worried it wouldn't be as perfect as I'd hoped. The good news is, it was and is even better. The fight was absolutely, without a doubt worth it.... A million times over.

So, here's to 2013- a year I hope will surpass the last, but I won't hold my breath, 2012 is a tough act to follow!

A slightly less sunshine and unicorns post coming soon- While I absolutely L-O-V-E my life right now, being a mom of infant twins is REALLY hard some days!