Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Rambling thoughts

So, here I am a year later. I'm not sure I am in less of a fog - I'm pretty sure last year, I was running on adrenaline and pure joy while now, it's just joy, at least most days, and a whole heaping lot of caffeine. The boys have officially been home in the H house for a year, Liam's homecoming anniversary was on the 12th and Hayden's was on the 17th. It's so real now, that my babies are one!
Things round here have been -surprise, surprise - busy!

We had a great Thanksgiving holiday, my parents came back down to spend it with us and it was really nice having family here! I resentfully went out late, late Thanksgiving night with my mom just to see what the hype was about – there hadn’t been anything in the flyers that I had seen and thought was actually a good deal. We went out around 11 just to watch and see and were back home by midnight I’d say. There wasn’t much out there for us. I had already ordered my sister-in-law’s wedding gift from Kohl’s earlier in the week. I think the hype was way too overrated this year to be honest. Amazon dropped the price of the playhouse I wanted to get the boys to match Toys R Us’ Black Friday price so I scored that without having to even leave the couch. Nothing really grasped my attention this year. Maybe it’s a change in priorities, maybe it’s aging, maybe it’s just because nothing I was eying was on sale. It was really nice though, to go Black Friday shopping with my mom. Growing up, when I was about 14 we started going out early in the morning. Getting up around 3 and heading out to be at the stores by 3:30 or 4. It was always fun, and those days or mornings rather will always be treasured memories. It was really nice having them here, and having their help with the boys while we went out Friday and got a much needed new mattress. Which - I may add is absolutely amazing, especially with the fact that the Mr. hasn't woken up in back pain or to back pain since we've purchased it. Which is the sole reason why we decided to get a new mattress now rather than later. I just couldn't deal with seeing him in pain morning after morning.

The boy’s enjoyed their second Thanksgiving, way more than their first Thanksgiving. It’s was a big change, but definitely a welcomed change having children to celebrate the holidays with. Even though a nap after dinner would have been so welcomed, I’ll take playing with my two cutie-patooties over a nap most any day. They are moving much faster now a days and are full on walking babies – rarely do I see them crawl. And for the first time in what feels like forever – easily since the rolling days, they are starting to lay down and play with toys. Like pushing cars or just playing with a block. It’s by far one of the cutest things of the whole day, these two rarely stay still so when they do it’s a great moment. They still aren't talking really, just babbles. I won't lie, I am starting to get concerned - this officially will be viewed as a 'delayed' milestone January 3rd, which would of been their full term due date. I do know that twins tend to lag sometimes with their vocal milestones, especially boys, but it doesn't make me worry any less. We read, we -pause for the gasps- watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I talk about what I'm doing when I'm working around them or cooking. We listen to music. I'm trying everything to get these two boys talking but nothing. They have started pointing though, so maybe talking is next? Who knows. I know one day, I will bang my head against the wall and laugh at myself when I was wishing for them to talk, but until then, I will continue to wish.

Being a twin parent is a rather funny thing, sometimes. Last night, I made one of my many trips to Target. It's a sanity check for me, and a break, and an errand to-do all in one. I was going through the clearance section, because I have a love affair with clearance. I can't stand to pay full price for something, and when you have two babies - you definitely realize where your pennies are going - fast! But I was going through the clearance section and this Dad was having a hard time and I look up and what do you know - twin boys. So I open up conversation - by asking how old they are, they were 2. And we chatted for a bit once I told him I have twin boys too - that are, 13 months old. It's so nice to talk to someone who GETS it, and I mean really, really, totally gets it. Because he lives my life too. Being a twin parent is like a super secret club, when you run into other twin parents its this immediate bond - because they feel your pain and know your joy too. It's always funny though, because it's this common power. These two boys were cuties and were definitely all over the cart. I only know this time is coming, and now I realize that I'm really going to enjoy these stroller days, because once they are in the cart - it may be easier for shopping reasons, but it's not going to be as easy as it is to take them shopping. There are always positives and always drawbacks I suppose.

With the New Years right around the corner, I find myself really looking forward to 2014. It's going to be a great year, and there will be changes I'm sure. We have a lot of traveling to do this coming year, and the Mr. will be heading away to training for a month, he also will be going back to sea duty in the spring. We don't really expect him to deploy, but I do know he wants to simply because it's really good for his career, it's what he signed up to do. But I know with him being on sea duty, anything is possible. With the Navy, I always try to expect the unexpected. My goal is to really make 2014 a great year. I'm planning on making some changes for myself, I want to go back to school and really decide on a career path. I want to be healthier. I want my family to be healthier. I want to do more for my community. I want to be a fantastic mom and I want to enjoy my family. I'm looking forward to the adventures the new year will bring in with it. I'm really going to go into the new year with a positive outlook. Attitude and outlook truly is everything and truly makes the difference.

I'm really looking forward to tomorrow, it's the boys' 2nd Christmas! I think this one will be much more fun than last years! Last year I didn't cook, I was simply way too exhausted, we thankfully had a good church friend offer to bring us dinner so we did eat. I'm really excited to see the boys' expressions to some of their new big boy toys. And I'm excited for new clothes to put them in. They got some new accessories for their stroller, so that will be fun to try out! We are having dinner with our very best friends at their house tomorrow! It's a joint dinner, so I'll be cooking half and so will my best friend. I'm praying I remember to take pictures tomorrow, and at least get a picture of myself and the boys. I'll drink an extra glass of wine if we get some sort of family picture, but I'm not holding my breath. Fingers crossed I can find a great photographer in our area to take our family pictures soon! Here's to hope!

I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas, I can't wait to post pictures of the boys celebrating! I'm off to get ready for Christmas Eve Mass, fingers crossed we make it there on time, if not early. And fingers crossed for no screaming toddlers! I'm hoping not, because Christmas Eve mass is my favorite service, I love the music and the magic it brings with it.

I hope everyone has a great day filled with family, love, peace, joy and I hope everyone remembers that Christmas is about celebrating the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ! Merry Christmas Y'all!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More on meal planning

I wrote a few posts back ago on meal planning and how much it’s really helped my family out. I’ve been planning out meals now for three weeks and I’m finally finding myself using pins that I have pinned on Pinterest. Now, I would call that alone a success, since we all know that most of the projects or food ever, really gets done or tried out. And when they are – it’s pretty much fail status. Another positive, at least for me, is that we are eating more ‘real’ foods. Less unprocessed. It’s not a major goal we have to go completely whole foods, organic, non-gmo, gluten free etc etc etc. I mean, I do indulge in some Reese’s more often than I should. But – I want to use fresh foods, and I want to not use processed foods so much. And I’m referring to Betty Crocker boxed potatoes and Hamburger Helper meals. Don’t get me wrong, food is food. But I don’t want the boys eating foods that are that processed – and I really don’t see how it’s cheaper, at all.

I’ve noticed not only has meal planning saved me time, but it’s saved us some money and trips to the grocery store and it’s helped us come together and plan what we want for the week, not just last minute ‘this sounds good’ so I thought I would share what our dinners were last week, and what’s up on my menu for this week.

So last week – November 18th – 24th:

Monday: Teriyaki Chicken with Rice. I used a leftover bag we had in the freezer from extra’s I made a time before.

Tuesday: Cheesy Noodle Bake. This was my first try with this recipe, it’s definitely going into the rotation here but it did come out a little dry like other comments mentioned. I might try adding a can of cheese soup to it next time to help with this. Recipe

Wednesday: Chicken Pot Pie

Thursday: Cowboy Casserole (Ground beef, seasoned like a burger, cooked. Topped with Baked Beans, and topped with cornbread – baked until the cornbread is done.

Friday: Chicken and Dumplings – recipe here. I added pepper and garlic to ours and it was pretty fantastic.

Saturday: My birthday dinner – My husband made this amazing chicken pesto pasta dish that won my heart over when we were dating. He kind of eye balls it. But its pasta, grilled chicken, sun dried tomatoes, peas, fresh grated Parmesan cheese and pesto.

Sunday: Papa John’s Pizza. (Our planned meal was slow cooker pork ribs, but they were forgotten in the freezer).

And this week: November 25th – December 1st.

Monday: Chicken Strips with Chili Peppered Fettuccine noodles and homemade Alfredo sauce.

Tuesday: Taco Pie

Wednesday: Un-Stuffed Cabbage Soup (First try at this – recipe here)

Thursday: THANKSGIVING!!! Fried Turkey, Mashed potatoes, candied yams, broccoli casserole, corn, stuffing, Meme’s biscuits, and pies! YUM!

Friday: Either Leftovers OR Burgers

Saturday: Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf (Recipe here – first try)

Sunday: Lemon Rosemary Crockpot Chicken (First Try – Recipe here)

Breakfast: Eggs, Applesauce, Pancakes, Oatmeal, Banana’s, Blueberries

Snack Time: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Muffins, Graham Crackers, Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I come up with our meals on most importantly on what we are in the mood for, I try to not repeat meals often because I get sick of them as does my husband and I’m sure the boys. Plus it’s nice to experiment to be honest and mix things up. Then I see what my local grocery store (Publix for me) has on sale with produce that week and what matches up to meats in the freezer.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All about H&L at 1 Year!

While looking back over my posts, I've realized that I haven't spoken much on how FANTASTIC the boys are doing now a days! We had our 1 Year Well baby appointment on the 14th and to my shock the boys weighed in at 20lbs 5oz and are 29 1/2" long! We don't focus on percentiles here, but they were doing great on their charts and following right along on the curve that they should be on! They received all of their shots, except chickenpox - which we are delaying on until they're 15 month appointment. I don't like them receiving more than 4 at a time, and they needed the flu shot. And because they don't attend daycare it isn't a big deal. Plus - we're borderline isolation right now with it being RSV season.

Milestone wise I have destroyer babies! To say they are boys, would be putting it mildly. These two are 120% all b-o-y. Without a doubt. They took their first steps on their 11 month birthday and were walking all around within two weeks. Liam can now stand himself up independently, so if he is in the middle of the floor he can stand without pulling up on anything, whereas Hayden can't quite do that yet. But I'm sure within two weeks or so, that'll change - maybe. One thing these two are fantastic at though is destroying! Anything and quite frankly everything, they literally leave behind a trail of destruction as they go around the house.

While the boys are very headstrong and are passing all of the physical milestones, verbally/communication wise, that isn't so much the case. Hayden has been clapping for a good 2 months now, and Liam just - and I mean just picked it up. Liam can wave somewhat, sometimes in context, whereas Hayden isn't there yet. To think that in the past I had thought thought that they would be doing the same thing as each other, I laugh now. These two keep me on my toes, that's for sure. Speech wise - ehhh, that we are working on. We can babble, but nothing is really said in context except when they do say 'mama mom' which is usually when they are really, really mad. They babble the sounds 'dada', 'ba', and 'de' and 'G' noises. Sometimes it sounds like Liam is saying doggie, but I'm not sure to be truthful. Hayden isn't making any G noises. According to our childhood intervention specialist - I'm not to worry until 1 year adjusted - which is January 3rd. But I do, especially since Hayden isn't passing his hearing test on his left side and will need a sedated ABR test performed in the near future, but that is another post for another day.

But most importantly, they are going great, and growing fantastically. I'm so proud of them and so much in love with these two little guys. They can drive me crazy and melt my heart, within minutes of each other. But, they make life worth living and I can't imagine my life any other way. Here are some more recent pictures of my crazily handsome little guys!
H&L's first Halloween - Baby Robots! (Hayden has black baby legs and Liam has brown)
Liam - Blue, Hayden - Orange enjoying some Mom Guilted Chick-Fil-A after their shots!
Hayden at his birthday party!
 Liam, at his birthday party!

Blowing out their candles!
To see them eat their cake, here is the link

November - Prematurity Awareness Month

November is a month that has always been close to home here, I adore Thanksgiving and fall weather. The deep auburn colors, the changing leaves that cover the grass (except here in Florida), the good for the soul food, the warm stews it’s no secret that fall is a favorite season. My birthday also falls in November, and well who doesn’t love a good reason to have cake and presents!! Last year added to the excitement November brings with it by adding Hayden and Liam’s birthday to the month. But it also made me very aware of what else November is – Prematurity Awareness month.

Every year thousands and thousands of babies are born way too soon, many pass away due to complications and premature birth. Many endure lifelong complications due to premature birth, some are lucky enough to have a short NICU stay and go on to lead normal lives. Some spend days upon days in the NICU and are discharged with quite a follow up schedule of specialists. Some are discharged and are quickly readmitted.

It never fails that I often hear other pregnant women complaining once they believe they are ‘term’ about being uncomfortable and home remedies not inducing labor. It takes a lot of me to reply with a simple, “I know your uncomfortable but you’re not really term until 39 weeks, your baby needs this time, try to enjoy it and take the last few days in before life is crazy.” So often our society gets so caught up in the excitement of birth, and the desire to meet their new baby, that they forget that it is so very, very important to let their child come, assuming there are no risks, when he or she is ready – but not before 39 weeks. Brain development is not complete until then. Every second that that baby can continue to grow in utero is imperative. Babies do not learn the suck, swallow, and breathe - steps of eating until 34 weeks gestation. The difference between a 24 week gestation, 32 week gestation and a full term babies lungs is quite literally breathtaking. A premature infants lungs will not catch up to a full term babies lungs until they reach the age of 3. So that means that there are 3 years of terrifying flu seasons to get through to where something like RSV isn’t considered life-threatening to them.

My babies were born 8 weeks early, looking back, I had a gut feeling the entire time – I never really knew what a NICU was or looked like. I never knew about the complications of early birth until the boys were born. I would of given my right arm, or anything really to allow them to continue to grow in utero until 39 weeks. However, it wasn’t healthy for them. I would of lost both babies had this been the case. They have over came so, so much in their short life. Resolving brain bleeds, dealing with hydrocephalis, battling NEC, learning how to breathe room air, learning how to eat, gaining weight. All things normal full term babies rarely have to deal with. My babies have grown from 3lbs 4oz 16 ¼” long and 3 lbs 5 oz 15” long to healthy 20lbs 5oz and 29 ½” long – all within 365 days. Now that is utterly amazing. It’s a miracle that we have been so, so lucky to not have lifelong complications (at least, that we are aware of yet) and we’re so lucky that we have both babies at home with us. Many parents are forced to carry their babies in their hearts because they were born too early.

I hope that in the coming years, I can find a way to be more proactive with prematurity awareness month. I hope that I can find a niche and do something, anything to educate other mothers who are expecting, not to try at home remedies to induce labor, to not try to have their babies at 37 weeks. Babies are our future, and while pregnancy can be uncomfortable, it isn’t the time to be selfish, it isn’t the time to rush things. Those babies, our future, needs every minute we can spare to allow them to grow and develop in utero before being born into this world.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

364 Days

It has been 364 days since the boys have come into this world, I can’t help but to think back on just how far we have come and grown together in the past almost year. I can’t help but think about where we were just a year ago, and what the next 48-72-96 hours brought us. To be completely honest, it’s a mixture of emotions. Thankfulness, anxiety, sadness, happiness, pride, humbleness, I could go on and on and on.

I’m so thankful, truly thankful for my MFM with whom I had the appointment with on November 7th.  I honestly know without a doubt in my mind, that had I not been monitored by the team of MFMs that I had last year, that I would be in an entirely different place than I am right now. It’s truly not something I want to dwell on, or really think about. But I am so grateful for them. I’m thankful for the NICU staff that the boys were cared for by, and that at times we were cared for by. I’ve never meet people who were more wonderful than I did during our time in the NICU. It truly takes an amazing person to by a NICU nurse or a neonatologist or a specialist who cares for these tiny babies, and I truly know from the depths of my heart that these people are truly one of the greatest blessings God has given us. I know that our primary NICU nurse was sent to us just by Him. During a time where we had no family nearby to rely on, He sent us her to care for our babies, and care for us. She went above and beyond anything anyone did for us. Reminding us to eat and care for ourselves, to talk with one another, being a shoulder to simply cry on. And calling me out on the bitch of PPD, and when I tried to say “things happen for a reason I suppose” she was the only person who called the BS card. “Things don’t happen for a reason, they just happen and it SUCKS and it isn’t fair but you don’t have a choice, you just get through it. It doesn’t mean its pretty, or that its easy, but you treck on. And it SUCKS” I adored her for saying that, for being honest with us and protecting us all at the same time. She is hands down the reason why H didn’t have brain surgery, without a doubt. Every mL of cerebral fluid she pulled from a lumbar tap prevented what I know my heart couldn’t of handled. Our other Primary nurse was the reason L’s NEC didn’t get far enough to require surgery, and in the early days she just sat with H when I was pumping or getting medicine or with L, and watched his Oxygen levels. Her bluntness, and reassurance and motherness warmed our hearts. If she hadn’t been so adamant on watching his belly measurements with every diaper change, and paying attention to his stool – who knows how long it would of gone before the NEC was discovered.

I still have quite a bit of anxiety thinking about the day the boys were born, the events that occurred, the total 180 that life spun at us. Becoming a parent and making the decision to become a parent never prepares you for this, once that decision has been made your practically handing over your life to the point where you don’t have much control over it and it can do a 180 at any given moment. It can be with a labor and delivery, or it can be when your five year old little boy decides to climb a tree and breaks his arm. Everything is dropped to bring him to the ER and make him feel better. Everything dropped for me that morning during the appointment. A lot of anxiety, I believe, has to do with the fact that everything went from being okay, to hearing “Sometimes babies are safer and grow better on the outside, you did a great job, now we just need to get them out and help them grow.”  Completely panic ridden. I couldn’t even control the tears, I couldn’t bear to look at Erik. I felt like I had failed them, and like I had failed Erik. After changing into my hospital gown, things got a bit – well crazy. I went from hearing, lay on your side, to the MFM being called because the nurses couldn’t find a heartbeat for either baby, to being told that I would receive the steroid shot and another 24 hours later to being told I am going to OR in 5 minutes. It was a lot of confusion, and I honestly believe I just went into shock, my brain shut down. Looking back, I can’t say that I blame it for doing so.

The sadness stems from recovering and not hearing how the boys were doing, just laying there and then being wheeled into the post partum rooms past women who have their babies and here I was with empty arms, listening to the sweet cries at night while I pumped every 3 hours - THAT was torture.  Nothing could of prepared me for the feeling of my heart shattering as we drove away from the hospital with empty arms, no cars eats and no happy family. I literally felt like I was dying, my heart was shattered into millions of tiny pieces. The drive to the NICU was far too long – always, and the phone calls in the middle of the night were never quite helpful enough. BUT happiness and pride overshadows the sadness and anxiety that I feel – at least most days (given PPD doesn’t rear her ugly face).

The day that Hayden came home and joined us brother was the best day. I was so excited to have both boys home and to not have to split my time between the two. Those 5 days were HARD. I wanted to be in the NICU with Hayden but I also wanted to be home with Liam too. Needless to say we had to take turns, but I couldn’t help but be sad that both my babies weren’t home. It was a bit of a blessing though, to have one home and not the other. It gave us a bit of time to find bottles that actually worked and get used to being a parent full time. Bringing Hayden home to join us was amazing, I felt so complete. Seeing them grow from 3lbs to 5lbs and then 10lbs and now 17(ish) is amazing. Watching them reach milestones that I thought they would be more delayed on is truly on of God’s greatest gifts. Seeing them enjoy the food I make warms my heart. Watching them play together and explore their surroundings is by far the best reassurance in the world. It melts my heart watching them giggle while playing together. Being discharged and cleared from Neurosurgery was another great accomplishment. These two little boys have proven to me just how strong, how very, very strong the human spirit is. That no matter how small we are, it doesn’t determine how big the fight we have within us is. They have taught me so much this past year. I’m so proud of their accomplishments – proud of how far they have came. From needing help breathing and eating to walking, babbling and eating everything in sight, all within a year - a whole 365 days. Now, that is nothing short of amazing. I’m so proud of them, and proud of what an amazing father Mr. H is, and how amazing of a husband he is – even when I’m not at my best. This year, has certainly been one for the books that’s for sure.

I’ve been so humbled this past year, with the outpouring support we’ve been given. Mrs. Kathy, our post partum doula has been there for us for so, so much. To simply come and help me care for the boys, bringing over dishes (as well as the amazing parish members who brought us food in the early days too!), to helping fold laundry and helping me understand and grow into my new role of being a mom. To all of our family that has traveled to see us, to the gifts that have been sent for the boys. To all of the prayers, for health for the boys and us, and even the kind gestures from those whom I have never even meet. It’s absolutely humbling and gives me hope that the boys will grow up in a society where they can be humble and kind and giving people without getting walked all over.
When I was told that the first year was the hardest, I believed it – and it was the hardest. There were so many changes, so much newness, so much fear and so many hormones. While I certainly had quite a few bad days, and while things didn’t always go as planned – there was so much happiness. Sure – things take quite a bit more planning and effort now but it is so worth it. When I found out we were expecting twins in May of 2012 I was terrified and full of doubt. But now – I know that God gave me these two precious miracles because he knew I would figure it out and run with it. It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure, but it has been so rewarding. I wish that someone would of told me that this first year is the hardest – but that it is also the most humbling, amazing year as well.

I’m hoping that tomorrow, while I might shed a few tears – especially when we visit our primary nurse at the NICU – that I will also remember to celebrate. Celebrate how much our family has grown, celebrate how much both Mr. H and I have grown as parents, and to most importantly celebrate how far the boys have come and how much happiness they have brought us.

There are moments that mark your life. Moments when you realize nothing will ever be the same and time is divided into two parts, before this and after this” – Unknown.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Post Partum Depression is a bitch.

Yesterday, it hit me like a train. My babies are going to be one in a week. ONE! Where did time go? We went and ordered their birthday cake yesterday at Publix and picked up some Halloween cupcakes. We opted to not take them trick or treating this year, simply because we don't really know anyone in our neighborhood too well and I feel like we'd be going to the door saying "Trick or Treat - the candy is clearly for us" So we are going to sit in the yard and play with the boys and pass out candy. And then they will get a cupcake, Lesson1 in Cake 101.
So as I am watching them play in the kitchen yesterday, waiting for dinner to finish cooking - or baking rather. I sit down and can't really help but cry. And to make the tears fall even harder, H came over and hugged me and patted me and walked away. Yes, I did say walk.

I'm at a loss of words, I have no idea where there first year of life has simmered away to. It's literally like I have blinked and they're almost one. I can't even say '1' without tearing up. I'm so, so very happy that they've over come so much this year, and fought and persevered and grown and are healthy and happy. I feel like I have been in "survival mode" for this past year. Last year by this time I had made about 4 trips to Labor and Delivery. I would make another two before the end of the week only to be admitted and to have an emergency C-Section. I can't help but think about how things went downhill so, so very fast.

I feel like having to face the bitch of postpartum depression, and raise two babies at once has put me into this survival type mode. Where every day it's a focus on what I need to do, what needs to be accomplished, and what the boys needs are. I was doing really, really well with working out in the mornings but the boys have gotten really active so now its again a struggle. I'm debating on starting to go running. But it's more or less finding time to go. It'll come with time, I'm hoping to get back into working out after they go to bed 3 nights a week. I felt a lot better when I was working out, and I'm hoping to start weaning off of the Zoloft after the holidays when things aren't so stressful. There is no specific reason for the wean, just that I want to move on and move past this chapter. So in order to do this, I really need to start getting back into working out. Because I know it will help with it. I really hate what PPD has taken away from me. I hate that she said, 'Ha! That first year of snuggles and milestones and joy that mom's get - nope you wont!' or 'HA! You think you're a good mom think again!' PPD is a bitch. A big bitch and I hate what she has taken from me. I hate that. I hate it more than I can say, and I hate that I won't ever get this year back. All I can do, is continue the daily struggle against her. Where I look her in the face and say 'F Off!'. The bad days aren't as frequent as they once were, but they do come now with a bit more severity. It takes all the strength I have to take a shower, cry, pick myself up, get dressed and look in the mirror and tell myself this is how your day is going to go, you just have to make it to bed time. If you make it to bed time and get them down, you freaking rock. It seems to help, and if it gets too unbearable there is always a trip to Target to help with it. I never imagined, something like PPD would affect me, nor could I of ever imagined the stress it can cause on both myself and my family. I never realized how much of a horrible nightmare it could be until I reached out for help. I also never realized just how much it could overshadow my babies first year of life. Now granted, it wasn't all dark and scary and sad, but good days, great days were often overshadowed with too much fear, too much sadness, and too much of an overwhelming desire to run away. But not any longer, I may of fallen down and I may of allowed PPD to overshadow a great first year of H&L's life, but it won't happen during their second year. I will overcome this and I will tell her to shove it where the sun doesn't shine. This - is my goal for H&L's second year. To enjoy it, to breathe it all in, to let the little things go. To play in the rain, to laugh at messes, to cry from laughing so hard, to snuggle on rainy days, to go on adventures, to enjoy their life. Regardless of what it brings along with it. I will not let postpartum depression take it away from me, or from them.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Meal Planning - My new found friend

So, I've made new friends with meal planning. Seriously, I don't know why I ever gave this up, or let it go or whatever it was that happened. But this idea, concept, way of cooking is amazing to say the least.
I've been working really hard with our budget and our time to eat real foods. This doesn't neccessarly mean the completely organic, gmo free craze just that I try to incorporate real food into all of our meals. For example: breakfast I can make anything from scrambled eggs for the boys, or blueberry pancakes and I can pair it with fresh fruit that was on sale or I can do regular pancakes with crock pot applesauce. Which by the way is amazing, and beyond easy. I'll post a recipe I found on the bottom of this post. Lunch normally tends to be left overs. And dinner depends on what meat is on sale, paired with veggies etc. The Green Giant steamable veggies have been on sale lately at Publix and I've been a huge, huge fan of those because they make things easy and anything that makes life a bit easier is always appreciated.
The big goal behind the excitement of BLW (baby lead weaning) was to eat healthier and as a family. I absolutely love what this has done for us, the boys and our family. I cook pretty much daily, which can get frustrating at times but that's where the meal planning comes in. I sit down one night a week and see whats on sale at Publix and Target (we tend to get most of our meat from the commissary since its cheaper there) and pair it up with what meat we have in the freezer. Apples have been on sale a lot lately so I've been doing applesauce on homemade zucchini bread, or applesauce just as a side. I love applesauce and from watching the boys eat it - they really do too.

The wonderful thing I've found about meal planning is that it helps me, and it helps me know just what we are having for dinner but yet its flexible enough to mix up or around if I'm just not feeling like having chicken or pork that day. I also found that I enjoy cooking again, I used to love cooking before getting pregnant with H&L and lost that when it became hard to cook with the smells and bedrest and then once they arrived, its just been about survival. Things are finally settling down and with that it offers new opportunity to try new recipes and try new foods. If you haven't tried meal planning, don't be intimated by the pinterest pins either. It's much easier than anyone ever leads to believe. Here is a guide to how I do think out my meals:
  1. What meat do I have in the freezer? What veggies/ingrediants do I have on hand? Example: I have two things of ground beef, 3 packages of chicken, a pork tenderloin, and steaks. I have a bag of potatoes, I have blueberries, a bag of apples, I have some biscuits in a can etc
  2. What can I make? What sounds easy/appealing? What haven't we had in a while?
  3. I write down ideas, search pinterest for ideas etc
  4. I plan, here are some examples
  • Taco Pie - Canned biscuits/crescent rolls and ground beef
  • Mini Chicken Pot Pies
  • Spagetti and garlic bread
  • Grilled Chicken and steamed veggies
  • Pork Tenderlion and mashed potatoes
  • Chicken and Pasta with steamed veggies
  • Steaks, sweet potatoes and applesauce
See - pretty easy and I'm all about easy. I've also noticed that by getting whatever I am making ready at the very, very start of the boys' afternoon nap all I have to do is pop it in the oven/warm it right before dinner time (5:30) and I'm good as golden. It helps keep additional clean up and dishes at bay, and gives me more time to devote to them. I really am hoping to find a good sale soon and get some freezer meals ready too. I made a meal earlier in the week and split it in half and froze the other half, so that's always an option too. Just isn't a good idea to do it with an experimental dish, try it first, then give it a shot!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Real, straight mom talk.

Lately, I find myself thinking more and more about mom things. Maybe, its because I'm a mom, or maybe its because my Facebook news feed is flooded by 'mom' things. But - regardless of how my brain was flooded with these thoughts, they're there.
Almost as instantly as that home pregnancy test turns positive, the mom guilt arrives. You know, that little voice in your head that suddenly is googling what not to eat, what to eat for a smart baby, what music will keep you calm so the baby grows better, stronger. You question how much caffine you drink, how much wine you chose to indulge on, what birth plan is right for you. Then comes motherhood and you question the medicine you're taking (if your nursing), you question your thoughts, you question your actions - 'should I not be washing dishes while the babies are content playing in the living room?' 'is it wrong to try to workout while they are playing in their jumpers?' 'am I sending the wrong message that I'm picking up while they are exploring around?'. Everything suddenly is followed by a question.

The questions are nice at moments, you like twice about doing something. You evaluate whether or not that trip to Target is worth throwing off a nap if they happen to fall asleep, but other times it just plain sucks. Mom guilt is so real, and its so annoying. The most important thing to remember is that you are a wonderful mom, you are your childs mother. As long as their is food on the table, clothes on their backs, your not living in a bug infested house, and they are safe and sound at the end of the night in bed - you've done a great job, given the benefit of the doubt that you aren't smoking crack after words.

What annoys me lately are the 'excuse' posts I see everywhere. (Not the one about the fit mom who others are accusing of 'fat shaming') the 'excuse' posts, the 'sympathy' posts, the 'be grateful because others can't have children' posts. They all annoy me to no end lately. Please, do NOT tell me to love my stretch marks that are here, there, and everywhere that pregnancy left me with simply because someone else can not conceive a child and carry a child to term. THAT is frustrating. It makes me feel like women are being made to be against each other, rather than supportive of one another. I feel for those who can't have a baby, it breaks my heart when there are wonderful people who deserve nothing more than a child of their own can not have one. But please, please don't make me feel like a terrible person for not loving my stretch marks, or the extra 15 pounds that I can't freaking lose because I had babies. I love my babies, I love them more than life itself and I would never in a million years, trade them for the body I had before them. But with that said, it doesn't mean I have to love this body right now, maybe next year, maybe when I get back into better shape. But right now? I don't love it and I can't be guilted into loving it.

This ties into the 'I make milk, what's your super power' posts - I get that breastfeeding is hard. But my super power - is that I feed my children and it doesn't matter how. Why am I not back into prepregnancy shape? Its called twins, that's my excuse. Twins and work, and a never ending chore list. Life. Life happens - and we shouldn't be guilted into doing something, or making something, or being something we aren't because someone else wishes they could be. Should the rich feel guilty because I'm not rich? Should the heavy weight people feel guilty because there are underweight people or starving people in other counties? Should the religious and God loving people feel bad because they love Him and others don't? No. It's absurd to think that we should all be so happy with ourselves, our flaws and our shortcomings simply because others can't have or don't have what we have.

I'm sure this isn't a well constructed post, and for that I apologize, I'm just letting off some steam so I can better focus that energy into cleaning out the house before family arrives for the boys' first birthday in two weeks.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Twin Rules 1-4

Lets talk about some twin rules, shall we? They aren't real rules but some unwritten laws in the H household.

Twin rule #1: One up, both up!
This one should be self explanatory. It seems mean, and at times you really, REALLY don't want to follow it but if one baby is up, the other one needs to be up. If H is still sleeping when L wakes up, or the other way around, which does happen frequently, I tend to give them ten minutes to wake up on their own or I wake them up. Nicely of course, I'm not super mean mommy. The reason for this is to keep them on the same schedule, you do want to sleep and you do need 'mommy' time at some point. You don't want them getting on opposite schedules or else you will lose your mind. Promise.

Twin rule #2: If one eats, they both eat.
This goes along with rule number one. If one is taking a bottle, the other needs to be taking a bottle. If not your constantly feeding someone, and the other one is off fending for him/herself. The best way I found to do this is by placing a boppy on either side of you, either on the couch - or on the floor once they start kicking off the pillows/using it for leverage, they will kick themselves into a back flip and land on the floor - trust me on this. So get comfy, put a boppy on your right side and one of the left, and grab the babes and set them in their spots and BAM! you pop the bottle in their mouths and enjoy the quietness.

Twin rule #3: Lots, and lots of floor/activity play!
The thing that has helped me beyond belief is the fact that we allowed the boys to be on the floor/on their mats playing 90% of awake time. Meaning - no hold me babies. Yes, it does have its drawbacks, but its better to get little cuddle time than having to hold two babies all.the.freaking.time. The boys come to me when they want cuddle time or when they want a book read to them and then go right back to playing when they're done. I prefer it this way, it gives me the ability to go potty, clean, make lunch, etc etc. And they are so independent and have the best personalities this mom could ask for.

Twin rule #4: If someone can't understand your schedule - then tell them to kick rocks.
Seriously. Unless this person has had twins, triplets or quads - tell them to kick rocks. And no - having two babies 13 months apart does not count. If your twins eat at 6:30am, 10:30am, 2:30pm, and 6:30pm and nap at 9:00-10:30 and 3:00-5:00 and your friend wants to go to Starbucks at 3:00 with you and the babies and will not accommodate you - tell her to kick rocks. She is not your friend. A friend would understand that you have time constraints and that its rather limited. So it is perfectly okay to stick to your guns. I'd rather skip out on Starbucks than have two overly tired babies who will only sleep on mommy after fighting sleep for an hour and then you have to painful hold your bladder until you are absolutely, positively sure they are asleep enough for you to put them in their cribs.

So that's Twin Rules #1-4. I'll have to post some more when I have my time. Hopefully this might possibly help someone, or if anything give someone else a chuckle. And to whomever wants to leave a nasty remark about scheduling babies, do yourself a favor and don't. You, my friend, can in fact kick rocks. :)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Mommies don't get sick days

And it has finally happened. After being so healthy and germ free for 9+ months, I have a lovely sinus infection. One word, YUCK. And to pair it with a root canal is just proof, that mommies in fact do not get sick days.

Thankfully the boys have been so happy, as they normally are, the past week and a half. I'm hoping I can get into the doctors on Monday for a quick appointment so I don't lose too much time at work, and that once I am on antibiotics it will clear right up. The weird part about all of this is, it is only on one side of my sinuses, which just happens to be the same side where I had my root canal. Can I just say, this blows? I'm really hoping to be over this mess soon, I don't have time for it - I don't think any mom does. I really think I need to have a heart to heart with God and tell him, "I was pregnant, had babies, take care of them - I really think any mom should be exempted from being sick!" Kidding, of course.

I think this whole 'getting sick' fiasco has in some way told me to slow down, and chill out some. More importantly, to not be so hard on myself. Anyone who knows me, and I mean really knows me, knows that I am extremely hard on myself and my expectations of myself. My house is pretty, pretty clean most of the time - because I constantly clean it. I work as much and as hard as I can, I try to do the very very best of everything - especially for the boys. And I rarely ever take time for me. Including, my 'me' trips to Target which is normally picking up anything we need for the house/groceries/Erik/boys. So I am trying very hard to change that! Its been a challenge, but it's getting better and I'm not feeling so stressed out any longer. I do what I can, when I can and that's all anyone can do or ask from someone.

Fingers crossed I'm back to my old self soon and to making changes!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Twin Recommendations

I have been asked lately, what products I would recommend for a MOM (mom of multiples). I know I personally scoured the internet trying to meticulously pick out every single product that we purchased just so I would avoid the return, exchange, resale of items. I've also been asked what I've done that has worked for us and made life easy. So - here is my list/review/suggestions for other MOM's and especially FTM MOM (first time moms of multiples).
  • My very, very first suggestion is of course to make sure that your OB and your MFM are two people you trust completely and respect 120%. If you have any hesitation, please please be your advocate and find someone who you can trust with your prenatal care.
(newborn/coming home - 3 months)
  • Two boppies (Found here) Even if you don't breastfeed they are a multitude of uses for these. Mr. H loves it as a neck rest - but joking aside. I feed the boys in these. My post partum doula (later post on that) showed me how to feed the boys in these. I sit in between them and place a boppy on either side of me and put each baby in it and pop the bottle in. This trick literally cut my feeding time in half.
  • Skip the bath tub and go for two bath sponges (Found here). I had the whale tub by fisher price (here) and while it was pretty awesome. I enjoy the sponges more, as do the boys. I can bath them both side by side in the big tub and they can be with one another. It also has come in handy now that they are older and are pulling up and sitting because it gives a little cushioning for the falls and plops down.
  • I personally found the Tommee Tippee Sensitive bottles to be amazing (found here) we originally had the regular ones but the boys were still really gassy even with burping every 10 minutes so we switched and it made a big difference.
  • I previously posted this recommendation, but I really love my high chairs. I have the Fisher Price Deluxe Booster Chairs (here). It has made a HUGE difference in feeding them and is super BLW friendly since there is no fabric to wash.
  • If you plan on BLW I highly suggest the book Baby-Led Weaning (found here). After reading it I felt much more comfortable in my choices. Another great book suggestion is Bringing Up Bebe (here) I haven't finished it yet, but she makes a lot of wonderful points and I'm finding out that I'm naturally a French mother. LOL!
  • Swaddle sacks were a huge hit in this house - I suggest having 6, so you only have to laundry every 3 days if for some reason they each go through 1 a night due to a leaky diaper or spit up. Those can be found here.  We used them until the boys could roll onto their tummies.
  • I absolutely recommend the two biggest hits the Nosefrida and the famous Sophie. The Nosefrida looks gross, but I promise you it gets snot out so much better than any bulb aspirator (which is still fantastic for mouth suctioning). Sophie is also worth every penny. She is made from natural rubber and food based paint is used so it isn't bad if your baby chews and chews and chews and the paint starts to come off. She was also designed to be used for every type of chewing/teething stage.
  • I recommend this article for toys during the first year. It's fantastic and simple and we have every single one and they are all hits. It's basically 15 toys for the first year.
  • We used this mobile/noise machine and the projector has been a huge hit for naps in this house. ( found here) We only got one of these and I cant imagine needing more than one. They shared their crib until they were rolling onto each other and then we took them off completely. Now the projector is attached to the changing table and the projector video takes up half of the ceiling, so it's plenty of light/entertainment for two babies to view, their room is about 10'x11' (ish) and it takes up about half of the ceiling, which are 9 foot ceilings and can be seen perfectly from the floor up - yes I do know from own personal experience.
  • This was the swing that we used, I didn't think we would need two - but we did, thankfully we were loaned one (by of course our amazing post partum doula) and didn't have to buy a second one. I loved the plug in function on this (found here) and it was very well made and thought out. We didn't use it for too long because I didn't realize you could use it from coming home on but the timeframe we did use it, it was amazing and a life saver.
  • We also used the Rock N Plays for a good long while, they were super helpful in the early days (found here). The boys slept best in their cribs, but they were super handy to have around.
  • These are the activity mats that we have and have really enjoyed it and have had a great run with them. The boys are 9 months old and are still really enjoying them and they aren't even showing any wear or tear. I highly suggest having at least three mats, they tend to get tired of one and then I pull out the other and alternate the toys on them and so forth. We have this one, this one, and this one.
  • Johnny Jump Ups have been a HUGE help in this house. Because of them we shower daily now. We hang on in the bathroom enterance door directly in front of the shower and one in the closer door directly next to the shower and it works out perfect.
  • These boys LOVE to jump. We have two different Jumperoo's - The Baby Einstein Jumperoo Activity Center (recently recalled due to the Sun toy rebound - ours was not affected but I can't supply the link because of this) and we have the Fisher Price one (found here). You definitely need two. I suggest two different Fisher Price Jumperoo's - they put the Baby Einstein to shame. Hands down. I also suggest two different ones of any activity thing you buy - like activity gyms, jumperoo's etc that way when they are tired of one you still have another one to switch it up.
  • There are some toys that are worth buying two or three of them. This doesn't solve every screamfest but - it helps.
  • In the early teething stage when they couldn't really grasp large toys - these and now they love these, their Sophie's and these. Motrin is also a good go to.
  • This is the best diaper rash cream EVER.
  • Skip the bumbo and opt for this
  • These were our carseat choices and I highly recommend both. Infant seat and convertible seat
  • And if you need to baby proof a sliding glass door - a pool noodle works PERFECTLY!
  • Edited to Add: My Stroller! I can not believe I have forgotten to recommend my stroller! Oh my goodness gracious. We decided not to go the double snap and go route after purchasing it and not liking how the Britax B Safe carseats fit in it. So - after a lot of reviews we purchased the Combi Twin Sport Side by Side. We got an awesome deal on it - I used it for our first appointment that I had to attend alone and HATED it. So after a TON of more research, reviews, and testing them out at Buy Buy Baby I purchased the Baby Jogger City Mini Double GT (found here) and LOVE IT! This stroller has been amazing! We are able to go shopping with it, its been useful for every doctors appointment. We haven't had an issue with it not fitting through doors and the boys like it. We've been able to use it from the time we got it in, they were home for about 3 weeks so they were 2 months old on. This stroller is amazing and worth every single penny.
I highly suggest having freezer meals ready for nights that you don't have time to cook, and I highly, highly suggest a post partum doula. Kathy was a lifesaver for my family. We don't have family around to help, and she really helped us in so many, many ways. She gave me the confidence in being H&L's mom, and helped me feel comfortable in my new skin and new roles. She brought food and helped with the boys.
I highly suggest a routine, we have a night time routine that we perform every night and it has really, really helped. Find what works best for you and don't back down from it. What works best for you won't work best for someone else sometimes, but as long as it helps you that's all that matters. Our nighttime routine is this - feed, play, naked time (we undress and undiaper and let them play on a towel on the floor) and then bath time, massage, and pj's. Then we do story time, prayers, and bed time. Sometimes its play time, feed, play time etc and sometimes its play, feed, naked time. But for the most part its the same thing every night. It's helped them, and it really helped my PPD and knowing that we have one part of the day, that we all know whats going on.

This is what I have compiled together so far, I'm sure I am forgetting a lot but this is what I have done so far and what has worked for us. If you have any questions on anything specific - feel free to ask! I'm an open book :)

What I've learned

It amazes me what I have learned and things I have picked up over the past 9 months. Little tricks that literally save me hours in the long run and make me feel happier. What have I learned you ask?

Lets see, most importantly Caffeine is my very, very best friend! I've learned that the saying that you will lose friends once you have kids, is insanely true. I literally have one person who I would still consider my good friend now a days, at least that is here in the area. A lot of people don't really understand, and if they do, they just don't get that I can't plop them in the car in a moments notice and head off to do X, Y, or Z. We have a schedule. Yes, I said a schedule - side eye me if you must, but until you have twins (or triplets) than I don't really want to hear what your thoughts are - and no, 'Irish Twins' do not count. The boys have thrived on our schedule and frankly it brings me peace of mind. They eat at (roughly, give/take 30 minutes) 6:30am, 10:30am, 2:30pm, and 6:30pm. So - if its near those times I try to stay home, especially with Hayden - he is a distracted eater, well non-eater. The one friend who really has stuck by my side understands that and doesn't mind doing things around it, nor does she mind coming over to my house to hang out or my insane love for Target. I can't just plop them somewhere, they are oh so very mobile now a days, and germs are a huge fear for me, so I'd rather keep them safe and healthy. I haven't seen many people since maybe two months or so after the boys came home and were still sleeping pretty frequently. And, I do understand it - but it's rather hurtful - just because I have babies doesn't mean my life is over. I do still have a brain - somewhat.

On that note, mom brain is very, very real. If I don't write something down, set a reminder, leave a note - I will NOT remember it. I won't remember to text someone back, email someone, go to an appointment, get x, y, z, from the store etc etc. Heck, I'm lucky if I remember to go to the bathroom when I realize I have to go, let alone brush my teeth. Gross, I know but it's the truth.

I've learned to do what I can, when I can. Which means - if they are content and playing on their mats/toy basket/jumperoo's - then I can use that time to wash bottles, make dinner, vacuum, go potty etc. I score a shower every morning for the most part (unless I plan on working out at night - yep I said working out!) with them in their Johnny Jump Ups next to me. I just make it work, they LOVE jumping so that helps out greatly. They're really independent babies for the most part and don't want to be held constantly, if they are happy, so it helps me get things done that I need to do. I'm so glad I really didn't hold them much during awake time, they adore being all over the place and just don't have the personality to sit around and snuggle. Sometimes I wish they would, but then I realize things would be drastically different. I've also learned - that there are times where one baby just has to cry because the other one needs me. It sucks, and it sucks BAD but I can only do so much. Especially now that it's almost impossible to comfort them both at one time - they're just too big now.

I've learned to go with the flow, and do what is best for them. We didn't start solids until 7.5 months actual age (5.5 adjusted). They weren't ready and didn't become ready until just past 7 months. We originally started with purees, the normal baby food. I steamed and pureed everything myself. One because its cheaper and two because it was something I really wanted to do. At first it was fun. Then I started dreading it. They boys flipped out after being in their high chairs longer than 10 minutes, they wanted to feed themselves which in turn made a huge mess. My high chairs were HUGE and I didn't like pulling/leaving them out. They weren't looking forward to it, nor was I. So we took a break and I bought new chairs (Fisher Price Booster Chairs - AMAZING! ) and switched to BLW. BLW is baby led weaning. Basically - I give them what I eat and most importantly, we eat together. This turned solids around for us. It made me eat healthier, and I was actually eating rather than quick snacks when I realized I was hungry - and the boys love food. They're happier, so much happier. It's amazing what a difference it has made. We eat breakfast and most days a snack and lunch/dinner. They really enjoy food now, and it's fun. Sure - it's still messy - especially yogurt. But they are actually eating and it's not stressful. It's a lot of fun to see how they figure out the taste and texture of different foods and watch to see what I'm doing too.

I've found that I'm very judgmental on other parents choices. I totally side eye the parents who have their young children out and about at 9, 10, 11 at night. Where it isn't a 'run' to the store for Tylenol, milk or bread - but just a luxury trip to shop around. Yeah - your kid should of been asleep a few hours ago. I also side eye parents who have also had babies early, and they have them out and about a few days after discharge. That scares me, it is SO easy for them to get sick - their lungs aren't as developed as a full term baby. Reckless parenting, so reckless. People always say that you'll pay for the "my children/I would never do that" comments. But to me there is more to parenting than giving birth - a whole lot of consideration and common sense.

While a lot of things may not of gone the way I wanted them to, I do have two healthy babies who have thankfully slept 12 hours a night since 4 months old, and put themselves to sleep for the night. They are so independent, and so determined. It's amazing to watch the progress they've made, and amazing to see just how much they know and can do. I never thought my 9 month olds would know where the toy basket is and pull up on it, to lean over and pull out whatever toy they want. They astonish me daily, in a good way of course. I am so impressed by how well they have overcome so many things. I think its a true testament of the strength God gives us and a testament on how amazing the human body is and what someone, despite being so small, can endure and prevail. Babies are so much stronger than we give them credit for.

I've also learned that those faces that are lite up with smiles at 6am can instantly make me go from being groggy to insanely happy within seconds. I can see how much they love me in the mornings, and seeing them so happy and smiling is worth every breathe I take. I've learned that I will fall in love with them, over and over and over again daily. That there will be moments that they have me speechless and teary eyed. That there will also be moments where I will want to pull my hair out - quite possibly within minutes of each other.

Being a mom isn't easy, being a mom of twins is exhausting, but it's the most amazing 'job' that I have ever had, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Update - Finally!

Wow, has it been a while since I have had the time to sit down and think without having a million and one things to do, or four little hands wanting my attention. So, for those who are still around - here is an update and where I am at now. Fingers crossed - there will be more posts, more frequently. If not for anything else, for me to get things out in the open.

Motherhood is so much harder than I have ever imagined it would be. There is so much that not one person told me about, no one told me to expect these things or that things could happen.

Firstly, I never expected a NICU stay - nor did I ever expect to spend the first 4 months home, under lock down. Only to venture out with a gallon of hand sanitizer to church and to get something from Target when Erik couldn't. I was too afraid of getting the boys sick, too afraid of risking a readmittance stay in the PICU unit. No ma'am - not my boys. And thankfully we survived RSV season.
Secondly, if anyone had asked me how I intended to feed my kid, it was without a blink of an eye, breastfeeding. Heck - I hadn't even planned on buying bottles. I ripped my breastfeeding pillow open and threw away the plastic cover. These babies would feed from my boob. Boy was I wrong. Some things don't work out that way. I pumped, and pumped, and pumped. Any waking minute at the NICU was skin to skin time. I took fenugreek, the max dose of course, I took Reglan to get some milk. I drank that nasty Mothers Milk Tea, I drank Red Raspberry leaf tea, I drank water and more water. Power Pumps, pumping every 2 hours, warm compresses, crying videos, blankets. I did EVERYTHING. And - drum roll - produced maybe, MAYBE 8 oz a day. Fail. Epic FAIL. I cried. Daily. I felt terrible. I felt like I had failed as a mom, heck I couldn't even carry them to term. I had to ask someone if I could hold MY baby - and I couldn't even make milk. What kind of mother was I? Eventually the boys were discharged, and I continued pumping - with my hospital grade pump mind you - and I stopped, 2 weeks after Hayden was discharged. Caring for twins, and pumping, and doing it when Mr. H worked nights (paternity leave was donezo in November). It was too much. So - they are formula feed. I used to be so, so very ashamed when I had to feed them in the waiting room. I would give a person a novel if they had asked why I was formula feeding. I received death glares - who feeds formula in a baby friendly hospital, right? Eventually, I got over my defeat. I proudly will feed them formula, my babies won't live and thrive off of determination alone. It wasn't until I found a site called, Fearless Formula Feeder that I became 'Okay' with our choice, heck our only option.
Third - PPD. NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT. Never do you hear anyone tell you the realities of Post Partum Depression. And quite frankly - it's BULLSHIT. This stuff is real. It's hard. It's a complete bitch. I felt terrible. My babies were home, I was okay, and all I wanted to do was to RUN away as fast as I could. I didn't enjoy them. I cried, I cringed every time I heard a peep. And then I cried even more for feeling that way. I finally got help, and am doing so much better now. So much better. But it's still hard, and its still a battle. And I still have bad days. But I promise you this, if any one ever asks about motherhood/having babies - this will be something that needs to be discussed. Stop hiding it. Being honest and knowing you aren't alone is so helpful. Knowing it doesn't make you any less of a mother is what I needed to hear the most.

I also never imagined making such close friends as I have with other moms from my January 2013 Moms group. Those women have been such phenomenal friends and have been better than most (with the exception of one) of my real friends.
We were blessed beyond belief to have a church friend send another church friend who was in the process of becoming a Post-Partum Doula our way. Kathy was our angel, our life line, my sanity. There is no amount of words that could describe how she helped me and us. I wouldn't be half of the mother I am today, without her help. She taught us how to feed them both in the boppies - which my friends turned an hour and a half feeding session to a whole new 45 minutes. She taught me the beauty in multi-tasking, the glory in a routine and most importantly to listen to my gut. Only the Mr and I knew what was best for the boys. While everyone else might have good intentions, we are their parents and we know what is ultimately best. She gave me confidence.

So, what type of mom have I become you ask? Ehh.. some days I don't even know. Some days I am wishing for bed time so I can engulf my self in wine, other days I am not wanting our fun to end. H&L have made me so very happy. They have filled my heart with every emotion imaginable. I can't imagine life without them. Nor could I imagine having one and not the other. Sure - some days are crazy but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

I never posted pictures before but here are some now of the boys:

 Hayden Erik; birth
 Liam Robert; birth
 Hayden - 1 week old
 Liam - 1 week old
H (dark brown) and L (light brown) - 'newborn' pictures (3 months old)
H and L at 5 months old

Liam after Easter Mass

Hayden after Easter Mass

Hayden and Liam's baptism - April 20, 2013
Sacred Heart Catholic Church - with Fr Donal

Cuddle time with mommy; a rare moment!

Hayden - 9 months old!

Hayden (left) and Liam (right) enjoying watermelon and pancakes for breakfast.
We chose to do BLW - by far one of our best choices ever!

 Helping me with laundry!
Liam - 9 months old!
So, there you have it - I'm still alive! I hope to be posting again soon! 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Thirty - Two Weeks

I just saw this and realized I never posted it because I never finished it, nor will I be able to now. So here is the last pregnancy blog post.

November 6th, 2012
32 weeks
Well, I had hoped I would of done a better job of documenting my journey during pregnancy, and keeping a written journal for the boys to look back on. Truth be told, I really don't have much written/blogged. I've been overly busy with work and taking care of the house and trying to take care of myself. Time has literally gotten away from me.

Someone told me when I was about 12-13 weeks along, that time flies by from about 16 weeks on - and boy were they right! It feels like time has literally flown by! I just wish it would slow down a little bit, because I want to enjoy this last month of it being just Erik and I. It's so exciting and scary at the same time to think that this is the last month we are a family of two.

We've pretty much finished the nursery, there are just a few last minute touches to make and it will be complete. There is a closet shelf that needs to be hung up in their closet to give us some extra storage, two crib skirts to make, and hanging up the first letter of their names above their cribs. There is also a print I'd like to get framed and hung up as well. Oh! And we need to get a diaper caddy for the living room, and their bedroom. Everything has pretty much been orgainized for the most part. We decided over the weekend not to do the DSNG (double Snap N Go), I just didn't feel like it was really worth the money, and Erik didn't like how it wasn't extremely sturdy. I figure for the first month or two we won't be going many places and can carry them in their carseats for when we do go somewhere. We've got our Combi side-by-side that they can go in as well as long as it's laying flat. I'm really hoping to wear them when we go places, it seems like it will make life much easier, and I'd rather have them on me than in a stroller!

We've had some pre-term labor scares over the past two weeks, I've had two trips to Labor and Delivery for contractions, turns out I was starting to dialate and was put on strict bedrest. My Dr didn't think it was necessary and removed that but I'm still taking it pretty easy. I find if I over do it, I'm in a lot of pain and contractions are bound to start. Erik has been wonderful about keeping me less stressed out and trying to help out around the house as well. He doesn't do it how I do it, but that's okay - and that's something I need to get used to. We have an appointment with our MFM tomorrow morning, so we have some questions we're wanting to ask him and are hoping for more of an explaination/concern. My OB was kind of a come in for a few minutes give his typical speech on twins and c-sections/vaginal birth and was gone. *Eyeroll* I'm not very happy with him and am considering switching.

The boys are super active, although I think space is getting pretty tight in there! Just overnight it's considerable different how much I have 'dropped' in the past two-three days. And boy am I feeling it in my back.

So you had a plan..

I apologize for not posting lately, things in the H house have been... well crazy. And here is why...

If you had asked me at the beginning of November how I wanted the boys' birth to go, I would of given you a list of things I perferred that would happen. I wanted Erik to cut their umbillical cords, I would of told you I wanted to exclusively breastfeed, I would of told you I wanted immediate skin to skin with both babies. I would of told you a lot - it's human nature to plan, right?

Well, it's also God's plan to show us that our plan isn't always His plan. The last week of October/first week of November I went into L&D at 31 weeks on two different occasions with contractions very regular. They never really went away, even with the shot of trabutaline that I was given on 3 different occasions during that week. My doctor chalked it up to being dehydrated, which really annoyed me because I was drinking 2 gallons of water a day. I was not dehydrated, and was planning on switching OBs because he had lost my confidence. On Tuesday, November 7th I had an appointment with my MFM and planned on voicing my concerns. I was getting a fluid and cord doppler check, via ultrasound. I hadn't felt the boys hardly at all on the 6th and was itching for some reassurance that they were okay. As soon as the ultrasound started I knew immediately that they were not okay.

The boys had developed TTTS (twin to twin transfusion syndrome) during the 2 weeks inbetween ultrasounds with my MFM. Pretty rare to happen so late in the game. Baby A was the recipenant and had a TON of fluid while Baby B, the donor, had very, very little fluid. My MFM immediately requested a quick BPP (biophyiscal profile) and sent me down to labor and delivery immediately after it was done. At 32 weeks 1 day, he made he decision to deliver immediately. My appointment was at 8:00 am, and the boys were born at 10:43am by an emergency c-section. Hayden Erik made his appearance first and Liam Robert followed at 10:44. Nothing, absolutely nothing went as planned, I didn't even deliver at the hospital I had chosen nor by my OB since he did not have patient rights at that hospital. However, the on call OB was fantastic.

I didn't meet the boys until 7:00 (ish) that night. Erik was able to meet them around 5pm. They were admitted immediately at birth to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Things for Hayden were extremely rough, he wasn't breathing at birth and had to be intebated. I didn't find out until post discharge when I read his discharge papers just how tramatic his birth was, I had been told but I don't think our amazing nurse wanted me to fully grasp it - what mom would want to hear that. Hayden was on an ossiclating ventilator, which was the most heartwrenching thing to see during our entire stay, for about 28 hours or more before moving to a regular ventilator and Liam was put on a CPAP.

Both boys had their battles during their stay, and we couldn't of made it through our time in the NICU without our amazing primary nurses. They are godsends and are two of the most wonderful people I have ever meet. Having their support during the bad days meant more than any one could ever understand. Erik and I didn't have any family near by and declined visitors because of the strict visitor policy at the NICU, we didn't think it was fair to ask family to come down when they couldn't even go and see the boys. Hayden suffered a Grade 3 IVH (intraventricular hemorrage), there are 4 stages of IVH - 4 being the worst. IVH is where blood vessels on the ventricles (that hold spinal fluid in your brain) have bursted. Grades 3 and 4 normally come with a chance of brain damage and a chance of learning disabilites and mental disabilites. Most of the time there is a need for surgical intervention. Haydens neurosgurgeon decided to do spinal taps prior to surgery to see if it helped him start to clear up his bleed on his own. Thankfully after 2 taps they noticed that it was helping and after 5 taps they decided he could be followed as an outpatient. And by way of a miracle Hayden came out of it with no brain damage, confirmed by an MRI prior to discharge. Liam had his struggles as well, he came down with NEC (an infection in the intestines) during his stay and had to be off of food and on antibotics for a week as well as isolation. Thankfully, he never perferated and the situation wasn't as bad as it could have been. Liam spent 35 days in the NICU before coming home and Hayden spent 40 days before we were able to take him home.

Not meeting the boys right away, or being able to hold them, was extremely hard. I was in recovery and the hospital policy was that I couldn't go or be taken down to the NICU until I could walk from the bed to the wheelchair. I had had a spinal and was considered a fall risk. I was in regular post-partum recovery and hearing the other women around me with their new babies was the absolute worst. I don't think I have cried as much as I have cried during the past 8 weeks. I can't help but feel so insanely guilty about the struggles the boys have had to overcome and how much they have had to fight to get to where they are today. I won't ever be able to forget a single lumbar puncture, x-ray, head ultrasound, heel prick, PICC line insert or IV they have had to go through. Nor can I help but feel terrible that I wasn't there from their first minute of life on - they were instead surrounded by nurses and doctors and respiratory therapists. I keep remembering learning in a breastfeeding class that babies are terrified upon delivery and that's why those who have skin-to-skin performed immediately thrive. I can't help but replaying that over and over in my head on an almost constant basis and I feel horrible that they each had to go through that not only without each other close by, but without me there.

It has been so nice having the boys home and being able to be their mom full time. The only things we struggle with now are my emotions to how everything has played out and my emotions regarding what has occured. I quite pumping after a long debate with myself. It took me a while to realize that the side affects of Reglan and the quanity of milk I was producing (less than a bottle for each a day) was not worth not enjoying my babies and dealing with the emotions the Reglan brought along with it. I tried everything and really truly gave it my all, but after 7 weeks, I just couldn't do it any longer. I currently offer Hayden my breast about 2-3 times a day and let him breastfeed for 10-15 minutes before giving him his bottle. Liam absolutely hates breastfeeding, so he only does when he is really rooting for food or else he would scream the entire time. Overall, they are doing fantastic and only have follow up appointments from here on out. They are acting more and more like normal, every day babies and less and less like preemies. We really had God on our side during everything, things could have been much much worse if I hadn't had that appointment with my MFM the morning of the 7th. While we've had a long journey so far, it's still a journey that I am so thankful to have.