Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Information Overload

Purpose of this blog...the good, the bad, and the ugly with parenting info...and disclaimer? Only take from my blogs what sounds right for you, your babies, and your family.

First of all, I really have to say a gigantic thank you. A thank you to all of the blogs, forums, mothers, and groups that I stumbled upon, met, and learned from when I was pregnant, and that have continued to help me now that my boys have arrived. I realize now how incredibly lucky I was, and am, because I could have stumbled upon a bunch of bullshit that would have left me clueless with two babies, but instead I became wiser and much more relaxed. I wouldn't be able to write this blog if it weren't for them...the babies would be crazy, I'd be losing my mind, and the only information I would have would be crap.

My giant thank yous go out to:
1. http://babybumpapp.com/user_sessions/new This site (which I used as an app on my phone) has groups for moms, dads, people wanting to become moms and dads, twin moms, teen moms, French moms, you name it. I was a part of the "twins and more" group for the last 12 weeks of my pregnancy and a little beyond, and I can't even begin to explain how helpful those women were. We were all going insane with multiple people getting big in our bellies, and we all did what we could to make things better for each other, often times in the middle of the night!

2. My mom friends that I knew while I was pregnant. You all listened to me lose my mind, and you did what you could to make me feel better. You guys prepared me with baby advice and baby toys. XoXo

3. The NICU nurses at SMH (well...the ones that didn't feed my children formula without my permission). They helped me learn that babies are not as fragile as they seem, and that burping like a trucker is totally normal, even for a  five pound nine ounce baby. One of them is almost completely responsible for my breastfeeding success. She came to my room, she got my nurses to correct a pump issue, and she made sure I was doing everything I could be doing to give my gremlins the best that I could.

4. The BrEaST Beginnings group (and Allison for telling me about it!) and everyone I met at the Hollister Nurse-In. I might still be smothering my children with a nursing cover if it weren't for all of you. I'm also so ridiculously grateful for the company and conversation on long walks over the Ringling Bridge (and burpees underneath it!).

I don't just say that my babies are good. They are good. I go wherever I want with them. They do nap and eat well. I am able to work out. I tandem nurse. I cloth diaper. And I truly believe that it's all because I am relaxed. I'm not micromanaging their every diaper or taking their temperatures three times a day. They're eating, peeing, and smiling? Okay then, they're fine.

If you are a parent, or about to become a parent, and the information you're getting is making you more stressed out...STOP LISTENING TO IT. If you are worried about diapers and someone tells you to start counting or logging them, and then that ends up feeling like a chore and makes you more worried, how is that helping? If you feed your baby at 4am and you don't mind, but then someone tells you that it's wrong", tell them to kiss off. If you have twins and you think that maybe it will be best to feed them at once so that they can get synced up on schedules, but then someone tells you not to, get up and walk away, because that person doesn't have half a clue.

What I'm getting at is you have to get comfortable being a parent. You won't get that way following someone else's orders. You have to follow your intuition as a mom or a dad and do what makes you more relaxed, and what works for your family.  It will happen eventually, but wouldn't it be wonderful if it happened before your child is in elementary school? If someone is giving you "advice" that makes you feel uncomfortable, don't take it. As parents we're all doing the best we can, and we seek advice to try to do even better, but honestly sometimes it really is better to just listen to your instincts.

I heard some absolutely horrendous tips given to a fellow twin mom earlier today, and my help or input wasn't solicited, so before I butt in and said what I wanted to (which would have made a scene), I got up and walked out. Maybe I'll run into her some time, and I hope she tells me that she stopped listening to crazy, unhelpful "tips" when I do, otherwise that poor woman isn't going to sleep for the next 18 years........


Friday, January 25, 2013

Some "Manput"...

Okay fellas, This is Steve, and I am the Father of 2 twin boys and let me tell you what I've learned...

LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE.

For those of you that feel the need for explanation let me enlighten you:

My wife during the pregnancy was aware of the fact that she knew nothing about babies or what to do during labor and especially after having them. I also knew this fact to be true about myself. Here is the differences on how we handled this knowledge...

She downloaded apps on her phone about babies. These apps lead her to support groups where she could ask questions to other mothers going through or who have gone through the same thing. I chose to assume things will just work themselves out. She reached out to thousands of people. She researched numerous topics and concerns about babies, motherhood, how to financially make it all work, etc. I for the lack of better words...did not. She became so well versed on so many topics that she became the teacher/educator to other mothers. I liked to cry in the shower. She read books, compared websites, compared our situation with others in the same boat...I...well lets just say I wasn't much help when it came to having an idea of what to do. This doesn't mean that I didn't care or didn't accept the fact that we were having twins...I just didn't know what my role was and what I should do to help out. It almost felt like it was "her thing" when it came to finding all of these things out and she would just relay the information to me. Thankfully she didn't resent me or find it to be a problem that I didn't do these things because in all honesty I should of done more.

As guys we are so quick to just "go with the flow" or "we will handle it when/if it happens" and unfortunately when you are talking about having a family this mindset just doesn't fly.

So keep in mind, when it comes to this kind of thing, if you cannot or choose not to be involved in learning and researching all of these things that your wife is indeed more equipped than you are and you can learn something from listening to her. So sit back, shut up, and listen. Its not a matter of you MAY learn something, you WILL, and you will be a better husband and father for doing so.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

THEY'RE SO DARN CUTE!...and environmentally friendly :)

As I've mentioned before, I wanted to cloth diaper from basically the beginning of my pregnancy. I can't stand the crinkle sound of disposable diapers, and they are such a mess, not to mention EXPENSIVE! When we found out we were having twins I wasn't sure we'd be able to do it, but when I thought about the cost of disposables per yer times two I was determined to make it work!


On top of the personal cost, disposable diapers are a nightmare for our landfills. Check out these statistics...gross!!!


So after a bunch of comparison shopping I decided to go with gDiapers. They are reasonably priced, they are very simple and convenient to use, and they are also easy to get (sold in store at babies r us, or from almost anywhere online).

Cloth diaper lesson time!
Step 1: Start with the "pants"
















Step 2: Snap in the pouch
















Step 3: Get a cloth insert and put it into the snap in pouch, softest side up
















Step 4: Get a cloth liner and put it over the cloth...this keeps the poo off the cloth, and keeps the mess out of cloth diapering...they (and the poo) can easily be flushed and the cloth stays basically nasty-free
















Your finished product looks like this:
















Now when you go out you can either bring already stuffed diapers, or you can bring just the cloth and the liners for quick changes. I usually just bring a stack of the cloth and liners.
















When I'm home I try to keep the drawer full of already stuffed diapers.
















During a change the pieces needing cleaning go into a bucket with a mesh bag inside. When I need to do laundry I just toss the whole mesh bag in and the diapers come out and get cleaned with the agitation of the washer. I don't use any special cleaning products, and the diapers do not need to soak in anything. I simply use a cap full of Publix free and clear detergent. A cloth liner may have a small stain now and again, but it usually comes out in the next wash. I have been using these diapers for 3 months, and only today did we have our first blowout. It would have happened even in a disposable, and probably sooner.
















Aside from the fact that they are in pieces (many can be reused which prolongs your next load of laundry), gDiapers are great because they velcro in the back, away from where the babies can get to them.
















Lastly, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, once you've got the Velcro stuck, reach in and make sure the snap in pouch is sitting on the baby's VERY FIRST crease of their leg. It should be fitting like regular underwear would. If you don't make sure to check you'll be dealing with leaks and red marks on their legs :(

If you notice in the background you see powder, no cream. Cream really doesn't work with cloth, it just gets absorbed. Honestly I don't really ever even need the powder, but sometimes after a bath I like to use it. When the boys have occasionally used a disposable diaper they almost immediately have a red heiny. It has NEVER happened in cloth.

Finished cutie butt product:
















Our initial cloth diaper investment was under $300. I can foresee having to spend another $150 as the boys grow into medium, large, and then extra large sizes. And that's for two babies! Disposables would have run us about $2,000 per year until these guys were potty trained, and they would have added about 7,000 diapers to landfills...per year. Happy baby bums, happy wallets, happy environment...and EASY TO DO. If you aren't already doing it, it's never too late to start. Search cloth diapering online and see what's out there. Like I said, I chose gDiapers, but there are a ton on others on the market.

UPDATE: I have since started using a WAHM mom's line of cloth dipes. They are called bb Cheeks Cloth Diapers, and can be purchased online at http://hyenacart.com/stores/bbCheeksDiapers/ or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bbCheeksDiapers. Her diapers are absolutely adorable, very simple to use, and fit babies 10-35 pounds!!! Here is a picture of my guys in their bb Cheeks ;)



I'll leave you with some old favorite cloth diaper pictures of the boys :)
2 weeks...TINY g pants :) (mommy put them on backwards..ooops)

10 weeks


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Because I want everyone to be as informed as I WISH I was.........

Let me preface this with the fact that I'm not spouting conspiracy here. The United States performs this procedure readily, but it's rare in many parts of the world. In fact, aside from the U.S., it's really only prevalent in the Muslim world, Southeast Asia, and Africa.

Here we have a neonatal immobilizer. It's a restraint system used to tie a newborn baby's hands and legs down while a doctor performs a circumcision.  Sometimes support staff will physically restrain the infant.


Please read this article:
http://iinformedparenting.blogspot.com/2010/09/5-reasons-parents-give-for-choosing.html

Go to this site:
http://www.circinfosite.com/

Read my story:
When I was pregnant I was hormonal and plenty opinionated. I had something to say about damn near everything. I called a co-sleeper a "divorce in a box" (I now bed share....) and I didn't even think about circumcision, I was just going to. I didn't have a reason to, it was just something that I was going to do. Looking back, I want to slap myself. Honestly, it is a horrific thing to do if you don't have a valid reason.  My own father tried discussing this issue with me and I was so quick to dismiss the conversation.

I am writing this post because I feel now, after a very close call, and a lot of reading, that aside from birth defects and devout religious reasons (and I'm not talking about Christianity...if you are you better do your homework because you read something wrong), there really aren't any "valid" reasons. I really wish I read someone's blog and was more informed.

Our baby boys were born early and needed some time in the NICU. Because of that, and only because of that, they were not circumcised in the hospital. I was instructed to call my OB once we were all home and she would do the procedure at her office. Well I called to set up the appointment, and what happened next changed my feelings on the entire issue almost immediately. First, the nurse gave me the appointment date and time, which happened to be one that Steve could not be there for. Second, she told me that the boys would not be able to be diapered, but would be wrapped up and still need to be buckled into their tight car seats to leave. Third, she informed me what the following few hours would be like...home alone with TWO screaming in pain babies who were now two weeks old. She added, with a chuckle (!), that she had a hard time with her son and "I don't envy you with two!" I had the hardest time bringing this issue up with Steve that evening. For some reason I thought his opinion on the issue was he wanted it done, but once we finally communicated we realized neither one of us wanted to unnecessarily cause harm to the boys, and that's basically what we would be doing. I called and cancelled the appointment the following morning.

I hate to think of it, but had the boys not been in NICU we probably would have had it done, and I would be regretting it now. Our babies are perfect, and I can't think of a single reason that a piece of them would need to be removed. Whether you agree with our decision or not, please at least research the facts before you decide to make up your mind on the issue. I WISH I knew what I know now...I wouldn't have said all the dumb things I did. The doctors and nurses I dealt with never offered me any real information, only an appointment time, a bill, and half-assed tips on how to soothe twins in agony. Remember that they are making money, you are raising children.

GET INFORMED!

PS I am not anti circumcision, I just don't feel that just because we are their parents we can decide that sort of thing, the same way that I wouldn't have them tattooed. When the boys grow up they can decide for themselves what they want done to their bodies.
d the boys been born on time


Saturday, January 19, 2013

WTF happened to my body?! No. Seriously.....

I remember being in the checkout line at Publix in June last year and seeing a picture of Jessica Simpson in a magazine. She had tweeted this picture:

And the caption that went with her tweet was, "Is this street legal?" I thought it was so dumb and I'm sure some smart ass remark came flying out of my mouth, after all I was about 5 months pregnant and super moody.

Well here I am, 2 and 1/2 months after the birth of my twins eating my words and sarcasm.  After seeing a picture of myself I had to post this:

And I captioned it by saying I never should have made fun of JS, karma sucks, and I needed some duct tape.

So here we go. How was my body affected by a twin pregnancy? Now thank goodness I was in really good shape before I got pregnant. My husband and I were constantly working out, running trails, doing yoga. We did TRX in the backyard for fun and I had a general love of burpees. I will definitely preface this by saying I was at an advantage. Had I been in lousy shape to begin with, I'd be in serious trouble right about now. I weighed a very athletic 133lbs before I got pregnant.  This picture was taken when I was 2 weeks:



Here is how it all changed.....

Head:

Before I got pregnant I was trying to grow my hair and I looked basically like this
 
After the babies were born my hair was much longer, but I swear my face looks totally different
I don't know if it's my nose or my cheeks or what, but I don't look like myself....to myself....

 Chest:
Before I got pregnant I was a very modest size...and I enjoyed that! I didn't have to worry about if a shirt would fit right or if I was properly covered up. Now it's damn near impossible to find s shirt that fits correctly, and I won't even get started on sports bras and running. I know this will eventually go away, but in the mean time it's driving me nuts!
BEFORE
AFTER
Before bra: tan
After bra: red

Torso:
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. Ridiculous.
 
 BEFORE



DURING

My weight right before my c-section was 178lbs

Belly:
Before

After...freckles definitely get darker!
I got REALLY lucky in this department, I know that. I have almost no stretchmarks to speak of. I can't figure it out...I mean I was HUGE! I should look like a tiger!  I heard some twin moms end up seeing stretchmarks appear months after giving birth, but I'm thinking if I don't see any yet that I'm in the clear?...

Legs/Feet:
No pictures for this. I'll just say that I ran an average of at least 30 miles per week for 8 years before pregnancy and I had really decent muscle tone. I wasn't able to run from March until basically right now, and I lost all that tone. I still feel strong, but I don't look it. That is going to continue to require some hard work. My feet grew, but only a half a size. Good thing because I bought some awesome boots last year that I only wore a couple of times!

With every passing week, pieces of my body look more and more like they used to, but it's definitely something that takes time and work. The boys and I walk for at least an hour, usually two, pretty much every day of the week.  When my husband and I do get time to spend together without the babies we always do at least one thing that would be considered a workout (hot yoga, TRX, weight training) before doing anything else. A pregnancy, especially a twin one, does change your body, but it doesn't have to be as drastic as people like to claim.

I will write about some great post pregnancy workouts in a later blog :)



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Linea Nigra vs. Hot Yoga...who knew!!??

There is this less than awesome line that many women begin to get during the fourth or fifth month of pregnancy. It's called the Linea nigra (latin for "black line") and it can run vertically down your whole abdomen. It's caused by hormones produced by the placenta, and can get quite unsightly. 

I didn't really care much about it while I was pregnant. Honestly it was the least of my worries! Once I got home from the hospital and began to feel like my old self it really started to bother me though. It was this horribly dark line, and I'm a pretty pale person! Anyway, I read that it generally fades away during the first year after pregnancy, so I figured I would have to wait it out. 

Fast forward to seven weeks postpartum. My husband and I went out, sans babies, for an evening of hot yoga at a studio called Body Heat here in Sarasota. We had an amazing first class back and I was feeling so great afterwards. We picked up the boys from their grandparents and headed home to get cleaned up. Well imagine my surprise as this ugly dark line began to wash off with simple bar soap in the shower! First of all (I'm showing my ignorance here), I thought the line was under the skin, I had no idea it was more like dead skin, or a sunburn. Secondly, I was expecting this line to hang around, all dark and ugly, for a whole year!

I am now 11 weeks postpartum and you can still see it, but believe me (you'll have to because I never took a before picture...it was that ugly!) when I say it's easily 20 shades lighter than it was, and my belly button doesn't look all black anymore either! I spoke to a couple of moms on baby forums that had also done hot yoga after birth, and they both said that they had experienced the same quick fading/exfoliation (?) that I did. If your ugly line is still lingering and driving you nuts, or if you just want an awesome workout for your mind and your body,  give hot yoga a try. Since the boys were born at the end of October, Steve and I have gotten out twice at night without the boys. Both times we have chosen to do hot yoga at Body Heat with Kelly Prince over anything else. It is that awesome :)

11 week postpartum and fading fast!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tandem Nursing...wait...what?!

Before I even got pregnant I knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby, I just didn't know I was going to have to pluralize that to "babies." I was raised as a healthy eater and to pay attention to the number of ingredients in a food. The longer the paragraph on the side of a box, the more leery I become. It only made sense that I wanted to steer clear of formula, but I wasn't sure I was going to be able to.

My husband and I had no clue we would have twins, so when we got the positive pregnancy test we, like anyone would, assumed we were having one baby. We began making arrangements based on that, such as: I would go back to work after a maternity leave, we would aim for an at home birth, we would cloth diaper, and we would breastfeed. Well, upon seeing our two little gremlins on the ultrasound  for the first time we quickly realized some of our goals would not be possible. A home birth for one, as midwives in our area are not comfortable handling a twin pregnancy or birth. I definitely wouldn't be going back to work, as child care would eat up all but $300 per month of my salary. We were wondering what else would need to be compromised.

As my pregnancy progressed I did more and more research by communicating with moms of multiples on websites, blogs, and forums. It seemed as though the majority of them either didn't bother trying to breastfeed, tried but felt as though they wouldn't be successful so gave up within the first month, or only breastfed part time. I was really beginning to think I would end up falling into one of those categories. Then I saw a comment that a mother wrote that changed everything. She said, "I have two babies and two boobies, and women have been feeding their children this way since the beginning of time. I think I can I think I can." I decided then that no matter what, I would try my best to feed my babies for at least 2 weeks without supplementing, and if things were going alright that I would extend my goal.

All 3 of us after nursing...they were passed out!

My boys were born via c-section and were immediately brought into the NICU for observation. I was not allowed to feed them the night they were born because they were having slight breathing issues caused by the c-section. They still had fluid in their lungs that hadn't been squeezed out like it would have had they been born naturally. After recovering and visiting with the boys for a couple of hours I asked that a pump be brought to my room. For the next 7 days if I wasn't with the babies or napping, I was pumping. I was headstrong that if I just kept pumping, my supply would build, and I would have enough for my boys. The NICU rules for my guys were: they had to eat a certain amount of food by mouth within a given amount of time, but if I nursed it couldn't be measured, so I pumped and bottle fed. Kingston at 7, Langston at 8, pumped at 9...Kingston at 10, Langston at 11, pumped at 12....I swear I didn't sleep more than two hour stretches for that whole first week, and that was if I missed a feeding!

My Brest Friend twin nursing pillow (stock photo!)
Finally the day came to bring the boys home. I was soexcited to get them off of the monitors and snuggle, and actually feel like a mom. I was so used to bottle feeding that for the first few days home I was still pumping and measuring, but then I decided to use what has since become solid gold in my house: My Brest Friend Twin Nursing Pillow. I had no idea what to expect. I had only had the boys latch on for a few minutes here and there in the NICU, and that was just to try to get used to it, not to actually feed them. I strapped the pillow around me, sat on the bed, placed a baby on either side, and without missing a beat my little monsters started eating. They knew exactly what to do, and thank goodness because I certainly didn't! All of a sudden I had all this time! Both boys would eat at the same time. They would sleep at the same time. I didn't have to waste time pumping unless I was leaving them with my husband for a bit. And it was so nice to see them enjoying eating, rather than being force-fed predetermined amounts of food by a NICU nurse. I have read that twin moms feel that they would have a hard time getting their babes onto the pillow, and to this I respond by saying: when you have twins you have to get comfortable picking them up with one hand. I promise you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly :)


The boys in a milk coma after tandem nursing at 2 weeks old

Two weeks of nursing have come and gone. My boys and I enjoy the time together so much that I didn't even bother setting a new goal. We're almost at 3 months with no end in sight. They have both more than doubled their birth weights, and at last check Kingston had grown 3 inches and Langston grew 4 and a quarter! I high five myself for not getting overwhelmed with all the hype about nursing twins, and just doing what I felt was right for us. I attribute our success to the fact that the boys knew what to do, and that I remained calm and took each day as it came. Today I nursed Langston in a Moby wrap, while pushing Kingston in the double stroller, all the way home from our walk over the Ringling Bridge. Happy healthy babies and a happy healthy mommy!

p.s...I didn't have to compromise my desire to cloth diaper either! I'll write about that later ;)

Nursing Langston at the Hollister "nurse-in" to promote breastfeeding awareness           

















Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Time flew...we went from pregnancy, to insane pregnancy, to just plain insane! :)

I haven't posted here since my bubs arrived, and they turned 10 weeks old yesterday!!!! I figure I better update here before I continue on my once a week posts :)
The boys at 2 weeks old :) Kingston left Langston right
So the birth story is a damn horror story, and I won't go crazy with details, but I will say this...the babies were delivered via c section following a three day hospital stay for dehydration, malnutrition, and what they called "mental instability". If our OB had her way we would have been in the hospital for another 2 weeks, but my inability to keep fluids and food down swayed the decision.  Our doctor did call child services on me because I was electing to deliver before 37 weeks (by 1 day....) Had she listened to my concerns about my health from the beginning we definitely wouldn't have been in that situation. I won't name drop, but if you want to know who our doctor was send me an email. I wouldn't want anyone to have the type of pregnancy I did, and it all could have been avoided if I had been listened to and treated properly.

Meeting "dunkle" (double uncle) Jordan at 8 weeks (Kingston left Langston right)
The babies were born on October 29th 2012. Kingston, baby A, was born at 5:50 pm, 19.5 inches and 5 lb 15 oz. Langston, baby B, arrived quickly after at 5:52 pm, 18.1 inches and 5 lb 9 oz.

The babies spent a week in the NICU for feeding and growing, but they were perfectly healthy. They have been absolutely amazing babies! They sleep 4-5 hours most times, they only cry if they're hungry or wet, and they love going places in the stroller, especially over the bridge and back, which is a perfect 6 mile walk for this mom :)They have been growing litke crazy! At last check (8 weeks) Kingston was 22.25 inches and 10.25 lb and Langston was 22.25 inches 9 lb 9oz.

Boys at 10 weeks (Kingston left Langston right)
I think that's all the catching up we needed to do. Now I can start posting weekly about all the crazy things that are going on with the boys, products that have saved our sanity, how we get through a day (or night for that matter!), cloth diapering, exclusively breastfeeding twins, PICTURES, etc. I'll post, you read :)