Friday, October 6, 2017

The Twins 5 Month Update

Well the past month has been a little too exciting! I honestly don't feel like reliving it which is why I will just keep it short and sweet.




"Can you believe we are 5 months old?!"




In summary, Cullen and Everett did indeed have undiagnosed TAPS at birth (a form of twin to twin transfusion) which caused Cullen to become severely anemic. That's why Everett was red and Cullen was so pale. Cullen got a blood transfusion a few weeks ago and his hemoglobin levels have increased and are heading in the right direction. I will feel much better once everything is in the normal range.

Now for the fun stuff! These boys are both rolling all over the place. They also are trying to crawl by tucking their knees up and then pushing. They grab their toys with their hands and put them in their mouth. They're such big boys I can't even stand it. They also both sleep on their bellies at night now (although Cullen starts off on his back and doesn't turn to his tummy until after midnight).

- Cullen -
Still my prince charming but definitely more lively now. He is catching up to Everett quickly. He rolls onto his tummy almost as soon as we put him down. He has started to do this long yell thing if we aren't paying as much attention to him as he would like. He loves to make me laugh and smile. 



- Everett -
Still a mam's boy and a cuddler. He is getting so big and so strong. Everett has started this growl thing that is hilarious. I always know when it's him crying now because it has a loud growl at the end. He is a little beast. He also loves his brother and will lock eyes with Cullen and try to get him to play. 

They are still so happy (almost) all the time. We got Everett to laugh a few times and Cullen is nearly there. He gets a giggle out every so often but not quite a full belly laugh. They both love to be tickled and surprised. They interact more and more with each other every day it is seriously just melts me every time.

I think they have begun teething because everything is going in their mouths and they have tons of drool.

Sleep. They were rockstar sleepers! They went to bed at 6:30 pm and only woke up 1-2x around 12 and sometimes again at 4 before waking for the day at 7 am. But...they have started to wake back up every 90 mins - 2 hours for the first half of the night (noooooo). I am experimenting with when to give their iron drops to see if that was causing some tummy issues leading to the wake ups. Wish me luck!

I just can't believe they are already 5 months old. When my hubby get back from work next month they will be eating solid foods and probably nearly crawling! Time is in warp speed around here.

I am still adjusting to the mom-of-four thing. I just cannot do everything I want to do. I haven't been to the gym at all since Cullen's hospital stay. I told Brandon that lately it feels like I'm failing at everything all at the same time. I need to wrap my head around the fact that I won't be able to live my life to the same standards that I used to. For some reason, that's a really hard pill for me to swallow. I want my house to be clean, organized. I want healthy, homemade meals every night. I want to be in great shape again. I want to be a great mom who loves playing and spending time with her kids. Unfortunately, most days it just feels like whack-a-mole where I am just running ragged but not actually solving or finishing anything.

One day at a time. I am experimenting with new systems to simplify things and help me get back on track. That's all I have time for now so I will leave you with more cute boy pictures!










Friday, September 1, 2017

The Twins 4 Month Update



We celebrated having the twins in our lives for 4 months!! These two little hams are the light of my life. For real. It seems like somewhere after 15 weeks we just hit warp-speed. They are doing new things every day. They are both so happy and smiley. . . and the biggest thing is THEY FINALLY NOTICED EACH OTHER!




(sister walked in)





It seems like every time I write a blog post, things are going really well. And then the day after I hit "publish" it all starts crumbling around me. haha So I'm going to do my very best to go back and remember this entire last month- without my love-infatuated rose colored glasses.

Right on the Wonder Weeks App schedule (based on their actual birthday- not due date) my baby boys started Leap 4. This one is a doozy. {side note: if you have a baby and don't have the wonder weeks app download it right away} The babies brains make a huge leap and they change so much this month. They started to roll from back to belly and back again, they grab their toys, they follow me across the room with their eyes and in case you missed it above...the NOTICED each other. LOL

Before this leap, they were always together. They liked to snuggle but they only interacted with me or their daddy or sisters. Now they look at each other and smile and talk to each other. It is just as freaking adorable as it sounds. 



One of the funniest things happened the other night. I had just finished the boys bath and had to run downstairs to get their swaddle blankets. I put them in the crib together and when I came back upstairs Cullen was yelling in frustration. I took a peek and Cullen was trying to suck his thumb but every time he got his thumb in his mouth, Everett would swat his hand away. Then Cullen would yell and Everett would have the goofiest smile. And Repeat. These BOYS!!!



Related to that is both boys have started to suck their thumbs. I've never had a baby who sucked their thumb before. It's pretty nice because they can soothe themselves back to sleep or down for a nap a little easier. If they stick with it, I'm sure it will be a hard habit to break...can't just throw away their thumbs. But for now, I think it is adorable. 





Cullen is still the chiller easy-going one. If both babies are hungry and I can only feed one, he doesn't mind waiting. He will also unlatch himself when he is full and put himself to sleep on his own. 







Everett usually will nurse himself to sleep and even when he is fully asleep he won't let go. That probably explains the nearly 1 lb weight difference.

We have recently undergone the dreaded Four Month Sleep Regression! If you have kids then you know why it's in bold. Yuck. They were super cranky and had a really hard time sleeping for a while. They would only nap for about 10 mins (not even at the same time) during the day and were waking up 4-5x a night. I was so tired. I just kept telling myself that it was just a phase, I am in survival mode, the cleaning and laundry and cooking can wait. Our only goal was to survive. And guess what - we did! Praises!

They are back to taking slightly longer naps. Usually about an hour. They still won't nap in their room during the day and prefer to nap in the Rock n Play in the living room. Well actually they would prefer to nap on me but I have stuff to do. They have fallen into a predictable night routine where they cluster feed from 6-7pm and then sleep until 12:30am, wake up again to eat at 4:30am and then up for the day at 6:30am. 

I've been pretty worried about my milk supply lately. In the afternoons and evening it seems to tank. The boys are fussy and latching/unlatching and yelling in frustration. I do my best to drink tons of water and Lord knows I eat a ton. It makes me scared because they still won't take a bottle so even if I am told to supplement - I can't. I just need to trust my body to keep up but at this point it feels like a full time job. Exclusively breastfeeding twins is no joke. Of course feeding twins in any manner will be a challenge so don't think I'm complaining. Just saying that this is one area that twins are twice as much work. 

Lastly I will touch on my 4 month postpartum hormone crash. My hair is coming out in clumps. There is so much hair falling out that I always think it must be about to stop. .. but it doesn't. I now have about a 3/4' white line around my face where there used to be hair and now there is forehead. Wonderful. Another part of this hormone crash has been - well, my hormones. I started to feel depressed for the first time. It completely caught be off guard. It started with feeling like there was a lump in my throat. I always felt like I was on the verge of tears. I was also nauseous a lot. If I didn't know better I woulda thought I was pregnant. Anyway, it got worse and worse until I was sort of paralyzed by it. I couldn't really think of what I needed to do (make girls food, clean etc) and I couldn't even hold a conversation. I made no sense. It freaked me out. My brain was like scrambled eggs. So I decided to start taking my Placenta Pills again. Whoa! They worked within a few hours. The first day I took them I took two. I broke into a full body sweat about 2 hours after taking them and within 3 hours I felt like myself again. I've been taking at least one a day since then. I forgot to take them a few days ago and that afternoon I started crashing again. I am SO GLAD I have them. I don't know what I would do without them. If there was any doubt on the difference they made after I just gave birth- that doubt is gone now.

So that is the best I can do to recap the last month. I'm sure I have mentioned this every month but I don't think I will ever get used to the comments people make to me. Most of them are sympathetic in nature. They feel so sorry for me or want to help. The worst is when they act like having twins is the plague and that they would never want that to happen to themselves. I mean - part of me gets it. I stay awake at night sometimes and regret so many of the thoughts I had when I first found out about them. I was so scared. I didn't see it as a blessing, all I saw was WORK and HARD and NO SLEEP. So I know that's what these people see when they see me. But it is still a little hurtful when people talk about your children like they are some sort of disease. 

Yes, all my children have required me to become less selfish. They have required me to become a better version of myself. They have required my heart to double and quadruple in size. They have required me to love more and laugh more and dig deep when I feel like nothing is left. They have made my life better in every possible way. I could cry. They have been the biggest blessing and the greatest gifts (well except age 2). And PS my sanity is brought to you by Jesus Christ and the YMCA.

I could imagine my life without them. It would be more organized. My house would be cleaner. I would be about 20 lbs lighter and have a ton more hair. I could wear clothes that don't have an elastic waistband. haha But they are SO worth it. Worth every wrinkle, every gray hair, every tear, every sloppy kiss and goofy smile. So when someone tells me they could never "do that" and point to my little squad I wish they were given the opportunity to try and to succeed and to impress themselves by simply keeping everyone alive by the end of the day.



That's it for now - Everett is hungry (again)., Talk to you in a month!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Twins 3 Month Update



How has it been 3 months already? At the same time, I don't remember what it was like to wake up without these adorable faces smiling at me!


They are definitely getting big! I don't have exact weights because I returned the baby scale and we don't have a doctor appt until their 4 month check-up but they are filling out their 3-6 month clothes quite nicely. They are in size 2 diapers but can wear a 3 for overnight. We are about to have to transition out of the SwaddleMe's as well (sad face). They wake themselves up at night and bust their arms out.



Nightime is about the same. I do their bedtime routine at 6:00 pm. I bathe them together and sing to them while I put on their pj's. Then I swaddle them up and nurse them both until they let go. I've started to have to separate them for sleep in the middle of the night but I still put them down to bed together. They will usually sleep from 6:30 pm until 10-11 or even 2 am sometimes. After that, they are up to nurse every 2-3 hours until morning. I'm still doing well with the lack of sleep (surprisingly).



 One of my big fears when I learned I was having twins was them going through the hard stuff at the exact same time. Thankfully, that hasn't been the case. When they hit a growth spurt, one baby will be fussy and wake up frequently for a couple days and then the other one will start. So I guess the length of fussiness is a bit longer but overall it's less stressful because I don't have 2 miserable babies at the same time.

Even in their hard times, they are still such easy-going and good-natured babies. I can be in a grumpy mood and changing their diaper and they just look up and give me the gummiest, happiest smile. Ahhhh I just melt every single time. They are the BEST!!!


Okay let's talk about their little personalities...


Cullen is still my little charmer. He is so stinkin' cute and sweet. He is super ticklish and tries to laugh when I tickle him. He absolutely loves when Isla or Avelyn come torture him. Even though it freaks me out, he loves to play with them. He is usually much more happy to hang out and look around, listen and watch. I can tell he can't wait until he can really get in the action though! Cullen is fun waiting to happen.


Everett is my little sweetheart. He has a little more reserved personality. He is still just as happy and easy going but he likes to cuddle and watch it all from the comfort of my arms. He doesn't like to be alone too long but will lay on my chest all day. He is so sweet and gives the dreamiest, meltiest smiles you've ever seen. 

I can't wait to see them interact more with each other. I think that will be coming in the next month or so.

It never ceases to amaze me how much people have to say about twins when we are out and about. You hear some pretty interesting things. For the most part, people feel bad for me and make the comment about my hands being so full. I'm sure I probably said the same thing before I had all these kids. But can I just say that these babies are the absolute BEST thing that has ever happened to me? They light. up. my. life. I couldn't imagine my life without them. We still haven't hit the wall or the "hard" that I keep expecting to. Maybe it will come and maybe it won't. But I really am the lucky one! 

I feel bad for not talking about my girls much. I guess it's so much easier to notice the changes in the babies from month to month more than my bigger girls. I will try to get a post about each of them out soon.








Saturday, July 15, 2017

Twin Newborn Survival Tips




Disclaimer: All of these tips are only based on my limited experience of FOUR newborns. There are hundreds of y'all that read these posts and its unrealistic to think that what has worked for my family will work for all of you so just take what you like and dump the rest. :)

Tip #1 - CUT DAIRY 

Way to start off with the hard stuff right?! Well all four of my babies couldn't handle my breastmilk when I was eating dairy. They usually didn't notice it until they were around 3 weeks old but then colic started or purple crying. For the twins, I cut dairy as soon as they were born and they are my first and only babies to not have colic or purple crying. It does take a while to get it out of your system to start as soon as you can. There is nothing worse that watching your newborn(s) writhe in pain and scream uncontrollably for hours!

Tip#2 - SWADDLE

I've swaddled all of my kids and it helps them fall asleep and stay asleep. For my firstborn, I just used those Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. For Isla, I used the Miracle Swaddle (and loved it). For the twins I use velcro Swaddle Mes. I was given the velcro tip from another twin mom because you need to do anything and everything you can to save time with twins. I swaddle them for naps and bedtime and it really helps keep them calm.

Tip #3 - WHITE NOISE

I used to use an app on my phone (Sleepy Sounds) but I got frustrated when it would turn off if I got a phone call or wake the baby when it stopped so I bought the Homedics My Baby Sound Spa. We use the Ocean sound for my girls and the twins. I've gotten so used to it, that I can't sleep without hearing it through the baby monitor. The white noise helps newborns calm down and relax and helps my older girls sleep through noise (like thunder or 4th of July).

Tip #4 - Transferring a Sleeping Baby Without Waking Them

Okay, you've been nursing for 30 mins and your baby is sound asleep but every time you lay them down in the crib the wake right back up. What gives? Well I learned this trick that if you make sure their head touches the crib mattress before their neck or back or legs, they wills stay asleep. Newborns have a startle reflex that is easily activated with loud noise or touch and it is activated if their back hits the mattress first. Try this tip, it works!

Tip #5 - Bath/Bedtime Routine

This doesn't really have to start until around 6 weeks but there's no harm in starting sooner. Get a solid bedtime routine. Doing the same thing every night will tell their body that it's time for sleep and save you so much sanity later on. My bedtime routine starts right after dinner at 6pm. I take the babies upstairs, get them undressed and run a bath. I don't use soap at every bath because it can dry their skin out and it's really not necessary. I will put a little soap on their privates to get them clean but I save a whole-body-soapdown for only once or twice a week max. After bath I sing them a song (Twinkle Twinkle) while I get them in their jammies and swaddle them. I make sure the white noise machine is on (and fan for good measure) then I nurse them, burp them and put them to bed. Even if they aren't asleep I put them in their crib and they usually fall asleep pretty fast. Sometimes, one twin goes right to sleep but the other requires me to go back in and try some more soothing.

Tip #6 - ME TIME

We all need time to ourselves to relax and recharge. For us sailor's wives, that can be a challenge when our husbands are away. When Avelyn was about 7 months old, we started going to the YMCA and it has been such a lifesaver. I get to have some alone time to blast my music and not worry about crying babies for an hour a day. The kids get to have socialization with other kids and we always hit up the playground afterwards. Once my babies have had their shots, I am cleared to get to the gym again. I only grew to love exercise after having kids. For one ENDORPHINS make all the difference when kids are running you ragged all day and also you're going to need to be strong and healthy to care for them. They start running from you pretty fast and carrying a 27lb two year old throwing an epic tantrum along with your twins out of a store will require some muscle (or so I'm told). ;)

My trick for making this work is to time our arrival to right before they need to eat again. After I get the girls checked in, I take the boys and change their diaper, swaddle them and nurse them down for nap. I hand them off sound asleep. I try to always drop my kids off happy because they won't usually ever cry when being dropped off in the future. I want the Y to be a place we all look forward to going and it's a lot easier for me to disconnect when I know all my kids and babies are being taken care of and are having fun. (Side tip: Be nice to the childcare staff!! Those ladies are dealing with tons of kids all day long and deserve your respect and kindness. :)

Tip #7 - COFFEE

This is another one for you, not the babies. I set my coffee pot to make itself the night before. No matter how rough the night was, when I know I have a delicious pot of Ruta Maya Dark waiting for me, the day seems less daunting. Following my sister's advice, I've started to drink a cup of iced coffee (leftovers from the morning) at noon everyday and it has helped get me through the afternoon and evening fussiness.

Tip #8 - BABY HOLDERS EVERYWHERE

This one is a special shoutout for the twin moms. Get baby holding devices all over your house! I have a pack'n'play in my bedroom, a swing and rock n play in the living room, two bouncy chairs in the kitchen and so on. It's also necessary when you have a 2 year old who is bound and determine to hold and feed your babies every second you turn around. Invest in the babyholders!

Tip #9 - Diaper & Snack Stations Everywhere

Create diaper stations in all the main areas of your house. The only place I don't change diapers is ironically the changing table. I have a basket on my nightstand with diapers, wipes, booger-sucker, diaper rash cream (Purple Desitin FTW), a burp rag, snacks and a water bottle. I have the same in the living room and upstairs in the nursery.

Tip #10 - Baby Tracking App

This will help you the most in the first 6-8 weeks. I used Total Baby (it's great for twins). This app will track all your feedings (nursing minutes and which side you left off on, bottle feeding and ounces). It also tracks your babies sleep and growth. It even gives you their percentiles!

That's it. Those are my top 10 newborn survival tips. Is there something that worked for you that I didn't list? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Twins are 2 Months!

I can't believe they are two months old already. I am busy busy busy these days so the days just all sort of blur together. I did a poll on my Instagram asking what y'all wanted me to talk about for this update and the answer was how I am doing it with two babies (and two bigs). So here goes!




First off, I learned really fast that my attitude and outlook was going to determine how this goes. If I choose to be negative, then the day (and night) is going to be pretty rough for all of us. If I choose to be happy and embrace it, things go so much better. No matter what the night was like, when I wake up I pray and ask God to give me the strength to do a good job that day...and He has come through for me every time. If I get into a funk, I put some music on or laugh at the kids. Now that I am able to get back to the gym, that will be my happy place as well.

A typical day (when my husband is away) looks like me waking up at 6 am and grabbing a cup of coffee. Seriously I use the biggest mug I can find. While I'm nursing the twins and caffeinating, the girls come running down the stairs. They usually fight over who gets to cuddle me and I turn on cartoons or give them my phone until the coffee kicks in. The twins go back to sleep after that for an hour at least so I get up and make breakfast. The girls usually play for a while after breakfast or start nagging me about what we will do that day. When my husband is away, I try to get out of the house every single day. The kids need it and so do I. We like to go to the splash pad or the park and now back to the YMCA! Getting everyone ready takes some time, but we can get out the door in about 45 mins.


I'm not sure how to answer how I do it....I just do. I do do do. haha I am almost always doing something or planning to do something (if I'm nursing). I tried to think through a lot of this while I was pregnant. I got the girls used to playing together or in the backyard by themselves (I open a window so I can watch and listen). The boys are on the same schedule for the most part and that helps. During the day, one will want to be held while the other one naps.and then they switch. I babywear them individually and together if I need to be getting things done. I love the Weego for tandem carrying and the K'tan for solo carrying.

I think another thing for my "how" is that I have really great babies. They are very easy-going and happy. Even when they are cranky, I know how to console them. I cut dairy out before they were born and I truly believe that is the reason these babies have never had the "purple crying" or colic that my girls had. I am not the type of mom who lets her kids cry. It gives me such bad anxiety. So I do my best to meet their needs right away. I tandem nurse them if they both are hungry and for the most part they really never cry. A huge part of this is also because these are my 3rd and 4th kids. I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve for soothing and I am confident in my choices as a parent. I've found that when I meet my babies needs right away they become independent, confident and happy toddlers. We haven't struggled with separation anxiety with any of my kids outside of the small periods they naturally get it.

I hope this isn't coming across like I just think I am perfect and have this all figured out. All I have figured out is what works for me. My family..my kids..our needs. Every momma learns this on their own.

I had a really hard time with Avelyn and struggled a lot with the transition from 1 kid to 2 kids. Somehow, God has made it so that 4 kids is easier than 2. I have no idea how that works but He did it. I have been warned that it's also because they are still in the sleepy newborn stage and to prepare for what's coming for me. . . but I am just the type of person who wants to enjoy things when they are good and figure out the challenges when they come. :) So for now, things are good. They really are.



The twins don't have any set schedule yet. They eat anywhere from every 30 mins to 3 or 4 hours. Nights have been slowly getting better as well. I started the twins on a bedtime routine that includes bath, swaddling, nursing with white noise, and falling asleep in their cribs. It's tricky getting it done when the girls have their bedtime routine at 7. I have been playing around with the times trying to find what works best for all of us. Evening is the hardest time of day. The goal is to do the twins bedtime routine from 6-7 while the girls play and then do the girls from 7-8. But since the boys are cluster feeding in the evening, they nurse from 6:30-9pm. I have just been nursing and doing the girls at the same time which is a little chaotic but once its over..glory hallelujah..everyone is asleep in their own beds!!!! PTL!

The boys have been sleeping from 9-1 then wake up again around 3 or 4 and again at 6am ...and we start it all over again.

The last thing I will say about how I am doing it all is that I have a different perspective with these babies. I know this is a short season. I know these are my last babies. I know I will look back and miss this. They have taught me to truly just take ONE DAY AT A TIME. Something I have never done in my life. When I try to look at the week or the month ahead and plan things, I get anxious and overwhelmed. But when I just look at the rest of the day, I know it's going to be fine. When it's the middle of the night and I am nursing and exhausted...I only think about getting to the next feed. Just take it in little bits and before you know it...you're two months in and things are going better than you dreamed!

I plan to do a separate post with newborn tricks and tips I've learned in hopes that it will help another mama who is brand new...look for that on Thursday!

Here are the boys!

Cullen is 10 lbs 4 ounces and 21.5 inches long
He has held true at being the happiest little guy. He started smiling for real and it just melts me every time. He has also tried to laugh when I tickle him. He is very content to look around the room and let his sisters torture  play with him. He is a great napper and I have to wake him up during the day (after I feed Everett) to keep them on the same schedule. It seems like every 3 days or so Cullen decides to switch personalities with his brother and becomes more fussy or sleeps less. Cullen is such a little cutie and looks exactly like Avelyn did as a baby.

Everett is 10 lbs 10 ounces and also 21.5 inches long.
Even though the babies seem like different sizes, their heads are the exact same size and they are the same length. I think Everett packed those extra few ounces straight into his cheeks. He still has the deepest dimples and he smiles a lot too. He loves to cuddle mom and wishes he could always sleep on my chest. He is also content to lay on the floor but is usually the first to start crying and saying he is ready to be picked up. Everett seems to sleep more at night but honestly I mix them up a lot at night so I cant be sure. I will nurse a baby the whole night and in the morning when I unswaddle them and see their clothes, I am shocked it is the wrong baby! Everett also got a birthmark this past week. It's a small brown circle on the inside of his wrist. Sorry kid, now people will always be able to tell yall apart.

I think my boys look so different but then, I do mix them up sometimes. They have a very different look in their eyes but when they are sleep they look just the same. One thing about boys that I've learned is true is that they DO love their mamas. When I am babywearing them, they just stare at my face with this expression that is pure adoration. It is the sweetest thing. I can't even explain it. I can't wait to see how they interact with eachother as they get bigger. They will look at eachother and still sleep cuddled together every night. When I put them in their cribs, I experimented with putting them further apart to see if it helped them sleep but just like magnets, within 5 mins they were cuddled face to face.

I doubted God so many times in my pregnancy. I didn't think I could handle four kids. I had no idea what was coming. My life has never felt so complete and joy-filled. Even though there are hard times and challenges I can say that I have joy every single day. I love being their mama! He really does work it all together for our good. I have learned to slow down, learned to enjoy little moments instead of always looking ahead. I've become more selfless than I thought possible. My heart has doubled in size and filled to the brim.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Me: 1 month Postpartum



I spent my entire pregnancy so scared to be left alone with all four kids. I didn't know if I could handle it or how I would handle it when Brandon went back to the ships. So far, it's been better than I expected. We definitely have had some very rough days but there have been more and more good days and fewer bad days as the weeks have gone on. 
The number one thing I can do for my sanity is to get out of the house. This has been hard because our pediatrician prefers for me to not take the boys to indoor public places until they are 10 weeks old. Well, she said it was okay for me to do it as long as no one touched or held them. But from what I have seen, when you take twins out, everyone wants to look at them and touch them. We are a spectacle. So, I've found it safest to either keep them at home or only go to outdoor places like the park and splash pad. 

At first it took me all day to plan our trips to leave the house, but now I can get it all done in about an hour and a half. I have to pack snacks and supplies for the girls, get all five of us dressed with brushed teeth, feed and burp the boys and then load us all in the car before the boys are hungry again. Every time we leave, it gets a little bit easier. Honestly the hardest part is finding something for myself to wear. Nothing fits at all. even my biggest exercise shorts.,sad. I have one pair of black shorts from Old Navy I can wear and then leggings. I don't feel comfortable in anything Another wardrobe problem are these nursing boobs. I have never been a DD before and after this I can't say I want to be. Nursing tanks are my go-to but they are hardly appropriate for public. It's ridiculous. 

Sleep has been a struggle. That's definitely an area that twins are twice as hard. I have to swaddle/unswaddle, change diapers nurse and burp. That takes about 30 minutes minimum for each baby so I usually get about 4-5 hours total on a great night and 2 hours on a bad night. I am glad the twins are my third and fourth babies because I am pretty used to being sleep-deprived already and it's not as bad as it sounds. At least not yet. (knock on wood)

Just the basics of eating and showering have been really hard while Brandon is gone. I am learning to let go and that I absolutely cannot do it all anymore. I can't have a clean house and feed everyone and shower in one day. Just not going to happen. The best I can do is make sure my kitchen is clean, the floor is mostly picked up at night, and everyone was fed. Laundry is piling up and I haven't deep cleaned any area of the house since the babies were born..but guess what..we are all okay!

Brandon and I have been working really hard on making time to talk to each other while he is at work. Let me say that it has been a struggle for both of us! One easy thing we do is talk about the best and worst part of our days. So I will do that here as well...

The best part of the past month has been knowing I can do it and we are all surviving. Some days I absolutely feel like a superhero.

The worst part of the past month has been yelling at my girls. I can get pretty overwhelmed and stressed and then when the girls are not listening or being dangerous or just being silly kids, I snap and yell at them. I feel absolutely horrible about it later. The mom-guilt has been really rough. A good friend reminded me to give myself grace and that this is really hard right now...and she is right. There just isn't enough of me to go around and meet everyone's needs. That has been very hard and very humbling. Every day when I wake up I ask God to give me strength and patience for the day. I remind myself that I can't do it but He can and He will help me. When I do that, the days seem to go much better. I try to just focus on what matters. Cleaning bathrooms can wait, laundry can wait. I try to look my kids in the eyes and just take them in. See what I can do for those five minutes for that one kid. Even two minutes. A hug or saying something nice goes a long way for my older girls. 



Lastly, my body postpartum has been frustrating and surprising at the same time. It's frustrating to not lose the baby weight as quickly as I expected. Nursing two babies around the clock is supposed to burn that off right?! I also had some intestinal issues for about 10 days on top of the stomach bug that I got. 

On a huge positive, my hormones are much better than I expected. After both my girls were born,  I was a mess. At minimum, I was anxious but I definitely had some depression. I credit my Placenta Pills for helping me with that part. I noticed a big difference when I took them. They gave me energy and helped to keep me calm. I don't know if it helped my milk supply but it didn't hurt it and I've had no issues there. So I would definitely recommend doing it!

I won't be working out until my 6 week postpartum check up (also because I have to wait for Brandon to be home) but I can't wait. Exercise has been my one sanctuary and place just for ME. I miss getting lost in my music and sweating out all of my frustration. Until then, I am back to doing MyFitnessPal and tracking calories. I am starting at 2,500 a day so I don't lose milk and I will adjust based on how my body is doing. I am trying to focus on making good food choices not just reaching for whatever is easiest. My physical health affects my mental health which affects how I am able to do my job (being a mom)... so to me it's not selfish to make myself and my health a priority. Everyone in my family is happier when I am strong and taking care of myself. 

Week
Weight
Belly Button
Low Hips
Hip Bones
Thighs
12 weeks pregnant
124 lbs
33 inches
38 in.
34.5 in.
22 in.
35 weeks pregnant
161 lbs (+37)
42.5 inches
40 in.
38 in.
23.5 in.
1 week postpartum
144 lbs (-17)
36.5 in. (-6”)
40 in.
38 in.
23.5 in.
2 weeks postpartum
143 lbs (-1)
36 in. (-.5”)
40 in.
36.5 in. (-1.5”)
23.5 in.
3 weeks postpartum
140.5 lbs (-2.5)
34 in. (- 2”)
40 in.
36.5 in.
23.5 in.
4 week postpartum
140.8 lbs (+.3)
34 in.
40 in.
36.5 in.
23.5 in.

Twins 1 Month Update

*You'll have to excuse my grammar and spelling here because I have about 5 minutes to write this.*

Today is my due date and the twins are 1 month old!



This past month has flown by and dragged on at the same time. Let's see where I left off..oh yes..the twins were two weeks old. Since then they have just continued to eat and sleep. They have gradually started to spend more time awake during the day. I usually have them in the living room for 1 hour in the morning and 1 hour in the afternoon. The rest of the time, they are nursing like crazy. I don't track who is eating or for how long so it's all a blur. Sometimes Everett will nurse three times in a row before Cullen decides he is hungry and then the next day it switches. I do know that 80% of my day (and night) is spent nursing them haha!


Everett is now 7 lbs 9 oz! He is the cuddle-bug of the two and prefers for me to spend all day holding him. He was also up most of the night last night. He seems to be having some gas and reflux. I had some dairy the other day so I wonder if that is bothering him? From what I can tell he is the more chill baby and likes to watch what is going on from the comfort of mam's arms.


Cullen is now 7 lbs 5 oz. He is going to be my little wild child. He has this look in his eyes that shows excitement and playfulness all the time. Even when I am holding him, he is trying to push himself up and look around. He wants to be in the mix. He reminds me a lot of Avelyn as a baby.



The boys have Avelyn's (and Brandon's) facial structure but Isla's darker skin and hair. Neither of my older girls look like they did as newborns so I know the boys will def change a lot in appearance. I do think that they will both favor Brandon though so it looks like Isla is the only little Chrissy clone in the family.

Sleep has been okay. Most night I cluster feed them until 9:30-10:30 pm and then pass out when they do. They usually wake up once around midnight and again at 5:30. The girls wake up around 6:30 am every day so by the time I'm done nursing both boys, I drink my coffee and take care of the girls. I do pretty well with that schedule. Other nights are more of a challenge- like when they were in their growth spurts and waking up every single hour. If they are in a growth spurt, I usually won't wake the other baby because I know I won't be getting much sleep anyway but if it's a normal night I wake up whoever is next after the first one eats. This helps me sleep as much as possible and keeps the boys on the same schedule.

I still don't prefer to tandem feed but I will if they are both awake and hungry at the same time. It is even more chaotic now that they are bigger and there isn't much room on my chest. Also, they don't latch as well in tandem feeding and one has to burp while the other is still nursing. It's a little stressful (especially when Isla is smothering me trying to help). I also rarely bottle feed them because it is so much work to pump, clean parts, bottle feed, burp and wash bottles. I will probably only do it on the rare occasion I have to leave them with Brandon or in childcare somewhere. Everett refused the bottle last time I tried to do it, so it may not even work then.

We won't go back to the Pediatrician until they are 2 months old so I will continue to do weight checks here at home. I am very thankful that milk supply hasn't been an issue and that they are growing so well.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Twins: Two Weeks Postpartum

The twins are two weeks old! It definitely seems like they've been around longer than that. Here's what we've been up to.




Twins

Sleeping: The boys sleep most of the time right now. I just think of it as an extension of being in the womb. Since they were born over a month early, they just need to eat and sleep. I'm wondering when they will come out of that newborn stage. Most twin moms have said it's usually around 2-3 months after they are born; so we'll see!

Breastfeeding: They are both great at nursing. Cullen seems to eat faster than his brother. He will nurse anywhere from 6-15 mins. Everett takes his time and nurses from 15-30 mins. They both cluster feed in the evenings from 7-11 pm. After that they will sometimes sleep until 1 am (sometimes Cullen wakes up for a midnight snack). After the 1-2 am feeding, they both usually sleep until 5:30 am. The hardest part is getting them to burp. If I don't get it all out, they will get hiccups after I put them back in bed and then I have to start all over with nursing and burping. I have been lazy and not pumping at all for the past few days. I also haven't given them a bottle in a while. To me, pumping and bottle feeding is just so much extra work. No thanks.

Some of y'all have been asking me about tandem feeding. For the most part I prefer not to tandem feed. Neither baby gets a very good latch and they suck in a lot of air causing them to not nurse very long and then they spit up and need extra burping time. Usually if one wakes up, I feed him first then wake up the other one to nurse. I don't wake up the other baby if it's been only 90 mins since the last feed but if we are close to the 3 hour mark, I def wake up the other one. If I didn't wake one baby up after the other one I would get NO SLEEP and their schedules would get further and further apart during the day until all I did was nurse - with my two other kids being so little, I don't have that option. I will keep attempting the tandem thing and maybe when they are older that will be our preferred method.

Our boys got their circumcisions done this week. It feels weird to even discuss that on the blog haha. It wasn't as bad as I expected and I was able to stay in the room with them and comfort them. They actually didn't cry much at all. I expected it to be much worse than it was. The first day of diaper changes weren't fun for anyone but it doesn't seem to bother them anymore.

I also borrowed a friend's baby scale to make sure the boys are growing like they should and (with a onsie and dry diaper on) - they both weigh 5 lbs 10 oz! I find it crazy that they had a 1/2 lb weight difference at birth and are now the exact same weights. Our 2 week dr appt is Monday so I will know exactly how much they've grown then.

Me

Emotionally, week 2 has been so much better than week 1! Yay! One thing I had completely forgotten about was the isolation that comes with a newborn (or two ha!). Brandon had been home for 6 weeks and when he left for work yesterday I was so sad. I couldn't put my finger on why I felt that way until later when I realized I will pretty much be stuck here at home alone with kids for the next few weeks. Thankfully, I have the greatest friends and Amber and Kimberlie decided to come over for the afternoon/evening and celebrate my first solo day with my first glass of wine. We had such great conversation and it really helped get me out of my funk.

I really am completely spoiled because today my friend Jessica took both my girls for THE WHOLE DAY! Literally. Bless her! And when she brings them back, she is bringing food with her! I only got two 2 hour sleep increments last night so I enjoyed a nap this morning and have time to write my blog post!I had always heard you have the truest friendships in your 30's and I hit the jackpot with mine.

Every single twin mom book or survival essay said to accept any and all help..so I've been doing just that. Another friend Jessica is picking up A and taking her to and from school for me. That was one of my biggest worries when I was pregnant because I didn't want to bring my brand new babies into a preschool. Avelyn loves getting to ride with her friends instead of boring ol' mom. There is no way I could be doing all of this on my own without my mama tribe!

The boys circumcision appt was with my OB (I had no idea they did those) and I had a blood pressure follow up for my PP pre-eclampsia...to my surprise I still have high blood pressure. They told me I need to be checking it twice a day and call in with readings of 140s/90s. I've only taken it twice since then and both times the bottom number was in the 90s but the top was 130s. I don't know why I'm so scared to call in. After that pregnancy, I just want nothing to do with doctors. I want to be well and never go to the hospital again. lol

Finally, weight loss. Yay. I only lost 1 pound this week!! How bogus is that!? Maybe the lack of weight loss is because of swelling from the high blood pressure? It just seems like nursing 10 hours a day would've moved the scale a bit more. I'm not too concerned about it as I have too many other things to worry about...like how to eat a meal with one hand and keep four kids alive... but still. :)

18 lbs down and 19 to go. I cannot wait to get to exercise again! June 8th is the big day.

BBG 1.0 here I come!




Week
Weight
Belly Button
Low Hips
Hip Bones
Thighs
12 weeks pregnant
124 lbs
33 inches
38 in.
34.5 in.
22 in.
35 weeks pregnant
161 lbs (+37)
42.5 inches
40 in.
38 in.
23.5 in.
1 week postpartum
144 lbs (-17)
36.5 in. (-6”)
40 in.
38 in.
23.5 in.
2 weeks postpartum
143 lbs (-1)
36 in. (-.5”)
40 in.
36.5 in. (-1.5”)
23.5 in.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Twins: One Week Postpartum

Hey there! I know it might seem crazy for me to write a blog post in the midst of this whirlwind over here but writing is how I process things so here goes.




Let's not sugar coat it..this week has been really hard. Like I said in the birth story, I got really sick after they were born. What I didn't know was that I got labor-onset of preeclampsia. When I got home from the hospital I felt really bad. I felt like I had the flu a little bit and my head was hurting so bad. I finally thought to check my blood pressure and it was 160/99. I ended up having to go back to the hospital to get lab work done. I was super nervous they would put me back on magnesium but thankfully my blood test results came back fine.

The doctor then told me that I had gotten preeclampsia while in labor and that I would be suffering residual preeclampsia for the next few weeks. She said I could probably get better faster if I slept for a few hours. Apparently the boys heard her because that night they let me sleep for four hours straight!

Let's talk about sleep shall we? The first few nights at home were horrible. The boys were up every 30 mins at night and only slept for a couple of hours in a row during the day. I had them in Rock N Plays next to my bed until my Pediatrician said that wasn't a great idea because of how small they are...so now they sleep in a pack n play. The first night of sleeping in the pack n play was so much better! Partially, it was better because my milk fully came in and partially because the boys love to sleep next to each other. I put them about four inches apart the first night because I was worried they could smother each other but when I checked on them they were all snuggled up (see picture). They slept in 2.5 hour stretched the whole night! Now they sleep in three hour stretches which makes a huge difference. Yay.

Breastfeeding is going so well now. While in the hospital and for the first night or two at home I had to keep supplementing with formula. I've never given any of my kids formula and at first it broke my heart that my body wasn't able to provide for them. But making sure they were fed was much more important than my own feelings, so supplement we did. I would let them nurse for 15-20 mins then top them off with about 20ml of formula each. Finally, the night of day 3, my milk came in and we've been doing great ever since. I was pumping twice a day at first but was getting so much milk that I've backed off to pumping once a day. In that one pumping session I get enough milk to feed them both 3 times. I had a huge oversupply with Isla and since I primarily will be breastfeeding, not bottle-feeding, I don't need a huge freezer stash or oversupply problem.

Emotionally, I would say I'm doing okay. Sometimes, it feels like I'm drowning and other times I can see the hope on the horizon. I know my hormones are still leveling out and the sudden lack of sleep doesn't help too much. That being said, I am completely in love with Cullen and Everett and just snuggling them and breathing in that sweet baby smell instantly makes me feel better. I know this is just a season (and a short one) so I'm trying to take it all in and enjoy the good while feeling the bad.

Since I am physically healing and able to do more, I've started to integrate myself back into my usual role. I started small with laundry and picking up. Brandon leaves to go back to his ship next Wednesday and I don't want to suddenly be shocked with everything I have to take care of. I've also brought the boys out to the living room to be in their swings for a couple hours a day. I want them to get used to the noise and their sisters. I know it will probably still be a huge adjustment when I'm alone with all of them but I'm taking each day at a time and trying to take on a bit more each day.

The girls are so obsessed with the babies. Avelyn is such a sweet sister and is always asking to hold them and help me. Today, I let her feed one baby a bottle. She got her own baby doll out and started to play mommy, changing her diapers and putting her in the rock n play to nap. It's so sweet. Isla loves her "baby brudders" (it's seriously so cute when she says it) so much but can be a little rough. She is my biggest concern for when Brandon leaves. She wants to hold them and play with them but doesn't know how to be gentle all the time. I want her to get used to them so they aren't off-limits but I also want them safe. It's a balancing act for sure.

Lastly, I am tracking my postpartum weight loss and decided to use measurements as well the scale. Sometimes the scale (no, actually all the time) doesn't tell the whole story. I didn't measure anything prior to 12 weeks pregnant so that will be my starting measurements.

Week Weight Belly Button Low Hips Hip Bones Thighs
12 weeks pregnant 124 lbs 33 inches 38 inches 34.5 inches 22 inches
35 weeks pregnant 161 lbs (+37) 42.5 inches 40 inches 38 inches 23.5 inches
1 week postpartum 144 lbs (-17) 36.5 in. (-6”) 40 inches 38 inches 23.5 inches