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


Monday, May 1, 2017

The Twins Birth Story

They're here!!! It feels like forever and a minute that I've been waiting to say that! That pregnancy was the longest, hardest thing I've ever done and I am so relieved it is over...and I have two healthy, perfect boys!!!



So before I forget everything, here is the birth story.

The last two or three days before I had the twins my blood pressure had been getting pretty high. I had also been getting some headaches in the afternoons. I saw my MFM on Wednesday morning (35 weeks 4 days) and she told me that if I got a headache again that day to go straight to L&D and have them deliver these babies. She even put a note in my medical records and sent it to my dr to make sure they did it.

I left her office pretty excited knowing I would probably have the babies later. In both my previous pregnancies my blood pressure gets crazy right before I have them. I enjoyed my day and waited for contractions to hit or my head to start hurting. Around 4pm I started getting contractions and with each one I felt a little gush. My head was hurting but not bad and it was coming and going. I decided it was time and called my dr's office to let them know I was coming in.

When I got to L&D (around 5pm) I was put in a triage room which sunk my spirits. That's not where I would be if they were going to induce. The took my blood pressure and it was consistently high (160s/high 90s). My favorite dr. came in and told me since it was so high they would be keeping me but that she saw in my records that the MFM wanted the try to keep the babies in another few days. I told her what my dr said that morning and she double checked the situation. It was the on-call hospital MFM who said not to induce and my regular MFM said yes - so hallelujah she ordered the pitocin!

They started the pitocin really low to see how my body responded to it. My contractions were crazy and would go on for 20 mins! That was stressing the babies out too much (not to mention uncomfortable) so they played around with the dosage. They said they were looking for them to settle into a pattern before they would break my water. They somewhat got into a pattern being 1 minute apart and I was starting to get pretty uncomfortable and exhausted from the pain. They gave me an epidural at midnight. I told them I wanted it very low because I wanted to feel the contractions and move my legs and body.

After a few hours, they checked me and I was still 3-4cm and 70% effaced. Dr. P came in to break my water at 12:45am (Thursday morning) and by then my epidural had started to work so I took a little nap. At 4 am I woke up in a ton of pain. It was all in my back. I waited for my nurse to come in and check on me around 4:15. At 4:18am she got permission from my dr to check me and to both of our surprise, I was 10cm and Cullen's head was 1/2" from crowning.

It got really chaotic after that. I woke Brandon up and told him to put on his scrubs. They rushed me to the Operating Room (all twin deliveries go there in case of an emergency c-section). They asked me if I was able to hoist myself onto the OR table from the bed and as I was doing that Cullen started crowning. Within a few seconds his head came out. I kept asking, "Where is my husband?!" (Apparently Brandon was having trouble getting the scrubs on over his boots and no one realized I would deliver within seconds). The nurse caught Cullen's head and my Dr made it in the room for the rest of him. I didn't push at all, my body just pushed him out with a contraction!



Brandon explaining why he missed Cullen's birth. lol
I was so shocked as they lay Cullen on my chest. I was crying and overwhelmed with love. My baby boy looked absolutely perfect. I didn't even have time to realize that I still had another baby to push out before Dr. P told me to give her a push. I did and she told me again. I pushed again (which is very awkward and weird on an OR table because your back is flat and you have nothing to push against with your feet). After the second push, Everett was born! Breech!

(Later I asked Dr. P how he came out. She said she had just turned on the ultrasound machine to see where he was when my bag of water started coming out. She broke the water and there were Everett's balls. haha She told me to push the first time and I got most of him out and with the second push the rest of him followed.)

Cullen Wade Doucet 4lbs 15oz 


Everett Drake Doucet 5lbs 7oz


I was seriously so shocked at how fast it was. Cullen was born at 4:28 and Everett was born at 4:31! They had me push the placenta out as I was crying tears of joy over Everett being placed on me. He wasn't quite as vocal as Cullen so after a few seconds the nurses took him to check him out. He looked kind of blue to me but both babies got 8/9 on the their Apgars.



Later I found out that Everett got too much blood from the shared placenta putting his Hematocrit levels too high. Cullen wasn't diagnosed as anemic but he was much more pale than his brother. This is diagnosed as TAPS when you're pregnant (it's a late onset of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrom and the number one reason why I got so many ultrasounds this pregnancy). Once you give birth, they just call it high Hematocrit not TAPS. As usual, God's timing was absolutely perfect since my ultrasound that morning showed no signs of anything going wrong. Everett is still more red than Cullen but they are both evening out slowly. His levels are now in the normal range.




These boys have been a crazy surprise from start to finish. After delivery, my doctor looked at me with tears in her eyes saying that this was the most incredible birth she had ever seen and that she would remember this day for the rest of her life. Most breech babies do not come straight out like that, and are very risky. God was so merciful to me with their birth after such a long, hard pregnancy.


The only bad part was that I got really sick after I gave birth. I started dry heaving and didn't stop for an hour or two. My blood pressure spiked to 189/111 and they almost started me on Magnesium again. I was shaking really bad and I got tunnel vision. Everett was taken to the nursery (not the NICU yay) to have a more thorough check-up and I asked Brandon to go with him to make sure he was okay. I nursed Cullen as soon as I stopped throwing up. Everett came back and I nursed him too.


The twins arrival was more perfect than anything I could've thought up or planned myself. I am healing really quickly and they are just absolutely adorable. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for praying for me and our babies. God is so good (all the time)!!

***I hope this post wasn't too scatter-brained. I haven't had much sleep in the past four days but I wanted to write it all down while it was somewhat fresh.***