Alright twin mamas, and twin mama's to be, here are my favorite things that got me through the daily #twinmamastruggles... Some were a huge help in the beginning and some are still my lifesavers now. But really, all of these items made twinning that much easier for us, and I recommend putting them all on your registry must-haves. All of these are available on Amazon, aka every mom’s go to for fast, easy shopping! You can click the pictures, or titles to link to the products if you want to check them out.
1. Self Feeding bottles
THESE were EVERYTHING for me!!!! I'd say one of the hardest things with twins is feeding TWO babies EIGHT times a day! I pumped my milk so that I could have my husband or anyone help feed the babies when possible. So, we used bottles all day. The bottle routine is tedious enough with one, but trying to feed and burp two babies at once is a challenge. With these bottles, I was able to have my hands free while both drank, then I could easily burp one while the other was drinking their bottle. It was a lifesaver! Not having to hold two bottles in their mouths for 15-30 min depending on how quickly they drink, is an amazing feeling! My boys learned the bottles fairly early too, at a month old. At first it's a bit of them spitting out the nipple and you putting it back in, but they eventually learn to hold it in on their own, and it's still much easier.
It's been two years since my pregnancy with the twins, and we couldn't be happier to announce that we are expecting a little sister late September! This pregnancy falls almost exactly in line with my twin pregnancy, only off by a day! How that happened, just lucky I guess. But this girl is excited to have all her maternity clothes matched up for the right seasons, that's for sure.
This pregnancy has been so different than the twins' was. For starters, I haven't passed out in a Joanns Fabric store, or anywhere else, so that's a plus! Throughout the twins' pregnancy I would constantly feel bouts of dizziness as my vision would go, followed by ringing in my ears until my hearing would go too. If I didn't lie down soon enough, I could pass out. Luckily i only passed out once and as the pregnancy went on, I knew when the dizzy spells were coming on and could at least prevent passing out. I also found that protein bars, almonds and water were my best defense. You could find those all in my purse at any given time. For real, I was in two weddings and carried all those things to both. I haven't escaped the dizzy spells this pregnancy, either, but I've prevented passing out thus far.
With the twins, I was rarely nauseous in the first trimester. I had bouts here and there, but nothing too bad. With this sweet girl, I was nauseous 24-7 the first 13 weeks. My poor husband would sweetly ask what I wanted for dinner, only to hear me gag in response from the thought of food. He's a good man, putting up with all my antics this pregnancy! The mood swings have been intense, whereas with the twins I was always pretty happy and even keeled.
I know I've talked about our struggle with getting pregnant with the twins, so I have to explain how completely different this experience was. It's different for everyone, but I hope this can give hope to people who may have struggled with their first or could be struggling now. I'd like to think that the pregnancy with the twins reset my body, but for whatever reason, this time was different. Our little girl was not our first pregnancy since the twins. She was our rainbow after our first loss.
Over the summer, we had a surprise pregnancy when the twins were only 9 months. We were not quite prepared for it, but excited none the less. We knew we wanted more, we just hadn't expected to have more so soon. We also never took for granted how hard it was to conceive the twins, so like many others before us, didn't think it could happen just like that. Not getting into too many details, we lost the baby early, at about 6 weeks, and it wasn't easy, but we knew it just wasn't meant to be yet. God had a plan for us, and this was all a part of it. After the loss, we talked about when we wanted to have more, and decided we wanted at least a 2 year gap before the next baby, and it would happen when it was right.
This time I decided to try temping to see if I could figure out my cycles and if I was ovulating. I started a few months early just to learn how it worked. I loved it! It was so fascinating to me. After two months, I had figured it out, and the third month, but first month not avoiding, resulted in baby 3. We feel extremely blessed that it happened this way, and I am no stranger to the pain of the struggle when trying to conceive. I hope nothing more than to provide hope for others. Temping is complicated, and a little confusing at first, but I thought of it as just a learning experience rather than letting it stress me out. So it really helped me.
After any loss, you worry that much more about the next baby. But we are excited and hopeful for this little lady.
An entry from February 22, 2016
On September 14, 2015, our lives were forever changed when we welcomed our two sweet baby boys into the world. Pregnancy seemed like it was going to last forever, especially as we neared the end. On top of the already seemingly endless wait, these little blessings made me wait until the very last day possible to meet them. At 38 weeks and 1 day (my dr advised us that twins can only go to 38 weeks gestation for their own safety), my dr finally induced me.
Eager to get everything started, we arrived at the hospital nice and early for our 7am induction. I suspect I was already in slow labor because my contractions had been stronger and a little more consistent that weekend, but nothing felt strong enough to go to the hospital. I think the worst part about waiting to "know it's time" is that I had no idea how I would know since I've never done this before. Every time I'd ask my doctor, "yes, but what will it feel like? I have contractions pretty much off and on all day long. When is enough enough?" He would just say "when the pain is strong enough that you can't talk through it. You'll know." Well, no, I didn't know. Even after breaking my water for the induction, my contractions never felt like they described. They honestly just felt like my stomach was contracting in and out, which didn't hurt to me. The only thing that hurt was that sometimes during contractions or between them, it felt like the baby was trying to kick it's way out, but I'd been feeling that on and off for weeks at this point, so that didn't seem like what I was supposed to be looking for. At 7cm, I had to ask my nurse if that was what they meant about waiting for the "contractions to hurt". She just told me I was pretty far along to not have had my epidural yet, so I may as well have it. After that, things were definitely better because it no longer felt like baby A was kicking his way out, and I continued to progress until 6pm when they told me I could push.
Well, three hours later, we welcomed Mr. stubborn baby A into the world, and it became clear why he had so much trouble getting out. He wasn't breach, but he was trying to come out face up. Regardless of how long I pushed, he was perfect and I was in love. No sooner had I met my Baby A, then the nurses took him away and told me to begin pushing for Baby B. The dr had just said my darling Baby B would be born in just a couple minute, when I watched his facial expression drop as he shouted across the OR (they deliver twin babies in the OR just in case of an emergency) "C-Section, STAT". I looked at him like he was joking. Was I seriously about to have a C-section after 3 hours of pushing, and already bringing one baby into this world? He had to be kidding. Well, doctors don't joke about these things. He was serious. The minutes began to fly as I heard the doctor bark out orders to the nurses, and then I remember hearing "Heart rate's dropping. 110, 100, 90…" My healthy little Baby B was rapidly fading. The baby who I remembered had begun the first 36 weeks of my pregnancy as Baby A, had danced around on his brother's head in my belly during ultrasounds, was determined to come out first, always wiggling, kicking me in the ribs, and head butting me in my hip, where he eventually got stuck and was passed by his brother for the first position. My "Baby-A-turned-Baby-B", my bouncing ball of energy, the bigger baby of the two, the little porker who made me crave frozen yogurt every night, and would kick in delight as I devoured it. He was slipping away, and it was hitting me as they lifted me onto the operating table, and asked if I had feeling still. "Yes! Don't start, wait, wait!" I screamed as they pinched my belly and asked if I could feel it. "Dad. Out. Now. (they yelled at my husband as they began surgery) Knock her out, NOW" were the last words I can remember my dr saying before I opened my eyes to the nurse holding my screaming skinny baby boy, my Baby B. He was here, he was crying, and he was Okay. They took him away, he was gone.
Where's my husband, where's my other baby, what is taking so long? I kept wondering, but they had knocked me out so quickly, I couldn't move my mouth to get the words out. I felt like I couldn't breathe, like my lungs couldn't move either. The tears fell from my eyes, as I struggled to move my mouth somewhat, a little bit, just enough to get something out, even just one word, "Breathe. Can't, breathe." I mumbled. They gave me oxygen, and I felt my lungs expand a little finally. "Tim. Where's Tim." They assured me he was waiting and they had told him the baby and I were fine, and I would be back to see him soon. After 9 months of waiting, and a scary delivery, our little blessings had made it into the world safe and sound, and just like that, our lives would change forever.
(The following photos, with exception to the first photo in the hospital, are courtesy of Shannon Crall Photography)