Tuesday, December 25, 2012

We Survived!

Well, we did it.  We survived our first year with twins!  The girls turned 1 on December 22.  I just can’t believe it.  And I wish I could deny it.  I want them to be my babies for forever!

Somehow, this year has felt like the longest year, and the shortest year ever.  Is that even possible?

When I was pregnant, a mom of 4-year-old twins gave me the book “Ready or Not… Here We Come!”  by Elizabeth Lyons.  I read it.  It scared me.  It overwhelmed me.  It was right.  But it was also wrong.

I’m not going to lie, it hasn’t been exactly easy to get through this first year.  But I definitely don’t think it was as hard as I had read about.  For all the people who say “I don’t know how you do it with two…”, honestly, I don’t really know how we do it either!  We just do!  Somehow, we are able to make it through each day, with the girls growing stronger and smarter every day.  Are there tears (from babies and mommy J)?  Yes.  Is there frustration?  Yes.  Is there exhaustion?  Yes.  But there are also hugs and kisses, smiles and giggles, seeing them meet milestones and watching them play together.  And my favorite is walking into daycare to pick them up and they are so excited to see me that they get the hugest grin on their face and give an excited scream and immediately stop doing what they were doing to get to me as fast they can.

I wish I had done a better job of documenting this first year (seriously, I didn’t even do a baby book, ugh…).  I’m sure the times that I spent vegging out on Facebook or Pinterest during naptime or after bedtime could have been put to better use with this whole documentation thing, but I also needed that time to unwind…  But at least I took a ridiculous amount of pictures and videos, so that will help me keep the memories there. 
I was planning on posting a bunch of pictures from the last year, but there are just way to many that I want to share.   So for now, here are their monthly pictures (which I even missed a few months, oops!).  I can’t believe how much they have changed!  I’m hoping to post another “Year in Review” type post with a few more details, anecdotes, and pictures from that past year, but for now, this is all I have time for!  Maybe that post will come next year… J
Violet Through The Year
Charlotte Through The Year


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pinterest Love

Dear Pinterest,

I have a love-hate relationship with you.  I love you for all the wonderful, creative, genius ideas you provide me at any time.  I hate you because you make me feel inadequate as a mother, as a wife, as a person in general.  I love when you make me laugh.  I hate when annoy me.  I love you because you are a place to easily store these neat ideas I find and can easily reference later.  I hate you because you are horrible when I am searching for something in particular (like crafts to do with babies, I know they are out there, I just can’t find them!).  Either way, I can waste countless hours browsing your unlimited database of “stuff.” 

Today, I love you for providing me with an inexpensive teacher gift idea! 

When we put our kids in daycare, I never thought about having to give gifts to the teachers.  But as the holidays approached, I realized I really needed to do something.  With 3 primary teachers and numerous “floater” teachers that help in the girls room, plus 2 directors of the facility, the cost of gifts can add up quickly!  But I wanted to get them something that they would hopefully get some use out of, and wouldn't just sit on their shelf or get re-gifted at a White Elephant party! :-)

But then, I found this pin on your awesome/horrible site:

Click on picture to see original blog with this craft

 This seemed inexpensive enough that I could use it for all the “floater” teachers that are in and out of the room during the day.  Most people like chocolate, right?  Plus, it’s not just your average candy bar, it took a little time and effort, therefore, it makes it a cute, little gift, right?  I hope you are nodding your head…! :-)

Well for my reindeer bars, I ended up using orange pipe cleaners for the antlers because I couldn’t find brown at Meijer, and Chaz was at home with the girls so I didn’t want to go to a bunch of different stores for supplies.  (There are actually 2 reindeer that have yellow antlers because I ran out of orange… but you get the gist of what it is supposed to be, right???)  I used red pipe cleaner rolled into a circle for the nose.  The googly eyes were on sale for 50% off at Meijer, and I still have A LOT left for future projects needing googly eyes… We’d bought the candy bars on sale as well at a previous shopping trip.  Lastly, I used brown shopping bags to make the reindeer skin.   So, I made a total of 17 reindeer bars, at an average cost of about 55cents each.  I think that will be enough to cover all the random teachers that I want to give thanks to for taking such good care of my kids!  :-)
My completed Reindeer Bars!

But I still felt that the primary teachers and directors deserved something a little better than just chocolate… That is what made me decide on this pin to create this “little something more” gift!
Click on picture to see original blog with this craft

I was able to make 6 of these adorable, little gifts for an average of about $2.61 each!  Call it cheap, but I call it being a smart consumer! J 

The cellophane bags I had leftover from the girls birthday party goody bags, which I had bought a package of 30 bags on clearance from Meijer for 75cents .  I printed out the tags from the link on Pinterest on paper we already had, so I didn’t factor that into the cost.  We also had curling ribbon on hand, and glue for my hot glue gun, so I count that as free.  J  Then, I bought a 2-pair pack of cute socks from the dollar store, and since each gift bag contains only one pair of socks, that portion was only 50cents.  I found the little pedicure set and a quantity of 4 bell ornaments at the dollar store as well.  I found a few clearance nail polishes at Meijer for 70cents, and I also bought a few that were 94cents.  Thrifty, thrifty, thrifty!!!  :-)
My completed Cozy Toes gifts!
A view of one side of the gift bag...
A view from another side of the gift bag...

6 Cute Gifts!!!

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty proud of how this gift turned out.  I know that I would love to get a fun little gift like this, so I’m hoping the girls’ teachers like them too! (I again hope that you are nodding your head in agreement that the girls' teachers will in fact love these gifts...!)  :-)
My completed gifts for the girls' teachers!
Thanks again, Pinterest.  Today I feel worthy of your site.
UPDATE!  I dropped off the gifts to the teachers this morning, and as I was setting them on the counter, I saw one of these gifts (see image below)...  Other people love (and I bet hate) Pinterest too!  It made me feel better because it was comparable to my gift, so my gift wasn't completely inadequate.  Plus, I had thought about doing this exact gift, so now I'm glad I chose something else! :-)
Click on picture to see original blog with this craft

UPDATE 3/25/14: Since having my 3rd child, my days have become more than just "life with twins."  So, I decided to move on over to a new blog!

Come check me out at www.MePlus3Today.blogspot.com!
My new blog deals with kids crafts and activities, mommy ups & downs, and what it's like to suddenly find myself as a 30-year-old widow with 3 kids under the age of 2.

So again, please stop by my new blog, and tell your friends too!

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Twins Birth Story - Part 1

The twins are almost a year old, and I am finally getting around to posting this... Fortunately, I wrote it just a few weeks after the girls were born, and it just needed a few edits.  :-)  It’s not where the actual ‘birth’ begins, but this is where I think our “birth story” should start… 
Being pregnant with twins, I had A LOT of doctor appointments.  I didn’t really have the “every 4 weeks” type appointments.  I first saw my OB doctor when I was 12 weeks (prior to that I was seeing my fertility doctor). I had an ultrasound at 14 weeks to see if they shared a placenta (which they didn’t, that’s a good thing!), and another check-up at 16-weeks.  At that point, my doctor told me that I was going to have to keep coming in every 2 weeks from that point on...  They were monitoring the babies pretty closely, and I had a growth ultrasound every 3 to 4 weeks.  When I was about 28 weeks pregnant, the ultrasound showed a significant difference in weight between the babies.  It was only a few ounces, but when the babies are still only about 2 pounds, a few ounces can result in a large percentage.  Baby A (Violet) was in about the 9th percentile for weight, while Baby B (Charlotte) was in the 75th percentile for weight.  I can’t remember what the estimated weights were, but this difference concerned the doctor.  They typically like to see a maximum of about 25% difference in weights between the babies.  So they were diagnosed with “growth discordance.”  This meant even MORE doctor appointments!

The girls at about 14 weeks.  Note:  This is 2 different ultrasound pictures merged into one... they weren't really stacked like that. :-)
So starting around 28 weeks, I started going to the doctor TWICE per week.  At each appointment, I had a Non-Stress Test (NST), and once a week I had an AFI ultrasound, where the amniotic fluid around the babies was measured.  Then I had another growth ultrasound scheduled for 3 weeks later.  I tried not to stress about it too much, I don’t even think I succumbed to Googling the condition yet.  I wasn’t really sure what they would find, but I tried to prepare myself for the possibility that the babies may need to be delivered soon after that next growth ultrasound, when I would be about 30 to 31 weeks pregnant. 
Me at one of many NST appointments...

The tests at each appointment had great results, and my doctor didn’t seem worried.  Then at the next growth ultrasound, it showed that Baby A still wasn’t growing at the same rate as her sister, she was now only in about the 3rd percentile for weight.  This would have been a concern even if this baby was a singleton pregnancy and not a twin.  So, my doctor wanted me to visit the “high-risk doctor” to see if he had any suggestions on different testing we should be doing, or any other input at all. 
He felt the growth of the babies was alright, and that Baby A might just be a petite baby.  But to be on the cautious side, he had me continue with my NST’s and AFI’s, have one more growth ultrasound in a few weeks, and then schedule delivery at 36 weeks. 
36 weeks!  Yikes!  That was sooner than I had hoped!  Things definitely seemed to move quickly from that point on.  When I met with my doctor again, we discussed “how” the babies would be delivered at 36 weeks, whether it be by induction or a C-section.  In her opinion, the risks were too great for an induction.  She wasn’t sure if Baby A would be able to handle labor, my body wasn’t exactly ready for labor so it might end up a C-section after we started the induction, and Baby B was breech.   Because of those reasons, a C-section was scheduled.  And let me tell you, I was NOT happy about it.
I cried my eyes out after I was told I needed a C-section.  I did NOT want a C-section at all!  My reasons for not wanting a C-section were mostly selfish… I figured this is likely the only time I’ll ever be pregnant because of our fertility issues, so I wanted to experience what labor was like.  I wanted to feel a contraction.  I wanted my body to go through what women have been going through for 1000’s of years.  I was also concerned about bonding with and breastfeeding the babies after delivery.  I’d read that there was a delay before I could see and hold the babies during a C-section.  And finally, I was scared!  A C-section is some serious surgery!  Basically, I had this vision during my entire pregnancy of what delivery would be like, and a C-section just wasn’t it.
I talked with my doctor about it a few more times, and I really couldn’t argue against her (I mean Google research doesn’t exactly give me a medical degree!).  So although I don’t really think I accepted it, I just dealt with it... with A LOT more crying…
But finally, our scheduled day arrived.  We were scheduled for 7:30am, and we had to be at the hospital 2 hours prior to that.  Despite being told to pack a bag well in advance, we were scrambling all night to get ready for our hospital stay.  And then of course, I couldn’t sleep once we finally went to bed… But ready or not, we were up bright and early on December 22 in order to get the hospital at 5:30am. 
I was trying to be “all cool” on the way to the hospital.  But my heart was racing, I was so nervous!  Not only was I going to have some serious surgery, but in just a few hours, my babies were going to be here!  It was such a weird thing to think about.  I was definitely an emotional rollercoaster!
Everyone having a baby at Spectrum has to check in through the Emergency Room.  It was strange going there though, when we weren’t really having an emergency.  I was nowhere near going into labor (I think…).

When we just got to the hospital and only a couple hours before the babies were born!

The ER people sent us up to the birthing triage area where I was hooked up to monitors as I had been many times before to watch the babies’ heart beats.  My blood pressure was also running really high, so they had to run some additional blood work on me.  It was probably out of control because I was so nervous/scared/freaked out!  But eventually, everything checked out OK and it was time to walk to the operating room. 
Seriously, could they make it more like walking the “Green Mile?”  I was pretty much TERRIFIED!  Chaz wasn’t allowed in the operating room until I was all settled into place, so I had to leave him behind in the triage area.  I can barely remember what the nurses may have said to me, but walking into the operating room felt surreal.  I remember them saying “don’t touch anything blue because that stuff is sterile.”  I was helped up onto the operating table that felt way too small to fit my gigantic pregnant body.  And then the anesthesiologist had to give me the spinal.  This was one of the scariest parts of the whole procedure.   It was difficult to arch my back like an “angry cat”, when I have this huge belly that already makes it difficult to breathe.   But I survived the big scary shot and I could immediately feel it tingling in my legs. 
The nurses told me to lie back on the table.  “Um, is anyone going to help me?” I asked. Seriously, this table was teeny tiny, I was a gigantic whale, and that spinal had really kicked in, it was amazing how fast my legs started going numb.  They laughed and told me “of course!” and helped me get on my back on the table.  My arms were stretched straight out to each side and strapped down.  Then there was a flurry of activity all around as they began getting things ready.  They put the blue sheet up in front of me so I couldn’t see what was going on.  I had planned on having a mirror so that I could see when the babies were born, but when a nurse asked me about it, I told her “Nope, nevermind! I’m kinda freaking out!”  They started testing my “feeling” in my lower body, by rubbing something cold on me.  The anesthesiologist said temperature was one of the first feelings to go, so when I couldn’t tell the difference in temperature, then they knew the spinal was taking affect. 

(Sidenote: If you decide to watch the video, you'll see that it's basically a party in the operating room... Since they were delivering twins, there is double the nurses and double the doctors!  I can't imagine what it's like for triplets, you'd need a grand ballroom to deliver them in to fit all the people! :-P)
Finally, Chaz was brought into the room.  Since I was freaking out, I figured he would be too.  I had wanted him to video the procedure and take a bunch of pictures.  As soon as I saw him, I told him he didn’t have to video it anymore if he didn’t want to.  He looked at me like I was silly and stood up and began videoing over the blue sheet that blocked me view.  I was very impressed!
Although I was “numb,” I could definitely still feel what was going on.  A lot of tugging and pulling and pushing.  It was a strange sensation.  And suddenly, it felt as if a weight was lifted off me and I heard them say that a baby was born!  And then I heard the baby cry!  I was immediately teary-eyed!  They asked if we had a name picked out.  I asked if it was Baby A or Baby B, and when they said it was Baby A, I told Chaz to tell them that that was Violet.

Baby getting weighed and measured.

Then there was A LOT more tugging and pulling and pushing.  Baby B was stuck in there (if you decide to watch the video, you’ll see what I mean, it’s crazy!)!  But finally she was born!  I don’t remember telling them her name, but I’m sure Chaz filled them in that she was Charlotte.   After that, I could see one baby on a warming table getting all checked out.  The whole time I thought that was Charlotte, but when we watched the video later, I found it was actual Violet that I could see!

Another baby getting weighed and measured!

There was a point during the procedure that scared me when I heard the nurses say “she keeps forgetting to breathe.”  But nobody seemed panicked.  “Just keep tickling her toes,” I heard someone else say.  I just kept listening for babies crying, and that made me feel better.  There was also a point when I suddenly began to feel nauseous.  The anesthesiologist asked me how I was feeling, and I told her I felt like I was going to throw up.  She said my blood pressure had dropped and she was going to inject something into my IV to bring it back up and I should feel better.   She also put a little pink tub under my mouth, just in case.  It’s a good thing she did because I started throwing up right after that.  Not one of the best moments of the delivery.

Our first family picture!

After that, things went quickly and I don’t remember much at all.  Before I knew it, they were moving me off the operating table onto another bed.  That is also a really weird feeling, when you can’t move yourself.   I felt like I was going to fall, but somehow, I ended up on that other bed.  Those were some strong nurses!  And then they were handing me the babies!  It was my first time holding them!  I'd say it was "love at first sight", but I'm one of those people who loved them as soon as I found out I was pregnant.  But it was still amazing to hold them in my arms after holding them in my belly for so many weeks.  Once they gave me the babies, they wheeled me out into recovery. 
About to wheel me into recovery...

From this point, it’s all just a big blur.  It seems like they had me almost immediately begin to breast feed them, and I had both babies hooked on at once.  It seemed so easy!  They also gave the babies their first bath.  Other than that, I don’t remember much.   Chaz has filled me in that I was eventually wheeled up to our room on the 5th floor, and he had to carry the babies up there.  They again had to move me from one bed to the other, and Chaz says I asked if they had enough nurses there to move me!  Ha!

The girls on their birth day!

I had to throw this one in of Violet because I think it is so funny... right from the start, she was sticking out her tongue!

At this point, I was just so thankful that the babies were healthy.  They didn’t need any time in the NICU or NIM, and everything was going well.  My girls were here!
Thankful for my healthy babies!

So that is the “birth story” part 1… But the adventure continued for 5 more fun-filled days in the hospital (I hope you can sense the sarcasm), which will just have to be another post completely!  Stay tuned… J
Finally, I decided to post my C-section video that Chaz so bravely recorded. J  You can watch it if you are interested, but viewer discretion is advised…   Seriously, I just watched it for the first time since right after the babies were born.  There are some pretty graphic parts, but Chaz turns the camera away during a part whe things go from gross to extremely gross.  But still, there is a lot of gross, so if you can't handle blood or anything like that, I would suggest you not watch it.  But it is pretty amazing, and I am SO GLAD I have this video!  Also, I edited a small chunk out from the beginning because I drop the F-bomb right away after Chaz tells me that they already cut me open!  Nobody even told me they were going to start!  So yeah, I was caught by surprise and couldn’t help saying “Are you F-ing kidding me?!?!”  Yeah, I can’t wait for my girls to see that someday… sigh… J

Saturday, November 17, 2012

We're Having A...

Well, my fun little "gender reveal" idea didn't work out so well.  These girls just don't like to have their picture taken... :-P

So, are we Team Pink or Team Blue?!?!?!


We're having a...

...little brother!!!!
Can you tell they are so excited??? :-)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

There's No Denying It!

So, since I announced that we were expecting another baby, I bet there are a few curious folks out there thinking “How did that happen?”  Yeah, I’m still wondering the same thing! J

If you aren’t already aware, we struggled for a couple years before finally conceiving Violet and Charlotte using IVF (in-vitro fertilization).  And for most people struggling to have a baby, it’s not like you get to immediately try IVF, there a bunch of different methods they try before that.  None of which worked for us… Plus, it was technically our second try of IVF, it was actually an FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle when I got pregnant with the twins.  So because of all this, I pretty much assumed we were immune to getting pregnant.

I was wrong.  :-P

When we were trying and didn’t get pregnant for the first year, and after we realized that something wasn’t right, I couldn’t help but think, “All those years wasting money on birth control…”  J  So, when my OBGYN asked what form of birth control I was choosing after the twins were born I just told her I wanted to try an IUD, and she said “Ok, don’t forget to make an appointment for that.”  Sure thing! (with a thumbs up sign and a silly wink!)  It wasn’t that I necessarily forgot, it was more that I procrastinated.  The procedure isn’t free, I didn’t feel that was totally necessary to get it done immediately, and I basically thought it was a waste of money.   So, the appointment was never made…

So la-de-da, we’re just living life, trying to get through each day.  I can’t really figure out how to word this without being all TMI, so I hope this makes sense and isn’t gross/weird.  Around the time I started weaning the girls, I just figured my body was still trying to get back to normal.  So I never really noticed the obvious sign that I might possibly be pregnant.   

More la-de-da, we’re still living life for a couple more weeks.  Chaz is nervous though.  I’d told him if nothing happens next month, I’ll take a test. 

Then, I started not feeling very good.  Ever.  And I was tired.  Way more than usual.  All the time. 

I just thought I was drinking too much Diet Coke.  For real, I was drinking the stuff like it was my job.  I had a serious addiction.  I kept telling myself I was going to quit the next day.  But then I’d be getting breakfast, and that Diet Coke fountain would be calling my name…  I assumed it was giving me an ulcer or something.  So I finally started to slowly back off on one serving of Diet Coke per day.  Instead of my lunchtime Diet Coke, I had water instead.  And I felt a little better in the afternoons.  Boom, the cause of the problem was discovered! 

Or so I thought…

Then one day, I was on a tour of our manufacturing cell at work.  It was warm out on the floor, but I was getting that even warmer feeling you get when you are about to throw up, where the back of my neck is getting hot and I can feel my forehead starting to sweat.  And suddenly I was thinking, “Holy crap, I’m going to throw up.  I’m going to throw up.  I’m going to throw up.  What do I do? What do I do?  What do I do?”  So now, instead of paying attention to whatever they are trying to show us, I’m focusing on not throwing up. 

When I think there is no hope, I decide that as soon as we move on to the next station, I’m going to sneak away from the group and either get outside or run to a bathroom.  But where’s the nearest bathroom?  I’m not totally familiar with where we are on the floor.  But they just keep talking, and talking, and talking.  Stop asking fricken questions people or I’m going to blow chunks all over you!  Finally, I think “F- it, I’m outta here.” And I just turn around, cut through some of the people and hustle to the only bathroom I can think of, which fortunately wasn’t too far away.

I make it just in time.  I slam open a stall door, and there goes my breakfast… Luckily, nobody else was in the bathroom.  When I’m done, I rinse out my mouth and wash my face.  And then I feel fine.  Hmmm… that was weird.  Then I walk out of the bathroom and rejoin the tour.

When I get back to my desk, I email Chaz about what happened.  All his email reply said was “Dude, you’re so preggo.”  My response was something along the lines of “Nah, I still think it’s just all that Diet Coke.”  Denial?  I’m still not sure…  He responds by telling me to go buy a test during lunch.  I told him I don’t want to waste money on a test unless I know for sure that I absolutely need to take it (which I guess would make the test unnecessary if I could know that…).

Well, then the next day, Chaz comes home with a 3-pack HPT.  Dangit, he can buy those at his company store for 50cents… “Fine, I guess I’ll take it after the girls are asleep…”

Sidenote:  I have a weird phobia about pregnancy tests.  When we were trying before, I had taken so many, and gotten so many negative results, that I pretty much hate them.  Anyways, I still read the instructions first, even though I’ve taken about a million of these, and I pee on the stick.  I leave it in the bathroom and do some stuff in the kitchen for a few minutes. 

The whole time, my mind is just weird.  Honestly, there isn’t even a word I can think of to explain it, so I’m just going with weird.  I’ve taken so many tests just hoping and praying for 2 blue lines or a plus sign!  And this time, I wasn’t sure what result I wanted.  Do I want it positive or do I want it negative?  How am I going to feel if it’s negative?  What are we going to do if it’s positive?  I think that is why I was in denial about possibly being pregnant for so many weeks.  There was a tiny part of me that actually hoped I was pregnant, and I hate getting my hopes up that I could be pregnant based on all the disappointments of the past.  But there was also a bigger part of me that was freaking out about what would happen if we were pregnant, so I thought I might be OK if it was negative.

Anyways, I walk back in the bathroom and look at the test.  And I’m think, hmmmm… that’s interesting.  I grab the instructions and look at them again.  And look at the test again.  I have no idea why, I know exactly what the test says.  Again, my mind is weird.  My hands are shaking.  But I’m smiling.  Sort of…

“Chaz, I think you better get in here…”

He walks in takes a 1 second look at it, and says “looks like a line to me.”  I sigh and tell him he’s not even looking at the right part (he was looking at the line that tells you the test functioned correctly).  I tell him he’s supposed to look there, where it looks like a plus sign.  He takes a little closer look.  “Looks like a plus sign…”

I’m squinting at it.  I’m still not convinced.  More denial?  Definitely.

“I don’t know if I did it right.  Something could be screwed up.  Now I’m not even sure if that is a plus sign.  I’ll take another one in the morning,” I say.

And we hug, and I go upstairs and cry a little.  Because my mind is weird.  Am I happy or sad?  Disappointed or excited?  I don’t even know.

The next morning, I pee on another stick.  Another plus sign shows up.  I guess I’ll call the doctor today…
Do you see a plus sign?
I call the doctor and tell them the situation.  I tell them I don’t know the date of my LMP because I didn’t think things were back to normal after my last pregnancy.  They order a blood test for me to confirm I am pregnant, and how pregnant am I?

I get a blood test during lunchtime that day.  I’m so glad Zeeland Hospital is right next to my work and that I discovered they have a lab there!  They were super speedy, and the doctor’s office called around 4pm with the results.  My HCG level was 107,000.  Basically, I was A LOT pregnant.  “You only need to be about 5000 to see the baby on an ultrasound, so we’re going to get you scheduled for one to get your due date,” said the nurse.   Boom, I had an ultrasound scheduled the next day.

My email to Chaz just says:  “So, apparently I’m pregnant...”

I get my mom and sister to watch the twins during my ultrasound by telling a little, white lie that my appointment is for a follow up for my postpartum depression.  At the doctor’s office, I feel like an old pro in the ultrasound room.  I had one once per week for most of the second half of my pregnancy with the twins. 

As I’m watching on the screen, all I can think is “please don’t let it be twins!”  Not that I don’t love my twins, and love having twins, but I think having 4 kids under the age of 2 would be a slightly stressful… :-P 

And then, there’s New Baby.  Just a little blob.  You can kind of see where the head is and where the body is.  The tech doesn’t play the heartbeat, but I can see it beating away on the screen.  I still ask to make sure that it’s the heart though (it could be something weird, I don’t know…).  She confirms that it’s the heartbeat and it’s doing great!  She takes some measurements, and then we’re done.  After I’m cleaned up, she says “Oh, by the way, there’s only one in there.”  I laugh and say “Good, because I have 9 month old twins at home!”  She laughs and tells me I’m going to have my hands full.  If I had a nickel for every time I heard that already…
New Baby's First Picture!

At the time of the ultrasound, I was about almost 9 weeks along.  My estimated due date is April 9. 

I went back to my mom’s and emailed Chaz.  He couldn’t believe I wasn’t spilling the beans yet.  But I still couldn’t believe that it was actually happening.  I was still in MAJOR denial!  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Even for the next few weeks after we found out, I kept forgetting that I was pregnant!  I’m just so dumbfounded by it all!

So, I guess that’s the story of how it happened.  Well, not the actual story of how it happened (gross), but the story of how we found out, I guess.  J

I know there are so many other people struggling to get what I got without even trying.  I know how they feel so I always hope and pray that they get their plus sign someday soon.  All babies are little miracles, and because of what we went through before, this baby especially feels like one.  I thought I already had everything I ever wanted, but God decided to bless us with another little gift.  I am so grateful!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

15+ Baby Freebies for Twins and Multiples!!!!

UPDATE January 2014:  I would love to hear if anyone has been able to recently get any of these freebies, or if they learned of any new offers out there!  Please comment on this post and let me know, I'd love to keep this information as up-to-date as possible.  Also, has anyone found anything for older twins/multiples?  My girls just turned 2.  Enjoy your freebies!!!

For your convenience, this post contains affiliate links.

In my previous post I talked about scoring free products, samples, and/or high value coupons from baby related companies just for having twins.  We are fortunate that the girls aren’t picky about what brands or types of formula/food/diapers/wipes we use.  Below is a list of the companies I contacted and what I received.  If you don’t have twins, don’t worry!  I honestly think that you could still call any of these companies and you would get something just for asking!

Gerber (1-800-4-GERBER)

The lady I spoke with on the phone was really nice.  They DO have an official “Multiples Program.”   They also have an online community that you can sign up for on their website that will sometimes have coupons and provides other helpful information.  I also became a fan on Facebook just in case they offer any coupons there.

I received a package on my doorstep less than a week after calling them, so I loved their fast response! It contained two 12.4oz cans of Gerber Good Start Protect formula, and 2 cute “I’m a Gerber Baby” onesies!  Unfortunately, the onesies are too small for the girls (only go up to 12 pounds), so I am probably going to donate these to a couple ladies who are about to have/had a baby recently.  I also received an AWESOME coupon for $10 worth of any Gerber food product in a separate letter.  You know it’s special because it has a little gold sticker on it.  J

Thanks Gerber!!!
Similac (Abbott) (1-800-232-7677)

The lady I spoke with here was also very nice, but it’s probably because at this point the girls were getting a little fussy and she could probably hear them whining in the background. J  Similac DOES NOT have an official multiples program, but she said they could send me a sample for each baby.  They also have the Similac Strong Moms program that you can sign up for online and I think you get coupons.  I probably signed up for that while I was pregnant, but I didn’t remember, because they had my information in the system.

I received two 8 ounce formula samples on my front porch about a week after I called.  There was nothing else included.  I haven’t received any coupons or formula checks from them yet.  I’m hoping they still might send me some.

UPDATE MARCH 19, 2014:  A reader, Carmell, left this comment today regarding Similac:  "The Similac rep required I fill-out a form & mail it in along with a copy of each of my babies birth certificates. However, I received 2 cases of the ready made 1 QT bottles, which are valued at $40 a piece!"

That is a great deal!!!  I hope other's are able to get this also!

Enfamil (Mead Johnson) (1-800-BABY123)

Enfamil DOES have a multiples program, but you have to get your pediatrician involved to qualify.  Your pediatrician has to contact their Enfamil sales rep to confirm that you do have twins/multiples.  They will have to fill out some paperwork that they get from the sales rep, who will then fax it in, and then you get 2 complimentary CASES of formula!  I think it is 1 case per baby, so if you had triplets, you might get 3 cases!  A case consists of 6 of the 12.5oz cans.  Based on how many bottles we can get out of each can, that is about 15 days worth of formula for us, or a $180 value based on regular price at Meijer!!!  That was definitely our biggest freebie!

Thanks Enfamil!
If you pediatrician doesn’t have an Enfamil sales rep, they can always contact Enfamil directly to get hooked up with one.  I know it’s a pain to have to go through your pediatrician, but the people at the office we go to were VERY understanding and helpful.  I was so appreciative of the time they took to do this.  I think this was the first time they had ever heard of this program.

In addition to that, we also received a 12.5oz can in the mail just because I had contacted their customer service.  I have also received one $5 formula check so far.

Thanks Enfamil!
You can also sign up for the online community on their website, and become a fan on Facebook to possibly get other discounts and coupons.  There website also has “certificates” that you can print and bring to your pediatrician’s office for samples.  I haven’t tried that yet, but I might if we get desperate!

Huggies (Kimberly-Clark)  (1-800-648-2484)

Huggies DOES have a multiples program.  After speaking to a customer service person, I learned that to qualify, you need to mail in copies of your children’s birth certificated, and a short letter requesting to be part of the program.  You can mail this in to:

Kimberly Clark
Dept QMB
PO Box 2020
Neenah, WI 54957-2020

About 5 days after I mailed the information in, I received two $3 off any Huggies product coupons, and three $1 off any Huggies product coupons.  I was actually hoping for something a little more special, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers! J  I am also part of their rewards code program, where you type in the codes that are on the inside of their packages to earn points towards free product.  I don’t have very many points yet, but hopefully someday I’ll be able to get something cool!  And as always, I am a fan on Facebook!

Pampers (Proctor & Gamble) (1-800-726-7377)

Pampers also has an official Multiples Program.  I called customer service, but I also found the answer in the FAQs on their website that explains they “provide a one-time gift of money saving coupons.”   The website says to send in your children’s hospital discharge papers, but since I couldn’t find those/didn’t know what they even were, I just mailed in copies of their birth certificates to the address below.  I also included a short note requesting to be a part of the program.

Pampers Multiples Program
Proctor & Gamble Company
PO Box 599
Cincinnati, OH 45201

After 17 days, I received some pretty good coupons!   These included:  1 FREE Pampers diaper pack (up to $13.99), $5 off Pampers diapers, two $2 off Pampers diapers, $1 off Pampers wipes, and 3 P& G coupons for Tide, Olay, and Pantene.  I was extremely happy with what they provided!

I also participate in their rewards code program, called Gifts to Grow.  Points are given for entering the code provided on the packaging of Pampers products.  Sometimes they give out free bonus codes on their Facebook page as well!

Luvs (Proctor & Gamble)

Luvs is just the more affordable diaper provided by Proctor & Gamble.  They also have a Multiples Program, based on the FAQ’s on their website with the same offering as Pampers.  Again, I sent in copies of the girls birth certificates, and my same generic note to the address below.  

Luvs Multiples Program
Proctor & Gamble Company
PO Box 599
Cincinnati, OH 45201
Yes, I do realize it’s the same address as Pampers...  But believe it or not, I did receive something from both Pampers and Luvs.  Luvs sent me: 1 FREE Luvs Diapers (up to $9), $4 off Luvs Diapers, two $2 off Luvs diapers, $1 off Luvs wipes, and the same P & G coupons for Tide, Olay, and Pantene.  This was another great freebie!
I also signed up online to be on their mailing list, and I’ve received some coupons in the mail.  And I’m sure you’ve guessed what I’m going to say… I’m a fan on Facebook!

Beechnut (1-800-233-2468)
Beechnut baby food is made with natural ingredients, no preservatives, and no artificial flavors or colors.  They sell it at Meijer.  They have a parent pack full of coupons that they send out to anybody that calls.  While they don’t technically have a multiples program, they did send me double the coupons!  These coupons included: FREE baby food, FREE cereal, and $$ off purchases.  I’ve already used some of the $1 off Stage 2 jars last week because it was also on sale at Meijer.   Bonus savings!!!  J

Thanks Beech-Nut!!!

Beechnut also has a rewards program where you can send in a certain amount of UPC’s from their products to get more great coupons.  As with all the other companies, they have an e-newsletter that also sends out coupons.  Believe it or not, I don’t think I’m a fan on Facebook yet, but I will have to look it up when I’m done writing this! :-)  [UPDATE:  I am now a fan...]
I never would have thought of this company if it hadn’t been for the lists I found online that showed companies with multiples programs.  I figured it wouldn’t hurt to call and find out if they still had a program.  Guess what?  They do!!!  This was another company that required proof of multiples, so I again sent in the birth certificates and my short note to the following address:

Attn: Multiple Birth Program (MBP)
2021 9th St. SE
Dyersville, IA 52040

Only  10 days after putting the information in the mail, I received 2 "My First Rattle" by Learning Curve Baby/TOMY and 2 packs of 5 Take & Toss sippy cups!  This was one of my favorite freebies!

Thanks TOMY!
 Earth’s Best (1-800-434-4246)

I was excited to call Earth’s Best because they have formula, food, diapers, and more.  Unfortunately, they DO NOT have an official multiples program, but they did send me a feeding guide with coupons.  The coupons included:  two 55cents off 1 Earth’s Best product, $5 off Formula, $1 off 7 jars of baby food, $1 off cereal, and $2 off diapers.  I plan to use some of these coupons this week, because Earth’s Best is on sale at Meijer and Target which means bonus savings!!!  J

Seventh Generation (1-800-456-4246)

This was one of my favorite places that I contacted.  The woman I spoke with was so nice and very informative about their products.  They DO NOT have an official multiples program, and at first, she was only going to send me some coupons.  But after telling me all about their products and hearing about my interest in them, she offered to send me samples to try out on the girls.  I seriously talked with this woman for almost 10 minutes about what they have to offer for babies.  It was great!

The package she sent included: two size 2 diapers and two size 3 diapers (I had told her the girls weight and she decided to send 2 different sizes to see which would fit better… Awesome!), a sample pack of 3 wipes, and a bunch of coupons for other Seventh Generation products (like laundry detergent and whatnot).  I know only 4 diapers and 3 wipes doesn’t sound like much, but every little bit really does help!  I’ll take anything!  J

Thanks Seventh Generation!!!
Playtex Baby (1-888-310-4290)

Many of the lists online advertise that Playtex Baby has a multiples program, but after calling, I found out that is not true.  But as with most of the companies that don’t have a program, she offered to send me some coupons.  I wasn’t expecting much, but I was happily surprised!  About 10 days after my phone call, I received 2 coupons for $3 off 1 Playtex Infant product, and 2 coupons for $7.99 off 1 Playtex Infant product!!!  Those are some great coupons!  I plan to use them to get the girls sippy cups soon.

Ella’s Kitchen (1-800-685-7799)

Ella’s Kitchen makes organic baby food that is sold at Target.  They do not have a special multiples program, but they did send me 16 coupons for 55cents of an Ella’s Kitchen product.  I plan to use some of those this week because this brand is on sale at Target.  Yeah bonus savings!!!

And this is a company where it really paid off to be a fan on Facebook.   Ella's Kitchen's page advertised that another Facebook page was holding a contest to win a 3-month supply of Ella’s Kitchen pouches.  Of course I entered, not thinking that I would actually win.  To my surprise, I DID WIN!!!  I am so excited!!!  I was contacted by Ella’s Kitchen and they will be shipping me cases of their pouches directly from their warehouse.  I can’t wait to get them.  That is going to help SO much!!!

This was a company that I contacted using the “contact us” form on their website.  I just couldn’t find a phone number listed anywhere.  I didn’t expect to hear back from them, but they actually responded in less than 24 hours.  Their response seemed typical for not contacting them by phone though.  The email said that they do not have a multiples program and coupons for their products could be found on the following websites: www.baby.com, www.johnsonsbaby.com, and www.babycenter.com.

That was one of my first “no” answers to getting anything sent to me.  I was a little bummed, but I would survive! J  But then I was surprised to get 3 coupons for $5 off specific Johnson & Johnson products in the mail, just for contacting their customer service!  And the list of products that the coupons work on is huge!  I still don’t know what I’m going to use them on… J

Happy Family Foods (212-374-2779)
I spoke with a VERY friendly customer service person from Happy Family that explained that they unfortunately do not have a multiples program.  He added that the best way to get coupons would be to send an email to parents@happyfamilybrands.com, which of course I did.  I attached scanned images of the girls birth certificates, just in case.

I received 2 different email replies from 2 different people.  I also received 2 different letters with coupons in the mail.  I’m not sure if there was a miscommunication on there part, but it worked out in my favor.  More coupons!!!  These included: 1 FREE Toddler Meal bowl, 1 FREE Happytot Plus pouch, 1 FREE Happy Baby puffs, three $1 off 2 Happy Baby Products, and three Buy 6 pouches, get 1 free.   This brand is also on sale at Target this week, so that’s where I’ll be using them!

Little Me (855-3-Little)

I had never heard of Little Me until I found the lists online of Multiple Birth program companies.  They are located in New York and sell newborn and infant clothing.  The girls never stop growing, so they always need new clothes! J  So, I decided to give them a call.  I was pleased to find out they do have a special program.   I just had to mail in copies of the girls birth certificates and my little note to the following address.

Little Me
Attn: Ruthie
112 W 34th St
10th Floor
NYC, NY 10120

[UPDATE MARCH 21, 2014: I saw a comment on this post that was pinned on Pinterest that said the person's letter was returned saying the address was not valid.  So PLEASE CALL FIRST to find out the latest address!]

A few weeks later, 2 super cute little sleepers showed up at my front door!  I was nervous that they may have sent small sizes, but I was happy to see they were size 12-month!  I can’t wait for the girls to wear them!
Thanks Little Me!!!
Ok, so that is everything that I have received so far

I just recently sent out my letter to Kids II/Bright Starts, because I found information on their program in their FAQs on their website.   I’m still waiting to see what I get! J [UPDATE: I never received anything from Bright Starts. :-(]

I also contacted PBM, which is the company that makes all the store brand formulas (including Meijer, Target, Walgreens, etc).   This is one of my funnier calls because I didn’t realize who I was calling.  I was calling the number from the Bright Beginnings Formula website (1-800-410-9629).   I had never heard of Bright Beginnings.  I’m still not exactly sure what it is, but I think it’s equivalent to a store brand sold only on Amazon.com or something… Anyways, PBM is part of Perrigo, which is where Chaz works… So when the woman gave me her email address of where to send the girls birth certificates, I was surprised to that it ended in @Perrigo.com… Of course I had to call Chaz right away and tell him that I just called his company asking for samples and coupons.

Anyways, back to PBM…  THIS IS SOMETHING THEY DO FOR EVERYONE, not just multiples.  You can call once a month and ask for coupons for the store brand formula of your choice.  As a parent of twins, I just get double the coupons.  I was so surprised at who I was talking to that I didn’t really think and just asked for Meijer coupons.  But next time I plan to ask for Target, as they have a better regular price on the Up & Up brand formula.   The customer service woman told me that it will take 4 to 6 weeks for my coupons to arrive, so I’m still waiting…

As you know, store brand formula coupons are rare/don’t exist, so this is awesome.  In addition, did you know that if you go to www.storebrandformula.com, you can print a $2 off coupon for a few select brands, including Meijer and Walgreens. 

Nature’s One Formula had an automated system where you could leave your contact information to get a free sample.  This was one of the first places I contacted, and I have yet to get anything from them… I may follow up soon though. [UPDATE: I never got anything from them. :-( ]

I messaged Baby Blanket Suncare via the “contact us” form on their website on July 18.  I have yet to get a response… [UPDATE:  Never received a response.]

I also messaged Summer Infant products  via the “contact us” form on their website this week.  I tried this method because I had called their customer service number twice, and waited on hold for over 5 minutes with no answer… we’ll see if anyone responds to my message, I haven’t heard anything yet… [UPDATE: Never heard from them.]

The only 2 companies that gave me a flat out “no” without sending anything were Evenflo and AHP (who manufactures store brand diapers).   Other than that, everyone has at least offered to send coupons!  And coupons help, so I’ll take them!  And of course, I am now on every mailing list ever… My email inbox is always full from these companies, but some of the information is helpful and sometimes they have great deals that I can take advantage of, so I am OK with it. J

There were also companies that had Multiple Birth programs that I did not take advantage of.  Sassy Toys has a program where you can order via a special form to get a Buy 1, Get 1 Free offer.

Babies R Us has in in-store program where you can get 10% off when you buy 2 of the same baby gear product (which means, cribs, car seats, gates, etc).  I wish I would have known about this in advance because our cribs and car seats are from there.  While those were gifts for us from family members, we could have saved our family some money!

I still have oodles and oodles of companies that I want to call, but as you can imagine, I’m short on time.  It took me almost 2 weeks just to type this up!  So, if you read this far, then thank you!  I hope you found this information helpful, and that you might call and try to get some discounts or samples as well! J

I’ll post again with an updated list after I contact more companies.  And if you have any suggestions, or if you have received anything cool, let me know by commenting here or on Facebook! 

UPDATE 3/25/14:  Hi there!  Because this is one of my most popular posts on this blog, I wanted to add this note here.

Since having my 3rd child, my days have become more than just "life with twins."  So, I decided to move on over to a new blog!  Come check me out at www.MePlus3Today.blogspot.com!
My new blog deals with kids crafts and activities, mommy ups & downs, and what it's like to suddenly find myself as a 30-year-old widow with 3 kids under the age of 2.

So again, please stop by my new blog, and tell your friends too!

Thanks so much!