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