Twins {Life One Year Later}

So the twin ladies turn ONE mid-September!!!  Where did that year go!?!?!  They are standing up on everything, one is walking, while the other has decided to climb everything in site.  This year has gone incredibly fast!  Seriously, I don't know where it went. :) There has definitely been days where I have wanted to crawl back into bed and cry myself to sleep, but with five munchkins, that's not even a possibility.  In the word of Luke Bryan, "I just keep chugging along."  And my manta has become, "One day at a time!"  As interesting of a year it has been, I can honestly say, it has not been nearly as bad raising three older kids and taking care of twin baby girls as I had imagined in my head.  I kind of did luck out though, the twins have been great babies!!!!  And the other three have been fantastic in being big brothers and big sister.  It took a few weeks/months to figure it all out, but once we got a semi-routine it's been pretty smooth sailing since.

{1 week old 9/21/2012 & 1 year old 9/13/2013}

I know you are dying to know what the routine was the first few months...:).  Here's roughly what I did.  Mind you there was not a whole lot of sleep going on.  Probably why I don't remember this year flying by.

Our typical day - months 1-6
5-5:30 : Daddy up getting ready for work, Mommy did morning feedings.  Then put babes back to bed for a little while
6:30 :  Three older kids up. Get Lucas ready for Pre-K.  Get Breakfast on the table.  Remind myself to eat.
7:40 : Get all five kids packed in the car and take the 10 minute drive to school
8:15-8:30 : unpack the remaining kids.  Get bottles ready to feed babies again.
9:15-9:30 : Babies down for nap
9:30-11 : Race like mad to get caught up on anything and everything!
11:15: Feed babies again
11:40 : Pack everyone up again to get Lucas from Pre-K.
12:30 : Home, feed everyone lunch, Pray that babies sleep a little while.
1-1:30 : Try and get the three older kids to take a nap.
1:30- 2:00 : Feed babies again
3:00-5:00 : try to get kids outside while it was nice or play down stairs, snack time, Hopefully have dinner going.
5-5:30 : feed babies
6-6:30 : Dinner for other kids
7:00 : Bath Time, reading, hangout with daddy
7:30 BEDTIME for the three older kids
7:30-8: Feed babies, cuddle for a while, Mommy & Daddy time...aka time to eat dinner and try and stay awake to watch something on TV
9-10: last feeding before bed, pray they sleep 3-4 hours and none of the other kids get up.
1-3: early morning feeding, hope I didn't fall asleep while feeding one of them, put back to bed
5-5:30 : Up and at 'em, starting a new day.

By about 3 months the girls were for the most part sleeping through the night.  And this is pretty much the same schedule we keep now, although the bottle feedings are not nearly what they were and the girls are eating table food and drinking milk now.  Still I am not sure how I made it through all that.  Not to mention all the doctor appointments that I had.  We are on a first name basis with the doctor and nursing staff.

{I got really good at feeding two babies at a time.}


Taking care of a baby is hard.  Adding twins takes a little more effort.  Here are some things I have learned or have helped me out over the last year.

SLEEP when you can.  I know easier said than actually done, especially when eight baskets of dirty, smelly clothes are staring you in the face.  For me, catching a cat nap while the babies were sleeping and the three older ones were cuddle up with me on couch watching a movie worked best.  Even though most of that was done with 'one eye open.'  Ten, fifteen minutes can do wonders when you are so tired you don't know your name.

Color code/Mark everything.  Blankets, beds, coats, towels, car seats, pacifiers etc.  It makes it easier on yourself, and if someone helps out, easier for them to remember.  Hair ties work great for keeping track of who's bottle is who's.  The small sized ones worked great on the neck of the skinny Dr. Brown bottles,  Silly I know, but when Anna would fall asleep on an unfinished bottle, and Audrey would be screaming for hers, but then turn around and fall asleep; I would have two bottles that were similar in amount and not know which was each baby's.  Because by the time the other fell asleep, the first would be up wanting the rest of the bottle. It was especially useful to use the hair tie trick as colds got introduced, in attempts to keep germs away.

Utilize your help.  It is not one of my most strong points to ask for help.  I 'feel' the need to do almost everything on my own.  But when you haven't slept in days, or showered either, take up that offer to have someone watch kids, pick them up from school, etc.  It is a God sent blessing for your sanity!!!!!!

{My wonderful little helpers!!!  Love them all!}

Make time for date night!  Seriously one of the best things that we have done as a family.  As much as I love my kidlets, I need a little time away to realize I am adult, to validate that there is more going on in the world besides bottle feedings, dirty diapers, and endless kids shows and movies. 

Make meals easy!  This one is for those with other kids.  Again seems silly, but in all seriousness I speak the truth.  If I didn't keep on top of making dinners - crockpot, casserole, etc.  We wouldn't have eaten very well.  Now saying that. I a pretty sure that my kids might have lived on cereal, pancakes and chicken nuggets and mac & cheese more times than I would like to admit over this last year.  Some days were just better than others, and the quicker the better especially when all five were melting down at the same time.

Let it slide.  Some people are idiots!!!!  There I said it!  People are going to make really dumb comments about having twins...and they make equally stupid comments when you have other kids than just those twins.  Not to say I haven't been one of those people as one point or another, but I usually try to keep my mouth shut.  And people will judge you on everything.  Again let it slide.  You are doing your best to take care of those little ones. You are a good parent. You love those babies and that will get you through!

Don't worry about the house.  I am the first to say I can't stand clutter and disorganization, but when energy is lacking to do anything else besides taking care of babies, just let it go.  It will be there another day.  Keeping up on laundry has been one of my biggest problems.  I could do two loads a day and still not be caught up.  As long as you have clean bottles to feed babies, you're good to go ;)  I have really tried to keep the house to the point it takes only 10-15 minutes to clean if people are coming.  People will understand too.

"Remember the Older Kids." For those with other children. Don't forget to take time to play, read, and do fun things with the other kiddos.  They need you just as much as the babies do. They are your special helpers and want to be a part of helping with the new baby or babies too.

Practice Patience.  More days than not are going to be trying.  Tiredness combined with attempting to keep up on things does take a toll.  But learning to not let it get to you takes work too.  My rosary and I became best friends.  It helps me collect my thoughts, calm my nerves and relax my mind.

Laugh!!!  Always laugh and remember these long, tiring days of baby tending are fleeting.  It doesn't last long at all.  Those tiny fingers and toes, and coos and laughs grow all too fast into walking, talking toddlers and big kids.  Find that joy in everyday.  Laugh at your disheveled messes.  It won't always be like this.  And one day you will look back and laugh about the poop and spit up that was everywhere all the time.

So that is it.  Really take it one day at a time.  That's how I've managed to make it through the last year.  And it's really been a fun ride.  I love my kids! I love my disorganized, mess we call a home.  Each day brings some new adventure.  I absolutely live for the chaos I call my family!  Happy 1st Birthday to my Little Girls,  Anna & Audrey!  I can't wait to see what the next year brings for your personalities and what you will learn.


Thanks for reading!  Have a beautiful day!

World Breastfeeding Week - I Support You! {My Interview}

This week is World Breastfeeding Week and August is National Breastfeeding Month.  I was unaware that this was a thing.  But I find it to be very awesome!  Such a great way to give support to mothers. My friend Julie over at Diary Of  A Homemaker posted this on her facebook page last week.  

And it is all very true...(and it made me even tear up).  I can honestly say as much as I hated breastfeeding, I loved it just as much or more.  Julie interviewed me on my 'breastfeeding story' for Breastfeeding week.  And with five kids, I have five completely different experiences.
{{Brian & I with our 5 munchkins on my 30th Birthday}}

I am all for breastfeeding, I wish I was able to do it better myself.  I think it is (was) a wonderful experience.  But for some it is not the right choice or the situation at hand does not allow for it.  So for whatever your situation - breast, bottle or extended feeding....I SUPPORT YOU! And you are doing an amazing job!!!  You can read my story here.  And you can read more on this topic here on the Mama By the Bay blog.  

Hope you enjoy my story.

The twins have arrived!! {part 2}

Our twin girls, Anna & Audrey, have finally arrived.  They are such a delight.  We are happy that they are healthy and at home, being that they were born five weeks early at 34 weeks 6 days.  But those first few days after our unplanned delivery were difficult to say the least.

Knowing that most likely these babies were going to be born early, we had prepped ourselves for the new babies being take neonatal intensive care (NICU).  We figured if they were going to go it would have been right away, like after Dylan's birth when he was whisked to the NICU moments after birth.  We were prepared for that.  We had made it more that 24 hours with out something going on.  Both of us were excited that the girls were doing so well for being early.  We had been told later in the morning on Friday, September 14th that Anna had been having a hard time keeping her temperature up during the night and she was having labored breathing that was affecting her eating.  The NICU nurse at St. Anthony's was fighting for her to stay there, but she got overridden by our pediatrician.  Anna was taken to the NICU at Porter Hospital.  My heart just broke.  Audrey was doing just fine - eating, breathing, everything was just great.  I didn't like the fact that my babies were going to be split up.  At this point other than the brief moment we got to take some pictures, I had not had both babies with us at the same time.  I still was not able to tell them apart either because I had not been able to compare them, unlike Brian did since he was up there with them right after the c-section while I was in recovery.  I knew everything was going to be fine.  Still I was a complete mess, post-pregnancy hormones SUCK!!! It was hard to watch my baby be wheeled off to one hospital while Audrey and I stayed at another.

I got released from the hospital on Sunday, September 16 but Audrey had to stay another night.  That might have been the hardest night ever, feeling like I had abandoned all five of kids in different places.  It didn't help that Lucas, Emma and Dylan were mad at us for not bringing 'their' babies home.  Audrey did get to come home on Monday night.  It was a big deal at home.  Emma was jumping for joy that she had a sister!

Anna took a little longer.  She had some problems breathing.  Which then caused some issues with her eating.  She progressed a little each day but it took her until Friday, September 21 to come home.  Again it was a big deal.  The kids were so happy to have their other sister home.  Mom and Dad were even happier to have all five kids under one roof! 

We are very lucky that we had minimal issues with having twins early.  God has blessed us immensely.   My heart goes out to all those who have had premature babies and all the obstacles that they have to encounter before bringing their babies home.

Thanks for reading.  I hope you have enjoyed our birth and bringing home babies story.

The twins have arrived!!! {part 1}

For those of you who follow me I apologize for my absence the last two months.  I did not mean to leave so abruptly.....but the babies have arrived!!!!  Slightly unexpectedly I might add too.  The last few weeks have been a learning period mixed with a little chaos trying to get to know the new little ones and regain a little order in our ever growing household.  Here's our birth story!

Thursday, September 13, 2012
The day started out just fine.  Other than me feeling huge and little "off."  I was feeling ok, just really tired and I could tell my body was starting to get ready for delivery day.  I got all three older kids dressed fed and dropped Lucas off at school for the morning.  He had picture day that day - and he did a really good job smiling too.  I took Emma and Dylan to my mother's so that she could watch them while I went to my (almost) 35 week doctor appointment.  I was still feeling ok, the contractions that I had been trying so hard to keep under control were starting to pick up for the day.  They didn't hurt, I just knew they were happening and getting closer, but they were not regular.   Unlike the night before when they were five to ten minutes apart for the better part of the evening and then just stopped.

At my doctor appointment I ended up seeing the nurse practitioner, Pat because my doctor had got called down to an emergency C-section right as she was coming in for my visit.  All my vitals were fine, the heart beats were great, and the babies were moving all over the place.  The only changes were that I had dropped slightly from the week before and had dilated from one centimeter to two over the course of the week.  We had discussed my sceduled c-section on October 8th.  Everything was looking normal for the day.  After the visit I went up for my NST (non-stress test) like I had been for the last few weeks, where the day got interesting.

I got to know all the OB nurses at St. Anthony's really well over the final weeks of this pregnancy.   When I arrived on the OB floor, was was taken to the room I was to do the NST in.  Instead of being in a observation room like usual, I was taken to a labor & delivery room - odd.  There was three nurses in there working on getting things ready, and handing me a gown to put on - again odd.  As I am getting things ready to change, in walks another nurse with an IV pole.  Now I am no doctor or nurse, but I have had enough babies to know something was up. I was informed that my doctor had discussed my office visit and decided today was the day - we were having babies!

Let me tell you, I about had a panic attack.  Had it not been for the calming breathing I had been working on most of the morning I probably would have.  My brain was on over drive!!!!  Brian was not there.  (Good thing I asked him that morning if something went on would he be easily reached and thankfully he was actually on his way back to the office from a meeting.)  I didn't have anything ready for my kids to spend the night anywhere.  Most of my baby stuff was not ready - including the nursery. And we had NO names picked out at all!! The only thing I had prepared was my bag that I had hastily thrown together that morning 'just in case.'

My doctor finally came in and explained why we were having babies today.  Remember that monitoring that I had been doing at home? Well the last two weeks I had been exceeding my allowed amount of contractions in a one hour period on a daily basis.  And the fact that the night before and that morning the intensity was increasing, with carrying twins, she didn't want my scar from my c-section with Dylan to rip.

Brian got there by 11:30 am and we were wheeled down to the OR by 12:30 pm. (I will say I am glad most of this was unexpected, I don't know how well I would have done if I had to anticipate a c-section for multiple days as opposed to just 2 hours.) I was able to be awake for the entire surgery again and I was definitely more alert this time around too. With Brian by my side and me tightly squeezing his fingers, we were delighted to finally find out at 1:19 pm we had one healthy, screaming little GIRL; followed at 1:20 pm by another healthy, hollering little GIRL!!! Seriously one of the most beautiful sounds!  Daddy was so excited and proud - I have loved that look he gets each time we have had a baby.  It makes my heart swell!!

Welcome Anna & Audrey!!!

We finally decided on names  - Anna Marie and Audrey Belle.  I think they match our beautiful new additions quiet well.

An excited Dad & a very tired Mom finally holding our baby girls!
Our birth announcement that I made
  Apparently September 13 was the day to have babies too, we were the third c-section of the day, with a total of eight babies born that day.  There was a total of eleven babies born by the end of the week. The rest of the day was a blur of excitement, visiting, feeding babies and exhaustion.  We are excited to have Anna & Audrey finally here with us.  Although the next few days after proved to be a little more trying.  But more on that in another post.

Hope you have enjoyed our story.  Thanks for reading!

34 weeks....another week bites the dust!!!!

"Another one bites the dust..."  Not one of the songs that is as the top of my play list, but it does apply here.  So excited that we made it to 34 weeks and all with my husband being out of town the better part of last week too.  It is such a big accomplishment for me and my doctors.  This week's doctor appointment went very well.  I measured out at 39 week (as per a single pregnancy).  I am officially dilated to 1cm.  And the babies are looking well.  Now the task is to keep them in a little longer.  The monitoring is going well.   Beside me forgetting my medicines and then having to re-monitor because I had too many contractions, most of which I have not felt.  Although most of the contractions I have been having  are more or less just the feeling of tightening, there has been an increase of stronger ones.  The kind that catch your attention and a little of your breath.  But that is to be expected at this point in the game of things.  Babies are moving like crazy....hands and feet are starting to look like they are coming out of my belly.  Those babes are running out of room very quickly.  I feel pretty good.  Very, very tired.  Especially when I can't get super comfortable at night between this growing belly and the frequent trips to the loo.  I miss being able to walk without getting sore really easily.  These babies shift so frequently, causing pressure in different spots.  But again that is to be expected as we close in on delivery day and they try and get 'in position.'

We don't have a delivery date set yet.  And I am unsure when we will.  Personally I am thinking we are just waiting to see how far I make it.  I have a feeling though that if we set a date, we most likely won't make it to it anyway.  That's just how my body works. HAHA.  Right now I am still pushing, praying and hoping that I can hold out until October 1st.  Which is getting closer and more tangible!  But it all is still a waiting game...and maybe the most fun not knowing when your little ones are going to make their arrival.  This weekend's to-do list is trying to get some more of the nursery finished so I can get pictures to show before things get out-of control crazy those first few weeks.  We will see how much I actually accomplish.  I hope that you all have a wonderful weekend.  And enjoy the coming of fall weather, I know I am ready for it!!!

How far along: 34 weeks (today) -  42 days more (or less!!)
Have you started to show yet:  We are starting to go more side to side now...and growing even more.
Total weight gain/loss: Am I am up 16.1lbs from my starting...I put on 1.4 lbs this weeks.  
Belly Button in or out? Each day is making my belly button closer to popping.
Rings on/off:  Off...I miss my pretty rings!!!!
Maternity Clothes:    Tank Top, flip flops and Jeans from Old Navy,  Sweater non-maternity from Target

Size of Babies: At 34 weeks the babies should be almost 18 inches and 4.75 pounds...each about the size of a cantaloupe.  And they should be now putting on about a half pound a week until their arrival.
Heart Rates: Both babies heart rates ranged between 136 and 146.

{picture source}

Weird Changes:  My belly is starting to grown side to side now and I think I am starting to 'drop.'  

Sleep: Sleep is alright.  I am soo tired, but getting more and more uncomfortable by the day.    

Best moment this week: Both of my boys giving my belly a kiss and hug for the babies!!

Movement: Out of all of my pregnancies, this one by far has been the only one where I have seen feet and hands poking out of my belly.  Its weird and fun to see those babies stretching.
Stretch marks? I found some news one this week.  
Symptoms:  Walking is becoming a chore. Things just start settling in odd ways that do not feel good. 
Labor Signs: Still having some contractions.   They are getting stronger, like things are  starting turn to actual labor.  But Most are just tightening.  Still doing a decent job of keeping them under control.

Food cravings: Sushi. Coffee.  I miss my morning coffee.  My stomach just doesn't like it right now.  Although I for some reason can handle the speciality coffees from starbucks.  I had my first Pumpkin spice latte the other day.  It was amazing...besides the fact that I forgot to ask for soy milk and my insides were doing odd things the rest of the day.  Otherwise it was great!!!!
Food aversions: Fish and most pork....still

Pregnancy best friend: Our baby name book.  Which we have gone through countless times, and still don't have a list together.  My names that I pick keep getting vetoed.   This book though is one of our favorites.  I think it has one of the better compilations of names and gives a list of possible sibling names as well.  It also has the trend of the  names and rankings.  There is also a Baby Name Wizard website.  I was unaware of this before this morning when I looked for the book.  So I haven't looked around it yet.  
{picture source}

Gender prediction: Still waiting, although its getting harder not to want to find out. And still having a hard time coming up with names.

What I miss: Sitting, bending, and walking anywhere comfortably and going to Church.
What I am looking forward to: Making it to 35 weeks!

Weekly Wisdom: Use your help and sleep when you can.

Milestones: We have made it to week 34!!!!! 

Thanks so much for reading.   Have a great day!