To answer your questions…

I saw this posted online, and had to share for the laughs. If you’re a fellow MoM (mother of multiples), you’ll get this! 

1. Yes, they are twins.

2. They are fraternal.

3. Yes, we can tell them apart.

4. A boy and a girl.

5. That one is the girl. 

6. Yes, I’m positive they’re not identical.

7. Yes, twins run in my family. They run all over the place!

8. Yes, we found out before they were born.

9. Yes, we were shocked.

10. Yes, they’re on the same schedule.

11. I’m glad it happened to me, too!

12. Yes, my hands are full.

13. No, I didn’t watch Jon and Kate plus 8.

14. Yes, they are natural. What’s an artificial twin, anyway? 

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From the beginning

I wanted to start blogging about our journey from the beginning, and I wish I bought a journal or downloaded an app from the day we found out we were expecting. I took pictures of my “bump”, which I roll my eyes at now. Quite honestly, it looked like I just ate too many slices of pizza (until I was about 6 months pregnant). Because of that, I didn’t take very many. I didn’t keep tabs, at all. So I’m going to have to write this all from memory….

So, what was the beginning?

I had been having terrible menstrual cycles, forever. Missing cycles. Short cycles. Pain in between cycles, too. I got the Depo shot, in hopes that that would help organize my ovaries and uterus. Randomly, after a year of getting the shot, I experienced breakthrough bleeding and pain, like I never had before.

Even though that was common, I felt like something wasn’t right. I moved, so I stopped getting the shot from my regular OB. I was in pain, felt sick, and couldn’t keep track of my menses. Reluctantly, I went to a new doctor in my new town. I told her what had been going on, and come to find out, I had a hormone imbalance. What do you know? Birth control is one of the solutions to that. Before sending me on my merry way, she brought up my family history of cancer.

Our family is riddled with all different types of cancers caused by all different reasons. One of the cancers that concerned her was family history of breast cancer. For those who don’t know, breast cancer and ovarian cancer can be “genetic”. It’s caused by the inherited mutation of a gene, “BRCA”. BRCA genes are tumor suppressor genes, and there are BRCA1 and BRCA2. If your parent tests positive for the mutation, it’s possible that you could be too, thus increasing your risk of cancer.

She rattled all this information to me, and explained that there could be links between this, hormone imbalances, infertility and autoimmune disorders. She urged me to get the test done and try having children, even though she said with the issues I was having I wouldn’t be able to get pregnant or the pregnancy wouldn’t sustain. But, she explained that it’s better to do everything sooner, so that I can take proper preventive measures-like having a hysterectomy.

I took her warning with a grain of salt, I wasn’t going to get the test done, asked her for the prescription for Ortho Tri-Cyclen and went on my way. One month later…I felt miserable. I was depressed, in terrible pain, and having sporadic bleeding. I said screw it-I was done messing with my hormones, and stopped taking the birth control. It was going to be what it was.

Until it kept happening for five more months, with more things going wrong. I started growing facial hair. I broke out with acne around my chin. I had the sporadic, heavy bleeding worse than ever before. I caved again and went to a doctor. Honestly, if it weren’t for her warning with the family history of cancer, I probably would have been too stubborn to go.

At this point, I had new insurance, so I had to see a new doctor. Dr. Bean. I don’t know why, but I can’t forget his name. He gave me a pamphlet that read, “PCOS”. I had almost all the symptoms, besides the weight gain. He sent me out for labs, and gave me the same infertility spiel.

Two months later- I proved both of them wrong… TWICE. 

I’m exhausted

That’s all I can think to reply when I’m asked how we’re doing. Maybe that’s a little too honest for people, but it’s truly the truth. I feel so incredibly lucky to have two beautiful, sweet babies, but I am mentally and physically exhausted. 

I saw this quote, and I thought, “Hell yeah, I’m exhausted!”. Every day, no matter how exhausted I am, I get up in the morning for my babies (ah, who am I kidding… I get up all night long, too!). I change their diapers. Feed them. Cloth them. Grocery shop for them. Do their laundry. Entertain them. Rock them. Buy them toys. All. Day. Long. 

And, the exhaustion is well worth it, because they get to have a GREAT parent. 

Things I wish I would have known before having multiples

1. You will go through a ton of wipes.

Everyone focuses on diapers. Yes, you will go through a lot of those. But, no one thinks about wipes. I wish we were more prepared for the amount of wipes we would need. Just remember, babies have MAD blowouts. 

2. You can hire a doula, nanny or nurse to help you at night.

And, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The first two months, you will be up every two hours, changing and feeding. You can hire someone to help you out at night. This may seem like a luxury to singleton parents, but it could be necessity for parents of multiples. Plus, it’s truly a godsend-think about being immobile due to a cesarean. If only I looked into this before the second day home with our little ones…

3. They won’t be on the same schedule [when you take them home from the hospital].

You would think that since they spent nine months rooming together that they would be on the exact same routine? Nope, think again. They’re individuals. Even at one second after birth. That means they eat, sleep and poop on their own times. As I’ve said before, you have to work out a schedule (this can be parent-led, baby-led, or a combination). 

4. Write everything down!

When did Baby A last eat or poop?! What time did Baby B get tired? What time did they wake up? When you’re sleep deprived, you won’t remember anything. Trying to get them on a schedule by recognizing their patterns or trying to make sure all their needs are met when you can’t remember a thing is beyond difficult. Writing things down or using apps is the best way to ensure you don’t miss anything! 

5. There are so many types of formula, it gets expensive and don’t bulk order until you find the perfect one!

There’s sensitive, soy, alimentum, ready-to-feed or powder formula. There’s so many to chose from, and it all starts off as experiments. If you are unable to produce enough for both babies or choose to formula feed, you’re going to be looking at high grocery bills! If one or both babies are on one of the speciality formulas, like Grayson is, double your bill. 

6. You don’t need two of everything.

Some people say it’s safe to buy two of everything, but even if you have boy/girl twins, you don’t need two of everything. When it comes to buying double, stick to the essentials-cribs, diapers, wipes, car seats. While it’s nice to have two pack n plays, two walkers, two bouncers, it’s not absolutely necessary. They can share and learn to take turns. 

7. Take pictures, lots of pictures!

Weekly pregnancy bump pictures, weekly growth pictures, pictures of crawling, sitting, standing. Heck, make up a reason to take pictures. You’ll be talking to someone one day, and because of the grueling sleepless nights, and the twin chaos, you won’t remember those moments. With pictures, you can look back, and it can help trigger memories. And, don’t forget to write things down, especially milestones. 

8. Join a multiples group while pregnant.

Yes, there are support groups for parents of and expecting parents of twins and multiples. If you’re already connected to something while pregnant, you’re going to have people to turn to when you have the babies, and you’ll have just a little more of a reason to go. 

9. Learn how to install and use your car seats well before the babies arrive.

We’re about to leave the hospital, and we haven’t installed our car seats. Tyler is running around, trying to figuring out how to work the things. He had to call his friend to help him. Imagine our panic as we’re supposed to take our two new babies home, and we don’t know what the heck we’re doing! Since you don’t know when the babies will arrive, get them and get familiar with them ASAP. Also, imagine trying to install a car seat when it’s raining or snowing, you’ll really wish you did it earlier! 

10. Keep every number on speed dial!

Is speed dial still a thing? 

Add every phone number you get to your phone! You get a lot of phone numbers (OB’s office, OB’s cell, MFM office, MFM cell, after hours line, insurance, billing, pediatrician’s office, pediatrician’s cell, on-call doctor’s cell, and so on). If something happens, you’ll want that number without having to dig for it or without calling seven wrong numbers (yes, I’m speaking from experience). 

11. Organize! 

Baby proof the house. Buy organizers for medical bills. Wash some of their clothing. Wash bottles. All before they’re born. Once the twins arrive, it becomes difficult to stay on top of things. You don’t want to be scrambling to pay medical bills last second, because they got tossed aside (you get SO many) and now you’re about to be sent to collections. 

Postpartum part II

Since it’s been a few months since I posted about my struggle with postpartum depression and anxiety, I thought it was fitting to catch up. 

Oh… where do I start?

If you’ve gone through it, you know. You practically experiment with medication, and it’s so hard to keep up with therapy. No matter how much you need to go, willing yourself there, just doesn’t cut it. Then, life gets in the way. If you’re a mother, let alone of multiples, add a million more tasks on your to-do list. 

I started slacking on attending therapy, once I met with the medication management doctor. It wasn’t because I just wanted new “drugs”. It wasn’t because she was a bad therapist, and I thought I could do it on my own [better]. She was absolutely great. But, life happened. 

I switched medications. I thought this was going to fix the feelings I was having. The doctor said there was an extra “kick”, which should help my energy levels. Instead, I felt like I spiraled. 

I started off at the lowest dosage. It wasn’t terrible. It had some unfortunate side effects, such as dizziness and nausea, but what SSRI doesn’t? I took the lowest dosage for a week, then switched to the next dosage. This is when it became hell. 

I was angry. I was irritable, migraines, dizziness, and tired, oh my god was I tired. To add, I had to take the medication at the same time every day, with food, or else I would have my head in the toilet, feeling like I was withdrawaling. I practically hated everyone and everything, but I wasn’t exactly depressed.  

My dosage was increased. 

God. I wish I wouldn’t have switched. The negative side effects increased. I couldn’t remember anything. I had brain zaps. My eyes and brain couldn’t catch up with one another. I would look around, and it felt like my mind would glitch. Then one day, I accidentally took my medication three times. 

I couldn’t do it anymore. I wouldn’t. I read about how the medication was new, so a lot of people had issues with it, just like I was. Not to mention, it wasn’t tested with breastmilk. I was going to go cold turkey. I tried, but the withdrawal side effects were too strong. I caved after a while, and cut my dose in half. 

I laid in bed panicking. I couldn’t close my eyes. I had anxiety, felt sick and I thought I was losing my mind. I didn’t trust myself. I wouldn’t let Tyler go to sleep. 

I called my doctor three times. Somehow my message was deleted, so it wasn’t heard the first time. They told me to stop taking the medication immediately. I was terrified. Bailee had her seizures that same week. This added to my paranoia and sickness. 

I went back to the doctor, and she switched my medication again. But, this time, she offered me a test that looked at my genes and how my body would react to medications. 

Come to find out, according to my genes, I shouldn’t take most depression medications. She switched my medication again to the one medication on the list that was safe for breastfeeding. She also added a medication for anxiety.

I didn’t tell her, but I wasn’t going to take the medications, unless I felt like I had no choice. After all I was going through, I couldn’t risk experimenting with medications. With the last medication, I didn’t even trust myself giving the twins a bath. I was unsteady, and felt like I would drop them. I couldn’t go through that again. 

I filled the prescriptions, just in case. Part of me is glad I did. I had a really hard time one day. I tried the anxiety medication, and it was like a wave of calmness came over me. No negative side effects. If limited, it’s safe to take while breastfeeding. It doesn’t cause withdrawal, and I don’t have to take it if I don’t want or need it. Finally, a solution! 

I won’t deny it. I’ve had a lot of these hard days since ending my medications. I’ve had a lot of days where my heart is racing, and I want to scream and cry. I feel like my days are starting to get better, though (without the anxiety medication). I started doing things to make myself feel better, like getting facials. My mom comes over to help me. I’ve become hyper-focused on wedding planning. I’ve started to learn healthier ways to cope.

While my days aren’t perfect, and won’t be, at least until I feel comfortable with medication again, and I go back to therapy, I still have hope. 

My biggest hope is that the next time I write about postpartum, I’ll get to say I’m recovered! 

It’s complicated 

There are so many things that could go wrong with a twin pregnancy, because the more babies you carry, the more you’re at risk for complications. It’s scary, especially if this is your first pregnancy. But, rest assured, there are “success” stories!

I remember during my pregnancy, I had bleeding. Not the spotting that most women see, but bleeding. Come to find out, one of the placentas was detaching from the wall. There was bleeding behind the placenta. We had already been on edge knowing the risks we faced by having two babies, but it actually started happening. To add, the twins weren’t growing properly, and I was anemic. I was considered to have a high risk pregnancy, and had to see maternal fetal medicine specialists. 

During this part of my pregnancy, I was still working. On my lunch breaks, I would grab two blankets. Put one under my head, and the other I’d pull over me, and I’d nap. I was so tired. 

About five months in, I couldn’t do it anymore. I was so stressed out, and exhausted, I had to take it easy, per professionals recommendation. I ended up resigning my position and went part-time. Even part-time became too difficult for me, but I wanted to continue working. 

We were six weeks away from my scheduled induction date. I had been having Braxton Hicks since the beginning of the second trimester, but this day was different.

I got a facial that day, and as I was leaving, I started having contractions. Real contractions. They were pretty close and hurt. I ignored them, thinking I relaxed a little too much during my facial or perhaps it was the fact that I’m always on my feet. I drove home, and as I was driving, I felt worse. I started panicking. I got home, and was bending over in pain and hyperventilating. I called the hospital, and they told me to come in. I called Tyler telling him to go to the hospital. Oh my god, I was in labor. Five weeks too early for comfort! 

I got to the hospital, and was hooked up to monitors. I was having contractions about two minutes apart, and was sixty percent effaced and dilated one centimeter. The babies looked great. THANK GOD! But, even with those conditions, the doctor was fairly confident and reassured us that there was no way they were going to allow me to have babies that early. Another huge relief! But, in order to do that, I had to stay. 

They gave me fluids, steroids and magnesium sulfate- “mag” is used to slow contractions. After that was started, the next few days were a blur. 

The magnesium makes you feel like you were set on fire. Actually. The nurses brought me ice packs, and I was only allowed ice and water at first. I sucked down pitchers of water like I had been trapped in the desert for a week. Finally, I was allowed to eat. Guess what? Mag makes your head spin. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom on my own. On top of that, it makes you sick to your stomach. I could barely bring myself to cut the bland chicken in front of me, which I suprisingly grew fond of- it was the only thing that I could stomach besides ice water. Fourty-eight hours of this tortuous medication. 

After the medications and tests, we were given a “two weeks notice”, so to speak . Basically, the babies could end up coming at any point after two weeks post visit. Even with that notion, my doctor didn’t like the idea of complete bed rest. He said it could cause more complications, such as blood clots. I was to keep my activity way down, but not to be bedridden. I continued to work part-time, but I stayed on my bottom that entire time. I only stood, if absolutely necessary.

After this incident, my monitoring increased. Ultrasounds. Blood tests. Urine screenings. Non-stress tests!(which is a way to monitor fetal health). And, there was always an issue. I failed the non-stress test almost every visit. I had strong and close contractions majority of my visits, except those in the morning. 

•Six. That’s the number of weeks the babies stayed in after my visit.

•Twenty-nine. That’s the number of times I had doctor’s visits, not including at maternal fetal medicine. 

•Five. That’s the number of times I was admitted into the hospital for monitoring. 

•Six. The number of nights I spent sleeping in a hospital bed. 

•Zero. The most important number. The number of days the twins stayed in the NICU!! 

After all the complications, I went almost all the way. Two days before my induction date, the twins made their arrival. 60% of twins are born prematurely. Having twins, well, it’s complicated. It may have been a complicated journey for us, but I would live every second of it all over again, any day!