two//two//too

can I love them too much?

can I hold them too tight?

can I give them too many kisses?

  
can two sweeter things exist in my world?

how can two months go by so quickly?

how can I even begin to describe how these two have made every single day of the past two months better than I could have possibly imagined?

  

I simply cannot.

due date

July 21st. Back in November of last year it was determined that July 21st was the day that I could expect to bring our first child into the world.

But then everything changed and we ended up bringing our first two babies into the world on June 9th.

  
So today our boys are SIX WEEKS OLD and I’m wondering where in the heck the time went, as I will be for the rest of my life. These six weeks have no doubt been the longest, most exhausting six weeks of my life but they have also been so incredible, and amazing, and most of all, surreal. I don’t know at what point I will fully grasp the reality of all this. I’ve said this dozens of times but I have a moment each day where I sort of sit back and think I’m living someone else’s life…

It seems impossible that my pregnancy is over. It seems impossible that I’m a mother of twins. It seems impossible that we spent three weeks practically living in the NICU until our boys were ready to come home. It seems impossible that we’ve already had the boys home for three weeks.

But it’s all true and here we are. We’ve got a set of six week olds on our hands!   

Six weeks, by the way, is not the best age to attempt a “newborn” photo shoot. Even though our guys are now the size of your average newborn, they are much more wiggly and alert, but not quite to the point of responding to your voice in a manner that’s useful for a photo shoot. I’ll give proper credit for that photo when I have a few more to share.

//six thoughts on six weeks of motherhood

//it is possible to be so concerned about whether or not your babies are breathing, that you actually forget to breathe. 

//I have no idea how people kept their babies alive before Google existed.

//watching babies learn is incredible. I’m constantly in awe of the things their tiny bodies can do already!

//there is nothing more terrifying than strapping an infant into a car seat, making sure they are not only secure, but also breathing. nothing.

//it’s amazing how little sleep is required to actually function. I’m not saying I could be solving mathematical equations but I am keeping two babies, a dog, & myself alive when I’m alone so I think that counts as functioning. 

//the heart knows no limits. 

  

throwback thirsty thursday

I’m a fan of throwbacks. #longlivethe90s

I’m also a fan of adult beverages. #stereotypicalWisconsinite

And I used to do this little thing called Thirsty Thursday here on the blog, so I thought today I would throw it back to the olden days when I both blogged, and imbibed, regularly.

These days I really like the idea of drinking. I mean, I went seven months without a drink. I have two five week old babies.I had my appendix out two weeks after they were born. I sleep like, three hours each night. I think you could even say that I deserve a drink or two. But mom guilt sinks in the moment I take one sip of beer, booze, wine, what have you. So I either hand my drink of choice off to my hubby, or it goes to waste. And since I already feel an immense amount of Earth guilt for the diaper, take out food, and water waste we’ve created in this household over the past few weeks, I’m all about minimizing waste where I can.

Enter… this refreshing cocktail that’s practically guiltless, in every sense of the word.

Using white wine as the base allows you control the amount of alcohol you include, then toss the bottle back in the fridge until you’re ready for more. Frozen fruit is something you probably already have on hand so no need to go out and spend money on fancy garnish. And using sparkling water in lieu of calorie-laden juice (okay, well just a splash won’t hurt) or soda saves calories too! See? No guilt here!

Just load up your favorite glass (or mason jar- aka the ultimate cocktail vessel) with a combination of ice and frozen fruit. Any type of fruit will work. Other than bananas. That might be gross. Add your white wine of choice. I’m finally working through this bottle I received as a gift just weeks before discovering I was pregnant.


Be liberal with the wine if it’s been a rough day. Or if it’s been a rough day but you have nursing mom guilt like me, don’t go so heavy handed. You can even omit it completely if you prefer a mocktail. Add a splash of OJ. Or pineapple juice. Or cranberry juice. This is customizable, people. Use what you have, you can’t go wrong. Top it all off with something fizzy like club soda or sparkling water. Flavored, if you please.


Straws are wasteful. But I continue to use them. And I promise your drink will taste better with a cute paper straw so you should probably add one of those too.

Then sit back, relax, and sip down that guiltless cocktail you’ve created. Or if you’re like me and only have a few minutes until you have to change a diaper, feed a baby, or have a date with your breast pump, chug that drink.

The boys are down there, napping, and I’m up here. Day drinking.


Click over to ALOHA if you need some inspiration for a healthy cocktail or mocktail idea of your own! And while you’re there, check out some of their other recipes, too. I’m drooling over this stack of Berry Banana Pancakes!

Cheers!

when your twins decide 34 weeks is long enough.

People say it all the time. Babies come when they’re ready. In most cases, that time is around 40 weeks. But when you’ve got more than one baby on board, things tend to happen a bit sooner. Our babies decided 34 weeks was their time to join the real world. Here’s how it all went down.

Warning: This is gonna be real wordy…

Wednesday, June 3rd – Justin returned from his five-month work stint in Pennsylvania. Yes, I spent the final five months of my pregnancy in a “long-distance marriage”. We made it work with once-a-month visits, Skype, texts, and lots of Snapchat so we could see little snippets of one another’s day-to-day. It was less than ideal. Especially when I got to the point in pregnancy where reaching my toes was out of the question. But we made it work. And we he returned home to stay, he could see it all over my face. These babies were coming sooner rather than later.

Thursday, June 4th & Friday, June 5th – To put it bluntly, I felt like shit these two days. I was experiencing pain in my lower abdomen/pelvic region, I felt especially sluggish, and just not well. I tried to wrap up as many things as possible at work, thinking something might be happening sooner than expected, but tried not to say much about it so as not to unnecessarily alarm anyone.

Saturday, June 6th – Woke up feeling great! We had our birthing class scheduled for this day so we headed to the hospital and spent all day learning about pre-term labor signs, epidurals, birth, taking care of infants, etc. While mostly stuff I already knew, I could see a lot of lightbulbs going off in Justin’s head and he left feeling much more knowledgeable, which made me feel even more ready for these babies to arrive. We were both energized by the class so when we got home that afternoon we finished up a few things around the house, making sure we were as ready for babies as we possibly could be. I continued to feel great during all of this. It really didn’t even occur to me that this could be that sudden burst of energy (nesting) that we’d just learned about in the pre-term labor section of the class. It wasn’t until bed time that night, when the pain in my pelvic area returned, that I thought this might be the real deal.

Sunday, June 7th – I woke up feeling even worse, and in turn, more uneasy. I also had some minor spotting. Nothing to be super alarmed about, but enough to make me pay attention. I had brunch plans with one group of girlfriends, and afternoon plans with another. I was super excited for one last day out with some of my favorite ladies before the babies arrived but it seemed said babies might have other plans, so we headed to the hospital to see what was going on. I truly thought I would go in, have some tests done, and be sent home. Instead, they told me I was 2cm dilated & was being admitted. 2cm isn’t much, and some people sit there for weeks before dilating any further, but with twins it was enough for them to take it seriously & monitor me to see how things progressed.

Around 2:30 that afternoon they gave me a shot of betamethasone to help develop the babies’ lungs in case labor did progress. They also started giving me nifedipine in hopes of slowing down or completely stopping labor. I spent the next 24 hours just lying in bed. It was probably one of the most uncomfortable nights of my life. The babies’ heartbeats, as well as my contractions (the contractions that I didn’t know I was having) were being monitored, which meant super itchy bands were placed around my giant belly and nearly every time I moved, the monitors moved out of place. A nurse would then come in to adjust them. Over and over and over again. I was on a clear liquid diet (and therefore starving) just in case I needed a c-section. Of course I was used to it by now, but there was absolutely zero sleep for me that night.

Monday, June 8th – It seemed the nifedipine was doing the trick so I was moved to an antepartum room after my second shot of betamethasone. The bed in this room was much more comfortable so I actually got a little rest that afternoon. I had some visitors and some real food and went to bed knowing that I was going home the next day. I knew I had to wait until 24 hours after my last steroid injection so I planned to be home in time for dinner.

Tuesday, June 9th 

5am – I all but forced Justin to go to work this day. I was fine. I planned to do nothing but eat & sleep until I was discharged. I went back to sleep immediately after he left for work.

8am – I woke up feeling a little funny. A slight twinge in my side. I quickly scanned social media on my phone & took a look at the cafeteria menu before turning over for a little more sleep.

9am – Breakfast order placed. Contacted a few people to let them know I’d be going home later that day, as well as my boss to let her know I’d be in Wednesday afternoon & planned to work half days the rest of the week. The doctor said there was no reason I couldn’t go about normal activities so I figured I might as well work while I could!

9:15am – Tightening feeling in my belly as I got up to go to the bathroom and then, wouldn’t you know it, my water broke. They ran some tests to be certain it was amniotic fluid but they were really just a formality.

9:30am – My breakfast arrived but I was told I couldn’t eat it. I was being moved back to labor & delivery, and not knowing how things would progress, I wasn’t allowed to eat. Again. I called Justin to let him know what was going on, but told him not to rush, he could work until lunch & then head back to the hospital.

9:45am – Contractions really kicked in, far more intense than what I’d felt before. I secretly wished I’d told Justin to hurry up & get back to the hospital. I was going to need a hand to hold. Luckily he read my mind & called to let me know he was on his way already.

time gets a little fuzzy here but it all went a little something like this – Moved back to labor & delivery, contractions got wayyy more intense very quickly. I was “breathing through them”, rather than talking through them. Nurses kept saying “you’re going to have babies today!” and shit started getting real. At this point we decided it was probably a good idea to come to an agreement on a second boy name. We like to plan ahead, obviously.

Prior to this I was still really on the fence about an epidural. Doctors very strongly encourage one when you’re having multiples and intend to have a vaginal birth. Even under the best circumstances, birth of multiples can easily result in an emergency c-section so an epidural allows you to be that much more prepared should a c-section become necessary. It also allows the delivery doctor to do some not-so-pleasant things to get Twin B out, should it decide to flip once Twin A vacates their home. In my mind, the epidural was the lesser of two evils so I went with it. As luck would have it, my epidural took really well & it was smooth sailing from there. I 101% DO NOT REGRET the epidural.

Contractions progressed really quickly & I think I started pushing around 4pm. Justin & my mom were both there for support. They let me push in the labor & delivery room for awhile (it was about 45 minutes of pushing until Theo’s head started to appear) before wheeling me over to the operating room. Operating room is another precaution for birth of multiples. Luckily both babies remained in the head down position so we had the perfect scenario for a successful vaginal delivery. It seemed like just a handful of pushes before Theo made his debut. He was whisked away by the NICU team, who weighed him & checked him over. Justin got to be a part of all of this, while I remained on the operating table, waiting for Nolan to make his way down. They brought Theo in to meet me briefly before taking him down to NICU.

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There was a little downtime before I began pushing the second time around and it was during this time that I couldn’t stop thinking about how everything still felt so surreal! But reality struck when it was time to start pushing again and it wasn’t long before Nolan made his way out. Again, handed directly to the NICU team, who recognized some breathing issues & immediately rushed him to NICU. I didn’t get to meet him until a few hours later.

I was sent back to labor & delivery to recover/allow the epidural to wear off and all I could think about was being with my babies, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also thinking about FOOD! Since I knew they wouldn’t let me get out of bed for awhile (this is when that amazing epidural started to feel a little like my worst enemy), I ordered food, inhaled it, and contacted a bunch of family/friends via text to let them know THE BABIES ARE HERE! A couple hours later I was FINALLY allowed to go see my babies. I won’t lie. It was a little scary. I didn’t know much about their condition. I didn’t know what all of the tubes and wires and monitors meant. I hated that they were in isolettes (that’s a fancy NICU word for incubator) and I was afraid to touch them. But I knew in my heart they were exactly where they needed to be. I had high hopes that it would only be for a few days.


After thirty-four weeks, countless packages of Golden Oreos, far too many sleepless nights, and more Zantac than one person should ever consume, our precious babies were finally here!! And of course, they are worth every single bit of acid reflux, every single morning of desperately wanting to stay in bed because I had finally just fallen asleep, they are worth every single possible crappy moment that could have occurred during pregnancy. After the boys were born, while I was still in the operating room, I made the declaration “I’m ready to do that all over again!” And I meant it. I wouldn’t call my pregnancy a tough one by any means. It was uncomfortable at times, sure. But carrying around 10+ pounds of baby is far worse than delivering two 5ish pound babies. I swear. Some of the hospital staff mentioned that it was a “textbook twin delivery”, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

Our hospital experience certainly doesn’t end there, as the boys spent three full weeks in the NICU but I write this with one boy fast asleep on my chest and the other nearby in his swing. Most days I still can’t believe they’re mine, nor can I believe the journey we’ve already been on.

Theo and Nolan will be one month old tomorrow and we may just have a little dance party to celebrate what a month it’s been!

my boys

On June 9th, exactly seven months to the day I discovered I was pregnant, exactly 34 weeks gestational age, Theo John entered the world at 5:16pm. Twenty-six minutes later his brother, Nolan Burke, arrived.  

I am a mom.

I have two sons.

  
I also have a male fur child and a husband, which means I’m incredibly outnumbered now. 

I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I adore my boys. All of them. 

  
These two new ones though, they are already some of the coolest, sweetest, most precious human beings I’ve ever met. 

For now they’re taking up residency in the NICU until they can figure out how to eat on their own but one day soon enough we’ll all be home together and I can hang with all of my boys in one place. The idea of that day makes my heart feel all sorts of melty in ways I can’t even describe. <3

 

WEEK 31

Apparently it’s been ten weeks since my last full fledged pregnancy update. Not that I’ve really been talking about anything else here, but for memory keeping’s sake, let’s get to an update!

Babies: Babies are said to be 3.3 pounds, or the size of four navel oranges, this week. I have a sneaking suspicion these babies weigh a bit more and I think it’s safe to say it feels like I’ve got eight navel oranges (constantly) moving around in there. Perhaps eight grapefruits is even more accurate. We’ll learn their weight at my ultrasound later this week.  Apparently they are starting to fatten up and fill out at this point too. I have no doubt that they are filling out juuuust fine. Did I tell you about my mom’s friend that was an 8 lb triplet? Eight. Pound. Triplet.

  
I’m feeling and seeing these babes move around constantly and it’s just so freaking cool. I often wonder what in the heck they are doing in there, and also wonder if they are communicating somehow. When they are quiet, I can’t help but think they’re already plotting against me somehow. Like, making plans for the terrible twos, or even worse, the terrible teens!

How am I feeling? Eh. I have my days. Mostly I feel grateful, lucky, hashtag blessed. But I’d be lying if I failed to mention that I also feel exhausted, uncomfortable, and incapable of ordinarily simple tasks at times. Every little thing that involves movement gets more difficult by the day. Getting out of bed. Putting on socks/shoes. Walking. Washing the dishes (belly really gets in the way). Doing laundry. You get the idea.

Happy or moody most of the time? It’s funny, looking back at my 21 week post, I mentioned feeling emotional. It definitely subsided for awhile but seems to be back again. I’ll be the first to admit I’m irritable and not always my usual chipper self. It’s not because I’m not completely and utterly excited for what is to come in our very near future, it’s just that growing babies is tough work. And sometimes it gets the best of me. Over the weekend I did some baking and got so excited about the idea of being in the kitchen with my littles someday, teaching them how to measure flour and keeping them happy with 1/4 of brown sugar like my mom always did for me when she baked.


Total weight gain: More than thirty pounds. I’m not sure exactly how much more and I’m not concerned. At my most recent prenatal visit my doctor told me I was “doing a great job”. At the appointment before that he said I should “watch the weight a bit”. At that same appointment he forgot there were two babies until I reminded him that he neglected to get a heartbeat for Baby B. As you can imagine, I was not happy. This past appointment was much better and he commented that my weight is well within the healthy range, based on my pre-pregnancy BMI and the fact that I’m carrying twins.

Maternity clothes? Pretty much exclusively so. With the exception of non-maternity maxi dresses purchased a size or two too big. I also accidentally discovered that fold-over yoga pants worn backwards and unfolded make for pretty great maternity comfies!

  
Sleep: Let’s not talk about it. It’s worth mentioning though, that it doesn’t seem to be my active babies that are keeping me up. I wake up due to acid reflux, mostly. But also because I have to pee. And also for reasons unbeknownst to me. I’m just. Awake. More often than not. But for the most part the babies are quiet during normal “sleep hours”. They move around a bit, but not enough to keep me up.

Miss anything? My ankle bones. Unlimited caffeine. Moving around quickly. BEER. 

Cravings: Ice cold drinks/anything slushy. Carbonation. Cereal -both with milk and by the handful right out of the box. Strawberries. Golden Oreos, always. I’ve also been on a little peanut butter kick as of late.

Stretch marks? Still none. Still knocking on wood.

Belly button? As I type, it’s neutral. Neither in, nor out. That said, I think it’s about to see what life is like as an outie aaaaany day now.

Wedding ring? I stopped wearing that long ago. Swapped it for a fake a few months ago. I wear it sometimes.

New items for babies? Tons of them. My baby shower was a few weeks ago, followed by a surprise shower my coworkers threw me. We’re nearly set on baby necessities, now it’s just a matter of getting everything organized.


Symptoms/sickness: Still acid reflux. Still minimal sleep. Swollen feet and ankles. The swelling is not only unattractive and inconvenient, it’s actually painful at times. In a tingly sense of the word. I’ve encountered a bit of Braxton Hicks contractions but they’ve been very sporadic. I have a major case of heavy belly and sometimes when I walk it feels as if they’re going to just fall out with every step.

Food aversions: None, really. I have been trying to avoid reflux “trigger” foods but that’s out of desperation, not because I don’t want them.

Random: My sweet, sweet parents drove 50+ miles to bring me a recliner last week. My mom battled heartburn and acid reflux for the last two months of her pregnancy with me so she slept in a recliner, which worked for her. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working for me. It is another place to sit and elevate my feet after work though, and last night when I got out of it, I’m pretty sure I broke the chair. So that’s cool. #feelingthin ;)

Sunday marked my last day at my second job and even though the last few shifts were tough, I kind of miss it already. Oh, I didn’t tell you I’ve been a weekend warrior for the past few months? Yeah, apparently the financial fear that goes along with expecting twins makes you do crazy things like work 14 days straight until you’re 31 weeks pregnant with twins. Really, the money was completely worth it and it provided me with a social life that involved making money instead of spending it. A win win!

Weeks 27-30

In just a few days we’ll be at the start of week 31. I’d have to say that these past few weeks have had me really feeling more pregnant than ever before. This is my best synopsis of how things have been progressing and changing as of late.

Around week 27 things started getting a little more uncomfortable. Swelling of my feet and ankles has become more consistent, but not constant. It does seem to be worse when the weather is warmer. You know, so I can show off my sausage toes in sandals. Acid reflux continues to be a problem, more frequently and fiercely so. Every day tasks continue to get more difficult and it just seems like this rapidly growing belly of mine is really starting to get in the way. Of course I know most of these things will only intensify over time so I’ve been doing my best to take it all in stride and deal with things as they come, rather than dwelling on them. I mean, it’s pretty disappointing to have to wear boring flip-flops rather than cute buckled sandals, but the reality is that buckling those tiny ankle straps requires more stability and lung capacity than I have at this time so ankle-strapped buckle sandals are reserved for when I have someone here to help me get dressed.

The babies continue to grow equally and healthily so complaints about how I’ve been feeling during this time are honestly irrelevant. I know I could have it so much worse and would gladly take more pain/suffering/discomfort if that means the babies will be strong and healthy. That said, a night with more than a few hours of sleep probably wouldn’t be the worst thing for me or the babies. I had two or three nights of amazingly sound sleep in the midst of this three week period but other than that, you can pretty much count on my being awake from 2am-5am EVERY. DAMN. DAY.


What a difference two weeks makes, huh?
26 weeks on the left, 28 on the right.

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I’ve also noticed myself really slowing down during this time. I remember waking up one day after only one snooze of my alarm, getting ready for work without much distraction, yet being late to work. Normally this morning pattern would get me there 5-10 minutes early. I can attribute this only to the fact that I am simply not as fast or efficient these days. Bottom line, it takes me longer to get from point A to point B, whether I want to admit it or not. I’m finally allowing myself to slow down too, which was tough at first.

The babies REALLY started moving during the time frame. They’ve been active now for quite some time but it seems like they’ve just been constantly on the go for the past couple of weeks.

I attempted to paint my toenails to celebrate the warmer weather and my upcoming baby shower during week 28. I quickly realized this was a task I could no longer complete myself so I swapped my lunch break with a pedicure one Friday afternoon and it was by far more enjoyable than just about any lunch I’ve experienced. I hope to do this a couple more times before the babies arrive.

Overall I’ve been pretty surprised that my emotions haven’t been too overboard during much of this pregnancy. I’m a very emotional person normally so I figured those emotions would just be over the top and I’d be a wreck for nine months. Much to my surprise, that hasn’t been the case. However, I’ve been having a good cry or two over the past few weeks and in general I’ve been feeling pretty sappy. I’ll even admit that at times I feel a little sad. I know I have no reason for feeling this way but I think exhaustion is taking it’s toll and I get a little weepy from time to time. I’m just letting the tears flow rather than trying to keep them in. No need to bottle up that emotion, right?!