Tuesday, August 16, 2016

First Year Victories

I've been wanting to write a sweet and sentimental post about the twin's first year, since their birthday was Friday. I finally got my laptop out after putting the kids to bed and made some coffee and thought I can write a long, mushy post. BUT since they are prostesting the nap, I'm not feeling it.

I mean, we do this twice a day every day. Whhyyyyyy are you fighting it?! I know you're sleepy. Mav threw his binky out of the crib and Tuck realized he can reach out and yank on the monitor cord. Great.

Maybe once they go to sleep I'll feel like writing sweet things about them. But for now, I'm going to write a list of our victories over the past year. Take that, you stinkers. I'll write about ME. Are you seriously still standing up in your crib? UGH!

1. I survived the year. The first year with twins and having 3 kids. I don't remember much about it, I know I didn't sleep much of it, but we made it through and I have taken enough pictures to remember that it happened.

(break to go pat Tuck's back... oh, he pooped. Well, gee, no wonder he didn't want to go to sleep. I don't blame ya, bro.)

2. My marriage survived the year. I'm just being honest, people. Twins make you close to insane and since you can't take it out on them, you take it out on your spouse. At least that's what I did. We were stressed, overtired, and never got time for each other. It definitely makes it hard. But we made it through the year where the babies require the most attention. I'm careful not to say the "hardest year"... because I know being a parent isn't just hard when you have to get up in the wee hours of the morning to rock a baby back to sleep. Now that things are starting to run a little more smoothly, we can hopefully be less stressed and have more opportunities to escape for dinner or a night out. Hallelujah! We need it.

3. I breastfed the whole year! I don't mean to brag, but seriously, this was no easy thing! But darn it, I did it! That was my goal, make it to a year without having to use formula. For months I've been saying that I couldn't wait until they could have cows milk and I could be DONE... and now? I'm having a hard time giving it up. I have been only nursing about 4 times a day (morning, before both naps, and before bedtime). Today was the first day I put them down for both naps without nursing them, which is what I plan to keep doing. I will probably hold onto the morning/night feeds for just a little longer.

4. Easton survived the year! Big bro has been a complete angel the past year. God blessed us with the most easy-going toddler for this past year. He's always been a good boy but he was so much better with the twins than we expected. He loves his brothers and doesn't act out for attention. He will bring me diapers and help me whenever I ask. There were times this past year we would put the kids to sleep and let him stay up for hours afterwards because we needed that time with him. He has been our little sunshine! Now the twins are getting closer to the point where the 3 of them can play together all day and be best buds. I'm excited for that!

5. I lost my baby weight! Well for now, I may find it again someday... haha. But thanks to a 90 day challenge I did and some tedious calorie counting, I am back to pre-baby weight and only 6 pounds away from the weight I was when I got married! I am hoping the routine I've gotten used to will help me keep the weight off... I know that I can count on some calories burnt chasing kids around!

6. My boys are strong and healthy.  We made it through the first year with no major illnesses, no trips to the ER, no bad boo-boo's. They are growing, they are eating, they are healthy, Thank you Jesus!! I know with three boys the ER trips will probably come eventually, though... today I walked out of the room and came back to Tucker standing on the end table in the living room. He loves to climb and it's a problem. They keep me on my toes, for sure!

7. Our families still love us! We have relied on my family and Jeremy's family so much this year. The Grandmas, especially, have been lifesavers. They have babysat countless times, changed many, many diapers, listened to me whine and cry, made us food, brought us food, and been such a huge support to Jeremy and I this year. We have mooched off of them for help and food for so long, but it seems like they still love us! We were smart to buy a house within 5 miles of both sets of parents. I won't ever be able to thank them enough for helping us through this past year.

I'm sure there are so many other victories from this past year, some big deals and some small. But I'm just proud of our little family for making it through this year. And let me tell you... I am coming out of this first year with a whole new perspective on life. There were times this past year that made me throw myself little pity parties... oh poor Hannah, she has so many kids and so much to do and so much to clean... blah blah blah.  And for that I feel terrible, because I cannot comprehend why God has chosen to bless me with SO much. I have the most wonderful husband and THREE beautiful, healthy little boys to call mine. I've started to notice the look in some of the older peoples eyes when they say I have a beautiful family. It's a look that seems to say oh, I miss those days. Some day my kids will be grown up and I know for a fact I will say that these were the golden years. I won't remember the up all nights and the teething and the constant washing of sippy cups. I will remember being home with my boys in my cozy little house, listening to their laughter and living the dream! Cause this is the dream, my dream. I couldn't wait for all this! To be the wife, the mom, the lady with a bunch of kids running around the little house that she owns! I am so, so blessed.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

11 Months

Where has the time gone? My twins will be one in less than a month! This summer is flying by.

We just celebrated Easton's 3rd birthday and now my mind is on the twins big one year bash! or maybe small bash? I'm not sure yet. I could go all pinterest-y on it and make cutesy decorations and have an adorable theme with coordinating snacks and cupcakes. Orrrrrr, I could invite the family over, have some food, and not overdo it since they will not remember it anyway. Decisions, decisions.

Anyway, they are 11 months now. They are walking, sleeping through the night, babbling, eating everything they get their hands on, getting into trouble, making messes, and ultimately keeping me very, very busy.

But oh man, the joy they bring far outweighs the trouble they get into! They clap and dance, they do "so big", they play so well, they goof off and blow raspberries, they show affection, they are so much fun.

Maverick is by far, the biggest trouble maker of the 3. Yeah, that's right, he is worse than the 3 year old. He knows the word "no" but pretends like he doesnt. He has figured out that he can wait until I'm not looking to do something he knows he shouldn't. He's a smart little fart! He's SO loud and goofy, and likes things his way. I took his ice cream cone away from him the other day and he 'bout had a meltdown! (Ice cream is his favorite!). He LOVES playing with Easton and any big kid, he thinks he's one of them. He eats anything in front of him. I'm a big Friends fan, so I picture him like Joey trying Rachel's messed up trifle. "Custard? Good. Jam? Good. Meat, good!" Except in Mav's world it's "Dried playdough? Good. Crumbs on the floor? Good. Last night's dinner left in the high chair? Good!" I swear I'm a good mom. I vacuum and watch them but he always finds something. Moving on... Maverick walks so well now. He can toddle around the back yard with shoes on pretty well now so I'm just starting to attempt taking all 3 outside by myself. I took them out last night... Easton plays with toys, Tucker is pushing around the tricycle, and then there's Maverick... throwing handfuls of mulch, pulling out flowers, and trying to climb up the stairs when I'm not looking. Such a little handful! He proves every day that his name was the right choice. I love it though. He's such a fun little stinker!

Tucker is still my sweetheart. He snuggles any girl willing to hold him, and he loves to give me kisses. Last week I caught him hugging Maverick over and over. It was the sweetest moment!!! He has all of the sudden turned into a huge goofball and loves an audience. He plays well and usually hangs out with me while the other two go find trouble. He gets jealous when Mav gets to nurse. It doesn't matter if I fed him 2 minutes ago, if Mav gets a turn, Tuck has to get another turn. He's more hesitant with new foods than Maverick is. He will eat most anything but has to examine it first. He  is getting much better at walking, but he's all about the climbing lately. Today I walked into the bathroom and he was standing on the toilet! (again, I swear I watch them! They just go in opposite directions all day long) He's a solid boy, and really has shot up passed Maverick. At their 9 month appointment their heights and weights were the closest they had ever been but I think Tuck his a growth spurt soon after. I call him my little linebacker!

Oh, did I mention they were sleeping through the night? Mommy got tough and finally stopped nursing them when they would wake in the middle of the night, and what do you know?! They stopped waking up! It's been a long 11 months with usually 2 wake ups per kid, but this week they have been sleeping like 11 hours straight. They are still taking two naps a day, too, which is nice! Easton still takes an afternoon nap too, I'm holding on to that as long as I can!

I let them try cows milk this week just to see how weaning will go. They loved it! I plan to start when they turn one. Yes, I know there are awesome benefits to nursing and all, but nursing twins is a lot of work. I am proud of myself for making it this far, and I might continue to nurse in the morning and night for a while after their birthday, but momma needs some space! I wish I could count up the hours I spent nursing them the past 11 months. Let's just say it's a LOT. I'm ready to go out of the house for more than 3-4 hours at a time. Heck, I want a weekend away to celebrate making it a year with twins!

Nap time's over. Gotta go! I'll leave you with a couple pics from this month.

Tucker on left, Maverick on right

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

My Twin Birth Story

FINALLY! I took the time to write it out. Some of the details are long gone, but I remember the gist of it. Thank God I save text messages, it's the only way I was able to remember all this in somewhat of a chronological order.

Ok, so I will start out by saying that this is one of those birth stories that doesn't exactly give you warm fuzzies. I did not go in to labor in the middle of the night, tell my husband "It's time!" and in 4 hours push out two babies with soft music playing in the background. It was not that pretty. It definitely was not that quick. But it's MY story and I love it because in the end I had two healthy baby boys in my arms.

Here's a little background... I had a c-section with my first son because he was breech. When I found out I was pregnant with the twins, I thought my dreams of a VBAC (Vaginal birth after Cesarean) were gone. After meeting with a specialist, I found out that it was possible and totally reasonable for me to attempt. I researched and researched, hired an awesome doula, and prepared for a vaginal birth. Baby A was head down and the doc was ready and willing to do it. His hope was that I would go into labor on my own so that we didn't need any medications. Most doctors won't let twin mothers go past 38 weeks gestation for fears of placenta deterioration or something like that. So we hoped that by 38 weeks I would be in labor. That's the background. (Spoiler: this is not how it went!)

By 37 weeks, I had not had a single contraction. Not one. A couple weird pains, sure, but none that I could point to and say "That was a contraction!" I was having weekly visits with the specialist at that point. At that week's visit, we had our last ultrasound. The boys were doing great and were about 6 pounds each. The next week (38 weeks 5 days) the doctor checked my cervix to see where we were at... No dilation, 50% effaced. Not what I was hoping for. He was willing to wait longer, in hopes I would go into labor any moment. He asked if I wanted to make an appointment for the following Monday or just schedule the induction (which he would have done at the appointment anyway). I opted for the induction. No sense in driving 45 minutes to the doctor for him to tell me to come back in the morning for induction. He wasn't going to let me go any longer anyway, so Monday, the 10th, I was supposed to call early morning to get a time to come in. But he was quite confident he would see me before then... I mean, I was 39 weeks pregnant with twins, they HAVE to be coming any second.


So I spent the week waddling around, swimming, taking walks, and trying to enjoy the last few days despite being soooo incredibly uncomfortable. I'm one of those annoying pregnant ladies that enjoys pregnancy. I hardly get sick, I practically glow, I love every minute of it. But by this point, I was pretty miserable. I remember sitting at home in the AC playing solitaire all week. Kept my mind off of things I guess.

Anyway, Monday rolls around and I still had yet to experience a contraction or any proof that they were coming. So I got up early, called the hospital and got packing. They said to go eat a good breakfast and come on in that morning. We got all ready and dropped Easton off at my in-laws. We stopped to take this picture....
Woah! 39 weeks, 5 days

We had a nervous drive to the hospital, stopping at Bruegger's bagels for some food. If I had known how long I would go without food after this meal, I would have had more than a bagel and cream cheese.... Some stinkin' protein would have been nice. Oh well.

9:28am Monday: I sent a text to the mothers (my mom and Jeremy's mom) to say "we are here! Haven't seen a nurse or anything yet. Just sitting here. Jer is freaking out haha." We texted back and forth for a little while and I told them I was doing great, followed by a text 10 minutes later that said I took that back, I was getting nervous. I had never gone through labor! How bad will it hurt? And I gotta push two out?!
Jeremy was kind of freaking out

10:25am: First attempt to get the IV in was a fail. I was so swollen. I wanted to punch the nurse.

11:13am: IV successful (after they brought in the pro with the ultrasound machine to find a vein), and all 3 monitors hooked up (contraction monitor and two heart rate monitors).
Still feeling good enough to take a selfie at this point

12:50pm: I texted the moms to say "still no dilation. Starting pitocin as soon as they bring it here. Maverick is head down. Ready to get this started."  The plan was to use pitocin very slowly to make sure it wouldn't cause uterine rupture, which was a small risk considering my previous cesarean.

1:22pm: "We're connected to pit!"

1:51pm: "Having contractions already, can't really feel them. Pretty sure I won't be able to sleep though lol." I settled in.... Family would be coming up soon, and the doctor estimated I'd be delivering the boys in the evening or middle of the night. What a feeling! Such excitement, and no pain yet. This wasn't so bad after all......


That afternoon, the family came up, don't ask me who. I know the moms and most of the sisters (I have 5 sisters and Jer has 2). My doula was there as well.

Hours pass....
Monday, 9:07pm... settling in for the night
9:47pm  Thankful for this man!

My mother in law, my doula, and some of the sisters spent the night in the waiting room. I remember trying to get them to go home because I knew it would be a while. They wouldn't. They didn't want to miss it! I mean, it HAD to happen soon!

Fast forward to the next morning:

6:40am Tuesday: I texted my mother, "Morning Mom. Wish I had lots to report... But at least I got a tiny bit of sleep and I'm feeling the contractions pretty well. I dunno ma. I'm hanging by a thread lol."  I was already getting worried. I hadn't dilated hardly at all. I think only a centimeter or two. The pitocin was very low still though, only at an 11. They had mentioned giving me a break that day so I could eat something, shower, and hopefully give my body the jumpstart it needed.  My doctor came in before 9am and assured me that this was normal. Slow and steady was ok. He wasn't worried, which gave me some hope.

11:33am: I texted my mother: "Soooo I'm in pain. I'm going to need my momma soon." She was already on her way. Jer's mother was still there I think. I know she went home for a little while that day but I don't remember when. My doula had also left since she had two kids and needed to go home for a little bit, since this was clearly a marathon and not a sprint labor.  But people were coming and going and I was happy to have distractions. I remember Jeremy trying to get me to watch Netflix and I just didn't want to for some reason. I think he turned Friends on for a while but I just couldn't focus.
1:08pm Tuesday... looking a little warn out.
My poor, tired doula. She was a trooper! And didn't know she was pregnant at this point!
I ended up getting a break that afternoon. They unhooked me from everything for an hour. I ate a wrap, took a shower, and had some time alone. I remember having contractions during the break so I was glad to know my body was contracting on its own. I also remember being extremely frustrated. One of the nurses came in and I just broke down.  I was so worried that after all of this, I would just have to have a c section and it would all have been a waste. She calmed me down and told me that everything was ok. We started the pitocin again around 4pm, back down to a 1.

Oh, I forgot a part. At some point, they inserted a foley bulb. It's a catheter that manually opens your cervix. This got me to a 3-4 cm dilated. I was glad it worked cause it hurt like heck to have it inserted. My cervix was posterior so it wasn't easy to get to. But honestly, I have no clue when they did this. I think at some point Tuesday, it may have been late on Monday. I have no clue. Anyway, where were we?

6:05pm: I texted my mother "Didn't work :(" This was in reference to the doctor trying to break my water. Let me tell ya, this was the WORST part of my whole experience. It was the most painful 5 minutes of the whole labor. I don't know if the doctor was particularly forceful or I was just sore and tired and already in pain, but she didn't end up getting the water broken because I was about to kick her straight in the face. It hurt SO bad. Worse than any contraction I had. Ugh. This was a low point of the whole experience. I was in pain, so frustrated, and so worried that it was all going to fail. Here it is the evening of the second day and I'm barely at 4cm. They said they would come try again later.

Side note: throughout this whole thing, I had to be hooked up at all times to the 3 monitors and the IV. The babies' heart rate monitors would slip constantly, and the nurses had to come in and readjust them. I could get out of bed but couldn't walk around. Every time I moved, the monitor slipped. It was super annoying.

9:09pm: Told my mom they would try and break the water again, but this time with an internal baby monitor. It was supposed to be a little quicker and would allow me to ditch one of the baby monitors.

9:33pm: I sent a text to my doula to say "Water is broken!" I was hopeful at this point. Finally, something to get this thing moving. Contractions picked up almost instantly. They got strong and closer together. I was happy to be in pain, because I knew they were doing something!!! My doula was awaiting my text to have her come back up. I finally texted her at 11:45pm and said that she should come soon. They were painful and in my back, and I knew she had lots of tricks up her sleeve to help with the pain. And boy, she did! The best was the rebozo (sp?) thing. It was fabric that I could grip onto and Jeremy could hold the other end. I would pull on it during a contraction and relieve some pressure in my back. She guided Jeremy on where to rub my back and how to hold me in a way that would help through each contraction. I was focused, feeling good, and feeling some nice pain. Contractions were close together and strong all through the night.

11:13pm. He hated seeing me in pain. Such love!

2:59am (Wednesday, my DUE date): I texted my mom (who was in the waiting room): "Mommy it hurts!" There's just something about your mom that helps in any situation. My husband was absolutely wonderful during the whole thing, but my Mom had a way to calm me down. She had felt this pain, she had carried twins. That whole night was strangely wonderful. My husband, doula (who is a friend), and both our mothers were all there. We cried, we prayed, we laughed. It was such an experience. We were all tired, all stressed and frustrated, and all leaning on Jesus to help us through the night. They all comforted me and encouraged me.

The back labor was intense, and after two days of contractions I didn't have a whole lot of fight left in me. I decided at about 4am to get an epidural. I knew if I was going to make it to the finish line, I needed to relax and get some sleep. I hadn't progressed much more so I thought it would help. I did get a few hours of much needed sleep.

11:19am (Wednesday): to my mom: "Epidurals are a lie!" For some reason, the right side was numb, and the left side had full feeling. I was so ticked. My back hurt so badly during each contraction and only on one side. I was pissed. The anesthesiologist was in a c section at that time so I had to wait for him to come take a look at it. When he finally did, he blamed the other anesthesiologist and said it was "sh*tty placement."  Whatever, dude, just FIX it.

My father-in-law brought Easton up for a while, but that didn't go too well. He was nervous and didn't like seeing me in a hospital bed all hooked up to stuff. He would barely hug me. I said it was fine, but I remember being a little hurt. I mean he's two, but I really wanted some loving from my boy!
kisses from my little man
The next few hours were a blur. Frustration. Anxiety. Pain. The babies heart rates were starting to rise and I remember both moms had eyes locked on those monitors with worried looks on their faces. The epidural was working a little better but at this point, the pain wasn't the issue. This was day three and my worst fear was looking like a reality: this was all a waste. They weren't coming.

Finally, in the late afternoon I was given a final exam to see if I had progressed. I had been 6 centimeters for a while. Active labor for HOURS and they were going to check me one last time before giving up. Well, they did. And I was maybe 6.5 centimeters. Labor was not progressing and since the babies heart rates were well in the 170's, the doctor finally said they were going to prep me for a cesarean.

My doctor, the one I had been seeing for months, came in and encouraged me. He said we had done everything we can and he applauded me for my effort, but it was time. Honestly, I was relieved. I was done fighting. My emotions and energy were gone, my body was exhausted and I couldn't handle much more. So, they started prepping me. It went down hill quickly and confirmed the necessity of the c-section: I had spiked a fever. They hurried and got me into an OR. They gave me a spinal tap and a bunch of shots that I'm still not sure what they were for. It was all happening fast and it was really stressful.
My mom took this pitcure as I waited to be wheeled to the OR. 

The surgery took longer than I remember my first being. And it was painful. I don't know what the heck happened with my spine through this whole thing, but the spinal tap wasn't working all that great either! It wasn't like I could feel them cut me open, but it was intense pain as he dug around trying to get baby A out. (Maybe because the anesthesiologist was standing by my head on the phone during my surgery... what the heck?! Get off the phone and give me more drugs!) But once Mr. Maverick was out, at 6:40pm, what relief! One minute later, Tucker was born. Jeremy got to be with the babies while they cleaned them up and I, well, couldn't really go anywhere. They showed me Maverick and told me how small he was! What a little doll. I heard them say that Tucker was much bigger but I didn't get to see him. There was a window in the corner of the room that the mothers and my doula were waiting at. Jeremy got to show them the babies through the window while they closed me up.
Maverick James
Tucker Curtis

The babies' measurements and footprints!
I was very awake at this point. Jer left with the babies and I eventually went back to my room. I was so relieved and feeling amazing by the time I got back. They would be bringing the babies in soon to try and nurse. All 3 of us had to be started on antibiotics immediately because of my fever. I don't remember them explaining much, but my water had been broken for almost a day so I assume they were worried about infection.
Maverick (Baby A)
Tucker (Baby B)

The nurses were nice enough to let all of the family in around 8:30ish to see me. They wheeled the babies in too, and I got to see my Tucker for the first time! It was all worth it to have my boys finally here! Finally able to be held!

9:16pm: I sent a text to my mother and mother in law saying "Just nursed my boys. What a wonderful feeling!!"

And the rest is history! We were at the hospital 10am Monday, had the babies at 6:40pm Wednesday, on my due date, and were there until we were discharged Saturday afternoon. It was the longest week of my life, I think. Looking back, do I wish it went a little differently? Ummm... yeah. I would have loved to deliver naturally. I would have loved a shorter stay... I should probably have just scheduled the cesarean at 38 weeks like normal twin moms. But I don't think I would change it. Those 3 days were filled with moments where I saw strength in myself that I didn't know I had. My relationship with my husband grew stronger, my relationships with my mother and mother in law, my family, and even my dear friend/doula, became stronger. Those middle of the night prayer sessions were powerful moments in my life. The encouragement I received from my family, friends, and church family as I went through this was amazing. Even the kind words from the nurses meant a lot to me.

It's a long and messy story, but it's MY story. The wonderful story of how I met my twin boys!

Hands and heart full!