Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Three Months

The girls are three months old! They're still keeping me on my toes, that's for sure. Here's the over all three month update:
  • We're working on taking naps during the day. They pretty much refuse to sleep for any length of time and take like ten minute micro naps after they eat... that just wasn't cutting it. By the time evening rolled around we had some very cranky, over tired, grumpy babies. I tried letting them sleep in the swing, in the carrier, in sleep sacks in their bed...nothing worked. Today I got desperate and swaddled them like we do at night. So far so good. 
  • They're still small, but are slowly growing into three month clothes. They're definitely too long for most newborn clothes these days and are solidly in most 3 month pants thanks to the cloth diapers.
  • We LOVE our cloth diapers. Love love love them. 
  • Santa is bringing the girls a few toys, a couple books, some cloth diapers, and an outfit each. He followed the "Something you want, something you need, something you wear, and something you read" protocol. 
  • They both HATE tummy time.
  • They're still eating every two hours during they day and for 45 minutes at a time. They're going pretty consistently 3-4 hours at night between feeds. I still feel like I can't go do much because of their eating schedule but, hey, this is what it's like right now. They were preemies and they're still so little so this eating pattern is not abnormal.
  • They're both being supplemented with 3ozs of formula per day and gaining enough weight daily that I think the Ped will be pleased. I was sick last week and that caused a dip in my milk supply so they didn't gain a TON of weight last week, but since my supply has perked back up a little and we've added an extra supplement they're gaining about an ounce a day which is exactly where they need to be.
  • I had mastitis a week ago and it damaged my supply (like it often does :(), so this is a big bummer. I have one last resort that I'm going to try. It's a drug called domperidone. It is not available in the US except from a compounding pharmacy, but world wide (including Canada and England) this drug is often prescribed for women who wish to breastfeed and suffer from low supply. The hope is that this drug will increase my supply enough that I can exclusively breastfeed and still see the girls gaining weight. This drug has been used for a couple of decades and the FDA has a small beef with it that no one really understands. I've done a lot of research about it and all of the biggest names in breastfeeding medicine and lactation science all agree this drug is the safest and best option for low milk supply. I just find myself in a situation that I do not make enough milk for both girls-- probably due to early on supplementation and PCOS. Either way... I'm really hoping this drug works. It may also speed up their eating time because they won't have to wait so long for enough milk. We shall see. If it does not turn out to be the miracle drug it seems to be, then I will likely begin switching to formula and breastfeed as much as possible until my supply dwindles. 

As for Eleanor, she's doing great! In the last week or so she's started cooing more and more. She plays a little game with Brad where she'll make a noise, he'll coo back, she'll answer him and on and on it goes for about ten minutes before she loses interest. She doesn't play it as much with me, but is definitely interested in playing the game with daddy. I think we have a daddy's girl. 

As of this morning Eleanor weighed 8 lbs 4.5ozs. I have no idea how long she is, but she is pretty long! She's almost too long for some of her 3 month pants. She's much much less fussy lately and has many happy periods through out the day, especially on days she takes a darn nap!

Other points of interest:

  • While she may hate tummy time, she does lift her head off the floor, swims around and gets her hips rocking (rolling may not be that far off!). 
  • We had to buy a baby brush for Eleanor's hair. She has almost none on the top of her head, but she totally has a ton in the back. I call it baby mullet.
  • She seems to be intentionally kicking toys hanging from the activity mat. Reaching is not far off!
  • She likes the swing most of the time, but lately has been much cuddlier and wanting to be held. Especially by daddy-- who doesn't seem to mind at all!

As for Amelia, she doesn't coo as much but she is making more and more vocalizations. She smiles in response to someone but may or may not be looking at you when she smiles. She will nap more easily than Eleanor, but tends to want to take her snoozes in the Solly Baby Wrap.

As of this morning, Amelia weighs 7 lbs 4ozs. She's not quite as long as her sister, but I don't think either of them are going to be short. Of course both Brad and I are tall, so I won't be surprised at all if we have tall girls. She tends to be a bit fussier, but when she is happy she is 100% smiles for you.

Other points of interest:

  • She's rolled from her tummy to her back exactly one time and hasn't done it since. But she gets VERY close.
  • Amelia gets angry quickly. She goes from making a few little noises to full on angry yelling in about two seconds.
  • She has more sensitive skin so we have to use mostly natural fiber diapers on her. Thank goodness for blueberry simplex all cotton diapers! She can wear a synthetic diaper, but not synthetics all day. I try to alternate between cotton diapers and synthetic diapers. Minky diapers are a definite NO GO. 
  • Amelia LOVES the wrap. Like, a lot. Poor Eleanor hardly ever gets worn unless dad is home so we can both be wearing a baby.
So there you have it. 3 whole months. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

I want to talk about Mom Guilt.

Ok, so, this update isn't a style file or really a update on the girls. In the middle of all my 45minute nursing sessions, I've had time to reflect a little bit about mommy guilt. I've spent a lot of time feeling guilty/sad/depressed over things that are not within my realm of control. Of course it doesn't help that  before this week, the girls would pretty much be awake and crying with very little awake and happy time-- unless they were nursing of course. That was very trying and made me question everything. It got even worse when they would be fussy ALL DAY and then get even worse in the evening. Needless to say... I am so glad that this week they've been MUCH happier. It makes me be more confident as a mom that my babies are awake and happy. Oh, and that I was able to put Eleanor in the swing and Amelia in the bouncer and they STAYED NAPPING. That is a huge victory. Basically for the last 11 weeks I've had a baby on me at all times. That in and of itself is exhausting.

All of that fussy time made it impossible to do things like tummy time or other play time to work on some of their developmental skills. We had a pediatrician appointment yesterday for their "2 month" check up (never mind that it's actually closer to three months. Oops), and I had to fill out this HUGE questionnaire about how they're developing and I was very generous in my assessment of them and they still scored in the "grey area" in some areas. My babies don't really recognize me as their mom, Eleanor doesn't push her head up during tummy time, they only sometimes follow a toy with their eyes but will usually follow it with their heads, among other things. That's when mommy guilt kicked in. "I should have been doing x,y, and z differently because now my babies are BEHIND!" I spent some time sad about that but then realized a couple of things. 1.) They were premature. 2.) I was in survival mode. I can't do tummy time or help work on skills when we're still working on not crying if you're awake 3.) there is an obsession in the medical arena with making sure your babies develop at a certain rate, gain weight at a certain weight, etc. It's silly.

Also, at the appointment she freaked out about Amelia's weight gain and was "very concerned" about it-- but she was only looking at one piece of the puzzle. In six weeks she only put on 300ish grams which is not a lot, admittedly and definitely not following the WHO curve. BUT. I was aware of it. For two or so weeks I just let it go to see if she would start gaining, when she didn't I called in a lactation consultant to help and for a week tried a couple things to see if she would gain. When she didn't gain in that time I began supplementing her. For the first week of the supplement she put on four ozs in a week-- on target for the low end of normal. She did that for a while. Then this past week her gain kind of exploded and she put on four ozs in three or so days. The supplement is working and I'm comfortable at the rate she's gaining now. In fact-- in a month's time she's put on a pound. When I said that first, the doctor kind of brushed it off and continued to try to scare me into feeding her more formula. Here's the thing, I know why they freak out about this stuff. There are situations of neglect they have to keep track of, slow weight gain can be indicative of a medical problem, whatever. I am aware of the situation, though, and addressing it. She finally got talked down after I explained to her that in basically three weeks she put on 11ozs. In fact, from yesterday to this morning she put on 1.5ozs! Eleanor isn't quite where she wanted either, but I told her I just started supplementing her too and she's been doing fine ever since.

So back to this mommy guilt stuff. I felt guilty for having to give the girls a very small amount of formula-- they're each only getting 2ozs total per day. That's 1oz supplement after the last two feedings of the day before bed. Not a big deal at all. The guilt voice in my head, though, screamed that I SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXCLUSIVELY BREASTFEED! IT HAS TO BE ALL OR NOTHING! Then I felt guilty for NOT supplementing sooner and possibly contributing to the developmental stuff. Then I felt guilty for this little diaper rash, or the fact that I only get a chance to bathe them once a week, or this or that.

When I got home I decided that it's all silly. The developmental stuff is just what it is. We need to expect that they'll be a little behind because they were essentially four weeks early-- there is a reason babies need that 40 weeks inside! They are beautiful and I can already tell they're very smart girls and  they will catch up. The doctor wasn't actually concerned about this at all. Didn't even bring it up, so why was I feeling guilty about it? The weight stuff is silly because babies grow at their own rate. The weight gain is only one piece of the puzzle-- they are growing just fine in length and all of that. They have plenty of pee and poop diapers so they're NOT malnourished or dehydrated.

Basically, I've decided a couple of things. First, in regard to the weight gain obsession. It isn't my fault at all and I just need to do what is best to make my babies grow. I have done what I feel is best every single step of the way and that's all I can do. I have made informed decisions based on (real) research about breastfeeding and weight gain so I have no problem doing what I'm doing and not increasing their supplemental formula just yet. Regardless of how the numbers look right this second, I am comfortable with where both of the girls are. I have not done anything wrong in trying to make exclusively breastfeeding work, nor am I doing anything wrong in feeding them formula. Even if I chose to fully formula feed, that is no reason to be guilty.

Second, mom guilt is going to be a constant until...well forever I would imagine. I can't let it run my life because it's not correct thinking. If I am doing my best and doing what is best for the babies I have no reason to be guilty for any reason. So, moving forward I am trying very hard to not allow faulty thinking in regard to my mothering to drive me to feel upset, depressed, sad, or to make uninformed decisions. It isn't easy, especially in the midst of sleep deprivation, but once I decided that mom guilt is has seemed much brighter. Especially because these moments happen:

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

8 Weeks

The girls are eight weeks! I can't hardly believe that it's been eight weeks.  We've had some ups and downs over the last four weeks.

  • In the last week or so they have been stretching to three hour eating intervals at night at least once, which means I get an extra hour of sleep! 
  • I've met with a very helpful lactation consultant 
  • We've fallen into a routine being on our own and for the most part we have had way more good days than bad. 
  • Being on my own hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. It is difficult at times, but it isn't nearly as terrible as I built it up to be in my mind. 
  • Nursing has been a struggle. Not as bad as some people have it, but it has been hard. Amelia is not gaining as fast as she should and Eleanor is on the lower end of normal for weight gain. I've had to start supplementing Amelia again and will evaluate Eleanor's need to be supplemented on Friday (I have my own scale now to check on such things). Emotionally breastfeeding has been HARD because I have felt like I have done everything I can to get Amelia to gain right and she hasn't. Is it my fault? Probably not. In fact, I'm 100% sure it isn't my fault; milk is there she just does not transfer it well due to a shallow latch. Perhaps supplementing will help her because she will grow more and hopefully have more energy for nursing. Eleanor's latch also is kind of shallow and makes it difficult to get milk-- that's why they're still nursing for 45 minutes at a time. We're working on it for sure. In this case, being born at 36 weeks may be affecting their nursing ability so it may take longer for them to "get it" and get more efficient. I'm also taking some supplements to help build my supply as well as (trying) to pump some. The pumping isn't going well just because during the day when they're nursing every two hours for 45minutes at a time...well ain't nobody got time for pumping after that! I know I could transition to bottle feeding instead of breastfeeding, but I firmly believe the issues we are facing are 100% fixable and this too shall pass. I'm definitely giving it more time before I make any decisions on whether to continue or not. With the right help, I think we will be able to overcome these obstacles and get their latches right so everyone is happier. 
  • Lack of sleep is catching up with us. Brad is getting sick with a cold and I'm just tired all of the time.
  • This one is kind of silly: Eleanor is between sizes. New Born size clothes, especially pants, are generally too small but three month sizes are way too big! 

Amelia weighs 6 pounds 4.5 ozs now. After my last post at the pediatrician's she had gained 6ozs in 7 days while we were supplementing her. So, with the doctor's blessing, I dropped the supplement. She's still a little peanut for sure, but she is filling out a bit. We're working on fattening her up some more too.

In the last week or so Amelia is making happy faces. I'm not sure I would call it a smile per se but it's definitely a happy expression on her face. She doesn't do it in response to much; usually when we're going to change her we'll just look down and she's making the happy face.

Amelia likes being in the swing for limited amounts of time and it definitely does not calm her if she's already worked up. She would much prefer to be worn against me in the wrap. 

Eleanor weighs 7lbs 3.5ozs now. She's gaining relatively well, though still on the lower end of normal. She is also the fussier baby most of the time, which is why we have mostly crying pictures of her. I think the two in this post are the only two from the shoot where she is not crying. The girl is serious about eating-- when she wants it she wants it NOW not five minutes from now to finish up taking pictures.

Eleanor likes the swing and will sit in there happily for a while. If she's already worked up, though, she won't be calmed by it. She's also liking the bouncy seat more and more. This is a huge relief for me because I have to eat and use the bathroom at some point during day!

Aside from the stresses of nursing, things are going really well! I'm enjoying getting to know the babies.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

1 Month....and we're still alive (mostly)

It's been a month and we're all still here, though my internet presence has drastically decreased. Turns out there isn't really a good way to be nursing two babies at the same time and be able to type. I go look at a lot of stuff online but rarely am I able to sit down and type something out. When babies eat every two to two and a half hours... it's just the way it is. :)

I managed to get some pictures of the babies, but as you can see it's difficult to get pictures of two babies with eyes open, not crying, and with the perfect settings on my camera. It all takes practice, I guess. :)

So far life is going well. I have had help for the last several weeks, and Brad's mom has extended her stay to help me this week too. It's been a huge help. Twins alone is HARD.

 Miss Amelia is definitely my more hands on baby. She's much more particular about how she's held, she has more tummy troubles, and she's my tiny little peanut. A point of prayer for her is that she begins to gain weight. At birth, both girls lost a lot of weight and needed to be supplemented with formula. The first two weeks they both gained well at home and the pediatrician gave his blessing to stop supplementing with the formula. The formula was a very small amount (15-20mls) after nursing, so it was not solely responsible for their initial weight gain. We simply did it to ensure that they were getting "topped off". These last two weeks, though, Amelia has only gained two ounces. They're looking for her to gain a half ounce to one ounce per day so she's obviously very much below that. Eleanor is gaining just fine, so I am sure it is not a supply issue on my end. I am meeting with a lactation consultant and going to see how much she is taking in at a feeding. We clipped a tongue tie about a week ago, so perhaps that was partly responsible for the minimal weight gain, but probably not 100% responsible.

In the mean time, I am trying to feed them more often. These last two weeks they were stretching their feedings to three or three and a half hours. I'm back to setting alarms and feeding them at the 2.5 hour mark during the day and the 3 hour mark at night instead of "on demand" because they were sleeping through feedings. I'm also working to build my supply more by drinking Mother's Milk tea, eating oatmeal, and I'm going to start pumping a bit after a feeding and using that to top off Amelia, since the pediatrician has asked us to start supplementing her again. I would freeze that milk, but we're also battling thrush so I can't freeze that milk until after it's 100% cleared up. I can express it and give it to them, but if I save it for later, I risk re-infection.

Eleanor is gaining mostly just fine, so we know enough milk is there for both babies since I feed them at the same time and switch sides at every feed. Eleanor is my more laid back baby, but she's also more impatient at feeding time. She goes from cuing that she's hungry to full on screaming in about two seconds.

A prayer point for Eleanor is that she has to go to a pediatric cardiologist to do an echo and heart ultrasound. We saw a different doctor in the practice for their 4 week check up, and she thinks she heard a heart murmur. It's not something we are OVERLY concerned about, but it is something she wants to send to a specialist just to make sure all is well. We'll be going on Wednesday morning, but I don't think they'll be doing any of the testing on that day. I think they're more just going to do a consult with MAYBE an in office EKG.

As for all of us, pray that I can function with minimal sleep. I feel ok during the day, but at night there may be some tears out of pure exhaustion. The babies want to eat at the 2.5 hour mark for most of the night, if not more often between the hours of 6pm and 12am. Like last night, one or both of the babies wanted to eat basically constantly from 6-10 and then it was time for both to eat in there too. I know cluster feeding is normal, but man it's exhausting. Also, the thrush infection is clearing up but needs to go away permanently and not come back.

I realize this post is mostly about feeding them, but hey, that's life for us right now!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Freezer Stash

I started this post the friday before the babies decided to arrive. Clearly, I didn't get much extra added to the stash that I was hoping to add. I never got the chance to do the pizzas, baked ziti, or the breakfast burritos I had planned to do. ;) Thankfully, my mom has added a few things.

Let me tell you, I am so glad I put several things in my freezer before the babies got here. It was a bit hectic at first not only because the girls were born, but also because there was just a lot of up and down with when they were going to come home and when my parents were going to get here. I was glad to have stuff already pretty much ready to go because it ended up that we got home on Saturday night and my parents arrived Sunday afternoon. Brad and I definitely did not have the energy or time to go out to the store to buy anything so it was good to have some stuff stashed away for an easy meal that we didn't have to think about. Anyway, without further ado, here's my Freezer Stash post! (and a gratuitous picture of the babies).

I think I've mentioned a few times on here that I'm making a (smallish) freezer stash of easy to heat up foods for after the babies get here. I have some wonderful friends who have said they will also be bringing us meals, but I wanted to also have some prepped ahead of time for when family is visiting us and to have just in case. It can never hurt to have stuff in the freezer. Thankfully most of this stuff can keep for a long time without getting gross.

I linked to the recipes I used from online. Anything that says "my own recipe" it basically means I just threw it together. Maybe some day I'll type out my method. Also, in the baked goods, I usually scaled back on the sugar and used whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose. Here's what I have so far:

  • Chicken and black bean enchiladas- my own recipe
  • Lasagna (made by a good friend of mine)
  • Batch of chili- own recipe
  • Batch of Tortilla Soup- I did tweak it some
  • Batch of Chicken Noodle Soup- my own recipe
  • Bean and Cheese burritos- inspired by Annie's frozen burritos, but mostly my own recipe
  • Taco meat- this one is easy. Brown hamburger. Add taco spices. Freeze. ;)
  • Oatmeal pumpkin muffins-- I can't remember where I got the recipe but truth be told it wasn't that great. I'm not making it again. In fact, I threw the recipe away! 
  • Peanut butter oatmeal cookies
  • Banana-oatmeal muffins
  • Chocolate chip cookies-- from Betty Crocker's "The Cooky Book". 
I largely used recipes that I already use that I thought would freeze well. I did several soups for a couple of reasons. First, I like soup. Second, you can freeze soups flat in gallon bags which maximizes your freezer space. Since I'm only working with the freezer attached to my refrigerator, not a deep freeze, I needed to utilize my space to the best of my ability.  

My packaging methods are probably more haphazard than some. ;) As I mentioned, soups go in gallon freezer bags to freeze flat. Burritos get wrapped individually in aluminum foil and then placed in a gallon bag (I can usually get most of them in there). Muffins are wrapped individually in plastic wrap and then placed in a gallon bag. The enchiladas got frozen in a pyrex dish I have that has a lid, then I wrapped the whole thing up in plastic wrap. Lasagna is in a disposable foil dish with a lid. Pizzas get wrapped in plastic wrap, then in aluminum foil. There are probably better ways to do it and since I'm not planning on storing this stuff for MONTHS on end, I thought it would all be ok. 

I'm just excited to have some nutritious meals on hand. I know it's hard for me to get up and cook a meal when I'm tired, so then it's boxed mac and cheese or ordering pizza. Both of which I want to avoid after the babies arrive. Nursing two babies and trying to be healthy myself means I need to eat things that are nutrient dense and good for me! Plus... I gotta work on that 80lbs I gained this pregnancy. ;) 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Babies are here!

As you've probably seen on Facebook, the babies arrived on Tuesday September 17th, at 8:16am and 8:23am. Labor was fast and delivery was very very smooth. My birth story is a bit of a blur because everything happened so fast, but I want to write it out before I forget details I want to remember.

On Monday, I went into labor and delivery because I had felt reduced movement from the babies. I wasn't really too concerned, but with twins it's always always always better to be safe than sorry. My short trip to L and D involved a quick non-stress test where they monitored the babies heart rates and tried to determine if I was having contractions. Turns out, I was having contractions but I couldn't feel them. My cervix was still at 3cm, just like it was at my appointment the week before. So they sent me home, and I expected to go home and wait at least another week.

By bed time that night, I was having a low back ache, which I attributed to the cervical check because I had been getting back aches after each check for a couple of weeks now, so I just applied some heat and went to sleep. I woke up at 1:30am to use the bathroom and the backache was a bit worse but I just ignored it and went back to sleep for a while. By 2:30 am, I was having contractions that were still somewhat sporadic but definite contractions. I was waiting around for the magic numbers: having contractions that were 60 seconds long and at least 3-5 minutes apart. Mine never really organized themselves that way, I would have a 60 second contraction and then either immediately have several 30 second contrations or nothing for like seven minutes. I was able to walk through my contractions for the most part all the way up to delivery!

Anyway, I wasn't able to go back to sleep after waking up at 2:30, so Brad got up and finished packing the hospital bag and I was progressively needing to vocalize and move through contractions. Sitting and lying down were just not options. I started experiencing some bloody show around 3 or 4am. At 4:30 I decided it was time to call the doctor because I was beginning to throw up (transition?! already!? My contractions aren't the magic numbers!!!). She obviously told me to come on in.

Once at the hospital (which the ride involved a very very very very uncomfortable mama because the babies were moving down which put IMMENSE pressure in a lot of places. Sitting was so so so bad for it. The car ride also involved throwing up and then dumping it out at a stoplight. No judging), I don't think any one expected me to be as far along as I was. While they got me to change and tried hooking up monitors, the nurse checked me and determined I was at 7cm already (at this point it was shortly before 6 am).

Then it got a little chaotic. We needed the epidural to be placed about an hour before I showed up to the hospital, there was no doctor currently there to order the epidural, and the epidural was something we really needed due to the nature of twin births and the number of unexpected things that can occur in them. By the time my doctor go there, I was feeling the need to start pushing, which of course was not allowed. She checked me and I was fully dilated. So there I was sitting at 10cm with a bulging bag of water, a baby's head practically RIGHT THERE, being told not to push and wait for the epidural. This was the worst part of the whole labor process. Waiting and trying not to push. FINALLY, somehow the epidural was placed around 7am ish and despite contractions coming every 1-2 minutes I was able to sit still long enough to get the drugs.

Epidural given and in effect. My attitude improved a lot at this point.
Once the epidural was in place, the doctor broke my water. The epidural was too strong for me to feel the sensation to push, so they allowed me to rest for a while before doing some practice pushes. By this time it was after seven, so it was shift change and another doctor from the practice came in and would be who delivered me. This wasn't a HUGE deal because I had seen this doctor the most, but had not yet had a chance to go over my birth plan with her. Anyway, she had my epidural dialed down a little bit, and I was able to start pushing. They wheeled me down to the OR because they want to make sure they're prepared for anything. The getting prepped part was interesting because there was bed switching, tons of staff around, and a lot going on at once. Once Brad was in the room we began pushing.
Getting ready to head to the OR
Eleanor Jane was born at 8:16 am. She weighed 6 lbs .5 ozs. Amelia Claire was born at 8:23am and weighed 5 lbs 8.5 ozs. Both did very well considering that they came early at 36 weeks. The first 48 hours of life they lost a lot of weight, so we needed to begin supplementing with formula. This weight loss combined with monitoring bilirubin levels meant they had to stay in the hospital two extra days. I was discharged on Thursday and the babies came home Saturday afternoon.
Eleanor is on the left and Amelia is on the right.
My birth experience was basically what I wanted with one little blip. The doctor did cut an episotomy even though I would have preferred to tear. I think this was more of a result of not being able to go over my Birth Plan with her before I showed up fully dilated and ready to push. But, overall, my experience was wonderful and I don't think I could have asked or wanted anything else in regard to the actual birth process.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Style File: 35 Weeks

 Well...35 weeks. Only two more until full term! I'm a day late on this post, sorry about that. Sometimes you just can't get it all done in one day and I'm ok with that. At least I got 35 week pictures done. That was looking iffy there for a moment. Brad is napping right now and I so wanted to join him but... I slept until almost nine this morning and I decided I didn't really *need* a nap. I wouldn't have slept anyway.

This week's outfit is definitely the same dress from a couple weeks ago paired with the same scarf and jean jacket from a couple of weeks before that. Part of me is like "Well, that's pretty lame" but the other part of me is like "Well, that's how it is!". I do not have the time nor financial resources to keep a huge maternity wardrobe, especially at this stage of the game. But to be fair, the outfit I was going to take photos of today had a mishap when I wore it to work this week. I've always been a clumsy eater, but I swear the belly has it's own gravitational pull when it comes to anything remotely drippy. But I digress.

 Minus my puffy feet, this outfit makes me feel put together. It was 66 degrees when I woke up this morning so I took the opportunity to do a little bit of layering. I think I've decided if I have my way, if we ever get pregnant again I would like to be pregnant in the fall and winter. Not necessarily because summer was hot (it was), but because I like layering. It's so much easier to feel more styled when I can layer on a scarf and jacket. I think part if it is I also feel less conspicuous than when I'm just wearing a tee shirt and shorts (though that type of outfit was totally necessary in July when it was so dang hot outside!).

As far as the babies are concerned, things are looking good! My blood pressure was down to normal at my appointment on Tuesday. My labs also came back normal so that pretty much means pre-eclampsia is not a worry. It never really was, but they like to keep tabs on such things especially for women carrying multiples. All signs are pointing to the fact that the babies will be here sooner rather than later. My doctor did ask me to begin staying off my feet and limiting my activities, including no longer working. She's hoping this will get me at least another week with these babies inside. So far, I've made it from Tuesday to Saturday so I think we have a good shot of at least making it to next week sometime. I'm really praying they hold out until well into my 36th week because it is better for them in terms of lung development and the ability to suck and eat well. But, if they were born in the next ten minutes they may have a bit of a hospital stay but overall, barring anything weird coming up, they would do relatively well.

My last day of work was yesterday, and it was a bit of a relief. I've made some great friends with some of the other ladies I work with, but it was a definite relief to be able to walk away from the stress that it was causing me. My job is an ordinary desk job, but lately there have been some University wide changes that have caused a significant amount of stress on everyone, coupled with the fact that the department reduced the credit hours required to graduate with the MA in Government... It was pretty busy there for a while. I would come home so swollen that I couldn't bend my ankles very well and forget about cooking dinner. All of that was impacting my ability to sleep so I was perpetually exhausted (on top of normal pregnancy exhaustion). I spent most of the week at home, working online, to wrap up but let me tell you... I have slept so well this week without the added stress and discomfort working gave me. I did go into the office for a few hours yesterday for my final wrap up and to make sure I got all my junk out of my office. All that to say, it is bittersweet because that job was my first "big girl" job out of college and I will miss seeing the ladies I worked with. It's a good thing we all live in the same area so I should be able to keep up with them!

So there you have it. The bumpdate can be summed up like this: babies could come at any time, but they might wait a few more weeks. Life is much more comfortable now that I do not have to go to work anymore.

I'll definitely update when something happens, but until then... if there's no news just assume nothing is happening. :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

Style File: 34 Weeks...where I break my own rules

 Rule Number 1 I am breaking: always check your hair before taking outfit photos. Clearly, I'm having a bit of a wild hair day. ;) But no matter! Sometimes my hair is wild. Especially when it's been like a million percent humidity for at least a week.

Here I am at 34 weeks. That means that the babies are about the sizes of butternut squashes. Or if you go by BabyCenter they are the sizes of cantaloupes. Basically, I don't think this fruit/veggie comparison is all that accurate. ;) They're probably roughly 4.5 or 5 lbs at this point. 34 weeks also means I can deliver at the hospital I want to deliver at (yay!) and that if they came now, while they would still be premature, they would likely not have a ton of hospital time.

Rule number 2 I am breaking: Leggings are not pants.

I'm pretty sure these are actually leggings. But they were hanging with the maternity pants at Target and they're quite thick. Plus they were 30 dollars which is pants price. So maybe they're Pleggings? well...they're comfortable and they're going to be my "work pants" for the next couple of weeks. Of course I'll wear long shirts and all of that jazz. Let me tell you. Getting dressed is definitely a challenge these days. I'm down to very few items that work or are comfortable. But I don't have that much longer and hopefully will shrink back in size somewhat. ;)

I also like how comfy this shirt is. I'm undecided on the flattering factor, but it's comfortable and I can still wear it to work.  At this point...I don't really care. ;) Thanks Old Navy!

Babies are doing well to my knowledge. I had a doctor's appointment this morning and for the most part everything is fine. My blood pressure is a smidge higher than it should be, so they did some blood work and are having me come in next week on tuesday instead of waiting a full week. They're moving me to weekly appointments anyway, so it's not a huge deal. Bummer for me because that means I have to miss work ( ok...maybe that isn't a HUGE bummer. Sorry work), but it just is what it is. If my BP is still wonky next week they'll talk to me about what my options are. So far it isn't a huge concern at all because it isn't that high; just higher than mine has normally been. Babies are both still vertex and are pretty much sitting head to head one on the left and one on the right.

We have most of our baby projects finished! Be sure to check out the nursery post if you haven't already! I packed (well halfway packed) my hospital bag last weekend and have a list of remaining items to be placed in it sitting on top. Mostly what's left on the list are clothes I'm still wearing (like leggings, t-shirts, etc). As I get closer and closer to 37 weeks, I'll start putting those things in there and just dealing without. I'm working on a play list to take with us. I'm not sure how much music I'll actually want to play, but I figured I do tend to put on music when I'm trying to focus on something, so I should probably have that option available. It's not like loading it to the iPad is going to be all that big of a deal.

Oh, and side note: I am currently comfortably wearing Brad's old wedding band. Yay swelling!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

For the Nursery: It's (mostly) Finished!

I've only been talking about our projects for the nursery since April...but here is the final product! This isn't going to be super picture heavy because it's really difficult to get pictures of a small room with poor lighting. I'm showing you the main elements though, for sure!

We picked the cribs very carefully. I had very specific requirements: the crib had to be level all the way around (do you know how hard it is to find one that doesn't have a weird bump on the back or something) because I knew this is how we would need to put the cribs in order to get two in the room. The cribs had to be standard size but have a smaller overall footprint than some of the other cribs on the market. The color needed to be a dark color. They needed to be sturdy enough to make it through more than one baby and needed to be gender neutral for the same reason. Lastly, they had to be somewhat modern looking but be under 400 dollars. It was actually kind of difficult to come up with these cribs! They're the Childcraft London Euro crib. So far I really like them. They are not as tall as many cribs, so I do have to bend a bit to put a baby in and out, but I thought I would rather deal with that than some of the other complaints I would have with another crib. They seem to be sturdy and they don't take up as much space as many other cribs. Overall, I'm happy with them so far.

As for mattresses, I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to go. There are so many opinions and advice out there for getting a crib mattress. We went with Simmons Kids Slumber Time Naturally mattresses. It's made out of soy and does not contain many of the gross chemicals that are in other crib mattresses. It isn't organic, but it was at a good price point and I was less wary of what it is made out of.  I also liked the feature that one side is for baby and you can flip it over for a toddler bed (the difference is in the firmness).

The bedding was kept simple on purpose: just a sheet and crib skirt. This is due to safety reasons. And lets be honest-- while a crib set is cute it's ridiculously over priced! The current recommendations for safe sleeping pretty much say don't bother with bumpers or blankets in the cribs. I have three sets of sheets. The grey and white chevrons in the pictures, some grey and white polka dots, and just some plain pink ones. I like them all. I will say the patterned ones are from Target and we did have a bit of an issue with one set fitting the mattress and the other set not fitting at all. The pink ones are from Babies R Us and they are much softer than the other two. The blankets you see in the pictures were hand made by my great-Aunt Sandy (though I just call her Aunt Sandy). They're so wonderful and have matching cardigans, booties, and hats. They're on the cribs for decoration right now, but we won't be covering the babies to sleep until they're much older.

Brad worked really hard painting the room. I love how it turned out. The stripes are only on this wall. The base color is a grey and the stripes are different shades of pink. The bold stripe is the same color as the dresser to kind of tie everything together. I went with this color scheme because I wanted something modern, girly but not all bubble gum pink, and something fun. Thanks to pinterest this is what I decided on. Trust me though...there was much debate and discussion. ;) According to Brad the most difficult part of painting the stripes was measuring and taping, but even that wasn't too bad. He used the Frog tape and it was superior to regular blue painter's tape. Don't be intimidated by painting stripes!

This is the wall opposite of the cribs. Since we have two babies and not a HUGE room, we decided to forgo a dedicated changing table. Instead, we made the dresser dual purpose and put the changing pad on top of it with a diaper basket. The little owl you see on the far right is an LED nightlight and the baby monitor is behind it. In the corner by the window (which I don't have a picture of because I forgot...oops!) is the swing. It will eventually make its way downstairs and a glider will take up residence there. We don't have the glider yet, but we will after my parents come down to see the babies.  The curtains (yes! we have curtains! It's embarrassing but we've lived in this place for a year and just now got curtains for the living areas down stairs) are a simple dark brown. They do darken the room up a bit, but that's what I wanted to encourage good nappers and good night time sleepers.

So there you have it! More words than pictures but I hope you enjoyed the Grand Tour of the nursery!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Style File: 33 Weeks

This week was hard for the self confidence. I don't know that my belly has gotten much bigger this week, but I just feel so much like a hippo these days. The swelling in my feet and hands has set in and has pretty much stayed there no matter how much elevating I do, how much water I drink, or how much getting up I do throughout the day. My hands go numb, especially at night, thanks to the swelling induced carpel tunnel. This is just the stuff people don't really tell you about pregnancy. I had no idea there was such a thing as "pregnancy induced carpel tunnel". Oh, and just as a note, nothing is amiss with my BP or anything, so the swelling is just...swelling. As uncomfortable and unsightly as it is, I think it's here to stay. In fact, what you don't see in my photos today is that I'm barefoot-- because my shoes aren't even comfortable to wear!

 I'll just be honest and say that I almost didn't even post my pictures today because I was unhappy with how I felt/looked in them. But I decided I'm my own worst critic and that it's important to document my bump (at least it is to me). I'm trying not to sound too complainy, but also wanted to keep it real. Plus, I have some new things to wear and a new dress is always worth posting. :)

I had to order a few more things from Old Navy this week.  I was down to zero pants that I could wear to work, so I needed to do something especially since the dress code is now being enforced more. I'm not totally sold on the pants, I might return them and get something from the new Motherhood store that just opened up fairly close to where I live. I was in there earlier this week and found some pants I think I liked better than the old navy pants, and for the same price. I have to think about it more though. :) To go with the pants I ordered a couple of shirts and this dress to kind of stretch my wardrobe a bit more. I also got some leggings that are definitely for lounging about, and I think they'll work well for immediately postpartum when I'm going to want to be comfy. I'm hoping this is the last round of stuff I need to buy... I only have four more weeks until full term!

Can we talk about this awesome necklace for a minute? Brad got this for my birthday! I was super excited. I love big statement necklaces and I've been wanting to get one like this for a very long time. I think they're lots of fun! I had a pretty low key birthday celebration, which is a-ok with me. See above about swelling in my feet meant the best way to celebrate was to come home to dinner already cooked, put my feet up, watch some Dr. Who and eat some cheesecake. Brad also got me two movies: the Lorax and Despicable Me. I told him I wanted them to watch when I'm tied to the couch nursing babies all of the time. Those movies make me laugh a lot, so maybe they're not the best nursing movies... ;) He did well, that's for sure!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Style File: 32 Weeks... plus hospital tour and hospital bag

This week was the start of the fall term at work (if you don't know, I work at a private University). What that means is that "summer casual" dress code expired. Bummer. Back to closed toed shoes and a bit fancier of a wardrobe...except... I don't have a whole lot of "fancy" at the moment. I don't really plan on buying a whole lot either. I mean, why bother? I'm 32 weeks. 5 weeks until full term. If I go to 40 weeks (ha!) I only have 8 weeks left. Not enough time to warrant spending a bunch of money on a brand new work wardrobe. In my opinion. Hopefully they'll give me a little grace. ;) Don't mind the wrinkles in this shirt. Bummer that this shirt wrinkles like that when I sit down, but I overlook it because it's so darn comfortable. And it's long so it covers the belly. Not all shirts do that these days.

I had a big scan on Tuesday to check on the babies.  All appears well with them! They're right on target for their measurements with an estimated weight of around 4lbs each. Baby B is a smidge bigger than baby A, but that's all with a grain of salt since ultrasound estimations can be wrong by up to 10% either way. So... I guess we'll just have to see when they get here! Also, both babies are currently vertex! yay! My blood pressure is holding steady well within the normal range, so still no issues with that-- which I am thankful for. BP issues in late pregnancy can get iffy.

This week we also went on our hospital tour. Let me just say, I am so glad I picked the hospital I did. They are very very pro-family meaning it's standard practice for them to allow for skin-to-skin contact for an hour or 2 after birth (for both mom and dad), they pretty regularly delay cord clamping, they allow you to move around as much as you want during labor and totally recognize being flat on your back is not actually that helpful, the rooms are somewhat hotel isn, they want to keep moms and babies together as much as possible-- so the nursery is really only for sick babies or if you send them. So much of my birth plan that I'm making can be cut out after discovering that much of what I want is pretty much standard practice there.

I'm also glad we went because now we have the lay of the land and know what to do and where to go when I go into labor. Of course, I doubt I'll be too worried about that but it is nice to know that I have a pretty good idea of where to go when the time comes. Nothing worse, in my mind, than being in labor and trying to get to L and D by wandering about until you find it.

One thing I do need to do is organize and pack my hospital bag. We want the babies to stay in for as long as possible, but really, once 34 weeks hit they could come at any time. What things did you find were absolutely necessary and things you wished you hadn't brought? Here's my list so far:

For Me:
ID and Insurance Card
Changes of comfy clothes-- mostly PJs to be honest. That's how I'm comfortable and let's face it, post partum recovery is not a beauty pageant.
Throw away undies- well, yeah, because they can get gross
Throw away comfortable dress/cover up of some kind so I don't have my butt hanging out of the hospital gown (this wouldn't be a huge concern of mine, except they have to wheel me down the hall to the OR and I would be more secure knowing that my butt is covered by something other than a thin sheet)
Extra throw-away pillows because the hospital pillow is lame
Socks for walking around-- slippers aren't my thing. I would honestly rather be barefoot but I recognize that the hospital floor is probably too nasty to walk around in barefeet.
Flip Flops for in the shower or just walking around if I don't want to bother with the socks
Nursing bras/tanks (just a couple)
Comfort tools suggested in my birth class (comb, chapstick, birth ball, etc)
Snacks for after delivery
Going home outfit that is comfortable and cute
Cell phone + Charger

For Brad:
Pillow for sleeping on. The rooms have a pull out futon thing to sleep on, so that's handy.
Gum/Breath Mints-- I don't need coffee breath breathed on me as he's getting in my face to tell me that I can do this
Blanket for sleeping
CashMonies to buy me tasty food because the hospital food is going to be gross. And for himself too because he will be hungry.
Cell Phone + Charger
Camera + Charger. It's actually my camera but I put it here because I don't want to be responsible for it ;)
iPad + Charger 

For Babies:
Car seats
Cute swaddle blankets for pictures because the hospital ones are ugly. Plus they can be used to cover the carseats if it's cool but still over 60 degrees
Going home outfits
Fuzzy blanket to cover carseat if it's cold. It could go either way in September or October. Yay VA Beach weather!
uhh...that's about all I was planning on packing for them. The hospital has diapers, little shirts for them to wear, and blankets to use.

What do you experienced momma's think? Too much? what should I leave? What should I add?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

For the Nursery: DIY Owl Canvases

I knew I wanted to put something up on the wall above the dresser to add interest. The dresser is on the wall opposite our accent wall, so it looked a little boring in comparison. I had these vinyl wall decals, but I didn't want to commit to putting them on the wall and then not liking them. So I decided to put them on canvases so they're more portable and were jazzed up a little with the colored canvases. Forgive the pictures, they're off my phone. Sometimes I just don't want to get out and mess with my big camera. Sorry about that.

Basically, all I did was paint 12 X 12 canvases (the cheapest Michael's had to offer) with Martha Stewart acrylic paint. I believe I did three coats of this light pink color. I let them dry completely before attempting to put on the owls. The first owl I did (which is the one furthest to the right) was a bit of a learning process. First, the directions on the vinyl decal were not as clear as they could have been. Once I figured that out, I discovered that hey! canvas stretches! So I had to put a book under the canvas to get the owl to properly affix. There were spots where the canvas was too stretched out from me rubbing the vinyl decal on it that the decal didn't stick. Brad super glued those spots down ;). The second and third owl went much smoother (more smoothly?). The trick is to make sure the canvas has something hard under it so it doesn't stretch out.

 So you can get the full effect. :) It won't be quite as plain when everything is ready to go. The changing station will be on top of the dresser so there will be a basket and changing pad on top of the dresser. I'm still washing all of that so it wasn't ready to go for this picture. Soon though! I'm happy to report that we're really just down to details in the babies' room!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Style File: 31 Weeks

The past couple of days it's been cooler. The weather is teasing us with a little bit of Fall. So if it feels a little bit like Fall I'm going to dress a little bit like Fall!

 I just scored this dress from target for 6 dollars. What what! It was the deal of the day for sure. I like the color. In person it isn't quite as pink, I promise. I also like how long the dress is. I've noticed many of the other maternity dresses I've bought accomodate the belly but are too short to be comfortable at work. I don't think it's a matter of the dress losing length (though I suppose it's possible since the belly is getting bigger!). I think it's more of an issue of me not being able to sit quite as modestly as I used to.

I've decided the third trimester is actually the return of the first. I haven't been quite as sick, though some upset stomach feelings have returned. It's more all of a sudden I can't do anything without feeling exhausted. I have about two to three good hours a day where I feel energetic and almost normal. Then I'm very tired. Haha. Oh well! Only six more weeks to go until I'm Full term. That means the babies could really come in the next 3-8 weeks. I love how that's kind of a big range, haha, but that's just how it goes. You can't plan for these things! I think I'll make it to 37 weeks. 

 Ok, so maybe the denim jacket was a bit too fallish ;).

We've ordered most of the remaining big stuff. I have a few Target gift cards to spend, but other than that I think I'm going to hold off on buying all the littler things I know I'm going to need until after the babies get here. I kind of want to feel out what I actually need and what I don't actually need. If you saw on instagram we got our stroller and one car seat (the other one is in process and will hopefully be acquired soon!). We also received the cribs, the pack and play is also in process, we have a swing. The things I would still like to get before the babies get here are a bouncer seat(s), chair of some kind for their room, a few more little outfits and plain white onesies, cloth diapers (I have a little less than half of what I need), and maybe a few more disposable diapers until we transition into full time cloth.

What things did you find absolutely necessary to bring babies home? What did you find that you could wait on for a bit?

Also, be sure to check out last night's post of the dresser if you missed it. :)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

For the Nursery: Dresser

 I finally have pictures of the dresser! There were a variety of reasons I waited this long to post it but one of which was that the babies' room was a storage area with stuff all over...well Brad got it in a bit better of shape after he cleaned the carpets up there. Anyway, here it is in all it's glory!

 This is what it looked like before. It was in good shape...but I wanted it to be colorful! So Brad took it apart and sanded it down to get it ready to get painted.
 I won't lie, there were many weeks between the sanding and painting, but that's ok, it eventually got done!

 Here's the finished product! My favorite part of the dresser re-do are the new knobs I put on the dresser. I ordered them from Lelia's Loft on Etsy. She custom made the colors and combined a couple of designs for me. I love them so much!
 None of the knobs match, which is what I was going for. They're half and half owls and chevrons, which is basically the whole theme of the nursery.
The pictures aren't awesome, but I was working with crappy lighting. I think you can see the knobs better if you click the pictures. :)

 We got the cribs delivered tonight so hopefully next week I can show you a sneak peek of the cribs and the wall we painted! :)