Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sophie and Michael's Birth Story

Part I

Today Sophie and Michael are 11 weeks old, smiling and cooing, sleeping longer and longer stretches at night (last night they went 8.5 hours!).  Every Wednesday marks another week that I've shared with them, another week since I met my children.  

I had just rolled over from one side to the other, a slow maneuver when 37 weeks pregnant with twins, when I felt the warm water, lots of warm water spilling around my hips. I was immediately fully awake, heart beating quickly but otherwise calm, knowing what I needed to do.

Since it was about 6:15 a.m., Mike was in the living room getting ready to go to the gym before work when he heard me.



"My water just broke."


He was in the room immediately, looking both stunned and eager.  "So, how quickly do we need to move here?"

On my way to the bathroom I told him we needed to get going fairly quickly, but we still had some time before contractions should get started.  I also reminded him what the OB told us at the most recent office visit, that I needed to call and have the doctor on-call paged. 

From the bathroom I heard Mike wiping up the floor, removing the sheets and mattress pad, and taking them down to the washer, reassuring me once again that I had a real partner in this.

I gave the answering service my cell phone number for the doctor to call me back on.  Then I realized I might have over-prepared.   In the trunk of my car, in the bag I had packed for the hospital, the bag we had brought along to the last doctor's appointment just in case, was my cell phone charger.  My battery was now nearly dead in a very critical moment. 

When Dr. Hakim (one of our favorites from the practice) called back, I gave him our home number to call instead so we wouldn't be cut off.  Thankfully that all went smoothly, and I explained what happened that morning.  I reminded Dr. Hakim that it was twins, that baby B was breech, and that we had a c-section scheduled for the following week.   He said to make our way to the hospital, that he would be performing the c-section sometime that morning.

Go to Part 2
Go to Part 3

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

How did Grandma do it?

My grandparents had boy-girl twins back in 1949, and I often wonder how they did it with the limitations of the time.  No ultrasound images to warn them of the double delivery on the way, no online message boards with words of wisdom and encouragement, and none of this stuff...  



Belly Bands
A multiple pregnancy tends to start showing in a hurry, but I was able to wear regular pants well into my second trimester with a couple of these on hand.  They're like stretchy tubetops that you wear around the waist of your pants with the fly unbottoned and eventually totally unzipped.  When wearing one it appears that a layered tank is peaking out stylishly at your hips.  Post-pregnancy these bands can come in handy again when regular pants don't fit just yet.




Clouds and Stars Zipper Crib Sheets
This sheet set goes all the way around the crib mattress to prevent strangulation, and the very top of the sheet zips off for cleaning.  Is that genius or what?  Until we had babies at home, I couldn't have imagined how frequently spitting-up and diaper failures occur, often in the middle of the night.  I heard MoMs rave about mattress covers that snap on and off on top of sheets and even bought a couple to find them difficult to snap and unsnap around the crib bars (they also smelled strongly of plastic). When I stumbled on this set while searching for sheets, I knew I had to have a couple.  We ordered a set and one extra top sheet to have on hand for both cribs, but we ordered two more top sheets for both cribs within the first week with the babies.  They're just so darn convenient!

Angelcare Monitors
Where to have the babies sleep in the first few weeks was a decision we struggled with.  Worries regarding our cat, our tiny bedroom, and transitioning to cribs later on made us choose to put the babies in their cribs from night one instead of in bassinettes or Arms Reach Co-Sleepers.
I knew, however, that I would be a nervous wreck without being able to see my newborn babies breathing at all times, and we decided to use some gift cards we received on these monitors.  If these monitors aren't beeping, I know my babies are breathing, and I can sleep...that is until I hear them crying through the monitor.

Double Snap -n- Go Stroller
Another genius invention, this stroller allows you to snap two infant carseats onto it.  We've used this for doctor's appointments, walks around the neighborhood, shopping trips, the zoo...really everywhere we've been with the babies so far. It maneuvers remarkably well, and you can't beat the convenience of snapping in the carseats (often with sleeping babies in them) n-going!  My one criticism is that the bottom storage basket is nearly impossible to access when the seats are attached.  If it slid out like a drawer, that would be very handy.

Rock and Play Sleepers
One of the toughest things about taking care of twins, especially when I'm alone, is what to do with one baby when I need to tend to the other.  The height of this rocker is what makes it so useful.  I can transfer one baby from the nursing pillow when I'm sitting on the couch so I can tend to the other without any safety concerns.  This rocker is also currently a successful napping location.  Since it's so small, affordable, and easy to travel with around the house, we bought two and are getting good use out of them.

Bouncy Seats
In the first few weeks one of these bouncers was the only place besides my arms where my son would rest when he was gassy and uncomfortable.  The vibration setting, music/nature sounds, and lights entertain and soothe the babies, and they usually cant resist drifting off to sleep.  These days this is where the babies hang out and nap while I shower or work on projects around the house.  I believe one of my fondest memories from these first few months will be painting decorations for the nursery while bouncing these with my feet, admiring my smiling or dozing babies.  It's another item I recommend getting two of if you have twins. 

Graco Snug Glider Swing
With our tiny house I was thrilled to find swings that you snap Graco infant carseats into.  While they don't offer a cost savings over a regular swing, they are space saving, travel easily, and soothe the babies like nothing else with their motion, vibrations, and music. 

Even though I tandem feed for nearly all feedings, there are occasions when feeding just one baby is necessary, and a Boppy makes that very comfortable.  In a pinch I've used our two Boppys for tandem feeding, but they get the most use as infant positioners.  Again, with two, you need to have places where one baby can rest comfortably when the other needs most of your attention.  While supervised, our babies also enjoy napping on their Boppys (and look like they're tubing down a dreamy river).

Soundspa Sound and Lights Machine
The white noise helps the babies sleep (we like "ocean"), and the lights provide a night-light and mobile.  A fellow MoM told me her toddlers have had one of these from day one as well, and these days they rush to turn it on themselves as part of their going to bed routine.  How cute is that?

Dishwasher Baskets
How did people wash pacifiers and small bottle parts before these things? So handy!  We have four of these, but only use one or two regulary for pacifiers and occasional bottles.

Gerber Bottles
I think figuring out what bottles to buy is one of the toughest questions to answer when preparing for a baby (or two or three or four).  After reading many reviews, I knew I wanted BPA free bottles with nipples that wouldn't confuse the babies for breastfeeding, bottles that didn't leak or make the babies gassy, that attached easily to a Medela breastpump, and ones without a thousand parts to clean and assemble.  We were willing to spend a lot of money on that miracle bottle if it existed but ended up going this route when every bottle I researched was missing one or more of those requirements anyway.  These inexpensive bottles don't have the wide and short nipples I was searching for, but they have been perfect for us in every other way (and the babies never seemed confused).  We bought four packages of these and of the 9-ouncers.

Snap T-shirts
Long sleeved ones with cuffs and short sleeved ones are both very useful and easy to change.  They're good to have on hand in the early weeks before babies' cords have healed and onesies aren't recommended.


Nursing Tanks
If you're in for a c-section like I was with my breech baby B, you'll likely be in the hospital for a few days recovering. While the maternity gown the hospital provided was very convenient for breastfeeding, I felt much more comfortable after that glorious first shower in a pair of loose PJ pants, a zipper hoodie, and one of these nursing tanks. The top of the tank unhooks like a nursing bra to reveal what is basically a "hidden bra" with holes exposing your breasts for feeding. It's nice to be able to keep your belly covered, especially in those first few weeks, even if modesty regarding your breasts goes out the window. In those hectic first days at home when the line between clothes and pajamas gets very blurry, these tanks fit right into the swing of things.

Sleep Nursing Bras
When your breasts are engorged, it's especially uncomfortable to go braless, even at night. I find these perfectly comfortable to sleep in and incredibly easy to nurse in. I often wear them during the day when just around the house and not expecting visitors (not enough support for me to comfortably wear in pubic).

Nursing Bras
It's important to have a few bras that are supportive enough to wear in public but still allow easy access come feeding time. On one and only one occasion, I mistakenly wore one of my regular bras and discovered why nursing bras were invented. I was buckled into my nursing pillow (see below) and had both babies on it, crying and swatting their arms hungrily. I realized my error but attempted to very awkwardly free the food source from an uncooperative bra. Lesson fully learned.

EZ 2 Nurse Pillow
People ask me how I manage to breastfeed twins, and this pillow is my answer. I simply could not exclusively tandem feed (feed them at the same time) like I do and keep my sanity without it. In the hospital I just used several bed pillows propped around me, but I started using my EZ 2 Nurse once we got home. I wish the cover was easier to take off and put on for cleaning, but this pillow is worth that minor struggle and every penny.

Medela Breast Pump
First, before you go out and spend literally hundreds of dollars on a breastpump, check with your insurance company to see if they cover it. Mine did in the case of multiples (score!), and this is the one my doctor prescribed. I don't love pumping, but I don't have any specific complaints about this pump. If one exists with fewer parts to clean and no tubes or cords to deal with, get that one instead. : )
Tip: Cut small holes in a sports bra to create a hands-free pumping bra (they sell them for $50+). You'll still be tethered to this contraption while you pump, but at least you can eat a snack, surf the web, and pop pacifiers back in protesting mouths as needed.

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