Loading...

Follow It's a Twinkie Life on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
Or

Valid


This post may contain affiliate links which means that the companies I recommend and their products pay me a small percentage if you choose to purchase something from them (at no extra cost to you). I only recommend products that I use and love! For more information on this check out the full disclosure page.

How many times have you heard yourself say “No biting!” “No hitting! “Stop fighting!”?  I bet a thousand times or more than you would care to admit.  Infants and toddlers will bite or hit if they are teething.  That problem is compounded when they have a twin who’s constantly stealing their toys or invading their space.  Since they don’t know how to control their emotions or express their feelings, they will resort to aggressive behavior.  This is a natural part of their development but it doesn’t mean we should let it happen or let it get worse.

As soon as your twins show aggressive behavior, it’s important to teach them that hitting and biting are not acceptable.  We started addressing aggression issues in our twins at 9 months.  It did take time and consistent application of the strategies listed below.  If you wait too long to address negative behaviors or let them ‘figure it out’ on their own, the aggression will probably get worse.  Also keep in mind it’s a lot harder to teach positive behaviors once children have developed bad habits and they have gotten used to biting or hitting as a way to handle their anger or frustration.

So how can you fix it?  Here are 5 strategies that have worked for us.

1. Read to them.

Yes you read that right.  There are excellent books that teach not to hit or bite (or whatever aggressive behavior is taking place) by illustrating and reinforcing appropriate activities instead.

Hands Are Not for Hitting

You can get it here: Hands Are Not for Hitting (Board Book) (Best Behavior Series)

Teeth Are Not for Biting

You can get it here:  Teeth Are Not for Biting (Board Book) (Best Behavior Series)

Since we have gotten these books, our twins barely hit and bite.  We went from daily infractions to a couple of times a month.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I had to say “no biting” or “no hitting.”  Our twins are 22 months old now.

2. Intervene every time you catch it.

I know with twins it’s not exactly easy to be on top of this, especially when you need to get things done, you may not always ‘catch it.’  But when you do, stop the bad behavior and firmly tell the ‘aggressor’ it’s not okay to bite or hit.  Say “no biting or hitting, it hurts.”  This may seem obvious, but it’s important to consistently intervene when it happens (if you catch it).  Consistency here is key.  Every time you step in, you send the message that this behavior will be addressed every time and that you mean business.

3. Time outs.

If you’ve asked them to stop the behavior and you’ve already tried to teach them through books but they keep on biting or hitting, warn them the consequence will be a time out.  If they do it again, follow through and put them on a time out.  The rule of thumb on the length of time is 1 minute for every year of their age.  So if they are 1, they get a 1 minute time out.  Keep in mind time outs are only effective if you use them sparingly (for example only use time outs for aggressive behavior) and if you completely ignore them while they are on a time out.  Looking at them, or talking to them during time outs defeats the purpose.  By doing so, you are rewarding them with attention even if it’s not meant that way.

4. Praise the behavior you want to see.

Whenever they are affectionate with each other or they are nice to each other, make a big deal about it and show happiness and excitement over their love for each other.  Clap your hands, ‘oooh and aaaww’ over them and they will want to repeat the behaviors that get them such praise.  This has worked for our twins and it’s increased their bond.  You can urge these good behaviors by saying “oh look your brother (sister) is upset can you give him (her) a kiss?”  Or “oh look your brother(sister) fell.  Can you go help him (her)?”  This tactic has totally transformed the way our twins treat each other and reinforced their closeness. These days they will kiss and help each other on their own without any urging on our part.  It’s the sweetest thing to see.

5. Show them the behavior hurts.

This should be used as a last resort if nothing else has worked.  It’s not effective with every child but most Twinmoms I’ve talked to report that it’s worked for them.  If your twin bites you, lightly bite them back and say “this is why you don’t bite, it hurts.”  This method only worked with our twin Sam when he was an infant.  He never bit again.  Ian on the other hand wasn’t phased by it one bit.  It took reading the “Teeth Are Not for Biting” book over and over and using time outs to get results.

Hopefully these steps will help you to minimize the aggressive behaviors in your twins.  The sooner you nip it in the butt the higher your chances of success.  Some children stop on their own over time especially once they can talk and express their feelings, but it’s probably a good idea to help the process along.

What about you, how have you stopped the biting and hitting?

The post Tips to Reduce Aggressive Behavior in Twins appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Celebrating the Twinmoms and moms of multiples out there who are kicking ass every single day despite personal struggles, life obstacles, and feelings of doubt.  Let’s learn from each other and celebrate the Badass in all of us.

Meet Heather from Indiana 1. Introduce yourself:

My name is Heather and I live in Indiana.  I have 6 biological children (including 2 sets of twins) and 2 adoptive children.  My adoptive children are actually my sisters.  I’ve raised them and they’ve been in my custody for 10 years; the oldest Jessica is 19 and the youngest Rayna is 15.  

My biological children are aged 10 (Lee), 4 (fraternal twin girls Katelynn and Payton), 2 (Jaxson) and 1 (fraternal boy/girl twins Connor and Heidi).  I have been a stay at home mom for the last 6 months.  Prior to that, I was a dancer for 10 years.

Here’s a pic of all of us (the boy in the blue shirt is my husbands nephew).

2. Can you share some of your Badass parenting moments?

I feel like a Badass mom every time I take the kids out by myself, all 6 of them.  Sometimes it’s just to the park.  It is hard to keep an eye on all 6 at one time. 

Or when I taught my oldest set of twins to potty train in just 3 days (lots of rewards and bribes but it got the job done), and of course when I have 4 kids whining to do something and the other 2 crying for a bottle and somehow I manage to calm them all down without running away!

I do a lot because my husband works a lot.  He is absent from all doctor appointments or family outings unless they are planned weeks in advance.

3. Can you share what your typical day is like?

Our typical day when school is in starts at 7am.  My husband and I wake up, and we get our older set of twins up along with our 10 year old.  My 10 year old watches the 3 youngest as they sleep while I take the girls and my husband to work (30 minute round trip), he has my cell phone in case any problems arise.

Once I’m back home, my 10 year old gets ready for school and gets on the bus.  Once the other 3 children wake up, I change diapers and pull up.  I make breakfast for the 2 year old and prepare bottles for the 1 year old twins.  Then the 2 year old plays with me or watches TV for a little while, and it’s nap time for the 1 yr old twins.  Tuesdays the youngest has therapy at our house, then it’s lunch for all 3.

I get the older kids from school and do any shopping I need for dinner.  I usually take them to the park if it’s nice out, or we come home and get in the trampoline until it’s time for me to make dinner.  We eat then we play some more, and it’s bath time ( every other day, unless they need one every day from sweat or dirt).  We settle down, watch a movie if we have time, then it’s bedtime.  My husband doesn’t have a set time to get off work, sometimes he is there to help and sometimes he isn’t.

A typical day during the summer when school is out is a little different.  We plan more things to do as a group.  Pine Lakes fishing, camping, swimming, Mire Park and museum trips, but still sort of have a schedule for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner.  We also have a later bedtime during summer break.

4. What’s some advice you would share with new twinmoms to survive the newborn stage?

My advice to other moms is to have patience.  Even when everything that could possibly go wrong is going wrong, remember to breathe and remember this too shall pass.  On a typical day, I’m a referee and I yell when I’ve asked nicely 30 times and I still get ignored but then I remember it’s only temporary and I’ve learned to not worry about the small stuff.  So my 2 year old has spilled his 6th drink of the day, oh well, it’s not the end of the world.

5. At what age did your twins start sleeping through the night? How did you sleep train them? What worked for you?

My first set of twins started sleeping through the night at about 7 months.  I didn’t do anything special, I just fed them and gave them a bottle and they started sleeping throughout the night.

My younger set of twins haven’t been as easy.  They are 1 and usually still wake up at least once for a bottle and then go right back to sleep.  I never did the Cry It Out method.  I don’t like to hear my babies cry, so I usually keep trying things until I figure out what they want.

6. How do you deal with temper tantrums?

Temper tantrums?  I’ve experienced my fair share, enough for a couple moms actually.  I try hard not to give in because then it sets an example for them to do it again in the future.  If they continue to cry and we are out in public then I tell them “if you keep crying, we will leave.”  If we are home and they continue to throw a fit, i tell them everybody has to take a nap if the crying continues.  I will then count to 3.  If I make it to 3 and they are still crying then i make them lay down or leave wherever we are.

7. What have you started teaching your twins, when did you start, how did you do it and how long did it take?

I like to teach my children through playing.  We make up songs and we make up dances.  I am also in the process of teaching my 1 year old’s to walk, and it’s a process I don’t have any advice on yet. Wish me luck!

Thank you again Heather for sharing your story!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Badass Twinmom Heather.
This mom is getting it done!

Want to share your Badass parenting moments?  Please sign up below.

Click here to read another Badass Twinmom story.

The post Celebrate the Badass in You: Meet Twinmom Heather appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I’m going to go on a limb here and assume most Twinmoms have meltdowns.  Hopefully, I’m not sitting on this limb all by myself.

Looking back, some of my meltdowns might have been avoided but a lot of them were the result of stress from taking care of two at the same time, being a first time mom, and well I’m just human.

Most days, I think I’m rocking this motherhood thing considering i have twins, they are my first children, and I had them very late in life.  Other days, I completely lose my shit.

Having twins makes you realize you’re stronger than you ever thought possible.  For some Twinmoms, that realization is even more acute because they have other children besides their twins.  I’m amazed at these mamas who are taking care of so many.  It makes me wonder how in the world they handle 3 or 4 or 6 kids going bonkers.  Some days I can barely manage 2 losing their shit at the same time!

While it’s made me stronger, having twins has also made me realize I’ve got work to do when it comes to my own behaviors.  Looking in the mirror isn’t easy, and I’m not talking about the physical kind either (although that one is pretty hard too).  Motherhood along with its joys has brought to light my character flaws.  It has shined a light so bright on those, I might be going blind.  Well, old age might have something to do with it too.

In one of my previous posts I mentioned my impatience and tendency to be a control freak.  And we all know parenthood means a lack of control, which means I’ve had to work extra hard to fix these flaws in myself.

Some of my online mommy friends (typically the ones who just have singletons) have said the opposite, that motherhood has made them infinitely patient.  I am waiting for this magical moment to happen.  While my lack of patience is better than what it was, I can’t say I’ve reached an indestructible zen-like mindset just yet.

I have cringe worthy moments I wish I could take back.  But like anything else in life, I have taken them in and tried to learn from them.  I share these with you to let you know you are not alone if you’re going through the same thing.  I also share these with you in hopes I’m not the only one gone cuckoo at times.

Here are my worst mommy meltdowns, and the lessons I’ve learned from them:

1. Breastfeeding cries

My worst meltdowns happened during the morning breastfeeding sessions when my twins were a little older, around 6 or 7 months old I think.  Since they were too big to tandem feed anymore, I had to sit there and listen to one baby cry while breastfeeding the other one.  And by crying, I mean high pitch, continuous screeching, for 15 long godforsaken minutes.  I remember sitting there thinking to myself “ignore it, ignore it, tune it out, tune it out” chanting this mantra in my head, but man after a while, the screeching would get to me, and like an a**hole I would yell “stop screaming!”  Yep, I was screaming stop screaming.  Here I was telling my kids they couldn’t scream, but I could.  Yeah, not my proudest moments.  It really took a long time for me not to react during those cries.

Lesson:  I should have just breastfed one twin downstairs while the other one waited upstairs.  I don’t know why in the world I didn’t think to do this.  Yes, the other twin would have probably kept on crying, but at least he wouldn’t have had to watch his brother being fed first while he had to wait, and I wouldn’t have had to listen to his screams in Stereo.

I could sit here and beat myself up about it, and believe me I have, but I think at the end of the day, I’ve made up plenty for those meltdowns.  After all, I went on to breastfeed them until they were 20 months old.

2. Double meltdowns

My twins having a meltdown at the same time took the longest to get used to.  One specific incident brought on World War III level double meltdowns (at least what I would imagine World War III to be like).  When my twins were 12 months old, I had decided I would start the breastfeeding weaning process and I had the brilliant idea to start with the morning feeding session.  Major. Bad. Idea.

That horrific morning I went into their room, grabbed the both of them and brought them down to drop them off in the living room so I could go prepare their cups of milk.  Another bad idea in this not so brilliant plan of mine, to go in empty handed.

When I grabbed the both of them, at first they looked at me perplexed.  As soon as I got downstairs and tried to plop them on the couch so I could go get their milk warmed up, all hell broke loose.  Twinkies lost. Their. Shit.  They started screaming and crying, and the more I tried to calm them down, the harder they would scream and cry especially when they realized no boob was coming out.

Now any sane person would have aborted the breastfeeding weaning mission right there and then.  No.  Not this crazy woman.  No I decided I would raise my voice instead and make my Twinkies cry even more.  The more they cried, the worse I felt about my decision to start the weaning process.  The guilt got so bad I started to cry right along side them.  I couldn’t believe I had yelled at them when they were so upset and rightly so.  I decided to hell with weaning, obviously no one was ready for it.

Lesson: Never ever go in empty ended if you’re going to start weaning your twins off of breastfeeding, and never ever start with the morning session.  I eventually learned that the easiest feeding sessions to stop were the nap time ones, and just giving them a warm cup of milk instead to ease them into the weaning process.

3. Solid foods phase

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hated this phase.  I remember one specific mommy meltdown that happened when we were deep in the solid foods introduction stage.  I remember feeling extremely frustrated back then.  I would cook up meals only to have my twins refuse them, and I hated cooking (still do)!  I was worried I was failing my Twinkies and that they were going to starve.  After a while, I would give up and give them store bought baby food instead.  I felt like the worst parent in the world.

One day, as I was trying to open one of these baby food packages, my twins started fussing and screeching.  I was trying to hurry it up, and in my haste I knocked over a plate of pasta the twins had refused.  Pasta went flying all over the place.  That plate in turn knocked over a cup full of water which almost landed on the iPad sitting there on the table.  And I completely lost it.

I screamed, I knocked over other things on the table and kept chanting “f*ck, f*ck, f*ck, f*ckity f*ck!” praying to the curse gods to release me from my anger.  Okay, I’m being a bit melodramatic.  But really, all of that happened.  When I calmed down, as cursing always seems to help (to my husband’s chagrin), I looked over at Ian & Sam.  They were staring at me, observing.

I think the very next day, Sam got mad, picked up a toy, screeched and threw it on the floor.  He did it a few times for good measure.  I remember thinking “oh shit, he did that because of me!!” A couple of days later, Ian did the same exact thing.  Neither had done this before.

Right there and then, I thought “that’s it, I have to get my anger in check.”  Last thing I would want is to have 3 lunatics living here, including myself.  My poor husband would run for the hills.

Lesson: Your children will learn from you, the good and the bad.  Seeing my twins replicate my crappy behavior was a wake up call.  That was the defining moment for me.  From that point forward, I worked on keeping my reactions in check.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have my moments, but they are mild in comparison to the earlier days.  It also helps that my twins are at a fun age, that sweet spot between babyhood and the terrible twos.  As they have gotten older, taking care of them has also gotten easier.

I’m sure we’ve all had cringe worthy moments we wish we could take back.  But at the end of the day, having a mommy meltdown doesn’t have to define us as mothers.  It doesn’t mean we are bad parents because we occasionally lose our shit.  It means we have greater challenges than most.  Parenting twins or multiples is no walk in the park.  It means we are human and we are learning as we go.

As long as we do the best we can, as long as we learn from these moments, and as long as we love our children, we can learn to let go of the guilt.

The post Twinmom Meltdowns – They happen to the best of us appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This post may contain affiliate links which means that the companies I recommend and their products pay me a small percentage if you choose to purchase something from them (at no extra cost to you). I only recommend products that I use and love! For more information on this check out the full disclosure page.

Let’s celebrate the twin and multiples moms out there who are kicking ass every single day despite personal struggles, life obstacles, and feelings of doubt.  Let’s learn from each other and celebrate the Badass in all of us.

Twice a month I will feature one Badass mom of multiples.  Last week, Kellie from New Mexico shared her incredible story, read it here.

Wan to join our growing Badass Twinmoms group?  Click here.  If you would love to share your Badass parenting moments, please sign up below.

Meet Trista from Canada

I virtually met Trista through one of the online groups I volunteer as an admin My Journey with Twins.  We have a few things in common: our infertility struggles and having twins after 3 years of fertility treatments.  We also feel a deep gratitude for motherhood and having our twins.  This is her story, and what makes her one Badass Twinmom.

1. Introduce yourself:

My name is Trista, I’m from Ontario Canada.  I’m a volunteer fire fighter and work as an activity aid.  My husband and I were high school sweethearts and have been together for 11 years.  My fraternal  boy girl twins are our first children, they are currently 5 months old.  I’m still on maternity leave and enjoying my time with my little miracle babies.

2. Can you share some of your Badass parenting moments?

It took us three years to have our beautiful blessings, and I’m starting to figure out why.  The first year we did Chlomid treatments but they failed.  The second year into our fertility treatments, we lost 5 family members, one was my stepdad (I had lost my biological father at a young age, my stepdad was basically all I knew).  Doing fertility treatments while grieving was probably not the best thing but I needed something to keep me busy.  I really just couldn’t deal with the loss of so many important people in my life.  I needed some good to come out of this, whatever it was going to be.  We couldn’t just give up, we pushed even harder for our babies.  I needed a reason to live again.

It finally happened, we were pregnant!  I wanted to tell the world but instead we kept it a secret and just told close family.  When we finally announced it to the world, some complications emerged.  Everything turned out okay, we had done an ultrasound to confirm.  Still, I wasn’t convinced that everything was going to be fine.  It all just seemed too good to be true, it all still felt like a dream.  How could I finally be pregnant?

I remember impatiently waiting for the next ultrasound or doctor’s visit just to make sure that our babies were okay.  One ultrasound report came back showing one baby was measuring a lot smaller than the other, and we were told we needed to see a specialist who happened to be located 8 hours away.  Here we were worried and scared that something was wrong with our baby.  As it turns out, the ultrasound tech had just measured wrong.  Our twins were half a day behind one another and exactly where they needed to be.

We made it through to 7 months, then I developed more complications and was on bed rest.  Again, I was worried that things were not okay.  I made it to 36.5 weeks and went into labor crying as I was getting prepped for my c section because this all just felt too good to be true.  I was still feeling paranoia that not everything was okay.  Once I heard my babies’ cries, i felt relief.  They had finally made it here safe and sound.  The paranoia could stop now right?  Wrong!

I was paranoid about going out in public and people touching them.  So apprehensive about it and still the words wouldn’t come out even when I wanted to forbid people to touch my kids.  The first time my babies caught a cold, I couldn’t sleep, I was so worried.  When I introduced solids, I was so afraid that they were going to have an allergic reaction that I actually called 911 once because I thought my daughter was having one.  Turns out she sounded a bit wheezy because she had developed a cold overnight.  After their cold, my twins developed an odd rash.  I went on to find out they had impetigo.  How the heck did my kids get this?  I’m a Germaphobe for this very reason, paranoid my twins are going to get stuff like this.

One day we were out at the store doing our weekly shopping, my husband had dropped us off at the doors.  I was waiting for him to come in and I spotted an elderly lady who seemed curious about my babies, after all they are beautiful.  She kept getting closer and I was trying to avoid eye contact and kept walking while waiting for my husband.

I look back at my babies and I see her hands touching my boy!  “No touching!”  The words finally belted out of my mouth.  I did it, I said it, and it felt so good!  I understand kids are cute, they are adorable, but they are very very fragile and they can catch pretty much anything.  There’s not one, but two to care for, and this mamma is alone with them because daddy needs to work to pay the bills.  I’ve had enough of my babies always being sick and worrying myself sick, and that is only the beginning of finding my voice.

3. Can you share what your typical day is like?

A typical day: my husband gets up around 4-5am and one twin normally wakes up too so he makes them a bottle and puts them in bed with me.  I feed and change diapers.  Normally the other baby has woken up so that one gets fed, changed and put back to sleep.   My son likes to snuggle in bed with me until 7-8am then we get up, prep another set of bottles, mom makes coffee( this is a must) and dress the kids for the day.  Kids usually play in their Jumparoos while I get ready for the day.  Then it’s nap time.  During this time I do chores: clean bottles, sweep, mop and prepare supper in the crock pot.  Twins wake up and they get bottles, play on their playmats and basically we repeat this all day (eating every three hours and naps every one and a half to two hours between feedings) until 6pm when daddy is normally home.  My husband spends time with the kids while I get the bath stuff ready, and clean supper dishes.  Around 7ish babies have bottles then rice cereal, followed by bath time and then they’re off to bed.  On nice days, we go for walks or go for drives around town or go out visiting and bring daddy some coffee at work.

4. What’s some advice you would share with new twinmoms to survive the newborn stage?

My advice for twin moms: do whatever works for you and your babies!

I wanted to so badly breastfeed my twins.  I really wanted to and I did but it didn’t last long.  I made it to two and a half weeks.  I felt pressure from a lot of people to keep going and I really tried but I wasn’t producing enough milk and I was sleeping maybe if lucky an hour between feedings and I never had time to eat or anything.  It was horrible, I felt like I couldn’t enjoy my babies I was so run down.  But I loved the bond with my twins.

I brought them to their appointment and the doctor said “fed is best, that’s all that matters” and I realized she was right.  What good was feeling rundown, crying over burnt pizza?  It wasn’t healthy for me being that tired and exhausted and not good for my kids to have a tired and exhausted mom.  So formula it was.

My daughter was also colicky and we tried everything to help her, the doctor said it was probably because I was supplementing and then we switched to just formula.  I waited it out for a month, nope, my daughter still screamed her head off for hours on end.  We tried gripe water, nothing.  Swaddling sometimes worked, or putting her on the swing sometimes but only for a little bit.  Finally, I had enough and switched formula.  It seemed to help a bit but still cried at the same time every day.  This time my grandma happened to talk to someone who suggested Ovol.  Yep, it worked!  What a life saver.

Moms you know your babies best.

I knew something wasn’t right and letting my daughter cry for hours on end was not okay.  However in order to get her to sleep during these episodes, I would put her in her crib and let her cry it out (it never went past 15min) and she would be out like a light.  There are two babies who need mom and holding a baby who is screaming bloody murder, swinging her arms, and kicking her legs is frustrating; so this is what worked for us.  A bit of Ovol helped calm her down, and we let her cry if she didn’t calm at all.  I would pick her back up, try calming her and start all over again.  We got through it.

5. At what age did your twins start sleeping through the night? How did you sleep train them? What worked for you?

My twins just recently started sleeping through the night (my son has been doing it longer).  Honestly I don’t know what I have done to make them sleep through the night.  I honestly think when they are ready they will sleep, and if they are hungry, they probably won’t.

6. How do you deal with temper tantrums?

My twins are too young for temper tantrums right now, but there’s been a few days when I was ready to have a few!

7. What have you started teaching your twins, when did you start, how did you do it and how long did it take?

Well they are only five months old but I’ve taught them everything they know so far!  Joking.  My son for a while was really pulling on my face and grabbing really hard and he would laugh about it.  So when he did this i would say “ouch” in a stern voice and say “you’re hurting mommy!  That’s not nice, be gentle” and now he grabs mom’s face nicely and I’ll smile at him so he knows the difference between grabbing too hard and being nice.

Thank you again Trista for sharing your story!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Badass Twinmom Trista. This mam is getting it done!

The post Celebrate the Badass in You: Meet Twinmom Trista appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I have heard of some twin dads not helping out or leaving the majority of the parenting load on the mother’s shoulders.  Fatherhood is a special badge many men don’t get to wear, and it’s sad that some take it for granted.  These fathers are missing out by not being as involved.  They’re missing out on an amazing bond with their twins.

Some believe that only moms can develop strong bonds with their children, especially in the infant and toddler stage.  My husband is proof that’s not the case.

He has been hands on from day 1.  From the day our twins were born up until now.


The first couple of days at the hospital, he was completely in charge of changing their diapers since I couldn’t walk or bend down because of my c-section.  The first 2 weeks of their life, he got up with me at night and helped syringe formula feed them while I breastfed because my milk hadn’t come in yet. (you can read about it here).  Once he was back at work, the minute he walked in the door he helped with feedings, bath time and bedtime routines.  It has been the case every single day, even though he’s out of the house by 6am and doesn’t get home until 6pm.

To make up for the fact he didn’t get up at night after he went back to work (I had help from my mother the first couple of months, then I was doing it solo), my husband now lets me sleep in on the weekends and takes over.  That means he cooks breakfast, changes diapers and sometimes if I have to be somewhere, he puts our twins down for a nap on his own.  That means he’s gotten to develop a fun and strong relationship with our Twinkies because he spends quality time alone with them.  So much so, my husband might as well be a celebrity.  When he walks in the door, their eyes light up, they literally run up to him (they crawled when they couldn’t walk) and they give him big hugs chanting “dadda,” “dadda.”


Their bond is so strong that the minute my husband is home, I become second fiddle.  Me, the mother who’s with them every day!  At times, I’ll admit I feel a bit of jealousy, I keep thinking “wait a minute, I take care of them the majority of the time, shouldn’t I be the celebrity?!”  Mostly though, I feel happy and lucky that my twins have such an amazing father.

Here are the many ways my husband has developed a strong bond with our twins and is rocking fatherhood:

1. He’s affectionate with them

Seems basic, but I think some fathers forget to do this.  He holds them, kisses and hugs them.  When they were newborns, he helped with the rock-them-to-sleep task (before we wised up and let them fall asleep at the boob).  At times he rocked them for up to an hour or fell asleep with one of them in his arms.

2. He makes them laugh

He has a knack for making them laugh.  From making faces, to making funny voices, tickling them, and singing cartoon songs.  There isn’t a day I don’t hear my sons laughing when he’s with them.  Not one.

3. He plays and he is silly with them

He will build forts out of blankets and pillows.  He will turn their inflatable horses into wild horses and make their ride fun and crazy.  He becomes the horse and plays horsey, gives them piggy back rides, makes up dinner time games like pretending to look away and looking back quickly (something Sam imitates very well and thinks is hysterical) or grabbing his nose making a honking sound.  He is always interacting with them in a playful way.

4. He teaches them

He’s taught them words, numbers, special handshakes, high fives, sounds, and how to play with a ball.  He takes any opportunity to teach them.  In fact, he’s a much better teacher than I am because he finds fun ways to incorporate teaching into play or during meals.

5. He reads to them

From the moment they were infants, my husband has always helped with reading.  We weren’t very consistent at first, especially at bedtime because I breastfed them and the timing didn’t work.  Now that they are no longer breastfeeding, we all read as a family before bedtime.

6. He plays guitar for them

My husband (and his father) play the guitar.  From the moment they were newborns, my husband has always played guitar for them.  I love that he’s instilling in them a love for music and instruments.  When he’s not home, as a special treat, I let our twins go upstairs to our room so they can touch his guitar.  Something that they love and associate with their dad.

7. He makes time for them even when he’s working from home

Because he’s a celebrity as far as our Twinkies are concerned, working from home means constant interruptions because they want his undivided attention.  Still, he is patient with them and always indulges their requests by letting them stay on his lap for a little bit while he works.


There are probably another million ways he’s rocking fatherhood that are escaping me right now, but I think you get the gist of it.

Please understand this isn’t a bragging post, this is a post to honor the man who makes fatherhood look easy even though it is hard at times.  On this father’s day, I want him to know we appreciate him and all he does for his family.  He is the proof that fathers can have just as strong of a bond with their children as their mothers do.

The post How This Twin Dad Is Rocking Fatherhood appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Let’s celebrate the parenting moments that make us feel Badass.  It doesn’t mean we’re Harley Davidson bike riders (although that’s fine if you are), it means we are stronger than most because we carry a heavier burden.  It means all the twin and multiples moms out there who are kicking ass every single day despite personal struggles, life obstacles, and feelings of doubt.  Let’s learn from each other and celebrate the Badass in all of us.

Every week I will feature one Badass twin or multiples mama.  She will share her Badass moments however she wants to define them, what her schedule is like, offer advice and tips around sleep, tantrums and whatever else she has figured out or would like to share.  Last week, we featured Lisa from Phoenix Arizona, read her story here.

If you would love to be a part of this Badass movement and share your story, please sign up below.

Featured this week is Kellie from New Mexico

I met Kellie online through my first Mom of Multiples group that she had put together.  From the time my twins were born up until now, we have gotten to share our stories good and bad, supported each other and just grown as mamas.  She’s the sweetest person I’ve virtually met, and despite all that she’s dealt with in life, she still manages to make jokes and cheer others up.  Listen to her incredible story, and you will agree with me, she’s one amazing Badass Twinmom.

1. Introduce yourself:

Hello my name is Kellie and I have 4 children.  I am a stay at home mom in a small town in New Mexico.  My oldest is Domonic he will be 12 in July and he is in a residential treatment center for past trauma and anger disorder.  My daughter Kyla is 7 and my identical twin boys Luis and Kevin are 2.5 years old.

2. Can you share some of your Badass parenting moments?

I think the things I’ve had to deal with have made me one Badass mom, I’ve probably been through more than most.  It’s been hard but it’s made me who I am, and I’m fiercely protective of my children given all they have been through.

One Badass mom moment happened when Kevin was 3 months old.  He and Luis were napping in my bed.  When their dad went in to check on them, he yelled for me.  As soon as I got in the room, I saw that Kevin was pale white, not breathing, and his body was limp.  I immediately grabbed him and gave him CPR while his dad called 911.  It was a very long 10 minutes but I got him awake and breathing before the paramedics got to my house, so they just asked me to put him in a car seat and we went to the hospital to get checked.

This one defining moment that could have been tragic had I not reacted so quickly was probably the result of my past which instilled in me strong survival instincts.

Motherhood started roughly for me.  My first child Domonic was burned when he was 2 years old.  I was going to college at the time, and I was in class the day it happened.   My ex boyfriend had offered to watch my son at my apartment since he had his daughter as well.  Later he called me saying I needed to call an ambulance because my son had burned himself.  I told him to call 911 and I would be there ASAP!  I called my mom and asked her to check on him because she was closest.  When i got there, she was holding my son and the skin from his legs was hanging from his toes and I saw pieces of it on the carpet.  I honestly don’t remember much from that day.  I don’t remember seeing the man who intentionally put my son in a scalding hot bathtub.  He confessed to the cops that he had turned up the hot water heater as high as it could go.  He was found guilty and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

My son has been through so many skin grafts on three fourths of his body for third degree burns, I can’t even keep count, and he will continue to have surgeries until he stops growing.  From these burns, my son has developed PTSD, anxiety, depression and an explosive anger disorder on top of him being ADHD.  In 2014 when Domonic was 9, he started having seizures.  Scans showed old blood built up from a brain bleed that looked similar to trauma from shaken baby syndrome which happened around the same time he was burnt.  Whatever else my ex did to my son, we will never know.  In 2015, I had to admit Domonic into the  pediatric psychiatric hospital because of his anger.  He was threatening to hurt himself and everyone else in his life including teachers and students at school.  The time before that, I made the choice to admit him because he had tried to stab me with a pair of scissors.  Since then he has been in and out, only getting discharged when he has medical issues due to his skin grafts.  Sadly, he has been sent back for attacking me, my fiance, my mom, the police when they are called, teachers, secretaries and the principal.  He has ran away from me, my mom and school.  He has gotten into vehicles with strangers.  He has gone to a stranger’s house asking if he could live there and many other things.  At the residential treatment center, he continues to act out, threaten staff, attack them, break phones, physically fight other peers, destroy peers belongings, attempt running from the facility, harm himself, and try to call 911 blaming and accusing others for the things he does to himself.

3. Can you share what your typical day is like?

A typical day before i started potty training started out at 7:30am.  I would wake up, get my daughter ready and on the bus for school.  Then, I usually would sweep my floors before the boys woke up and got food and crumbs everywhere.  They would wake  up at 8:30am and we would change diapers, eat, then go in their room and play for two hours.  At 11:30am we watch TV for an hour.  At 12:30pm, they get a snack and we clean their room.  Nap time is at 1:30pm and lasts about 2 hours, they usually wake up at 3:30pm.  That’s the time Kyla gets home from school so they all sit down and watch cartoons for one hour and I help Kyla with her homework and the boys have free play.  Once we are done, we all eat.  Then we go outside to play for a bit and come in for bath time.  Bedtime is at 9pm.

4. What’s some advice you would share with new twinmoms to survive the newborn stage?

My advice for new moms is to remember that the first 8 weeks are the hardest to get through.  Get yourself a nice routine that works for your family and it will get better.  Enjoy your babies, it really doesn’t last long enough!

5. At what age did your twins start sleeping through the night? How did you sleep train them? What worked for you?

Honestly I don’t think i can even call it sleeping through the night now.  I get them to bed at 9pm and sometimes in the middle of the night they come to my room and go back to sleep on my floor next to my bed and wake up at 8:30am.  They were about 18 months when they stopped waking up for a cup at night.

6. How do you deal with temper tantrums?

Tantrums are real fun!  Hah!  When they have a tantrum if it’s not over something I can fix, I tell them to go to their room.  If they don’t go, I take them and let them cry it out until they are done.  They will usually come out over it after about 5 minutes.

7. What have you started teaching your twins, when did you start, how did you do it and how long did it take?

I started potty training my twins at the end of May.  So far potty training is going okay, it’s definitely not the 3 days that some people talk about!  We are on day 8 and I started off by having the potty chair in the living room and getting them used to using it instead of the floor.  I expected Kevin to do better than Luis because he showed more signs of being ready but Luis has proved me wrong and hasn’t had any accidents in 5 days.  Now Kevin has had a couple here and there.

At the beginning, Kevin would pee on the floor and he would get the mop and clean it up because that’s what he saw me do!  Eventually, they both started using the potty chair every time they needed it.  Now we are on day two of them using the potty in the bathroom with a toddler chair on the toilet and a stool so they can get up.  At first i was bribing them with candy and I slowly stopped that about 4 days ago. They have been without clothes or diapers this whole time except for nap time and bedtime!

Thank you again Kellie for sharing your incredible story!
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Badass Twin Mom Kellie. This warrior mama is one strong lady!

On a side note, Kellie mentioned her twins didn’t start sleeping through the night until they were 18 months old.  It’s different for everyone but twins can sleep through the night sooner, mine started at 4 months old.  Need sleep training tips?  Discover the 7 secrets to sleeping twins, Click here to receive the free guide.

The post Celebrate the Badass in You: Meet Twinmom Kellie appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
SADNESS

After the D&C, we found out our insurance carrier wouldn’t cover any future rounds of IVF cycles.  We appealed the decision.  A couple of months went by.  We got a rejection letter, denying our request for future IVF coverage.  We were distraught.  We thought long and hard.  Were we ready to commit the kind of financial means we needed to make our dream of a family come true?  What if it didn’t work?  Not to mention the toll this would take on my heart and my body.  After searching our souls long and hard, we decided it was worth the risk.

Once again, we were back on the IVF merry go round.  The second cycle began on November 18th.  During this round, the length of injections lasted 23 days with a total of 46 injections.  The egg retrieval resulted in another 10 eggs.

The day after retrieval, as I was on my way to work, I got call from the clinic saying my husband’s sperm sample came back too low and they wouldn’t be able to use it.  I couldn’t believe it, I was so upset.  This could jeopardize the entire cycle.  Doubt started creeping into my mind, but I held fast to the belief that this would work.  I asked them if he could go back and try again.  They said a second sample is usually worse, especially so close in time but they were willing to try; they reminded me time was of the essence.  My husband was already on his way back to work when I called him to tell him the news.  Full of anxiety, he raced back to BostonIVF.  Thankfully, the second time around the sample came back with great numbers, my husband’s swimmers had come through.  We joked that night that he should be a donor at the clinic.

Of the 10 eggs we got from retrieval, 6 fertilized but only 3 were of good quality.  The clinic scheduled the transfer for November 30th, the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend.

After my acupuncture session, I was back in my operating robe, ready for action.  This time we had a different doctor handling the procedure.  I don’t know why, but from the moment I saw her, I had a bad feeling.  She insisted we transfer only 1 embryo insisting that it was of great quality, and since the remaining embryos were as well, the likelihood of having triplets was high if we transferred 2 embryos.  My gut disagreed.  I told my husband I felt we should use 2 embryos, but he sided with the doctor and tried to reassure me that she knew best.  Still, everything in me felt this was the wrong decision.

The transfer procedure this time didn’t go as smoothly, in fact it was a bit painful.  It took much longer, and according to my husband, she used some pretty scary looking devices to try and get the cervix ready.  I was blissfully unaware of this, thanks to my acupuncture session and my lack of hearing.  As the procedure lengthened and the pain increased, I felt a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, and thought this was a bad omen.  I tried to shake it off, and to stay positive.

We went home and waited the dreadful week, only to learn it hadn’t worked.  No pregnancy.  I was crushed.  That night as I laid in bed crying, my mother walked in and in typical Portuguese fashion stated the obvious “what did you expect filha?  You waited too long to try and get pregnant.”  When I cried even harder, she apologized and tried to comfort me.  The sad thing is, she had voiced exactly what I had been thinking.  I was 42 at the time.

JOY

We decided we would give it one last shot.  We agreed after this cycle, there would be no more.

On December 17th, we began the third round of IVF.  Injections lasted 23 days, but this time I only needed 31 injections.  Since we already had 2 frozen embryos, there would be no egg retrieval, just a thawing process.  On January 7th, 2015, we transferred both embryos.  The minute I met the doctor who handled the procedure (Dr. Bayer), I knew it was all going to go well.  My intuition was correct, and the procedure went fast and smoothly.  This happened on a Wednesday.

Embryos that were transferred

One night soon after, I woke up in the middle of the night and went downstairs to grab a little snack.  As I sat down to eat my toast and sip my tea, I felt 2 sharp pangs.  One by the left side of my uterus, and one very low to the right of my uterus.  I remember smiling and being sure that what I had just felt were my embryos implanting themselves.  A week later, they confirmed what I had suspected all along, I was pregnant!!

This time though, I tried to keep my excitement in check.  I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  But as blood tests kept coming back with tripling hcg levels, I just knew we were having twins.  My husband was freaking out, rambling on about how expensive college is, what would we do if we had twins?  I couldn’t help but laugh.  Don’t get me wrong, I was freaking out too, but I felt more excitement than fear.

The day of our first ultrasound, I tried to keep calm and not jump to conclusions.  My heart racing, my eyes fixed on the technician, I waited in the loud silence.  When the technician finally spoke up, and confirmed there was a strong heartbeat to the left side of my uterus, my husband and I exchanged a big smile, and I started to tear up with happiness.  Hesitantly I asked “is there another one?”  After a minute she confirmed “ah yes, I hear another heartbeat!”  This one was lower to the right side of my uterus.  There it was, my suspicions were confirmed.  I couldn’t believe it, and yet I could.  As scary as it was, I had already embraced the notion of having twins.  After all we had been through, I felt two were better than one.  I thanked God for our tiny miracles, and wonder started to fill my heart.  We waited until we were outside, and my husband and I kissed and hugged.  We had finally found our joy.

Looking back, I know things happened as they should have.  If we had we put in 2 embryos during the second IVF cycle, we probably would have ended up with just one baby.  Now, I can’t fathom the idea of having only one child, I was meant to be a twins mom.

For those of you still on the IVF merry go round, take heart and keep the faith.  Joy might just be around the corner.

The post Sadness and Joy: IVF Diaries appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
It's a Twinkie Life by Liz Farris - 9M ago

A bright green dinosaur with a friendly face, small enough to fit in the palm of Sam’s hand, he is the infamous Doodoo, Sam’s lovie.

Doodoo’s name originates from the word dodo which means sleep in French.  One of my godchildren used to name her lovie Doodoo, It was her way of pronouncing dodo.  I thought it would also be the perfect name for Sam’s lovie.

From about 6 months old on, Sam grew attached to his Doodoo.  We would lay the tiny green dinosaur in his crib and Sam would bunch him up, sniff him, bite him and fall asleep clutching on to him.  I confess I love to sniff Doodoo just as much, his scent smells just like Sam.

Ian on the other hand wanted nothing to do with any kind of Doodoo.  We would lay one in his crib, and he would toss it out every single time.  His grandma once said he’s an old soul.  I think so too, and I’m willing to bet he felt insulted we would even attempt to lay a lovie in his crib.  It was beneath him, he has his thumb after all.

Doodoo has been a lifesaver, but at times he’s been a royal pain in the ass.  You see Sam won’t sleep without him.  On the one hand that’s good because he falls right asleep as long as he has Doodoo.  On the other hand, he goes into freakout mode if he happens to wake up in the middle of the night and he can’t find Doodoo.

On those nights when Sam wakes up crying, Doodoo is usually the number one culprit responsible for Sam’s cries because he’s gone missing, lost somewhere along Sam’s nighttime shuffle across the bed.  Frantically I search in the dark, feeling around Sam’s mattress, the corners, the sides, around and beneath Sam’s body, a blind woman looking for an AWOL Doodoo, and all the while Sam is screaming his head off.  Good times!  Thankfully Ian sleeps through all of this in the crib opposite the wall to Sam’s, blissfully unaware.

These days, Sam insists on taking Doodoo everywhere with him during the day.  Sometimes he will cry during lunch time because he wants to hold Doodoo while eating.  “I’m sorry son but this mamma is not about to let you bathe and lather Doodoo in pasta sauce.  I got enough laundry as it is!”  Come naptime or bedtime, more often than not, we have to send out a search party for Doodoo because Sam inadvertently left him somewhere during his car ride from the living room to the kitchen.

“Where is Doodoo?” I ask Sam.

Perplexed, he looks around the living room, looks at me, walks back and forth across the living room all the while chanting “Doodoo? Doodoo? DOODOO!”  It’s not always easy to find him, our living room is practically a Toys R’ US superstore, it’s so littered with toys.

Doodoo, teething and sickness aside, our Twinkies have been great sleepers since they were 4 months old.

Maybe it’s a fluke, maybe my twins were graced with sleeping genes if there’s even such a thing, but I would like to think I had something to do with it.  Heck, I’m pretty sure I had something to do with it.  There’s no way I could get two babies, never mind one, to sleep through the night out of pure luck.

I would like to share with you our secrets, except some aren’t secrets, not really.  We followed suggestions on a blog site that had great sleeping tips for twins.  We didn’t follow everything to the letter, we just did what worked for us, and added some of our own tips:

EARLY CONSISTENT ROUTINE

I think the biggest success factor in getting our Twinkies to sleep was setting a bedtime routine very early on, as early as 3 weeks old, when we could start giving them a sponge bath.  Every night, we would put them down to sleep at pretty much the same time, usually around 7pm.  The routine back then was sponge bath, reading, breastfeeding and rocking.  Today, it’s similar except bath time is every other night.

THE MIGHTY BOOB (OR BOTTLE)

Experts suggest not letting a baby fall sleep during breastfeeding.  At first, I would do this and get them to sleep the hard way; rocking them back and forth for up to an hour at times.  Eventually I said to hell with this and I let them fall asleep at the breast.  That’s when they would fall sleep peacefully, and to our relief, easily.  This also meant I could get more snooze time while they slept.

THE RIGHT SWADDLE

The other big secret besides a consistent routine and breast milk (or formula, essentially you want them nice and full) is swaddling.  Today we use wraps, the kind with arm openings.  Back then, we used the type of swaddles that had flaps which wrapped around the babies’ body covering their arms completely.

Toddler wraps Baby swaddles with flaps

Now this wasn’t without its challenges.  We couldn’t exactly swaddle them fully before breastfeeding, not exactly a comfortable way for them to nurse.  Instead we would dress them in the swaddle leaving the flaps open.  Once they fell asleep after nursing, this is when it would get tricky.  In the quiet of the night with two babies sleeping peacefully on my breast friend pillow, we would have to lift each one of them out of their position and with a sick loud deafening “sssssscreeeeeech, sssccreeeeech” we would have to fasten the velcro section of the flap to the wrap.  If you’ve had one of these swaddles, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

5 times out of 10, the screeching sound would wake one of them at least, and one very pissed off wailing twin would set off a chain reaction.  With defeat we would set out to rock them back to sleep.  But once they were asleep, they stayed asleep, I attribute that to their wraps.  Before we started using these swaddles, my twins would wake up multiple times as their blanket swaddle came undone during the night, causing their arms to flail around and eventually waking them up.

PITCH BLACK

Another factor we attribute to their good sleeping is having them sleep in a dark room.  We got darkening blinds and made their nursery pitch black.  No night light of any kind, and no annoying sunlight to wake them during nap time.

While this works for us, it was a a bit chaotic at first during ‘rock baby back to sleep nighttime operations.’ One hellish night during full on teething season, the twins woke up and were busy hollering, showing us their lung capacity.  As I was nursing one back to sleep in the room, my husband paced back and forth, rocking the other twin in the hallway.  As I was putting my twin back to bed, I nearly had a heart attack and almost screamed my head off as I bumped into my husband who had apparently walked back into the room and I didn’t know it, because I couldn’t see him.  Yes, the room really is pitch black.  I think we’ve scared each other a few times.

SOUND

A couple of the items we got on our baby registry were those nighttime sound machines that pose as cute little stuffed animals.  You know the kind that play music for a set time.  I wouldn’t bother with those.  While these lulled our babies to sleep, we found after a while it would wake them up once the music stopped.  Save yourself money, instead get yourself a sound app and play it on an old phone or iPad.  We leave ours on all the time, and we’ve taken it with us during vacation as well.

This background sound serves 3 purposes:

  1. It lulls them to sleep
  2. It keeps them from tuning into sounds outside the room
  3. It keeps them from hearing each other if one happens to cry.
NAPS

One misconception about sleep is that the less they sleep during the day, the more they will sleep at night.  The opposite has been true, the less naps during the day, the more tired they were, and nighttime sleep wouldn’t go so well, or they would wake early the next day.

Making sure our twins were sleeping the right number of naps appropriate for their age made all the difference in the world.  The first year, we had them on 3 naps.  From 12 months to 18 months, they were on a 2 nap schedule.  Now, they are down to 1 nap that usually lasts between 2.5 to 3 hours in the middle of the day. Remember, sleep begets sleep.

Eventually, I weaned my Twinkies off breastfeeding during the day, so nap time routine now involves them drinking a cup of warm milk while mamma sings and puts on a wrap (to this day, they sleep better with those on).  They drink their milk as I carry them up the stairs, and finish it in bed.  They are usually asleep within 10 minutes.

I used to worry I would never be able to get them to fall asleep on their own without the boob, but this is proof that some bad habits can be broken.  Maybe the cup of milk is also a bad habit, but I’m not about to break that one, they are pretty awesome nappers too, and I think the milk has a lot to do with it.

CRY IT OUT

When all else fails, and you’re at the end of your rope, and you know they are healthy and they are not wanting to fall asleep for no other reason than they are mad (for example during nighttime breastfeeding weaning), and they are old enough to deal with it, the cry it out method works.  Our twins didn’t protest too much.  I think the longest one cried was 15 minutes, and it was only for a couple of nights.

But don’t take it just from me, take a look at the blog site we used for great sleeping tips.  Hopefully some of these will help you.

THERE IS HOPE

For those of you still in the trenches of sleepless nights, take heart it gets better, and yes, babies and toddlers can sleep, unless of course they wake up searching for their Doodoo.

JohnsonsTodayParentingContest: Where is Doodoo? - YouTube

The post Where is Doodoo? appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Sometimes we make choices as a mother that we are determined to stick to, no matter what.  One of these choices was about breastfeeding.  This is the story of how far I was willing to go, to do so.

I was walking the halls of a health &  science tradeshow my last company had sent me to, when I came across a 60×40 poster that presented the research findings of a breastfeeding versus formula study.  I thought to myself ‘what are the chances?’  See, I was already pregnant at the time, although my employer didn’t know it yet.  Standing before my eyes, was a life size list of benefits associated with breastfeeding, and right there and then I decided I would breastfeed my twins.

I took a class on breastfeeding that was offered at the local Babies’R’Us, but of course this was a very basic class that really didn’t address the challenges of breastfeeding twins.  It was more about proper latching techniques.  It seemed straightforward enough I thought.  Ah yes, ignorance is bliss.

Fast forward to Friday, September 11, 2015, the day my sweet twinkies were born via a hellish c-section.  I didn’t see them until 5 hours after they were born because my body had gone into shock, I had lost a lot of blood and I was out for a while.  Once my babies were put in my arms, it was complete love at first sight, and a bit of intimidation.  I still couldn’t believe they were here!

FIRST BREASTFEEDING LESSONS

Someone asked me if I wanted to give them formula.  I declined and reminded them I wanted to nurse my twins.  I asked for a nurse to show me how to do so , because of course, I had pretty much forgotten all I had learned in that basic class.

She raised the bed up and propped up some pillows on one side, and placed Ian first in my arms, and proceeded to show me the right angle and position for optimal latching, and what a good latch looked like.

Let me tell you, latching is so much fun!  Yes, I’m being sarcastic.  It took a few tries to get it.  Not just for babies, but for mamma too, especially how to correct a bad latch.  The one thing i did remember from my basic breastfeeding class was that proper latching technique makes all the difference between a painful experience versus a bearable and eventually pain-free nursing experience.  It really does!

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was still out of it and on meds, or having a nurse there to assist me with correcting latches, or feeling that hormonal high from having my twins there with me, but at the time, nursing didn’t seem so hard.  I felt so accomplished!  I asked the nurse to show me how to tandem feed them, which is basically when you place each  baby on each breast and feed them at the same time.  We tried it on the bed which for some reason felt awkward.  Was it the fact that my ‘tatas’ were exposed to family and hospital staff?  Not at all.  I honestly could have cared less, they had seen much worse already!  No, the awkwardness was in the position of the babies, and the bed seemed to constrict how well they were angled.  So I painstakingly, slowly moved to the chair.

There I was, propped up on the chair, gloriously topless, a pillow on each arm, a baby on each breast furiously chomping away.  Do you want to know what it felt like?  Two piranhas gnawing at your boobs.  Newborn gums are no joke!  Yes, at first it was painful.  Especially so because I wouldn’t bother to fix their latches if the nurse wasn’t around.  It wasn’t an easy thing to do, my little piranhas were clamped on so tight, they didn’t want to let go.  But, i was in such a state of hormonal high, it didn’t really phase me, I could handle it.  I felt so proud of myself.  Here I was, feeding my babies.

THEY ARE STILL HUNGRY!

An hour later, they were crying again, and I thought ‘OMG, I have to feed them every hour?!’  I knew nothing of breastfeeding then, just some articles i had read here and there.  Never even thought to read an actual book on it.  In fact, I hadn’t read any parenting books.  I was totally winging it.  I remember my mother saying “it’s like they are still hungry!”  Stupidly, I responded with “oh, I read up on this, it’s cluster feeding, they must be going through a growth spurt.”  Yep, I said that.  Hello?!  They were just born that day, how could they be going through a growth spurt?!  Like I said, clueless.

This went on for 3 days, where pretty much every hour or every couple of hours, my twinkies would cry wanting to feed, and each time they furiously chomped away.  All those days I kept asking for a nurse to show me how to use a breast pump.  For some reason or another, it didn’t happen until Sunday, when my twins were 3 days old.  That moment is forever stamped in my mind and in my heart.  After the nurse showed me how to use the pump and instructed me to do it for 15 minutes, I sat there anxiously looking at the bottles hooked to my breasts.  Not a single drop was coming out.  Not one.  I was starting to freak out.  After 15 minutes, the nurse came around, and still, nothing.  Not a single drop of anything.

I started crying hysterically when it dawned on me that my babies had been starving this entire time.  No wonder every hour they cried, and no wonder they were so furious when they did breastfeed.  The nurse and my husband tried to comfort me.  The nurse explained this is why I had been asked if I wanted to give them formula, because apparently with a c-section your milk doesn’t come in for a while, sometimes up to 5 days.  In my case, it took much longer.  No one had explained that part to me.  I felt so terribly guilty.  They were only 3 days old, and already, I was failing them as a mother.

Because of this, they had lost a lot of weight, and we were told we may not be able to take them home if we didn’t get their weight back up within the next 2 days.  They were born at 6lbs and 5lbs15oz, but by Sunday they had gone down to 5lbs.  I was devastated.  We were told we had a couple of options.  We could either feed them formula with bottles, or if I was still set on breastfeeding, then we could feed them with a tiny syringe as they were breastfeeding.  I opted for the latter.  I know, I’m crazy like that.

HOW FAR I WAS WILLING TO GO

We were shown how to do this.  This was a team effort, and I don’t know how I would have done it without my husband.  Every 3 hours, my husband would wash and get the feeding tubes ready and insert one into each baby’s mouth while they latched on, pressing the syringe ever so slowly so they would think they were breastfeeding and learning how to do so until my milk came in.  I honestly don’t know how my marriage survived that period.  In my sleep deprived state, my impatient psycho self would come out and rage at my husband if he didn’t get the tube in right the first few times (which was the case almost each time, because guess what? He was tired too), the process was long enough as it was, feeding them ever so slowly with that damn tiny syringe.

By Tuesday, our twins’ weights had gone back up, and we were told we could leave the hospital.  We were nervous to leave.  Okay, more like downright scared.  After all, we were giving up nursing assistance and the hospital’s ‘safety net.’  But mostly, we were excited to go home with our sons.  My breastfeeding journey was underway.  I just had never expected that it would start that way.

I breastfed my newborns with tiny formula-filled syringes every 3 hours, day and night, just so my breast milk would come in.  4 days in, my mother kept saying “you’re never going to produce milk, it’s been a long time already.  And if it does come in, you probably won’t produce enough milk for both babies.  Why don’t you just feed them formula with a bottle?  Wouldn’t it be easier?”

I suppose I could have given up.  Yes, it would have been easier in the short-term, but honestly, in the long-term, I saw formula feeding as more work.  Why would I want to get 2 bottles ready on top of changing 2 sets of diapers every 3 hours for months, when I could just plop a baby on each boob?  Not to mention the fact that breast milk is free.  Formula, not so much!  More importantly, I just kept thinking my twinkles would benefit from a wealth of vitamins, the right nutritional content, and antibodies that they could only get from my milk.

I stuck to my guns, I just knew deep down my body could produce milk, and would produce enough for the both of them.  After all, I had carried twins at the age of 43.  If my body could do that, it could produce milk, surely!  Thankfully, I was right.  After 2 weeks of that painstaking tiny formula-filled syringe breastfeeding torture, my milk finally came in.  I felt so triumphant, it was the best feeling in the world because my body could finally feed my babies.

IT’S WORTH IT

I have been doing so until now, although we are down to one breastfeeding session a day.  I suspect the day will come soon when it will end, and I know I will be sad when it does.  I never thought I would make it this far.  My goal at first had been to make it to 3 months, then I thought, ‘hey I made it this far, let’s see if I can keep going to 6 months.’  Then it was ‘let’s make it to their first birthday.’

And here we are, 19 months in.  If someone had told me I would be nursing this long, I would have laughed at them.  At first, it was more about doing the best I could for them.  But soon, I found out how powerful nursing can be; for nourishment, for soothing and especially for healing.  And with all of that, you get this amazing bonding experience.  The first 2 weeks were truly the hardest, but by week 4, it got easier and it was a pain-free experience.

So yes, you can breastfeed twins.  If there are no medical issues, and you are willing to be tortured for a little bit, it can be done.  The secret really is in the latch, and a hefty dose of determination and grit. Breastfeeding can be hard at first, but it’s worth it.  If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have done it this long.

The post Milk, sweat and tears: my quest to nurse my twins. appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
It's a Twinkie Life by Liz Farris - 9M ago

My 3 year long journey to motherhood was full of countless detours and dead ends: pain, loss, surgeries (2), IVF cycles (3), and endless needles (160). I went through all the range of emotions one can expect to feel when dealing with infertility: uncertainty, fear, isolation, determination, sadness, grief, and at times excitement, hope and joy. Of all these emotions, hope, sadness and joy best sum up my IVF experience.

HOPE

Starting the IVF process was overwhelming at first.  There was a mountain of paperwork, we had to educate ourselves on the daily injections we had to administer, and there was the heavy time commitment for the countless appointments, ultrasounds and blood tests.  Ironically, since I was a kid I would pass out at the sight of blood and now, here I was, willing to give it away multiple times a week!  The nurses knew to recline my chair so I wouldn’t pass out, and eventually, it didn’t phase me anymore, I was a pro blood giver; a vampire would have been proud.

We started the first IVF cycle on January 29, 2014.  Injections started a month later, and for 17 days my husband injected me with a total of 42 medications.

The next phase in the process was egg retrieval.  I remember getting up at 4am that day on March 17th, full of excitement.  Finally the time was here, we were so close to the end zone.  We had to be at BostonIVF at 6:30am.  Once there, I changed into my ‘operating robe’, and walked into the operating room, where they laid me down and put my legs up in stirrups, kind of like the ones you see at your OB/GYN, except these were contraptions that hung from the ceiling and raised the legs up.  As I laid there, spread eagle, I was put to sleep.

Ready for retrieval!

I woke up a little sore, and we were sent home.  Later on, the nurse called to let us know they were able to retrieve 10 eggs, but only 4 fertilized, and out of those, only 2 were good quality embryos.  We decided we would transfer both.

Three days later, on March 20th, I was sitting in the BostonIVF lobby, eagerly awaiting the moment I would be receiving my precious embryos.  But first, I had to see the acupuncturist on site.  Those tiny painless needles released all of my anxiety, and I came out of that session feeling relaxed and ready.

They called out my name, it was finally time for the egg transfer.  This procedure was done while I was awake, my husband was with me holding my hand, and we could actually see the long probe carrying the egg into my uterus.  It took all of 5 minutes, and the deed was done.  I was instructed to go home and rest. A pregnancy blood test was scheduled for the following week.

That was the longest week of my life.  Finally the day came, I happily gave my blood away, and later that afternoon I received the phone call that erased all of the anxiety, pain and loss of the past year.  I was pregnant!

5 weeks pregnant

On April 22nd, we were scheduled for our first ultrasound to listen to our baby’s heartbeat.  The quiet in the room was deafening, and with dread I looked on at the technician.  After a moment, she broke the silence with the sweetest words one going through IVF hopes to hear “there it is, I hear a heartbeat.”  I felt the tension leave my body, and let out a huge sigh of relief.  They gave us our very first ultrasound pictures, and with huge smiles on our faces, my husband and I went back to the waiting room, waiting for our turn to speak to the doctor. Except she wasn’t there that day, we saw one of the nurse practitioners instead.

We walked in beaming and sat down.  What happened next floored me.  “I’m sorry but today’s ultrasound showed an irregular heartbeat.  It’s not good.  Usually a heartbeat this low means the pregnancy will not carry to term.”  I thought this was a cruel practical joke.  Why give us ultrasound pictures, tell us there’s a heartbeat failing to mention its irregularity, give us hope, only to take it away moments later?

I was devastated.  I was in denial.  I was angry.  I called BostonIVF on my way back to work and practically yelled at the nurse about the way they had mishandled the ultrasound and delivery of the bad news.  I went home.  I would pray I thought.  I would pray for the tiny heart to grow stronger.  That night, I googled irregular heartbeats looking for success stories, there were some, so I held on to hope.

I was scheduled for a follow-up on April 30th.  I left work for my appointment, desperately clinging on to hope.  During the ultrasound, as I scanned the technician’s face looking for optimism, a hint of a smile, anything to break the heavy silence that hinted of bad news to come, it became clear hope was gone.  Sadly, she confirmed my worst fear.  There was no heartbeat.  It was gone.  I held back the tears as I sat in the lobby waiting to speak to my doctor.  It’s not that I was embarrassed or ashamed to cry, I just didn’t want to dampen anyone else’s hope with my sadness.

As I sat in my doctor’s office discussing next steps, barely aware of what she was saying, I still held back my tears.  She spoke about choices, sad ones.  I could either choose to wait and see if my body would miscarry naturally, something that could take a long time, or I could choose surgery to make it happen.  I opted for the latter, mostly because I didn’t want to be reminded of my loss every day, and especially because I didn’t want to waste time.  I held back tears as I walked out of the lobby, but when I got to my car, the tears started to pour out of me.  I cried all the way back to work.  I cried when I got to work, sitting there at my desk, facing away from prying eyes.  I couldn’t stop crying, grieving over the tiny embryo who’s heartbeat had stopped at almost 7 weeks.

I dried my tears long enough to go into my manager’s office, and as I tried to tell him I needed to go home, the tears came back.  This time I was crying hysterically.  I could barely talk i was so upset.  That poor man looked at me alarmed, with a look on his face that said “ah crap how do I handle this one?”  He must have thought I was dying, he knew I had been to the doctor’s.  He kept asking me “is this something you want to talk about?  Is there anything I can do?”  And I just kept on crying, shaking my head and repeating “i have to go home, I can’t function today.”

2 days later, I went back to BostonIVF for my D&C (dilation & curettage) surgery. It was May 2nd.

And just like that, I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

Flowers sent by my team after surgery.

I grieved in secret.  The worst of it was everyone around me was getting pregnant accidentally, not even trying.  Going to events was a strain, I had to put on a happy face when I was dying inside.  That’s the thing about infertility and IVF, it’s so isolating.  You don’t want to tell anyone besides immediate family because of situations like these when it doesn’t work and you don’t want to deal with the aftermath.  Yet, you wish you could explain to friends why you aren’t yourself, and part of you wants to talk it out and cry about it some more.

The book ‘The Secret’ says one should only think and talk about positive things.  The act of constantly talking and dwelling on the sad events of our lives only serve to perpetuate more sadness.  In a way, it’s a good thing I couldn’t talk about it in depth with friends and family.  I needed to stay focused, regroup and try again.

The post Hope: IVF Diaries appeared first on It's a Twinkie Life.

Read Full Article
Visit website

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free year
Free Preview