Monday, December 28, 2009

When Mother Nature Takes Your Sleep Away

So...on top of having Asthma as well as having babies snuggling up to my diaphragm and squishing my lungs, I have a sinus infection. I cannot use my nose for any purpose besides making my face look complete and filling every trashcan in the house with hundreds of tissues.

This has made sleep nearly impossible.

For the past three or so nights I have been in a light sleep or fully awake the entire night. This mouth breathing thing is just awful. I'm pretty sure my lips and throat are drier than the Sahara.

I have taken Sudafed. (That's funny how it doesn't work at all.) I've taken Tylenol (which actually helped a bit with the inflammation and 100 degree fever from yesterday). I've taken Robitussin for my dry throat cough. (That was also funny in the not-working department.) I've used heat packs, a warm bath, hot tea, saline rinses and Popsicles. Thus far, the saline rinses, warm bath and yummy Popsicles are the best. Granted, all of these remedies are only temporary. I would just prefer for someone to put me in a coma for the next few days until this thing blows over, and then I'll be good to go.

It's amazing how my sleep hasn't been terribly affected by the extra weight. I do find myself going from cold to hot very easily and turning over is also one heck of a chore. But other than that, I can usually find a decent position for a couple of hours until I have to get up and pee. Right now, though, I'm sure the girls are like, "Mom, seriously, all this up and down and loud honking noises are getting old." And I agree, little ones, I want it all to stop too.

In the hopes to make this blog entry seem just the tiniest bit lively. Here's a picture from my baby shower of my brother helping me put on a bracelet...even though it looks like he's tapping my belly to introduce himself to his nieces. I thought it was funny. He probably won't.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What I Learned from Childbirth Class, Part 2

I'm not against epidurals, but I would like to avoid one if I can.
Once you're medicated from an epidural, you'll be immobilized and stuck in bed. If you read the first blog on class, you'll know why that's not my favorite option. Not that pain is a favorite of mine either, but I'm a bit of a control freak.

I can have two external fetal monitors if all goes well.
I may not have to have an internal monitor!! Unless, for some reason, they can't find one of the heartbeats, I'll have both on the outside. This week's instructor said that they would just be doing more chasing to find the heartbeats. Woo!

There's more than one kind of breech baby.
There are different kinds of breech babies: butt first Indian-style which is traditional; feet first which is called feetling or something like that; or butt first pike position. The pike position is a Frank Breech. None of these babies are normally delivered vaginally because a baby's foot or behind is not weighty enough to get through the cervix properly. The Frank Breech baby is the funniest looking after birth. (Funny in a very, very adorable way of course!) When they are delivered, they cannot put their little legs down, so they have their legs basically straight up in the air. It's cute and silly looking, but could you imagine dressing and diapering one of those little ones?!

You can save a baby's life with a couple of fingers in the right place.
On of our instructors told us a story about a baby who was umbilical cord first. This is bad since the cord supplies necessary life support. The baby's head was crushing the cord, so the doctor just stuck his hand up there as if doing an exam and held the baby's head off the cord. Imagine, a woman being rushed to the OR as her doctor sits on the gurney with his hand holding up a baby! When they get to the OR, a nurse takes over, and holds the little head until the doctor has a grasp on the body.

I will probably have two cheesy, hairy babies.
When babies are born, they are covered in vernix. Vernix is a cheesy-like substance that protects them in utero. The earlier they arrive, the more vernix they will have. At a point in gestation, babies are also covered in a fine hair called lanugo. They lose this hair around 33 weeks or so and replace it with a much lighter finer hair that's far less noticeable. Hence, if my girls arrive early, they will be both hairy and cheesy.

Swaddling isn't so hard.
It's definitely not rocket science, and I'm very good at wrapping presents. It's like wrapping a wiggling burrito very tightly. I think I can do that!

Don't shake your newborn, your growing infant...or your toddler.
Shaken Baby Syndrome is possible up until age four! People are usually very aware of not shaking a baby, but people play rougher with older children. It's not going to stop me from having fun with my kids, but I will be very aware of the possibility.

The stinkiest part of a baby is her neck.
Babies have squishy little necks and breast milk, formula, spit up and whatever else likes to settle in the creases. Be sure to clean there. If you don't,  you'll nuzzle your baby and she'll smell like sour milk instead of baby goodness.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Nursery, Part 1

It's time. Someone bought the futon a couple of weeks ago. The big dresser was moved into the closet, and we bought all the paint. Starting this past weekend, we began working on the nursery. I know there are far more important things to do when preparing for babies, but putting the nursery together is fun as well as useful. It's also one of the many things new parents can do to feel a real sense of accomplishment before the little ones arrive.

I don't know how many parts I will be sharing since I may have the patience to wait for the rest of the furniture. If that happens, then there will only be one sequel. But since we all know patience isn't really one of my attributes, this is probably part one of a trilogy.

We are not sharing the names with everyone just yet, so I've blocked out the name art on the wall. Also, if you would like to see any of the pictures bigger, you should be able to just click on them.

A money-saving tip for everyone out there--if you plan to do a mural or just highlight with some color, buy the sample paint. It costs just around $2 and you get high quality wall paint!

Since I'm not supposed to do a lot of painting (even though we bought no VOC Olympic paint from Lowes), Tim did most of the painting. I did some cutting in around the door as well as the details on the mural.

All the walls are in Vanilla Brandy. The bottom half  of the mural wall (the hills of the mural) are in Hot Chocolate. We definitely went for yummy colors. Plus I think the neutrals make all the bright colors pop more.

Here's the finished base--chocolatey hills with a vanilla sky.

Here's the beginning of the flowers. Without any buds, they look like corn stalks, don't they?

Cali was very wary of the tape ball Tim put on the closet door. As soon as it started to fall, she bolted!

The entire mural.

Showing Baby A her crib. :)

I really love the black crib against the wall colors.

Some mural details... plus the little red bird by the light switch.

Next post will hopefully have more decorations and maybe some bedding (ooooh, aaaaaah). My only concern at the moment is how well our big recliner is going to fit in the room. We may have to do a little re-thinking on the set-up, but we didn't go into this without a plan. We made sure all the pieces we have will fit, and we'll make them work!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

What I Learned from Childbirth Class, Part 1

I do not get enough calcium or protein.
I need 5 servings a day of calcium for my twinkies. Five! I need to work on that one. I was drinking a lot of milk, but it kinda tapered off. Is that why I've been craving pizza? I usually get enough protein but we haven't bought groceries in awhile, and if we eat out, I tend to get vegetarian dishes. Must eat more meat (and peanut butter and beans and eggs)!

Even other pregnant women are amazed at twins.
I'm pretty sure I already knew this one, but it is very fascinating to be in a room full of pregnant women who still think I'm the interesting one.

I actually would like to wait on getting an epidural as long as possible.
Epidurals can slow the labor process. If you wait until your five centimeters or more, then it might not effect your labor as much.

I'm still not scared of labor.
After watching the birthing video and seeing those women in so much distress, I'm still good to go. I know it's going to hurt, but I also know that beautiful little wrinkly girls will come out of all that pain and distress. Check back with me when the actual labor starts, and then we'll discuss the fear.

Tim is a little scared of the labor.
All this time, we were thinking Tim might pass out from the upsurge of bodily fluids, but during the video, the actual birth didn't bother him so much. It was the last stage of labor that got him. So Tim and I both will have to work on deep breathing, focused relaxation, and partner encouragement. :)

I'm possibly going to look like a science experiment.
With twins, I'm going to have two fetal monitors. And since it's hard to keep up with who is who, I'm probably going to have one internal and one external monitor. Let's hope that I can still get up out of the bed with all that because...

I do not want to lie down for my entire labor.
Bed rest sucked. I am an active person. I want to walk, lean on Tim, pop a squat on a birthing ball--that kind of thing. Anything to keep gravity working in my favor for as long as I can before the girls arrive. Our instructors preached distraction from pain is the best way to get through the pain. Well, it's way harder to be distracted when you're lying down staring at the crappy tiled-ceiling above your hospital bed.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Tandem Feeding!

So I've started reading two books: Mothering Multiples and Unbuttoned. So far, Unbuttoned is the more entertaining and informative book, but there's definitely some worthwhile information in the other as well. The most interesting thing to me right now is tandem feeding. Since sleep and time is so precious to new moms, I'm very much on board about trying to tandem feed my girls. If I don't get the hang of it right away, that's okay. I will keep trying. The idea of being able to feed them both at once sounds so, so, so much nicer than feeding one and then feeding the other. On top of the time saved so Mommy can get a little more rest, they also get to be close to one another while being close to me!

Today, after reading about tandem feeding. I decided to do a search online about the subject. As with most searches, I came up with some helpful pages and a whole lot of not helpful pages. I came across three pictures that were inspiring, and one that made me make a decision that I will most likely stick to, no matter how my breastfeeding experience goes.

First, let's check out ultimate multi-task mom. She's not only tandem breastfeeding, she's chatting up someone on the phone, having a meal, AND she's still in the hospital. Nice work...but what is she telling the person on the other line exactly? How important a phone call could that possibly be? "Oh, I'm just breastfeeding twins and eating dinner, but I can take this call from Aunt Marge."

Though I have no intention of trying to multitask in my room at Williamson Medical, I am definitely sold on that nursing pillow she's using. I was going back and forth about getting a twin nursing pillow, but just from this picture, I realize how helpful it can be!

I snagged this picture from the wonderful twin website Twin Pregnancy and Beyond, but this woman is inspiring not because she's gone hands-free; it's because of the huge smile on her face! I've heard stories of women really enjoying breastfeeding while others see it as a chore and some just see it as the best miracle on earth. To me, this woman is smiling not only because her little ones are being fed, but because she successfully has two little ones latched on and that pillow is so awesome that she doesn't have to hold them! Again...totally getting that pillow.

Lastly, the one that's not inspiring.  I can't post it on my site since it's got copyright blocks, but you can go see it here. I'm happy this woman looks like she's enjoying herself. I'm happy it looks like her children are getting their fill. But both of those children look a bit out of the breastfeeding stage. The one of the left is probably still good to go--just crawling or walking, so that's cool with me. There are plenty of women who breastfeed up until 12 months if not 18 months. The one on the right, though? How old is that kid? 3? 4? I'm pretty sure that if my child can run around and play on a swingset that my breast is no longer a source of food. Sorry if I've offended anyone, but I'm pretty much going to be done with the breastfeeding when they can talk to me (if not before that).

So that's my little schpeel on tandem feeding and the lovely pictures on the Internet. What are your thoughts?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Let's Talk Nipples

So, since I've pretty much decided what I want the nursery to look like, I have found a new baby obsession: breastfeeding versus bottle-feeding.

I understand the benefits of breastfeeding. You get to have an ultimate bond with your baby (or babies in my case). You're giving them the best food they can get. Breastfeeding also causes your uterus to contract which helps it get back in shape faster.

But, for all the articles and whatnot I've read on breastfeeding, there are very few on feeding multiples. Every book advises letting your baby feed on one breast until it's empty, burp, and then switch to the other breast. Unless I'm going to let one of my girls starve, I don't think I have that luxury. So I'm preparing myself to supplement with a bottle. I hope I won't have to, but I'm not going to be disappointed if it needs to happen. Babies need to eat, and I will feed them as needed.

So, with this idea in my head that I will have to supplement with a bottle, I've been thinking about "nipple confusion." Supposedly, some babies have trouble going back and forth between breastfeeding and bottle-feeding because the nipples are different. The way a baby suckles a breast is different than the action it takes to suckle an artificial nipple. So I've gone on a search for the most natural nipple out there. Hey, the girls might hate them, but I can try them out, right?

First up, the First Years Breastflow Nipples. This nipple requires baby to use the same sucking technique required for breastfeeding. Most of the reviews on Babies R Us are quite positive, and then there are a handful of "I hate them" posts as well. But since the positive outweigh the negative, they are on our registry.

The biggest disadvantage I've noticed is the fact that this nipple is in two parts--the clear outside and that less clear inside mechanism. More parts equals more cleaning, and trying to make life easier as a new mom usually doesn't involve more cleaning.

Next up, the Adiri Natural Nurser. This one doesn't have the cool compression and sucking motion of the Breastflow nipple, but the shape and feel plus the slow flow is "breast-like." They also, I must say, look kinda cool. I know that shouldn't have anything to do with feeding your children, but hey, aesthetically pleasing is a nice (unnecessary) bonus.

Besides the cool look, they are definitely designed for easier cleaning than the Breastflow. The downside? They fill from the bottom! How odd is that? You have to put a cap on it, turn the bottle over it, fill it and then put the nipple on. I'm not exactly excited about that idea,  but if the girls don't like the Breastflow nipples, I might try these.

Lastly, the Very Hungry by mimijumi which is made right here in Nashville! It's not on the market just yet, but it's coming in December. And since it's out of Nashville, I'm sure I'll be able to find it at baby stores in the area. The Very Hungry, like the Adiri, mimics the shape and feel of the breast. It's got venting that's supposed to help prevent colic, and it's a one-piece nipple (less cleaning, hello!).

My number one complaint at the moment is the color. Now the site boasts that the nipples come in "natural colors," at the moment, their natural color is Caucasian. Last time I checked, I'm not of the Caucasian persuasion. I really do hope that, when they come out, they've got more natural colors. Granted, this isn't a deal-breaker, it's just slightly annoying. It's kind of like bandages. I know the Band-Aid brand has different tones, but they're hard to find and probably cost more, so I'm hoping that mimjumi will have various colors that are all the same price.

I've fortunately found two books (a whole two!) on breastfeeding multiples. I'm going to read through those, but I also won't forget about bottles. There are women who think that it's just awful to bottle-feed, and there are women who think it's taboo to breastfeed. I again, think it's all about the babies. They need to eat, and they will.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Report from the Sofa

Even though I was very nervous last night/early this morning about my ultrasound today, it turns out everything is okay. The girls are doing great. In fact, they showed off for their grandmothers a little bit today. And, the best news of all, I'm off bed rest!!!! *Happy dance*

I'm still on limited activity, but I can go teach the rest of the quarter and get my own lunch and get off the sofa whenever I want. That's quite nice. I'm going in for another cervical measurement next week, so let's hope that my limited activity and no meds works just as well as bed rest and meds so that I can just take it easy until February instead of being absolutely miserable on the sofa or in the bed until February.

So, to celebrate my liberation from the sofa, I started painting the letters for the nursery. One girl's name is nearly done, and I'll probably work on the other tomorrow. I would love to post a picture, but since we're not sharing the names right now, that would be quite difficult.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Because Free Stuff is Fun

Over at Spearmint Baby (a great blog that everyone should check out), there's a contest going on to win a chenille blanket from Little Giraffe. The blankets retail for $58 to $62, and, if you're like me, this is probably one of the only ways you'll be getting one.

They are quite adorable and look ├╝ber soft. You know, that kind of soft that you want to keep touching all the time?

So, everyone go over to Spearmint Baby and enter the contest for your chance to win!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Report from Bed

Actually, it's more a report from the couch. Either way, I'm stuck. I've been put on modified bed rest for a week. It seems that my cervix is shortening due to the weight of the babies. This is not good because it could lead to second-trimester miscarriages or early preterm labor. We don't want anything like that happening, so I will diligently take my medicine and stay parked in bed or on the couch for my required seven days (only to get up for showers and sandwich-making and bathroom runs as my doctor said).

Alas, if I were really content with my situation, this would be a very, very short blog.

I cannot stand being still for long periods of time. (Even now, I get up every three or four hours to run to the bathroom.) It's even worse when you're forced to stay still. My daily activities involve showering, watching TV, watching DVDs, watching the cat, crocheting, and napping. My body feels awful. I have leg cramps and neck cricks...and this is day 2.5! I hope when I go back to the doctor that everything is a-okay, and I can return to moderate activity. I'll promise over and over again to take it easy, but I just need to be moving around. It's one thing to sit on the couch all day and watch Buffy, Angel, and Eureka marathons voluntarily, but when you have no choice? No thanks, I'd rather be preparing the nursery for painting or grocery shopping.

Yep. I said it. I'd rather be grocery shopping.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Taking the Plunge

If you know me, you know that I'm not new to this blogging thing, but I've been toying around with the idea of blogging about pregnancy for awhile. I really don't know what to talk about, so I'm sure I'll just talk about everything from decorating the nursery (a task I'm very, very, very excited about) to reading books on twins to doctor visits. But here I am, writing the first entry, and actually putting it out there for people to see.

I'll try to be entertaining. Some days, I'm sure I won't be.

I will never promise to post daily because I just don't have that kind of dedication, but I will try to post often.

Today, I'm 23 weeks (that pic is from 21 weeks). Very close to the six month mark, and I'm feeling that the birth is close yet still very far away. I can't believe Thanksgiving is at the end of the month and then Christmas! Holy hell, Christmas is right around the corner. Then my birthday and then the girls will be coming along after that. I guess it really is closer than it feels.

This post was short, but there's more to follow. Some exciting things are happening this week, so come back soon.