15 things you say to the parents of multiples that drive us crazy

Were you aware that becoming a parent of twins makes you instantly famous?! You can’t go anywhere in public without someone commenting on your family; so plan ahead and add on an extra 10+ minutes to any errand you need to run. You and your traveling circus are about to be the talk of the town!

Actually, a good friend of mine had her twin girls about two months ago (and they are such cute little nuggets) and we recently had a conversation about some of the crazy/annoying/dumb things that come out of strangers’ mouths when they see twins out in the wild. This conversation inspired me to write this blog post. I have compiled a list of some of the things people in general just should NOT say to parents of twins. Most of these I have heard personally, others I have solicited from other parents of multiples. Enjoy, have a chuckle, and if you are not a parent of twins/multiples, try to use that brain of yours!

Note: Most of these are related to having twins, as I have no experience with higher numbers of multiples; but trust me, their comments are equally as agonizing if not worse.

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  1. Assuming they know the gender – I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked, “Oh, a boy and a girl??” when my identical girls are clearly wearing dresses, bows and have their ears pierced. Yes they are bald, but if you can’t 100% tell the gender, then keep your mouth shut!
  2. “Were they natural?” – Twins can be conceived “naturally” (really, aren’t all babies natural, no matter how conceived? I mean, they aren’t aliens, plastic, unicorns…) as well as with the help of fertility treatments. No one should assume it was one way or another, and it is a pretty private question to ask. I mean, I wouldn’t walk up to a lady with DDD perky breasts and say “nice boobs, are they are they real?” And finally…who CARES???
  3. “You’ve got your hands full” – Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. What I do know is I don’t need your constant reminder that my life is more often than not, chaotic. And you know what else, my hand may be full but my heart is FULLER.
  4. “Better you than me” – If these people could understand what we went through to have these beautiful baby girls, I hope they would think twice next time before uttering these words. Finding out I was pregnant with twins may have been the biggest surprise of my life, but it was also the biggest blessing of my life. However, this person is right, it is better that it is ME instead of THEM. After all, it takes a special mom/dad to parent multiples. You need to be kind, mature, accepting, loving & compassionate (among many other things), all of which the person who says this most definitely is not.
  5. “My kids are 13 months apart, so it’s just like having twins” – NO IT IS NOT. You did not have two newborns at the same time. Your children were not going through the same leaps and milestones at the same time. Were you nursing multiple children at once? Nope! Your body did not go through what carrying multiples puts you through. Yes, having children close in age can be difficult. But it is not the same as having twins or multiples. And really, when did this become a contest?
  6. “Which one is older/smarter/more outgoing?” – This really annoys me, especially because I try so hard not to compare my girls to each other. They are individuals and will do things at their own pace which may be the same, or it may be completely different. I hope they embrace their individuality and grow up with their own tastes, interests, etc. But for those of you who are really curious….Lennon is one minute older than Rowe; in the scheme of things, does that one minute really matter to you? Both of my girls are brilliant, funny, kind, etc.
  7. “Do twins run in your family?” – This one, at least for me, requires a bit of scientific explanation. And usually, when I am out with my girls, I have a million things on my mind as I am trying to make sure they don’t escape and run into traffic, swallow an acorn or bite the toddler on the jungle gym. I really don’t have the time or energy to explain the science behind “twins running in families”. But I’ll explain it here, with hopes that my small blog may reach the masses and you can avoid asking me in person. My canned response: “Yes, twins actually DO run in my family, but my girls are identical which is not hereditary.” You see, fraternal twins CAN run in families. It has to do with the mother hyper ovulating and releasing more than one egg, per cycle. Fraternal twins are the result of two eggs being fertilized. So, if your mom or grandma has fraternal twins, then their daughter or grand-daughter may be more likely to have fraternal twins. But it has to do with the mothers’ side of the family, because face it, men don’t ovulate, so they can’t inherit that gene. My father’s brother and sister are fraternal twins. So I am not more apt to have fraternal twins, but my fathers’ sisters and their daughters may be more likely. Identical twins, like my girls, are purely spontaneous. My egg split after fertilization and resulted in my twin girls. Nothing about genetics played into that occurrence. Just pure luck and a gift from God. See – you learn something new every day!
  8. “Do you have a favorite?” – WHYYYYY?!?! Of course we don’t have a favorite, we love both girls equally with all our hearts. And if we did have a favorite, do you think we would be stupid enough to admit it??
  9. “Are they both yours?” – Wha??? This one came from the friend mentioned above, and literally had me questioning the intelligence of society. My friend was out to breakfast and the waitress asked her if her twin daughters were twins. She answered yes, and then the waitress asked if they were a boy and a girl (you know, the usual). My friend responded “no, to girls”, to which the waitress then asked “are they both yours?” Really? I am not even going to justify this question….
  10. Comments on different sizes – My girls are pretty darn close in size, but I know a lot of parents who receive constant comments on the size difference in their multiples. They ARE different people. And there are various reasons why there could be a difference in size. A lot of them can be traced back to time in the womb. Perhaps they experienced IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction), or maybe they had TTTS (twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome). Or perhaps one just eats more than the other or has a faster metabolism. Whatever it is, again, why do you need to know?
  11. “You must have had a lot of sex to get two!”Ummmm, do you have a filter? And in my case, actually, no we didn’t have to have sex at all thanks to IVF. Leave my sex life alone.
  12. “A two for one deal!” – Little do these people know that we paid for two rounds of IVF, so in reality, we got what we paid for. But this bugs a lot of twin parents. You can’t put a “price” on a child…they are invaluable.
  13. “Do you/did you breastfeed?” – That is absolutely none of your beeswax!! Fed is best, we don’t need your judgement.
  14. “You must be miserable” – Actually, I love my life. Sure, I have times where I want to scream and hide and down a whole bottle of wine (and I have!), but miserable I am not. I am so beyond in love with my family.
  15. “You’re done, right?” – Who has decreed that two is the perfect number of children to have? It differs for every family! Some are happy to stop at one. Others are content with none. Some are hoping and praying to have one, while others want 12. There is no limit on the love a family can give to their children, and it is their business and theirs alone regarding how big (or small) they would like their family to be.

 

So PLEASE, for the love of babies, next time you see a family of multiples out in the open, try to think before you approach us. And, instead of saying one of the above listed statements, try out one of these choices:

 

Things you SHOULD say to parents of multiples:

  • You are blessed
  • What a beautiful family
  • Here, have some money!
  • Let me buy you a coffee
  • Aren’t you lucky!
  • You are super mom/dad!
  • You are doing a great job!

 

**Disclosure: My views do not reflect the views of all parents of multiples. In fact, some love answering your questions. Half the time, I usually don’t even mind. But we would love some new material!

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From infertile to fertile?!

2014-2016 marks the span of when we first started “trying” to get pregnant, to when we had our beautiful baby girls. Loads of heartache, months of negative pregnancy tests, dozens of tests, multiple rounds of fertility drugs, frequent ultrasounds and appointments, and two rounds of IVF. It is in that timeframe that we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility, and that we began to identify as one of the “1 in 8”.

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We were so blessed to have found success in that second round of in vitro fertilization that resulted in the splitting of our one lonely embryo into two identical blessings from God. Our infertility journey ended in a family. And that is something I will never take for granted.

Fast forward to the final days of 2017. A positive pregnancy test after only three cycles of trying! And now that beautiful surprise baby boy is 22 weeks along and right at home inside my belly. We were shocked, elated, scared, overjoyed, you name it; we felt it. But a feeling I wasn’t prepared for was that of betrayal. Betrayal to the TTC community, my infertile friends and followers, and essentially my identity.

Now that I had become pregnant naturally and quickly, was I no longer “infertile”? Would I be outcast by the infertility community? Was I one of those people I always envied and silently cursed for falling pregnant so easily? Well….maybe I was, to others. But for me, I will always and forever be 1 in 8.

Infertility is not something that can be cured. Sure it can be remedied, but cured, no. I will always have those two years of loneliness and emptiness. The memories of the injections. The pain of losing our two embryos during our first transfer. The feeling of hope when first visiting the specialist. The new friendships I created in the TTC community. The immense knowledge I now have of the female body. And the other women/couples I have helped along the way. That is NOT going anywhere. And it is because of those experiences that I will always identify as being infertile. I will always advocate for infertility awareness, treatment and coverage. I will continue to educate and help my peers. And I will continue to hope for all those impacted by this disease.

Once infertile, always infertile.

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Thinking before you speak when it comes to infertility

Unsolicited comments are a constant in today’s society, especially with the prominence of social media. Thus, during my time undergoing fertility treatments I experienced no shortage of, let’s call them “unfiltered” remarks. Similar to that of comments made to a pregnant woman (minus the lovely ones like “don’t you look beautiful” or, “congratulations”), comments made to those struggling with infertility should, for the most part, be kept to yourself. Actually, I might even go so far as to say any comments regarding a woman’s body, unless solicited, are better left unsaid! While these comments are often well-intended, they usually translate as hurtful and annoying.

The vast majority of infertile women and couples keep their diagnosis to themselves for this very reasons! Thus, you may not know that someone you are communicating with is suffering from this otherwise invisible disease. But, if you are one of those people that just can’t seem to keep their mouths shut, I have compiled a list of things to never say to a couple struggling to build a family, or any female of what you would classify as “prime child-birthing age” who has not yet conceived.

  1. Just relax!! Oh how I HATE this one. As someone who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder and OCD, relaxing is about the last thing I can ever do. And you telling me to relax just brings out more crazy. Studies show that everyday stress does not cause infertility. And honestly, most of us probably weren’t so stressed out until we realized we weren’t getting pregnant easily!
  2. Why don’t you just do IVF? IVF is often seen as ‘the end of the road” when it comes to fertility treatments. Most couples go through multiple tests, treatments, etc. before finally taking the IVF leap. And actually, many couples get to the IVF crossroads and do NOT take that leap. IVF is extremely expensive, approximately $12k per cycle in the USA – not including genetic testing! And a lot of times it takes more than one round. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t just have $30k lying around. We had to open a new credit card, save money, and look to family for assistance. Many people don’t have those options! And some need donor eggs, donor sperm, donor embryos or surrogates, which can increase one cycle by tens of thousands of dollars!

In addition to being expensive, IVF is emotionally and physically draining and it is not the ultimate solution in every case. Some couples go through multiple rounds without every carrying a pregnancy to term! Not to mention the rigorous injection schedule, numerous ultrasounds, body and health restrictions, mood swings, and more. So don’t just assume we can “do IVF”.

  1. You can always adopt! Adoption is an amazing option for some families. But it is not one that most people jump to. The adoption process takes a very long time, and again, it is not a guarantee. And it is extremely expensive. And it doesn’t erase the fact that it is not a biological child.
  2. You already have one. So what if I have one? Or two or three of four? It doesn’t make the fact that you are not conceiving any less hurtful! Secondary infertility is a real thing. It is still a dream dashed. I hope to live in a world where someday all families can be as big as they would like, and are capable of providing for. Some people have SO much love to give.
  3. Count your blessings that you don’t have a real illness. Fact check! Infertility is a disease recognized by the World Health Organization! Of course it is not on the same level as cancer, but it is still a disease that causes pain and requires intervention. Don’t be the judge of who deserves sympathy and prayers, and who does not.
  4. You’re still young, you have plenty of time! That is not always the case. While a woman’s ovarian reserve diminished as she ages, conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, premature ovarian syndrome can occur early in very young women. Some, like myself, have unexplained infertility.
  5. Stop trying and it will happen. Ah, yes. One of my favorites. How the heck are you supposed to get pregnant in the first place if you aren’t doing the baby dance? I mean, I know you don’t have to technically have sex to get pregnant via IVF, but at that point you are really trying. And for many couples tracking ovulation, fertile days, etc., are how they get pregnant. Sex is key to getting pregnant. Stopping surely won’t improve your chances.
  6. Who is the problem, him or her? REALLY?? Does it really matter which person is having the issues? Maybe it’s both. Maybe it’s neither (unexplained infertility), but we don’t need you poking and prodding into our personal lives. What matters is WE are struggling.
  7. Oh, look at that little bump, are you pregnant? NEVER ask a woman if she is pregnant if you aren’t 100% sure of the answer. Do you really need to know that badly? If so, ask someone else close to her if they know. If you don’t know anyone close to her, you probably don’t really need to know. Or you might get an answer you don’t expect. Like, maybe I’m just bloated from all the shots I’m giving myself in the stomach each day and I gained 5 pounds from my last unsuccessful round of IVF. Oh, and my ovaries feel like they are going to explode. And I have gas.

 

I know we are all curious about what is going on around us, but infertility is an invisible disease and you never know what feelings you might stir up by asking a simple, unsolicited question. Rather than asking these questions, start advocating for infertility treatment and coverage. Share your sympathy with a friend. Bake them cookies or send them a card. Let them know you care and that you are thinking about them.

Understand that they may not want to go out on Friday night because they are afraid that one glass of wine will ruin their chances. Recognize that they may not want to go to a baby shower because it will hurt too much. Let them know it is OK to be upset that your best friend is pregnant, after all, you’re happy for them but sad for yourself.

Offer to be there when they need you, but don’t push when they don’t want to talk about it. Try to talk about things other than your kids. Don’t let the conversation always revolve around pregnancy and babies. They will appreciate your effort and kindness more than you know.


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Road-Tripping with Toddlers

Well, we made it to Florida and back….barely. The drive there wasn’t too bad, besides the fact that it was pouring down rain for about 70 percent of the drive. The girls were pretty well-behaved, and we had the assistance of my parents. That, coupled with free move downloads from Netflix and the excitement of warm weather made the trip there manageable and rather un-eventful (besides a small puke incident from Rowe and a brief 25 minute bout of being “lost”, and my mother cutting open her head in the van).

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The drive home, on the other hand, was pretty much a nightmare. We left my grandparents’ house in in N. Ft. Myers at around 7:15am. It usually takes 5ish hours to get to Georgia. We had our luggage carrier strapped on (this carrier is about 20+ years old, by the way), the girls in their seats with their morning milk, and some tunes on the radio. Our goal was to stop for breakfast just north of Tampa, so around 9am-ish.

Well, about an hour or so into our drive we hit some traffic. Our GPS gave us an alternate root so we thought maybe we would take it. No sooner had we pulled of the highway that we realized that Rowe had puked on herself! We pulled over on the side of a road, cleaned her up, changed her close and Nick checked on the luggage carrier. It was getting loose! And the car was beginning to smell. Ugh.

Rather than risk getting lost off the route, we decided to hop back on the highway. 9:00 came and went and we STILL hadn’t made it to Tampa, thanks to traffic. We finally passed Tampa at around 10:00, pulled off to get gas and breakfast. While we were getting gas we realized Lennon had thrown up! I stripped her down and took her into the gas station to clean her up. The women’s restroom was “occupied”. I waited a bit but I had a practically naked toddler covered in puke so I just went for it and took her into the men’s. I cleaned her up in the nasty sink and changed her clothes. There goes another half hour.

We actually had a rather enjoyable breakfast at Cracker Barrel, and then decided to find somewhere to buy more ratchet straps for the luggage carrier because we were convinced it was going to fly off the top of the car and cause a major accident. Luckily there was an auto store nearby, and Nick was able to re-secure the carrier in about a half an hour. We were now 4 hours into our trip and only about 1.5 hours from where we started.

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I forgot to mention, we bought a tiny can of Lysol for $5.00 at the gas station and doused the car in it. Best $5.00 I ever spent.

Throughout the rest of Florida we hit traffic jam after traffic jam after traffic jam. I think we FINALLY made it to Georgia around 4:30/5:00pm. It took us twice as long as it should have to get through Florida. At around 6:15pm we stopped at a McDonald’s with a PlayPlace so that the girls could move around and release some energy. Well guess what…there was a bus load of kids inside and in line! We didn’t even get to place our order for about 20 minutes. While we were waiting for the crowd to thin, we changed the girls. But I had left their night diapers in the car. Nick ran out to get them and THE KEYS WERE LOCKED IN THE CAR. Our van, a Town & Country, isn’t supposed to even allow that to happen.

Thankfully I have AAA. We called, and were told someone should be there after 8:00pm. That’s 1.5 hours to spend at a McDonald’s with two tired, cranky toddlers. Oh boy. We even tried calling the local police station to see if they could help….no dice. After we ate Nick decided to go and check the car doors one more time. By some miracle, the passenger door opened and we were able to get the keys! Hallelujah. Back on the road around 7:15.

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The rest of the trip included cranky babies who we refused to give milk again in fear of another puking episode, rain storms, snow, and a very tired mom and dad. We finally made it home at 7:30am. Our 18 hour road trip took 24 hours. But hey, we survived!

Will we do it again? Maybe. Will we be prepared should there be a next time…you know it! Here are some of my recommendations before you venture out on your next toddler-accompanied road trip.

TODDLER ROADTRIP ESSENTIALS

  1. Multiple changes of clothes
  2. A bag with wipes, diapers, snacks, Tylenol, diaper cream, etc. that is easily accessible. I recommend overnight diapers or to size up for the drive. Less leaks!
  3. Multiple bottles/sippys so you don’t have to wash them all the time
  4. LYSOL and disinfectant wipes
  5. A tablet with movies and tv shows pre-downloaded (and a charger)
  6. Dress your kids in layers and bring blankets
  7. First Aid kit
  8. Extra bags for trash, puke clothes, dirty wipes, etc.
  9. Busy bags! Below is what we had in ours. Each of the girls has their own backpack, and the contents below were in each pack. Except for the LeapPad and the driving simulator toy – we only packed one of those.

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Items in each busy bag: Blocks, memory cards, books, silly frog, bunny clapper, lightup bunny wand, toy phone, toy remote, stickers, stuffed rabbit, finger puppet, books, new McDonald’s toys (I didn’t open these until we were on the trip so they were “new”), snacks. Not pictured: sippy cup, princess tambourine, blanket, wubbanub.

  1. We did not have these for this trip, but will be a necessity next trip…the girls love them!
  2. Kids songs radio station and/or playlist
  3. Calming bottles – I attempted to make one of these and failed. I think I messed up the glitter glue/water ratio. Then I never found the time to try it again!
  4. Grandma & grandpa – I highly suggest multiple adult travel companions if you have the space. My parents were unbelievably helpful on our drive down.

Good luck to you on your next road trip, may your adventure be smooth and uneventful!

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Air Travel w/twins and infants

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Spring/Easter break is right around the corner, which means a lot of us are getting ready to go on a much needed vacation. As you are preparing for that week of rest and relaxation (oh wait, you have little kids, that’s NOT going to happen), you are probably stressing about the “getting there”. I know I would be!

As someone who has traveled with infant twins on multiple occasions, I would like to share with you how to prepare for flying with lap children (twins in specific, because we know that’s my jam). I know the idea is daunting, and you can never be completely prepared (who can predict when Baby A will have a meltdown or when Baby B will have a blowout?), but my list below should help ease the anxiety a bit. I promise!

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR FLYING WITH TWINS (OR LAP CHILDREN IN GENERAL)

  • Lap children are FREE when under the age of two (on the majority of airlines). This means one lap child per adult over the age of 18. So if traveling with twins, you need two adults. Otherwise, you will have to purchase an extra seat.
  • Call ahead to let the airline know you are traveling with lap children. When you do this, also see if you can pre-select your seats. Every airline we have flown only allows one lap child per row of seats (row meaning on either side of the aisle, the cluster of seats) because there is only one extra oxygen mask. We call ahead and ask for aisle seats in the SAME row, so we are as close as possible.
  • Aisle seats are where it is AT. Having the freedom to get up, walk up and down the aisle and go to the restroom anytime, without disturbing your neighbors, is so much easier.
  • You can check car seats and strollers for FREE (again, this is with most airlines I have seen). I suggest checking your car seats at the curb/ticketing, and then checking the stroller at the gate.
  • If you are flying with an infant, I suggest baby wearing during the flight. This allows you to be hands-free and is helpful with turbulence. They also feel snug and safe!

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  • If each parent/adult will be sitting with a lap child, prepare TWO diaper bags. Fill each with the following:
    • Diapers
    • Wipes
    • Extra set of clothes
    • Milk/formula
    • Sippies
    • Binkies
    • Lots of snacks
    • Small toys
    • Books
    • Blanket
    • Infant Tylenol/Motrin
    • Bag for dirty clothes
    • Sanitizing wipes to wipe down the seat and tray
  • To help with ear discomfort, I also recommend feeding the child during takeoff and landing. Or offering up a binky!
  • Night time/extra absorbent diapers. Hopefully you can make it through the entire flight without any leaks!
  • Pack enough in your carryon bag for an overnight stay – you never know when that flight may be delayed!
  • Pack double the amount of diapers you think you will need. Airport diapers are not cheap.
  • Use car seat/stroller bags. We bought these great car seat travel bags, I highly recommend them! And get this – they don’t weigh the car seats, so we stuffed our bases, and extra luggage into the bags with the seats so we didn’t have to worry about overweight luggage fees. SCORE!

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https://www.amazon.com/J-L-Childress-Standard-Double-Strollers/dp/B003554H9M/ref=sr_1_25_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1520444570&sr=8-25&keywords=car+seat+travel+bag

  • If you are a nursing mom, pack a nursing cover! I understand breastfeeding needs to be normalized, but your seatmates will thank you. They are already dreading the flight with a baby in their row, you can at least spare them a nip slip!
  • Binky clips – airplane floors are definitely not the cleanest
  • Bring a copy of your child’s birth certificate (just in case)
  • If bringing formula, buy a bottle of water in the airport, prior to boarding.
  • If bringing breastmilk, be sure to check out these guidelines!
  • Check in online! You will not want to be in the airport any longer than you have too.
  • A lot of parents I have talked to recommend boarding the plane early. I, on the other hand, recommend boarding late. From experience, the less time you are cooped up in a small space, the better.

I know this seems like A LOT to prepare and remember, but I promise you this will make your flight so much easier. Also, we have all heard those horror stories about babies on flights and passengers being rude. From my own personal experience, everyone has always been very kind and understanding toward us when traveling with the twins. In fact, I would be sad to travel without them based on the VIP treatment we have often received.

Good luck on your next flight, you can do it!!

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Real Talk: Pregnancy Nausea

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Let’s talk pregnancy nausea. I don’t mean “morning sickness”, or the occasional upset tummy or gagging. I mean full blown, all-day/all-night PREGNANCY NAUSEA. With puking.

When I was pregnant with the twins, I had the all-day queasies the entire first trimester, a bit early in the second, and here and there in the third. But I expected that. I was pregnant with twins, my HCG levels were high, as were all of my other hormones. I was prepared for “double symptoms”. And after months and months of fertility drugs, I handled those symptoms like a boss.

But this second time around seems so much worse. The nausea is more intense, my super pregnancy smell is more intense (I can’t even open the fridge without gagging), the food aversions are more intense, and the barfing is more intense. Since week six I have thrown up almost every single day, usually multiple times. To the ladies out there with HG – God bless you, I don’t know how you do it. Chasing two toddlers around also doesn’t help. Nor does changing their poopy diapers. The nausea is with me, ALWAYS.

Also, husbands don’t really get it. It seriously is debilitating!! I try to explain it to Nick like this: Imagine having a hangover that lasts for weeks, but not getting to enjoy the fun part that gives you the hangover. I think that resonates a bit more. Thankfully he has really stepped up and been taking on a lot of the tasks that I just can’t bring myself to do – like making the girls’ meals. Thanks for being a trooper, babe.

Now that you know how great I have felt the past 9 weeks, let’s talk about the lovely PLACES I have gotten sick. This is a running joke with other ladies on my mom boards – might as well make light of it all.

**Warning** TMI ALERT

Since the nausea is my bestie, and does not discriminate, I have had some not-so-pleasant encounters with it. Here are some of the fun places I’ve puked this pregnancy:

  • My driveway
  • My kitchen sink (multiple times)
  • IN MY CAR. It got on the windshield and steering wheel. I had to clean it up with YOGA PANTS. Which I then threw directly into the trash at work.
  • Speaking of work….in a trash can at work. In my office and in a hallway. I like to think the college kids thought I was hungover….
  • ON MY CAR. Rolled the window down and let it out. Then it froze to the side of my door. Lovely.
  • Target bathroom
  • Every bathroom in my house

Nothing is off limits. I just count my blessings that on most occasions, no one saw me.

So, now you are probably thinking to yourself, “girl, take some meds!” Trust me when I say, I have tried it all (if I haven’t please send recommendations. SOS.). While nothing seems to be helping me that much, the least I can do is share some of the remedies I have tried. Below are some of the pregnancy nausea tips and tricks that might just help YOU kick that nausea to the curb.

  1. Ginger – Ginger teach, ginger drops, ginger ale. Ginger root is well known for its anti-nausea properties.                                                                 IMG_3897
  2. Tea with honey/lemon
  3. Saltine crackers – If you eat these first thing in the morning, before you even sit up, it does tend to take the edge up. I just can never remember!
  4. Sea Bands – These helped me a bit during my first pregnancy. I borrowed from a friend. I never tried them this time around…perhaps that is where I am striking out?                                                                     seabands
  5. Mint
  6. Vitamin B6
  7. Tums
  8. Preggy Pops Drops – These were a lifesaver for a few weeks. Then I got sick of the taste.                                                            preggypops
  9. Carbs on carbs on carbs – seems to be the only thing I can keep down lately! French fries, mashed potatoes, waffles, pretzels. At least I’m eating…right? Also, check out this new study on carbs + healthy baby!
  10. Keep hydrated – Even though water tastes funky these days, I still try to get upwards of 90 oz a day.
  11. Snacking throughout the day – I will say, if I let baby get hungry, the nausea comes at me full force. So I try to have a small snack every couple of hours.
  12. Prescription medication – My OB prescribed me both Diclegis and Phenergan for my nausea this pregnancy. Both make me SUPER sleepy, but did help out for a couple weeks. So never hesitate to ask your doctor for some help, I know some women who swear by these meds!

 

I seek comfort in the fact that so many say “morning sickness means a healthy baby”. So I am definitely holding on to that, and trying to take it one day at a time. With the twins I felt better around 13-15 weeks. So I have high hopes for the second trimester! Until then……

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A Festivus Miracle!

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We are pregnant. Naturally. Even writing it down I still can’t believe it. Even after multiple pregnancy tests, blood draws, and ultrasounds; I still find myself doubting that it is true. I just never thought a natural pregnancy (or even another pregnancy at that matter) was in the cards for us. But here, as I live and breathe and type, I am pregnant.

When we first visited our fertility doctor, we were given about a one percent chance of conceiving naturally. It may have even been less, I don’t fully recall. All I know is that that one tiny percent…I threw it out the window. I cast it away as a never. A not possible. And we dove straight into fertility treatments. And as you all know, they worked. Not right away, but those treatments, all of that money spent, all the tears all the heartache, they brought us our sweet, beautiful miracle baby girls. All my dreams had come true. And it was enough.

However, growing up I had always imagined having three kids. I grew up in a family with three children, and it just seemed like the perfect amount. So when the girls turned one, Nick and I had a discussion and agreed to try for one more baby. We were going to TRY to expand our family. We knew it was a long shot, and I promised that if in the end, we were still a family of four, that I would be OK. Because they were ENOUGH.

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But I knew a part of me would always wonder, “what if”, if we never tried. I figured we would try naturally for about a year, and then try some fertility treatments. But IVF wasn’t really an option, at least not for the foreseeable future. After all, we spent a LOT of money the first time around, and had just bought a new house and a new car. We didn’t have $12-15k+ to spend on IVF again. And that would be assuming it worked the first time around. So, while I was very excited to try, I had VERY low expectations.

I had my first post-partum period exactly 29 days after I stopped nursing the girls on their first birthday. For me, that was amazing! My cycles had always been 34+ days, so 29 days was astonishing. We “tried” between my stopping nursing and that first cycle, I was REALLY hoping that if we could catch that first egg it would be perfect. No such luck there.

The first cycle after 22 months without a period is NO JOKE. Holy cramps, holy murder scene, holy hormones. It was a rager (I know, TMI, but pretty much everything about TTC is TMI, right?). I stocked up on OPKs, pregnancy tests and began to track my cycle again. Except, I couldn’t temp accurately because I was up at least once a night due to the twins’ sleep regression. So I put all my TTC eggs in the OPK basket. It looked like I ovulated around day 23. Pretty typical for me.

Once I reached day 40 with no period, I allowed myself to get kind of excited. I was “late”. Maybe this was it?? When trying for the girls, I was almost never late. Maybe one day once or twice. But there I sat, staring at my stark white pregnancy test. And all of the emotions and heartache and disappointment came flooding back. It was like they never left. And If I’m being completely honest, I don’t think they ever did. Once infertile, always infertile. It is a time in your life that you never quite get past.

So, because I am always one who needs to try something “new” each cycle. I did a bit of research on some vitamins I could add to my diet, and came across Vitex (more on this in a future post). From what I had read, it could help to shorten and regulate women with long, irregular cycles. Sounded perfect for me. Reviews said it would take about 3 months to make any real difference, but with a small price tag what did I have to lose?

It was that cycle, that I got pregnant. The SECOND real cycle postpartum. I bet you are as shocked as I was! I ovulated 3-4 days earlier than usual, and took a pregnancy test the day before Christmas eve. At that point, I was a couple days “late” but didn’t think anything of it. I took the test because I knew I would be drinking wine and mimosas galore over the Christmas holiday.

Nick ran out to pick up breakfast for me and the girls, and while he was gone I mustered up the courage to take a test. I watched the control line change to pink but the rest of the test remained white. I cursed, I cried, and asked God why he was getting my hopes up (like it was His fault?). I washed my hands and came back to the test to throw it away, and that is when I saw it. A second, pink line. HOLY CRAP. Was I imagining things? Was this really happening to me? No way!! But there it was, as real as could be. I dug through my bathroom cupboards and found an old digital pregnancy test that was expired, but I took it any way. And that was positive too!!

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I quickly thought of a way to surprise Nick before he got home. The twins’ Advent calendar! It was a Santa Claus that hangs on the wall, with a little velvet sack filled with magnetic cotton balls. Each morning they would take turns pulling out a beard ball and sticking it on Santa’s beard. I stuck the test in the bag, and when Nick returned home I told Nick we had to do the Advent calendar before we forgot. Rosie (or was it Leni, haha) pulled the test out and handed it to a confused Nick. It took a minute before he realized what it was (that’s why I took a digital, because two lines on a pee stick would have meant nothing to him) but when he did, boy was he shocked! And excited. And terrified.

We spent the next couple of days surprising our family. This was how I had always imagined pregnancy would be. Surprising family members. Not waiting for scheduled beta tests, when everyone already knew the date we would “find out”. It was so exciting.

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Fast forward to today and our announcement. It has not been any easy several weeks, but so far, the pregnancy is progressing perfectly, and the baby is healthy. Which is all we could hope for.

I still question why we are so blessed, when there are so many others out there still trying to have their first child. We are good people, but by no means are we saints. Do we really deserve this miracle? Are we worthy? I am excited, but so saddened and heartbroken for others.

We promise to never take our children, natural or IVF, for granted. And we vow to be the best parents possible, and to love them unconditionally. For we are blessed beyond measure, and for that we will be forever grateful. From 1% chance to 100% miracle.

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Baby C #3 is due August 26, 2018.

More to come.

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Birthmarks – Finding beauty in our differences

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Identical twins. Two children, of the same sex, that look exactly alike in their external features, and share the same DNA. That is what I was prepared for. I was prepared to have trouble telling the girls apart. I was prepared for people always asking “who is who”. I was prepared for Parent Trap inspired switches both at home, and at school. What I was not prepared for was one child having a birthmark on her face.

When the girls were born, they looked exactly alike. So much alike that we had to paint one toe nail on each girl a different color. I had purchased gold bracelets with their names on it, and each baby was assigned a binky color. Rowe’s was pink (like a rose!) and Lennon’s was purple. Actually, they still are. In those first few weeks my tired eyes definitely mixed them up a few times. But only for a minute, haha!

Then, around when they were 5 weeks old, a birthmark on Rowe’s face began to appear. It started out below her right eye, and grew up to her eyebrow. It was light brown, but noticeable. To say I wasn’t devastated was a lie. My daughter’s face was now permanently marked. You never think of those things when anticipating the birth of your child. This post is hard for me to write, because I am ashamed at how upset I was by this birthmark.

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At first, I was in denial. Maybe it was a bruise, or just a weird skin disorder that would go away. When it was still there a few months later. I became a sad wreck. She was still the most beautiful baby in the world, in my eyes. But I began to fear what others would think and say about it. Would she grow up being teased? We all know how big of an issue bullying currently is. And I dread the day my sweet little Rosie comes home from school, crying, because someone made fun of her birthmark.

Then, I was sad because she no longer looked just like her sister. Would people call her the “ugly twin” because of this mark? And I hated the fact that this would be a tell-tale way to tell them apart. Not the pink binky, or that she is slightly smaller. Would people always favor one over the other because of this?

Everyone tells me, “It can easily be covered with makeup when she is older.” – but that’s the thing. I don’t want my daughter to feel like she has to start wearing makeup in elementary school and then, at all times!

We took her to Detroit to a pediatric dermatologist when she was about 7 months old. They checked her body for any other similar spots, but this was the only one. Which was a good thing! She was diagnosed with a café-au-lait macule (a very common type of birthmark), and it was highly likely that it would not fade. There are laser treatments that can be done when she is older, but they will hurt, and there is no guarantee it will lighten the birthmark. While I am glad she has options, I am still unsure where we stand on this.

Would she want us to get the treatment done at a young age to avoid any potential bullying? Or would she want us to let her make the decision. As a parent, you always want to protect your child, so I am leaning toward attempting the laser treatment on a small area to see how it works. Then moving forward from there. But does that make me selfish???

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I’ll never forget the few times strangers, and even people I know, have looked at her and asked “what happened to her eye?”. It makes my heart sink and my stomach churn. I then explain that it is a birthmark, and that we think it makes her unique.

I actually didn’t truly come to terms with the birthmark until she was about one-year-old. Of course I still thought she was adorable and beautiful and perfect. But I still feared for the future, the name calling and the tears. Until a little girl, maybe ten years old, told me that it was the most beautiful birthmark she had ever seen. It was in that moment that I knew my amazing miracle baby girl was going to be loved, and accepted. I know there will still be comments, I am ready for those. But my child is going to have a wonderful life. I will be certain of that.

A lot of people are very surprised when they first notice the birthmark. It is very light, and sometimes not very noticeable in indoor light. And especially in a lot of photos. But out in the sun light, it is definitely more apparent. I know we must be careful with the sun, as it will make it darker in the summer. But the most important thing is that she is HEALTHY, she is HAPPY and she is LOVED.

It is in this blog that I ask you – moms, dads, grandparents, friends, teachers – please educate your children on differences. Please emphasize how important it is to be different; not just in personality, but in appearance as well. Teach your children to be kind, loving and accepting. My hope is that if we can emphasize this to our children and peers, that my child (and yours) will have one less reason to cry as she grows older and begins to explore the world.

To my Rosie girl: I love you more than life itself. You are beautiful, kind and smart. You are silly, spunky and a crazy dancer. There isn’t a thing about you that I don’t love and cherish. You are going to rule the world someday, and I can’t wait to watch it. xoxox

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Tough Love

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#MOMGOALS series with guest blogger Ashley Jones

Often times people assume that since I have a smile on my face in pictures and that I workout everyday, that I love it. That I crap rainbows and sunshine and ride around on a unicorn all dang day 🤣

Well NEWSFLASH I don’t. I never have and I never will. My ugly is just as ugly as yours mmmmk?

So, why is it then that I can drag my self out of bed everyday and make time for feeding myself and my family well and workout? It’s called discipline.

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I am not the most motivated woman alive. I don’t have an unnatural superpower. I have just done the things that make me uncomfortable, daily. Over and over again so that they don’t suck as much and I know what I have to do to get them done.

I don’t look to anyone or expect anyone to be responsible for motivating me. That has to come from with in. Some one can cheer you on and encourage you, but at the end of the day, you have to become disciplined enough to make the tough, uncomfortable choice of eating baked sweet potatoes instead of French fries and spending 30 minutes sweating instead of sitting on the couch.

You are responsible for you.
You are in charge of your success.
You are in charge of you failure.
You. Alone.

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Now, I know I am serving up some tough love, but that’s what it takes. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you can get started on some serious work and make some amazing progress.

So no more excuses. Just action and sacrifice. You can do this, believe in yourself!


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Ashley Jones is a Wife, Mama, Physician Assistant, and Health & Lifestyle Coach. Follow her on Instagram & Facebook.Instagram: @the_good_doctors_wifeFacebook: Www.facebook.com/nursingtankfitness

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One More Shot – Documentary Review

I just finished watching the documentary, “One More Shot”, on Netflix.

Guess what?

I am still crying.

This film is so real. So truthful, so heart wrenching, so me. In 90 minutes this movie managed to completely transport me back in time and to accurately explain the roller coaster of emotions we went through just over two years ago.

ONE. MORE. SHOT.

A perfect title that can be interpreted in many ways. One more shot of medication. One more blow to your heart after another negative pregnancy test. One more attempt at conceiving. One more shot of tequila to numb the pain. Or, one more chance at a miracle.

The story follows a couple in their early thirties as they try to expand their family and navigate the uncharted waters that are infertility. They aren’t a glamorous Hollywood couple. They aren’t doctors or scientists who know all about infertility. They are the couple down the street that stop over on Thursday night for a glass of wine. The couple you pass in the grocery store while looking for a ripe watermelon (how DO you know if a watermelon is good??). And they are the couple that sits across from you at the fertility clinic, wondering how long you have been trying, if you were already pregnant, or if you had just suffered another loss. The ones whose eyes you meet before heading back for your consultation who can tell you with just one look that they understand.

There were several moments in the film that I could identify with, but there were also several that I could not. This couple suffered longer than we did, and more loses. But, some points that really hit home for me, were:

 

The fear of the unknown.

As an OCD, control freak, I spend every spare moment planning, making lists and setting goals. Infertility was something I knew nothing about, and treatment had no guarantees. Yes, there were dozens of options for starting a family, but nothing was guaranteed. I often thought to myself “I would go through this 10 times, spend $100k if someone, somewhere could promise me that it would all end with a baby in my arms.” But the truth of the matter is, they can’t. And the fact that I had no control over the outcome was debilitating.

 

Feeling broken.

Nick checked out OK. Borderline for sperm morphology but otherwise, good for baby making. This made me feel like it was all MY fault. That I was broken. I couldn’t do the thing women were SUPPOSED to do – make babies. I feared this would break our marriage, and I feared it would break me.

 

The shots hurt.

Those shot were NOT a walk in the park. They hurt like a b*tch! They left me sore, bruised and hormonal.

 

Punishment.

Was I being punished for sneaking out of the house in high school? Or for that time I swiped some beer mugs from a college bar? Or for all of the things I have taken for granted or selfishly just assumed would happen?

 

IVF is the ultimate “treatment”.

When we started at our clinic, we were given a less than 1% chance of conceiving naturally. So we jumped straight into IVF. And we were positive it would work. When it didn’t work the first time, it was an even bigger blow. The miracle treatment we had just shelled out $15k for was a bust. It’s hard to pick up the pieces after that.

 

Obsession.

The sheer obsession of all of it. I think infertility made me a hypochondriac/Google genius. I spent all of my free time Googling symptoms, or lack thereof, grants, adoption, embryo donation. I needed to constantly feel like I was being proactive.

 

The comfort of knowing I was not alone.

From the moment I made my blog public, it was like the heaviest weight was lifted off my shoulders. The out-pour of love and well wishes we received was amazing. But what was even more amazing was the number of women who messaged me and said, I understand. I too, am suffering from infertility. I too, find it hard to be happy for my friends having babies. I too, am scared.

 

This documentary was everything I never knew that I always needed. I think it is something that every struggling family should watch. And all of their friends and family. And everyone else. It is relatable, funny when it needed to be, and informative. I highly recommend that you check it out now on Netflix. You won’t regret it. The only thing you might regret is forgetting the tissues, or that you didn’t watch it sooner.

And for all of the women, men and couples out there trying to grow your families, find hope and comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Infertility is hard. It will push you, it will test you, and it will break you. But there is a light at the end of that tunnel. There is always another option – maybe it’s another crack at IVF. Or maybe it’s a surrogate. Perhaps it is coming to terms with never being parents. Or maybe it’s adoption. Whatever it is, make sure it is YOUR decision. Not anyone else’s. And let that decision be the one that puts you back together again.