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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The not-so-new twin mom’s Christmas list

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Last week I posted a well thought out, product-centric list of all the baby products that every new twin mom, or twin-mom-to-be, should not be without during their first year with twins. This week, I am shifting gears and posting my wish list as a twin mom (and mom, in general) who has been around the block (albeit, only once). With 15 months of mummying under my belt, my list of needs has evolved into an aspirational list of wants. This list is a bit more selfish and difficult to fulfill, but extremely relatable. Some items are products, some are services and some are just dreams. You may not find it very useful, but I hope you will at the very least find it honest and humorous!

NEW BRAS

Most of the time, I still wear my nursing bras, because frankly they are the most comfortable bras I have ever owned. But after twelve months of nursing and pumping, they aren’t in great shape. And my boobs are an entirely different shape and size than they were pre-pregnancy. No longer perky, but very saggy and squishy. I joke with my friends that I could get a mammogram and not even flinch! Thus, I need some new bras for the new ladies. But I’m not even sure where to begin. Santa shops at VS, right?

INSTANT POT

We just purchased one of these a couple months ago, so this one is for you, my loyal readers. Get an Instant Pot. You will not regret it, I promise. I can make a gourmet meal in less than 20 minutes and only dirty one pot! This is a twin mother’s dream come true! I recently made a sausage penne pasta that would put Giada to shame. Check out the recipe here.

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HIGH WAISTED PANTS

Jeans, work pants, PJ pants, you name it, they need to rest above my belly button. Why? Because I have this extra pouch of flab that hangs over the waistband and looks extremely unattractive in “hip huggers”. Not to mention my C-section scar that gets super itchy and irritated if my pants make contact with it. Call them mom jeans if you must, but they are a necessity in camouflaging my “twin skin”. I like the GAP for these.

BACK PACK LEASHES

Growing up I was always judgmental of parents who leashed their kids. But now I can relate. Especially in a busy, crowded setting. I am THIS CLOSE to purchasing some of these for the girls. I get nervous taking them anywhere alone, especially now that they are mobile

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CLEANING SERVICE

When you have twin toddlers, you have to face the music that your house will be a tornado of toys, crumbs and chaos. My once beautiful hardwood floors are scratched up and spotted with milk drops. My couch cracks house a half a box of Cheerios. The clean laundry is scattered around the family room while the dirty laundry piles up in the laundry chute. I don’t even want to think of all the bodily fluids that are hanging out throughout my home. Basically, it is a disaster. And when I somehow find the time to straighten up, it only lasts through nap time! An in-home cleaning service would be a God send, am I right?

ROOMBA

While I have never seen one of these in real life, I have to believe they are as amazing as they seem. Our floor is a constant mess of Cheerios, goldfish crackers, dirt, leaves, etc. I would give my right arm (my vacuuming arm) for a Roomba to continuously suck up that mess, wouldn’t you?

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ONE PIECE SWIMSUITS

If you wanna rock your mom bod in a bikini, more power to you! I for one am not quite ready for bikini and beach season, and am much more comfortable in a cute one piece. I found quite a few at Bellelilly.com. I am so grateful these are trendy again!

PERSONAL CHEF/PERSONAL TRAINER

Who doesn’t want someone to cook for them and whip them into shape?? The time I would save not having to cook could be spent doing crunches and squats. And then I could eat a meal that doesn’t consist entirely of carbs or leftovers. Heck, while I am hiring all of this help, why don’t we throw in a personal shopper for groceries and clothes? While ClickList and Amazon Prime are life savers, I still have to find the time to shop online. And that is more precious time I could be devoting to getting rid of my FUPA.

AMAZON ECHO/DOT (or comparable device)

I am REALLY hoping Santa brings us one of these. We currently use our FireStick to stream Bruno Mars on YouTube. But we keep getting this notice that as of Jan. 1, 2018, YouTube will no longer be available. That alone is enough to send me into panic mode. With an Echo we could still stream music (even though the girls like the music videos) and could even prompt it to play Bruno hands-free. Not to mention all the other hands-free things I could do with this (order pizza, comes to mind).

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SIPPY CUPS THAT REALLY DON’T SPILL

If you have found this holy grail of cups, please share! We have tried at least a half dozen different brands (360, Nuk, Nuby, straw sippies, etc.) and no matter what, they leak. Drives me nuts!!!

WINE

Wine gets me through tantrums. Wine gets me through teething. Wine gets me through life. I wish Santa would bring me a year supply of wine. Red or white. I’m not picky!!!

 

LIFETIME SUPPLY OF BATTERIES

Everything needs batteries these days. And we are always running out at the worst possible time. I would like a lifetime supply of batteries for Christmas. AA, AAA, D, C, 9V. GIVE ME ALL OF THE BATTERIES! That way we never have to deal with the pink elephant toy dying ever again. That was not fun.

BATHTUB CADDY

Bath time is my ME time. And my me time is few and far between. So when I do get a chance to run a bath, I want to enjoy some wine (preferably from my never-ending supply) and a good book at the same time. I have seen these cool trays on Etsy, and am hoping one will pop up under my tree this year.

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CHILD LOCK FOR IPHONE/IPAD

I don’t mean a lock to keep the kids off of my phone. I know all about pass codes and finger print entry. I want a lock that will keep my kids from turning off the song or video I play for them. The minute their little fingers touch the screen that entertainment is donezo. Why is this not a thing already? If it is, share the knowledge. All I know is I spend countless minutes re-finding Moana.

YETI CUP

These are amazing for moms & dads. Keeps your drink cold for 24 hours or your drink hot for 12 hours. Basically, it keeps your drink at the right temp for hours. So if you pour your coffee at 6am but don’t get to take your first sip until 8am, you’re good. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, and if you look on Etsy you can get them personalized!

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VACATION

I don’t even care where. Just send me somewhere I can unwind and reconnect with my hubby. Kid free (what is that?).

 

That concludes my Christmas list this year. Santa, Nick….no pressure!

I’d love to hear what all of you are wishing for this holiday season!

The new twin mom’s Christmas list

With my favorite holiday right around the corner, I thought I would compile a list (a “Christmas list”, of sorts) of the things I could not have survived without during my first year as a new twin mom. I REALLY wish someone would have shared this with me when I was pregnant or right after the birth of my girls. Some of the items on this list I received as baby shower gifts, others I purchased during the girls’ first year, and a couple I do not personally own but were recommended by other twin mommies. I have included links so you can purchase them yourself, or throw them on your own registry.

**The majority of these products would work for moms of singletons, too!**

  1. TWIN Z NURSING PILLOW (or any other comparable double nursing pillow, like the My Breast Friend)

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This pillow was an absolute LIFE SAVER. Definitely worth the hefty price tag (I actually purchased mine from a fellow twin mom, and then sold it to another twin mom!). It is great for tandem nursing, single nursing, holding babies, propping up babies with bottles, tummy time and more! You can even get various covers for it (I recommend water proof, a lot of milk drippage and puke will end up on it)!

 

  1. LARGE DIAPER BAG

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I went with a cute, large, JuJuBe diaper bag and I absolutely love it. It fits everything I need, and it isn’t horrendously ugly. Another $$$ purchase but worth the splurge. One thing I might have changed, or purchased in addition to, would have been a backpack diaper bag. But this one had a long enough strap that I could wear cross-body and still be hands free to carry my girls. 15 months later I still use it almost every day and am pretty sure it will last me through a potential baby #3, as well.

 

  1. HANDS-FREE PUMPING BRA

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DO NOT LEAVE HOME WITHOUT THIS. Truth. Anywhere my pump went, so did this bad boy. I only purchased one, and I will admit it looks pretty gross now, but it was so convenient. While pumping at home I could enjoy my coffee, while pumping in my office I could work, while pumping in my car I could drive….you get the picture. If you don’t want to buy one, or are in a pinch, you can cut small holes in and old sports bra and it works just about the same!

 

  1. SLEEP SACKS/SWADDLES (lots)

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Every baby is different, but my girls loved their sleep sacks and swaddles. Now you can be one of those moms that swaddles by hand with a blanket, but who really has time for that, times 2? Also, my husband was a better swaddler than me so having these helped keep him from continuously rubbing it in my face. Link above is to my favorite ones (SwaddleMe Pods) that actually fit my preemie size newborns.

 

  1. ROCK ‘N PLAYS (2)

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These are essential for naps or master bedroom babies. Or babies with reflux. I’ll warn you, they aren’t made specifically for nighttime sleeping, and I have heeded the advice of others telling me they may not be perfectly safe for nighttime sleeping, but they worked well for us! We kept one on each side of our bed, so that Nick and I could be in charge of “one baby” each night. Having these within reach was great for night time feeds and fuss, and for popping binkies back in their mouths every 5 minutes. The slight incline helped the girls with their reflux as well.

 

  1. BOTTLE LEASHES (2)

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I only wish I had discovered these sooner. These are for the baby that can now hold their own bottle (works with sippy cups, too). I discovered my need for these after countless car rides and walks in which one or both girls would constantly toss their bottles. No one likes a bottle that has been rolling in the dirt, or one that rolls under the seat of your van and is out of reach to you or dad. These genius products strap around the cup on one end and can then be secured to seat belts, strollers, etc. When your kid gets a little older, they can even “reel” their cup back in!

 

  1. BINKY CLIPS (several)

Once your babies become mobile, binkies are dropped and lost all day, every day. And there is nothing worse than a screaming baby and a lost binky. With these clips, you can fasten them to your little one’s clothes. Yes, you will still lose them, but not nearly as often. And you can get super cute ones and make them a fashion statement. Win win.

 

  1. NURSING TANK TOPS (several)

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These serve as both a bra, and a tank top (at least for me). Easy access for the little ones always grabbing at your boobs. Tip: Make sure you wear nursing pads if you are going to put on nipple balm. That stuff stains big time.

 

  1. BABY SWINGS (2)

I registered for two different swings, and was lucky enough to receive them. Much to my surprise, they were also different in that they moved in different directions (one side-to-side, one forward-to-backward). This allowed me to have both babies in swings at the same time, and I was able to switch up the sways to add variety. The link above and this link are the ones we have.

 

  1. BABY MOON PILLOWS (2)

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I know, I know, pillows for babies are a big no-no. But these pillows are not really for sleeping, but more for monitored naps, swing time, car seat time, etc. They are made to help avoid flat heads (or to remedy less severe ones). I will never forget the day I took a side profile photo of Lennon and realized the back of her head was super flat. I quickly researched helmets and noted how expensive they would be if insurance didn’t cover them(one, let alone two…Rowe’s head was slightly flat as well), and how uncomfortable they looked. So I Googled some more and found these pillows. I am telling you, after less than two weeks of use, I noticed a huge difference. And at the girls next doctor appointment my pediatrician assured me that they would not need helmets. We obviously would have gotten them the helmets and therapy should it have been necessary (babies are so cute in those fun helmets) but it was nice to not have to worry about it. Again, all babies are different, and this may not be a fix for yours, but I say it is worth a shot!

 

  1. BABY SHUSHER

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My photographer introduced me to this little gem. It makes white noise, on a timer, similar to what your newborn would hear in the womb. And it is small enough to fit in your diaper bag. I would toss this in one of the girls’ car seats during fussy drives and often (not always) it would calm them down! Just another tool to keep in my tool belt.

 

  1. DOUBLE JOGGING STROLLER

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A definite necessity. We started off with the Graco double stroller that our car seats could click into, which worked great when traveling. But it was a you-know-what to lug around, the girls were too small to fit safely when not in the car seats, and it was not convenient for quick walks around the neighborhood. So we got this jogging stroller and the rest is history. We use this 80% of the time and we love it. And, get this, it is one of the CHEAPER jogging strollers and works great, IMO.

 

  1. NAME BRACELETS (2)

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I purchased these for the girls to help us tell them apart when they were first born, and also as a super cute accessory. Our Rowe developed a birthmark on her face at around 5 weeks old, which made it a lot easier to tell them apart, so they didn’t wear these often. But I think these are great for identical twin girls!!

 

  1. BABY BREZZA

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This is an item I have never used, personally, but comes highly recommended from other twin mamas. It preps baby’s formula for you! It is like a Keurig for formula – how convenient! I hear it is a real game changer.

 

  1. CRIB AQUARIUMS

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These crib toys help us get a few extra minutes of sleep. The girls have learned how to turn them on and will sit in their cribs and quietly watch (a lot of the time). Side note: my aunt also has one of these for herself. They are that amazing.

 

  1. BABY BULLET

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If you are a mom who wants to do it all, like me, then you are probably thinking about making your own baby food. It really isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and is made 10 times easier with this contraption. It pulverizes veggies, fruit, meat, table food, etc. into perfect purees for your little ones. It also comes with utensils, a freezer tray and little jars to keep thawed food in (I bought extra trays and jars since, you know, two babies). It also has a recipe book!

 

  1. EZPZ PLATES

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There is a fun story behind this one. My grandfather’s friend’s daughter (or is it daughter-in-law?) owns this company! His friend actually sent us four of the EZPZ plates as a gift when the twins were first born. We use them all of the time. We take them all over the place, especially restaurants, so we don’t have to put their food on sticky, dirty tables. Score!!

 

  1. SILICONE BIBS – W/BUTTONS! (several)

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Right around the time R&L started feeding themselves, they also started ripping their bibs off. So I fired up the trusty Google in search of bibs with buttons, instead of the usual Velcro. I came across these bibs, and they work like a charm. The easy cleanup silicone and food catching pouch are an added bonus.

 

Feel free to send this list to Santa; I promise you won’t regret it. In my next post, I’ll tell you what I am wishing for THIS year.

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Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS)

Twin to twin transfusion syndrome, or TTTS, is a serious condition that can occur in babies that share a placenta in the womb (identical twins or higher order multiples). TTTS occurs when the shared placenta contains abnormal blood vessels that connect the umbilical cords and circulation of the fetuses. The placenta may also be shared unequally (for example, one twin has access to ¾ of the placenta and the other only ¼) and one twin may not receive the necessary nutrients to grow normally.

When the blood vessels become abnormally connected, one baby (the recipient) may receive too much blood flow, while the other (the donor twin) does not receive enough. The donor twin may experience slower than normal growth, have poor urinary output and little to know amniotic fluid. Too much blood flow to the recipient can put strain on the heart, potentially causing heart failure. The recipient might have a more active bladder causing greater amounts of amniotic fluid.

TTTS can occur at any time during pregnancy, but is considered more serious between 12-26 weeks gestation because the babies are too young to be delivered safely. However, thanks to advances in science there are some treatments available to help twins with TTTS.

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First of all, mothers of twins with a shared placenta should be monitored heavily by a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) clinic. Ultrasounds should be performed biweekly to check on things such as amniotic fluid levels, blood flow in the placenta, visible bladders, size differences, etc. All of these can be indicators of TTTS.

If TTTS is detected, there are now treatment options (before, TTTS usually claimed the lives of both babies).

  1. Delivery of the babies – this will obviously need to be later in gestation, at a date when the babies are viable and their lungs have matured enough.
  2. Amniocentesis to drain excess amniotic fluid. This can improve the blood flow in the placenta and reduce the risk of preterm labor.
  3. Laser surgery to seal off the connection between the blood vessels. Laser surgery is often preferred to amniocentesis because it only needs to be done once. Amniocentesis may need to be done repeatedly to maintain proper blood flow. Laser surgery has an 80-65% survival rate of at least one twin, 65-70% overall twin survival, and 5% or less significant handicap rates in survivors.

Below is a video to help you better understand TTTS.

http://www.nbcnews.com/video/doctor-explains-ttts-twin-to-twin-transfusion-syndrome-581592643543

 

What type of twins are you having?

This is a question I get a lot lately from those familiar with carrying multiples. Had you asked me this question 4 months ago, I would have assumed the only answer was fraternal vs. identical twins. While those are the two major classifications for twins, there are actually various “types of twins” dependent upon if the pregnancy is a result of two embryos implanting, or one embryo splitting and implanting. Bear in mind, I am by no means an expert in this area and most of this information I have collected through my MFM visits and twins forums/boards.

Identical vs. Fraternal Twins

Identical vs. fraternal twins refers to zygosity, or one egg/one sperm vs. two eggs/two sperm.

Identical twins come from a single egg that has been fertilized by one sperm, and then splits into two separate embryos early in development. Both of those embryos implant and develop into a positive pregnancy test. They will have the same DNA, and look exactly alike, because they came from ONE embryo. Identical twins will always be the same sex – either boy/boy or girl/girl.

Fraternal twins develop when two eggs are fertilized by two separate sperms, and both implant. Fraternal twins can look a lot alike, but will often be easier to tell apart than identical twins. Their DNA is different. There can be boy/boy, girl/girl, or boy/girl sets.

 

Di/di, mo/di, mo/mo, & conjoined twins

Zygosity  (identical vs. fraternal twins), really has little impact on the treatment and prognosis of the twin pregnancy. What needs to be considered is chorionicity and amnionicity, or the number of placentas and the number of amniotic sacs that are present.

Chorionic = Placenta

Amniotic = Amniotic Sac

The image below can be helpful along with the following explanations of “types” of twins.

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Dichorionic/Diamniotic (di/di) Twins

Two separate placentas and two separate amniotic sacs (one for each baby). These are the most common type of twins and have the lowest associated risk. Fraternal twins are di/di. Some identical twins can be di/di if the embryo splits VERY early.

 

Monochorionic/Diamniotic (mo/di) Twins – what we are having!

Mo/di twins are identical and share a placenta but each baby has their own amniotic sac. These twins are more risky than di/di because of the shared placenta. A shared placenta is just that – shared. Sharing does not translate to equal. Mo/di twins are at risk for twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS).This occurs when the blood vessels in the shared placenta are connected. This can result in one baby receiving more blood flow (the recipient) and the other receives too little blood (the donor). In the past, TTTS often had devastating results, but with proper monitoring and medical intervention, twins with TTTS now have a better chance of survival. TTTS occurs in approximately 15% of identical twins. More about TTTS will be covered in my next blog!

 

Monochorionic/Monoamniotic (mo/mo) Twins)

The least common and most risky, mo/mo twins share a placenta AND an amniotic sac. They are always identical. Mo/mo twins are at risk for TTTS and are also at risk for issues resulting from sharing the same amniotic sac. Because both babies are in the same sac, there is a chance their umbilical cords may become entangles or compressed, which can lead to one or both babies not receiving enough nutrients. Moms of mo/mo twins often end up in the hospital during the later second half of their pregnancy for bed rest and inpatient monitoring (multiple ultrasounds a week) to ensure the cords are not becoming tangled. At our first ultrasound we thought we were having mo/mo twins, but it was later confirmed that there was a thin membrane separating the amniotic sac into two.

 

Conjoined Twins

Conjoined twins are also identical, and occur when the egg does not completely separate into two embryos in the womb. They can share organs, tissue and/or limbs. Conjoined twins also share a placenta and an amniotic sac. I am not sure what their risks are for TTTS or cord entanglement.

 

I am currently carrying, identical, mo/di twin girls. Because of the risks associated with mo/di twins, I see a Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist for regular ultrasounds, along with my OB. Having twins is scary, and having mo/di twins is even scarier. We are trying to take things one day at a time and continue to pray for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.