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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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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