Our Hospital Twin Delivery Story

I’ve been thinking of how to write out our story over the last few days and figured I better at least get the ball rolling on it. Not like it’s something I’ll ever forget though!

We arrived to the hospital on Wednesday May 6th at 7 am for our schedule induction. The twins reached 38 weeks that day and it was time for their eviction as they were out of growing room. We got into our birthing room and set our stuff down then waited for a nurse to come get us admitted. While we waited we took a last bump shot for the books. (We had to wear a mask whenever someone was in the room with us or if we left the room.)

Once our nurse got us admitted and my IV started (it took a few tries 😅) we settled in and waited for the doctor to come and get things going. She arrived before 8am and went over the plan for the day and what options were available. She checked to see where I was at, which was the same as 4 weeks prior when I had a preterm labor episode, 4 cm and 70% effaced. We decided to start with Cytotec (a medication to thin out and soften the cervix) to see if that led to any progress. She said she would be back to check me around noon and break my waters then.

In the mean time I got to eat breakfast and go for walks around the room and unit. Also we video chatted family to keep them updated and us entertained.

At noon she checked me and I was at 5 cm and 80% effaced. She also did a membrane sweep at this time (where they push the cervix opening away from the amniotic sac – so painful!) and broke Alexander’s waters (that part wasn’t bad at all). It’s definitely a strange feeling to feel warm liquid pouring out of you every time you move. Fortunately I put in a pad so it at least absorbed that and I wasn’t trailing everywhere. Then we waited and continued video chatting family. I stayed in the room mostly after this and just moved from the bed to the bouncy ball and back.

Contractions started picking up in frequency and intensity to the point where I was literally squirming on the bed and curling my toes. What helped me get through every contraction were tips I had learned from Briget Teyler’s YouTube channel and podcasts. She is a San Francisco based birth doula and provides valuable information for women who are pregnant and new mamas after delivery. Hearing other women’s natural birth stories and knowing that I could get through anything that lasted a minute (something I learned from Beachbody) empowered me to breathe through the surges and get to that sweet relief break in between them.

But by 130pm I was ready for an epidural! If it was one baby I definitely think I would have considered going without one (especially after learning how far along I was) because I was breathing through them okay even with a mask on (and the transition phase [7-10cm] goes the quickest right before delivery I’ve read), but with two babies I knew I definitely wanted one.

I got the epidural placed around 2 pm and it took the anesthesiologist three times to get it. This was a horrible experience because I tried so hard to hold still, the only time I moved was when I breathed heavy through the contractions, and he kept hitting nerves which sent shooting pains down my left hip then up my neck. It made me super nervous the more he messed around back there getting it and I squeezed Andrew’s hand so hard the whole time. My nurse was awesome at reminding me to slow my breathing and rubbing my shoulder to keep me calm. Finally on the third poke (I think, pretty sure I saw more once I looked at my back in the mirror) he got it and injected the medicine which prompted me to throw up my lunch. Fortunately it started to kick in after a few minutes and I felt so much better when it took full effect!

Around 215 pm the doctor checked me again and I was 7 cm and 90% effaced. I couldn’t believe I had made it so far without any pain meds! I tried to rest during this time knowing that the real work was coming up soon.

The doctor came back around 6 pm and checked me again. I was fully dilated and 100% effaced now but didn’t have the urge to push yet. Plus it would be shift change at 7 so she said we needed to wait until I felt the urge to push. She had my epidural lowered so I would feel it as I was only feeling a light pressure down there but nothing overwhelming. This didn’t happen until around 720 when my new nurse came on and introduced herself.

We started doing practice pushes while the doctor checked Alexander’s head position. He was low in there but his head was facing the middle of me so he was sideways. I pushed and pushed in a variety of different positions while the doctor tried to turn him inside so he could move past the pelvic bone.

I started running a fever about an hour in to pushing that caused the babies’ heart rates to rise to the 190s (from the 140s) and they had to quickly start antibiotics and gave me Tylenol. The doctor suspected that it was from an infection in the placenta and amniotic fluid (acute chorioamnionitis) due to her having to constantly try to turn him inside. Plus I was overheated from having to wear a mask the whole time while heavy breathing and pushing.

Andrew was so encouraging and helpful with his words and actions. He would make sure I was drinking water in between contractions, wiping my face with a cold washcloth, and holding my hand while telling me what a good job I was doing. When we were taking breaks and the staff stepped out of the room he’d give me sweet kisses and tried to lighten my mood with jokes. I definitely couldn’t have done it without him!

Approaching the three hour mark I was exhausted and with my epidural lowered I was having more pain with each contraction. I felt so defeated that Alexander hadn’t budged or turned at all the whole time. The doctor said with the persistent fever (after Tylenol and the antibiotics) and rise in the babies’ heart rates she didn’t recommend pushing more than another hour or we could move to a c-section.

I cried a lot and talked it over with Andrew, who was supportive of whatever I wanted to do. I had never had surgery before and was freaking out about that knowing it was considered a major abdominal procedure and the recovery process, not to mention the pain afterwards, was longer and more intense. In the end I decided that a c-section was the best option for me and the babies. If he hadn’t budged yet I wasn’t hopeful that another hour of pushing would change that and I was tired and in pain and just ready for them to be here.

Things moved quickly after that as they got me ready for the OR. They increased my epidural until I was totally numbed up (a huge relief) and had Andrew get changed into surgical gear.

Before I knew it they were rolling my bed into the OR suite and getting me all prepped up. Andrew had to wait out in the hallway but once they had the screen lifted up over my stomach they brought him back to sit next to me and hold my hand.

At 11:11 pm Alexander James was born. They opened the little window in the screen so I could see him when they pulled him out which was really cool. I couldn’t believe that an actual baby came out of me! It took them more than a few minutes to get him out as he was so stuck down in there, and once he was out they took him to his station right away because he needed suction and oxygen to stimulate him crying. By the time he did start crying his sister Audrey Rose was born at 11:12 pm, she came out screaming and I got to see her lifted out as well, and they brought her around the curtain for us to see before they took her to get her measurements. (I wrote about those in their announcement post)

The doctor later told us that Audrey’s water had ruptured as well before they got to it and her umbilical cord was on top of her head, which could have fallen out or been compressed after I delivered Alexander vaginally had it happened that way and I likely would have needed a c-section for her anyways. It definitely validated my decision to have a c-section which made me feel better.

Andrew was able to go be by her until they got her bundled up and brought her to me, then he went to Alexander and brought him over all bundled up.

Once they started to close me up they moved the babies to my recovery area and Andrew went with them. I asked for more anesthesia cause it was starting to wear off (I could feel them poking around in there) and basically dozed until they were done and wheeling me off to recovery.

We got to snuggle with the babies and do skin to skin before trying breastfeeding. It was a wonderful relaxing time after the long day just the four of us. I needed to get more Cytotec due to passing large clots and heavy bleeding but once that slowed and I was cleaned up we moved to a different room for postpartum families.

We notified our families and did a FaceTime with my parents and sister before going to sleep till the morning (like 2 hours – ha!). The whole experience was different than I expected but the end result was so worth it. We have our beautiful babies and they’re happy and healthy.

We were in the hospital for a total of 4 days (3 nights) learning each other and figuring things out. Alexander struggled with jaundice, due to being stuck (he came out with facial bruising) and us having different blood types, and had to go on a BiliLight to get his bilirubin levels down. Plus we had to start supplementing with formula to get him to poop it out, which we were okay with. I struggled with him being put under the light because it meant he was sick and he hated wearing the little eye shield which tore at me. Eventually I got over it but I felt really sad he had to go through that and couldn’t sleep until the nurse offered to watch him for a few hours, which then made me feel awful that he was out of the room away from us. Not a fun night!

Once his levels dropped late Saturday evening we were cleared to go home and were so thrilled! We packed everything and everyone up then headed home where we had a celebratory pizza dinner.

That’s everything! It was quite the journey and now we’re in the recovery process as we are settling into a routine here at home and still learning more about each other. I’m loving being a mom and absolutely love watching Andrew be a dad. They are worth everything we went through and I can’t wait to watch them grow up. 💕

June Intentions

A new month means new goals to set. Some of these are continuation of goals from the last month to keep them going or restart them again.

Personal

  • Continue to make healthier choices for groceries
  • Start filling out habit tracker daily again
  • Get cleared to work out again at my six week postpartum appointment
  • Start the Barre Blend program

Financial

  • Keep limiting take out to once a week
  • Update Quicken once a week
  • Track bills in my Erin Condren planner

Blog

  • Post once a week at minimum
  • Plan out calendar of topics
  • Keep running list of topic ideas on notes page

Professional

  • Stay on top of e-mails and communication if needed

Reading

  • Pick summer books to read
  • Post to book club page

I’m looking forward to working on these as the month progresses! What are your intentions or goals for June? Let me know in the comments below!

May Intentions Progress

It’s the end of the month and time to see how I did on the intentions I wrote out at the beginning of May. It’s been a busy month and I met a lot of them but not all.

Personal

  • Have the babies 🙂 Met on May 6th
  • Make healthier choices for groceries Starting to
  • Continue filling out habit tracker daily I have in my phone app but not in the Erin Condren journal.

Financial

  • Limit take out to once a week We started out after the babies were born with twice a week and now we’re down to once a week or less.
  • update Quicken once a week I haven’t been downstairs hardly at all much less on the computer to do the finances. Everything I’ve been doing in my phone.

Blog

  • Post once a week at minimum Pretty sure I met this one 😊
  • Plan out calendar of topics I did put in some posts to remind myself, like this one.

Professional

  • Stay on top of e-mails and communication if needed Since my email is linked to my phone it’s been easy to stay up on my work stuff.

That’s a wrap on my goals for May! I feel like I did pretty well considering how busy it’s been for us. Now to think of my June intentions. Did you meet your goals or intentions for the month?

May Latte Date

Well here’s my first latte date with you! I’m looking forward to our chat together. 😊 Grab your favorite drink, whether it’s a cup of coffee or tea, a cocktail, or even a glass of water and let’s talk.

If we were having lattes together, I would tell you that I can’t believe the twins have been here for a little over 3 weeks already! They’ve grown so much in the little time that they’ve been outside of me and I love watching them change every week that goes by. I’m looking forward to their one month appointment next week to see how much they’ve grown in weight and height. Some days with them are super easy and others are really hard. Andrew and I are a great team and I’m so lucky to have an amazing husband to parent our babies with!

If we were having lattes together, I would tell you that I’m loving blogging again. It feels nice to have an outlet for my thoughts and I’m not putting pressure on myself to having a posting schedule or write about things I don’t care about. I’m gonna keep doing it until I either can’t keep it up any more or it becomes stressful like last time.

If we were having lattes together, I would tell you I’m definitely over all this COVID-19 stuff. Where I live in Northern Michigan things are slowly opening back up but, especially now with new babies, I’m cautious to venture out or be around other people. Before it was because I didn’t want to get the virus while pregnant and either give it to them or be separated from them immediately after birth and now it’s because I don’t want them or me exposed to it. I wish it was less stressful and we could be around family without worry but we can’t. It’s not a risk we’re willing to take with them. Maybe one day. It wears on me mentally at times and I’m making an effort to get outside as often as I can to improve my mood and state of mind. That does help.

If we were having lattes together, I would tell you I already have work on my mind. Even though I don’t go back till July 4th I wish it was longer or that I could cut my hours down. Unfortunately neither are possible and that makes me a little sad. I’ll miss my babies so much! I’m dreading having to be apart from them for 36 hours a week. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as I’m imagining it will be. Fingers crossed!

If we were having lattes together, I would tell you I already miss being pregnant. I loved feeling them move inside of me and watching my belly grow every week (don’t miss the reflux and hip pain though!). I’m seriously considering us having another baby in the future. We’ve decided to wait and see how we do with the twins before we make a decision on calling it good or going for more, cause I’m sure they’ll be a handful as they get older. And besides, what’s to say it wouldn’t be twins again? Alexander and Audrey were spontaneous twins so it’s entirely possible it could happen again. Something for us to consider when we make our decision.

What would you talk about with me on our latte date? Anything on your mind or something interesting going on that you want to share? Tell me about it below in the comments!

That’s a wrap! It was great to catch up with you and I can’t wait for our next latte date. ☺️ Until then enjoy some pictures of the babies and my bump progression photo.

What I did and didn’t use in my hospital bag

When I was searching up what to include in my hospital bag for my twin delivery I actually found the ‘what I didn’t use’ posts or YouTube videos more helpful than the pre-hospital ones. It really gave you a good idea of what you actually needed to include. Also I knew that my hospital would be providing some things that I didn’t need to bring.

We ended up being in the hospital for 4 days and 3 nights due to having a c-section, from Wednesday through Saturday evening. Below are the lists of what I packed and I’ll cross off what I didn’t actually use.

For me:

A nursing nightgown for after delivery (I ended up just wearing a hospital gown the whole time. The nightgown I brought was too tight and wasn’t comfortable.)
– A robe to wear also after delivery that would match my kids for pictures (I wore this every day I was there!)
– Loose-fitting underwear and pants (I wore the pants every day after delivery but only wore the underwear on going home day. Otherwise I wore the mesh panties the hospital provided.)
– A few nursing bras and tanks (I wore a nursing bra every day, and still do – ha!, but I didn’t wear the tanks till after I got home.)
– A going home outfit (basically a t-shirt and loose pants) (I wore out what I wore going in to the hospital – loose leggings and a sweatshirt.)
– Hygiene products for me (shampoo & conditioner, body wash & lotions, toothbrush, etc.) (I showered the last three days of being there once I was cleared to do so.)
Hair brush with ties (I didn’t brush my hair once. 😅 But I did have my hair up in a ponytail or bun the whole time.)
– Chapstick & basic make-up (concealer & mascara) (I used the chapstick often but I never did put on make-up.)
– Cell phone and Apple Watch charger (I took my Apple Watch off on the first day when they were starting my IV and never put it back on till I got home.)
– My birth plan (I have a copy of this to the nurse for my chart.)
Thank you cards for the staff (I totally forgot to write these out and we could only remember some of our nurses’ names so I didn’t send I’m any cards.)
My meds and vitamins (They gave me my meds and I didn’t take my vitamins till after I got home again.)

My hospital provided me with pads, mesh underwear, a gown, grippy socks, towels & washcloths, an abdominal binder, a peri bottle, nipple shields, and breast pads. They also included tucks pads which I didn’t need to use.

For my husband:

– About 3 days worth of shirts, underwear, and socks (He used up all of his clothes.)
– Sweatpants (I was roasting and kept the air cool so he wore these a lot, especially at night.)
– Hygiene products (hair/body wash, toothbrush with paste, deodorant, etc.) (He showered every day we were there.)
– Slippers (He wore these every day too.)
– Snacks (lots and lots of snacks…) (Fortunately the hospital let him order food with me so we didn’t need all the snacks we packed.)
– Pillows and a blanket (I used one pillow and he used the other plus the blanket on his rollout bed they provided.)
– Cell phone charger (He used this every day.)
Vitamins (He ended up not packing these at all.)
– His parental leave papers (He filed these once we got the parental affidavit that he needed.)

For the babies:

– Cute going home outfits in both newborn (his & hers) and preemie sizes (his & hers) (We used these on going home day but they were too big for the preemie outfits.)
– A swaddle and hat/bow set for each for their first pictures that match my robe (his & hers) (We used the swaddles at times as blankets and more for pictures at home.)
A mitten set for each in case their nails are really sharp already plus an emory board to file (We never used these cause they were swaddled you the whole time.)
– Baby blankets for the ride home (It was 40 degrees F when we left so we definitely used these.)
A letter board so we can announce their names and statistics in pictures (I felt weird trying to pose pictures of them with it so I ended up not using it. I’ll use it in other ways at home.)
Their baby books for hand and foot prints (his & hers) (They had taken cute little foot prints on their information cards and on a card stock to make the word ‘LOVE’ with the feet forming the O – so cute!)
– Boppy feeding pillow (I used this almost every time I was out of bed feeding them.)
– Car seats already installed in my car (We used these, obviously.)

It didn’t feel like we used a lot of our own stuff but looking at these lists I guess we did! I felt super prepared and ready for whatever type of delivery we ended up having.

Did you find that you overpacked or underpacked for your hospital delivery? Let me know in the comments below!

First Week At Home With Twins

I’ll be honest. I thought it would be harder. But having my husband on leave with me, being super supportive and helping as much as he can, has made having two babies fairly easy.

Don’t get me wrong! The lack of sleep and having to stay up on laundry and dishes (my hubby has been doing most of the cleaning) has been difficult in and of itself and breastfeeding has had its own challenges. But I’m loving being a mom and all of it is totally worth it for our sweet babies.

We discharged from the hospital after being there for 4 days (Wednesday morning thru Saturday night) and our first night was rough on me. I wanted the babies in my sight when I was trying to sleep and even then I was anxious about going to sleep and either not hearing them crying or choking. Plus around 4am they seemed to get extra fussy and wanted to cluster feed which wore me down mentally. In hindsight I realized I tried to take on too much myself and should have leaned on my husband more for support and help. I’m a prideful and independent person by nature so asking for help has always been hard for me.

After that first night we realized we needed to tweak our schedule to find a better routine. Now we’re doing shifts so that we can each get a chunk of sleep time and at least not be zombies all the time. I’ll pump once a day to have breast milk available for when I’m sleeping which is given to the babies before formula is offered if they’re still hungry.

In the hospital Alexander developed jaundice and had to be on a BiliLight to help pull the bilirubin out. The pediatrician wanted us to start supplementing feeds with formula to help clear his system out. We also made the decision to do this for Audrey too because she is the tinier twin. This has worked out well so far and they’ve started gaining weight back after their initial loss (this is normal with newborns due to water weight from floating in fluid for 9 months).

Our first pediatrician appointment was on the first Monday after we went home. They both had lost some weight which I took personally and had a crying episode in the office. I was trying so hard to stick to the 2-3 hour feeding schedule with breast milk first then formula and when I found out they were losing weight it made me feel like a failure, that I was doing it wrong or not doing enough (plus I was also super sleep deprived and hormonal). The doctor reassured me that she wasn’t concerned as this was an expected weight loss after birth which reassured me a lot. We also discovered that Alexander’s bilirubin levels were rising again and he needed to go back in the BiliLight to bring it down as well as increase his formula intake, which would help with the weight loss as well.

I had another mini breakdown at home about him needing the light again because I felt awful that he had to be on it in the hospital to begin with. I think a part of me felt like it was my fault because our blood types are different which they said increases the risk of jaundice and because he was stuck and I was pushing so hard for so long he came out with bruising on his face (I’ll go more in to detail about that in their birth post) which also increases the jaundice risk. Plus it was hard to watch him wear an eye mask to protect his eyes that he hated and kept pulling off. Turns out I needn’t have worried cause he didn’t even need the eye mask with this home machine which I was so thankful for. It was much easier to deal with!

Our second pediatrician appointment two days later went better. They both gained some ounces back and his bilirubin levels were low enough to not need the light anymore. 🙌🏻

Talk about a whirlwind week! Lots of emotions, adjustments, and, of course, as many baby snuggles as I could get. ☺️

They are here! Welcoming Alexander and Audrey!

Our beautiful twin babies have arrived! They made their appearance on May 6th via c-section.

Alexander James was born at 11:11pm weighing in at 6 pounds 7 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

Audrey Rose was born at 11:12pm weighing in at 5 pounds 14 ounces and was 19.5 inches long.

I’m planning to write out their whole birth story in another post but for now I just wanted something to document that they are here now.

We’re so in love with them already and couldn’t be more thrilled to snuggle and love on them.

Alexander and Audrey,

Mommy and Daddy love you both so much and count ourselves lucky to be your parents! We look forward to watching you grow and learn and can’t wait to see what our futures hold in store. 🥰

Love, your mom and dad 💕

May Intentions

For the month of May I wanted to set some light intentions since it’s going to be really busy for us with the twins coming. I started out with the four areas of my life I want to work on.

Personal

  • Have the babies 🙂
  • Make healthier choices for groceries
  • Continue filling out habit tracker daily

Financial

  • Limit take out to once a week
  • update Quicken once a week

Blog

  • Post once a week at minimum
  • Plan out calendar of topics

Professional

  • Stay on top of e-mails and communication if needed

Like I said, going to keep it light and with easily obtainable goals for this month. What type of intentions or goals do you want to set for this month?

Monthly Latte Date With Me

On my prior blog, I did a monthly chat post that would cover a variety of topics and I had so much fun doing those that I wanted to start them back up on this new blog! I plan to post them at the end of each month as a wrap up of sorts of all the memories made.

What you can expect to see with these posts:

  • the highs and lows from the last month
  • life with twins
  • my thoughts on current events or topics of interest
  • what I’m hoping for the next month

Feel free to join me either in the comments or on your own blog and we can catch up. I’m looking forward to starting up this series again. 🙂

10 Pregnancy Self-Care Ideas

In this time of slowing down while on maternity leave and stuck inside due to the virus, I’ve been trying to find things to help keep me relaxed and happy. I’m a person that tends to get down when confined, especially if the weather is not great enough to enjoy – the winter blues. Here in Northern Michigan the weather in March and April is hit or miss. Some days are beautiful and sunny and 60 degrees while the next day it could be 30 degrees and snowy. You just don’t know what you’re going to get in the spring months!

To try and combat the seasonal blues and frustrations with confinement, I’ve been practicing more self-care and personal development. In a previous post I talked about habits that I’m trying to build and some are more catered to being pregnant right now. Here are a few ideas to make pregnancy feel extra enjoyable no matter what trimester you’re in.

  • Take a bath – this has been my top favorite self-care task to take a few times a week. I stocked up on some Epsom salt with lavender essential oils and with that, a great smelling candle lit, and a good book, it makes for a very relaxing time.
  • Paint your nails – obviously as the belly gets bigger the toes are out of reach but instead focus on your fingernails. Having painted nails just leaves one feeling cleaned up and fancy. In normal times a mani-pedi would definitely be called for but being in quarantine gives you a chance to use all those polishes you’ve bought and don’t use!
  • Lotion up – A good smelling lotion can make you feel like a new person. After I take my bath or shower I apply Belli Elasticity Belly Oil liberally to help with dry skin but to also smell good and just feel relaxed. This is the perfect time to do a little massage and really loosen up tight muscles or achy spots. I’ve found this helps especially with my restless legs at night time. In the mornings I apply Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Lotion for extra stretch mark protection.
  • Listen to a podcast – to me podcasts are one of the top forms of self-development and self-care there could be as it helps with growth and perspective. I only listen to two pregnancy related podcasts called The Pregnancy Podcast (a source for evidence-based information about pregnancy symptoms, complications, options for birth, and more) and Built to Birth (a podcast by a Californa-based doula who interviews and shares women’s empowering birth stories).
  • Get outside – fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your state of mind. I always feel so much better after I sit out on my deck for a little bit with a cup of tea or a book to read. The weather hasn’t cooperated as much for this one lately but on the days it does I take full advantage of it!
  • Move your body – even if it’s just a walk around your block or some stretches in your living room, moving your limbs loosens you up and just overall can make you feel less achy and improve your mind set. Being on maternity leave now I try to stretch every day and sit on the exercise ball to help my hips out.
  • Improve your sleep – one of the best things I’ve purchased for this pregnancy was my body pillow. It’s shaped like a C so I can snuggle up in to it or have it cradle behind me and it has been a game changer for comfort, especially as my belly has gotten bigger because it can provide support for it.
  • Drink lots of water – this one is definitely overstated but it’s true. Drinking lots of water is both good for you to stay hydrated and to build up the baby’s amniotic fluid. I’ve been super thirsty this pregnancy, probably cause I have two babies’ fluid to build up, and I can chug down ice cold water like it’s about to run out.
  • Keep a pregnancy journal – as soon as I found out I was pregnant I went on to Amazon and bought this pregnancy journal to start documenting everything. Of course at the time I didn’t know there were two babies in there so there is only one journal (they’ll just have to share it when they’re older) but between writing down my thoughts and feelings and starting this blog, it’s been so fun to go back and read our journey together.
  • Spend time with your significant other – this one is easy to do being in quarantine but I’ve found that spending some quality time with my husband helps to improve my mood and allows us to bond over our babies while they’re in my belly. If this is your first pregnancy, like it is for me, enjoy the alone time together!

Those are my top 10 pregnancy self care ideas that I’ve been implementing during my pregnancy. Hopefully they’ll help give you some ideas of things to do for yourself during this quarantine time and practicing social distancing.

What is your favorite pregnancy self-care task to do? Let me know in the comments!