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!

Week 37

How far along: 37 weeks (last full week of pregnancy!) We’re getting induced on Wednesday morning (week 38 day) May 6th.

Genders: Boy & Girl!!

Weight gain: +0 pounds (32 lbs so far)

New symptoms: I’ve been getting some sharp pains in my breasts, guessing that’s the milk coming in. Overall I’m just feeling uncomfortable and am ready for them to be here! My pelvis is so sore, mostly pelvic girdle pain from baby boy’s head sitting right there plus 13 pounds of baby weight applying pressure, and walking is difficult but sitting on the exercise ball helps with this.

Queasy or sick: Just reflux at night time which if it’s still going on when I wake up I’ll feel nauseous. This did cause me to throw up once earlier this week. I keep a stash of Tums close by!

Cravings: Back to salty things, mostly cheese and fried pickles – yum!

Aversions: Nothing new

Sleep: Getting anxious about their arrival so it takes me a while to shut my mind off after I get back in bed from the bathroom. Still getting about 7-8 hours a night though!

Maternity clothes: Comfy, loose items. Mostly leggings, a tank top, and sweatshirt.

Stretch marks: just the ones around my belly button. I’m applying either the oil or lotion twice a day.

Belly button in or out: still in but very shallow

Miss anything: being able to walk or go up/down the stairs without being so short of breath and achy

Movement: Mostly rolls from both of them and hiccups. They’re still head down and now they’re facing each other so most of the rolls are across the middle of my belly. It’s fun to watch and feel! I can’t believe that they won’t be in there anymore soon. 😦

Week 36

How far along: 36 weeks (9 months) they’re officially full term now!

Genders: Boy & Girl!!

Weight gain: -2 pounds (32 lbs so far)

New symptoms: Lots of pelvic pressure and pelvic girdle pain this week. The babies are sitting low still and I’m sure they’re the culprits of the discomfort. Also getting lots of shooting pain in my groin whenever they move their arms around and hit a nerve.

Queasy or sick: Just reflux at night time.

Cravings: Still milk and cookies 🙂

Aversions: Nothing new

Sleep: Better, surprisingly. Even though I’m up every 1.5-2 hours to reposition I’ve been getting about 7-8 hours of sleep every night. I’m enjoying it while I can!

Maternity clothes: Comfy, loose items. Mostly leggings, a tank top, and sweatshirt.

Stretch marks: just the ones around my belly button. I’m applying either the oil or lotion twice a day.

Belly button in or out: still in but very shallow

Miss anything: being able to walk or go up/down the stairs without being so short of breath

Movement: Mostly rolls and the occasional hiccup from Baby Boy and mostly hiccups and the occasional roll from Baby Girl. I’m enjoying the movements in my belly while they’re still in there.

To celebrate the babies reaching full term I decided to do a fun little photo session in my backyard to showcase my growing bump since my maternity pictures. I got the idea from my mom and sister and am glad I did it. It was fun!

Establishing Daily Habits During Quarantine

I mentioned in a previous post that I had just switched to my new day shift schedule before I started my maternity leave and I was so excited to get started on it! I knew from when I did some day shifts during my ER orientation that I am definitely most productive on this type of schedule. For some reason my body responds to it better; my head is clearer, I have more energy to get things done, and I sleep better at night.

For my book club read this season we chose to read Atomic Habits by James Clear and, while I’m not done reading it yet, it really got me wanting to establish a routine and be more productive through daily healthy habits. Since the quarantine started over a month ago I’ve been trying to be more productive with my days off from work and now that I’m on leave I am able to really focus on building these habits so they stick when the babies get here and I do go back to work.

What’s really helped me with this are a few things:
1) the book Atomic Habits (duh!)
2) the Erin Condren Checklist Petite Journal (currently sold out but restocking soon)
3) an app called Awesome Note 2 (a great scheduler, to-do list, note-taking app)

To start out I just kept it simple with little baby steps.

In the mornings:

  • Brush teeth
  • Take meds
  • Take vitamins
  • Apply belly lotion
  • Eat breakfast
  • Daily games

In the evenings:

  • Take meds
  • Shower or bath
  • Apply belly oil
  • Listen to Calm app
  • Read for 15 minutes
  • Charge Apple Watch
  • Have a cup of tea
  • Plan out tomorrow

Daily or Weekly tasks:

  • Dishes
  • Laundry
  • Vacuum
  • Tidy up
  • Sanitize
My Erin Condren checklist petite planner

It’s been 2 weeks since I started checking these off my to-do lists and I can tell that they’re starting to stick with me. If things are piling up, I will spend 15 minutes tidying or doing the dishes or running the vacuum. I don’t feel clean at night if I don’t take a shower or bath and apply my lotions. First thing I do when I get up now is brush my teeth then take my meds and vitamins then eat breakfast. It’s starting to become a routine and I love that! Eventually I plan to add more 1 or 2 at a time until I’m doing the life that I want to.

I use the phone app as an added layer for consistency because I can set alerts to go off and remind me to do the tasks. Plus it’ll plug them in to my digital calendar so I don’t forget to get them done.

What routines or habits do you have already? Are you working on building more? I want to hear all about it! Tell me below in the comments! 🙂