Friday, November 21, 2014

I Have One Month Olds!

The past month has been some of the longest and shortest days of my life. I have one month old twins! How can that be?

After we got home from the hospital I was so emotional that I would cry every night as I would sing to them and think about how fast they're going to grow up. Have you heard Taylor Swift's song "Never Grow Up"? Yeah don't sing that to your newborns if you don't want waterfalls coming out of your eyes. After giving birth your hormones go crazy. Luckily I was never a "crazy pregnant lady" nor was I crazy after birth. I just cried A LOT. Not sad tears, HAPPY tears! I was so happy to be holding my babies after everything we went through to get pregnant. I would cry and cry because I just loved them so much.



Chris was extremely fortunate to have a two week paternity leave. We stayed at home all day and just held our little ones. We didn't have to worry about anything. Chris and I simply got to enjoy our babies all day for two whole weeks. I refer to this as the "honeymoon" stage because everything was simple, magical, and full of love. Plus sleep deprivation hadn't hit us yet. 

Then life hits.

After Chris returned to work every weekday since has been challenging. Nothing can prepare you for twins, especially when you're home alone with them all day. The hardest thing for me is choosing one baby's need over the other's because you can't tend to them at the same time. Then if you have a need at the same time as both babies you're in for it! I recall one night almost peeing my pants because my hands were full with the twins. Or I would forget to eat until the afternoon because I'm constantly feeding them instead. I'm learning how hard it is to try and take care of myself when I'm trying to take care of two newborns. I've had to place squeezing in a meal as a high priority otherwise I'm too busy and forget to eat, which is bad because I'm literally skin and bone right now. I lost 30lbs in two weeks, much to the concern of my doctor. I am constantly hungry because of breastfeeding/pumping but I'm not gaining any weight. Thankfully that's not the case for Boston and Lyla. They have been gaining the necessary weight like champs.


It's completely true when you think you'll raise your kids a certain way and then you have them and realize that was only wishful thinking. Take for example sleeping arrangements. We have a pack 'n play with a bassinet top for their bed. Well, they HATE it. To them it's an awful prison that only gives them reason to cry. So now we co-sleep in our king size bed...something that terrifies me and thought I would never do. We've finally found an arrangement as safe as possible for them and it works a million times better because they love sleeping on our bed. You'll do anything for a few extra minutes of sleep, trust me.



I've learned a lot this past month:

  • Nothing can prepare you for twins. Nothing. 
  • Get them on a schedule! I finally got them on a good schedule around 3 weeks. It will save your life. It's advised to feed on demand, but with twins it just doesn't work that way. 
  • Have your husband take as many days off work as possible after they're born. Having Chris home was not only extremely helpful, but it was wonderful family bonding time.
  • Accept meals like crazy. When I felt like I was done recovering it seemed silly to accept meals, but then I tried cooking dinner with two little babies. It's impossible by yourself. Accept those meals! (Huge thank you to everyone that brought us dinner!)
  • Breastfeeding can be super stressful, but you can do it. I'll be writing a post about this later.
  • You will feel like you will never leave the house again. I finally insisted on a date night even though I was super reluctant to leave my babies. It was exactly what I needed to realize life will turn back to normal...eventually. 
  • No other babies are as cute as your own.
  • Your heart will love like it's never loved before. Not only has my heart grown exponentially for these babies each passing day, but it also grows each day for my husband as I watch him be a daddy. 
  • Having twins is the most difficult BEST job in the world!

Anyway, I'm frantically searching for the pause button. Anyone seen it? These babies are growing too fast and I need to stop time.




Monday, November 3, 2014

Birth Story


***This post is very long and includes a lot of little details mostly so I can always remember them!***

Let's talk about the craziest morning ever.

Monday morning I woke up in a lot of pain. Chris's alarm was going off but he kept snoozing it so we could cuddle, but I was shaking my legs vigorously to help with the pain. He just thought I had to pee ;) I wasn't sure if I was having real contractions so I started timing them on an app on my phone. They were regular but I was trying to pass them off as Braxton Hicks because I didn't believe I could actually be in labor at 35 weeks when it seemed like I was going to be pregnant forever. I told Chris that I was in a lot of pain but I wasn't too worried so I sent him off to work.



Bad choice.

Things escalated quickly. My contractions were about 4 minutes apart and a minute long. I was aware of the 4-1-1 rule, but I just dismissed it. I had 4 minutes to wash the dishes then crumble in pain. Then 4 minutes to try and do my makeup. And 4 minutes to get dressed then crumble in pain again. The worst part was that it was all in my back and no position helped. It got to a point when I realized this could actually be happening. I told Chris to get home ASAP and I started finalizing everything in my hospital bag. He had to take a train all the way to get home, but it went by fast. Before I knew it he was changing out of his work clothes and we were on our way to the hospital. Thankfully it's only about a 5 minute drive away. I remember telling Chris that I was afraid they were going to send me home despite the awful pain I was in. We arrived at Labor & Delivery and were checked in fast because I pre-registered (an absolute must!). They wheeled me in to a delivery room and I changed into my gown all while I was begging Chris to rub my back through each contraction. My sweet nurse Marianne calmly asked me some questions, took my vitals, hooked up monitors, did an ultrasound to check their positions, had someone else come and check the ultrasound, then FINALLY checked my cervix. She calmly said, "you are complete" and promptly started calling everyone. Complete? Like fully dilated? Chris asked what that meant and she just turned to me and asked if I felt like I needed to push. What?! At that point things were really rolling. My nurse was paging everyone again and got the anesthesiologist in my room in the blink of an eye. I was worried it was too late for an epidural, but they said as long as I could stay still long enough they could do it. While I was getting the epidural and spinal block, people were in and out of my room getting everything ready. I was in so much pain I didn't care what they thought of me. After what felt like an electric shock in my leg, the numbing started to spread, but unfortunately didn't numb the feeling of back contractions. Next thing I knew my doctor was there and I was wheeled into the OR. I could not believe how fast she got there. She was literally in my room 10 minutes after she was called from her office.


I remember the OR being really bright with equipment everywhere. There were at least 10 people in the room including nurses from the NICU for the babies, nurses and doctors for me, and a med student that looked like he was a little lost. I couldn't believe everything was happening so fast! I was only in labor for 4 hours and was in the OR ready to push only an hour after getting to the hospital. I was excited and in pain at the same time. My husband was awesome in encouraging me to push and knew what to do even though we never took a birthing class. After a little pushing there was a little wiggling baby boy placed on my tummy. It was amazing!

He was taken over to be checked and cleaned and I couldn't take my eyes off him. My little boy was perfect. A couple minutes later it was time to push again. Chris would look down at me and count to 10, and I would start to laugh because he had the most handsome blue eyes and I was just so happy this was happening. After the first push or so my doctor said that this was going to take some really big pushes to get baby girl out fast or I was at high risk of getting a c-section. I pushed the best I could considering I couldn't feel anything. It was like telling your brain to just do it because you weren't really sure you were pushing or not. I had a least 5 people telling me to push, that I was doing amazing, and that she was almost here. It only took about 4 pushes and a tiny beautiful girl was placed on my chest. I feel in love all over again! They were born exactly 10 minutes apart and I only had to push for about 15 minutes total. I was SO blessed to have such a quick and easy delivery. Little baby boy entered the world at 10:47am weighing 5lbs 11oz and sweet baby girl arrived at 10:57am weighing 5lbs 1oz. 


I got to do some skin to skin with baby boy as they worked on the afterbirth. Delivering the placentas isn't the best feeling in the world but I didn't care because I had my precious son with me. I'm positive Chris saw way way more than he wanted to! He was pretty freaked out when he saw my doctor elbow deep in my uterus. I just wish there was a mirror because I was very curious about how all this worked. Both babies did great on their Apgar tests and were allowed to spend in hour with us back in our room before going to the NICU for further checking. I got to hold them together on the way to the room...I never thought it was going to be 4 days until I got to see them together again. My doctor came to my room and just hung out with us for about 45 minutes. She said it was way better than going back to the office and doing clinic hours. We talked about names and she helped me breastfeed a little. They were some very surreal precious moments. My husband was beaming, I could tell he was one proud daddy. We decided on the name Boston for our little boy, but didn't have a middle name yet. We named our precious girl Lyla Belle Ivie.






Eventually they had to take the twins away so Chris went with them to help with their first bath. I was alone with the nurse for awhile while she finished up a bunch of paperwork. Then I moved upstairs to the maternity ward. I was alone for awhile...it was hard going from the hustle and bustle of delivering two precious babies to being all alone, but I was happy Chris could be with the twins. I finally got to go down to the NICU and feed Boston. He was doing great and didn't have to be admitted, but Lyla did have to be admitted due to low blood sugar and would need an IV. It was really hard leaving her behind and getting to keep Boston with us. The rest of the evening was a blur. I remember telling our families the happy news and falling asleep watching Tarzan then being woken up all hours of the night to feed Boston, get my vitals checked, take some pills, or have my uterus what I like to call "kneaded".





Six in the morning came too fast. I met my new nurses, spoke with the twin's pediatrician, and got checked by my delivery team and anesthesiologist. The rest of the day was back and forth between the NICU and my room. Boston wasn't allowed to go back in the NICU so we were constantly juggling the twins between the 3 floors. Thankfully the nursery could take care of Boston so that Chris and I could visit Lyla together. When we would visit Lyla her nurse would have us do her "cares" which consisted of taking her temperature, changing her diaper, and feeding her. They were slowing weaning her off her IV based on her blood sugar levels which needed to be above 45. Our poor thing had to stay a second night in the NICU. Chris and I had a special congratulatory dinner from the hospital that evening. I was happy he finally got some real food since he was living off the crackers, Lorna Doones, and oatmeal stashed in the refreshments room.


Tuesday night was rough. I stayed with Lyla in the NICU until about 2am when I came upstairs to feed Boston and sleep. At this point I was pushing a wheelchair for support instead of having to ride in one. I ended up only sleeping 1 hour that night. While I was sleeping I was again awakened by people drawing blood, giving me more pills, pushing on my uterus, and checking my vitals. When Chris woke up we went to the NICU to be with Lyla. I fell asleep in the chair while waiting for Lyla to be ready to feed. I had a pounding headache that was making any conversation hard. After going back upstairs we met again with the pediatrician about Boston's circumcision. It was done fast and we were told he was a total champ. My anesthesiologist stopped by again to check up on how I was feeling. I told him that yesterday I had a dull headache, but today it was much more severe. He told me to lay flat and in under a minute the headache was much better. At that point he explained to me that I had a spinal headache and he strongly, and I mean strongly, recommended I get a blood patch. I told him we would think about it, but not long after I said yes please and it was done. Basically I had spinal fluid leak out from the epidural and spinal block which changed the the fluid pressure around the spinal cord and brain resulting in a terrible no good headache. He took blood from my arm and inserted it into where my anesthetic was injected. It was like getting another epidural, but without the actual numbing. The blood would clot and seal the hole where the leak was. I had to lay flat for an hour after so I finally got a little more sleep. Lunch woke me up and I finally had an appetite. I had a turkey and provolone sandwich that was so good I still think about it. Chris came back after being in the NICU and told me the hard news that Lyla wouldn't be able to come home with us today. 


I started to gently cry and then sob after Chris showed me a present he bought for her in the gift shop after hearing the news. He bought some little bows and glue for her hair. It was the saddest and most tender moment from our stay in the hospital. It broke my heart. Lyla's blood sugars were stable now, but she lost too much weight and needed further monitoring. Our little girl was down to 4lbs 10oz. We visited her again and just relished in how perfect and small she was. All over the NICU they had the Dr. Seuss quote, "A person's a person, no matter how small." I wanted to cry every time I read it. 

We were supposed to be discharged by 11 that morning, but the blood patch pushed our discharge to that afternoon. Then my doctor was no where to be found. She finally came in around 4 to approve my discharge. I had been stressed trying to figure out how that night was going to work with going back and forth from home to the NICU to feed my babies. A hospital hotel stay was mentioned several times, but we thought it would be too expensive until we asked how much it was and to our surprise it was free. (I really don't think it was free. I think they didn't charge us because of our special circumstance.) Instantly I knew that's what we should do. We got to stay in our room, but we had no nursing or nursery services. It was actually kind of nice not having people constantly checking up on us. Although it was weird hearing this whole hospital world outside our door that we were no longer apart of. It kind of makes you feel out of place, however we were so grateful that the night would go much smoother.

Thursday morning I went down to be with Lyla and was overjoyed to hear that she would likely come home with us that day. I got to be there for her rounds where all the staff meet together and discuss Lyla's progress. It was at that point where they said she could be discharged that day. I wanted to cry! I went upstairs to watch Boston as Chris loaded the car and then he went and got Lyla. It was the best feeling taking them home and seeing the two of them together for the first time since Monday. They slept side by side for hours. We are in total awe and love being a family. A lovely lady from our church brought us dinner and we just hung out the rest of the evening, soaking in every moment. The hospital stay was long, yet brief at the same time. Giving birth to twins was such an incredible experience I wish I could live over and over again. I am so thankful that I have the chance to be a mom and even more thankful to my Heavenly Father to know that my family is forever.


Boston Madden Ivie
5lbs 10oz

Lyla Belle Ivie
5lbs 1oz

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Cyber Stalker

I recently found out that someone has been plagiarizing my blog and stealing my photos from Instagram. The sick person created a Tumblr and Instgram account pretending to be me and shared my story as well as many details of my personal life. I do not know who the person was or how they were caught. It has caused an uproar on Tumblr because they had numerous followers, many more than I have. I woke up Friday to several emails and Instgram comments saying someone had done this. I've never felt more violated in my life. My husband and I are trying to recover from this horrible news and try to find out the best course of action for stopping this cyber stalker. The stalker's Instagram and Tumblr were deactivated since the time they were caught, so I didn't get to see everything they said. Since the Tumblr account was deactivated, I was able to recreate a Tumblr under the same name the stalker used in order to redirect people to my real site. I have no idea how to use Tumblr so I will not continue to use it. 

The support from complete strangers has been overwhelming. Many people have sent well wishes and helped to provide information regarding the situation. At this point I am unsure how I want to continue with my blogger and Instagram presence. Nothing is more important to me than keeping my family safe. I almost want to delete everything and disappear. 

If anyone has any further information regarding this horrible situation please contact me. Or if you know anything about stopping this stalker from doing this to me or another innocent person again, please let me know.

Friday, October 10, 2014

34 Weeks

 Happy happy 34 weeks babies! It's wonderful we've made it this far!

The clock is counting down and we (including my doctor) think these not so little babies are going to arrive in the next two weeks or so. I say not so little because when I saw my specialist today, baby boy weighed 5lbs 5oz and baby girl weighed 5lbs 3oz. Holy! They are growing beautifully despite the fact I can't seem to gain more weight. 


My doctor also confirmed that I will be delivering in an OR just in case. She will try to deliver vaginally even if little girl is breech, but they're both head down now. It's unlikely they'll move because it's so crowded in there plus gravity is helping to pull the heaviest part of their bodies down. When I hear c-section I just shrug and think whatever. Not that I'm being careless, I just know there are so many different scenarios (like vaginal birth for Baby A and c-section for Baby B...yuck) that I don't want to get myself set on things happening a certain way. I'm keeping my mind free of thinking or wanting the birth to happen a certain so that I'm not disappointed. Whatever will get them here safest sounds good to me. 

I'm still drinking TONS of water and peeing a billion times a day. I'm glad I enjoy drinking water so much because it helps to build important tissues, assists in circulating nutrients, aids in digestion, and helps with maintaining a good amount of amniotic fluids. I seriously think water and toilet paper companies should consider sponsoring me! 

Also, I now realize that "pregnancy brain" is 100% real. I'm forgetful and can't seem to make basic brain connections. It's ridiculous. Nesting is also 100% real. My last day of work was last Friday (yes!!!) and ever since then I've been running around like a chicken with its head cut off preparing everything for these babies. I have a never-ending list of things to do before they arrive. I'm constantly organizing, cleaning, and shopping. I seriously feel like a crazy woman. I think the only thing keeping me sane is when I can squeeze an episode of Gilmore Girls into my day ;) 


34 Weeks


How far along? 34 Weeks 3 Days 
Babies are the size of: A loaf of bread!
Total weight gain: 15lbs...it's pathetic. 
Maternity clothes?  Yes. Even some of my maternity shirts are having a hard time covering my huge belly.
Stretch marks? Still zero. Perhaps it could do with how well I'm keeping myself hydrated. 
Sleep: Sleep involves about 9 pillows at night and little girl always decides to nestle up in my ribs. So it's still not very good. 
Exercise: About 3-4 days a week.
Miss Anything: Traveling...I'm getting that itch to go somewhere. 
Movement: Lots and lots. I don't know if it's his position, but baby boy seems a lot more active. 
Food cravings: Water, water, water!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope!
Labor Signs: Braxton hicks.
Happy or Moody most of the time: Happy :)
Looking forward to: These babies coming! Who knows when exactly, but it's getting closer and closer!


Oh, and this is how I feel.



Friday, October 3, 2014

Where to Register for Baby

Creating a registry can get pretty overwhelming, not to mention where to register. There are tons of options like Babies "R" Us, Diapers.com, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Kohl's, Buy Buy Baby, 
Baby Depot, BabyList, and more. I ended up registering at Target, Babies "R" Us, and Buy Buy Baby. Looking back I wish I would have simplified it down to just two registries maximum. 

In this post I'm sharing the advertised "perks" of creating a registry with the stores I chose, as well as some of the free stuff I got for registering and the pros and cons I experienced. Baby registries are such an excellent way for others to give you the gifts you need, and they also give you some great money saving opportunities!

Buy Buy Baby

  • Free personal shop with a registry consultant (I did not use this "benefit" because it would have driven me crazy)
  • Hassle-free returns 
  • Free registry announcement cards and gift packaging 
  • Friends Referral Rewards: If you refer a friend and they create a registry you'll earn $25 off a $100 in-store purchase with each referral.
  • Direct competitors' price match 
  • Completion Program: You will get a one time use 10% off completion coupon for any or all remaining items on your registry. I received mine about 6 weeks before my due date and it expires 3 months after my due date. Perk: On the coupon it states, "We will gladly match our competitor's completion coupons for any or all items remaining on your registry." Target and Babies "R" Us offer a 15% off completion coupon, so if you mention this they will have to honor it. Also, the coupon includes most big brand names that are usually not included with their regular coupons. 
  • Goody bag: When I registered in-store I received a goody bag. This is what came inside:
Buy Buy Baby Pros:
  • Best variety. Think Bed Bath & Beyond for babies.
  • Buy Buy Baby is actually a sister company of Bed Bath & Beyond, so they will take Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and giftcards. Definitely a great use for all those Bed Bath & Beyond coupons you get in the mail and find in magazines (I frequently see them in Better Homes & Gardens magazine). You can also sign up to receive Buy Buy Baby coupons in the mail. 
  • Great customer service with a wide knowledge of products.
  • Having multiples? They offer 10% off the second identical item. 
Buy Buy Baby Cons:
  • Stores are few and far between.
  • Prices are often higher than stores like Target and Walmart.
Conclusion: I enjoy Buy Buy Baby and love the many coupons you can use there since that take Bed Bath & Beyond's coupons too. But because physical locations are so limited it makes it hard to be a good registry for friends and family. I only received two gifts from this registry mostly because no one had heard of the store. 


Babies "R" Us
  • Baby shower planning guides and registry announcement cards
  • New Parent Classes: I wish I could have used this service, however they don't offer any of these classes in Utah. Classes offered include breastfeeding, baby basics, infant CPR, and more. 
  • You’ll have up to 1 year after baby’s due date to make returns
  • Price match guarantee: Works on a direct competitor's printed ad or select online retailer's websites including Walmart.com, Target.com, buybuyBaby.com, and Amazon.com. 
  • Endless Earnings program: If you create a registry and sign up for the Rewards "R" Us program you can earn up to 10% back on any purchases (including your own) made from your registry in the form of an eGift card. 
  • Completion coupon: You will get a one time use 15% off completion coupon for any or all remaining items on your registry. It's valid for about 4 months. 
  • Goody bag: When I registered in-store I mentioned I was having twins and they gave me two! 

Babies "R" Us Pros:
  • Great selection of items. 
  • Multiples discount: 10% of second identical item.
  • I had great customer service when I ordered my second car seat. I ended up getting 30% off (20% off coupon and 10% off multiples discount even though the first car seat wasn't purchased there) plus free shipping. 
Babies "R" Us Cons:
  • Prices are usually higher. 
  • Coupons are rarely sent in the mail. 
  • Completion coupon was mailed late. 
Conclusion: I would recommend Babies "R" Us before Buy Buy Baby just because there are more locations and it's a commonly recognized store. However, every time I go in I can't wait to leave. 


Target

  • Convenient for all - Gift givers can order online or shop at one of their 1800 locations nationwide.
  • Hassle free returns and exchanges.
  • Registry app: You can scan items straight to your registry with their app and access your registry.
  • Completion coupon: Target offers a 15% off registry completion coupon sent 6 weeks before your due date. The completion coupon can also be stacked with the 5% off REDCard for 20% in savings! Target will also send you four 15% off registry completion coupons to give to friends or family. All the completion coupons are good for one use in-store and one use online. In addition to that, my coupons don't expire for about 7 months.
  • Goody bag: They gave me two also!
Target Pros:
  • Great returns - I had to return some baby clothes that had the tags removed and no receipt and they still gave me store credit!
  • Target stores are everywhere and are already a common place for friends and family to shop.
  • They sent me a $20 giftcard just for registering with them!
  • Target has some of the best prices, plus they will price match with online retailers such as Amazon, Babies "R" Us, and Walmart. 
Target Cons:
  • Very limited in-store selection of baby gear.
Conclusion: Target is probably the place I would recommend the highest. It's affordable and convenient, and I think they have the best registry completion deal.  Plus where else can you get all your baby AND household needs in one place? 

What are your experiences with baby registries? Leave a comment below!

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