NanaNette’s Lactation Cookies

Prep Time: ~25 minutes

Yields: about 6 dozen

Preheat oven to 350°F.cookies-2

Mix and set aside to add later

  • 3 tablespoons Flaxseed
  • 4 tablespoons of water

Mix

  • 1 cup softened butter
  • 5 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar

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Add to mixture

  • 2 eggs (mix in 1 at a time)
  • Flaxseed mixture (set aside from the earlier)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix in bowl (then add to mixture)

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup brewer’s yeast (found in supplement section or ordered online)

cookies-3

Mix in bowl (then add to mixture)

  • 3 cups oatmeal (I use 3minute)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Shredded coconut (I added approx. ¾ cup)
  • Slivered almonds (I added approx. ¾ cup)
  • Cook at 350 degrees for 10-11 minutes

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The Cost of Diapers

With diapers being one of the many double expenses for twins, I did a lot of research into diaper prices, and I hope that it will help someone else! All prices listed are unit prices. I always went with the largest quantity to get the best deal, unless a smaller size was the same unit price.

My girls were born at 37 weeks. They were 4 pound 11.5 ounces, 17.5 inches and 5 pounds 4 ounces, 18 inches. During the first 3 weeks, we were going through 6-10 diapers a day per baby. For newborn diapers, we tried Pampers Swaddlers, Target Up&Up, and Babies R Us. The hospital sent us home with Pampers Swaddlers. I was pleased with them but not with the price. We next tried Target. I felt the quality and fit in the waist was similar to Pampers for a much better price. However, the leg holes were a little big for our girls, and we did have some leaks. Babies R Us had a very similar fit to Target, but seemed more plasticy than the other brands. Luvs seemed to be a great compromise for fit and price. They were the smallest fitting diapers (especially for their skinny legs), which was helpful for minimizing leaks, and are the cheapest name brand. However, they don’t have a wetness indicator, which was disappointing because our tiny girls make tiny pees. It got easier to tell when it was pee and when it was just poop as the days went on, though. FYI: Honest Co sent me 8 diapers to try, when I signed up for a free trial, and they also don’t have a wetness indicator. They were the largest diaper of the newborn ones we tried, as well.

We ended up going with Target’s Up and Up diapers. Luvs were probably my favorite for fit and value, but my preference wasn’t great enough to justify the price differential. I know different diapers fit babies differently, so we will see if we continue to love Target’s diapers as the babies change sizes!

At 4 months, the girls weighed 10.5 pounds and were 24.5 inches. We were finally ready for size 1 diapers! We tried Huggies Snug & Dry first, and while I liked the quality, they were too big for our girls’ skinny thighs (3rd percentile for weight and 52nd/61st percentile for height…). The Huggies Little Snugglers are softer inside and also have smaller velcro flaps. This meant that I was able to get the waist tighter than with the Snug & Dry because I could put one velcro tab high and one low. There is also elastic in Huggies’ waist bands which is a huge selling point. No more back blowouts! Overall, these fit really well, but they are one of the most expensive diaper options! We next tried Pampers Swaddlers, and I loved them! They fit well and had a layer that seems like it is supposed to keep pee off the skin. Unfortunately, they are one of the more expensive brands of diapers, though. Next we tried Luvs, and they seemed to be a good fit and a decent bargain, but there is no back elastic. The Walmart brand reminded me of the Babies R Us brand. The fit was fine, but they seemed plasticy. They along with CVS and Target all have back elastic. If it is important to you, the Pampers and Huggies Snug & Dry do not have wetness indicators.

Even though I want to go with Pampers, I think we will be trying the Target brand for size 1, as it will save us $22/month. The great thing about size 1 diapers are they are cheaper, and we are using less per day! I have been buying diapers, formula, and wipes at Target because they often do a $15-25 gift card with a $100 or $125 baby purchase. I haven’t used Amazon because I can’t use my Similac and now Luvs coupons.

Here is some more feedback on the pros and cons of the various brands: http://m.babygearlab.com/Disposable-Diaper-Reviews

Infant Diapers (Online Prices as of May/June 2016)Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.13.55 AM

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The Twins Arrive!

Thursday September 8, 2016

6:30am – Thought I felt a trickle of fluid. Maybe my water broke?! I decided not to bother Derek until I knew for sure, especially as early labor is usually 8-12 hours. I had no contractions or other trickles throughout the day, so I chalked it up to my wishing it was time.

8:30pm – Got home after picking up Derek downtown. After multiple small gushes of fluid, I was now confident – my water had broken! After my research this afternoon, I now could consider myself one of the 6% of labors that start this way! I called my OB to ask when I should come in, and was excited to find out my OB was the one on call that night! She said to come in now, so they could get the babies on the fetal monitors. Derek ate dinner, we both took showers, and then we packed up the car.

9:15pm – Arrived at the hospital, and we went to the birth center’s triage unit so they could decide if I was actually in labor, and they should admit me. I had only had about seven 30 second contractions so far. My blood pressure was pretty high, so they decided to do some blood work to make sure everything was ok. The babies had a quick ultrasound to confirm they were still head down. They also had about 20 minutes of fetal monitoring and contraction monitoring. They decided yes, I was actually in labor and would admit me. My contractions started to become fairly close together and painful at this point, but I asked if we could walk around a bit before the epidural, as I knew I still had many hours to go. As we walked to the labor and delivery room, I began feeling very nauseous and threw up.

Derek and I hung out in our new digs, and I used to rocking chair to get through some contractions before we went for a walk. However, my contractions were becoming more than I wanted to deal with and they said it could be 45 minutes before the anesthesiologist could administer the epidural, so we decided to call him and get that process started.

11:30pm – Having contractions every 2 minutes. Derek was helping me with the breathing we had practiced at our class and letting me squeeze his hand. The anesthesiologist administered the epidural, which was a longer process than I wanted. Sitting hunched over  and shaking wasn’t my favorite way to work through contractions!

Friday September 9, 2016

Midnight – Epidural had kicked in, and we were exactly 37 weeks (full term!)! I was surprised that my legs were still tingly. I could feel the pressure of Norah on my left hip, but not the contractions. My OB checked my cervix, and I was already 8 centimeters dilated! 3.5 hours, and we had already moved through most of the first stage of labor – from early (usually 8-12 hours) to active (usually 3-5 hours) to transitional labor! My OB seemed surprised how quickly we were progressing! I was still being monitored for contractions and the babies were still having their heart rates monitored. I was pretty cold and experiencing the shakes.

1:00am – Reached 10 centimeters dilated! We started pushing in the labor and delivery room, knowing that at some point we would move to the OR for delivery.

1:30am – Show time! Derek put on some scrubs, and we wheeled into the OR. The OB and nurses got everything set up, and we began pushing. Norah was ready to meet us! However, her heart rate was falling lower than they liked, so my OB recommended the use of a vacuum to assist.

1:46am – Norah Louise Drayer loudly made way into the world at 4 lb 11.5 oz and 17.5 in. My OB then ruptured Naomi’s sac, and I began pushing her. Her heart rate also fell, so we again used the vacuum.

1:56am – Naomi Ann Drayer was born sunny side up (face up) with unicorn horn (slight cone shape pointing up and forward) and large bruise from vacuum. She was 5 lb 4 oz and 18 in. Mommy got to hold both babies while we were wheeled back to our room.

 

5:30am – Mommy and Daddy finally got to sleep after skin to skin, breastfeeding, and all the post-labor checks.

6:30am – Everything began again! The girls had to have 3 tests prior to feeding where their blood sugar was in the normal range. Unfortunately, the girls had some issues with this, and Norah supplemented with formula. When they finally passed it was nice because every time they were ready to nurse, I didn’t have to call the nurse to come test their blood sugar first and the babies didn’t have to keep getting their heels pricked. At the 24 hour check up, Norah had lost 5% of her body weight and Naomi had lost 7% of her body weight. Doctors like to see no more than 10-15%, which usually peaks at day 7.

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Saturday September 10, 2016

9:00am – I saw an OB, anesthesiologist, and lactation consultant, and I was given the green light for discharge. They were also given their discharge papers.

4:15pm – We finally got to head home after completing all of the items on the discharge checklist! Derek and I had filled out the birth certificate info and had picked up my prescriptions. The babies had seen the pediatrician and had passed their metabolic screen (PKU), jaundice check, hearing screen, congenital heart test, and the car seat challenge. We were ready to be in our own house, our own bed, not eat hospital food, not have people constantly coming in to check vitals, and introduce the babies to the animals!

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Aunt Kathy’s Baked Spaghetti

I am excited that Seattle is experiencing fall weather (sorry to my family in the midwest who is not). This means that I can use my oven again! First up on my list of oven meals was baked spaghetti. Unfortunately, I have been experiencing pregnancy brain. For the second time in recent weeks, I went to the grocery store to pick up a dinner ingredient, swore that I got the right thing, then got home to find I had bought something different. In this case, I went to the store to buy the mozzarella for this dish and when I went to start making dinner, I discovered that I had bought parmesan. While a little parmesan may have been tasty in this dish, I don’t think 3 cups of parmesan would have been the taste I was looking for. Luckily I had shredded mexican cheese, which I substituted. While it was not as delicious as making the recipe with mozzarella, it definitely worked.

Prep Time: ~25 minutes

Feeds: 6-8 people

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1/2-1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2-1 pound ground beef or sausage (optional)
  • marinara or pasta sauce (optional)

Brown meat and cook spaghetti. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Melt butter and whisk eggs. Mix spaghetti, melted butter, whisked eggs, meat, and mozzarella. You can add sauce now or later.


Cover baked spaghetti with tinfoil. Bake for 25-30 min at 350°F. Cheese on top should be bubbly and the spaghetti should be heated all the way through.

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Chimichurri Marinade/Sauce for Shoulder Steaks

Prep Time: ~30 minutes (does not include marinade or grill time)

Feeds: 6-8 people

We used four 1 pound boneless shoulder steaks (also called chuck steaks, cross rib steaks, top blade steaks) for our steak tacos. These are economical steaks, with good flavor but can be tough. It is essential to marinade them before grilling and slice them on the bias (against the grain) after cooking.

 

Marinade Option #1:

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

To help the marinade penetrate the meat, you can prick the steak with a fork or score it with a knife. Mix the marinade ingredients together in a ziplock bag then add the steak. Gently shake bag to coat all steaks then refrigerate for 1-6 hours. Flip or shake the bag halfway through.

 

Chimichurri Sauce/Marinade Option #2:

  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 2/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine water, oregano, salt, and parsley. Let sit about 15 minutes, until dried spices are softened. Pulse cilantro, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a food processor until coarsely chopped (about 10 pulses). Add water/spice mixture and vinegar. Pulse to combine. Transfer mixture to bowl and slowing whisk in oil until emulsified. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for an hour. You can then use this as a marinade, following the directions for marinading from above or add it to your steak after cooking. If you really love the flavor, you could even do both!

 

35 and 36 Weeks

At my 35 week BPP and NST, I found out that both babies are now vertex (head down). My doctor was surprised that the babies still have enough room to turn at this point. They seem pretty comfortable in there, though, and are still very active babies! Vertex/vertex is the best case scenario for delivering both babies vaginally (and not having a combination vaginal delivery for Baby A and c-section with Baby B). I was 1 centimeter dilated at this appointment, but people can be less than 3 centimeters dilated for quite some time. As I had not had any painful contractions or fluid discharge, my doctor was fairly confident that I would make it to my 36 week appointment. I opted to have my Tdap vaccine and Group B strep test at this appointment just in case, though.

36 weeks

This week, 36 weeks, was another big milestone, as the babies will hopefully be big and healthy enough to avoid the NICU, whenever they decide to grace us with their presence. Thus far it seems like our little ones are good at listening, and we hope they keep that quality! My mom convinced them to both turn head down, and Derek and I convinced them to wait until September to be born.

At my 36 week appointment, we had a growth ultrasound and of course a BPP and NST. Norah and Naomi are both still vertex/vertex. Twin A’s head is pretty far down in my pelvis, and it looks like she wanted to make sure that she got to be the first one out! The babies were 5 pounds 10 ounces and 5 pounds 11 ounces. The growth percentiles went down, but my doctor didn’t even tell me what they were because she wasn’t concerned and was just glad they are still in there, still growing, and similar in size.

I told my doctor that we have decided that to try for a vaginal delivery, and she was excited and supportive. I need to have a little chat with Twin B (Naomi) about not changing positions, dropping her BP, or getting wrapped up in her cord after Norah is delivered. If she changes positions, the OB on duty will have to decide if she wants to deliver Naomi breech, try to turn her, or go in for a c-section. My 38 week scheduled c-section will be changed to an induction. The official date is TBD, though. It will be around that 38 week mark still, as the uterus can only stretch so much, and it becomes risky for twins to wait until longer than after that because there is a risk of insufficient nutrients, more risk of high BP, more risk of cord issues, etc. As we are now past 36 weeks, if I got into labor, I will get to go through early labor at home, following the 5-1-1 rule (5 contractions of one minute or more in an hour). Prior to this point, even if I was having a vaginal delivery, I was to head to the hospital as soon as I had 4 painful contractions in an hour.

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Westport Light State Park

On Labor Day, we decided to try to tempt fate by driving 2.5 hours to the beach. At 36 weeks + 3 days, we are ready to meet these babies! No luck, but the puppies seemed to enjoy being back at the beach. Yes, I have officially outgrown all of my shirts and sweatshirts, all non-stretchy pants and shorts, and a lot of dresses. I should have grabbed one of Derek’s t-shirts, so my belly wasn’t hanging out…