5 Months Old!

I feel like there have been a lot of big changes this past month! Norah and Naomi like to help hold their bottles, and sometimes they are able to feed themselves for a short period of time. They started using a size 2 nipple, as the pediatrician suggested, and it has definitely helped speed up their eating time. The doctor said it should take them about 15-20 minutes to finish a bottle. While we are usually not that quick, I appreciate going from 30-40 minutes to 20-25 minutes. However, with the change to a bigger bottle nipple, they have been less interested in breastfeeding. It is bittersweet because breastfeeding was a struggle and I wanted to make it at least 6 months, but I also still hate how it schedules my life and often causes frustration both me and the babies.

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Naomi

After Christmas, Norah and Naomi moved from newborn to size 1 diapers. Most babies do not wear newborn diapers for over 4 months! We tried to move them sooner, as they were over 10 pounds, but their skinny little thighs just didn’t work with the larger diaper. We went through a phase where they wore size 1 diapers over newborn diapers at night because after 8-10 hours the newborn diapers would leak out the back. We are thankful to finally be in the cheaper diaper size and using a whole lot less of them!

At a whopping 13 pounds and 25 inches, they are now wearing size 3-6 month onesies and pjs, and we are finally out of 0-3 month pants! I am especially happy about the new pants size, as 0-3 months fit in the waist but were capris (thank you 15th percentile for weight and 52nd for height).

The girls are now becoming more mobile – pulling themselves forward by grabbing onto the edge of the activity mat, mattress, crib slats, the other baby, etc. They have also realized that they can express their dislikes through sounds besides crying. I love that they can recognize their sister and will smile and talk to each other and baby in the mirror.

I started a part time nanny job (3-4 days a week for a total of 21-28 hours). The little boy is a week and a half older than the girls, so I am learning what a triplet mom feels like! Norah and Naomi realized mommy was a little stressed about this new job, so they decided to start sleeping through the night the weekend before the new job started. While we think our babies are pretty awesome and have good temperaments, we also attribute it to Babywise and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby. We used a combination of the philosophies to foster positive sleep habits within a sleep schedule without sleep props. We have tried to “start as you mean to go.” Every day is a part of the process, and we are constantly tweaking our schedule to figure out what is best for our babies. We started the month with 90 minutes of of wake time, and we have now moved to 2 hours. Sometimes I feel like I get the schedule right because they wake up from a 2 hour nap or sleeping through the night and just happily lay in their cribs talking until I get them! Derek has thoroughly enjoyed the babies longer wake time and budding personalities! He has been a trooper because he has put up with the fact that due to our new schedule, the little ones sometimes go to bed before he gets home.

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Naomi the jelly bean butt
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3 Months Old!

 

 

We are liking 3 months – more smiles, more sleep, more cooing, and no getting into mischief yet! It has been so much fun to watch the babies gain more awareness of the world around them. We are constantly amazed by Norah & Naomi! They enjoy spending time kicking and hitting the toys hanging on their play mat, listening to mommy and daddy sing, putting their hands in their mouths and each other’s mouths, trying to mimic our sounds, and looking out their window. We think they are just under 10 pounds. Naomi rolled over from tummy to back at 12 weeks, and Norah rolled from her back to tummy twice in one night at 14 weeks. Norah also is enjoying sucking on her thumb (although sometimes she struggles to figure out how to get it in her mouth!). The girls are doing 8-10+ hours between their last feed and the middle night feed, so 6.5-9 hour sleeps. However, the swaddle is the bane of my existence. While they have become experts at breaking out of their swaddles, they refuse to sleep unswaddled, so I usually have to reswaddle them at least once a night, if I want to go 9+ hours without feeding them. With Norah’s new found rolling talent, it’s now time to break this habit…

We were lucky that Darryl and June (Grandpa and Gigi) could spend Thanksgiving with us. The babies enjoyed getting to meet them and interrupting our dinners! We also appreciated that they made and froze food for future dinners.

A few weeks later, the babies got to visit with Grandpa and Gigi again, but this time in Topeka, Kansas. The babies had their first plane rides (including a ride on a prop plane!), so that they could go visit Great Grandma Drayer for her 90th birthday. Mommy stressed a little about the trip, but it went about as smoothly as possible! We decided to leave the stroller at home, as this would only be a 2 day trip. We got lucky with the TSA agents, and we were able to keep the babies in their Ergos as we went through security, which meant that they slept the whole way through! (Some TSA agents will make you take off the carrier and put it through the x-ray while just carrying the baby.) We decided to carry the car seats to gate check in order to diminish the wear and tear on them, but they are heavy and unwieldy! The babies did an awesome job sleeping through their first 2 flights. Morning flights seem to be the way to go! Derek and I sat in the aisle seats of the same row, as only one 1 infant in arms is allowed per side of the aisle due to there only being 1 extra oxygen mask. However, we got lucky that we had empty seats next to us on our flights, which made diaper changes and making formula a breeze! For some reason, the airlines have a rule that babies can’t be in carriers for takeoff and landing. This doesn’t make sense to me as they seem more secure than just in my arms. I did some research and the answers I found didn’t make sense – crushing the baby in an emergency or flight attendants needing to get baby out if you are incapacitated in an emergency, so I think it is just a liability thing.

We got into Topeka with enough time to make family pictures. We then enjoyed a wonderful birthday dinner, where family members helped hold babies so we could eat. It was great to be able to have all of the Drayer family together! On Sunday, Grandpa, Gigi, and Great Grandma offered to watch the babies, so we could go out to lunch with the other cousins. The babies were a big hit in Great Grandma’s living community! We hung out with Great Grandma’s friends during a birthday celebration and then headed to the airport. Derek and I got super lucky and were able to sit in the same row because there was an empty middle seat! The babies were fussier on the flight home. This may have been because it was longer, or at night, or bumpier, or it was just there second day of travel. While they were a little more vocal, the people around us were very complimentary.

Norah and Naomi had a couple other firsts this month. They began getting in the Christmas spirit when we chopped down their first Christmas tree. The whole family drove up to Snoqualmie Pass to meet some friends.  After a few hours of walking around the forest they picked the perfect tree for our first Christmas as a family. As well, they got to babysit for the first time, when they helped mommy babysit a 21 month old and 5 year old. They also got their first babysitter when Grandma babysat for them for a 5.5 hour evening, so we could go to Derek’s holiday party at the aquarium!

As we count our blessings this month for happy and healthy babies, we wish everyone a happy holidays!

 

Two Months Old!

 

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Time has flown! It seems like we turned a corner at 6 weeks and then again at 8 weeks. From the beginning, the babies were pretty fussy when put down in their cribs. However, I am very grateful that we started attempting to put them in their cribs from day 1. Even though they didn’t always end up sleeping in the crib, I think we did what was best for us to get the babies to sleep and for us to get sleep. It was pretty awful for the first 3.5 weeks, but I think it will make it easier in the long run. (See our post about the first month.) At our baby prep class reunion, everyone was in shock that our babies were almost exclusively sleeping in their cribs, as their babies would only sleep in rock ‘n plays or bassinets. We explained that we decided that we didn’t want to create habits we would have to break later – the babies sleeping in our room, sleeping in a swing or rock ‘n play, or sharing a crib. And, that we focused on the babies getting enough sleep (always with an attempt at the crib), then to understand the difference between night and day, then to sleep in their cribs, then putting them in their cribs drowsy.

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One of the few times they have shared a crib (because Naomi pooped all over hers…)

We suspected that part of our struggle with crib sleeping was that the girls, especially Naomi, were suffering from reflux and gas. We began using simethicone drops and probiotic drops (Gerber Soothe and then Mommy’s Bliss) at 2 weeks. At 6 weeks, we also switched to a Enfamil A.R. formula for supplementing to help with the spitting up and reflux. This formula has rice cereal to make it thicker. Giving the babies this formula helped with the spitting up, but they got frustrated by how thick it was, so we decided to mix it with a sensitive formula with probiotics/prebiotics (Gerber Soothe or Similac Total Comfort). We also put Naomi’s mattress on a 15 degree incline. Both of these seemed to help with the babies’ fussiness; however, their digestive systems also might also just be maturing.

At 6 weeks, we also took a road trip to San Jose to see our friend/co-worker get married. This was a 4.5 day trip with 15+ hours of driving on the way down and 14+ hours on the way back. The babies handled the trip like champs! It is a good thing they love their car seats! We stopped in Portland on Wednesday evening and stayed with our gracious friends who put up with 2 crying babies and 2 excited dogs. On Thursday, we were planning on stopping at Crater Lake as we continued on to San Jose, but as they had gotten a foot of snow a few days earlier, the scenic drive around the lake was closed and the viewpoints were socked in. So we made a change in plans, and the babies instead got to experience the majesty of the redwoods at Redwood National & State Parks. We drove down Avenue of the Giants, and we almost got the car stuck in the tourist trap drive-through redwood. When we got to San Jose on Friday, the babies visited Santa Clara Swim Club, where they got to meet mommy’s old swimmers and co-workers. On Saturday our little ones were well behaved during the wedding, didn’t interrupt the ceremony, and allowed us to spend some time catching up with friends at the reception. On the way home on Sunday, we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. The babies slept in their Ergo baby carriers while we walked around reading about Tillamook’s cheese history.

The trip was really an adventure for all four of us. We had to figure out how to soothe the babies without the help of swings and rock ‘n plays and how to feed babies every few hours on a road trip. For the record, pumping and then bottle feeding the babies while sitting between their car seats is the way to go.

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Prior to our trip, Naomi and Norah were eating every 3 hours like clockwork during the day and every 4 hours at night. This meant the I was only getting 4 hours of sleep on average. I would often take a 2 hour morning nap after taking Derek to the bus, but this made me feel like half my day was gone. It was also frustrating because when the babies woke me up, I would be hungry for lunch, but so would the babies… After our trip, they seemed to be sleeping a lot more during the day, and we weren’t sure if it was because they had gotten used to sleeping so much on our trip or if it was because they were going through a growth spurt. At 8 weeks, the babies got their 2 month shots, and this was painful for them but ended up being wonderful for mommy. Babies grow and build their immune systems while sleeping, so often babies sleep more after getting vaccinations. This was the case for us! The night of their shots, they went over 6 hours between feeds! In the 5 nights since then, they have continued to do a 6-7+ hour first night sleep. It has been so nice for me to get some continuous sleep in an increment over 2 hours! This means they are eating more frequently during the day, but it is worth it to get some sleep!

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The girls have caught up on their weight gain, so they have now averaged an ounce a day since birth. Norah was 7 lb. 14 oz. and 21.5 inches. This put her in the 25th percentile for height! Naomi was 7 lb. 11 oz. and 20.5 inches. Our little ones have soft hair, pot bellies, outie belly buttons, and long legs. They are still wearing newborn clothes, but the pajamas are starting to get a little small due to their length. The girls started giving me and Derek smiles last week and have started cooing and making noises besides crying! They enjoy looking around outside, baths, being worn in the Ergos, and taking naps during car rides and walks. They think tummy time is alright, especially if they get to do it on mommy or daddy’s chest. They tolerate puppy kisses and have started petting the dogs and cat with help from daddy. It has been fun to start to see their personalities develop, and we can now tell them apart (sometimes).

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The Realities of Breastfeeding

I will be honest – I haven’t found breastfeeding rewarding at all. At the most, I would say I tolerate it because research has said how good it is for babies. At the worst, I would say I hate it, want to quit, and feel guilty for feeling that way. I would much rather just spend time holding my babies and not feel like I am just their milk machine. Prior to giving birth my knowledge about breastfeeding was limited. Everyone knows the million and one reasons why it is beneficial, so obviously I was planning on doing it. I did have some trepidation about breastfeeding twins, but at our baby class (labor and delivery, newborn care, and breastfeeding), a lactation consultant talked about why to breastfeed, how to breastfeed, and addressed our concerns. When asked about the need to supplement she dismissed it, saying that women make enough milk to feed their babies and if there are supply issues, there are way to increase supply. Makes it sound like a piece of cake right? I think that we are doing a huge disservice to mothers in regards to the way we discuss breastfeeding. I write this post because I think we need to be realistic about the difficulties of breastfeeding and let women know that they are not alone. Based on what I had heard and read, I thought I was just failing as a new mom. It was such a relief to hear that other women (even women with singletons!) cried with frustration, wanted to quit, felt guilty and inadequate, etc.

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Just born – Naomi & Norah
I was utterly  unprepared for the difficulties of motherhood. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. Everyone said the first 6 weeks were rough, and you would survive on not enough sleep. But, it is definitely harder than I thought it would be. My guilt and frustration about feeling incompetent at breastfeeding started from day 1 when the nurses said that Norah wasn’t passing the blood glucose tests and need to be given formula. I felt awful – I wasn’t giving her what she needed and now she was going to have to be given formula from a bottle. The lactation consultant at our class said not to give bottles or pacifiers until breastfeeding was well established at 4-6 weeks, and she had said that I would make enough milk. So what was wrong with me? I tried to chalk it up to babies being born a little early and with low birth weight. If this is what the nurses said was best for Norah then I would trust them. We continued to struggle with the babies getting enough to eat at the hospital, so we talked about pumping after at least half of my breastfeeding sessions to increase my supply.

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Day 3 (first full day home) – honestly not sure who is who. Derek says Naomi & Norah.
By day 4 the babies had already lost 12% of their birth weights (they were down 5% and 7% when we left the hospital). Doctors don’t want babies to lose more than 15% of their weight. This usually peaks around day 10, so the pediatrician was worried about them continuing to drop weight. Thus, she recommended we breastfeed and then supplement with formula after. My left breast seemed to be frustrating the babies, so I had a phone lactation appointment which I cried through because I felt like I wasn’t providing for my babies and it was my fault that they had lost so much weight. We also had a lactation appointment at the hospital, which reiterated what the doctor and other lactation consultant had said – I now needed to be pumping after each feeding. This would increase my supply and allow us to supplement with breastmilk in addition to formula. Unfortunately having to pump was not my only frustration; Naomi was getting frustrated waiting for letdown and would unlatch repeatedly until she was screaming in frustration. Norah was getting lazy having to do the work of sucking and swallowing and just fall asleep.

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Day 9 – Naomi & Norah
As I was worried about Naomi’s latch issue, I did some research and found some helpful information from La Leche League. At this point, the babies were only sleeping in 15 minute stretches at night, and the doctor thought it might be because they were not getting enough food at each feeding, so they were overly hungry. After a week and a half (day 13), the babies had reached acceptable weights, and I seemed to be producing enough milk, so we decided to stop supplementing. I was so proud of myself, and it was so nice to not have to pump after each feeding! And then we went for a weight check with the doctor a week later, and she wasn’t happy with the 5 ounces Norah had gained and 2 ounces Naomi gained. She wanted them gaining an ounce a day, so we were back to supplementing. I was devastated and again felt like I had failed my babies. After being depressed all day and thinking about just giving up breastfeeding, I decided not to continue pumping after each feed. For my own sanity, the babies would be breastfed and then supplement with formula, so I didn’t have to continue pumping after each feed. While this would still extend the length of each feed, it would be less time than having to breastfeed, bottle feed, and pump.

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Day 13 – Norah & Naomi
I know that my emotional state regarding breastfeeding isn’t just due to hormones or societal pressures, but also due to lack of sleep. I guess when people said sleep would be an issue, I thought it was because you had to feed babies every 2-3 hours, even at night. So I (wrongly) assumed that while this wouldn’t be fun, it would be doable because there would be an end in sight. (Supposedly 6 weeks is the magic number?) Plus, it couldn’t be that bad because I would just wake up when they started crying to be fed, feed them, and then go back to sleep. It hasn’t been that simple. They often can’t be put straight into their cribs after they are fed. Both girls have had tummy troubles, and Naomi has had spit up issues, so we try to keep them upright for at least 10 minutes after each feeding. The first 3.5 weeks, they wouldn’t sleep in their cribs unless they were fully asleep. It would take at least 20 minutes to hold them, put them in the swing, or let them fall asleep in the rock ‘n play. (Supposed to go down sleepy but not asleep. Ha!) After they go into their cribs, I wait about 15 minutes to see if they will indeed sleep there and if they need pacifiers put back in. There have been nights when I can’t get them to sleep in the crib at all, and they end up sleeping in their rock ‘n plays while I sleep next to them on the couch. I know that for safety reasons they shouldn’t sleep in the rock ‘n plays, but I also know that both they and I need sleep.

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Naomi & Norah
Unfortunately, my struggles with breastfeeding have added to the lack of night sleep. Derek has been taking the bedtime shift around 9p-midnight, so I can grab 2-3 hours of sleep. I then wake up and pump while he feeds them a bottle of breastmilk I pumped the night before. He goes to bed, I finish feeding them bottles, and I try to get them to sleep in their cribs before I get another 2-3 hours of sleep. This process takes about an hour and a half. Around 4 or 5a, I start the 2-2.5 hour process of feeding them without help. I breastfeed one, change her diaper, then supplement with a bottle of formula. Then I repeat with the other baby before trying to get them to sleep in their cribs. If they wake up at the same time, I will tandem breastfeed, but it is harder to tandem bottle feed and impossible to tandem diaper change. The babies usually eat less at the breast because I can’t help prompt them or express into their mouths, and they are usually grumpier because they are having to wait while the other one gets a diaper change or bottle or helped to sleep. When my mom was here, I was averaging 5-6 hours a night. Since then, I have been averaging about 4-5 hours a night and then trying to take a 1-2 hour nap after I drop Derek off at the bus. The upside is that I have been reading Babywise and trying to implement some better sleep practices.

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I’m not sure if it is some of our new strategies or just the babies getting older and wiser every day, but it seems like the past week has had some improvements. While it feels like 2 steps forward and 1 step back, I am hoping we have turned a corner. The babies are now sleeping in 3 hour stretches during the day and 4 hours stretches at night. They are going down in their cribs sleepy but not fully asleep for most naps and some of their overnight sleeps. We are only consistently struggling with the “witching hour” from dinnertime around 6 or 7p to their first overnight sleep around 1 or 2a. They want to be held, swing, or feel cocooned in their rock n play; they do not want to sleep in their cribs. Sometimes they have upset tummies or just don’t know what they want. Nothing seems to remedy this. However, we are hoping we have found a sanity saver in our Ergo 360. Michelle gets to eat dinner, and Norah gets held. Derek gets some time to relax, and Naomi gets held. Fingers crossed!

One Month Old!

We are happy to report that after some weight gain struggles, both babies are about 6.5 pounds. (The doc was worried we weren’t gaining an ounce a day? Ha! We will show her by gaining 2 ounces a day!) They are still long and skinny, with legs that reach the bottom of newborn outfits but arms and bodies that are better suited for preemie.

They enjoy tummy time on daddy’s chest and when he reads them stories. Both girls love their swing and rock n plays but aren’t so sure about their bouncy chairs. N&N sometimes suck in fingers, but they really are pacifier girls. Just like their puppy sisters, our twins enjoy car rides.

We are hoping they have turned a corner with sleeping in their cribs at night. Naomi is hopeful her tummy troubles are improving, and Norah is hopeful her days of looking like a balding old man don’t last too long. Like her daddy, Naomi gets hangry when food takes too long to arrive and is quite the impatient eater. Norah is a little lazy and sometimes decides sleeping is more important than eating.

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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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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…

34 Week Pregnancy Reflection

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Well, the babies will be delivered by c-section whenever they decide it is their time! The doctor is glad that we made it to 34 weeks without having to try to stop labor. It’s hard to believe that after months of waiting, the babies can now come at any time in the next 3.5 weeks! Since we are so close, I decided to take some time to reflect on our pregnancy and go back through my pregnancy journal.

First Trimester:

  • Looking back now, it was obvious I was pregnant, but I didn’t know the signs of early pregnancy. When Derek and I moved from San Jose to Seattle, I was begging him to stop every hour so I could use the restroom. Normally I have a decent bladder, so we were both frustrated. Then, soon after moving here, Derek and I went for a short couple mile run that had a hill. I couldn’t make it up the hill! I started crying not sure why I felt so out of shape!
  • To tell Derek we were expecting, I gave him the things I could no longer have –  the cat litter bags (risk of toxoplasmosis) and Dr. Pepper 10 (aspartame). I also gave him an apple seed (the size of the babies at 5 weeks) and because I still hadn’t made it obvious – the pregnancy test. I should also mention I was so excited to pick him up from work and tell him that I got pulled over for speeding. Oops…
  • Once we found out we were having twins, we oscillated between being excited and nervous.
  • Twins moms often have trouble gaining the recommended pregnancy weight – 35-45 pounds (25-35 for singletons). Maybe this is because with higher pregnancy hormones they tend to have morning sickness. I lost weight the first trimester and struggled with trouble sleeping, digestive issues, bloating, nausea, and dizziness. I usually only threw up first thing in the morning, but I did have one embarrassing moment when I threw up in the middle of my fingerprint appointment. Twin moms might also struggle with the weight gain because they feel full earlier with all the baby in their belly (a twin uterus at 32 weeks is about the size of a singleton uterus at 40 weeks). If I were to do it again, I would worry less about healthy eating and portion sizes at the beginning. I made a big deal of eating the serving size of snacks. Girl needs her Smartfood white cheddar popcorn, Cheez-its, and Oreos in whatever quantity she is hungry for if she is going to gain weight!

Second Trimester:

  • At the beginning, I still had morning sickness. Once that went away, I understood why people talk so highly about the second trimester! Some of my clothing no longer fit, and I was emotional. I experienced some round ligament pain, pelvic floor pain when I tried to run and hike, and a few bouts of food poisoning. However, overall, it was nice to feel like a person again!
Poo Poo Point.JPG
At 6 months pregnant, we hiked 8 miles with 1800 foot elevation gain to Poo Poo Point. 
  • My parents bought me prenatal yoga classes for my birthday and going to the classes made my body feel so much better! It was also nice to hang out with other pregnant ladies!
  • I began nannying for a 4 month old. Her parents have become close friends, and they are a great resource! I got to see baby toys and gear in use and ask a million questions about eating, sleeping, tummy time, etc. They were super supportive of my needs of working while pregnant and even passed along diapers, bottles, gear, and clothes.

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16 week ultrasound
16 week ultrasound
  • It was annoying that every stranger would tell me how small I was for being due in September and having twins.

Third Trimester:

  • I began feeling really pregnant this trimester and having trouble sleeping through the night. I would wake up every few hours because I needed to pee, had heartburn (no matter what I ate for dinner), back pain, etc. Unfortunately, I often couldn’t fall back asleep. I was lucky that I stopped working July 29, so after dropping Derek off at the bus stop every morning, I would go back to bed for 45-90 minutes.
  • Derek and I savored our last few months as a family of 2.

Rainier 2

Rainier
Mt. Rainier
  • Derek got to feel and see babies kick and began reading to the babies so they would recognize his voice once they are born.

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Me and dad.JPG
27 weeks pregnant
  • I am getting pretty tired of going to the doctor. Throughout the pregnancy, we had ultrasounds almost once a month because that is the only way to accurately track each babies’ growth. In the average singleton pregnancy, there are only 2 ultrasounds – one in the first trimester to confirm due date (around 6-10 weeks) and one to check anatomy and determine sex (around 18-20 weeks). Then, at doctor appointments the OB would measure baby growth through fundal height. However, in the case of multiples, a fundal height measurement would only tell the overall size of both babies, and it wouldn’t indicate if there was a large discrepancy in the two babies’ growths. My 33-38 week weekly doctor appointments are about 3 hours due to the BPP, NST, and doctor visit. That being said, we have had a pretty easy twin pregnancy, and I am grateful that with the many doctor visits, Derek has good insurance, and I set up a HSA when I worked in Florida.
  • Average gestation for twins is 36 weeks (full term is considered 37 weeks). 36 weeks would put our due date at Fri. Sept 2. Maybe we will have Labor Day babies, who share a birthday with my parents’ wedding anniversary (Sept. 5)!

Nursery

The nursery was a fun project, as we are excited for the babies to move in, and, it is the first room we have completely finished from beginning to end. Derek and I painted multiple coats on the ceiling to hide what looks like was once a navy blue ceiling. In the future, my grandma says we should use the ceiling paint that goes on pink, blue, or purple and changes to white after it dries to make the process easier. We were lucky that our families were willing to paint the walls and trim, so it was one less part of the project for us. We took off the old baseboards, with plans of moving them down, as there was a gap between the floor and the baseboard from old carpet. However, because the house was rented for over 25 years before we moved in, there was a lot of paint and caulk build up on the wall. We decided that instead of sanding it down, we would buy new baseboards that were higher than this lip.

This baseboard project was a lot easier than the one we did on our first house in Gainesville, thanks to our experience and some new tools. We picked out MDF baseboard from our local lumber store. We then painted it with a semi-gloss white to match the trim around the doors and windows. We measured all the walls and used a chop saw (Derek’s PhD graduation present from his dad!) to make the cuts. This was much quicker than using a table saw and miter saw, and the cuts are probably also a little smoother! We also decided to buy a brad nail gun, as we will eventually be replacing all of the baseboards to match the nursery. This gadget has nail depth adjustability and was a life saver. It was super quick, and Derek didn’t have to worry about hammering his thumb! In the name of teamwork, I was the stud finder, and Derek was the nailer. Afterwards, Derek laid a bead of caulk, and I wiped it down with my wet cloth. Finally, we touched up the baseboard paint in a few places, and we love how the freshly painted and caulked trim makes the grey walls pop and the room really look finished!

Crib 2

Bookshelf

Paint and Baseboards

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Maternal Fetal Medicine Follow Up

After our 32 week appointment with my OB, we had a follow up appointment at maternal fetal medicine due to the twins’ weight discrepancy and Twin A’s small size. I had a pretty detailed ultrasound, looking at each baby’s organs, growth, cord blood flow, and amniotic fluid. Everything looked good, and there were a few surprises. I got to see a baby drinking amniotic fluid, holding her leg, licking her hand and cord, etc.

34 week 3d ultrasound
Twin A playing with her cord

It also appeared that I might only have one placenta, which would make the babies mo/di and not di/di. It is also another argument for a c-section. Either way, there is a 33% chance that our babies are actually identical.

Zygosity (twin type) is not as simple as having 1 or 2 placentas. According to Multiples of America, “more important than the placenta itself are the fetal membranes, which can be helpful in determining twin type. They are the thin membranes filled with fluid that surround the fetus and are attached to the placenta. The amnion is the inner membrane, and the chorion is the outer membrane. A shared amnion always means monozygotic twins, but is very rare. Two amnions and one chorion also means monozygotic twins. If there are two amnions and two chorions the twin type can be either mono- or dizygotic.

Fraternal or dizygotic twins will always have two placentas, as the two eggs implant separately into the uterus. However, if the eggs implant close together the placentas can become fused and take on the appearance of one placenta. Twins can then be mislabeled monozygotic.

However, identical twins do not always have one placenta. Monozygotic twins come from an egg that splits into two. The timing of the split will determine the number of placentas. If the split happens after the egg has already implanted into the uterus, there will be one placenta. If the split happens earlier, before implantation, then the two eggs can implant separately into the uterus and form two separate placentas. The twins will still be identical.”

Derek and I met with the director of fetal medicine, and he felt that at this point we don’t have need for concern about the babies’ sizes or discordance. The babies were 4 pounds 10 ounces and 4 pounds 9 ounces. This puts them in the 21st and 20th percentiles respectively, and obviously doesn’t show much weight discordance. The doctor gave us some information about why the weight formulas have a 15% margin of error. Bone measurements are fairly accurate measurements, but a squishy abdomen is not. If a baby is getting squished, then this part of the formula could be off. He also stressed that again the percentiles are compared to singletons and twins tend to be smaller.

The doctor said that they really only start worrying if the babies’ weights are 20% apart, a baby suddenly just stops growing, there isn’t good cord blood flow, or there isn’t enough amniotic fluid. When there isn’t enough cord blood flow, the blood goes to the brain and the heart and the other organs and limbs don’t grow; the kidneys don’t process as much amniotic fluid, which manifests as a low fluid pocket for the baby.

As our babies aren’t presenting with any of these issues, he recommended that I only need to see my OB once a week for non-stress tests (NSTs), which measure fetal movement, fetal heart rate, and uterine contractions, or biophysical profiles (BPPs), which is an ultrasound to measure amniotic fluid, fetal muscle tone, fetal heart rate, and fetal breathing. At this point, the doctor does not feel that we need to consider delivering the babies early to get them more nutrients outside the womb. As well, I do not need to have extra appointments with the OB or fetal medicine. We will have another growth ultrasound at 36.5 weeks.