savoring {our 1st first month with twins}

image

Its been gently snowing the past 4 days {something we really haven’t seen so consistently most of the season}. Almost as if Winter wants us to remember how it has gracefully comforted us all Season long as we awaited the arrival of our twin boys.

Truly, the word I would use to describe the past few weeks is “savor”. These sweet boys have melted my heart and made a spot for themselves within.

Together we spend our busy mornings feeding, changing, etc. But there are sweet moments all throughout: when I hold each one alone or even the two of them together, and savor their sweetness, cuddling and rocking.

image

I really can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be right now than with these two precious bundles.

Life is simple right now…and very sweet.

At lunch we enjoy their Dad and I get some hugely appreciated help for an hour or so. Sometimes it’s a chance to hop in the shower or we sit and feed the babies together. (It’s all about choosing these days: the 1st couple weeks I chose sleep every time they were, the 2nd couple weeks I chose breakfast…today I got a half hour nap, breakfast, and a shower without help…breakthrough!)

Afternoon is a fun-filled, busiest-of- times, when the big kiddos are home from school. We take turns holding, kissing, feeding, burping, changing, singing, laughing, and dancing with the babies while doing homework, reading, and preparing dinner.

image

Lately I’ve been asked most:

Are you getting any sleep?
We’ll happily admit that we’ve never been so tired, and that it has been all worth it. Thanks to other twin moms, we were counseled to keep the boys on the same schedule. So when one wakes in the night, we wake the other and feed them together. Fabulous advice. Right now we are up twice in the night on average…

How are you healing?
So far, better than expected. I was wondering how long it would take for my belly to resemble some sort of normalcy and have been pleasantly surprised. Other typical pregnancy-healing aspects have been greatly aided by the placenta pills our midwife’s assistant, Nat made for me. {Yes, dehydrated into pills from the boys’ placentas}. And I can’t recommend them enough…wish I’d had them made with the other births! Helped my healing and energy level immensely. As to be expected from the 3 months on bedrest: my muscle-tone loss has definitely been the biggest setback in recovery, but getting better and, again -so worth it.

image

How are the babies?
The boys are doing well. They are really good babies, eating, growing, and lots of fun.

image

personalities
baby A – I’m calling him “the douce” for now as he is so very sweet. Just as in my belly, he is so calm and relaxed. Very patient with his younger brother…and older siblings’affections. Really the only thing that makes him cry is hunger…and occasionally his carseat. He is easy to smile (the explorer calls it his “turtle smile”), has the sweetest, softest coo and enjoys conversations with the paintings hung throughout the house.

image

baby B - “the joker” (he makes everyone laugh) is also very sweet, determined, and a bit on the noisy side ;). He is always making funny grunt noises. And he has the funniest expressions that get us giggling uncontrollably. He is also very patient with his big love-giving siblings. He and his brother sleep together in a hanging cradle abive the foot of our bed. Often we find he has scooted next to his brother. This morning we found him lying in a diagonal across the bed…clearly looking for his twin who was already awake and eating. ;) I love laying them next to each other. They will comfort each other when one is sad, hold hands, and make noises like they are having an important conversation.

growth and development:
As with many newborns, they had lost weight while waiting for my milk to come in. By the end of the 2nd week they were back up to their birth weights. The 3rd week surprised us when the joker passed the douce in weight by a couple ounces…then last week, the douce was again 2 ounces ahead: both 8 pounds.

image

The douce’s hair is looking more strawberry like his sister’s did at this time, while the blonde keeps peaking out from under the joker’s dark hair.

We’ve impatiently waited for their eyes to lose the blur. This happened the end of the 3rd week for the douce and about 5 days later for the joker. The kiddos, Carl, and I feel like we’ve seen more of their personalities the more they see and it’s been pure joy.

They can both roll over…mostly accidental. Its just happened a couple times for the douce, but the joker does it several times a day {it all began an hour after he was born while the midwives were trying to weigh and measure him. ;)}. Not even a week in, I thought I’d try tandem nursing them with my brestfriend nursing pillow. They were each on their respective sides. I was helping the douce latch when off rolled the joker…thank goodness onto the bed, too early I realized!

image

How is your family?
Other than Spring-time sickness, that has been so prevalent lately, we are doing good. The older kiddos took turns with various things and it wasn’t easy recovering, caring for twins and sick siblings. When I caught strep along with my 4th case of mastitus last week, I teased them that they weren’t allowed to be sick anymore. Every time they went outside, they must have hats and coats…I even threatened to send them to school sick, lol. Surprisingly, we’ve made it a whole week without anyone staying home from school.

The big kiddos are a huge help and can do so much. At night I’ll hear them throw in a load of laundry as they get ready for bed and do other small but amazing things which is definitely comforting.

image

I remind myself every day what a team effort is required and I’m ever so grateful for our brave kiddos willing to do hard things and take on such responsibility. And Carl…he’s been amazing. Always looking for ways to help and do more (at his office late right now trying to get the twins insurance coverage since obamacare somehow caused Humana to reject their coverage on our existing policy…stay well sweet boys!)

Are these overwhelming feelings of gratitude simply typical for families with twins or families doing hard things? If so, happy to join each if you…its a good journey! xo ~ katrina

image

our twin boys {a homebirth story}

image
35 weeks had come and gone…so had 36 & 37.  At 38 weeks, my parents had come in town from California and were ready to see some action.  As you can imagine, overwhelming feelings of anxiety & pressure now added to my excruciating discomfort & pain of carrying so much within.

Meanwhile, our little family waited.  We knew it was close. 

All 3 of our older children have been posterior (sunny-side -up…the explorer did turn at the end). Maybe it’s the shape of my pelvis, but for whatever reason it accompanies back labor each time, which is always intense. Contractions are always close together from the get-go.

During the builder’s almost-9-hour birth I was simply in survival mode. Trying to breathe through each contraction seemed all I could do.
image

With the the dancer’s arrival, we used a tub for a water birth and I avoided the pain in that warm water: just over 9 hours.

I decided to not endure or avoid during the explorer’s birth, moving, dancing, and working with him to help him out. 6 hours, hooray! I felt like I’d finally figured out how to labor& birth a baby!

But with the twins I was so afraid I’d run out of energy and not be able to move (having been on bedrest so long) to help things along. After worrying for weeks, I finally decided to stop. Turning to the Lord, I gave Him my burden, resulting in a very fast, less-than-2-hour-labor from the very 1st contraction. Truly…He knows just what we can handle & makes up the difference!

Wednesday morning (38 weeks and 6 days), Carl and the kiddos headed out the door for school and work. Excitedly, I read a text that my girlfriend, Camille, was in labor at our local hospital. She encouraged me that it was a good day for the twins to arrive. What a comfort it had been to wait together for our 3 boys arrival! 

{Baby A arrived 50 minutes after Camille’s darling boy}

It was then, I noticed I was leaking amniotic fluid – almost as if our boys had received the message from their friend that it was time. This had not happened in my previous deliveries. In fact, my water didn’t usually break until right before the older kids emerged.
image

8:24 a.m. – I texted Richelle (our midwife) who called me right away. She suggested what to look for and do if it continued. After a few minutes, I hung up and felt the 1st contraction. 

4 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, and coming on strong. Lots of pressure and of course back labor – oh the back labor! (How I empathize with all the ladies out there who endure back labor during birth!)

Not wanting them to stop or slow, I thought I’d time them a while to be sure. But it required a lot of concentration – keeping time while working through each contraction. After 30 minutes I figured I better let Carl know.

As I called him I thought I’d give him an hour to wrap things up at work before coming home (fortunately he works a couple blocks from our home). While we talked (a whole minute maybe), I changed my mind and told him to come home in 30 minutes.
image

After I hung up the phone (9:03), I decided it was too long and texted him, “you might just want to come.”

And he did.

Now, we’ve done this before. I’ve decided we make a good team with this birthing thing. It’s been some of the greatest moments we’ve shared in this joint quest of marriage.

9:15 – We texted Richelle an update. She was in an appointment an hour away. “Ok. I will send my assistants right away and then i will come soon.”

(She must have also changed her mind as she arrived first, much quicker than we thought possible, to our happy relief).

While she was on her way I labored mostly by walking (and using the walker around the upstairs), and pulling & leaning into the looped sheets tied and hanging from the ceiling (they really helped with the extra weight, and I have wanted to do aerial stuff for a while now…it’s good to have big dreams to think about during labor haha!)
image

Carl also gave me a blessing while it was just the two of us. The room was filled with love for our boys and family, and I felt the strength & courage I needed to accomplish this difficult task.

I knew there was not energy within me to labor all day or night as I’d done with the other kiddos, so I stayed on my feet, hoping to use the extra weight to speed up dialation.

I quietly spoke to Baby A: reminding him that he was the leader. That his brother and I would be here to help and support him, but that it was his job to push and come out first. And that we would work together to help him out.

Richelle had a plan for this birth. One in which we all found comfort: 5 midwives/assistants would attend our boys’ birth. Nat’s responsibility was to care for Baby A, Roxanna would be responsible for Baby B, Katie would be there to meet my comfort needs, while Richelle was there for me medically & to oversee everything in general. Finally, Sophia would be the gopher, assisting everyone with anything they needed.

image

It was a good plan.

Time just went too quickly.

When Richelle arrived she first checked to see how things were coming along: 100 % effaced & dialated to 6. I was relieved and kept working. I asked Carl to start filling the tub (pool). The plan was to labor in the warm water to ease the back labor, but deliver the boys outside.

I climbed in the pool half filled, I’d already felt a strong contraction and my body wanting to push. Soon the pool was full and I’d had another similar feeling contraction. Desperately trying to relax, I admitted to Richelle and Katie that I wasn’t sure how to relax anymore. A third contraction of this caliber hit, I felt the ring of fire…and Baby A crowned.

Richelle asked if I’d like to catch him. (I caught the dancer when she was born). But my arms were hanging over the side of the tub & I felt stuck, not sure how I could flip over in time.

10:49 – Carl caught him, I breathed a great sigh of relief, and relaxed a minute.

There he was: long, blond, and peaceful…no crying for this sweet boy.

I was exhausted and we were overcome with joy.

As I floated a minute, I could feel Baby B leap within me.

image

But there was no time to rest. I needed to deliver another baby!

Carefully, Richelle and Katie helped me out of the tub while Carl held Baby A, keeping him warm in a towel. It was a group effort, Baby A still connected to me by his cord & placenta within.

Richelle suggested I climb up on the bed. On my hands & knees, they could see one of Baby B’s feet. He not only lept when his brother emerged…after being head-down for 4 months, he flipped!

Not only had he flipped, but one leg was bent and up against his belly. Richelle broke my water and told me to push. It took me a couple minutes as I was so tired that I couldn’t remember where thos muscles were.

By this time Roxanna had arrived was encouraging me to push also. Carl layed Baby A under me. Big eyes filled with wonder &, he quietly watched patiently for his brother.

11:02 – I decided to use Carl as leverage, pushing as hard as I could and out came Baby B! A full head of dark hair, they couldn’t look more different. ;)

13 minutes apart, these sweet boys!

We’re just thankful to our Heavenly Father for their safe arrival, for an amazing midwife, Richelle, and her team.

A fast and furious birth…now we are simply trying to soak up the peace and get some rest at night lol! xo ~katrina

image

{Big thanks for the beautiful photos by Jessica Ashurst at Yesika Photography…and beyond-darling batman and robin props made by my super-talented sister-in-law Katherine!}

tears {still prego with twins 38 weeks}

image
When I was pregnant with our third I cried a lot. I had 2 other small toddlers to enjoy (care for), one was 2 years…nearly 3, the other 1 of course. They were darling & busy & fun…but I was physically & emotionally exhausted. I had too many food allergies, was hungry all the time, & probably wasn’t getting enough nutritionally. Our oldest, the builder, noticed this of course, and was convinced that babies in the belly = sad, crying mamas. Once he even told someone that I’d be ok once the baby came out.

Of course, he was right. Surprisingly enough, while this twin pregnancy has been the hardest of them all combined, I didn’t cry much till this third trimester.  And I’ve made up for it’s absence earlier. (They are not always sad tears…I also frequently cry during touching Olympic moments…strangely enough, I seem to have discovered more of them this time).

This week, I’ve really only slept 2 nights (3 of which were full of on & off braxton hicks).  While I hope desperately it means we are nearly done, I am exhausted. I cried a bit last night as I was alone, listening to my family peacefully sleep.  Soo uncomfortable, I couldn’t even sleep on one of my sides as I could feel every bone of one of the babies (scaring me that I could be crushing them), would lose my breath, or feel my heart race. 

At about 5:30 or 6 am, I resorted to propping myself with pillows, hoping to fall asleep sitting.  After about an hour, my body relaxed enough that I layed on the less-full-of-baby side and managed to sleep till everything was stirring – signaling school preparation was underway.

One day the big kids will tell the twins how I cried a bit trying to get them here safely. They will tell their brothers about
● being just like little butlers: bringing me all sorts of things, helping me up, holding my hands, and letting me hold their shoulders for stability
● Aunt Tonya’s walker we borrowed to ensure a safe journey to my bathroom.
● the table we would eat snacks at in my room to avoid the crumbs in Dad’s bed. 
● or the mini fridge Dale let us snag from the office so I could eat at night (that they loved to also eat from)
● the hanging cradle/bassinet that they helped Dad put together that was so hard to not touch and swing
● the dresser full of clothes they used to wear…and a drawer just for diapers (they are facinated by a full drawer of diapers)
● the blow-up swimming pool the mailman delivered to our door (Amazon) that was full of air – not water (also difficult not to touch)
● the kind friends & neighbors that brought us food
● Brenda & Jody: neighbors that made returning from school an everyday adventure

Actually, there are more…

…but the 2 things I hope they remember most is that amidst all the tears, struggle, and excitement: their Dad and I tried our very best (Dad especially) and loved them dearly.  That this home was overflowing with love for the big kids, and the littles soon to arrive.

After all, not all tears are bad right?! xo ~ katrina
image
(After school snacks with the explorer)

an olympian pregnancy {38 weeks with twins}

image

As Carl and I watched the ever exciting ski slopestyle, I realized and shared with him that I feel like I’ve somehow mis-qualified for the Pregnant Olympics.

Without special training, obviously with the lowest times & scores ever known in Pregnant Olympic history…and the fact that I have shown up late enough that I’ve not had the opportunity to even try the course!

But there is my name on the leader board (no, you won’t see me interviewed or even mentioned in media coverage).  I won’t be making the next round, semi-finals or finals for that matter.

And no, I’ve never taken a belly picture with previous pregnancies – but it’s the Olympics after all, and we do unimaginable rituals like belly pictures and we proudly wear ugly Christmas sweaters…

Heck, I didn’t even make it to Sochi in time to walk out with my team during the Opening Ceremonies (couldn’t really walk that far anyway).

But here I am…the clueless underdog with a speedskate suit (body) that is clearly slowing me down. Not sure it was made for me and it can’t possibly be my size, but I’m wearing it all the same…

…that’s really how I’m feeling though this 38th week pregnant with our boys’:

● a bit confused (yes, I’m now taking stuff to help me sleep…adds to the overall confusion),
● extremely uncomfortable,
● working through contractions that lead nowhere,
● a bit under the weather (shouldn’t let my thirsty kiddos drink out of my water bottle – ever),
● and wondering if my skin will hold up another 2 weeks if these boys prefer being well-done.

My midwife came yesterday and everything looks great.  The boys are growing and growing (measuring 45 weeks now…no, we don’t even bother checking my girth any more). Blood pressure, pee, pulse, their heartbeats, dialation at a 3, 75 percent effaced: all very standard.  And so we wait.

We wait and watch…

…and wait some more…

…they will come out eventually (they have to right?!)…

…and while I may not receive a medal or a mention in this great Pregnant Olympics (of which I’m sure I’ll never again qualify…thank goodness!)…

…I’m so very grateful to have been given the chance, the great opportunity to be their mother & to love these real Olympians!

For what Olympic event are you currently competing that leaves you completely mystified and ever so humble? Hang in there my fellow Olympians…we shall stand and proudly wear our ugly Christmas sweaters together!!! xo ~ katrina

ps. If you can’t get a hold of me right away, please call Carl…I’m probably knocked out on valerian root after all, or trying to breathe through another pesky contraction…you know, the kind you only get with back labor & posterior babies!
image

any day now {37 weeks with twins}

image

My beyond-big-belly is as hard as a rock as I sit here trying to ignore the contractions.

Carl & I laugh that I always get false alarm sessions before the real event…so yes, I’m currently ignoring them the best I can. 

I was officially taken off bedrest at 36 weeks and told to get up & start moving.  Silly me just assumed I could get up & go…but this belly of mine is so heavy.  I try to walk & do more one day & then have to take another to recover.

image

It’s been great watching the Olympics…celebrating those pushing the limits in their passions.  Definitely inspiring my persistence.   I explained to Carl that after a week and a half I thought I’d start to feel stronger.  He laughed and reminded me that at this point, (where the boys are just fattening up), that it is more about maintaining, or simply keeping up with them strength-wise.

Baby A woke me up last night with the strangest karate double-kick, both legs out to the side.  Not that it hurt – just praying he was still head-down.  In some ways I feel him pushing, wanting more room and to get out – but not excited about how he is to make it happen.  I feel like he’s been trying to back out of my pelvis today, lol.

image

I rub my belly and whisper to him that the process will make him stronger…that it will prepare him for things to come, and that his younger brother is there for him…ready to follow him out.

And so we all wait patiently…or not so patiently (the big kids have come up with some loud Olympic-style games downstairs. ..no wonder Baby A is apprehensive)!

And what are you patiently awaiting?  Happy thoughts wherever you find yourself on the journey!  xo ~ katrina

image