Monday, May 21, 2012

Baby Gear: Simple and Affordable

Sometimes I think we forget that our culture is not the only one in the world. I've been blessed enough to be fairly well traveled but I get a reminder of this in the evenings when E & I sit down to watch the documentary Babies while we wait for Nate to come home from work.

The documentary follows 4 babies for the first year of their lives in Africa, Mongolia, Japan, & the USA. It's a good watch for those of us who worry about small silly things. (It's currently on Netflix Instant.)

Anyway my point is we live in a very materialistic culture. There are probably a million lists on the internet telling you all the things you need for your baby. Most of these things you really do not need. My baby must have list is simple. So simple that it may shock some of you.
Having babies doesn't mean having to break the bank or that your house must look like a daycare center.

Baby Equipment I would skip
   Two Cribs
Yep, I went there. We practice safe co-sleeping   (which you may want one crib or a co-sleeper for if you are having twins) and then we go to a Montessori floor bed when our babies are ready. You can do either or both. I highly recommend at least reading the article on Montessori floor beds...everyone I know that has done a floor bed has been amazed at all the benefits. You will be thanking me when your babies are toddlers and you do not have so much trouble getting them to stay in their beds.

Read more about twin specific co-sleeping at Confessions of a High Heel Wearing Hippie Mommy
more about Montessori floor beds for twins at Montessori On the Double

 Changing table
I find that it's much easier, and saves time, space, and money not to have a changing table. It's makes a lot more sense in my opinion to use a changing pad (or even a towel) on the floor. There is another $70-$200 for your spa/ housekeeper/ kid's college fund.

Two Swings and Two Bouncers
Save yourself some space ,money, and clutter. You do not need two of each for twins. It makes a lot more sense to do rotations. I didn't really use either of these things with my singleton daughter but it's hard to hold two babies as much as they need. As much as they need with twins is more than as much as they need with a singleton because they will not always sleep at the same time or for the same lengths of time. They are two separate people that have two separate sets of needs you know.

Bumbo Seats or BeBe Pods
 The only reason that these seats are helpful is if you need to start feeding your baby solids before they can sit up on their own. That is not usually recommended but it is something that we ended up doing with our twins. We chose to do this because they are petite (our singleton was too) and our pediatrician was slightly concerned about their weight. Otherwise you really don't need these and they are not recommended for extended periods of time.

Jumpers and Exersaucers
 There has been concern over both types of these toys with the negative developmental impact they can cause (neurologically and physically) . It is not recommended to use this kind of toy more than 10-15 minutes a day. So for my family we just skip these. They tend to take up a lot of space anyway.

You can read articles here and here for more info on this.

Baby Equipment I Can't Do Without

Miracle blanket
 We have used miracle blankets to swaddle all three of our children and loved them. I love them too because they helped our babies feel secure and sleep. Our miracle blanket helped with our singleton a lot and other singleton parents that I have recommended it to help their babies sleep longer at night. When D & F came home from the hospital I would wrap them during E's naptime and at night. They learned that when they were wrapped it was time to sleep. This is how I got everyone on the same schedule. Eventually I moved to just wrapped at night and then weaned them off it their blankets. It is an expensive blanket but I have not found any others that work remotely as well. The last ones I bought were at a consignment sale for $4 though so look around and get a good price. They are only used for a few months so you should be able to buy a few used quite easily.

.An Ergo Baby Carrier
If you spend any time with me at all you will hear me tell you how much I love my Ergo. I honestly could not imagine parenting twins without it. When the boys were smaller I would wear them in the front carry to put them to sleep while I accomplished household tasks. I even nursed F in the Ergo while I made my daughter's birthday cake last year. It wouldn't have gotten done if that hadn't been an option. It's great for when one or both of my twins are fussy and they both need me. The Ergo is also great for outings. If I ever leave it at home I regret it. It's incredibly more comfortable than any baby bjorn style carrier out (also known as crotch danglers in the baby wearing world) there and better for your baby (see the links in my teething post for more on that). And I can even carry my three year old in it still. It will last you forever! Ergo baby carriers are also pricey but look for them on craigslist, ebay, and consignment sales. If you have to buy new know this...they are worth every penny.

Not only is baby wearing an essential tool in twin parenting but there are many benefits.

A Nursing Pillow
I bought the My Breast Friend pillow that is made for twins because it was supposedly the best. I HATED IT! It was was like wearing a huge inner-tube and I had a hard time getting the babies close enough to me and positioned correctly in general. I also could not get into a comfortable position for me while wearing it. I really ended up using the Boppy I had much more and thought it was better. But in the begining a nursing pillow was a life saver and the MBF pillow was better than nothing.

Baby Equipment to Consider

A stroller is a great thing if you like to walk or jog a lot. Otherwise I recommend skipping the stroller and investing in a great baby carrier. I think I mentioned one above. 

We do love to take walks. I have a Joovy "Big Caboose stand on triple stroller."
I love that E can choose to sit or stand. It's a little difficult to steer at times but it's pretty perfect for our family situation.

Baby food grinder
This was something that I would have considered an essential before I learned about baby led weaning. It really makes feeding your baby home made purees super simple. If baby led weaning style of eating is not your thing then consider one of these.

Breast Pump
While I didn't use my pump hardly at all for my singleton I used the heck out of it for my twins especially when they were in the NICU.  It's a pricey piece of equipment if you aren't going to use it so you may want to pick out the one you want, set the money for it aside, and have someone else pick it up for you if you really need it.

Nursing cover
 I feel more comfortable nursing in public with a cover. For me it's an essential. Some people prefer not to have one. Do what makes you feel most comfortable and don't worry about anyone else.

Cloth Diapers
There are plenty of reasons to cloth diaper. Personally I am a part-time cloth diaperer because I don't like to add too much extra pressure. It's not that way for some moms but laundry is not my favorite thing and so it can be for me. If you want to get started cloth diapering (or read how I got all of our diapers for free) you can read this post on my old blog.

Cloth diapering is not out of the question for multiples at all. You can read twin and triplet specific cloth diapering posts at
What The Blog?

Baby gear can be helpful but I challenge you to think about how much of it is really necessary. People all around the world make do with much less than we do. What your baby needs most is you.

This week I'm linking up to For MOMs by MOMs: Baby Gear
so stop by and see what other Moms of Multiples suggest when it comes to baby gear.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Birthing Twins Naturally

 If you haven't read it yet, you can read all about my twin pregnancy here.

(I should have known I was about to go into labor. My face was so swollen. Actually I kind of hate this photo. I look so miserable in it. ha!)

I was closing in on end the thirty-fourth week of my pregnancy. I decided I needed a few new nursing bra's before the babies came so we went to the mall. Motherhood Maternity was right inside the entrance but apparently even that was too far. I came home so sore and tired. Being pregnant with twins is intense y'all.

I tried to take a bath. Tried being the key word since my knees and feet were pretty much the only thing that fit into the tub. I remember wishing so badly that we could go down the street to my inlaws hot tub. I was just so sore. I had already lost a little mucus at 31 weeks and that night I lost some more.

I knew the boys would be coming soon but I had hoped on waiting it out a week and a bit longer. At 36 weeks my midwives could deliver them. That evening my husband and I went through the boys things and talked about what we would want to bring along with us to the birthing center.

The next morning I woke up with mild period like cramps. I recognized this feeling from E's birth as the very early labor, but since I did not want to start labor yet we jumped in the car and raced straight to the birthing center to stop it. The birthing center was fourty-five minutes away (which was nothing compared to the two hours I drove for E's birth). We arrived and I was checked and found to be at 5cm. I was shocked. I was about 5cm during E's birth when I bit my husband (something I am sure to never live down). This was much more mild. We did everything we could to stop labor. They had some herbal drops that they were giving me and they even called their homeopathic doctor who had them give me may have been pulsatilla but I was so out of it I didn't notice.

Nothing stopped labor. The boys were coming. My midwives (Molly & Emily) called their back up OBGYN who agreed to meet us at the hospital. I briefly considered jumping into the birthing tub and not consenting to be moved but there was no way for us to know if the boys lungs had fully developed yet. We got into the car to drive the two hours to the hospital where the OB would deliver my twins (with baby A breech) naturally.  Molly rode with us and Emily followed in her car.

Click here for info on breech being just another variation of normal.

I felt a lot of pressure on the drive and communicated what I was feeling as we drove. Molly asked me if I needed her to find a closer hospital but I knew that meant automatic C-section. I told her no that I was going to Dr. Cummings and for my husband to keep driving. I was not that concerned about birthing in the car. I had an excellent midwife and my husband who was EMT certified with me. At one point in time I was so miserable because I had to pee so badly. There was no way I could have stopped and made it in the bathroom so my midwife pulled out a disposable pad to put under me and I peed in the car on that. (I almost didn't admit that, but it is part of my story)

We arrived at the hospital around 2pm. A nurse picked me up at the curb and wheeled me away from my husband and my midwife towards the room. I kept asking her to wait but as you will soon find out she was not a very patient or considerate nurse. This part was all so surreal. This was not where I wanted to be, or felt was safest, or most conducive to a normal, natural birth.

I remember going to the bathroom again and being given a hospital gown to wear. Then I was put in the bed where they strapped a monitor to me. I was also administered an IV. They told me over and over again to lay on my back and I ignored them every time. Not only is it the most uncomfortable position to be in but it is also the worst position you can be in for labor. Meanwhile my impatient nurse, named America, asked me a million questions. She did not care that I was experiencing intense contractions or rushes. She would not wait for me to finish and she would not allow my husband to answer for me. I was so thankful to have my awesome midwives with me. They acted as doulas and helped me manage the rushes by kneading my lower back and gripping my foot. They took great care of me.  I also remembered something that my doula at E's birth had said. During a particularly intense rush she told me "to just follow it all the way through". It was so helpful at the time so I just kept saying it to myself. ( see what a good investment a doula is? they not only help you through the birth that you hire them for but also through the ones after that.)

At some point in time a nurse came in and insisted that I have an x-ray done so they could tell exactly where the babies were. I thought this was absolutely ridiculous and a terrible thing to do to my babies but I really was given an ultimatum. Do this or they would not deliver them. I hate hospitals. I really do. They did the x-ray. Twice actually because the stupid techs screwed it up the first time. The boys were exactly where my midwives told them they were which they found out by palpating.

Finally Dr. Cummings came in. They said it was time and got ready to transport me to the OR since that is where they deliver twins. The nurses would allow me nothing to drink so everytime they left I had Nate hand me my big cup of water. This was yet another stupid hospital policy that I was not about to fall victim to. But I knew that I couldn't sneak anything while in the OR. So I asked Dr. Cummings for something and he told America to get me some ice chips. This was very satisfying because she had just told me that I could have nothing.

America told me in the OR I would have to lay flat on my back. Dr. Cummings is awesome though. I asked if I could lay on my side until my water broke and he allowed me to do that. There are a lot of benefits to keeping your bag of water intact until just before the baby is born and all that vitamin C I took really payed off by making that possible.

At 3:02 (just an hour after we had arrived at the hospital) F, my baby A, was born. He was born frank breech. He came into this world balls first. He had a little trouble breathing at first and was given a bit of oxygen. He never needed assistance breathing but because he gave them a little scare with the breathing they took him straight to the NICU. I didn't even get to see him. I could hear him crying and I was worried about him ,but I didn't have much chance to think about that.

When F was born, D moved down the birth canal. In doing this he had a bit of cord prolapse. His heart rate was still fine (although one nurse picked up my heart rate and flipped until the other nurse showed her the mistake). This was a bit tricky. A lot of OB's probably would have sectioned me right then and there, but not Dr. Cummings. He explained to me that he would break D's bag of waters, reach in and manually move the cord out of the way, and then I would have to push D out as quickly as possible. This was far from pleasant but made a lot of sense to me. I stayed very calm and trusted God, Dr. Cummings, and my body. I know that this was painful but I don't really remember that. I remember feeling a lot of pressure on my bladder and I told him that. He assured me that was normal.

Actually the most horrible part of it all was the nurses who gathered around and screamed at me to push. They were telling me that I was doing it wrong and they were encouraging me to purple push (or to hold my breath while pushing which is not good and can result in broken blood vessels in the mother and tearing of the perinum). Thank God I knew better. I wish that I could have gotten out of my head and screamed at them to shut the hell up. I wanted to so badly but I was too busy working hard to get this baby out. Dr. Cummings knew this was wrong I imagine because he instructed Emily (who had been at my feet) to get closer to my head so I could hear her instructions to me. I remember squeezing Nate's hand and the poor anesthesiologists hand.

At 3:12, nine minutes after F, D was born. Both boys weighed 5lbs 5 oz. They took him and did all of the things they do when babies are born, swaddled him up tight, and let my husband hold him, before they took him to the NICU also. He was taken to the NICU because he had low blood sugar. This is extra annoying because letting baby lay skin to skin on their mother's chest helps regulate blood sugar after birth. Also allowing him to nurse would have been ideal. But they whisked him away and left me to deliver the placentas.

At this point in time the anesthesiologist looked at me and said, "I'm hooking up the pitocin now.".  I was shocked. I just birthed 2 babies naturally without anything. I didn't need pitocin to birth the placentas or to stop any bleeding. I said "no thank you.". I don't know why I was so polite. I'll blame my southern roots. She looked shocked that I had rejected the drugs though. Dr. Cummings okayed my decision and everything was fine.

I remember feeling freezing as I was wheeled out of the OR. I was thankful for the heated blankets. Upon returning to the delivery room I asked America if I could go to the bathroom. I needed to pee so badly.But she told me no, that I didn't actually need to pee. It felt so weird to be without the babies I had just birthed. I asked to go to them but they wouldn't let me.

I was finally taken to my room in the maternity ward and finally allowed to get up to pee when the nurse there couldn't even feel my uterus because my bladder was so full. Around 5:30 I was finally allowed to go to the NICU to see my boys. I was not allowed to hold them as they didn't want to stress them. Which is the biggest bunch of bullshit ,but I digress. They were told that they needed to stay because their blood sugar was low. However they would not let them nurse as they did not know if they would be able to suck, swallow, breathe. Of course how can you know if you don't let them try? They were given a gavage tube and donor breastmilk.

I had a terrible time with the NICU.  I will write about that later because it really is it's own story.

So I fought for my boys to have a natural birth and they did. I was very disappointed by the way everyone treated us in the hospital except for the OBGYN himself. I also knew what birth could should be and I know what hospitals do wrong so that in itself has given me a different outlook on a lot of things. (If you are interested...which really you should be if you plan on birthing in the US...I recommend watching "The Business of Being Born" and reading "Pushed " by Jennifer Block )

You can watch the trailer for TBoBB here and you can watch the whole thing on Netflix Instant watch.

This week I am linking up with  For MOMs by MOMs: Pregnancy With Twins. So be sure to head over there to read more twin pregnancy and birth stories.

Monday, May 7, 2012


Six years ago, this month, I married my best friend and this whole adventure began.

In 2008 we were blessed with our beautiful and spunky daughter E. I had an easy pregnancy and perfect first birthing experience. E's birth was a natural water birth with an awesome midwife. Everything was just great and I was really spoiled (as it should be).

In 2010 we got pregnant again. This pregnancy was different. I was a lot more tired. But everything was going well. I had my first ultrasound at twenty weeks and that's when we found out that we were expecting twins.

F and D were born at thirty-four (almost thirty-five) weeks gestation. F was born first, frank breech. D was born nine minutes later after my very skilled OB adjusted his cord prolapse.

I am so very blessed to be able to stay home with my beautiful little family. It's not an easy job but it is so rewarding and I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I am passionate about raising my children. I know that I will never do anything else nearly as important as that.

My faith is very important to me. I've been all over the world doing mission work and spent some of that time with Youth With A Mission. I'm passionate about natural birth and breastfeeding. I am a pesco-vegetarian (and raising my family that way). I enjoy being creative. I like painting, collage, photography, fire-dancing, baking and making latte art. I also enjoy a good book, a good cuppa, a hot bath, and sitting in front of a fireplace.

so come on over and meet some more Moms Of Multiples!