Sunday, June 30, 2013

Things I Can't Live Without as a New Mom of Twins

10. Bum Genius Diapers: At the advice and convincing of my teaching partner, Josh and I have embarked on the fun exciting world of reusable diapers.  Although the cost is large up front, we have already saved money over using disposable diapers.  We have a pretty good schedule of how and when we wash and it's been super manageable!  These diapers are stupendous with tons of snaps to fit babies until they're potty trained.  These are not the old cloth diapers with pins.  I would highly recommend using them! 

9. Knowing Nurses:  Between my mom and friend Corey, I know I can call either of them and they can answer just about any question I might have.  This is invaluable for a new mom! 

8. Chicco Double Stroller:  Our stroller is how I get out of the house every day!  It fits our Chicco car seats and has great storage and cup holders too ;) 

7. Wubbanubs: These are pacifiers that have a stuffed animal attached to them.  What's nice about these is that the boys can grip them to keep them in their mouths a little better.  Our neighbors across the street have a two year old and a ten month old and they bought these for us knowing they were a good product. 

6. Grass and Flower drying system: This little guy holds any baby things that need washing.  Even Heather on the Real Housewives of Orange County has one at her house; that's how you know it's legit ;) 

5. This little supplemental system:  Apparently rarely used, this little baby helped my boys to breastfeed while also getting the formula they needed at first when I wasn't making enough milk.  This took a long time to get the hang of and made our feedings into quite a production, but I know it helped us tremendously! 

4. Lactation Consultants: At Sparrow, we had one of those in our room every single day for almost every single feeding while the twins and me were getting the hang of this very serious and very difficult thing called breastfeeding.  I had no conception of what breastfeeding would entail and absolutely NO CLUE what breastfeeding TWINS would entail.  These women are angels...truly. 

3. My Brest Friend:  This is boppy-type apparatus that is specifically designed for twins.  Now that I am exclusively feeding the twins at the same time, this is the only way it could be done.  It's large and in charge, but I would never be able to do what I do without it.  It goes everywhere with us :) 

2. Help:  My personality dictates that I rarely ask for help on anything.  I am a horrible delagator and will take on more than my fair share for the sake of doing things by myself.  Luckily, people know this.  Since I have had these two boys, we have received SO MUCH HELP and I am extremely grateful.  Between having meals brought to our house, visitors from friends and family, and the fact that our parents and siblings live in the area, we've had plenty of helping hands to go around.  I cannot say enough how amazing that has been for us not only because we are new parents, but also because we have twice the diaper changes, twice the feedings, twice the crying spells, etc.  Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

1. JOSHUA EARL HUNDT:  My husband is the most supportive co-parent on earth!  He helps with EVERYTHING.  He helps with every feeding, has changed countless diapers, and cleans, cooks, and does anything else he can do help our family while working full time.  Josh also has a wonderful intuition that allows him to know when I might need a break to myself since I'm home with the boys all day.  I could go on and on and on with how appreciative I am of him.  Being able to play man-to-man defense with twins is a lot more doable I can assure you ;) 

Things I Couldn't Live Without During Pregnancy

I attribute a lot of my success both mentally and physically to certain things that I thought I would share in case it might help others.  Here is what I couldn't live without while I was pregnant:
  • My DVD player:  When you're up in the middle of the night for almost SIX MONTHS before the babies are born, you need something to occupy your time.  I rewatched so many favorite TV shows in the wee hours.  I know this helped me get onto our twins' schedule once they were born!
  • A body pillow:  I starting having trouble sleeping around 18 weeks and by the end, even switching sides of a huge ordeal.  The body pillow was the only reason I was able to sleep at all I think. 
  • Pure Protein Bars: 20 grams of protein in these bad boys! 

  • Isopure protein shakes (dutch chocolate to be exact): Put two scoops of this liquid gold with two cups of milk and presto!  66 grams of protein before eating or drinking a single other thing.  Obviously my 8lbs, 3 oz baby Nolan got most of the benefits of those shakes.  I drank them EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. for the last half of the pregnancy without fail. 

  • Prayers that Avail Much: A book of prayers about all kinds of topics.  A very sweet women gave this book to my mom to give to us after her bought with infertility and her miracle baby born at 25 weeks.  My mom was her NICU nurse.  We prayed out of that book each night specifically focusing on prayers about pregnancy, children, and trust in God. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Winning a Gold Metal

Throughout our entire three year journey with infertility, there were a lot of setbacks and triumphs along the way; good news as well as bad news.

When we found out we were having twins, we knew as much as that was double the blessings and double the joy, it was also double the risks and possible complications.  I threw myself into research mode to find out what exactly I could do to create the best environment and pregnancy I could for our little ones.

One of the biggest risks of twins is preterm labor and premature birth.  In fact, over 50% of twins are born before 37 weeks and the average birth weeks of twins is 35 weeks.  In addition, the average birth weight for twins is 5lbs and 5oz.  I was determined to beat ALL of those odds plus all of the naysayers that kept telling us I would go early or to be prepared for small premature babies with possible stays in the RNICU.

As the pregnancy got farther along, we watched one of our best friends have a little one born at 31 weeks, 2 days after a 7 week stint on bed rest.  As she was cooking precious Emma in the hospital, there were goals set for her using terms of the gold, silver, and bronze medals.  Josh and I decided to steal those terms.  Here were our medal breakdowns..

Bronze:  April 21st (my brother's birthday and 35 weeks, 5 days)
Silver: May 1st (37 weeks, 1 day)
Gold: Our due date (May 21st) OR whenever the doctors told us we could cook no farther

As the weeks went by in this pregnancy, we began to feel more and more confident that these medals would be in within our reach. 

Around 32 weeks, we had a doctor's appointment to discuss the possible birth plan for the twins and we were told at that point to begin thinking that a C-Section might be our reality since both babies were breech (by the way, only 8% of twins are born both breech).  Also, we were informed that it was standard protocol in our practice (Lansing OBGYN) to schedule a C-Section or induce labor for twins at 38 weeks.  They did not want us to go any farther.  Twins at 38 weeks are supposed to be considered to be the same as a singleton pregnancy at 40 weeks.  For reasons that science cannot even quite explain, twins do tend to grow a little faster in their development than a singleton pregnancy.  One theory is that both twins compete to keep up with one another in utereo, which may speed up development.  Another theory is that both the mom and babies know there is more than one body in there and chances are they may come out sooner so everyone involved needs to be prepared.  Yes, there are legit theories!

Also, there are many risks for twin pregnancies past 38 weeks: stunted growth because babies run out of room, collapse uterus because it is stretched and has been pushed to the max, and a large decrease in amniotic fluid again because of lack of space.  38 weeks, May 7th, became our new gold metal since I would be allowed to go no farther. 

At we had been in the hospital for two days, Josh ran out to check on Prim at home.  He came back with three gold medals for me and the boys for making it as far as we could!  WOOHOO!

Friday, June 7, 2013

First Month: Reflections

Today is my babies one month birthday!  People ask me a lot if the time seems to be going fast or slow. 

Partially, I feel as though I have never known another life than the one I have right now.  I say that happily, but I guess that might make some people think that I feel the time has gone by slow.  After almost three years of trying and one month of them being here, I cannot picture my life without them.  I have a hard time being able to visualize our house without baby stuff everywhere or the laid back nature of our schedules now that every single moment of the day is dedicated to these two amazing boys and especially when they have to eat next ;) 

Another part of me feels like I just blinked and Nolan and Judah have been here for a month.  WOW.

To capture their growth and our journey as new parents, I thought I would write down reflections each month.

Things we learned about Nolan Gerard Hundt:
Nolan, formally our Baby A, came out of the womb first.  As the doctor brought him over to show me shortly after he was born, I knew immediately based on his features that he was a Hundt.  I have now been told this about a million times...I get it, I get it, he looks like Josh :) 

At the hospital, many nurses said he is the biggest twin they have ever taken care of.  Weighing over 8 pounds, he actually had to get his blood sugar tested because he was measuring large for his gestation age.  Again, nurses said they have never have a twin be considered LGA.

Nolan is the more "high maintenance" out of our two babies.  He goes from completely asleep to irate in a matter of seconds and many times it seems as though he is doing it just for fun :) We are finding that although he looks exactly like Josh, he acts very much like me. Having been an extremely high maintenance baby myself, I fully understand and can appreciate his personality.  He has many facial expressions, many of them look like worry or surprise. My mom often says he seems to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.  You can tell he is having a hard time adjusting to this new world outside my womb.  He had a difficult start working for his food and seems to be sensitive to movement, sounds, light, etc.  I have a feeling he would still be inside of me if he had his preference.  Nolan is a strong baby: he grips tight, lifts his head up with gusto, has already given himself quite a scratch on his hand, and has quite a hard kick.  Although it might take him a while to fall asleep, once he does, he is down for the count.  Nolan loves music.  He calms down to slow piano melodies and lullabies or classical music, and will hipe up to songs like Venga Boys "We Like to Party."  He smiles a lot when he sleeps, but it seems like he is starting to smile more at people.  At 3 weeks and 1 day, Nolan lifted himself up while in tummy time and rolled over onto his other side.  When he is sucking or swallowing vigorously, it sounds like he's saying the word 'help' or 'milk', which makes us laugh.         

Things we learned about Judah Matthew Hundt:
While Judah, formally Baby B, was inside of me, he squirmed like crazy!  Every single time we had an ultrasound (and we had 17 of them), our baby B was in a different spot.  I made judgements about this baby, assuming he/she would be quite a pistol.  So far, I could not be more wrong :)  Although Judah was two pounds less than his brother, he was a natural at doing a lot of baby activities.  He breastfed like a champ right away and has even beat his brother in things like losing the remnants of his umbilical cord. 

Judah is a laid back baby and even his cry is adorable.  He lets out a quick cry and then gives you a frown that would melt anyone's heart.  He gets upset when he needs something and then usually, once the need is met, he is completely content again.  He can get quite upset if he wants to though, but not many have witnessed this.  Judah really likes to be held and walked around if he is fussy.  Like his time in the womb, he needs to be moving.  He does not like to feel constrained or restricted.  In fact, while I was writing this blog, Josh called me over because he was laying next to Nolan when I went in to use the computer and about ten minutes later he had scooted about a foot from his original location.  We feel like once he gets to rolling over, crawling, and walking, he will be everywhere!  Judah did a similar roll over to Nolan, but did it at 2 weeks and 2 days old.  He has also been working really hard at holding his head up.

Surprisingly, Judah often drives when both babies eat.  We think he's working hard to catch up to his big brother :)  He smiles a ton when he's sleeping. So far he's the only one we've been able to catch on camera smiling (yay Aunt Rachel).  He can get comfortable in all kinds of places and positions.   

Reflections about being a mom:
I won't get too mushy here, but I am thankful for every single second (good or bad) that I've had the pleasure of being Nolan and Judah's mom.  There have been times over this last month where I will just look at them in some quite moments when I am rocking them to sleep and cry uncontrollably out of joy. Yes, I am tired.  Yes, I am stir crazy having only left the house a handful of times in the last month.  Yes, I've had moments where I feel like I am failing as a mother.  I do not think or dwell on any of those moments though.  I am a grateful mom.  Period.  You don't go through what Josh and I did and not have a level of appreciation that I cannot describe. 
Things I can do that I never thought I would:
  •  Lift two babies at once
  • Successfully breastfeed two babies at once (with help and now all by myself)
  • Be extremely excited to take a shower
  • Beg to go on a car ride so I can get out of the house
  • Be able to move semi normally after my C-Section
  • Get excited at 4am because someone pooped
The most difficult things (I'm guessing) about having two babies instead of just one:
  • Trying to console two crying babies at once...nearly impossible it seems
  • Making two babies comfortable in your arms
  • Finding a balance between on demand feeding and keeping two kids on the same feeding schedule
  • Giving two babies a bath at once (I will not be doing that alone again for a long time)
  • Having to leave a baby in a swing, bouncy seat, or Boppie to take care of the other. 
  • Keeping two babies in the same outfits without one peeing or pooping through it
  • Catching two babies alert and calm at the same time for cute pictures :) 

What a life-changing month we've had over here at the Hundt House and I know it's only the beginning :)