New Mom Chore List?

I commend you for your bravery opening this blog because if I saw a title with “chore” in it, I doubt I would stop and take a gander, but this post is not about chores mom has to do. It’s more about the list of chores you create for friends and family. 

Aha, now I’ve gotten your attention.

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For nine months you suffered through nausea, headaches, bleeding gums, hemorrhoids, crazy appetite, food aversons, swollen feet, gargantuan breasts, stretch marks, gas, bloating, dehydration, flatulance, exhaustion, itchy skin, weight gain, and skin discoloration.

Then, as if that wasn’t charming enough, you either pushed a watermelon through a hole the size of a lemon, or you were sliced and diced to bring a new life (or 2-3 lives) into the world.

All you want to do now is take a fat nap for years and get your life back in order, but you’ve got this sweet, cooing, chubby chunk o’ love needing every ounce of energy you have. The ironic part is that friends and family (many of whom have children) seem to have forgotten what it’s like to be a new mom or have a newborn and they have this strange idea that they can just come on over and hang with you and the baby FOR FREE?

Nah nah nah, this ain’t happening. I think we need to address this issue and it’s up to the new mom to speak up and say what she needs and what’s expected from visitors.

1) Create a Chore List

How many people told you during your pregnancy, “If you ever need anything once the baby is here just let us know?” Well, where are they now? Sitting on the couch holding your new baby while you try to hold your head up and remember what it’s like to be social?

Instead, create a chore list. Make it cute, frame it, hang it, whatever fits your fancy, but holding the baby may require a friend to:

  • Unload the dishwasher while you chat about the baby
  • Hold baby while you shower & brush your teeth
  • Fold towels while chatting
  • Feed the dogs who now look like starved rats
  • Change the sheets or throw them in the washer

2) Meal Requests

Utilize social media to remind people that it’s hard to get to the grocery store with a brand new baby in tow. Friends and family who’d like to come cuddle the new baby should not enter your door without a meal in some form or fashion. Perhaps they bring bread with PB & J, or maybe they just bring a bottle of wine. Major bonus points for the guest that brings pasta salads or a frozen dinner you can eat throughout the week.

3) Sleep Help

Newborns don’t sleep like normal humans yet; this shouldn’t be news to you. Plus, mom is nursing or pumping every 2-3 hours ’round the clock which means her sleep is WAY off too. So, tell your friends, “You wanna hold the baby/ies? Then you must be okay holding the baby while I take an hour nap OR, if you’re applying for sainthood, offer to stay over night so I can sleep in solid stretches!” If you have a friend that offers this, never let them go. They are a GEM.

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Why is it that when there’s a death in the family or a job loss, people come out of the woodwork to offer meals, clean your house, and allow you to rest, but when there’s a new baby (or two new babies in my case), people just want to come over and hang out? Mama needs some help, people! Pitch in or move on!

Stay gold Ponyboy, 

That Girl

Organizing for Two: Moms with Multiples

I started taking care of twins when I was 15 years old. I think I’ve cared for 5-6 sets of twins long term and now I’m expecting my own (what what?!). Twins are a piece of cake IF you’re prepared so lemme let you in on my secrets for staying sane as a mom of multiples (including twosies).

 First, I’ve had this book about “juggling twins” and I have to advise all moms of twins to AVOID reading this book if you’re at all antsy about your fate as a twin mom. This book will definitely scare you into thinking your life as you know it is over and that’s just not the case. It was very overdramatic regarding the little things like space, sleep, toys, clothes, and even outings with twins. Don’t listen to the nonsense; you’ll be fine. In fact, I totally think twins are easier than two kids of different ages.

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Hear me out:

Twins have the same schedule, same bedtime, bathtime, feeding time and will always go to the same school and likely the same afterschool activities.

Twins wear the same size clothes and diapers and drink from the same size bottles.

Twins play together and entertain one another because they’re at the same age and developmental level.

They have the same carseat type, same bed, same potty, same stroller (with no extra adaptors).

That being said, it does take SERIOUS organization to be a mom to twins ESPECIALLY birth to three. After that, you should only need a planner, a few organization apps, and a family calendar. But, for the baby stages:

1) Utilize RIGHT and LEFT

Whether your twins are identical or fraternal, you will inevitably forget who ate what, who you changed, who spit up, who napped the longest, etc unless you take advantage of the photographic memory we all have. Think about it, when you’re trying to remember something, even if you’re sleep deprived, you try to picture it in your head right? Well, if you keep the same twin on the right or always on the left at all times, then when you’re trying to remember which twin did what, all you have to do is picture it and you’ll know it was the baby on the right/left which means it was ______________.

For example, I worked with IDENTICAL twin girls once overnight. Charlotte was always in the crib on the right, the bouncer on the right, the swing on the right. If, and when, she needed medicine, I always put it in the bottle on the right because I knew that would be the bottle I gave her since she was always on the right. Trust me, this is GENIOUS!

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2) Hit up the Container Store

Raise your hand if you carry your diaper bag everywhere? If that’s the case, you likely don’t have twins. It can be damn near impossible to keep up with a diaper bag, a purse, and two babies. My suggestion is to put the necessities in your purse (2 diapers and a travel pack of wipes and an emergency bottle). The rest stays in a three tiered container in the trunk of your car. You have twins, therefore I KNOW you have an SUV. If not, run don’t walk directly to the dealership and buy one.

In this 3 tiered container you have: 

Top: lifetime supply of diapers, wipes, creams, powders, wet bags, and a changing mat. You change babies in the trunk when you’re out and about because you can NOT change two babies on a wobbly changing table at a store.

Middle: emergency bottles, formula (even if you’re nursing, just have some on hand), pacifiers, snacks, motrin, neosporin, bandaids, bibs, sunscreen, and whatever else MacGyver would have needed to save the world.

Bottom: 2-3 changes of clothes including hats, extra socks, and hoodies or jackets. Even if you live somewhere hot, you’ll find yourself at an ice cold restaurant with two screeming babies because they’re freezing their tushies off and you won’t be prepared. That would suck.

Double this in your partner’s car AND grandma’s car (or your sitter’s car) for bonus points.

3) Start a filing system AND journal for both INDIVIDUALLY

Twins will likely get called, “Hey you!” most of their lives whether they’re identical or fraternal, unless they’re boy girl, but you as the mama can do your part to establish sense of self and individuality as much as possible. So, my suggestion to you is to get two pocket filing folders, 2 journals, and 2 photo albums/scrapbooks.

Pocket Folders: these are those accordian folders you can get at an office supply store. Label the front with each baby’s name and/or photo and then label the pockets with things such as medical records, birth certificate, vaccinations, report cards, awards, annual photos, etc. Store each child’s info in these because eventually they’ll have separate lives and you won’t want to rummage through one big folder to find who was allergic to what and who got the failing reports in pre-K reading, etc. You’ll want each records accessible and individualized.

Journals: This is mainly for the baby stage, but this will help you keep track of each person’s sleeping, feeding, and pooping patterns, and communicate with other caregivers whether that’s your spouse, friends, family, or hired help.

Photo Albums: They’ll each want to flip through their own album and their own scrapbook to see photos of themselves and over time you’ll forget which one it was that covered themselves in maple syrup at breakfast or which one you caught playing in the toilet. If they’re identical, start scrapping early and make an effort to keep up as they grow.

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Having twins is a HUGE blessing! I’ve always been fascinated my twins and I’d rather not think of them as a “handful”, but rather as “hell yeah, double the fun!” 

Stay gold Ponyboy, 

That Girl

The PTSD Pregnancy

PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it’s a very real (and scary) diagnosis. It’s usually given to men and women who’ve returned from war, survived a burglary or assault, or a child with domestic violence history. As a counselor, I’m trained to look for signs of PTSD in some of my clients who’ve experienced something traumatic and sadly, I’ve recently diagnosed myself. I have PTSD regarding my pregnancy.

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Many of my mom friends told me they were anxious their entire pregnancy wondering about the health of their baby. This is normal. That’s mom’s protective instincts turning on. This mom will also worry about bullies, strangers, choking hazards, her child falling, scraped knees, etc, until this child is 45 years old. Again, this is normal.

I, on the other hand, am literally TERRIFIED about pretty much everything concerning my pregnancy and I’m being forthright about this because I need my friends and family to understand why I cringe when they say, “congratulations,” or why I may seem nonchalant every now and then regarding the babies. I go back and forth between excitement and sheer terror and it may seem odd, but consider what I’ve been through.

For nearly three years I got bad news regarding my body, my health, my fertility, and my chances of EVER having children, over and over again. Sometimes it was only once a month, but often it was every two weeks, and sometimes even every day. The moment I thought I saw silver lining, I’d get shot down with something bad again. Not only was there about 5 diagnosis plagueing me and my husband as we tried to bring a baby into our family, but when we finally jumped all the hurdles, fought all the odds, and finally got pregnant (0.05% chance of successful pregnancy mind you), we lost that pregnancy shortly after.

So, when we went to the doctor and found out I had no cysts, we were given the meds we needed, I had perfect estrogen levels, I had the right amount of follicles, we were able to make each appt at the scheduled time for IUIs, and then found out we were having two babies (and both were healthy?) we were still freaked out. “Yeah, but what’s wrong?”, we thought.

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Of course I’m thrilled to be pregnant and having twins and I’m pleading and begging God every night to hold my babies in his hands until I can bring them into this world and love them until the bitter end, but I’m also terrified that this isn’t really it. I’m scared if I get too excited I’ll be blindsided.

What does a PTSD pregnancy look like?

  • If I wake up and I’m not sick, I fear they’ve disappeared. I’d rather feel sick so I know they’re ok.
  • I put my hand on my stomach to try to find their heartbeats every day (all day).
  • Everytime I get in my car I fear I’ll get into an accident and my stomach will hit the steering wheel just right.
  • I’ve never been scared of burglars, but now I fear someone will break into my house while my husbands gone and beat me and I’ll lose the babies. 
  • What if I get hit by a car walking in to the grocery store?
  • Baby B has a strong heartbeat, but he’s smaller, does this mean something is wrong?
  • What if they can’t get enough air during delivery and they have CP and I’ll never know their thoughts?
  • What if one twin doesn’t make it?
  • What if both twins don’t make it? 

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Ugh! The healthy, rational person inside of me with an advanced degree in psychosocial care says I’m being ridiculous and I should be jumping for joy, but the formal infertile inside me has the wall up and is scared to fully let go until they’re in my arms. Until I can see them, hear them, hold them, I’ll fear the worse. If you’re thinking, “She needs to get some help”, you’re probably right. I do need some help.

I need everyone to hear my fears and recognize how real and valid my feelings are. I need support and constant (constant) encouragement through this pregnancy. I need a baby shower filled with friends and family who know that I’m terrified to open their gifts because the babies aren’t here yet and I’m still freaking out they won’t ever bea and that my smile is likely half terror.

I need your help until I figure this out and until my sweet babies are safely, healthily in my arms.

Stay gold Ponyboy, 

That Girl

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Twin Pregnancy: “Ruh Row”

Although this is my first healthy pregnancy (that I’m confident will result in babies at the end), I have been pregnant before. I’ve been pregnant with a singleton and now I’m pregnant with twins and I can say with absolute certainty that a twin pregnancy is hella different than a singleton pregnancy. 

Twin pregnancy…exciting, but ruh row, watch out!

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I knew from the very beginning that I was having twins (ask any of my friends). Call it mother’s intuition, call it coincidence, call it freaky, but I just knew. My HCG levels were off the charts, which is often a sign of multiples, but I felt really different too…and FAST!

1) Hungry as all HELL

Yes, when you’re pregnant, you are a bit hungrier, but not legitimately until a few weeks to months when your body is really working extra hard to grow another being. In fact, research shows a preggo mama doesn’t even need any additional calories until the second trimester, and even then it’s only 300 calories more. However, with twins, I beg to differ with this bullshit. I was STARVING from day 1 and I’m not talking, “Oh, honey, I think I need a cracker” kind of hungry, I’m talking about head spinning, pea soup spewing, “FEED ME BITCH!” kind of hunger. And, the most annoying part- it’s ALL day long.

2) Waves of Nausea

Yeah, I hear you, “I had morning sickness too”, but this is some next level shizznit. I was in a sound (ie dead) sleep a few nights ago and was awoken by a literal wave of nausea that started at my feet and rushed through my body until I levitated from my bed and ran to the bathroom to shove my head in the toilet hoping I’d puke, but never did. Instead, I just began a chorus of Grammy Award winning dry heaving sounds. Yummy! Who’s hungry?

3)  Carbtastic Twins

I’m convinced I’m going to be delivering two buttered baguettes in 6 months because carbs are the only thing that go down with any regularity this week. I kid you not, on Tuesday I ate a tortila, two buttered rolls on an airplane, two croissants, crackers, and a shit ton of Hawaiian sweet rolls. I’m not worried about getting adequate nutrition though because when I can stomach it, I eat veggies and fruit like a champ and I get a clean, cold pressed juice or protein smoothie whenever I can, even though I’m likely to puke it up an hour later. My research says the baby can pull from mom’s nutirtional stores to get what they need even if she’s not eating. I also bought the Cadillac of prenatals which includes 6 pills and costs $75 a pack so….my babies will be okay. Expensive shit works best, right?

4) The Belly

I always thought when I got pregnant I’d have a few months of washboard abs before my sweet little baby pooch began to poke out. But, with twins, I started to resemble King of the Hill after about a week.

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5) Gas

I read online that pregnant women can experience more gas and bloating, but this is defcon 5 level gas that sneaks out unauthorized and punches whatever unlucky son a bitch next to me in the face instantly before I even have time to excuse myself from the situation. I think I need to manufacture a line of shirts for twin moms that says, “Yes it was me…I’m farting for three”.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, please reread. I’m not complaining, I’m informing. I think women, men, moms, dads, whoever, need to know that they’re not alone and they like to know that what they’re experiencing is totally normal.

Today I ate a breakfast burrito and threw up. I drank a protein drink and threw up. I threw up wheatgrass about an hour later (about 6 upchucks of wheatgrass meaning that was my poorest choice of the day). Then, I ate the largest, doughiest, creamiest, most carbolicious bagel in the world and I’m convinced that bagel ate whatever monster was in my stomach because I haven’t puked in at least an hour. Score!

But, after going through what I went through to finally get these babies in my belly, I’m the happiest girl alive. Each upchuck is followed by a giggle and an internal smile and if it’s true that the sicker the mom, the healthier the babies, than I’m thrilled my babies will be born ironclad. 

Stay gold Ponyboy, 

That Girl

“That Girl” is Preggers!

It’s been one HELL of a journey to get to this point. Lordy, what I’ve been through, but it was all worth it. In the end, I’ll have TWO (not one, but two) sweet chunks o’ love (to love and to hold) from that day forward. I used to be “that girl” who has a baby business, but no baby, but now I’m “that girl” with the baby business and twins!

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Let’s recap in case you’re new to my blog. I dated my husband for seven years prior to getting engaged so when we got married we were READY to start our family. I knew after only a few shorts months of trying that this wasn’t going to be easy. Basic blood work showed I was “fertile” and I was basically laughed out of the fertility clinic (being only 28 and all).

Six months later I was put on clomid. Double the dose. Triple the dose. Nothing happemed so we moved on to femara. Double the dose. Triple the dose. Moving on to injectables. Increase injectables. Give up hope. I had a PAINFUL HSG scan done…PAINFUL (which is not the norm unless somethings wrong although no one said anything regarding that. HSG ruled inconclusive.

Then, over a year and a half later, my fertility specialist suggested a laparoscopy to check for endometriosis. BINGO! That was definitely hindering the process. When that was removed we thought we were good to go. Then…nothing. More meds, injectables, sonograms, IUIs…nada.

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So, I switched fertility doctors. “Umm…did you know you have a uterine septum?” What the what?! For two years of seeing umpteen thouand doctors, each of whom had a guided tour of my uterus and nobody stopped to see the sights?! Welp, we scheduled that surgery pronto.

By the way, if you have surgery for a septum removal, do NOT listen to the doctor when he says you’ll be back at work on Monday unless you think you can focus on the job while simultaneously dealing with the labor-esque contractions your body goes into trying to deliver the uterine ballooon that’s being held in your uterus. If you can do that, mazel tov! Me? I was on bedrest for two weeks with my legs squeezed together and crying in the fetal position.

So, fast forward another year, thousands of dollars spent, more meds, more procedures, more injectables, more scheduled pharmaceutical trips, more doctor visits, and one TRAGIC, heart wrenching pregnancy loss. Finally comes June, 2015 when the stars finally aligned for us.

I go to the doctor for a day 3 ultrasound, no cysts. They GIVE me $1300 worth of meds that were donated. Hallelujah! Some financial relief that allowed me to move forward this time. Every day for a week I went for lab draws at 7am, sonograms at 4pm. No cysts, no damage, no hyper stimulation. Looked good! On June 7 (my 32nd birthday) we’re ready for an IUI (aka turkey baster insimination), then we did that again on June 8th. This time I had 7 follicles (ie 7 possible chances to create life), 4 of which were “very” mature, and…TWO of them decided they were ready to meet me, their mama!

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Not one, but TWO! I found out on Father’s Day that my babies were here, but last Friday it was confirmed that I had the twins I felt I had. Baby A and Baby B will be in my arms early 2016.

I know I likely have many readers struggling with infertility and I hope you don’t find this post discouraging. I hope you find it encouraging. Whenever I get concerned, I hear God’s voice saying, “Whay are you afraid? Peace, be still” Matthew 8:26

He has got your back, ladies. Turn to Him and pray for your babies. He nows when it is your turn so be patient and He will come through. 

Stay gold, Ponyboy

That Girl

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I Never Wanted to be a Mom

Growing up, being a mom was never on my radar. I was an only child so I didn’t have much experience with young children. I never babysat as a teenager, because I didn’t have the patience to play with kids and babies just weren’t my thing.

When I was five and in kindergarten, I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be a teacher. As I got older, even though I never wanted to have kids of my own, I knew that I wanted to shape the lives of other people’s children. I could teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic and then send them back home to their parents at the end of the day! Just kidding!

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Being a teacher is hands down the best job I could have ever dreamed of doing. Over the last 9 years, I’ve had the privilege of molding, inspiring, and loving over 300 third graders. It is certainly not the easiest job in the world, but it is always rewarding and never dull.

I met Frank in 2011 and knew pretty much right away that I wanted to marry him. The down side? He had two children from his previous marriage. What?! I never wanted to be a mom and certainly NOT a step-mom! Well, God’s plans are always better than the ones I created for myself! Malcolm and Addison are the BEST! They are witty, fun, and have the biggest hearts! Of course there are challenging times, but it has been such an honor watching these amazing kids grow up over the last several years.

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Bringing those 2 into my life was God’s way of preparing me for another adventure He wanted me to embark on. In April 2014, after many, many months of praying for guidance, we decided to have Frank’s vasectomy reversed. We figured if God wanted us to have a baby, He would give us one. We didn’t expect Him to be quite so fast, because we got pregnant less than 2 months later! Frank jokes that he wishes we had a little bit more time to “practice!”

I was going to be a mom whether I thought I was going to be good at it or not! I’m not going to lie, I was terrified. I loved being pregnant, but it couldn’t last forever and I was going to be responsible for another human being, one who needed and relied on me for everything 24/7! Was I cut out for this new job?!

Ever since Bruce was born I’ve embraced my new role as Mommy and I love it. Just like being a step mom, being a bio mom comes with a ton of challenges and up hill battles, but holy cow, when Bruce smiles at me I melt…

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Recently, God has been giving us “flashing billboards” and laying it on our hearts that instead of being a third grade teacher to a new set of 22 8 and 9 year olds, I need to stay home with our son. He was telling me to leave my teaching career and fully commit to a different job that I’m still not sure I am any good at! Talk about a leap of faith!

This week I resigned my contract with LISD through tears and with shaking hands. As I say goodbye to my past and the only job I have ever wanted to do, I am excited to jump wholeheartedly into my new role as stay at home mom. Will there be trials and challenges? Absolutely! But, God has blessed me with the most amazing little boy and I am so thankful to have the opportunity to teach, inspire, and love on him everyday!

I never wanted to be a mom, but God’s plans are the best plans and He knows me better than I know myself. He trusts me to be Bruce’s mommy while he is here on Earth and I promise to be the best mom I can be! I am thrilled to be on this new journey! 

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