Twin Nursery

The French believe in welcoming a newborn to their home by walking through the house and introducing them to each room. They believe that it helps them get better acquainted with their new world, which, in turn, makes for secure, happy babies. Personally I think this is a fabulous custom! I was worried that if my nursery wasn’t ready, and appropriate baby stations organized, that I’d be doing my babies a disservice by bringing them home to chaos, hence creating chaotic babies.

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How their nursery was designed was also of crucial importance, not because I’m spoiled and wanted to be on trend, but because it’s their first room. I wanted it to represent my hopes for them and my vision for their lives. So, I opted for a modern, rustic theme with a hint of glam. We live in Dripping Springs, a small town 20 minutes west of Austin and I want these boys to grow up with a mix of urban and country living. Perhaps they’ll ride 4 wheelers on the ranch all day, but have sushi with me downtown at night. The glam aspects of the nursery represent the charm, sparkle, and charisma that so few boys have today.

I lined the modern cribs parallel to the back wall (Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1) in an effort to save space. The white cribs are trimmed with walnut; a perfect blend of modern and rustic. Between the cribs I placed a side table I found at Target with a geometric cut wooden top and metallic gold base. This is where I’ll place their white noise machine and the essential oil diffuser from Stadler Form that pumps lavendar into the air overnight for healthy sleep. Above the cribs is wall art created by my husband using reclaimed barn wood and galvanized metal letters. The boys have the same intials as their dad, which meant alot to him and is a monogramming dream for me!

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My father always quotes Thomas Jefferson saying, “A room without books is like a body without a soul” and I definitely grew up in a family of readers. I hope to raise these boys to not only be readers, but to live lives seeking adventure! Currently the wood pallet bookshelves (made by my brother-in-law) are filled with board books and sensory books, but will one day soon be filled with books about treasure islands, camping, pirates, mysteries, imagination, cowboys, indians, and knights. I can hardly wait to pull them onto my lap and read stories together.

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I’ll likely read to them in this gorgeous Eddie Bauer chair-and-a-half, but I also purchased this wide, deep seated chair for nursing purposes. I can fit one baby on either side, nurse individually, or nurse together. My twin nursing pillows both fit perfectly in this chair! The “2” pillow from Land of Nod has become one of my favorite accent pieces because I’m overjoyed to be a twin mom and I think it represents a life of doubles! Double the fun, double the fear, double the trouble and double the love.

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With twins, organization is key to survival so I fell in love with the Hemnes dresser from Ikea. I loved the 4 half drawers across the top because they fit my diapers and changing supplies perfectly. If there’s one thing I cant stand, it’s clutter! I didn’t want a dresser covered with rash creams, nail clippers, rags, wipes, etc. like I find in so many homes of new parents. My changing pad on top is a nonslip pad from Restoration Hardware covered with an organic cover by Burt’s Bees. Each drawer houses swaddle blankets, slobber bibs, sleepers, socks, leggings, and onesies organized in drawer dividers also found at Ikea. Beside the dresser I’ve discretely placed my steel trap diaper pail by Ubbi, that’s lined with a cloth diaper liner by Kangacare.

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At 36 weeks pregnant with these two boys I’m beyond ready to meet them. I can hardly wait to introduce them to their room, read them stories there, sing together, and hold them close in the middle of the night.

Stay gold, 

That Girl

Postpartum Plan for Twins

If you’re having twins and you opt for just “winging it”, you should know that your world will get turned upside down. With a singleton you can guess and check, accept your mistakes, and learn as you go, but with twins? That just won’t do. Twins require mucho prep-o! As a self-proclaimed “twin pert”, I’ll share my postpartum plan for surviving the early days with twins.

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Labor/Delivery

You may be thinking, “How foes this affect postpartum? Well, if you’re not educated and prepped for childbirth you may find yourself undergoing an unnecessary c-section, which can drastically affect your postpartum days.

  • Keep your weight down
  • Find an ObGyn willing to flip babies or pull breach babies out feet first if needed
  • Trust your body to deliver when its ready and REFUSE induction or unnecessary medical interventions
  • Hire a doula and/or midwife to help you navigate labor/delivery

Baby Blues

A mom of multiples is 40% more likely to experience postpartum depression! Yikes! This is attributed to being overwhelmed sure, but mostly it’s due to the fact that you had double the hormones during pregnancy, which means double the drop after delivery. Can you say withdrawals? Get your placenta encapsulated! It’s super easy and the capsules are taken just like vitamins. Research shows taking your placenta can help regulate your hormones again and decrease likelihood of PPD. #winning!

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Sleep

Sleep is crucial to everyone, especially the new mom. Ideally I’d have my newborns in their cribs from night 1, but since my master is downstairs and the nursery is upstairs, this isn’t really efficient. So, I have two snuggle nests for the babies for the first 4-6 weeks. I’m placing them side by side on TOP of the covers on the other side of the bed next to a changing pad and diaper station basket. I’ve encouraged my husband to sleep upstairs in the guest room. Not only will this allow space in the bed with me for babies, but it will help him get more sleep. Afterall, he has to work and there’s no sense in both of us being zombies. The snugglenests allow me to sit up in bed, change, feed, reswaddle, and lay babies down without having to trek across the house in the dark, which inevitably will help me get more sleep.

Multiple “Stations”

I’m just as OCD as the next mom and like everything to have it’s place, but with twins, you’ll need multiple places for everything. I have  diaper changing station in my bedroom on the bed, but I’ll also have one in the living room or the media room  and I have one upstairs in their nursery. Believe me, you do NOT want to have to go back and forth with both babies or one and then the other just to change a diaper 12-16 times a day per baby! I also have set up “nursing stations” both upstairs and downstairs with a feeding pillow (I have the Twin Z downstairs and My Brestfriend upstairs), breastpump, nipple balm, waters, snacks, and burp cloths. Lastly, have several safe places to set/lay the babies. Downstairs I’ll have my snugglenests in our room, Twin Z, activity gym, and several blanket pallets downstairs, their 4Moms mamaroos, and a blanket pallet upstairs.

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Cloth Diaper

You think I’m nuts, but I’ve read hundreds of blogs, forums, articles on cloth diapering multiples and so far NOONE has regretted it! Rushing to the store in the middle of the night for diapers, twins being in two different sizes, and the astronimcal expense of disposables sounds like a nightmare. Cloth:

  • saves $6,000-8,000 in diapers from birth to potty training
  • One Size diapers can be sized to custom fit each baby perfectly
  • Machine wash and tumble dry make it a breeze when you’re running low on diapers
  • Significantly less leaks and blow outs means less clothing changes too

I’m using the Rumparooz by Kangacare and the Lil Joeys as newborns until 12lbs. I alo have a few TotsBots and Bamboozies for nighttime.

Other tips:

  • Join a facebook page for multiples or other mommy groups
  • Keep a journal daily on feedings, diaper changes, etc
  • Create a “to-do” chalkboard or whiteboard for friends/family to help with
  • Stash extras of EVERYTHING in your car, grandma’s car, daddy’s car, in the stroller, and diaper bag if possible (clothes, blankets, pacis, diapers, wipes, wet bags)
  • Create an accordian file folder for each baby with tabs for vaccines, allergies, photos, medical records, birth certificate. This will grow as they grow, but it’s best to be organized from day 1

Stay gold, 

That Girl

 

Postpartum Padsicles: Easy as 1,2,3

The media definitely does it’s job informing women that  labor and childbirth are no walk in the park. Sure, they overexaggerate quite a few aspects of it, in what seems to be an attempt to prevent procreation, but at least you don’t go in blind. Postpartum care though is almost never brought up! So, true to form, I’ll just be straight with you-

your vagina may explode. 

LOL! That’s the extreme, but I’ve heard enough horror stories from my girlfriends that I’m going in with the mindset that even though the worst may occur, it DOES heal! Kegal exercises, postpartum yoga, plenty of water, and postpartum padsicles will speed the healing so I’m getting prepared.

Bleeding? 

Some online articles discuss heavy bleeding for days, gigantic mattress size maxi pads, and mesh panties worn for days. Ummm…that’s not really my style.

Gas, bloating, huge uterus?

I’ve packed my MS Panties from UpSpringBaby that hold your tummy in to reduce bloating, help you release gas, and hold your flabby tummy in tight. I’m also encapsulating my placenta which heps your uterus shrink back to size faster.

Hemorrhoids? Torn labia and perineum?

So not sexy. The recipe below will help with those too.

I’ve made Postpartum Padsicles that I’m bringing to the hospital/birth center. You’ll need:

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  • Organic cotton maxi pads
  • Witch hazel (non astringent, alcohol free)
  • Aloe vera
  • Lavendar essential oil (non synthetic, alcohol free)
  • Tin foil
  • Freezer bags

Total: $30-35 which I consider a bargain compared to days of pain and heavy bleeding.

Step 1: Spread at least 1tbsp of PURE aloe vera gel onto the pads. This aids in the healing.

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Step 2: Pour witch hazel onto the pads generously. Witch hazel decreases pain, swelling, itching from episiotomy, tearing, and hemorrhoids.

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Step 3: Sprinkle a few drops of lavendar across the pads to calm and ease swelling.

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Then wrap in tin foil flat or roll like I did mine. I rolled so I could save more space, but now I’m wondering if they’ll stick together. Whoops, rookie mistake.

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Store in a gallon size freezer bag and take 1 at a time out allowing to thaw a bit before using so it doesn’t stick to your very sensitive lady parts.

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I only made 8 because I’m taking the first set to the hospital in a cooler, but you could also make them as you go and keep the ingredients in the refridgerator for the cooling aspect without having to freeze and dethaw. And, don’t hesitate to put the ingredients on a cloth diaper insert, piece of fleece, cotton balls, or tampon (horzontal and not to be inserted). Use whatever you have handy to get some relief so you can focus on your baby.

Good luck, 

That Girl

Kicking Pregnancy’s Ass

I’ve nannied for several sets of twins and although twins are a blast (and a shit ton of work), the mothers would always talk about how incredibly hard the pregnancy was. When I became pregnant with my own set of twins (ironically enough), I was prepared for the worst. That being said, it didn’t really get hard until the past few weeks- the bitter end. 

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Whether you’re having one, two, or three babies, let me tell you how to kick pregnancy’s ass and not let it get you down!

  1. Drink a GALLON of water a day!

No ifs, ands, or buts, on this one. This is a non-negotiable. Water not only carries oxygen and essential nutrients to your baby(ies), but it also prevents:

  • Edema (swelling)
  • Dehydration that causes preterm labor
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation & hemorrhoids
  • Cramps
  • Dizziness
  • UTIs

I bought a 64oz hydroflask at the beginning of my pregnancy and aimed to drink it by 3:00pm, then refilled it and drank the rest by bedtime. I also kept a glass of water by my bed overnight and drank a glass first thing in the morning. Yes, you will pee all day and night long, but that happens during pregnancy anyway. Better to pee like Seabiscuit than dribble each time, right?

2. Exercise

I worked out my ENTIRE pregnancy. I took it easy around 30 weeks because twins can be born early if mom is too active, but I started right back up again at 34 weeks since that’s out of the danger zone of preterm labor. I walked uphill/downhill 2-4 miles a few days a week, did zumba twice a week, worked my arms and legs with 8-10lb weights, and did standing ab work until it started being more humorous than helpful. Exercising during pregnancy is not about staying trim or losing weight. It’s about keeping muscles strong and flexible for labor & delivery, increasing circulation, and getting oxygen to your baby(ies). This also helped counteract joint pain, headaches, digestion issues, constipation, and muscle stiffness throughout.

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3. Chiropractor

I saw/see a chiropractor during my pregnancy to widen the pelvis to avoid breach babies, but it also helps to avoid carpal tunnel and other joint issues. Your spine being properly aligned prevents a heap of other issues during pregnancy, but you’ve got to go regularly. I have started to experience pelvic symphesis (which SUCKS), so I’ll likely increase my visits this week.

4. Diet

I smile politely when someone says, “You’re eating for three, have a cupcake”, but inside I’m shaking my head and rolling my eyes. I’m not eating for three-I’m eating enough to nurture one adult and two fetuses. I did NOT indulge in junk food and increase calories during my pregnancy. I did however increase protein drastically and eat fruit like it was my job. In the first trimester I was nauseas for a few weeks and only bean & cheese burritos or bread with butter could ease my tummy at meal times, but I still ate a ton of fruit and drank cold pressed juices with greens. Once the nausea was over, I focused on nutrition again. My typical day includes:

Breakfast: 2 eggs and a gluten free waffle with peanut butter, large glass of organic whole milk

Snack: yogurt and fruit (berries, kiwi, banana, or an orange)

Lunch: I ate Trader Joes meals often or stopped at Whole Foods for a protein, grain, and greens

Snack: Apple & babybell cheese

Protein shake: Shakeology, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole milk (40g protein)

Dinner: Always a protein!

Did I allow myself Taco Bell, pizza, and treats every now and then? Of course! But, I never ate more than I would normally, and I didn’t indulge habitually. Pregnancy is not a time to forgo nutrition for fun.

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Treating myself to half a lobster roll with my mom after “graduating” from Texas Fertility Center

5. Rest

I slept like a boss during pregnancy! If I had to be up at 7, then I went to bed at 9:00pm. I always made sure I could get at least 9, hopefully 10, hours of sleep. If I felt tired, I laid down. My non-pregnant self always pushed back tiredness to get shit done, but pregnant me wanted to sleep and knew it was legitimately what my body needed.

Now that I’m 35 weeks with twins, which is full term, I’m ready to go. I feel like shit, I’m tired of being pregnant, everything hurts, and it’s go-time, but…everything before now has been a cakewalk so I think that’s pretty good! Personally, I think I kicked pregnancy’s ass!

Stay gold, 

That Girl

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Austin’s Best for Prenatal Care & Pregnancy

It’s my job as a Baby Planner & Maternity Concierge to know the local pros and services available to expectant moms, so when I found out that I was pregnant, I knew just who to turn to!

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My Ob/Gyn: Dr. Vanessa Yium came recommended to me as “the crunchiest doctor in Austin”, which is exactly what I wanted. I didn’t want someone who’d find out I was having twins and immediately schedule my c-section. No way! Dr. Yium is honoring my plan in its entirety and she’s very welcoming to my having a doula. Im required to get an epidural at 7cm dilated in case babies turn breach and she needs to pull them out feet first (ouch) or, worst case scenario is an emergency c at which  point I’d have the epidural already placed.

Labor Plan: labor at home as long as possible! Once water breaks or contractions are long and strong I’ll go in, but the earlier you go to the hospital, the higher your chances for unnecessary medical interventions and c-section.

Delivery: I’m requesting minimal vaginal exams (decreased infection risk), low dose epidural at the LAST possible point, and I plan to stay mobile until pushing time. I’m hoping to deliver upright using a squat bar; however, sometimes US hospitals have policies that don’t allow this. I’ll have my mother, husband, and doula in the room with me, but I’m refusing students.

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My Doula: Austin Born has a team of doulas that are all exceptional. My prenatal doula is the owner, Phyllis Brasenell, but I know there’s potential for me to have a different doula the day/night I deliver. I’m trust them all though to provide the emotional and physical support I need to face labor like a boss!

My Chiropractor: Chiropractic care is a smart choice during pregnancy and I’ve been going to the Joint. I love the fact that each adjustment is only $20 and I don’t need an appointment. I can drive-by, walk-in, and back out whenever it’s convenient. Seeing a chiropractor can help keep your spine aligned so you’re working at optimum potential, but also widen the pelvis to reduce chances baby is breech.

My Prenatal Masseuse: I’ve had a prenatal massage 1-2 times a month since my twelfth week of pregnancy with Amy at Hand & Stone Massage at the Galleria. She knows you’re there to relax so she keeps chatter to a minimum, only talking at the beginning to find out what your current needs are. Not only am I relaxed after visiting Amy, but I’ve had virtually no swelling (edema), I have no varicose veins, and my circulation and  muscle tone have stayed healthy.

My Hospital: Seton Main is where my doctor delivers, but I would’ve chosen to deliver here anyway because it’s recognized as one of the safest hospitals in America to deliver! Its centrally located, they have a Level 2 NICU (I hope I never see), great food, excellent staff, and they’re familiar with crunchy mamas like me. Had I had one baby I would choose a birth center, but that’s not an option with two so I’ll have to do my best to advocate for myself and avoid unnecessary medical interventions.

Placenta Encapsulation: Lisa Kestler encapsulates placentas for Whole Heart clients and I’m honored she’s going to be doing mine. Placenta encapsulation helps regulate hormones to decrease post-partum depression, it helps your uterus shrink back to size faster, and helps increase mother’s milk supply. With twins I get double the pills!!

How wonderful to have options! Austin is filled with wonderful service providers who’s goal is to support the expectant FAMILY, not just the mother. I’m fortunate to have created anamazing team of providers and I feel very confident as my delivery is fast approaching.

Wish me luck, 

That Girl

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Third Trimester aka What Trimester?

A twin pregnancy is NOT for the weak. I’ll admit I think I’ve had it easier than many, but still…it is significantly different than a singleton pregnancy from what I’ve heard (and felt). First major difference? No third trimester. 

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In a singleton pregnancy your third trimester starts around 28 weeks; however with twins the doctors start monitoring you for preterm labor around 22-24 weeks and tells you to be ready for babies anytime between 28-36 weeks. Notice I didn’t say 40 weeks? That’s because 40 weeks with twins is damn near unheard of. In fact, full term with twins is between 35-37 weeks (again, this varies by doctor), but even still, you lose about a month of your pregnancy if you go to “term”.

Here’s the twin pregnancy timeline:

6 weeks: confirm pregnancy

7-9 weeks: Puke up everything but your toenails

Weeks 10-20: Sleep, nap, sleep, nap

Aha, the doctors finally figure out that you need a SIGNIFICANT increase in iron because your parasites, ahem, I mean…twins, are taking all of your iron stores, which is why you’re sleeping 15 hours a day and walk around like a zombie!

22 weeks: Doctors start checking your cervix and scaring the hell out of you by talking about preterm delivery and months in the NICU. I’ve worked in the NICU and believe me, it is NOT where you want your babies to be. Yes, they take good care of them, but it is a high stress start to life for your newbie.

At about 28 weeks it is recommended to be on “active rest”. This means cut your work hours in half, sit more than stand, avoid stairs when possible, decrease housework, and lay on your side for 2hrs twice a day.

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Sound self-indulgent?

Believe me, by this point with twins, all the mama-to-be wants to do is REST and NEST anyway. I was fortunate enough to be able to stop working altogether around 30 weeks, which I think has greatly helped me get to this point in pregnancy and will hopefully help me make it to my goal of 36 weeks, which should mean NO NICU!

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This whole “trimester” I haven’t been able to do much other than read, sleep, watch movies, and eat. Walking is PAINful, but I do force myself to do 1-2 miles a few times a week. Zumba is still fun, but I get really crampy so I took a few weeks off. Yoga feels great on my joints and muscles, but other than that, things are pretty chill ’round the Vail house.

Each day I try to do a little something to prep for these babies. I’ve washed diapers, blankets, and clothes, the nursery gets a little more done each day, and I cook a healthy meal each night. But just that much activity ZAPS my energy. Not to mention my husband literally yells at me everytime I’m out of bed, lol.

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At 36 weeks if I still haven’t delivered, I plan to kick my own ass in an effort to get these boys OUT!!!

Stay gold,

That Girl