Mimijumi Bottles: Best Next to Breast

How many of you have heard of “nipple confusion”? It’s one of those phrases that moms use that either crack dads up or confuse the hell out of them, but it’s a real thing. Especially if you talk to a nurse or lactation consultant…or an anxious mother who knows her maternity leave is almost up and her baby still won’t take a bottle. 

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Nipple confusion is when a baby who has been exclusively breast fed has trouble taking a bottle or pacifier because the anatomy is different than mom’s. Let’s be honest, where our babies are concerned, nothing is as good as mom. But, what about when mom is exhausted and someone else needs to feed the baby? What about when it’s time to go back to work? What about getting a babysitter? What do you do when there’s a growth spurt and baby wants to eat round the clock? You get online and you order the Mimijumi!

It’s specially designed to look and feel like the breast. This bottle is THE perfect substitute for when there’s no breast around.

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I have twins and I’ve breastfed both of them since birth. I may have two breasts, but it’s not an easy feat to latch on two 8-10lb babies! When we’re at home I can nurse them both simultaneously with the help of about 400 pillows and my headboard to support my back, but in public? Nah, that’s not something anyone wants to see. It resembles a dairy cow with her calves far too much to be appetizing during a luncheon with friends. So, I pack my “not so hungry” Mimijumi bottles and a few bags of pumped milk. If I’m on my own I’ll feed one before they start crying and am usually done just in time to catch the other as he starts wailing. If I’m with my husband or friends, then I’ll let them give a bottle while I eat or enjoy some hands free time!

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But, my baby gets gas with a bottle? It won’t with the Mimijumi! If they do get gas it may be from using formula, but it wont be from the bottle. The Mimjumi’s design reduces signs of gas and colic. My babies slurp things down like ravenous wolves and never even need to burp!

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My favorite feature of this bottle though is the assembly because there is none. It’s literally just screwing the nipple onto the bottle. It’s SO easy! There’s no washing a million pieces, no assembly a babysitter can’t figure out, no searching for missing parts in the dark of night, and no leaking because it wasn’t put together correctly.

Let’s keep it simple, y’all!

That Girl

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Rumparooz Rock My World

If I had a penny for everytime someone smirked, rolled their eyes, or laughed at me followed by, “Yeah, sure, just wait”, when they found out I planned to cloth diaper my twins, I’d be a rich woman. But, six weeks in and I’m convinced it has been my best decision thus far! I use Rumparooz and Lil Joeys by Kangacare and they rock!

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These are not your grandma’s cloth diapers. They’re not the ones your mom wore either. These are legit, modern day, we’ve thought of everything cloth diapers. What sets them apart from other brands is:

  • They fit ALL sizes from 8lbs up to potty training
  • They INCLUDE 2 super soaker liners
  • They have a patented double gusset lining
  • Their prints are super whimsical
  • They can be machine washed and tumble dried
  • The inner lining is major absorbent
  • No diaper rashes!

The OS fits all thing was definitely a winning feature. This meant I just needed to buy one set of diapers and I’d be set for the entire time my boys used them. No running out in the middle of the night, no trying to figure out what size each kid was in every time they grew, no wasted diapers when they no longer fit. About a month in I had a night where the boys peed up their backs all night long (I still don’t know how the hose reaches the back, but that’s a whole other issue) Instead of freaking out and having to go buy new diapers I just sized my diapers up. They covered more space on the back and absorbed the sprays!

My boys were born pretty big for twins (8lbs each), but in preparation for them to be tiny I bought a bunch of LilJoeys, the newborn diapers. They fit NB-12lbs so they’re great to use the first few months. I loved the snap in the middle to keep the diaper off the healing umbilical cord site. In fact, I attribute the health of their belly buttons to keeping them clean and dry in cloth diapers while they healed. The Lil Joeys are also THE best to keep in the diaper bag because they don’t take up much space.

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The Kangacare diapers also have a patented double gusset lining which I think is one of their best features. It traps wetness and poops inside the diaper like a steel door. Just yesterday I went to change Cannon’s diaper and knew it was gonna be a doozy by the look on his face as he filled it up and everything was caught behind the gusset lining! Winning!

My baby, Cash, was in the NICU for a week after birth. They used Pampers on him (blech!) so when we got home he has a horrendous diaper rash. It was bleeding, scabby, etc. Cannon had been in ‘sposies at the hospital too and their little butts were heartbreaking and they got yeast infections along the waist line from diapers. We kept putting coconut oil, vaseline, butt pastes, etc on these areas, but they wren’t healing. I was using disposable diapers for the week I stayed with my mom and finally I gave up and said, “No more creams. We’re going back to cloth diapers only.” Then, BAM! magic healing and no more rashes or yeast since then.

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Washing is super easy too. I have the Kangacare pail liner in my Ubbi Diaper Pail. The liner whisks away wetness and traps odors. I toss all diapers and the liner into the wash on a cold rinse (no detergent). Then, I add detergent and do a hot/cold cycle. Then they tumble dry on a medium setting and they’re good to go. The liners agitate themselves out in the wash. If the boys are napping I may take 5 minutes to stuff the liners in the diapers before I put them up, but usually I just toss everything in to a basket on my changing table and stuff as I’m changing. It takes 2 seconds.

Oh no, one of my babies has to be in another brand…

Oh no, one of my babies has to be in another brand…

I have enough diapers that I only need to do laundry every other day. Sometimes while the laundry is going I have to use a few of the other brands I have on hand. It’s just not the same! If my husband helps with bath time/bedtime and puts another brand of diaper on the boys I secretly take it off and swap for a Rumparooz. In my opinion, there’s nothing as good as these on the market!

Make cloth mainstream!

That Girl

Their First Week of Life: The Saga Continued

I packed my hospital bag weeks in advance with everything I wanted for my boys. I packed a few organic cotton outfits, Honest Co. diapers, organic body wash for their first bath and coconut oil for those first tarry diaper changes I knew to expect. I imagined myself up at night in the hospital singing to my babies, nursing them, and holding them close to me skin to skin for hours.

But…when you code on the delivery table nearly losing your life and one of your babies is born blue…the first week of life looks very different.

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Waking up in recovery without my husband or my babies was a very odd experience. It felt like pregnancy was just a dream, delivery was only a nightmare, and although my body appeared to have been to hell and back, there weren’t any babies to confirm I was now a mother.

I kept my composure in recovery just long enough to find out the status of my health, the babies’ health, and get the gaps filled in from passing out in the OR to that current moment. I had tried to maintain some control in a helpless situation by sending my doula up to the NICU with my clothes and diapers only to find out the babies can’t use any personal belongings until they’re discharged from the NICU. This broke my heart. It was hard enough knowing they were being poked for IVs, attached to monitors with stickers on their fresh baby skin, and getting who knows how many heel sticks in their perfect pink feet, but to know I can’t even control what they wear, or are wrapped in, or even what kind of diapers they’re wearing…c’mon! I gave birth to these babies! I own them! I don’t have a say so in their first hours of life?!

Heart break. Heart hurts. Can’t breathe. Give me my babies. Try not to freak out.

As soon as I was moved to a Mother/Baby room I had to know, “When do I get to see my babies?”

The blase answer of, “Oh, surely you can see them some time tomorrow, but for now you need to rest”, was NOT good enough for me. I scoffed and responded, “Um, no. I’ll see them today. What will it take for me to get to the NICU?”

I was only 6 hours post-op and it’s not exactly advised to get out of bed and travel 6 floors to hold your 8lb babies after major abdminal surgery, but there was no holding me back any longer. I requested dilaudid be administered in my IV immediately, which is basically a human tranquilizer, but moms have done crazier things for their babies. I waited a couple of hours for the initial “holy crap I’ve been hit by an 18 wheeler” effect to wear off and then I requested a clinical assistant and a wheelchair. Between the CA, my mom, and my husband, I was able to get out of bed, creep one foot at a time across the floor using my toes to pull each foot forward, and get into a seated position. This effort took about 20-30 minutes and will forever be remembered as the most excrutiating 20 minutes of my life except for the labor itself.

Heart break. Heart hurts. Can’t breathe. Give me my babies. Try not to freak out.

 Once I got up to the NICU and saw my sweet, perfectly healthy, beautiful baby boys I felt at peache. Whew! They’re okay. I held Cash first and introduced myself knowing by the warmth of our skins touching that he already knew who I was. Cannon was next and he looked so much like me it was like we’d known each other forever. I sang, “Can’t help falling in love with you” quietly” and stroked their hair.

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What happened in the following days was not as ethereal…

I got up again the following day hoping to feed both of the boys, but after I got Cash to latch I heard “Vail mama” on the intercom and knew I’d been paged from the unit below. I was being summoned for a CT scan. I went back down to my room and sat for 2 hours waiting to be transferred. I could have held my babies for those 2 hours!

The CT scan only took 20 minutes, but by now it’d been 3 hours since I’d seen the boys. A voicemail on my phone crushed me to my core. The NICU had left a voicemail telling me my boys were hungry wondering where their mother was. Seriously?! I’m healing! I’m in recovery! I was pulled away for a scan to find out why my body crashed yesterday, why my spleen is enlarged, why my kidneys are failing! In retrospect I’m sure they didn’t realize how hurtful their phrasing was, but that voicemail made me feel like I had failed my boys as a mother on day 2 of their life. Following a nervous breakdown, my husband helped me hand express a few millileters of colostrum into a syringe and rushed it upstairs to the NICU.

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Of course colostrum would only satisfy them for so long. Eventually the phone calls came in asking me for permission to give the boys formula. Again, I failed. My body was too hurt, too weak to produce milk fast enough to feed my babies.

Heart break. Heart hurts. Can’t breathe. Give me my babies. Try not to freak out.

Obviously I didn’t want my babies to starve so I permitted formula, but I requested my mother or my husband be the ones to feed. So that’s what they did. At 8, 11, 2, and 5 around the clock, my mother or my husband fed Cash. I couldn’t bear the thought of my baby bonding with a new stranger every day over bottles, but knowing he had my mom or his dad made me feel better. It was far too painful physically for me to get to the NICU more than once a day for 20-30 minutes.

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Cannon was only in the NICU at his father’s request so that Cash not be alone. Once Cash was stable they discharged Cannon to me. Immediately when we were brought together he latched to my breast and wouldn’t get off. We stayed like this for what felt like days. He needed me and I needed him. I stared at him for hours. The doctors had told me by now that the CT scan revealed a potentially fatal ovarian blood clot and that I’d need to give myself injections for the next 6 months “hoping” to dissolve it. They’d also confirmed my diagnosis of HELLP syndrome AND as if those things weren’t tragic enough to digest, my ObGyn advised me not to have any more babies.

So, to sum up: you almost died yesterday, you still might die now, and you can’t have any more babies.

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Heart break. Heart hurts. Can’t breathe. Give me my babies and let me go home. Freak out.

I sent my mother home to rest that night so my husband could stay with me. Around 1:30 in the morning I felt my hands go numb and my legs start to shake. Then my teeth started chattering and suddenly my entire body was convulsing. In between breaths I tried to call for Cloudy but I couldn’t get my voice loud enough to wake him. I pulled the nurses button from the wall to alert them I needed help. They came rushing in and checked my vital signs.

“Chelsea, your temperature is fine. Your heart rate is fine. Your blood pressure is fine. You’re okay,” said the nurse as she held my hand and gently massaged my arm. I felt myself relax. After a while I looked over at her, tears in my eyes, terrified and asked, “Did I just have a panic attack?”

Yup. I did. I freaked. Blame it on the pain killers, blame it on postpartum hormnes, but I give credit to the stress of trying to cope with the fact that only 48 hours before I almost lost my life, leaving my husband to care for the two most precious babies in the universe that came so close to never knowing who I was. I had a baby 6 floors away from me being poked and prodded and held by strangers all day. I had another baby permanently attached to my body who I feared was being traumatized every time the staff had to pull him away from me so I could eat, drink, or get rest. My husband was exhausted. My mother was exhausted. I was exhausted. I hadn’t slept more than 2 hours a night in over a week. I had reached the breaking point and I broke.

In the days that followed I would go to the NICU to try to see Cash, having left Cannon behind in the nursery, and each time it got harder for me. The nurses knew my baby better than me. It hurt physically to hold him, but it also crushed me emotionally. I started to feel like this was Cloudy’s baby that I was visiting. I think my mind and my heart had slipped into self-preservation mode. I could not emotionally attach to this baby yet because I could not emotionally handle being apart from him knowing that others were caring for him. It would’ve hurt too much.

But then one day Cash had been moved to a different pod of the NICU, a much less crowded, more intimate area of the NICU. I weeled in next to him, positioned myelf in a recliner to nurse him and had mentally prepared myself that he may reject the breast after a few moments as he had started to prefer the faster pace of a bottle. The nurse put him in my arms and she said, “Oh wow! That’s the lowest his heart rate has been all day. He knows his mom.” And the rest is history! I was hooked. My baby boy knew me! He wanted me and Lord, I wanted him SO badly too.

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The days and hours of their first week are kind of fuzzy but I had started to look forward to the day of discharge as though it were Christmas morning. I stayed in a miserable nesting room the night I was discharged with Cannon because we didn’t want to go home and be away from Cash. My mother slept in a wheelchair with her head against the door. We couldn’t wait to get home.

The morning of discharge a social worker stopped by to “check in on me” aka accuse me of bonding with Cannon over Cash, tell me the staff was concerned I was in too much pain to provide basic baby care, and they were worried I was experiencing the “baby blues” and couldn’t handle the pressure of going home “just yet”. Oh, this pissed me off! Sorry, bitch, my stomach was cut open last week, I’ve only been allowed 30 minutes a day with one baby while I’ve had the other on my breast 24 hours a day, and I haven’t been performing “basic baby care” because I own a damn baby care business and don’t need to prove myself to you!

I didn’t actually say any of those things of course because that may have confirmed my crazy. Instead I just smiled and asked what needed to be done. She advised me to walk to the NICU, rather than go in a wheelchair, change a diaper at the bedside, nurse him, and discuss his discharge care with his doctors. “Okay, you got it”.

I used my biceps and shoulders to pull my body towards the top of the bed so I could start from more of a seated position. I pushed myself out of bed and despite the stitch in my side and the blinding cramping in my midsection, I forced myself to walk to the elevator to the 8th floor and into the NICU. This journey took all that I had and I felt myself getting hotter and weaker by the moment. I thought it was just the pain of trying to move my 20lb fluid filled legs without use of my abs, but when I got to the NICU and signed in they checked my temperature and it read 101.6. DENIED! After all of that, they wouldn’t grant me access to see my baby.

Long story short, I still had some sort of infection; however, the hospital would no longer treat me because I had been discharged. So, now I had a choice. I could either go to the ER and request to be readmitted OR I could travel 1/4 mile by wheelchair to my Ob/Gyn office just for an antibiotic prescription. Choice a would keep me away from home AND both babies so I opted for choice b. My poor mother pushed me and Cannon a quarter mile against the wind in the cold down 34th street from 38th and Lamar for a prescription that could’ve just as easily been called in! I covered my poor baby with as many blankets as I could find, but the trek over the speed bumps was more than my body could handle. With each bump or curve I would squeeze Cannon tighter and shriek inside.

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Why did this all need to happen? What message was the universe trying to send me? Why couldn’t I just be given my babies and a week in Costa Rica to recover?I’ll never understand why their first week of life was so trying, so painful, so emotionally taxing. I’ll always mourn the peaceful beginning so many families have, but I’ve always cherished every waking moment with them since that week.

Every kiss, every sniff of their head, every wiggle of their tiny pink fingers and toes is all the more precious to me. I never want to take a single moment for granted and I’ve been thrown into this new role knowing that she was right when “mama said they’ll be days like this”…

Stay gold, 

That Girl

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My Birth Story: How my Boys Saved My Life

In the words of the red hair, punkrocker nurse a few days after the birth of my boys, “So…what the fuck happened, man? You were just normal pregnant and then shit just hit the fan?”

Ummm, yeah, that’s pretty much how it went down.

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My pregancy with my twins was above average. WAY above average. No blood pressure issues, minimal weight gain for me, maximum weight gain for the babies, no diabetes, no hypertension, no headaches, minimal nausea. In fact, for the first 30 weeks I barely felt pregnant, let alone with twins. However, towards the end I felt really really heavy. I had lots of pressure, trouble sleeping, I broke out in a terrible chicken pox-esque rash called PUPPS…my body started to feel like it was giving out. I kept trying to be strong, chalking it up to third trimester suckage. Had I only known…

At 38 weeks with my twins (equivalent to 42 weeks with a single), my doctors advised me to be induced for fear of stillbirth or infant distress. I waited 4 years for these boys, I’m not risking anything..let’s do this.

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Monday Feb 15

6:00 pm Cloudy & I head to Chuy’s for dinner together. I’m excited!

7:00 pm We check into the Labor & Delivery Unit at Seton Main. I’m terrified! Suddenly, upon checking in I start to freak out. I don’t want to be in a hospital. I don’t want to be a patient. This is not how this was supposed to happen. I wanted to labor at home and arrive only in time to bring them into the world. No no no! Cloudy, no photos. Don’t post that we’re here. I don’t want anyone to know. I’m so scared I’m trembling and crying.

I refused to wear the paper hospital gown for fear of really giving up my comfort and identity and becoming just another room number. I change into my birthing gown and try to relax as I’m immediately stuck for the IV, surrounded by staff, monitors placed, medical history given.

10:00 pm “Ok, so we’re going to place the cervidil on your cervix to encourage it to soften. You may have some mild cramping overnight so we’ll bring you an ambien to sleep it off. See you in the morning”.

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11:30 pm OooooUCH! I start feeling some intense cramping, which I think must be labor starting. I try to relax through it. It gets more intense. I change positions. I go to the bathroom. I ask Cloudy to rub my back. There’s no relief. The pain gets stronger

Tuesday, Feb 16

1:30 am I’m pulling on the sides of the bed screaming in pain, dizzy from the ambien, begging Cloudy to put all his 240 lbs of strength into my back. I wanted to crawl out of my own skin.

The nurse comes in and looks at the monitor, “Oh my God! How are you doing this? Your contractions are the strength of active labor, but they’re 1.5 minutes long and there’s literally no rest between. Do you want relief?”

“Yes!” I’m crying, screaming, arching my back, begging for help. They offered me morphine, but I knew that wasn’t gonna cut it. I didn’t think anything humane would cut this pain. The anesthesiologist comes in to place the epidural (way sooner than I’d planned) and an angel nurse helps me round my back and stay steady for him to administer it. Its all still a blur.

3:30 am I remember looking at the clock then. I must have fallen asleep.

9:00 am I wake up and hear my mom’s voice talking to Cloudy trying to get a sense for what happened overnight and where I am in the process. Unfortunately I was still ground zero.

3:00 pm Cervical exam reveals I’m only 3cm dilated and WHOOSH…I feel amniotic fluid gush. DAMMIT! Baby A’s water broke. If I were more dilated, this would’ve been a positive sign, but I know with so much work still ahead of me that now he’s at risk for infection.

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Wednesday, Feb 17 (20hrs later!) 

8:00 am I’m only 4cm dilated, slight temperature, contractions are minimal

10:00 am Still 4 cm, now 101.4 temp…The delivery doctor comes in and tells me flat out, “Something is wrong, but we don’t know what. We need to get these boys out now.”

This was NOT my plan! I labored for 36 hours and still wind up having major surgery?! Am I part of the 35% unneccessary c-section? Have I given up? Am I allowing myself to be influenced? How the hell am I supposed to care for twin newborns while recovering from major abdominal surgery. No, I can’t do it! Please don’t make me go.

My mom rubs my forehead, Cloudy is at my side, staff surrounds the bed. Everyone’s face says, “If this girl doesn’t consent, she’s risking the lives of the babies and herself”. Cloudy leans in and says, “Babe, I know it’s not what you wanted, but I’m calling it. You’re going for surgery now. This is what needs to happen.”

Staff starts to prep Cloudy for the OR and anesthesia comes to see me (ironically a former employer of mine whose twins I’d cared for overnight for 6 months). I’m calmer knowing I have a friend on the other side. When they wheel me into the OR I notice the doctor’s face when she sees my foley catheter bag. She can’t hide her fear. She looks at the nurse and demands, “How long as that been like that?” I didn’t know my urine had turned black. Not dark yellow, not brown, but black. This creates an urgency in the room even the most dense person could have sensed.

When they made the first incision I expected to hear my first baby’s cry right away. Instead I feel my body lifted off the table, all my weight being pushed towards my head. There’s no pain, just pressure, fear, and voices. They announce baby A (Cash) but we don’t get to see him longer than a split second. He’s blue. I see the staff smacking him, pulling him, giving him air. Panic hits me. Then, baby B is born (Cannon) and they bring him to us. He’s so big, healthy, beautiful, but the distraction of my perfect baby boy only lasts so long. My attention diverts right back to Cash. I know he’s not okay. No one’s telling me anything.

I feel myself slip into a state of shock. I start vomiting to the left and right over and over and over again. My head gets foggy, my blood pressure drops, the mood in the room shifts. I tell Cloudy I’m not okay begging him to alert the staff I’m not okay. “Cloudy do they know I’m not okay? I’m not okay…tell them I’m not okay. Do they see me? Do they know? Cloudy I’m scared. I’m not okay.”

In my head, I’m dying, but I can’t tell my husband that. I need him to stay strong. With slurred speech and all the energy I can muster I tell him I love him and instruct him to stay with the boys no matter what. He’s gone. My babies are gone. I black out.

The Truth

When I wake up in recovery, hours have passed. I have no idea what happened, where my babies are, where my family is, but I’m glad to be alive. The nurse moves a blanket off my legs and asks me if I had any swelling during my pregnancy. I look at my legs and am not sure whether to laugh or scream. My legs swole 5x their normal size! There was no space between my toes and my legs looked like tree trunks. This is super scary for everyone. It’s not your usual post-op swelling. This was most definitely not okay.

Over the next 24 hours I would hear doctors say things like, “You’re the sickest patient on this floor”, “You’re an extremely complicated case,” “No need to worry, we’ve got a team of specialists following you right now,” and my personal favorite, “Had you delivered vaginally you would have died”.

My kidneys and liver began to fail during delivery. My spleen was enlarged. Protein, nitrates, red blood cells, and bacteria were found in my urine. An ovarian blood clot was discovered that would have ruptured during birth. My final diagnosis: Atypical HELLP syndrome, a freak show version of HELLP affecting less that 1% of the population.

Somehow, some way, my boys knew it was unsafe for them to be born vaginally. Cash had lodged himself in my pelvis, hence the pressure at the start of the surgery. The doctors had to literally dig him out, which caused distress and he was holding his breath. A week in the NICU and antiobiotics to fight off possible infections from whatever caused me to spike a fever kept him safe.

Cannon had braced himself against my back, refusing to engage as well. This was the reason for the unbearable pain at the start of my labor. My uterus was contracting from my back to the front fighting the boy’s resistance to move. The word you’re searching for is “ouch”.

These are the facts. I didn’t get to hold my babies at birth. I didn’t get to nurse them while gazing lovingly at my husband at the bedside. I didn’t get first photos of their chubby pink arms because my babies were covered in stickers and IV tubes. My pain was so great physically, but the pain of this birth has been tremendously difficult emotionally as well.

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A friend who visited me at the hospital said, “Maybe this was your body’s way of saying you weren’t meant to have twins”, but I believe it’s the exact opposite. God knew the desires of my heart. He knew my body couldn’t handle more than one pregnancy so he gave me two beautiful, strong, healthy babies at once. He placed them where he knew theyd be safe and he whispered in their sweet ears, “Boys, stay right where you are. Don’t come out because your mommy’s not safe yet. I’ll send angels in to get you when it’s time.”

Thank you Jesus for my life and thank you for giving me the boys who saved it. 

That Girl

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