I Already Miss This

When you’re a mom, everyone tells you to “enjoy every moment” and how “it goes by so fast”. I’ve only ever wanted to be a mom so I have breathed in every moment and treasured each day, but this doesn’t stop time from racing by at warp speed. When I was pregnant I told myself I’d document everything, fill photo books, and date each milestone, but then they arrive and you find yourself spinning in circles trying to catch your breath and suddenly they’re almost through their first year of life and you know there are already things you’ve forgotten they did that were so wonderful and hundreds of moments you already miss. 

I already miss…and never want to forget…

chelsea vail with vail twins

  • The way Cannon would wake up the entire neighborhood with his pterodactyl sounds after he first found his voice
  • How Cash would hold his eyes open as if falling asleep meant life or death
  • Taking a bath with him because they were tiny enough we all three fit in the tub together
  • Sneaking into bed next to their tiny Snugglenests and smelling their sweet breath, hearing their grunts and groans as they slept
  • I miss the tearless cries and toothless mouths
  • Nursing them in the tub
  • Cash used to get the hiccups ’round the clock & I loved the way he’d cling to me like a baby monkey with each jolt
  • The way they’d grunt like zombies and Cannon would smack his tummy or beat his chest demanding more food
  • The look on Cash’s face when he rolled over for the first time which scared the hell out of him
  • The way bashful Cannon used to put his cheek to his shoulder and look up at strangers as if he knew what a Gerber baby he was
  • Wearing them in my ACK wrap knowing they’d fall asleep in a matter of minutes with their head on my chest

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  • Nursing them and watching them search desperately for each other’s hands and seeing the relief when they found each other
  • Taking hour long naps with one (or sometimes both) snuggled in to my side or asleep on the breast
  • The way Cash would pet my face or stroke my hair as he fought sleep
  • Bundling them up in their Woombie swaddles and seeing them inch towards each other to spoon all night
  • Cannon talking to himself in his carseat mirror like he’d found his best friend
  • Cash kicking his legs wildly in the tub

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  • Their sweet chubby faces peeking out from under their Walrus or Hippo hooded towels
  • The excitement when they heard Rafi’s “Day-O” song the first time
  • Cash’s huge smile and sly giggle when I’m cleaning countertops
  • The way Cannon’s jowls rest on his carseat straps
  • Cash losing his voice from making zombie noises all night
  • The snuggles in the morning…heads on my shoulder
  • Sleeping next to Cannon from 4am-6am and kissing his juicy lips when he wakes up
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  • Cash log rolling from end to end on the bed attempting to dive off before we catch him
  • Wrestling them both after bath wondering when it was they stopped laying there letting me massage them
  • Biting their “biscuits” during diaper changes and hearing them laugh hysterically
  • Chasing them room to room and scaring them so bad they levitate and crack up laughing
  • Cash’s face on the swings

This list will only continue to grow and grow and grow as their personalities develop and as we experience more of this beautiful life together. I could choose to be sad as I think of days gone by, or I could focus on how wonderful it is that there’s even more of this to come. Their hands will not always be so small and chubby, but I’ll always have them to hold. Their feet will one day stomp instead of pitter patter, but the sound of them in my home will always be music to my ears. Their mouths will one day kiss a woman they’ve fallen in love with instead of me, but…their hearts will have always been mine first. Twice blessed, forget the rest.

Stay gold, That Girl

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Road Trippin with Newborn Twins

A trip from Austin to Dallas could hardly qualify as a “road trip” pre-babies. Anything under 5 hours could just be “quite the drive” in my book; however, with newborn twins anything past an hour qualifies as a road trip. Since making this drive with my babies I’ve been facebook messaged, called, texted, and even instagrammed from new moms and twin moms wondering how the eff I pulled it off. Let me tell you, nothing I do with my babies is by the seat of my pants. Everything is methodically planned out. 

So here’s what’s up. 

Step 1: Think of all possible scenarios and squash all obstacles in advance.

I don’t think it’s right to let babies cry for very long at this age. They’re in a socio-emotional developmental stage called “trust vs mistrust” (according to Erik Erikson), which means they’re learning whether or not they can trust their caregivers and the world around them. Whether they become secure and confident or fearful and dependent depend on their caregiver’s ability to meet their needs adequately during this crucial stage.

When should we leave?

If we left midday, they could sleep too long and not sleep at night. 

But, if we drive at bedtime then I’m missing my best stretch of sleep.

If we left here at 7 when they wake up we’d sit in traffic leaving town so they’d scream mercilessly unless we’re driving a constant speed. 

So, we left at 5 am. I nursed them at 4am when they woke up. Packed a few things I couldn’t get to the night before. Then nursed them again right before we put them in the car. We pulled out at exactly 5:04am which allowed us to beat Austin traffic getting out and miss Dallas traffic getting in.

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Step 2: Keep them well fed, but plan to empty your breasts too.

Pumping while my babies are awake is damn near impossible so I knew I wouldn’t be able to pump on the road. Four plus hours is far too long to go without nursing, but nursing two babies at the same time from the car is too challenging due to space constraints. If I feed one at a time there’s a chance the other will be screaming so…

I packed:

  • My Twin Z pillow (twin boppy)
  • 6oz of pumped milk
  • Wore a nursing tank under a black long baggy tank

At 7am upon arriving in Waco I pulled through the drive through at Chick-fil-A knowing I had mere moments before the boys woke up. I ate my breakfast sandwich super fat and ordered a 1/4 cup full of hot water. I heated the breastmilk for less than a minute in the hot water while pulling suitcases out of the trunk so I could place the Twin Z in there. Then, I placed the babies on the pillow and fed 1 baby 3oz of milk with my left hand while I leaned over the other baby with my right breast. The nursing tank covered my belly while the long tank over it covered the baby’s head and my breast. Passersby had no clue what I was doing. Then, I switched. This way each baby got a full 3-5 oz between breast and bottle and I didn’t have to pump. Then, I loaded the boys in their stroller after burping, changed their diapers in the handicap stall of the restroom and then nursed each a few minutes more (so they’d be full) while I played spa music for the other in the stroller. Yes, I sat on the toilet to nurse LOL.

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Step 3: Plan for your own comforts the night before

I prepared my coffee before I went to bed and set the timer so it would be brewed when I woke up. I cooked my steel cut oats and had them stored in the fridge so all I needed to do was reheat for 30 seconds before leaving. I put headphones in the car so I could listen to music on my phone without disturbing the babies and I filled a tumbler with cold water and had it in my front seat. I also had as much as I could packed and in the car the night before so I didn’t have to stress in the morning, including their blankets so I could just put them in the corsets, tuck the blankets around them and drive off.

It worked beautifully! We arrived at my sister’s house in Dallas at exactly 9:15 just in time for me to quickly unpack the car before they woke up and feed them from her bedroom at 9:30.

Twin mom advice: don’t be scared to do what you would normally do. Live your life as you did before just follow my motto, “plan ahead and keep them fed”!

Stay gold, 

That Girl

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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.

In hammock with boots

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

Pregnancy stick w Peanut

Three Fold: Why ‘Sposies Suck

My husband’s grandmother had seven kids AND raised my husband. That’s 8 kids in cloth diapers during the 60s and 70s. Sound exhausting? I can’t help but be over the moon excited that cloth diapers have come a LONG way since then! No more folding, safety pinning, hanging dry on a clothesline, or wearing rubber pants.

Cloth diapers are chic, adorbs, and the reasons for choosing them over ‘sposies are three fold!

1. TOXINS

Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacralate, bleach (dioxin), chlorine, tributyl-tin (TBT), and other carcinogens that are banned all over the world.

Do NOT underestimate the ability of the skin to absorb these chemicals into the bloodstream. Our skin is not only our largest organ, but it’s also very porous and sucks up all it comes in contact with.

Sodium polyacralate was BANNED in the 80s for causing Toxic Shock Syndrome via tampons, but it’s still in our diapers?!

TBT has been scientifically proven to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. Seen a rise in infertility in 80s babies? What about a rise in ADHD? Depression? Early onset of puberty in teens? We found the culprit!

Dioxin has been reported by the EPA as the most toxic of all the chemicals linked to cancer. Did you know that childhood cancer has risen over 25% in the last ten years? It keeps climbing and our toxins are to blame.

Ever seen a cloth diaper break open exposing it’s “crystals”? News flash! Those are TOXIC. That’s what babies are sitting in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the first 2.5 to 3 years of their life and it’s being absorbed into their little bodies!

2. ENVIRONMENT

The average baby goes through 9,000 diapers, more than 2 tons of diapers before they’re potty trained, and 92% of those diapers end up in a landfill and won’t decompose for an estimated 300-500 years. So, see ya later, Mother Earth. It’s been nice knowin’ ya!

Photo credit: mabubaby.com

Ever read the back of a box of diapers? It actually says you’re supposed to dump the poop out of disposables because our landfills and trash systems are not designed to deal with human feces! Think of the germs, diseases, and even live viruses from childhood vaccines, that get expelled from baby via poop. 9,000 lbs of that ends up in the landfills where flies, bugs, and birds carry it around our world? GROSS!

Plus, think of the wasted resources! Plastics, cotton, and trees (1/4 of a million trees per year for ‘sposies just in pulp) are wasted…literally thrown away for the billions of diapers we consume.

3. COSTS

It’s estimated that parents will spend anywhere from $2500-4000 on diapers and wipes on each child before they’re potty trained. For two kids in ‘sposies, you’ll spend $5000-8000, and up to almost $12,000 by the third kid!

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With cloth diapers, not only can you buy a starter kit of 24 diapers for less than $600 that will last you from newborn through potty training, but you can use the same set of diapers across kids! No worrying about buying the right size for each kid, always packing extra, or running out in the middle of the night. One size (OS) cloth diapers are all you need!

Moms who made the switch from ‘sposies to cloth say:

  • Less leaks and explosions with cloth diapers
  • Easy to use and launder
  • Major financial relief
  • They’re so much cuter
  • We never worry about their health

What’s holding you back from making the switch?

Shop for your starter kit HERE

I Heart the “Snot Sucker”!

Just like every other mom I know, I cringed the first time I saw the “snot sucker”. But, when you’ve got a new baby that can’t sleep ’cause it can’t breathe, or one that sounds like Master P while he sleeps (preventing you from catching any shut eye), you’re willing to give the snot sucker a second glimpse.

The “snot sucker” , more formally known as the Nose Frida, is THE best suction system on the market for getting pesky boogies and congestion from your new baby’s nose.

No, you can’t suck it’s brains accidentally.

No, you won’t get snot in your mouth (there’s a legit filter).

No, you won’t catch pneumonia or sinus infections from the bambino.

Yes, baby will sleep better!

Yes, baby will breathe better!

Yes, you will sleep better at night knowing your baby is breathing & sleeping!

HollywoodLife.com spotted the chicest moms I know, Victoria Beckham and baby Harper loving the Nose Frida! 

This lil’ baby had a booger so big we had to grab our resident pediatrician and use tweezers to get it out. I sure wished we had the Nose Frida that day!

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You can get the Nose Frida on Amazon, Magic Beans, or by typing WANT in the comments section of this post and it’s yours for only $15 and FREE shipping.

I am “That Girl”

I often get asked about my background and how I came to be where I am, who I am, and do what I do. I get asked questions like, “How’d you become such a ‘baby expert’?” or I hear things from moms like, “I feel like you know everything about everything”. But, truth be told, I don’t know everything about everything. I know everything about ONE thing…

Chelsea Vail, That Girl

BABIES!

I am the girl who volunteered at a children’s hospital in college and got to hold a 4 month old while an NG tube was placed in her nose and LOVED comforting her! I spent every Wednesday and Sunday singing to, and reading to, the babies on the respiratory unit confined to their bouncers or swings.

I am the girl who rocked the “drug” babies to sleep during her internship at the children’s hospital in Houston and who’s heart broke a bit when they cried because I knew there was nothing I could do to ease the pain.

I’m the girl who carried my baby cousin back to the OR for day surgery so that his mother would find peace knowing he wasn’t scared before being put to sleep.

I’m the girl who was assigned to cross-cover the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) at Dell Children’s Hospital and LOVED when my pager would go off for that unit because I’d get to comfort and help the preemies.

Chelsea Vail, That Girl

I’m the girl that resembled “Mary Poppins on speed” when 8 babies under 5 months were admitted to my unit within an hour of each other without parents and I spent my entire day feeding, bathing, changing, playing, holding, and rocking them, but still think of that day as one of my favorite days in the hospital, ever.

I’m the girl who begged her sister for admittance into the delivery room when my niece was born because I knew how powerful it would be to see someone enter the world and be apart of their first moments.

I’m the girl that reads everything by Dr. Sears, Dr. Karp, and every other famed pediatrician who specializes in babies and newborn care.

I’m the girl the reads reviews on baby products, baby gear, and baby marvels just for fun and watches hours of live births on youtube because it’s beautiful. Fascinating. Breathtaking.

I’m the girl who has researched, read, studied, theorized, and analyzed everything on prenatal care, postnatal care, newborn development, child development, infant sleep, baby nutrition, and infant health.

Chelsea Vail, ABC Kids Expo

I’m also the girl who hasn’t yet been able to have a baby of her own yet, but that’s okay. Maybe motherhood will happen for me and maybe it won’t. I’m still okay being “that girl” for every mama out there who is looking for someone who knows her stuff in the “baby world”. Someone who knows babies, who knows moms, and who knows baby products.  I’ve been referenced as the “female version of The Baby Guy” and although that’s a great compliment, I’m definitely not the baby guy, but…

I am THAT GIRL!