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…

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  • 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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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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Push, Push, Push…Is That for Me?

Push Presents. Yes, this is a real thing. For centuries, men have been gifting their partner with something special after they birth a child, only now we have a catchy name for it called a “push present”. It’s not something the Kardashians invented with the help of a few commercial friends either. It’s a gift from the father to the mother as a thank you for what they’ve put their bodies and minds through for the last 9 months.

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Isn’t the baby the gift?

Ugh! This question is infuriating to me. It’s implying in some way that the mother is not acknowledging the priceless gift she’s received at the end of pregnancy- the baby. The baby is what motivated us to become pregnant in the beginning. We endured morning sickness, flatulance, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hemorrhoids, weight gain, muscle spasms, stretch marks, sleepless nights, achy joints, breast tenderness, back pain, bleeding gums, mood swings, constipation, and fatigue because we wanted a baby. And, we’re thrilled when we finally get to hold that sweet chunk of love and squishy flesh in our arms!

That being said, it would also be nice for that endurance to be acknowledged by the father and after a grueling labor, painful contractions, and a tummy or vagina that’s been split to shreds, a gift can’t hurt, right?

So, what makes a good push present?

First, know your partner! Think about the types of gifts you’ve given them in the past and which type of gifts they’ve liked the most. Think through comments you’ve heard them make about things that are special to them, experience they’ve longed for, etc., and decide what type of gift would be best and go from there.

Do they value sentimental, timeless gifts such as keepsakes and jewelry? 

  • Rattle from Tiffany & Co. and get it engraved
  • Sterling silver or gold jewelry box with a quote about the babies (or your love) etched on it
  • A necklace or bracelet with your child’s initials
  • Upgrade their engagement ring or wedding ring, or design a right hand ring with baby’s birthstone

Does your partner prefer experiences?

  • Plan the first family vacation
  • Book a spa day for mom (and her best friend) for a few months after the birth
  • Buy tickets to a broadway show or concert coming to town (and secure the babysitter in advance)
  • Arrange for them to have the dance lessons or piano lessons they’ve always wanted

Do they tend to like practical gifts?

  • Pay off a bill that’s been nagging them
  • Upgrade your vehicle for one that suits the new family
  • Spring for the jogging stroller and new sneakers
  • Surprise her with a glider/rocker for the nursery

The purpose of the Push Present is not to “keep up with the Jones'” or show off to friends; it’s a gift that shows your partner you’re thankful for them, grateful for what they put their body through, and head over heels in love with them for giving you the most precious gift of all- a baby. Or, in my case, TWO babies!

The Big Reveal: Twin Boys!

With a singleton pregnancy, doctors can do a blood test as early as ten weeks to tell you if you’re having a boy or a girl. Or, they can usually tell with an ultrasound by 16 weeks; however, with twins, it can be much more difficult to tell depending on their positions. Well, I wanted the gender reveal to be memorable for us, and our family and friends, so I scheduled a gender reveal party at 20 weeks just in case.

Beaus, Bows OR BOTH

Then, at my 16 week appointment, they knew! I’d grown two tiny penises in my uterus (how sci-fi is that?) and the doctor confirmed the genders. The kicker? He didn’t tell me. Instead, he wrote “I’m a Boy” on both their photos and sealed the photos in an envelope for my best friend Ashley, who accompanied me at the appointment. Now I would have to wait another 4 weeks before I could find out at the party.

I wanted to keep the party “gender neutral”, but be able to easily tell what each guest was either hoping for, or thought we had. So, given that I love all things French, we went with a Parisian black and white striped theme. Each guest was asked to wear black and white with a “pop” of color to indicate their guess. We munched on vanilla and chocolate macaroons, eclairs, tea cookies, meatballs, flatbreads with greyure and prosciutto, and charcuterie board yummies. The vodka, pomegranate punch and wine were flowing heavily for all non preggo guests!

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The excitement and tension was so high from the very beginning that I barely made it an hour into the party before I just had to know! I changed into a long white t-shirt for the reveal and had both pink and blue paint set aside for Ashley. My husband stood behind me while we both faced the guests. Ashley painted his right hand for Baby A and his left hand for Baby B.

After a nerveracking countdown from 10, my husband, Cloudy, placed both hands on my belly to reveal our babies’ genders! I looked down and saw smears of blue on my belly and was flooded with a tsunami of emotions! One of my guests described my reaction by commenting, “I’ve never seen someone’s face contort so fast into tears and laughter at the same time!”

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I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a boy mama. It may be hard to believe because I’m such a girly girl, but it’s true. I’ve always wanted a boy and now I have two! I grew up with two sisters, and 5 aunts. Our house was always filled with girls and although girls can be fun, I’m looking forward to a change of scenery and boys LOVE their mama!

I’m excited about ALL aspects of boys and I welcome the challenges of raising them to be masculine, adventurous, and wild, but also kind, sensitive, and chivalrous. I’ll be the best boy mama and I can hardly wait to meet my two sweet princes.

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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

Pregnancy stick w Peanut