Monday, April 28, 2014

7 Month Update for the Girls

I'm about a week late on this post as the girls turned 7 months on the 21st. We had a really rough week last week, so I purposely waited to write this when I was in a better mood and had lots of nice things to say about the babies. :) Last week, Eden had an ear infection and then an allergic reaction to the antibiotics. The poor baby felt really crummy and couldn't sleep, hence Mommy and Daddy didn't sleep and felt crummy as well. Lydia was jealous her sister was getting all the attention so she was also pretty fussy and needy. The good news is everyone is feeling much better and we all still love each other!

Eden: Eden is becoming such a Daddy's girl. She gets so excited when Nate walks in the door and immediately starts screaming if he leaves the room without her. She sits up really well by herself and rolls all over the floor to get to what she wants. She prefers random pieces of paper or baby wipes she finds lying around than her toys. Hey, whatever keeps her happy. She is an early riser and pretty much wakes up every morning between 5:45 and 6:00 which is way too early for me. She gets to come to bed and snuggle with Mom until Lydia wakes up around 7:00. She also LOVES Ollie. She giggles at him and likes to reach out and "pet" him. (AKA pull his hair.)
One day, I left the room and came back and couldn't find Eden. She rolled clear across the room and hid under the swing!

Forget crawling, that's for babies! Excuse Ollie's photobomb.
Lydia: Lydia is bound and determined to crawl. She gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth and scoots along. She gets so frustrated that she can't quite do it, but she keeps trying and she'll be there soon. In the meantime, she still manages to travel all around the living room. She can also sit up, but she prefers to practice her crawling instead. She is rarely my Snuggle Bug anymore. She tries to throw herself out of my arms and pushes away my face with her chubby little hands. So sad! I'm telling you, it's all about the crawling right now. That's all she wants to do!

Gotta love the slobber chin!

Schedule: This month, the girls have been making some transitions with their schedule. They've dropped from 3 naps a day to 2 naps and from 5 feedings a day to 4. There were some bumpy days as they made the change but I have to say, I feel so free! I finally feel like we are able to go and do more things and I don't have to panic that I need to get home and feed them or put them down for a nap. Our approximate schedule is feedings at 7:00, 11:00, 3:00 and 7:00 and naps at 9:00 and 1:00 (give or take a little depending on what we have going on for the day). The only downside to the schedule is now that they've dropped their late afternoon nap, I've lost my dinner prep time. We've had to survive on cereal and pizza while I figure this new schedule out.

Sleep Differences: Lydia sleeps on her belly while Eden sleeps on her back. Eden sleeps with a binkie and Lydia doesn't. (Actually we had a binkie intervention about a month ago because they were becoming a problem. I was getting up multiple times a night to replace their binkies and I'd had enough! I took them away cold turkey. Boy, that was a dark week in our house! Then it finally clicked with Lydia and she sleeps so much better now. Eventually we couldn't deal with all the crying and gave Eden back her binkie. I do think the trial seperation was a good thing for her though because she's much better about not waking up at all hours of the night needing her binkie anymore.)  Lydia takes uninterrupted naps while Eden almost always takes a nap intermission about 45 minutes in to the nap. After some soothing from me, she goes back to sleep and finishes her nap. Eden is an early riser while Lydia prefers to sleep in. Lydia sleeps the whole night, while Eden usually wakes once a night. Overall, Lydia is a better sleeper unless something disturbs her and wakes her up. If that happens nothing really helps to soothe her and she just screams.

Food: The girls are still big fans of solid food. They definitely prefer our food than baby food. For instance if we're eating Mexican food, the girls would much rather eat beans, rice, and guacamole than their jarred food. What can I say, they're foodies. It can be a bit annoying to try to eat with them shrieking at you because you're not feeding them fast enough.
Yummy Cantaloupe

Like I sad, they love solid food!
These girls certainly keep us busy, but they keep us pretty darn happy as well. It seems they are doing new things everyday and it is a joy watching them discover the world around them. We love them so much!

First Easter egg hunt

Monday, April 21, 2014

Journey From Infertility to Parenthood

Since the day we announced we were pregnant with twins, we've heard the same questions asked over and over by friends, coworkers, strangers in the grocery store, strangers on the airplane, strangers in the waiting room, you get the idea.

"Do twins run in your family" (Nate's mom is a twin)
"Were you trying for twins?" (Is there such a thing as trying for twins?)
"Were you surprised to find out you were having twins?" (Of course I was!)
"Are they natural?" (As opposed to unnatural?)
"Did you do in-vitro?" (Well isn't that a bit nosy?)

All of these questions are really asking one thing, some more politely than others: did we use fertility drugs to conceive our twins? Yes. This week is National Infertility Awareness week and although the ladies in the grocery store won't be reading my blog, I figured I might as well put our story out there to answer what everyone is really asking as well as to give some hope to those who are battling infertility.

Like our birth story, our infertility story probably contains too much personal information for some of you, so go ahead and skip to the end to see some cute pictures :)

Our story starts long before we were married. As a teenager, I was always very irregular. Of course, at the time, I didn't really mind going months at a time without a period. I always figured it was just because I was so active and involved with sports and such. I didn't ever think there was anything wrong per say. When I was in college, I took a chronic disease class, and learned about polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). I immediately recognized many of the symptoms in myself. I went in to my ob-gyn and announced that I was sure I had this disease. I'm  pretty sure she thought I was a know it all with an over-active imagination. She didn't do any tests or anything. She just put me on birth control and told me that would make me "regular." I didn't care about being regular, I just wanted to know if there was something wrong with me!

Fast forward a few years. After we'd been married for a time, we decided we were ready to expand our family. We were optimistic that we would get pregnant soon! Six months after I quit taking birth control, I had only had a period twice. Those months were hard because after not having a period for 60+ days, you start to get hopeful that you must be pregnant. Nope, not the case.

I hadn't been to a doctor since moving to Arkansas, so I was planning to get established with an ob-gyn anyway, so I decided I might as well bring up the fertility issue while I was there. I honestly didn't ask around for recommendations or anything. I just googled doctors in the area and picked the one that was closest to my work in Fayetteville. But it turned out to be a great decision. Many doctors make you wait at least a year before stepping in to help, but based on my history, the doctor felt there was no reason to wait.

Over the next couple of months, the doctor ran several different tests and discovered my hormones were completely out of balance and I was not ovulating. He felt confident that it would be a simple fix. A couple rounds of Clomid should do the trick. Turns out it wasn't so simple.

We did 6 cycles of Clomid with increasing dosages. Three of those were "failed cycles" because I still did not ovulate and had to have a shot of Provera in the bum to induce a period. If you've ever been on Clomid or known anyone who has been on it, then you know it turns you into a crazy person! You've heard of a little thing called PMS? That's nothing, trust me! Clomid causes severe hot flashes and wild mood swings; poor Nate had to put up with my irritability, aggression, sadness, and never knew what to expect from me.

At this point the doctor was unsure why my body was resistant to the Clomid and still wasn't ovulating consistently. He decided to run some more tests at which point I was diagnosed with PCOS. Wouldn't you know it? Turns out I was not a hypochondriac back in college after all. He suggested we add Metformin to the Clomid and do a few more cycles before trying anything else. Metformin is actually a drug used to treat type II diabetes but many PCOS patients find it helps them conceive. One of the side effects of Metformin, especially when you first start taking it, is nausea and tummy issues. Oh joy, now I was moody and sick to my stomach! We did several cycles of the Clomid/Metformin combo. My hormone levels were much better but I still wasn't pregnant!

Once again the doctor was unsure why I wasn't pregnant yet and decided to perform a hysteroscopy to search for further problems. And further problems he found. He found endometriosis and uterine polyps, both of which were causing some blockage. We decided the next step would be laproscopic surgery to treat the endometriosis and a dilation and curettage (d and c) to remove the polyps. The surgery went well and once again, the doctor was optimistic we would get pregnant soon. (I tell you what, we sure had an optimistic doctor for so many failed attempts! But his positive attitude did help us to stay hopeful.) After recovering from surgery, we decided to try one more month of clomid/metformin before moving on. I ovulated when I was supposed to, my numbers looked great, but alas no pregnancy.

My period started on New Year's day, but I felt full of hope. It was the start of a new year and time to start a new treatment. We decided to try intra-uterine insemination (IUI). I stayed on the clomid/metformin regiment to stimulate ovulation. We had an ultrasound on day 11 and the doctor saw two eggs waiting to be released. Then we did a "trigger shot" in the bum of HCG on day 14 to induce ovulation. We did the IUI on day 15 and then just waited. Oh the dreaded two week wait! Day 29 rolled around and I decided to brave the test (actually three tests).......Positive!!!!! Finally! A couple of weeks later we had an ultrasound and were overjoyed to discover we were having twins! (Nate was relieved we weren't having triplets.)

Looking back now, the whole thing seems like a short moment in my life, but at the time, it seemed to go by agonizingly slow! Every month I felt like a failure and wondered why people like Snookie could have a baby but I couldn't. Every time someone complained about how awful pregnancy was or how hard motherhood was, I wanted to scream that I would gladly take their place! Granted, I've discovered pregnancy can have some awful moments and motherhood is hard, but you won't find me complaining. I thank God every day that I have these two beautiful girls to love and raise.

Infertility is unfortunately so common these days. 1 in 8 couples will struggle with this. Someone you know is fighting that battle or perhaps you have faced the difficulties of infertility yourself. It is a heart wrenching disease and one that so many people fight privately so please just remember there are people all around you who need your love and support!

Our miracle babies on their birhdate. 

And now they are 7 months old! 

Photo booth at the downtown square
Mommy and her babies!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Parenting Myths

As a mother, I read and hear a lot of things about parenthood. Some of these things have been life-changing for me, and some of these things are just outright lies! Today's post examines some little tidbits I've picked up along the way to see if they are fact or fiction.

1. It gets easier! I can't tell you how many people have told me this. I'm not sure what "it" is supposed to refer to....parenthood? Well let me tell you right now, that is not true. If any anything, it gets harder. Perhaps a better thing to tell a struggling new mother is, "it gets different." It seems we are constantly leaving one phase of struggles behind only to encounter a new phase. I suspect this is how parenthood will always be. Myth!
2. Sleep training is really hard for the first few days but by the end of the week your baby will go to sleep without a peep? Sounds too good to be true, right? Exactly! Why did I ever believe this could possibly be true? I don't know if my babies just have super stamina, but when it's time to go to bed, they sure know how to raise a ruckus. I have read so many books and websites on the different methods of sleep training, and I'm prepared to go on record that there is no quick fix, foolproof solution. Some nights my babies will fall asleep within a couple minutes, and other nights it seriously becomes an all night marathon of sleeplessness for the entire household. I've been at this for much longer than a week, and I definitely hear more than a peep at bedtime. Myth!
3. Twins will sleep right through each others cries. There was a time that I believed this: of course that was a time long ago when my girls could have slept through just about anything. And then one day, they were no longer newborns and were much more aware of the world around them, including and especially much more aware that there is another baby in the house. One day Lydia cried and Eden decide she'd like to make it a duet, and then I came to know the truth: twins will hear each other's cries and join right in. To be fair, there are times they seem to ignore each other and sleep right through the other one's sob fest, but often it is a chorus of tandem tears around here. Myth!
4. You can't get pregnant while you're breastfeeding. I'm sure everyone's hearts just skipped a beat, but I am not making an announcement. This is just something I've heard repeatedly. But have any of you watched 19 Kids and Counting? How many of those babies were conceived while Michelle Duggar was nursing? Just saying. I think it's safe to label this one a Myth!
5. Life as you know it is over once you become a parent. Things change the day you bring another human being into this world. Your perspective is broadened and you realize some things in life just aren't that important compared to the tiny bundle in your arms. You realize your life was so incomplete before you were a parent, and you would do anything for your children because you love them more than you ever thought you could. Yes, my selfish life is over and life as a parent is better than I could have imagined. Fact!