Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tea's Must Have Nursery Items

With twins, sharing a nursery with my little ones and limited storage space in a 1BR NYC apartment, I have some very specific needs as a new mom. However, I still needed to create a safe, warm and loving space for my little ones.

Most of my nesting happened after I had the babies. During late night feeding sessions, it became clear what I was missing (a noise machine and dim lights, anyone). I'm happy to say all of the gear in my nursery is affordable, efficient with space and completely functional.

I'm no photo shop guru and polyvore only has clothes, so head to Pinterest to see my top 10 (or more) must-have nursery items.

Be sure to share with any moms making the most of a small living space.

What's your must-have nursery item? 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Baby Milestones - June 2016

- The girls are doing social smiles (when someone smiles at them and they smile back). They do it the most with my mom (grandma). They play me when I try to make them smile.

- They are in the 3-6 month clothes range. CRAZY! Those clothes looked like sacks when I first folded them up. Now they fit my girls just a bit loose. But the 0-3 month stuff is a bit snug.

- They both enjoy playing on their mats.

- Lahna likes tummy time. She pushes herself up and controls her own neck. Joy still cries when we put her on her tummy.

- They noticed each other. This is so funny to people when I tell them, but the twins seem to not know the other existed until recently. I caught Lahna staring at Joy one day. Then Joy staring at Lahna one day. Then while I was tandem feeding them they were looking at each other instead of staring up at me. It's such a joy to watch them grow and observe each other.

- Joy is turning into a jealous little sister. A big part of this is likely us leaving her in the apartment for so many hours while Lahna was in the hospital. But she wants everything Lahna wants. If Lahna is feeling, Joy wants to feed. If Lahna is with grandma, Joy wants to go to grandma. Lahna's not like that. She's in her own world. I hope that [perceived] jealousy fades. I really want them to be loving, supportive sisters.

- Have I talked about their swaddles here? They now have swaddles around the bottom part of their body in order to go to bed at night. So they are each in a Y or T formation every night and they end up in the same position, no matter how I put them to sleep. ADORABLE! 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Traumatized Children

I knew that I would traumatize my kids, but I thought it would be with corny jokes or psychotic episodes and much later in life. I didn't realize that Lahna going to the hospital would change them so much.

She is terrified every time we lay her on a flat surface. She thinks we're going to stick a needed in her to find an IV. They poked my baby more times than I'm willing to admit as a caring mother and still couldn't get an IV in her tiny veins. I had to hold her down while they did it and lie and say things were ok and things were going to be fine. I felt complicit in her torture and I HATED IT!

Then, since I was at the hospital, I couldn't nurse Joy. I had formula at home, which they drink when I'm away, maybe once or twice a week. Joy wouldn't take it. Then at some point I was pumping like crazy to empty my breasts since Lahna couldn't eat and Joy was at home without me. Joy STILL wouldn't take the bottle.

She knew eventually I'd come home. So I'd feed her, put her down to sleep, then sneak back to the hospital with Lahna. When she woke up and me and her dad were gone and it was just grandma, she chilled until we got back. Because she knew we were coming back.

This worked until Monday night when she attacked me like a rabid dog. That's when I knew I needed to come home more no matter what was happening at the hospital. Fortunately, they let us go late Tuesday night, so that routine was over for me.

Now, Joy doesn't want to sleep because she thinks we're going to leave her. Right now, my mom is in the living room with her and I'm in our bedroom and my mom had to come in here and show Joy that I was still here, so that she would stop crying. She saw me and gave me like a brothaman head nod, then stopped crying.

My poor babies. I take solace in the fact that they will not remember this time, but I'm hoping they forget these traumatizing 5 days sooner rather than later.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

My Baby is Home!

It was an excruciatingly painful 5 days and four nights in the hospital, but Lahna is home. She ended up having gastroentiritis (stomach flu) and ileus (enlarged intestines with immobile bowels). For you or I, that might not be the biggest deal, but for a 10 week old it meant pediatric ICU.

I was so glad when she could finally drink breast milk again and doubly glad when they said she was tolerating it fine and we could go home. That was late Tuesday night.

She's since had a pediatric appointment with her pediatrician and with the pediatric surgeon at the hospital.

Both gave her a clean bill of health.

Then on Saturday, she started vomiting again. When I got done crying, I called her pediatrician and pediatric ICU. It seems that she also has a cold (I knew that, no big). But her little body doesn't know how to rid itself of the mucus in her nose, so it ends up in her stomach and she vomits it out. We used some saline solution and a humidifier and she's been good since then.

My mom was away for the weekend and said to heat up some oil, pray over it, rub it on her head, thank Jesus for healing and she would be fine.

I did exactly that and she's fine. I was praying in the hospital, but I should have annointed her head earlier. Maybe our 5 day stay would have been cut down.

I am very happy to have Godly counsel and faithful friends and caretakers. Thank you for everyone who read my last post and said a prayer for my baby. You are a part of my village and I appreciate you. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Nothing Prepares You...

You can read every baby book on the face of the planet, watch every movie, see every St. Jude's commercial and even hear of friend's children who have been sick, but nothing and I mean nothing will prepare you to see a tube in your 10 week old child's nose.

Lahna's in the hospital right now. I'm home, nursing Joy and getting ready to eat dinner. This will be night #4 and hopefully the FINAL night at the hospital.

One day I may tell the whole story, but the long and short of it is she was vomiting, had explosive diarrhea and then her temperature dropped and she lost color in her face. Every time I experience something scary (high risk pregnancy, labor in the operating room, potential blood clots after pregnancy), I think "This is the worst thing ever."

I need to stop thinking in absolutes because nothing in life has been worse than see my child's face turn purple and then having a 10 lb teeny tiny baby being sick and in the hospital.

By now they've ruled out anything that would require surgery, but she's still not well enough for me to nurse her, nor for her to leave the hospital.

The bad / The good 

I'm at a public hospital / The hospital I'm at is right across the street from my apartment, so I can run home to shower, nurse Joy, eat, pump breastmilk, sleep, whatever.  

I can't be with both babies at the same time / My mom and boyfriend and I make a phenomenal team for the twins in good and bad times. Mom hasn't left Joy's side and bf & I are tag teaming at the hospital. 

Lahna's not home yet / Lahna's progressing well.

It's hard to get in touch with her to get the information I need / Her doctors are the head of pediatric ICU and the head of pediatric surgery. When she was in the ER, she was seen by the head of pediatric ER, so I'm convinced she's getting the best care. 

I am exhausted. / I'm a twin mom, so exhaustion is par for the course. I'm getting more sleep now than I was their first month of life, so that's a bright side. 

The girls have not been together since Friday afternoon / I'm able to get mommy and me time with each twin without worrying that the other will wake up and need something (or that the other will feel neglected)

Joy won't take a bottle of breast milk, nor formula (This sucks so bad and there is no bright side, but for the sake of having a consistent blog post...) / Joy's face lights up every time I come back to the apartment. 

The staff at the hospital is used to dealing with difficult dumb people / I'm difficult, but intelligent, so the doctors are excited by my presence and challenged by intellect. Again, I'm convinced that this is resulting in the best possible care for my daughter.

I'm a basket case at time. / I'm human and allowed to feel all the feelings that having a child admitted into the hospital affords. I have not had a nervous breakdown and when I snap on people I haven't used any curse words. 

We spent Father's Day in the hospital / The girls and I have gifts for their dad and we'll celebrate Father's Day when the entire family can be together. 

I don't have a lot of people in NYC / I have enough people in NYC AND my virtual community is legit. Fam, I've had so many people praying for these babies. I believe in the power of prayer and Lahna is going to be fine.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Best Thing / Worst Thing

As a mom, there are some wonderful things and some horrible things.

Best Thing Ever

Baby Feet - OHMIHGAWD! Baby feet are thee BEST! They are so small and so soft and so cute and SO PERFECT! I can't stop kissing and biting my kids' feet.

Worst Thing Ever

Joy's Lip Quiver - Honey, Kerry Washington ain't got nothing on my baby. She curls her little lip up looking unhappy and I cannot take it. I would cut off my right arm and give it to her if that would make her look happy again. Gruesome, I know, but this child has me wrapped around her finger. When Joy quivers her lips my entire world is rocked.*

*Her sister has me wrapped up too, but Lahna's went to the Rahm Emanuel school of coercion. She demands mommy's attention through shrill screams rather than giving me sweet pained faces.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Weird Attachments

I am the type of person who remembers clothes. I can remember what day of the week an encounter took place by remembering what people wear. When I think back to good times that I've had, I could tell you exactly what I was wearing and what people had on before I remember where we were in said outfits.

I wouldn't call myself a fashionista, but I know how to get fly every now and again (especially if I know I'm going to be with my fashionista friends). I just love clothes and creating new looks with old favorites. (My love for textiles was revealed as fact when I had to make space in my closets for both my mother and my boyfriend's clothes. I see why storage units are so prevalent in NYC.)

What I didn't realize was the emotional attachment I have to clothes. My girls (and all babies) outgrow clothes VERY fast. With all the gifts and donations we've been blessed with, I've only had to purchase one pack of onesies in 7 weeks. They have SO MANY clothes.

I don't usually dress them identically, but I dress them similarly. And there are some outfits that they look SO cute in, either separately or as a pair. Or outfits that they had milestones in that I remember. Or colors that look better on them than others. (Right now I'm loving mint, yellow and coral on my babies). I've been getting so sad when I have to move my favorite outfits out of the "active clothing roster" and into the donation pile.

My kids aren't celebrities. When I see them in stuff I like I want to see them in it again and again. But here I am, throwing their childhood into a bag for Goodwill piece by piece. (LOL! I'm so dramatic, I know.)

What about you? Are you attached to clothing items or would you prefer celebrity status where you only wear each item once?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

More Milestones

These are so random

- Both girls have graduated from newborn clothes to 0-3 months. (These are, in fact, two different sizes.) At first Joy stayed in newborn and Lahna was in 0-3 months. Now both of my babies are bigger. And just like adult clothes 0-3 months in one brand can run bigger or smaller than 0-3 months in another brand.

- They are both drinking more than 2 oz of milk. It's hard to know how much babies are drinking when you breastfeed. So when I'm nursing they just drink until their heart's content. But, when I supplement, we give them one of those 2 oz pre-mixed formula bottles. They both finish and look up like "Seriously? Where's the rest."

- Changes in skin color - I didn't realize how pale my children were until I looked back at the Day 1 pics. Also friends who visited at the hospital have since stopped by our home and immediately noticed that they girls have darker skin. They've gone from their dad's light skin color to my less light, but still not very dark skin color. It's hilarious because I thought I was so much darker than the babies, but I do a side by side and yep, I'm as light as them. This is so problematic because I'm usually more almond-y in the summer time. Mama hasn't hit a beach in two years. Next summer, it's on! LOL!

- Interacting with toys/objects - We have two activity mats for them. They are supposed to get 20 minutes of tummy time a day. Usually they just cry like the dickens when we put them on the mats. At about 7 weeks, they began to enjoy it. They follow the mobiles with their eyes and reach for the stuffed animals with their hands and feet. They follow the sounds of music and noises from the toys. It's so amazing to see them develop. 

- Seeing further - Joy seems to have been watching everyone from Day 1, but Lahna had a harder time focusing. They're both on target, but Joy is a bit advanced in this area. Anywho, Lahna is beginning to look at things like the air conditioning unit, windows, blinds, walls, photos on the wall and couch pillows like she's never seen them before. I stare at her while she discovers new things and it makes me very happy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

What Is that SMELL?

So I leave the house one day solo on an errand. This is notable. I get back and snuggle my babies and they smell delicious. I'm like mom, do you have on perfume? These kids smell great, but it's not new baby smell or even fresh baby smell.

I ask my boyfriend, babe, did you try a new cologne or deodorant? These children smell like heaven.

Mom looks at me and goes: did YOU put on perfume today.


That was me.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Joy Play Too Much

Joy is a busy body. She was all over the place in my womb and her ascent into the outside world was no different.

When I went into the operating room both babies were head down. Lahna came out first. Three excruciatingly painful pushes with her head and shoulders lodged into my vagina and boom, Lahna, mommy's first born was here. She was beautiful as the day is long and ready for whatever.

Then there's Joy. When I was pregnant I couldn't sleep because sleep was trampoline time for her. When I ate it was kung fu time. And when I would walk, it was stretch out (and squeeze mommy's bladder time). Lahna moved in my womb, but much less.

So of course, during birth Joy flipped over (no longer head down) while her sister was being born. It was clearly play time for her. So since she was no longer head down, doctor 1 sticks her hand inside of me to pull Joy out by her feet. It sounds scary because every time you hear of a baby coming out by their feet, it's an indication that something is wrong. Not so with twins. We'd discussed the need to go in and get her if she wasn't head down after Lahna was born and I was ready. I also couldn't feel the doctor inside of me because my epidural was STRONG! After a particularly painful pregnancy, I couldn't see any good reason to be in pain during labor. I'd gotten an extra dose. Legal drugs baby!

The babies also have two different sets of doctors. So while Lahna was being cleaned and footprinted and checked, another team of doctors moved in for Joy. So why are most twins born one minute apart (C-sections) or 5 or 6 minutes apart and mine were a full 12 minutes apart?

Well first, they had to break Joy's sac. Yep, I had fraternal twins. Two babies: two amniotic sacs. All this nonsense about babies knowing each other in the womb is kind of not true for fraternal twins. They were neighbors, not roommates. Anwho, one sac broke while they were inducing me, but Joy wanted to stay inside and keep playing. Then doctor 1 grabs Joy's feet, Joy thinks it's a game and jerks her feet back into mommy. They send doctor 2 in and Joy likely does it again. She thinks we're playing keep away or something. They finally pulled her slimy, happy behind out of me at 3:32 p.m. She was smaller than her sister (with a vaginal delivery, thank God) and her eyes were open. I'm not even joking. Joy's eyes have never been closed (unless she's sleeping).

When she first started nursing she would suck on my nipple, stop look up and me, move her head around and do it again and again (vs. getting the food that she needs). See what I'm saying? Play time. And even now at 6 and a half weeks (the day I wrote this), Lahna is about her business. If Lahna's awake it's because it's purposeful. She's trying to eat, be changed and go back to sleep. She doesn't want to play and she will SCREAM (ooh these screams) until you do something meaningful for her life.

Not Joy. Joy is up, looking around. She was the first to play with the plush toys on the playmat. She'll chill with mommy or daddy or grandma without crying. She's trying to be up and see what all the fuss is about. She's about this party life. Ever since day 1... Joy play too much. :)

Giving Birth And Such

Everyone always wants to know what birth is like. I, for one, never wanted to know. I didn't watch "A Baby Story" on TLC. I didn't read books extensively or show YouTube

It's a pain I wanted to have and forget.

However, I feel like it's my duty to share what it's like. Please know that it's different for every woman, but for me:

Giving birth was EASY.

Yep. 36 weeks and 6 days of PREGNANCY was hard. Two weeks of pain and medical health conditions POST-pregnancy were HARDER than the whole damn pregnancy (because I actually had to care for two newborns with no sleep while being sick myself). Actually giving birth was a snap.

I was all concerned about vaginal tearing and my friend who's already a mom was like "Girl, after a hard pregnancy, you won't even care about, nor feel the vaginal tearing." SHE WAS RIGHT!

Here's my metaphor.

Giving birth was like getting a brazilian wax. It HURTS, but it's quick. I was in active labor for no longer than two hours. I was induced and hit 8 cm at about 2 p.m. I went into the operating room at about 3... (since I'm high risk, even though I delivered vaginally, it had to be done in the O.R. in case a complication arose). Lahna was born at 3:20 p.m., Joy was born at 3:32 p.m. and I was rolled back into the labor and delivery room by 4. Even with an epidural it hurt like HELL. HELL, but it was like 3 pushes and it was over.

Being pregnant, on the other hand, was like getting a bikini wax with an inexperienced aesthetician every hour on the hour for 36 weeks (and 6 days). No, bikini waxes don't hurt as much as brazilians, but if you had to endure them for weeks or months on end NONSTOP, you would be raw as a sushi bar (poor visual, I'm apologize).

For the mommies, do you agree with my assessment? Or was your pregnancy easier than your delivery? For those not yet moms, have you heard giving birth described like this before? Is the picture clearer, LOL?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Staring At Babies

Has your mother ever reached across the car to get crust off of your face? Sometimes licking her finger first (which I still think is gross)... After becoming a mom, I get it now.

While I'm nursing my daughters for 10 minutes, 30 minutes, sometimes an hour at a time per sitting, I just stare at them. I know every hair on their head, every pore on their face, every booger in their nose, the growth of every finger nail, the size of every toe, every roll on their not-so-chubby baby thighs, every spit bubble that comes down their cheek. I study everything and if I see something awry, I pick at it until it's normal. 

I obsess over every imperfection to make sure they haven't contracted the plague. Reading Baby 411, the WebMD baby app, sending pics to their doctor and pruning them to death. For the most part, they don't object. They just suckle at my breast while I become inspector mommy.

I know they're going to reach an age when they notice me fixing their clothes or picking lint out of their hair or wiping crust off of their face and they're going to say "Mom, stop!" I know because I've done it with my own mom.

To this day, she wants to play in my hair, or pick dry skin off places of my body where I can't see it (no time to moisturize as a twin mom, LOL!)

And it's SO IRRITATING. To be a growing child and have your mother pouring over you. Or to be a GROWN woman and have your mother pouring over you.

But for 8-10 hours of every day of my babies' first months of life that's all I've done. And right now, it feels like that's all I'll ever do. And I understand that no matter how big they get, they will always be my babies.

I get it now.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Babies Don't Know ANYTHING

I know you're looking at the title of the post, like duh! But it really is amazing how little babies know and how fast they learn.

They don't know how to eat. They will know they're hungry and know your breast has milk in it, but they don't know that if they put their mouth on your breast, they can get food. You seriously have to teach a baby how to latch onto your breast. And it's biological, it's natural, so if you're not doing it right

They don't know how to sleep. Babies realize that they don't know anything. So they are irritable, cranky and exhausted, but they don't want to leave the waking world. They may miss a conversation mommy and daddy are having. They may miss the opportunity to interrupt mommy's meals and showers. They may miss the UPS man (Al) dropping off a package. They know they need to be sleeping, but they

They don't know what body movements are harmful to them. They will punch themselves in the face so hard that they wake up. This is usually after eating and taking forever to go to sleep. Then they will scream bloody murder like YOU punched them in the face. Then they want to eat again and be rocked to sleep again.

When it comes to emotions, they're uncertain of a few things as well. They don't know that mommy, daddy and grandma will never leave them. So if they don't see one of us, they will cry in fear that they are alone. This is when they're awake. If they're sleeping and they wake up and DO see one of us, they will want to be picked up, soothed, fed, changed OR rocked back to sleep.

I never thought my life would come to this, but this morning after feeding Lahna and putting her back to sleep, I crawled on the floor like a military cadet in basic training because she opened her eyes, but didn't see me. I would prefer to slither my post-pregnancy belly across the hardwood floor than to have to change her AGAIN, feed her AGAIN and soothe her back to sleep AGAIN. Not to mention, while I'm tending to Lahna again, Joy will likely wake up and want the same thing. And I can't tend to them at the same time.

So yeah, today's mommy chronicles includes ways to hide from your baby to keep her sleeping and I was victorious!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Grandmas Be Lyin'

I've told you all how much of a Godsend my dear mother was before I had the babies. The same has been true of her extended stay in New York upon their arrival.

However, since we're in such close quarters, I hear most of her phone conversations. She's the liaison between the rest of the family and me. She answers all of the tough questions (and tends to the ridiculous small talk), so I can focus on my only job feeding, clothing and comforting two new humans.

The other day I hear her on the phone:

"Um hm... well, Lahna means peace and it's so true. I don't think I've heard her cry one time."


Now, in the first couple of weeks my mom wasn't on overnight duty with the girls (we've since stopped playing ourselves and spread the wealth)... but in those first couple of weeks, it's POSSIBLE that Lahna slept SO much that my mother never heard her cry. AND my mom slept through the night, so she didn't hear those shrill night screams.

What's more likely is that grandparents see perfect little angels, when parents know that their kids have problems and situations.

Anyway, if you're a journalist, a prosecutor, anyone seeking the God honest truth, do not ask a grandparent. Grandmas be lyin'!