Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time, Stealing and Easter crafting...

That title should sum of the randomness of my post.....I didn't really mean to take a break from blogging, it just kind of happened. I really have been sitting on the floor most of the day playing with my boys, allowing the kitchen and laundry go. And it's been lovely and precious and so that is where I have been.

I read Ann Voskamp's blog everyday. I don't read any other blog that challenges me daily like hers does. Yesterday her post was about how much time do we really have? How many moments do I have with these little ones, and my sweetheart and what do I want to give them while I am here. Why wait to live full of joy? Do it now, because you may not have more time than that. Don't waste a second of it being dissatisfied, or angry, or anxious....you and your family deserve better than that. Your situation may never change, but your attitude and perspective can. Ah, breathe it in....soak it up. These are the moments.

My husband's wallet, coat and money clip were stolen on Sunday. At church. Yeah, not the first place you'd guess right? But honestly (after being totally bummed about all that was in his wallet, and that being a nice coat I bought him) one of the first thought's I had was, "We have people in our church who need Jesus!!!" And isn't that the point? If there is no one searching, or seeking within our walls, we are not doing our job. If there are no sick people, no hurting people then we have missed the mark. And I'm praying for this person, that somehow they find Jesus in this. Maybe they've gone to our church for awhile, but they don't know Him. Or maybe they came in off the street and grabbed the jacket on a rainy day, or needed food and grabbed it for the cash inside. Either way, I know God will use this for His glory if we let Him. Choosing to see. Choosing to be thankful that he has more than that one coat, and that everything is replaceable and it's just stuff. 

I do wonder if the person does attend our church, and what they thought when they saw his licence and realized it was a pastor's stuff they stole. I get a little chuckle out of that....

It's spring break here, and it's rainy and windy and gloomy out. But we are preparing for Easter in our home and in our hearts. These are the things on my list that we have done, or our planning on doing: 

This is a little behavior chart, ours looks almost identical

It's working great and it's a great visual for Jack. 

We are doing these projects in the next few weeks for Easter



What about you? What are you up to?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Guest: Megan from boho mama!

Welcome to the blog, Megan, from boho mama! Megan is a real life friend who has some of the most beautiful and precious twin girls I have ever seen! Megan is an incredible writer, passionate mother and homemaker and a genuine friend. I encourage you to check out her blog and especially her series: 
Welcome Megan!
P.S....there is a cloth diaper giveaway going on over there....

Hi, I'm Megan from The Boho Mama, and I'm so excited to be guest posting for Krystle today. We've known each other a very long time - 15 years or so - having grown up in the same church congregation. I vividly remember her very cool New Kids on the Block comforter and playing in her cul-de-sac! We reconnected after I found out we were also having twins, and she's been an inspiration and encouragement to me in so many ways. Today, I'm talking about expectations.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I had some grandiose visions about pregnancy, birth, and parenting. Don't we all? We cradle or growing bellies and dream about the future - I would have a calm, nurturing pregnancy, a gentle, midwife-assisted birth, and be a model "attachment" parent. When we saw two heartbeats on the ultrasound screen, my dreams and reality met head-on. In Oregon, midwives can't assist a twin birth in a birth center, so my only option was to have a home birth. While I admire those women who do, it was definitely not something I was comfortable with. So, out the window went the quiet, gentle waterbirth. I left the lovely birth center and found myself an OB who would confidently vaginally deliver a breech twin B. While pregnant, I wanted to be super crafty and make amazing gifts for my daughters, glitter spilling on my swollen tummy, and take creative belly shots every month to track my progress. The crafts didn't happen: I could barely get up from the couch to press "play" as I re-watched the entire Gilmore Girls series over and over. We took some pictures, but not enough to make a clever Pinterest-inspired photo collage. But the most vivid illustration of letting go of my expectations came in watching the evolution of our birth plan. It started out as a manifesto: three typed pages, 10-point font, with every single detail spelled out. A few months later, it was down to two pages. When I went into pre-term labor at 31 weeks, it looked like I might not get to have a birth plan at all. They were able to stop the contractions, and for the next two weeks, I created three different birth plans while reclining on the hospital bed. Birth Plan One: To be used for if birth happens prior to 34 weeks with a C-Section. Birth Plan Two: To be used if a vaginal birth happens prior to 34 weeks. Birth Plan Three: Anything that happens at 35+ weeks, with sections for both vaginal and C-section.

When my girls were finally born at 34 weeks and five days, my birth plan was a one-page list of "hopes", with the only bold font being "please use donor breast milk in the NICU." Even though my pregnancy, birth, and the NICU time after was not what I had expected or desired, I still feel fortunate enough that the two things dearest to my heart happened: a vaginal birth and successful breastfeeding. I was thankful beyond belief, and could have cared less about page two, bullet-point five of the birth plan.

I also feel so blessed that God was gentle with me - He knows me enough to allow me 6 months to come to grips with not having absolute control over my birth experience. Little by little, my attitude changed, and when my daughters were finally born I was OK with whatever happened. I didn't become a passive spectator by any means, but I took ownership of what I could help, gave the rest to God, and lived in the moment, because birth is sacred, no matter how the babe(s) enter this world.

Beyond the birth experience, letting go of expectations and embracing reality has served me incredibly well in this first year as a mom to twins. Taking care of two babies means that you have no choice but to be flexible, because most days, things do not go according to plan!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

1 year 1 month aka 13 months...


I totally missed the "monthly update"...I guess since they are 1 now I don't think about them in months anymore, but we still need to update!!!

Right now the little chick-a-dees have nasty colds, so we are a tad miserable here, but otherwise good.

Camden just started really walking yesterday, he'd been taking steps here and there for a few weeks and as of yesterday was trying to walk everywhere. His balance is still a work in progress, but he's on his feet!
And just as Camden learns to walk, Christian is pretty much running everywhere. 

Camden loves to drop things and say "uh-oh"
If you ask him what a monkey says, he'll go "ooh-ooh, ah-ah"...yeah, super cute.
They both say "tit-tee" when they see the kitty, and Camden will repeat "No"...oh joy :)

The love to put things on their heads and play peek-a-boo, it's so cute that they initiate it.
Christian loves to hide around corners and bust out at you, and then run back around and hide. 
They love to play cars with Jack and totally have learned how to actually "play" cars driving them along the floor and I know it's from watching Jack.

Jack loves to have them come into his room to play and they make a mess and have a great time playing his drum-set or dumping all his books off the shelf. 

They both love to read books, especially Christian. 

They eat really well, usually breakfast, lunch and dinner and a snack or two in between to tide them over.
We are still at a 6:00ish wake-up time, with naps at 9:00am and 1:00pm and bedtime around 6:30pm. 
I'm ready for a 7:00pm bedtime and hopefully wake-up time, but Jack was always and early riser, so I have a feeling these boys will follow suit, I'd just love to not be so tied down to their bedtime, but I strongly believe in an early bedtime and consistency with that, so we'll let them transition later.

I am ready for them to be really walking solidly, it's going to make life so much easier.
I know you may think I'm crazy...but lugging around two little ones in my arms while chasing a 3 1/2 year old isn't ideal...so, once they are more steady on their feet and can hold my hand...it's just going to make life run smoother. 

Christian loves to rock out. He doesn't just dance, the kid gets his whole body into it, and it's to anything with a beat. Seriously....anything. He just starts going and it's hilarious. We've tried to get it on video, but no luck yet. 

I'm guessing Camden is around 19lbs and Christian just under 18lbs. 
They are both in 12 month clothes or 6-12 months....with the sleeves or pants being just a tad short sometimes. 

I am loving that they know their names, they know where to look for Jack, they love to point and talk about the pictures on the walls and snuggle. 
This, and the next year, are some of my favorite months age wise, so I am really looking forward to watching them grow and develop!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How to (Breastfeed Twins) Part 2

In Part 1, I talked about breastfeeding in the NICU, the early days and latch issues as well has how we did things for the first 6 weeks. In this post I will share about:

*Feeding one at a time
*Balancing breastfeeding twins with another child in the mix
*Milk Supply Issues 
*When things don't go as planned

How To (Breastfeed Twins) Part 2:

It was around month 3 when I decided that tandem feeding was hurting more than helping. I was really having a difficult time latching them both myself without one falling off while the other was latching and so on. 
I did watch this video and it really helped, but I just wanted to be able to do all of this without help (because that was reality) so I started feeding them one at a time. 
I would grab the one showing the signs of hunger first and feed, while the other one was in the swing or the bouncer safe and sound...usually with a pacifier in case his brother was taking too  long :) 
Sometimes the waiting baby would cry.
That was probably the hardest part, and something that you would never have to deal with if you only had one baby, and something that wasn't fun...and it wasn't all the time, but it did happen. 
I would remind myself that they are okay, and just hungry and would be fed shortly. 
I would burp one baby, and then switch them out. 
Feed the next, and swing/bouncer the other!

What worked best for me was assigning one breast for each baby. 
I did this because Camden, who was tongue tied for awhile, until we got that clipped (if you are having breastfeeding issues, I would look into this, it causes so many more issues than you can imagine!) would feed better off of one side. It hurt me less and he was more efficient. 
He was never the strongest breastfeeder, so I wanted to make sure we could succeed in every area possible.
I read a lot of information about assigning a side, and what could possibly happen, but after that research and talking with our LC, I felt like it made sense and would be just fine. 

Switching from tandem to one-on-one was such a stress reliever, and although I was feeding for longer periods of time and it wasn't as "time" efficient as tandem...the stress relief, combined with one on one time was so worth it. 

I am glad I did tandem, but I wish I would have started feeding them separately sooner to save myself some pressure.

Having two small babies to feed, in addition to a 2 1/2 year old was extremely tough. 
I would try and make sure that before I sat down to feed the babies, he had a drink and snack available, his toys were out and accessible and more often that I'd have like, the TV was on. Sometimes, you have to let go of some prior "rules" and realize that life happens and you need to adjust. 
I read that when people would tandem feed, they'd have their arms available to read books to another child or do whatever. 
That just didn't happen....the babies were wiggly and I sat in a chair, there was no extra room.
But once I switched to solo feeds, I did have a free arm to help in minor cases, and it was much easier to quickly set ONE baby down and rescue Jack then setting them both down...because it's such a process to get them latched to begin with!

It was tough on this Mama's heart to be strapped to a chair every 2-3 hrs for 20 minutes at a time....while having another child who needed me. 
Very tough. 
But this would have been difficult while bottle-feeding as well, so it was more the "having two babies at the same time" struggle than it was a breastfeeding struggle. 

Milk supply. Two babies=twice as much food you are producing. 
You can't be silly and try to cut calories while breastfeeding to begin with, not if you want to give your baby the best.
But when there are two babies, you have to eat more than you normally would.
You are feeding two humans!

The body is so cool.
God did such an amazing job....with breastfeeding, the more they suck the more you produce. Which is why they often have you pump after feeds when your babies are small and still adjusting to breastfeeding. 
My milk came in rather quickly for a c-section and I had more than enough in the beginning. 
The times we weighed them after an LC visit, it was evident 'they' were doing their job.

Something happened, and I can't really pinpoint it to this day. 
I would guess stress and fatigue. 
One day they just started eating for shorter periods of time.
I was concerned they weren't getting what they needed because they went from eating 15 minutes each to 5-8 minutes.
I had read that as babies got older, some of them became so efficient, they got all they needed in that time. 
But I wanted to be sure, so we went in to the LC. 
She timed our feed and then weighed the boys.
They got a huge amount in a super short time!
I was so excited.

Well, it wasn't too long after that that we had a visit with our Pediatrician and their weight gain had dropped significantly, like drastic. 
We made another appointment with the LC.
She asked if I thought my supply was low, but I didn't think it was. They hadn't shown signs of it...being fussy or unsatisfied after feeds.
But I went to work, started using fenugreek and goats rue, drinking the Mother's Milk tea, eating oatmeal and drinking almond milk...doing what I could to help bump it up.

Well, over the course of those days the boys both began refusing to breastfeed. 
They were screaming.
They wouldn't settle, they would come on and off....and if I tried to pump it was ounces less than it had been. 
I was so discouraged.

I was given the option of a perscription drug to help increase my supply.
But the one drug is known to cause or can make worse any postpartum depression. 
And with the stress, pure exhaustion and emotional drainage I was experiencing, I didn't think that adding that sort of thing to my body was wise.
The other drug was ridiculously expensive.

I called my LC and explained that they were basically refusing to eat from me, no matter what I did. 
So, she said they had to eat, so to give them a bottle of breastmilk and continue to try breastfeeding when they were more relaxed and pump like crazy.

To make a long story short, my supply never got back up and they began to enjoy the bottle more and wouldn't even latch. 
So, over the course of the next month I pumped and used the frozen milk and bottle fed them. 

When Things Don't Go As Planned it's easy to get down on yourself. 
I remember thinking, before the twins came, how incredible it sounded, a Mom breastfeeding twins. I mean, I very much thought it sounded like the most amazing, almost impossible thing in the world. I started researching and realized, hundreds and thousands of Mom's had succeeded. I realized, I could try and do this thing!
I would tell people of my plan, and sometimes the response would be, "Yeah, that's great" and it would make me pause and think, "Do you realize what a feat that would be?!" You should be saying, "WOW! That's amazing, incredible, you are amazing! Just even wanting to is amazing! Awesome, I really hope it all works out! Breastfeeding is hard! TWO babies!!! WOW!!" 
Because, that's what I would think when I heard of someone doing it. 

There is major pressure to breastfeed in general out there.
We all know the benefits are undeniable and we all know it's the very best thing to feed your baby.
But, you know what. 
Sometimes it just doesn't happen.
Sometimes you can't ( I don't care what La Leche says)
Sometimes you can't for physical, emotional or personal reasons. 
And you know what?
That is OKAY. 

And it's okay to start and to try, and there are no rules. 
You don't need to do it for anyone else.
I'm sure someone is reading this story and thinking, 
"Well, you should have done this, or you could have done this, if you really wanted to"
But they aren't me. 
They don't know every detail of what we tried or didn't and they sure didn't live in my house those months. 
The fact is: some babies are easier than others, some people have everything fall into place. 
Others do not.
But we are all trying to do the very best for our children, and that may look very different.

I really hated stopping breastfeeding. But it was more because I was competitive with myself about it, and deep down I really had wanted to make it one year.
It wasn't convenient for me, feeding twins.
It was so stressful that it didn't feel like sweet, luscious "bonding time"- it was work.
I was so thankful to have been able to do it for the 5 months we did it, and thankful that I had frozen milk to use after and thankful I tried.

I was relieved when all of the pressure was off of me. 
The bottles, those were a pain to wash and prep. 
And the formula wasn't cheap 
(although Costco's is the cheapest and made by the same company as Enfamil and branded just for Costco (Kirkland)

I made it farther with the twin's than I did with Jack (milk supply issues made more difficult by his severe acid reflux and colic)
I had hoped to have one easy breastfeeding experience, where you just have the baby attached all day long and you feed them out and about with just a blanket and no boppy.
The one where you just lie in bed and roll over to feed and then back to sleep.
I dreamt of that.
But that wasn't for me. 
My road was tough, in fact, it was by far the hardest thing I have done.
But I am glad I did it while I did it, and I am extremely proud of myself. 

So, when things do go the way you planned, it's okay. 
Thank goodness there is formula to feed them and that they don't starve. 

To sum it up

Breastfeeding twins CAN be done. You need support, and you should read up on it before they come. 
Talk to other twin Mom's and watch videos and read books and talk to your hubby about it.
Ask questions.
Read up on milk supply before they come, and get yourself a really really really good pump.
See if you can rent a hospital grade pump!

Talk to your LC before they come, your pediatrician and see if they have experience with Mom's of multiples breastfeeding, and if they don't...find someone who does.
Support is key!

Make sure your friends and family know. Make sure they know that life in the first few weeks might not be conducive to them just popping in to see the babies, because you will most likely be feeding them and there is just no way to do that discreetly. :)

I would love to answer any questions you have so please e-mail me!

Below is a list of great resources for you and I hope that it will help you succeed!

This book was fabulous! From pregnancy, to NICU, to home and the toddler years! All things TWIN! Mainly for breastfeeding, but also for much more!

La Leche (while I think they can be quite harsh and a little 'uppity' they do have great resources and support

Breastfeeding Twins- great site!!

KellyMom was one of my top places to go for information on breastfeeding in general!

This site has great info on bumping up your milk supply!

bohomama is a friend of mine who had NICU babies and is still breastfeeding at 8 months. She has some great posts and also a great list of resources!

Dakotapam is a blogging friend who breastfed her twin girls for over a year and was a great encouragement. She has tons of posts and will also chat via email with you about any concerns or questions!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Just for today....

As I sit here, trying to sort my thoughts and trying to express myself I hear these little birds outside our window. Last spring we had a pair of doves come and make our tree out front their home. Jack (and the cat) loved watching them waddle around and they were rarely scared off. We hung a bird feeder up for the little finches and watched them make a huge mess as they ate their fill.

The birds, these little creatures who find what they need for each day, in the ground or in a tree. Singing this song of contentment....it's not yet spring but the sky and the ground seem to be ready. And I am ready too.

It is a daily task, giving your fears and hopes to the One who says;

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34

It's not meant to last us for more than that day....we cannot rely on what we asked last week, or last month to sustain us. He asks us to seek Him and call to Him on a daily basis (and for me, sometimes it's an hourly one)
Because we are not meant to do this alone...on our own. We can try, but we will fail.

While I can fight that, it's in the moment of receiving that where I find the peace I've been wanting and I wonder when I will learn. Learn to let go, He has it covered. Learn to trust in Him in all things....and I am so thankful His patience does not run out. What a freeing feeling, to know that He has my best interests in mind and why oh why should I fight that? He can see it all, and loves me more than I can ever imagine. The greatest lover of my soul.

So I let go, again, and let Him take me. And then I can breathe.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fresh week, Fresh start.....

It's finally Monday, a fresh start, a new day. And I am so very thankful for that. Although this coming week is busy (between the two of us, my husband and I have 6 appointments today!!) I am thankful that last week is done and this week brings with it new challenges, and new joys.

Last week, was by far one of the roughest weeks I can remember in a long time. It was an emotional roller-coaster to say the least. My Mom finished her radiation and completed her cancer treatment! I go with her to the Oncologist tomorrow and they will schedule her scan. We went out that night to celebrate where God has brought us as a family and toast my fabulous and wonderful Mom who has been an incredible person to watch go through this...she constantly amazes me.

The very next day, my Dad went in for a triple bypass surgery. My 55 year old, runner of a Dad. It was hard seeing the rock of our family hooked up to tubes and be in so much pain. But as each day passes, he is makeing strides and I know soon we will be outside running again. It's so very hard to watch your parents go through such painful things, but they are constant in their thanks to the Lord and joy for the things He has done.

Unfortunately in the midst of all this, I dealt with some issues with some people and spent the better part of two days sick to my stomach and in tears. Not good timing (not that it ever is)....but I released them and the situation to the Lord and know that I can do nothing else but trust God to bring about peace in my heart and am so thankful for my ever-supporting husband in all of this. People can be cruel, judgmental and quick to speak....but we are called to love no matter what. So, as hard as it can be....I'm praying even harder for them. And that gives me peace.

Talk about an emotional week, right? Well, on top of all of that we also had a birthday party for our dear friend who is moving back to the UK (hopefully for just a short time). He is family and it's so hard to see him finishing his work here, and packing up his things. He is one of those special people with a birthday on February 29th (his Mom's birthday is too!!!) and we surprised him on Saturday with a big bash! The look on his face was priceless!!

I only got out to run twice this last week, but today I am planning on another 4 miler....it's gorgeous out so maybe that will help :)

 I did get this lens last week! It's been on my wishlist for a little while and my friend who is also a photographer was upgrading and sold this to me for a fantastic price.  I had just sold some stuff on Craigslist, so bam! I'm loving learning how to use my camera and the different lenses :)

I am hoping that this week brings rest to my weary soul and that in the midst of it all I can still see and seek JOY because it's there....in these little faces :)

Have a great Monday!