Archive for the ‘Multiples Pregnancy’ Category

Where oh where has the last year gone??   3 comments

37.5 weeks pregnant (1 week before the twins arrived) with 15lbs of baby in there... And yes, that reads 51 inches!!!

December 13th, 2009

Dec. 23, 2009

Dec. 23, 2009

Oh my goodness, where has a year gone??

 
On December 13, 2009, we tucked Bridget into bed, snuck downstairs just the two of us, and snapped one last belly photo… We were 36.5 weeks pregnant with the girls, and I was sooo excited to meet them. Well, excited and scared. And rightly so. This has been a scarily exciting year. As I’ve noted in previous posts, this year has challenged me in ways I never imagined, and in all of the ways I knew it would when I snapped this photo. Caring for two little people at once (and trying not to ignore their older sister TOO much!) is quite a job. Even celebrities like Celine Dion find it hard (I don’t know why that suprises me, but I figured when you can afford sixteen billion nannies, wouldn’t it be easier??) Read the rest of this entry »

Kendra’s Journey   3 comments

Okay, so today is officially the March of Dimes “Preemie Awareness Day”, and as such, I’m reposting on the same subject  I have before. I know, bad blogger etiquette, especially considering the first was at the beginning of the month! But Multiples and More  did it, so why not me, right??

For those of you who didn’t read my previous post on Kendra, our lovely cousins Sylvia and Jeff were pregnant with their first baby at the same time as we were pregnant with the twins. The twins were due at Xmas, and Kendra around Easter, but on December 20th, the night before we were to have our twins (at 37.5 weeks), we received a call from Sylvia’s mom that Kendra had been born: 26 weeks, 2lb. Kendra’s aunt, Suzanne Day, a fantastic photographer in Barrie, Ontario, created this beautiful video of Kendra’s journey from being a micro-preemie to today, and I felt that it was important to share it with anyone who will watch so they can see the fight these little peanuts face when they come out WAY too early, first hand.

Tonight, when I am on my way to sleep, I will send up a prayer to every mom of a premature baby that I know, every mom that I don’t know, and every mom who doesn’t even know yet herself … I will pray for strength and courage, I will pray for HOPE, and mostly I will pray for God’s love to carry them through a journey where few would have the strength to carry themselves. And more than anything, I will pray for science to continue forging forward to find better and more complete solutions for these little peanuts fighting for their lives.

I am just one of hundreds of bloggers that is taking time today to help raise awareness about this important cause. Bloggers Unite!

November is Preemie-Awareness Month   7 comments

 

No, you didn’t miss something – the babies were not preemies, and I am not pregnant again. However, since we do have a miracle “micro-preemie” in our extended family, I thought it might be a good idea to blog about the March of Dimes’ Fight For Preemies campaign (www.marchofdimes.com).

When we found out we were having twins at just 11 weeks along, having the babies come too soon was one of my first thoughts. Okay, my truly first thought was “Holy crap, what are we going to do with TWO babies?” No, actually, when I really ponder it, my first thought was “Told ya so!”, directed mainly at my unbelieving husband. But my second (and first really legitimate) thought was panic. And then, joy, a warm yummy joy at seeing two beautiful little heartbeats, two little squirmy bodies, four hands, feet, and eyes (ok, those were actually creepy on ultrasound. But whatever).

 
Our first ultrasound at 11 weeks
Our first ultrasound at 11 weeks

And then… total and inalienable fear. I was afraid of EVERYTHING that could go wrong. Afraid of all the in utero complications that I knew of too well from 4 years of medical school. Afraid of the increased rate of loss with twin pregnancies. Afraid of major birth defects. Afraid of getting three little girls dressed, fed, and hair all done in time for daycare every morning. Afraid we’d never find 3 car seats that would fit across our backseat – or worse, what people would THINK when they saw 3 carseats across our backseat! But mostly, I was afraid of having the babies come too early – waaaay too early. I began to fixate on the really risky part of my pregnancy, between 26 and 32 weeks, where the babies would be considered “viable” even if they were born at less than the weight of a typical grapefruit. How can a little person survive born that small? And how could they possible survive and be healthy kids?

The thought of it swirled in my head, and every time a client would ask me if I should still be working, considering how intense and physically strenuous my job can be, I would smile and tell them everything was FINE, I was FINE, the babies were FINE, look at these child-birthing hips, I was born to have twins, ha ha ha! And then inside, I would shrivel up and die a micro death at the thought of doing anything that might increase the risk to my little peanuts. 

I remember the day that we hit 26 weeks. I watched the calendar crawl slowly through those 6 weeks. I was getting HUGE, and figured maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the babies came now: this belly can’t possibly get any larger, right? And then I’d go for my bi-weekly ultrasounds, and their body weights would creep up: 1 lb, 1.5 lbs, 2lbs, 2.5 lbs, 3 lbs. When the babies hit 4 lbs a piece, I started to breathe a little more easily. I used to talk to them, say silly things like, “Come on, girls, let’s just cook a little longer… It’s not really so great out here that you need to rush anything…”

My Doctor was recommending medical leave from work, consdering how large I was getting and how stressed and tired I was at the end of a long day at the clinic. I was glad to slow down the frantic pace a little, and use the time to be on light bed rest for safety. And as most of you know, in the end, it was wonderful. The girls arrived on December 21st, full term at 37.5 weeks and HUGE at over 7lbs each. They were born in under 4 hours of labour and came home from hospital within 48 hours, nursing like stars and passing all their health checks.

Our girls at 7 days old

Our girls at 7 days old

But the day before we were induced at 37.5 weeks, we got the call that their cousin, little Kendra Molly had been born. Early. Reaaaaaly early. It was almost Christmas, and Kendra wasn’t due until April. She was only 26 weeks along, born at 1.01kg (2.2 lbs) at a smaller hospital in Barrie, north of Toronto.

Kendra at birth - 26 weeks, 2.2lbs
Kendra at birth – 26 weeks, 2.2lbs
After being stabilized and assessed, she was flown by air ambulance to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, where she spent almost 3 months in NICU.

Kendra at Sick Kids
We kept abreast of wee Kendra’s progress thanks to her mom’s frequent posts and pictures on Facebook, along with calls from Jeff’s mom to keep us updated. While in the NICU, no one but the parents were allowed in, so even the grandparents didn’t meet or get to hold Kendra until she was a few months old. But it was so exciting to hear when Kendra hit a new weight goal, or they were able to remove one more support item. And then she was just in a regular incubator, no tubes or anything. So cool.
When she was released at 3 months old (just before real “due date”), Kendra had just hit 5 lbs.  But the weight piled on, and Kendra is a scrappy little fighter (like a few other little Stewart girls I know) and so she’s certainly caught up to her 2009 peers. Other than the big scar on her head from the surgery, I don’t think anyone would know Kendra was a micro-preemie.
Kendra at 10 months

Kendra at 10 months

At 10 months now, Kendra is HUGE, almost as big as her full term cousins, and doing great. But their road was rocky and included lots of tubes, meds, pneumonias, and even surgery to reduce fluid pressure on her brain. She is a miracle. And with all our twin-sanity around here, we haven’t even been able to make the 2 hour journey north to meet her yet. But hopefully at this year’s big family Christmas brunch, we can get some real pictures of all 3 cousins, born just 1 day and over 5 lbs apart, together at 1 year old.

Looking forward to it!

When Multiples Multiply   1 comment

A received an email last week from a mom in my Twins club (www.mpomba.com) suggesting the moms of Winter/Spring 09/10 get together for some social time. I was thrilled – as many of you know, I am a wonderfully social person who is HORRIBLE at organizing social events. And early life with twins can be horribly isolating – I have really noticed how little I leave the house this time around compared to with my older daughter, Bridget. Hooray for organizers! I get so excited when I meet “organizer-types”, as I can barely keep my dirty laundry organized into piles, let alone setting up social events with other moms!

Amazingly enough, four twins moms (two of us with older children as well) managed to find a day and time we were all free, and braved a public get-together at the park. It was a crazy stinky hot and humid day, but our new friend Tamara picked a spot near a Splash Pad (water play area) so the breeze brought occasional cool misty relief as we all sat in the shade and talked about how life has been so far.

And here is what I noticed: while life with “twinfants” is definately more intense, and absolutely each activity (from diaper changes to breastfeeding to loading in the car) takes A LOT longer, the chatter was pretty similar to what I talk about with my singleton mommy friends! I’m not sure why I find that so surprising, but I do. We talked about the ups and downs of our pregnancies (and of trying to get pregnant, for some), our health worries for our kids, foods we can’t eat while nursing, swapped funny spouse and in-law stories, griped a little bit here and there, and mostly boasted about our amazing kids. It was incredibly enjoyable.

Most enjoyable was how for each mommy there, I heard about something I was totally in awe of. Stories of “above and beyond” kinds of dedication that made me feel so lucky for the “simplicity” of my life with my girls! Imagine, eh? All the babies are getting breastmilk, which in itself for 4 sets of twins is amazing! It was great to meet other breastfeeding moms of multiples. For one of us, nursing hadn’t been possible so she was pumping breastmilk multiple times daily to bottle-feed to her boys. Wow… That’s like feeding quads – just whenshe gets finished making/pumping/storing the breastmilk for her twins, she then still has to FEED the twins! My hats off to her!! Another mom had her twins significantly premie – they were born at only 4 pounds, and so now carries all of the NICU and early infancy stress that come from such an experience. After hanging out with these ladies, I left realizing that women are so amazingly capable. When things happen to complicate life, we just dig deeper… And even more, I felt humbled and very blessed for how easy the girls and I have had it. Wow – my kind of day!

Just the eight of us... Clockwise from upper left: Taylor & Kennedy (g:g, 6m), Grayson & William (b:b, 4m), Sarah & Matthew (g:b, 3m), and Gabriel & Zachary (b:b, 4m)

We have already set a date to get together again, and hopefully will be able to get another group pic, but until then, here’s our little clan in action:

My Kids Are My Exercise   2 comments

When we found out it was twins we were elated/scared/thrilled. And of course, being the Type A that I am, the first thing I did was race out to grab some books on twin pregnancy. Not that there are many differences from a normal “singleton” pregnancy. But one area that I immediately fixated on was the book’s description of the increased caloric burn seen when growing and nursing two babies instead of one.

37.5 weeks pregnant (1 week before the twins arrived) with 15lbs of baby in there... And yes, that reads 51 inches!!!

37.5 weeks pregnant (1 week before the twins arrived) with 15lbs of baby in there... And yes, that reads 51 inches!!!

In the early days of growing sprogs, it doesn’t add up to much – maybe an extra yoghurt a day (or in my case, two extra!). But once you get into that third trimester, it sure sounds like you’ll be smokin’ along, burning calories like crazy building two babies, with little room left in your tummy to eat. And then the breastfeeding – wowee! According to the book, over a thousand calories a day, ripped from my body fat stores and drafted straight into lactation. Yowza!

Right. What they don’t mention is that your body also gets insanely good at digesting and absorbing calories in prep for these increased needs – disproportionately so. And you are hungry. No, starving. Constantly. As in the “I know I just finished eating that entire extra-large Supreme pizza, but I could really go for another…” kind of starving.

So I gained weight. A lot of weight. 65lbs to be exact. Which I’m told isn’t a massive amount for a twin mom. I had over 15lbs of baby in me! But to me, it seemed … ginormous. I came within 3 lbs of my 6’5 hubby. Now THAT’S humbling… In fact, we measured the circumference around my tummy just before the babies were born: 51 inches. That’s 4’3. I’m pretty sure with that mass and girth, I qualified for my own gravitational pull.

So that leads me to now. As of last week, I have officially lost the baby weight. All of it. Dum-de-da-dum! Hmm, you think. She doesn’t seem that happy. Why, pray tell?? Wasn’t it all true – the miracle of the double calorie burn??

Well, my friends, because I’m STILL stuck joining a gym. Yes, the weight is gone, but the proportions are gone too, the muscles have turned to goo and my core strength is a memory more distant than mix tapes. In fact, after taking one 12-class session of pilates, I’ve realized its going to take more than once a week to return to “looking great and feeling better”, or whatever such shlock convinced me to buy the membership in the first place.

So I am asking for your best bits of motivational advice. Now that I am a member, how do I make sure I actually go? And how often is enough weekly? Once? OK, even I know that’s likely insufficient. Will twice cut it?? Whaddya think?

And all because I was thirsty…   2 comments

The girls and me

Hello! This is my first blog entry at Twinside Out, and I wanted it to be an introduction… My name is Kym, and I have been following several blogs written by “moms of multiples” over the last six months of maternity leave. I really enjoyed being a part of their day-to-day trials and triumphs, hearing about cool products  and picking up great tips, and I found myself inspired over and over again! So since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I felt it might be a fun journey to start blogging also.

I am the proud Canadian mama of “three under three”: Bridget, our older daughter, is two and a half, and our (spontaneous) fraternal twin girls Kennedy and Taylor are now six months. We live in Oakville, a suburb of Toronto, with our zoo of animals: three tabby cats (Asparagus, Sprocket, and Zachary), a yellow Labrador (Emma) and our little foster bunny John Hopkins, who can’t seem to find a home without a dog… Although both my husband and I grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, we moved to Toronto in 2004 (just after I graduated from Veterinary School and we got married). Will’s job with the bank had transfered him to the banking capital of Canada, and I figured I was up for an adventure, so off we went!

Okay, that’s not really how it happened. I’m pretty sure it went more like this: Will announced we were moving and I’m pretty sure I kicked and cried and told him in no uncertain terms I’d rather DIE than move to Toronto. But doesn’t the first story make me sound much more brave and cosmopolitan?? I though so too.

But move we did, despite my best arguments otherwise, and after 6 years here, I think I can truly say we are happy with our decision. Bridget was born out here after we’d been married for three years, and we were thrilled. We had no trouble conceiving, and she was a textbook baby while in utero – easy pregnancy, no complications, born on time, great birth weight, short labour. We thought we’d won the baby lottery! When we took her home, however, we discovered that while we still had that “textbook” baby, someone had completely re-written the textbook on us! But like every other parent, with a tonne of sleep deprivation, hard work and what felt like a lifetime of shushing and swaying, we thought… “why not! She’s pretty cute. Decent manners. Not a complete Neanderthal… Let’s try again.” And like that, it was on.

Though we always get asked, just to set the record straight, twins DO NOT run in either of our families.  We were completely shocked when we saw that first ultrasound picture. Well, my husband was completely shocked… I, on the other had, had a sneaking suspicion that something was different…  Now, if we’d realized it was a BOGO weekend, I’m not sure we would have tried our luck at the Conception Lottery that particular cycle. I mean, it only took us three weeks to get lucky. Three weeks. That’s less time than it takes for Canada Post to deliver a freakin’ letter form Vancouver to Toronto. But three weeks later, the telltale nausea and tenderness told me the good times were over: we were knocked up again.

But I never imagined the breathtaking exhaustion that was to come. I remember one particular night I fell asleep at the dinner table. Somewhere in between my two year old throwing a hissy fit over her carrots being cut “wrong” and my hubby’s description of his triumph on the squash court, everything just went blank. And the nausea was much worse than my first pregnancy. But I knew, logically, that every pregnancy could feel different. Maybe this was a boy…  But no such luck. My fate was already sealed.

You see, we had just bought a house on “Twin Street”. When we decided to start trying for another baby, I started pushing for the move to a “real” house (as opposed to our little townhouse) in a “real” neighborhood, where neighbors actually knew each other’s names and borrowed cups of sugar and had block parties and such. We jokingly called a real estate agent a friend had used, and found our next house on the first go out the gate. We didn’t even know we were pregnant yet. But it called to me: four bedrooms, quiet street with basketball nets in abundance, nice backyard for the dog, great elementary school just down the block, and neighbors that waved when we drove by. Perfect! Little did we know we had sealed our fate when I helped myself to a glass of water in their kitchen. You see, this one block street had been lovingly called “Twin Street” for years. In fact, the family selling the house had an 11 year old girl, and 9 year old fraternal girl twins. The family across the street had 7 year old identical girl twins. The neighbors had boy:girl fraternal twins. The family on the corner had triplets!

But as I said before, twins don’t run in our family. We weren’t using fertility help. Twins… that’s CRAZY talk!  In fact, my husband didn’t believe me when I called him from the ultrasonographer’s office. I had to have a nice lady in the waiting room tell him that indeed, there were TWO babies in the ultrasound photo I was holding. He sounded floored. He must have looked worse: his officemates took an impromptu trip to the local LCBO for an emergency bottle of champagne. But twins it was. And 38.5 weeks later, after a normal, healthy pregnancy with no complications, our twins Taylor and Kennedy arrived at 7lb 13oz and 7lb 4 oz. Yup – that adds up to over 15 lbs of baby in this ol’ body of mine! I measured 51 inches around my belly by the time they were born, and I have the “twin skin” belly full o’ stretch marks to prove it. 

But it was worth it. Our twins arrived exactly the way we hoped: normal vaginal delivery, no extra help, no complications. And they were happy, healthy, good sized babies that came straight home. Again, we had won the baby lottery – this time times two. And just like with their older sister, we deserve an Olympic gold medal in the Pairs Sushing-and-Swaying devision. Life is definately crazier now, when twins make it “three under three”. Will had to spend a week working in the UK when the babies were three weeks old and we have no family living on this coast, let alone closeby. Then he got sick and spent two weeks in hospital when they were three months old – I know. How inconsiderate, right?!? Eight days after he was released, he had to travel to the UK again. So its been quite a year. But we’ve made it through, and things are looking up! And we certainly turn heads in the neighborhood when we go for a walk with the double stoller loaded up with two babies, a two-year old holding on beside, the dog threatening to pull the whole works over in her eagerness to walk  pull  yank us to the park, and (occasionally) a cat or two along for the ride in the basket below, just for good measure…

Everyone we meet says, “It must be something in the water over on “Twin Stree”…” To this day, I feel compelled to ask women to sign a waiver before drinking anything at our house. Consider yourself warned…