Friday, April 29, 2016

Birth Story: Conor James and Caden Francis

I found the below birth story questionnaire on the Twin Talk blog. I figured since I never shared their full birth story on my blog...that it would be fun to fill out. And the boys will be TWO a week from today, so it's a good time to reminisce about their birth. I wrote a brief post about a week or two after they were born. But here's the full story from finding out we were expecting twins, through to when we came home. 

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins? 7 weeks exactly. I went in for my first OB appt at UCLA and an intern did my first ever ultrasound. She finished, left the room, and said she was going to get the doctor. When the doctor came in, she was there for all of 5 seconds and said "so you know there's two, right?"   UMMMM. What? I didn't even really know for sure that I was pregnant! Oh, and I was alone during this appointment because Jim's truck broke down on the 405 (the main highway in LA...similar to 95 here in MA). 
My reaction seconds after leaving the ultrasound:

Any issues during your pregnancy? Let me preface by stating that I didn't believe morning sickness was really a "thing". I mean, I knew people had some nausea, but I honestly felt like it wasn't as bad as people made it sound. Plus, my mom didn't have any sickness with Chrissy and I - so I was expecting smooth sailing. But that, unfortunately, didn't happen for me. Zofran was my best friend. It made me human again for a little while at least. Then came the constipation. Wow - I know, TMI. But really, with the prenatal vitamins and iron supplements and pregnancy alone, the constipation is brutal. Then adding zofran to the mix? Pooping was literally impossible. That was it though. No real problems or diagnosis. And towards the end of my pregnancy I was put on precautionary bed rest due to a few minor contractions. I hated bed rest, because I felt like I had SO much to do and set up and buy and cook and prep. And plus, no position was even remotely comfortable.
Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant:  I loved people's reactions when I went to stores and walked around my office.  "Woah. Are you having TWINS?!?!" Like they had never seen a really pregnant person before. Even my family members were shocked at how big I looked (like my Uncle Dennis). His reaction always made me laugh. My mom took this about a week before I had the boys. We were outside of our place in Alexandria, VA.

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? SLEEP! Rest, relax, and pamper yourself as much as possible. Especially now that I am pregnant for a second time. There is no time to relax, barely any time to sleep, and certainly no time to pamper myself. I remember getting weekly pedicures my first pregnancy. I think I've had one this pregnancy so far. And I'm already 28 weeks. Also, I would tell myself to accept help happily and willingly. For some reason, that's hard for me, even now.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 37 weeks, 2 days  

Baby A Information: Conor James  
May 6, 2014
6 lbs 11 oz

Baby B Information: Caden Francis 
May 6, 2014
5 lbs 5 oz

This was us arriving at the hospital, gowning up and prepping for my IV. These photos were taken about an hour before we became parents...and immediately became a family of four!

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery?  At around 34 weeks, my OB (who specialized in high risk pregnancies) said their policy was to not have me go longer than 37 weeks pregnant. That's considered full term for twins. Since Conor (baby A) was in a breech position, she said repositioning him was extremely unlikely and we should go ahead and schedule the c-section. We called the OR right then and there, and tried scheduling it for Monday, 5/5. She said it was all booked, so Tuesday, 5/6 at 10am it was! We arrived in the morning, and the OR ended up being delayed a couple hours. Therefore, the boys were born a little after 12noon. The c-section went extremely smoothly. The only real negative memory was the spinal. I hated it. But it was over quick, then I felt numb, and things began. Conor was out in what felt like 2 seconds. And then it felt like an eternity to see/hear Caden. It was literally only one minute. Lots of tugging and pulling and me moving on the table. So weird. Then I heard two whaling babies and I immediately felt relief. 
They sewed me up and off to recovery I went. Jim left me a little earlier to venture off with the babies. They stayed in recovery with us until we were all moved to our room.

After a few hours in the triage/recovery place in the pics above, we moved to our own private room...with two beds. One for me and one for Jim! Here are some pics of the boys and us in our room. We all stayed the night here (the boys in the hospital nursery, so we could get some rest), and at 4-5AM the next morning, Caden was swept away to the NICU.

Any NICU time? If yes, for what reason and how long? Conor didn't go to the NICU at all. Mainly because he was a very good size and he nursed/ate really well. Caden went to the NICU for the whole hospital stay, four days. He needed to maintain his blood sugars and also gain some weight. They were both little troopers, but I felt bad they were separated. I feel like I spent more time with Conor up in our hospital room and Jim spent more time with Caden down in the NICU. Moving around post c-section wasn't the easiest task. To this day, both Jim and I can't rave enough about the NICU nurses and entire staff at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in the Washington, D.C. area. They had so much sincerity and compassion and really helped us out a ton. 
Con in our room, next to my bed: 

The first time holding Caden in the NICU (I held him in my room initially, and the day after he was born he went to the NICU because of his blood sugar levels):

Did you have any complications after delivery? No complications at all. I healed up well, and had a great report at my 6-week post op appointment.

How long did you (the parents) stay in the hospital?  Four days. We were discharged Saturday - the day before my first Mother's Day.

Did your twins stay with you or in the hospital nursery at night?  Conor stayed in the nursery and Caden stayed in the NICU. I am a huge advocate for hospital nurseries and I'm so disappointed the hospitals in the Massachusetts area are doing away with them for the "mother/baby bonding initiative". Boston Globe article published here. I think the child and mother have a lifetime to bond, and Mom needs a few days of rest and help to recuperate after giving birth.

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital?  
Honestly, I loved having my slippers, my camera/phone, chargers, and my hairbrush. To be able to brush my hair was a big one. I felt refreshed. I didn't shower the entire time I was in the hospital, so brushing my hair felt nice. And of course I can't complain about the awesome pics we got of the boys when they were hours and days old. I also got a toiletry bag as a complimentary gift, so I didn't need to pack many things. A toothbrush is always a good option to have! The hospital stocks you up on pads and mesh underwear, so don't go crazy planning there. In my opinion, minimum is best because you leave the hospital with tons of formula, pacifiers, diapers, and babies! Haha babies (plural) in my case.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital:  My hands-down best moment was holding them together for the first time, skin-to-skin after Caden was discharged from the NICU. I was only able to hold Conor in my room for so many days. Granted I visited Caden and held him, but then I didn't have Conor while I was with him. So my FAVORITE moment was holding them both at the same time - for the first time, comfortably in my bed. Oh, and another favorite moment was hearing on Saturday that we were ALL getting discharged and going home. That was a relief. 
Here we are, all three of us back together again. :)

Then we were gearing up to go home!
If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Remember that no two stories are the same and the internet can be your biggest enemy! Don't over research and over read ridiculous articles and stories. Sure anything can happen and you have no control over it, but you are your own person and you come with your own story. Trust your instincts because they are usually right. Don't listen to anyone else. You were chosen to be their Mom, so be the best mommy you can be. Good luck, and enjoy it. It goes by so fast! :)
One week old:
And almost two years old:


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Crab Cakes and Springtime!

Spring is in full effect...and that can only mean one thing! Well, playing outside DEFINITELY and also it's crab cake time! YUM!

Theresa and her friend Ashley came over last night to celebrate Theresa's big 30th birthday. I wanted to prepare a light, fresh, summer dish - and also include some BBQ action so Jim could fire up his grill. So I went with a crab cake appetizer and then bun-less turkey burgers on top of a bed of lettuce and a side of a caprese salad...with garden fresh basil!

Conor and Caden ate a couple hours before us and had some meatball pizza, corn, and diced up apples. Yogurt pouch for dessert! Boy does Caden LOVE corn. He wolfed it all down before he even touched his pizza. We are planning to make some homemade pizzas again this weekend, so watch out for that blog post. The boys love doing that and "helping" me in the kitchen. Their new thing is sitting at the island and having a snack and watching me cook or run the water at the sink. They think it's great.

I whipped up the crab concoction from my own recipe - here on my blog from two years ago. It's mainly lump crab meat, diced red pepper, celery, apple, chives, mayo, one egg, ritz crackers, crushed red pepper, and black pepper. You can really add whatever you like...just make sure to dice it up real small.

Everything is all plated out. The lettuce is for the turkey burgers - when they come off the grill. And the fixings for the caprese salad are off to the right.

A few last stirs and topping of fresh ground black pepper - now I'm ready to make the cakes.

I didn't have a pic of this stage from last time - mainly because it's real messy like when you're making meatballs. But here they are! Cooking away! I made 7....the pan held 5. I heated up some EVOO and garlic for about 2 minutes and made sure the pan was piping hot. I put the cakes down and let them cook for about 5-7 minutes on one side, and then another 5 on the other side. Let them sit and cook, otherwise they get mushy and break apart easily. Leave them alone! :)

It was tough timing when they were done cooking, because it was also bath and bedtime for the boys (6:30 or so). So I turned the heat real low, and let them simmer a bit more while we were doing bedtime upstairs. It's best to serve these piping hot - so I didn't want to take them out of the pan and let them sit while we did bedtime. SO anyway, long story short they are a bit more well done than I typically like them.

Then I made my homemade tartar sauce which is simple. I use light mayo, dice up a pickle, add some lemon juice, salt and pepper...and done!

These are so easy to make and often you have 95% of the ingredients already in your fridge. You can find the crab meat at your local grocery store, in the seafood department of course. I actually found three different kinds when I got there - so I asked the seafood person which was the best for crab cakes and he guided me in the right direction. It's a real crowd pleaser, nice to share, and something different!



PS Flashback preparation of Baby C, check out mini Caden and Conor! They're probably about 2-3 months here. I used to put Caden in the front, so I'm pretty sure he's on the left. ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

First Time at the Dentist!

On Monday, we had our first dentist appointment. The pediatric dentist was great - as soon as we walked in the room, he asked if we wanted him to put on the boys favorite show, Daniel Tiger. That way, we were able to talk a bit about what we were going to do that day - and also signs and things to look out for over the next few years.

The dentist was very informative and gave me a lot of information regarding their teeth now at this age, how and when they jaw line will grow, how many teeth they have (16!), and that they're getting their two year molars now. He also said - without even asking me - that their mouths are identical. He knew right away they were identical twins based on their mouths and teeth! How funny.

Here we were in the waiting room...

The boys were pretty tired after their appointment. We came home, ate some lunch and played upstairs a bit before going down for a nap. Their naps were a bit later than usual, and they didn't want to wake up! I tried waking them at 3:30 (because bedtime is at 7) and no one moved.

I opened the shades, removed their blankets, and turned off their sound machine...and still nothing!


Finally!! AWAKE at 4pm! haha time to playyyyy.

We did a few errands - we went to the grocery store, and FedEx, and then got some pizza for dinner! Then we played outside while I weeded a few spots in my front yard.

After doing so much yard work down the Cape, I felt like our Woburn house needed a little something. The boys loved running around. Then they had baths and were in bed by 7:45pm or so. All in all, a fun and different day! Now it's back to the regular grind.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Tuesday!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Cape Cod FUN and MA Bar Exam Results!!!

We spent the weekend in Cape Cod - gearing up for renters and getting the house ready for the summer. We had SO much fun. The weather wasn't the most cooperative on Saturday, but Sunday was beautiful. A little cool but it was sunny and nice. The boys had such a busy day on Sunday, they were outside most of the morning with Jim's parents and brother, while we did some landscaping in our front yard. They were sort of floating back and forth between the houses. It was cute. I can tell they are getting real comfortable down there. Surprisingly, they didn't  nap either day! So at 4PM on Sunday, this is what my house looked like...

Jim drove down Friday night so he could get a head start on his projects Saturday morning. The boys and I drove down on Saturday late morning, and  were wide awake the whole time. We arrived around 1PM. We played and enjoyed some time with Jim's parents. It was pretty rainy and chilly out, so time was mostly spent indoors. The boys love that they have a whole new set of toys when they arrive there.

This pic was taken late Saturday afternoon after the rain finally stopped. Jim and his brother Joe were installing some new storm doors (which look amazing by the way), and Mama needed to keep the boys busy so they didn't get hurt around the door installation. Last minute, I threw their bikes in my car and I am so glad I did. It was so fun!

Then Jimbo's uncles came by our house, since they were down the Cape for a golf tournament. They offered to help demolish the shed which was amazing because it came down in two seconds. It went MUCH faster than just Jim and Joe. I took the pic through the boys bedroom, so don't mind the screen. ;)

After pic of the backyard!

The boys LOVED watching!

Then Caden found this adorable little adirondack chair - which I'm pretty sure is like a coaster or something. It's really small. He apparently thought it was HIS chair. I'm surprised it didn't break.

Then Sunday morning arrived! The boys slept great. We had to move one of the twin beds (that we just got ready for the renters) to put the boys pack n plays up. It's pretty easy - we actually set up one of the pack n plays inside one of the twin bed frames.


The boys and I walked to the beach Sunday morning while Jim took a ride to the dump and got rid of everything from the shed demolition. 

On our walk, we found a turkey!!! Conor said "quack quack quack" when he saw it. This thing was massive.

After the dump, Jim drove down to Keyes Beach and met us...and we all walked around and found some shells. Caden loved it, but Conor was a bit chilly and wanted to be held. 

We got back to the house and the boys spent a few hours at Jim's parents place while we went to Home Depot to get mulch and plants to do our front yard. We brought the boys back over to our house around 1PM for a nap, but they just giggled in their room the whole time. So I eventually gave in and put on some Daniel Tiger. They snuggled on the couch and me and Jim were outside doing the lawn. Windows were open, and we could see them (and hear them) the whole time. It worked out really well!

I planted some marigolds and put them out on the deck. I also bought some basil, but I forgot to plant it. Hopefully it doesn't die in the backyard.

Jim was spreading the mulch while I weeded a bit and watered the hydrangeas out front. It's not a drastic difference, but we wanted to spruce it up a bit.

We also bought some grass seed to plant in the front yard again. The front yard gets a TON of sun, so the grass tends to burn off and die. I will post more pics as the summer approaches.

Then we removed all the leaves and debris from the hydrangeas, watered them, added some miracle grow, and put mulch around them to make them pop. Unfortunately no after pic here. They will look better this summer. Stay tuned!

After our big landscaping project, we brought the boys downtown for some ice cream!

Then we drove over to Veterans Beach where there is a  nice park for the kids. It's close to the Hyannis Yacht Club (HYC) and a JFK Memorial. There is also a shaded area with tons of picnic tables and grills to spend the day having a picnic. The boys weren't very entertained though, and passed right out! Then we brought them out and they snoozed with me on the couch for a bit before driving back to Woburn. Overall, a very fun filled weekend.

In other exciting news. Jim passed the Massachusetts Bar Exam!!!!!!! YAY JIM!!! I didn't have a doubt in my mind, but it was nice to see the official letter in my hand. :) Way to go, Jim! We are all so so so proud of you!

All for now. Have a great week everyone! We are off to our first dentist appointment today!