The featured blogger this week is Melissa of MaMe Musings! Melissa is the proud MoM of 17 month old twins Emily and Andrew. I hope you enjoy Melissa’s blog as much as I have!
What made you decide to start MaMe Musings?
I started MaMe Musings as a way to document and share our life as a family. While I was pregnant, everyone kept telling me to savor every minute because children grow so quickly. Once the babies were born, I felt so overwhelmed that some days, it seemed hard just to remember what happened the hour before. Up for a middle-of-the- night feeding, I decided to slow things down and start writing, so even when I couldn’t remember the event, I have the written account to take me back. I started with letters to the babies, which I have continued to write every few months, but now I blog about my journey as a mom and our everyday happenings—funny, serious, big, and small. Even though it’s our story, I think it’s a story to which most parents can relate.
Were you surprised to find out you were pregnant with twins?
After surgery for endometriosis and fertility treatment, we knew multiples were a possibility. Honestly, though, I was surprised to be pregnant at all. After a positive test very early on, my RE wasn’t planning to see me again until 6 weeks. After spotting and feeling totally not pregnant, I called to ask for another beta just to make sure things were okay. Surprisingly, my doctor offered to do a quick scan, and, at just over 5 weeks, we saw not one but two little sacs. I was in tears the entire time. My husband says he wasn’t surprised, but neither of us said a word until we left the office. Finally, we both looked at each other and said, “Twins!” To this day, I look at Emily and Drew and think, “Twins!” It’s a miracle I still can’t believe.
How was your pregnancy?
Pregnant friends of mine are jealous when I say I had absolutely no first trimester morning sickness or symptoms. I actually wanted to feel pregnant. The only thing that changed was my weight. I started gaining the day I found out! But, the first week of the second trimester, I woke up with heavy bleeding. Panicked, we rushed to the doctor’s office, sure that I was having a miscarriage. The babies were fine, and no cause was ever found, except for a possible low-lying placenta. The bleeding continued for over a month, and I was a nervous wreck. By the third trimester, I was beyond huge and started “house rest” per doctor’s orders. I worked from home for a couple of weeks, but by 34 weeks, I was too tired and too winded to do anything other than sit in the recliner. Because Drew, Baby B, was breech, we opted for a scheduled c-section at 38 weeks. Both babies were born without complications: Emily- 8 pounds, 6 ounces and Andrew- 7 pounds, 9 ounces!
You mentioned you had post-partum anxiety, something I actually have dealt with, can you discuss your experience?
I had a very difficult recovery from my c-section. After a hemorrhage in recovery and a subsequent transfusion, I had a rough couple of days, which complicated my attempts to breastfeed. From the time I left the hospital, I felt like a weight had been placed on my chest. It was hard to breathe, and I found myself worrying obsessively over every decision. People told me it was fatigue or typical new mom worry, but I knew what I was feeling was beyond normal. I experienced physical symptoms—racing heart, unexplained aches/pains, feeling like I couldn’t breathe. I worried constantly, mind always racing, so afraid that something was wrong with me or the babies. The best thing I did for my family was to talk to my doctor and to realize that I could do something to overcome it.
Your son Drew has infantile scoliosis, can you discuss this and offer any tips for parents in a similar situation?
As a baby, Drew gave me plenty to worry about. He had colic, reflux, and a mild case of torticollis. While he hit all his milestones, he sat with a terrible slouch. He leaned to one side, and more disturbingly, there appeared to be a bulging muscle on the left side of his back. At 9 months, I again mentioned my concerns to the pediatrician. She agreed it could be scoliosis but said we’d just check it again at 12 months. After reading about infantile scoliosis, I learned early treatment is critical. Not satisfied with waiting, we took Drew to a local spine specialist who ordered x-rays and confirmed that Drew did have a fairly moderate case of idiopathic infantile scoliosis.
Infantile scoliosis is rare. Most cases are resolving, but progressive infantile scoliosis can require years of casting and bracing to correct a potentially life-threatening curve. The doctor agreed we right to seek a diagnosis early so the curve’s progression could be monitored. He felt Drew’s case would resolve but only repeat x-rays, over time, would tell. We sought a second opinion and found a pediatric orthopedist at a leading hospital to take Drew’s case. So far, Drew’s curve has improved from 39 degrees to 19 degrees, and we are hopeful that our next visit in February will show more improvement.
I would tell other parents to follow their instincts. If you feel something isn’t right, even when your beloved pediatrician doesn’t seem concerned, it’s okay to seek another opinion. We weren’t satisfied with waiting to see if our son was okay. Getting an accurate diagnosis has allowed us be better advocates for Drew’s care and has helped us feel less afraid in the face of a scary diagnosis.
What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
We love to travel and see new places. Sometimes it’s just a new park, flea market, or children’s museum. We love weekend road trips—to the beach, the mountains, or Grandma’s house. We’re lucky that all are within a half day’s drive. We’ve also done bigger trips with the babies—Disney World and a 7-day cruise. We decided early on to just go. The trips aren’t always easy, but we get a little more efficient each time.
What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?
We haven’t found a local babysitter (other than family) to watch the twins for us to go out on an occasional date night or hockey game. I’d love to hear from families who have a reliable sitter (other than family and friends). Where did you find them, check their credentials, etc? Also, with the holidays coming up, we are looking for some gifts that Emily and Drew can share. Anyone have good ideas for toys that can be shared by 18 month old boy/girl twins?
As for a babysitter – do your kids go to daycare at all? We use all the college aged girls that work at my kids’ daycare for babysitters. If your kids don’t go, maybe you could call a local daycare and ask if anyone is interested. If they work at a daycare, you know they’ll be trained in CPR/First Aid and are used to juggling multiple kids! Plus, they are old enough to drive themselves.
You could also call a local high school’s National Honor Society and ask for recommendations of responsible teens that might be interested.
Since we don’t have family close by, I was originally hoping to find a nice grandmother-ly type lady who we could “adopt”. While we have a few sweet friends and neighbors, that scenario just didn’t seem to work out the way I’d hoped.
I finally found a college-age girl, the daughter of a former colleague of mine, who comes to play with the girls one afternoon a week for a couple of hours. Our girls LOVE Miss Jennifer…she’s so great with them, and it offers me a great break each week to run a couple of errands…or just clean out my linen closet upstairs. 🙂
So…I’d say…try to find someone you can trust, and work to incorporate that person into your schedule on some type of regular basis. While we’re not yet up for leaving our girls with someone else for bedtime, when the time comes, I know they’ll be plenty comfortable with Miss Jennifer brushing their teeth. 🙂
Thanks, Barbara and Mandy…great suggestions!
As luck would have it, a friend of mine from high school posted on FB just last night that she is looking for babysitting opportunities. I know her, she’s a mom, and she has childcare experience with her day job…win! win! win!
We may just have a new babysitter after all!
I have the same problem with babysitting. I just have such a hard time trusting people, besides my family, to watch my kids. My five year old son has never even been left with a babysitter. I am lucky to have a lot of family around though.
As for Christmas we are trying to think of things for our 13 month boy/girl twins to share too. I think we may get a little play house or play tent for the playroom…. We have a pop out tunnel that they love too. Good Luck!
I wonder if I knew that your babies were so HUGE at birth? Seems like something that would stick with me. Holy-almost-16-pounds-of-baby, Batman! You know I love all things MaMe – great interview. I totally suck for not commenting before. 🙂
Things that the boys at our playdates love as much as the girls: train table, tiny trampoline, ball pit or play tent, musical instruments, Little People playsets, ride-on toys, doctor play kit, and puzzles.
Your friends are right about treasuring every moment with your children. My son was a wild and noisy baby, I regret thinking how I wanted him to grow up so that I won’t be putting much effort in taking care of him. I miss those days so much. They just grow up so fast.