accepting the sadness

I let myself cry about it this morning, at last.  Big, fat tears bouncing down my face, dripping off the end of my nose and streaming from my chin.  I knew they were coming, and waited all day yesterday for the dam to be released. But yesterday I couldn’t do it, couldn’t open the floodgates on the emotions that would acknowledge this reality.  My heart broke when I told Natalie the election results, but there was morning basketball practice to get to and breakfast to make.  Life, for my children, had to keep its steady clip.

I don’t know what’s best in a situation like this–do I expose the full weight of my devastation to my children? Or, do I hide my fear and anxiety, protecting them from seeing that their mother is floundering and helpless? I don’t want to project my emotions on them, but I also want to teach them that these kinds of feelings are okay. I want to protect them, but I don’t want to shelter them from reality.  I am searching for the right way to be both vulnerable and strong, but I haven’t found it yet.

All I know, right now, is that I need to keep practicing self-care.  I told myself yesterday that I could have the day to grieve, but I need more.  Those tears were a start, as were the many mugs of tea, the hot shower, the snuggles from my babies, the brisk fall air, and the hand of my partner. More love, more kindness, more gentle thoughts–these are the items on my agenda.  Sending others who are stunned and grieving a virtual hand to hold.

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pantsuit nation

This morning my heart swelled with pride and my eyes stung with tears as I filled in the little circle next to Hillary Clinton’s name on the ballot, with my sidekicks squealing away in their stroller just outside the voting booth.  For them, for Natalie, for love & hope & justice & empathy & more, I am so very happy to be a part of Pantsuit Nation and a Clinton supporter in this election.

Get out there and vote, people!

Picture perfect

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We have family photos this morning, which I’m so looking forward to (Kelly does amazing work!), but has also been a source of a little stress.  Planning outfits for two more people that weren’t too matchy, but also, ya know… matched, was a job.  We’re also having shots taken with my sister’s family and my parents, so I’m hoping there are no great clashes among our outfit choices.

We (read: I) decided that soft, muted neutrals were best for this year’s photos.  I found Natalie’s dress first, and used that as a guide.  It has cream, tan, and peachy-pink tones, and I added brown boots and a cream-colored scarf.  Viv is in the same color scheme, and I might add a headband to her outfit if she’ll tolerate it.  Logan is in a denim button-down and khakis, with a puffy vest that pulls in some of the cream and peach colors that his sisters are wearing.  Mike will be in jeans and a tan sweater, and I think I’ll be in a cream sweater dress with a denim jacket, leggings, and boots.  Dressing this postpartum body is a bit of a chore, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I ditch my planned outfit at the last minute.

We’re doing pictures at Harmony Hill Farm, at my friend Tammy’s beautiful barn and around her property.  Cross your fingers for good weather, big smiles, and no crying babies!  I’ll share some of our shots when I have them, of course.  🙂

this kid

Mike and I have both commented recently on how lucky we are that Natalie has taken to her big sister role so well.  She is easily the twins’ favorite person, and Logan is especially enamored with her.  Watching our children so naturally love each other as they develop sibling relationships is one of the greatest joys of adding Vivian and Logan to our family.

In addition to being our best helper with the babies, Natalie is also having a great year at school.  She loves the routine of school and thrives in a structured classroom environment.  She’s reading like a pro (she just read Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, in its entirety, to us at bedtime last night!), acing her spelling tests, doing simple addition, and generally just gobbling up anything she’s taught.  Her favorite class is library, though all of the “Specials” (art, music, gym, guidance) are pretty high on her list.

Even our recent move hasn’t seemed to phase her, which amazes me.  She loves her new room, having a playroom and a big yard, and the shorter commute to school has been a big bonus.  She is a pretty resilient, optimistic kid and we feel so lucky that she is ours.  I would love to press pause on this stage, with two happy, healthy babies and our independent big girl wowing us with all that she is learning and doing.

 

Two boobs, two babies. Simple, right?

Let me start by saying, fed babies are happy babies.  I’ve stood on my breastfeeding soap box before and probably came across as a smug know-it-all, which is not my intent.  Not at all.

I knew going into this latest child rearing adventure that I would at least attempt nursing for as long as my body could keep up with it.  I did lots of research on breastfeeding twins (did you know that our bodies can actually keep up the necessary supply to exclusively nurse QUADRUPLETS?!) and knew it would be challenging.  My experience breastfeeding a single baby was not without its difficulties, and I ultimately stopped nursing Natalie because I was sick of pumping at work and felt ready to have my body back.  I cried big fat tears during our last nursing session, but nearly jumped for joy when I had my first long stretch away from her that didn’t involve engorgement and seeking out a private, clean place to pump.  I won’t say that I regret ending our nursing relationship when I did, but I have spent time feeling like I gave up too soon.

I’m a pretty goal-oriented, plan-ahead person (ya think?!), so I set an initial goal of 6 weeks of exclusively breastfeeding the twinners, figuring that their weight gain and my comfort would determine whether or not we’d start supplementing with formula at that point.  Having two big, healthy babies with hearty appetites was a dream in some ways (we are so incredibly grateful that these two didn’t start their lives in the NICU, like so many multiples do), but was also incredibly intimidating.  I just wasn’t sure how my body would keep up, especially at the beginning when they were nursing All.  The.  Time.

But I hit my 6 week goal.  And it was going well, so I decided to shoot for 10 weeks, and then four months, and then 6 months.  Each time we hit a milestone, there wasn’t a reason to stop.  Even though it’s twice the production, my body actually feels better this time around than when I was breastfeeding Natalie.  I’m thrilled to share that the babes were exclusively breastfed until 5.5 months, when we started introducing some solids.  Our nursing relationship is still going strong, and we’ve added lots of solid food (including mixing their infant cereal with formula) to supplement at this point.  The babies nurse every 3 or 4 hours during the day, and go a long stretch (10 – 12 hours) overnight between feedings.  I pumped for a while and they have each taken a bottle pretty happily, but since I’m home with them full-time the pressure to pump is mostly off.  I think we’ll probably transition to drinking from straws instead of to bottles in time for their first birthday.  The goal now is to keep nursing them until around that one-year mark, only weaning sooner if that seems to be best for either baby.  I doubt it will.

I’ve fielded lots of questions from people about nursing twins, because I think it does kind of boggle the mind that the human body can feed TWO babies, each weighing more than 18 pounds at this point!  The logistical questions can be answered pretty simply:  I tandem nurse using the football hold on our giant nursing pillow, offering the breast after their naps each day.  They are usually both hungry when they wake up, though Vivian isn’t always interested in nursing right away.  While our nursing sessions used to last forever, both babies are now incredibly efficient little eaters and we are usually done in about 10 minutes.  They each nurse on just one side apiece, and their weight gain has indicated that they are getting plenty to eat!  Viv finishes first, without fail, and I prop her up on one side of the pillow for a burp and then she gets some wiggle time on the bed while Logan finishes up.  She is a rolling, creeping machine and I have to keep a good eye on her to keep her from plummeting off the bed.  It’s not exactly easy, but it’s a routine that works for us at this point.  I’m not sure how things will change as Viv becomes bigger and stronger and wants to wriggle out of my reach.

Other questions are usually about me, and how I am able to keep up with the needs of these two growing monkeys.  My body is definitely working hard, and I think breastfeeding gets the credit for my post-partum weight loss (over 60 pounds, just 5 pounds shy of my pre-pregnancy weight).  I am hungry and thirsty pretty much constantly, and feel a big responsibility to be mindful of taking in enough calories to support my supply.  I also take a Fenugreek supplement daily (in addition to a prenatal multi, calcium, iron, fish oil, vitamins C & D, and a probiotic), which may have no effect, but I like to think it’s helping.

I know I’m lucky that breastfeeding has been pretty seamless this time around, and feel incredibly grateful to be fostering the mutual benefits it provides me and my babies.  The pressure I felt when I was nursing Natalie has simply evaporated with these two, and while I hope to breastfeed until they are near 12 months, if it stops working we’ll adjust.  I’m sure it will be sad for all three of us when it ends, but as long as everyone is healthy and happy in the meantime, I’m not stressed about that transition.

I’m happy to answer questions about nursing two, if anyone has them.  If you know someone expecting multiples who is curious about how it all works, send ’em my way!  There were lots of challenges at first (Viv was tongue-tied, neither baby would latch without a nipple shield, I couldn’t figure out the football hold, etc.), but practice has helped us find our rhythm–it’s doable!

Boo!

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Halloween was a bit of a blur this year, but we managed to pull it off!  Natalie spotted a flowy white gown in TJ Maxx at the end of August that was part of a Cleopatra costume and insisted that she have it for Halloween.  She didn’t have a clue who Cleopatra was, but the gold arm bands and ruffly sleeve caps were enough to convince her that it was the perfect costume.  It actually provided a nice opportunity to teach her something new, and she got very into the idea of the straight hair and cat eye makeup (of course).

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I gave her naturally wavy hair a blowout on Sunday night after her bath, and straightened the ends so she’d be ready for her costume parade at school the next day.  We spent 15 minutes or so before heading out to a Trunk-or-Treat event re-straightening as needed and getting her makeup on.  I found some ideas on Pinterest that I used as a guide and Nat was pleased as punch with the results.  We also followed an easy tutorial for adding streaks of glitter to her hair that was just a matter of mixing glitter with hair gel and combing through (or painting on, in our case) strands to add some flash.

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I decided pretty early on that I wanted to dress the babies up as dragons so I could do a very simple play on a Khaleesi costume.  After first ordering them costumes that were HUGE, we borrowed one from their cousin Lydia and I purchased a new one that was much smaller.  The headpieces weren’t exactly easily wearable, but the babies were SO cute in their little outfits!

Adding to the chaos of getting three littles ready for Halloween was Mike’s call for jury duty, which he needed to report for bright and early at a courthouse over an hour from our house.  After seeing him off in the morning, I managed to get the kids packed up in the van to bring Natalie to school, along with her costume and treats for her class party.  Thankfully, my parents came down to assist for the day, and Mike was ultimately not selected as a juror, so we had four adults on-hand for the evening.

NaBloPoMo

For the first time in all the years I’ve been blogging, I’ve decided to participate in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo).  I’ve pledged to write and publish a post every day during the month of November, which I’m hoping will help me to get back in the rhythm of regular blogging.  While there are plenty of mundane details of our day-to-day routine that I will surely share, I have also joined the BlogHer Writing Lab to give me some prompts on days when I’m feeling less than inspired (and to mix it up a bit… these babies are cute, but I don’t know if I can really write about just them every single day…).  I hope you’ll follow along, and consider joining as well!  The deadline to register is November 5th, so it’s not too late to participate.

A Day in the Life: 2 Months In

I remember wondering what our days with twins would really look like–how much crying will there be?  How will I feed them both at once? When will I shower? Etc. Etc.

While we are far from a “routine” in the typical sense of the word, we have settled into a rhythm that feels manageable and comfortable.  The How are we ever going to do this? feeling has mostly dissipated, and Mike and I typically end our days with lots of high-fives and pats on the back for surviving another round.  I though it would be fun to occasionally share what a day in the life of twins looks like for us at different stages throughout this first year.

Making this current stage possible are a few critical factors:

  • Mike has extended his paternity leave through the end of the school year, which means there are almost always two sets of hands available to care for the babies
  • We have some experience on our side, which allows us to breathe a bit easier through the difficult moments and see the light at the end of the tunnel when a phase or day seems particularly rough
  • Both of our babies are healthy, vibrant little beings who eat and sleep well

Here is the short breakdown of a recent weekday:

  • 6:15 to 7am – wake up & diaper / feed / dress babies
  • 7 – 8:30am – playmat time for the babies & coffee for me; another round of diapering & feeding
  • 8:30 – 9:15am – get babies into car seats and run out to the grocery store
  • 9:15 – 11:30am – babies nap while Mike and I do some chores, shower, etc..
  • 11:30 – 1:15pm – more diapering and feeding, lots of cuddles
  • 1:15 – 2:15pm – take the babies for a walk (they sleep)
  • 2:15 – 3:30pm – diapering, feeding, snuggling, tummy time
  • 3:30 – 4:30pm – babies nap while we scramble to make an early dinner
  • 4:30 – 5pm – try to keep the babies happy with more nursing and snuggling, but they are inevitably cranky and fussy
  • 5 – 6:45pm – rock the babies to sleep in the stroller at Natalie’s tee ball game
  • 7 – 7:30pm – try to keep the babies happy while Natalie takes a bath and gets ready for bed
  • 7:30 – 8:30pm – bedtime routine and tuck the babes in for the night
  • 8:30pm – celebrate surviving the day with a glass of wine 🙂

And here is the long version of that same day 🙂

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Natalie is up for school around 6am, which means we are all up at about 6am.  On a typical night, the babies have slept soundly from 8:30pm to 1:30 or 2am and then slept somewhat fitfully until Natalie jumps into bed with us.  Sometimes they have one feeding overnight, but most times it’s two.

The day begins with Nat giving the babies snuggles and getting herself ready for school.  I am so grateful that she is at an age where she chooses her own clothes, dresses herself save for any tricky buttons, brushes her own teeth and hair, and cleans up her own breakfast dishes. While she’s alternating kissing her brother and sister and getting herself dressed, I usually manage to brush my teeth and get my hair in a ponytail before tackling morning diapers and getting the babies set up for a long nursing session.

Mike and Natalie head off down the road for kindergarten by about 6:45, and the babies and I have a couple of hours alone at the house.  Nat attends school in the district where Mike teaches, which is about an hour’s drive from our house.  It’s been the cost of Mike’s paternity leave to get her back and forth to school every day, but it’s definitely been worth it.

After a good feed, I get clothes on the babies and start the chore of getting all three of us downstairs for the day.  While I can easily carry both babies at once, we never carry them down the stairs at the same time (visions of a simple misstep on our steep stairs are very real nightmares for me).  This means at least two or three trips up and down to get both babies settled onto the playmat in the living room along with anything we need from upstairs (most importantly, my enormous nursing pillow).

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Coffee is next up for me–essential!  Lately I’ve gotten back into bulletproof coffee (my fave combination: 10 oz of coffee, 2 tablespoons of ghee, a quarter cup of whole coconut milk–froth it up with an immersion blender and guzzle/sip/enjoy).  Mornings are pretty happy times for both babies, so they are usually content to kick, stretch, and coo on their playmat while I putter around the kitchen for a few minutes.

I usually scroll the morning’s headlines and social media while I down my coffee and talk to Viv and Lo about the day ahead.  If I’m lucky, we have about 20 minutes together to ease into the day before they get fussy and are ready for a change of scenery.

On this particular morning, Vivian wasn’t satisfied unless she was in my arms, so we snuggled together for the first part of the morning.

After a good night’s sleep (and only eating once or twice overnight), the babies usually nurse a lot in the morning.  When I’m home alone, getting them both set up to eat is a bit of a chore, but I have managed to get a system down that works because neither baby is rolling yet.  I am able to put both babies on the couch, side by side, while I strap on the enormous nursing pillow and settle in on the couch next to them.  A bit of a reach is needed to get each baby set up in a football hold before they latch on and begin to nurse.  This is my quality Gilmore Girls viewing time. 🙂

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On this day, I fed the babies at 6:15ish and again at 7:30.  After feeding them, we often go for a walk or run a quick errand to fill the time before Mike is back home and we can each take a baby.  This morning, it was a trip to the grocery store for a few essentials.

To get both babies changed, in car seats, and out to the car alone is no small feat.  One or both is crying, and one inevitably spits up or needs another diaper change before we make it out the door.  The car is an almost-instant soother, though, so no matter their level of distress I know they’ll be conked out within a minute or two of our drive.

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Wheeling both babies through the grocery store at this age means no cart, but instead using our double stroller. Heavy duty stroller hooks make it possible to hang a bag from the back and pretty easily navigate through the store.

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When we made it back home, both babies were still fast asleep, which meant I could finally get myself some breakfast.  Some mornings, the only way to have some breakfast is to make it while listening to both babies cry in the other room or just wait until Mike is home so I can steal a few minutes alone at the table to eat.  Breakfast is usually something with protein, often eggs, but this morning it was: a banana and an apple sliced up with some berries and topped with almond butter and raw coconut flakes.  Delish.

When Mike got back home  we tackled our chore for the day.  We are planning to list our house at the end of the month, so we have a list of projects to work on each day to attempt to get the house ready to sell.

Lucky for us, the babies were still conked out from our grocery store trip so we each got to tackle a project (I painted trim, Mike cleaned radiators) and I even got a shower in before they started to stir.

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When the babies are up, our schedule is pretty consistent: change diapers, feed and burp, have some playtime, nurse again and they fall asleep.  While they are happy or nursing we steal some time to get in food ourselves or watch a TV show before Mike heads down the road to pick up Natalie.  The babies and I often accompany him on the afternoon leg of the trip, depending on when they last ate and slept.

On this particular day, we stayed behind and Mike picked Nat up solo.  He was on the road around 1:15, and I packed the babies up for a walk while he was gone.  This is another guarantee of a nap, and is always a welcome outing for me.

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Our walking route is about 2 miles, and takes us down by the water.  Now that the weather is warming up, the harbor is starting to fill up again and I am reminded of how lucky we are to live in this seaside town.  I know that spring is a beautiful time most everywhere, but there is something magical about watching both land and ocean come to life at once.  Boats are lowered into the water, the docks are pressure-washed, and gulls squawk overhead; it is such a welcome feast for the senses to walk through the salty air after a long winter.

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When Mike and Natalie get home, we head into the toughest stretch of the day.  The babies are fussy and start to nurse almost every hour from around 4pm until bedtime, and we feel stretched pretty thin between keeping the babies happy and getting in some quality time with Nat.  She is a huge help with the babies, though, and doesn’t seem to resent the loss of both parents’ full attention now that she has siblings.

We squeezed in an early dinner and Nat watched a little Hook while the babies alternately fussed, nursed, and napped.  Around 5 o’clock, we got Natalie into her tee ball uniform and bundled the babies into car seats to get to her game. Mike walked them around beyond the outfield until they fell asleep, and then we got to enjoy watching the mayhem of the game.

When the game ended, it was time to get Natalie into the tub and ready for bed, and time to nurse the babies again.  It’s always a little hectic trying to keep the babies calm while we deal with Natalie’s bedtime needs.  Hair combing, tooth brushing, story reading, and hopefully a little bedtime chat while we snuggle are all done by one parent while the other soothes Vivian and Logan.  Nat gets tucked in around 7:30, which is when we start to get the babies settled for bedtime.  Natalie is allowed some quiet play time in bed to read, write, or play with toys while we get the Viv and Lo ready for bed.  Usually this play time is interrupted by coming in to our room to give the babies extra snuggles.

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Our bedtime routine is pretty simple, but we stick to it strictly at this point.  It was a bath night, so we took turns giving each baby a little tub time before lubing them up with some lavender scented lotion and snuggling them into fresh onesies and swaddle sacks.  They are so cute all bundled up, it kills me every night when I see their little heads poking out of their burrito shaped swaddles.  I nurse them while Mike reads a bedtime story, and then it’s lights out with the noise machine on.  We put them into the pack’n’play around 8 o’clock, and hope they will drift off to sleep on their own.  More often than not, by the time we’ve folded laundry or done some other chore, they need another quick nursing session before ultimately falling asleep between 8:30 and 9.

This is the point in the night when we crash on the couch (usually with a glass of wine!) and congratulate each other on another day down.

Wombmates to Roommates

When I think back on the traumatic experience of Natalie’s birth, it’s hard for me to believe that a c-section could feel like a natural birthing option.  With Vivian and Logan, though, it was a completely different experience.  VBAC is not an option at at my local hospital, so I knew that I’d need to switch providers if I wanted to go that route for my second go-round of bringing a baby (or, as it turns out, BABIES) into the world.  When I found out I was having multiples, I knew my chances of a c-section were 50-50, and that the care I would get with my current provider was more important to me than seeking out a doctor or midwife who would support a VBAC.  As time went on, Vivian settled into a breech position down in my hips and Logan was happily sprawled out in a transverse position at the top of my belly, so a c-section was inevitable no matter where I chose to give birth.

It’s recommended that multiples are delivered between 37 and 39 weeks (if they don’t choose to show up early!), so I was scheduled for surgery at 38 weeks and just needed to make it to March 18th without our babies planning an early exit.  Despite some false starts, we did it–made it to term!  Having a scheduled c-section was a much different experience, and having one with twins made it even less like what I remembered from Natalie’s birth.  This is the (lengthy) story of Vivian and Logan’s arrival into our world.

In the final stretch of my pregnancy, I was so uncomfortable.  From an aching back to carpal tunnel to swollen ankles to a growing tributary system of stretch marks, I was DONE with carrying these babies!  The worst of it had to be the emergence of PUPPs, transforming my regular stretch marks into unbearably itchy, ropy-looking streaks that began to break out in small blisters the night before surgery.  Hydrocortisone cream provided some relief, but that particular discomfort was definitely the final straw in my tolerance of carrying multiples.

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We were up bright and early (4:45am!) on the morning of the 18th, double-checking our hospital bags and excitedly getting dressed for the day we’d finally meet our new babies.  Natalie spent the night before the twins’ arrival (and the days/nights of our hospital stay) with my parents, and it felt so strange to think we were going to leave the house as a two-some and enter it again with our full family of five.

The drive to the hospital (a mere 10 minutes) was my first real bout of nervousness regarding surgery.  More specifically, nervousness about the health of our babies.

“What if something is wrong?” I asked in a panic from the passenger’s seat.

“It won’t be,” Mike replied confidently.

“But what if it IS?  Ultrasounds can be wrong, it’s been hard to see her face, he’s got that excess fluid in his sac–”

“It’s going to be fine.  I just have a feeling.”

I practiced some deep breathing and we rolled into the parking lot at a few minutes before 6am.  When we arrived at the surgical unit, I saw my c-section on the schedule board and couldn’t believe it was really happening.

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Prep was a breeze this time around–no rushing staff, no last-minute paperwork, no hushed whispers and concerned looks.  My vitals and babies’ heartbeats were checked, my abdomen was prepped, and I got my IV line in.  A flurry of excited nurses and OR staff came in to say hi and wish us luck (the whole “twin” thing made my surgery particularly exciting around the wing), and Mike and I held hands while we waited for 7:30 to roll around so I would get rolled in to the operating room.

It should be noted that while this journey was obviously deeply personal for me, for Mike, and for our family, there was also a level of personal investment in these babies from the hospital staff because I’ve known many of them as a classroom teacher for their children.  My surgeon, prep nurse, OR nurse, recovery room nurse, maternity ward nurse, and lactation consultant were all mothers of my former students and were extra-eager to squeeze my hand, peek at our babies, and make sure we were taken care of.

When it was Go Time, Mike and I were separated while I had my spinal administered and got set up on the operating table.  This was the toughest part of the day, partly because of nerves and partly because of the difficulty in setting up my spinal.  I lost count of how many times I was pricked and poked and massaged, but it was a hugely uncomfortable experience that seemed to last forever.  When the numbness finally started to set in and I was on my back, arms strapped down, waiting for Mike, I could feel myself slipping into a bit of a panic. I felt nauseous, cold, shaky, and on the verge of tears.  Around me in the OR everything was bustling and full of excited noisy energy, and I suddenly felt very alone–a head on one side of a drape while my whole body was stretched out for this massive surgery.

When Mike was finally called back in to join me, I immediately began to calm down.  We had planned for him to snap some pictures when the babies first emerged, but I whispered to him to please just stay right next to me and not move–forget the photos.

At a few minutes after 8am, our lead anesthesiologist put on some soft music and the room quieted down as surgery began.  Two surgeons (my OB and an assisting OB), a surgical resident, two anesthesiologists, a team of nurses for me, and two sets of pediatric staff waited eagerly with us to welcome our babies.

As quickly as surgery began, we had news: “Baby A is out!” we heard our OB announce, and then Vivian’s lusty cry filled the room, followed immediately by joyful laughter and clapping from throughout the staff.  The drape was quickly dropped as my doctor held our daughter’s sticky little body up for us to see.  If there was any question in my mind that I would love these babies as instantly as I loved Natalie, it was gone.  Tears and laughter burst out of me in one uncontrollable rush of emotion as I watched our sweet, hairy girl get handed off for her APGAR evaluation and a heating bassinet.  “She grabbed right onto my tools while I pulled her out,” laughed our doctor, “That one is going to be the boss!”

Two minutes later Logan was also out and held up for us to view, his cries like a little bleating lamb.  I sent Mike to go be with our babies, and cried happy tears as I heard their healthy wails.  That gut feeling he had?  It was spot on.

Within just a few minutes (maybe less?) of being born, my arms were freed from their outstretched position and both babies were snuggled into the crooks of my neck, crying and rooting and looking bewildered.  The levity in the room was tangible as everyone oohed and aahed over our big healthy babies and congratulated our newly expanded family.  Mike and I got to cuddle both of them while I was stitched up, and then both Viv and Lo were tucked neatly in next to me while I was wheeled into the recovery room.

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While in recovery, I got some assistance in positioning them to nurse, and they both latched on right away.  All of the anxiety of the morning seemed like a distant bad dream as I gazed at my two suckling babes, still sticky with vernix and dotted with blood.  They instantly became the sweetest things I had ever seen, and the mix of hormones and adrenaline with starry-eyed parental love washed away fears that had plagued me throughout pregnancy.

Your love is not stretched thin across your children–your love grows.  There is no finite amount of love to give–your love grows.

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When I had feeling back in my lower half and could wiggle my toes, I was given a little snack and wheeled to the hospital room that would be our home base for the weekend.  Babies were weighed and measured, they continued to nurse and fuss and sleep, and we waited for my parents to bring Natalie in to meet her brother and sister.

My dear childhood friend had agreed to join us for photos that afternoon, and captured images that still bring tears to my eyes.  Our babies, our love for them, our family–it is all so new in these pictures, perfectly paused moments in time.

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Vivian Taylor Flagg – 7 pounds, 6 ounces

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Logan William Cherry – 7 pounds, 15 ounces

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