Mar 31, 2014

It Isn't Funny. It Isn't Harmless. On Fake Pregnancy Announcements

I love April Fools' Day. I'm not a particularly funny person. And anyone who knows me knows that I couldn't pull off a well-executed prank if my life depended on it.
 
But I do love a good joke. I love a harmless prank. And I think they are funny.
 
But not every prank is funny.
 
Not every prank is in good fun.
 
And some can be downright cruel. Even if it is unintentional.
 
Friends don't let friends post fake pregnancy announcements. For lots of reasons. But today I'm advocating for the friend reading your post who will cry. The friend it will harm.
 
If you know me at all, you know that we struggled with infertility for years before getting pregnant. You know just how important I find it to advocate for infertile couples who aren't "out" yet. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Most do so silently. You have Facebook friends who will see your post who are struggling. You have twitter followers who are struggling. And you probably don't know who they are.
 
So, before hitting post on your "I'm expecting" prank remember those folks who have experienced the heartache of child loss. Remember those folks who are in the midst of injections for infertility treatments. Remember those folks who have suffered through a high risk pregnancy.
 
Infertility.
Miscarriage.
Still-birth.
These words aren't funny. Or fun. But they are the reality for people you know.
 
And for these people, your "harmless" fake pregnancy announcement will bring untold pain. It is hurtful. It is cruel.
 
If you’ve never been through the loss of a child or the pain of desperately trying to conceive, then you will never understand the pain of these experiences. You will never understand the tears and emotions of seeing real pregnancy announcements (especially the "oopsies" announcements from friends who aren't even sure they want a child!).
 
As an infertile woman, I prayed everyday for God to grant me the courage and patience and purity of heart to accept a friend or family members pregnancy announcement with joy not jealously. To do as Paul said we as Christ disciples should and "rejoice with those who rejoice" (Romans 12:15). It's hard. It's a daily struggle. It takes a toll physically, mentally, emotionally. And left no room for cruel jokesters. I could not cope (actually I still can not cope) with the fake "I'm expecting" jokes. And one year spent most of April 1 crying because I read SEVEN faux announcements (and one poorly timed real pregnancy announcement).
 
So don't be the clueless friend who makes someone cry. Before you post your silly prank, remember that you are most likely hurting someone you know. Even if you don't know she is struggling. Even if she isn't "out." Even if she is crying only to her husband (or like me crying hiding in her closet).
 
Your harmless prank is hurting someone you know and care about – even if you aren't aware.
 
 
 
 

Labor Story

When I wrote my C-Section thoughts on Thursday, I declared that I was finally going to sit down and finish a post on my labor story. I actually enjoy reading birth stories from other moms, so it's pretty sad it took me 14 months to write this!
 
 
January 11: My water broke around 10:00AM so we headed to labor and delivery. I was 33w1d pregnant.
 
Actually, this makes my water breaking sound so uneventful. But honestly, I didn't realize what was happening. I felt something weird and then I was damp.
 
I was laying in bed reading a book and I was damp. Reflect on that for a moment.
 
And now that you're properly disturbed, I'll continue.
 
So, I immediately got up to go to the restroom absolutely horrified that for no reason at all I had just peed my pants. I had heard that pregnant women would pee when they coughed or laughed, but so far I had avoided that horrible fate. And I didn't remember laughing. But I was damp. So obviously I had peed. And hadn't even realized it. But, when I stood it up, it just kept leaking. And it never stopped. Maybe not pee. I had a suspicion my water had broken. I didn't have a giant gush like on television. I didn't hear the pop like other moms I've talked to. I just started leaking.
 
Text to my OB.
Who responded that I needed to head into L&D.
 
I called Casey and said. "Casey, you need to come home. I'm packing our bags" and hung up on him. So that I could finish packing obviously! I've never gotten much of a response from him on my total lack of phone etiquette. Luckily, he wasn't too upset! Also luckily, I had started packing a few nights prior and so had most of our things gathered and all of the things for the babies packed up.
 
The babies bag all packed.
With things we barely used due to NICU restrictions.
 
The drive from Dallas to McKinney was pretty uneventful. I wasn't having contractions, but I was having cramping very low near my cervix (where Tripp's head was). Casey and I were able to chat and talk during the 30 minute drive. I was completely calm. Completely unconcerned. No pain. I had no clue what was in store for us.
 
Once at the hospital, I was put into a triage room. It felt like we hung out in triage forever waiting for the nurses to decide what to do with us. (In reality it wasn't that long). At around 1:30 (3.5 hours after my water broke), I was put on magnesium sulfate to slow the contractions and given steroids to help develop the boys lungs. At this point they moved me to a L&D suite. The steroids come in two doses given 24 hours apart. It takes a full 48 hours to get a complete dose of the steroids and I was adamant that I was getting all 48 hours. It was best for the babies so that was what we were doing. End of story.
 
Settling in to my room.
 
For my time in L&D I wasn't able to eat or drink. I could chew ice chips. That's it. I wasn't supposed to be allowed to stand for any reason. So, they needed to insert a catheter. But, it left me screaming and writhing in pain. So, bedpans. And that's enough on that subject. I laid elevated in bed hooked up to monitors and IVs. And incubated. The plan was to keep me there as long as possible. And as I said, I had already determined that 48hrs was my minimum.
 
At this point, I was scared. I knew it was too early. I knew the boys weren't ready.
 
Not long after switching rooms, the contractions got stronger. They were coming fairly rapidly (Casey tells me every 4ish minutes but I don't remember). Friday night was a really long night. I don't remember much of it.
 
January 12: I have a few memories of Saturday, but for the most part it is a blur. I was still having painful contractions through Saturday afternoon. I also felt like my blood was boiling inside my body. The nurses would give me pain medication and it immediately (as in within 3-4 minutes) put me to sleep for an hour or so. When I would wake up I would have 30-45 minutes of lucidity. I was able to do a crossword puzzle with my mom. Casey and I snuck a picture in. Casey says we watched a football game. I don't remember it. At some point during the day I was "with it" enough to write a full blog post about the first half of our hospital stay (so my immediate thoughts about my water breaking, the magnesium, the catheter, etc). I varied between crying that the babies had to come out and adamantly stating they couldn't come yet because they needed the steroids. Saturday evening I was doing better, but Saturday night was downhill. Actually, Saturday night was downright awful.
 
Smiling on Saturday during a moment of lucidity.


January 13: By Sunday morning, the magnesium sulfate was working great so I wasn't having contractions and I was no longer in constant pain. My blood was still boiling, but even that didn't seem to be bothering me as much. Once the 48 hours of steroids was completed I was taken off of the magnesium sulfate.
 
From that point forward, whatever happened happened. It was up to my body and the babies. I was having very low pressure near Tripp's head that felt contraction-ish but it wasn't being picked up by the monitor and everyone was telling me that the contractions had stopped. I felt at peace and blogged as much midday on Sunday.
 
Later, I thought the contractions were picking up and told my nurse. She said the monitor still didn't see anything. I knew the boys had been doing acrobatics and I wasn't sure the monitor was placed in the right location and told that to the nurse. She told me I was fine. I tried to argue, but no one would listen to me. Including my nurse who continued to tell me of course I wasn't contracting because the monitors didn't see it. I was ignored.
 
My family started talking about leaving the hospital for dinner and I told Casey not to go because the babies were coming.
No one believed me. I was ignored.
 
Once I was asleep, Casey left for dinner with his parents. My mom stayed with me. Before Casey had even managed to order, he got a phone call that I was having a c-section in 20 minutes and he needed to get back. All of that low pressure I had been talking about had pushed Tripp even further down and he was at station 2. It was time for babies. I had been right all along! They all believed me now.
 
At this point all of the magnesium and pain killers were out of my system and I was completely coherent so the memories are clear. Casey and his parents returned to the hospital, but only his mom came into the room. The whole medical team was standing by waiting for Casey and he was in the lobby eating! I hadn't had a thing but ice chips since early Friday morning and he was delaying the babies delivery over a McDonald's French Fry?!? To say I was displeased would be a huge understatement.
 
Casey finally ready!
 
The actual delivery was an uneventful c-section resulting in two perfect baby boys. The anesthesiologist had music playing. I remember it was country but don't remember the song. The sound of my body being opened up wasn't as disturbing as it was on the videos from our twin parenting class. I actually couldn't hear much of it because of the aforementioned country music.
 
The clock outside the OR when they wheeled me in.
 
All went well.
 
Crowded operating room.
We had my medical team for delivery and a NICU team for each boy.
 
I lost a lot of blood and vaguely remember being told in the recovery room that it was A LOT of blood but I had received blood and all was well. My OB was prepared for this since cholestasis frequently means low Vitamin K levels so poor blood clotting.
 
Basically, all went well.
 
I've already written about my emotions surrounding the c-section. It wasn't traumatic. It wasn't gory. It was no where near as painful as other women describe. It was a perfectly safe way to deliver my boys. And I have no regrets.
The boys first picture together. My first look at my sons.
 
At 8:23PM on January 13, 2013 our first miracle was born. Tripp weighed 4lb3oz and was 17.25in long.
At 8:24PM Davy entered the world weighing 4lb8oz and with a length of 18in.
 
And that's the main point of the story. They were born. They both took breaths. They were healthy. They were alive.
 
The boys headed to the NICU where they would spend the next three weeks.
 
Riding together to the NICU.
They made a quick stop on the way to meet their grandparents!
 
While the boys, Casey, our parents, and even my doctor, headed to the NICU I went into recovery. (Don't worry. They didn't leave me alone long!) My mom came back to keep me company while Casey got the boys all settled and registered in the NICU. Once that was done and the boys were doing well, he came back to recovery as well and brought the camera to show me lots of pictures!
 
 
My OB checking out the boys in the NICU
 
It would be two hours before I got to go meet them. I was told the NICU rules before I was wheeled in. Look but don't touch. I apparently don't follow rules well because I am counting perfect toes bad holding perfect hands in every single picture!
 
Meeting my boys in the NICU!
 

Mar 28, 2014

Twin Mom Essentials

I get asked a lot what items I can't live without as a twin mom. And after calling dry shampoo a twin mom essential the other day, I got number of requests for what I consider essential. I have to say that in the newborn days this list would have looked very differently. Everything on it now was on it then, plus nursing supplies (like my best friend (The Medela Symphony rental), and the My Breast Friend Pillow), our BabyBjorn Babysitter Chairs, Wubbanubs (actually those are still essential...for my sanity and theirs!), etc. But right now at this age, their aren't many essentials on my list. Five in fact. So - I am linking up today with A. Liz Adventures , Hello! Happiness, The Good Life Blog and Carolina Charm for my first Five on Friday post!
 
 
[One]
 
We go through a lot of these. A lot. I chose to use cloth diapers and seriously love them. (Post on why and what we bought. Post on out first month and reviews of a few brands. Post on our laundry routine.) Our favorite diapers by far are Best Bottom Diapers. I really should do another brand review now that we are a year in (and once again buying cloth diapers so we have enough for three (eeek!) babies under 18 months. Anyway... We did a two week period in disposables when the boys were fighting a horrible diaper rash to see if cloth diapers were contributing (they weren't) and both Casey and I were SO ready to return to cloth at the end! Cloth were less smelly. Cloth were less gross. (I am ooged out by the swelling that occurs in a disposable diaper.) Cloth is easier on the boys clothes --- WAY FEWER blowouts. Way fewer. Yes, I have to do diaper laundry. But, it's easy laundry that I throw in at night before bed and doesn't need pulled out of dryer because who cares if it wrinkles! And who can resist a cloth diaper butt!
 
This will forever be a favorite picture!
 


[Two]
Dry Shampoo

Because who has time to shower every day? Or even every other? I live by the four day hair cycle but umm sometimes I want to leave the house in the middle of that. So dry shampoo. Seriously. Life saving. For more on dry shampoo read this full post from last week.


[Three]
BabyWearing
 
Choice your poison (I reviewed the ones we own earlier this week and we do have favorites) but babywearing is essential! Without it, I don't know how I would soothe both boys. I don't know how I would transport both boys (hello tandem carries!). I don't know how I would get anything done!
 
 
BabyWearing at The State Fair of Texas
 

[Four]
 
I was completely unprepared for how isolating being a mom would be.

I knew things would change.

I underestimated how drastically.

We have friends we have barely seen since I got pregnant. Almost two years! These friends are probably now just acquaintances, sadly. But, we haven't made new friends to replace them. Making friends feel scary and hard. I'm really good at acquaintances and small talk. I'm not very good at taking relationships to the next level.

But ignoring the weekend social life, I spend everyday with the twins. Many days we don't leave the house. And when we do it's not easy, because beyond just having kids, I have twins. And so, I have been left out of play dates with local moms because I have twins and "it would be too difficult." And while they might be right, I'd rather make that choice myself!

So, social media is my outlet. I have made some amazing friends on twitter and consider them my go to resource for advice. I am a member of a really great and non-judgmental group on Facebook for moms of twins born in 2013. These ladies on twitter and Facebook are my outlet. They are my human contact on days we can't leave. They are my sounding board. They are my sanity. They probably really have no idea just how much they mean to me. But seriously, there are days they are my only adult contact. Especially with how much Casey works and travels.
 
And sadly, they all live too far away. Social media isn't a substitute for knowing people IRL (in real life) and having a friend to walk the mall with or grab a cup of coffee with. And that's not even taking account how desperately I need a girls night out. It's been years! So, despite considering these girls my lifelines I am working hard to get to know more folks in Dallas through my MOPS group and my local early childhood PTA (LHAECPTA).
 
 
[Five]
Wine

This one is pretty self explanatory. And doesn't work so well for the pregnant mama. Not well at all. So drink a glass (or five) for me tonight!
 
Stomping grapes in Napa on our five year anniversary trip.


 
 
What is on your list of mom essentials?
 
 
Other contenders for my list:
Hot tea.
Caffeinated beverages (coffee, soda, Sonic Rt 44 Vanilla Dr. Pepper)
Baby fences.
Wubbanubs/Lovies.
BabyBjorn BabySitter Chairs
A Good Stroller (love my City Select)
My Breast Friend (Tandem breastfeeding pillow. As I said above, this would have been top of the list two months ago when I was still nursing!!)
 
 
 
 

Mar 27, 2014

On C-Sections

With this whole second pregnancy comes a second labor story. A chance do it all differently. To have a "natural" delivery and experience a "real" birth.
 
Because apparently my first labor story is subpar. C-sections are somehow subpar.
 
The operating room where I delivered.
Given generously by a family I grew up with and go to my home church.
Performed by a doctor who is a close family friend and goes to my home church.
Lots of good juju in this room!
 
I feel compelled to write my labor story down (because if "people" think I need a do-over, they should at least have all the facts). And this weekend I am going to carve out some time to do that, but first I need to get on my soapbox and talk about c-sections. And being a "real mom."
 
 
I have been inundated with unsolicited comments from other moms who have assumed I will be having a VBAC (Vagninal Birth After Cesarean).
Because of course everyone wants delivery to be a holistic experience.
Because obviously I know that "natural" is best.
Because "every mom who had a c-section is obviously traumatized by it".
Because moms who have c-sections don't have a chance to "bond" with their new babies.
Because of course I feel somehow cheated my first birth story.
 
But you know what? I don't feel cheated. I bonded with my boys -- even though I only got to see them for a few seconds before they were whisked away to the NICU. I don't feel traumatized by the delivery. I don't feel like less of a mom. I don't feel like I missed out on some awesome holistic experience.
 
In fact, of all the things that occurred to bring me my boys, my c-section doesn't even hit the traumatic radar. And of the un-holistic things we did to get pregnant, the c-section wasn't the worst of our crimes against the crunchy mom culture. We had a long struggle with infertility. We used IVF to finally get pregnant. I had a high-risk pregnancy with OHSS, an SCH, and ICP. A c-section really seemed like a fitting ending to a medical heavy experience. (Although it certainly wasn't the end. We capped off the medical fun with three weeks in the NICU.)
 
So, I don't appreciate all of the commentators who assume c-sections are a bad thing.
 
I was pregnant with twins. Who were breech. My water broke at 33w. I had a dangerous liver condition that could lead to many complications for the boys (as if my water breaking wasn't complication enough!). A c-section was the safest way to get them into the world.
 
And I don't regret having one.
 
My c-section was a good thing.
 
Technology is amazing gift. The Lord blessed us with a great team of doctors and nurses who saved my boys lives and got me safely through delivery. What about that is anything less than amazing? What makes this experience somehow less sacred than a vaginal delivery?
 
I will say this. I went into the delivery with no expectations and no multi-page birth plan. Maybe if I had, I would feel more cheated. Maybe if I expected an empowering experience I would have felt minimized by the epidural and drugs. Maybe if I had expected a spiritual delivery the country music from the anesthesiologist's iPod would have felt wrong.
 
But I didn't have any of those thoughts going into it. I had seen a c-section on video during our twin parenting class. I knew what I wash getting into.
 
Sort of.
 
Throughout my pregnancy, I was aware of the high probability I would have a c-section. And heard from many people about how "gory" it would be when my doctor "gutted" me. I was told it was major traumatic surgery and I should prepare for untold amounts of pain. I was surrounded by people who seemed pleased when they could scare me with c-section horror stories.
 
So when it came time for my actual procedure, it was nothing like that. It just wasn't as bad as everyone told me it would be. It was weird. I felt hands inside of me. I could hear surgical tools (although thankfully not very well thanks to the aforementioned country music). It was uncomfortable (but what part of giving birth seems like it wouldn't be?). But it wasn't painful. It wasn't gory. (Or at least I didn't see anything gory.) I was "gutted" but by the time I saw myself I had been put back together. It was major surgery. I did have a recovery period. But even that just wasn't as bad as I was led to believe.
 
And I got the end result I wanted. I am a mom. All I wanted was healthy babies. I got those.
 
My c-section was a great thing. Because it brought Tripp and Davy into the world.
 
My c-section was a great thing. Because I am now a Mom.
 
My c-section was a great thing. Because it gave my two healthy baby boys.
 
Pictures from the OR.
Of the non-gory variety.
Some of the photos - well, you can't unsee them.
 
And the guilt attempts from the mommy brigade assuming I am less of a mom without a natural birth experience is really unnecessary. Because, due to my c-section, I am a Mom now.
 
So forgive me if I am not inclined to stress about having or not having a VBAC.
 
Forgive me for being unconcerned with how this next little boy comes into the world as long as he is healthy.
 
Forgive me for feeling at peace if I end up with another c-section.
 
And I might have another c-section. If I end up with ICP (cholestasis) again, I won't be allowed to go past 37w and will have to have a c-section. If this little boy remains breech, I will have another c-section. If I go into labor too early, I will most likely have a c-section (the risk of uterine rupture is MUCH higher the sooner it follows a c-section and, in fact, many OBs would not even consider me a candidate for a VBAC only 18 months after a c-section. Some require a full 24 months.)
 
In all honesty, I might choose another c-section.
 
And that's okay!
 

Mar 25, 2014

Unstructured. Unsupervised. Outdoor. Free.

Growing up, I was a "latch-key" kid and many of my best childhood memories are from those hours before my mom got home from work. This was my time to be a kid. Unstructured. Unsupervised. Outdoors. Free.
 
Their was a group of us on my street who all played together every afternoon. I don't know that I would say we were friends. In fact, these weren't the kids I hung out with at school recess. But we looked out for each other on the walk home from school. We built a fort on the empty lot three doors down from my house - and played their frequently until an older middle school kid took it over and exercised his rights as the biggest kid on the street. We would randomly ring the door bell of the retired couple at the end of the loop and knew that Grandma Gail always had fresh baked cookies. And Grandpa Goodrum would let us feed his koi and show us what he was working on in his shop. We had water gun fights. We pelted each other with water balloons. We played tag. We played sardines. We made up games that I don't think any of us understood the rules to. We would fish in the small pond on the golf course. We tried to climb the limestone wall down by the creek. We threw crab apples and watched them explode. We searched for golf balls (finding lots in our own back yards!) and sold them back to the golfers who by the 11th hole were frequently running low. We all knew we had to be home for dinner. In the summer we would all beg out parents to let us back outside after dinner so we could go on the golf course and catch fireflies. We all knew when the street lights turned on, we had to be home.
 
In the summer, we biked to the country club (and pretty much always took the disallowed golf cart trail instead of the sidewalks because it was so much faster) where we promptly ignored each other to play with our friends at the pool. But, when it was time to go back we all went together. We didn't travel in a pack because we were told to. We weren't scared into the need to go together. We just chose to.
 
I played soccer and had practice twice a week in elementary school and games on Saturdays. I also took piano lessons and would walk to my piano teachers house one day a week after school for my lesson. I had structure. I had organized sports. But I also had unstructured, outdoor, free play.
 
It was a pretty great way to grow up.
 
And kids now don't know what it's like. They don't play out in the front yard. They would never bike all the way to the country club. They don't play on golf courses. They don't sell lemonade from their backyard to total strangers. They don't know how to play alone. Because parents don't let them.
 
On Friday, the speaker at my MOPS group, Dr. Nell Bush, talked about a toddlers need for outdoor free play and the importance this has for full brain development. In her words, "a child can't reach their full potential without outdoor free play." This really hit home with me and I spent the weekend talking my husbands ear off about all the wonderful things she said about child development and parenting.
 
Then, Monday morning, I received a link to an article in my inbox from my brother. It's a long read, but thoroughly worth it. Lots of great information on the importance of free play and exploration in elementary and older children. I would summarize it here, but I would much rather you all go read it. Make the time. I promise it's worth it!
Source: The Atlantic Magazine
 
The idea of letting my kids roam our neighborhood with the freedom I had terrifies me. Cars speed down our road. We don't have an empty lot or playground right by us to facilitate neighborhood play. And of course in these days of 24 hour media coverage we are constantly hearing about the dangers that befall unsupervised kids. But I know that I don't want to stifle their learning and creativity. I want to enable my boys to be leaders. To be problem solvers. To be independent. And to do that, they need time when I'm not watching. They need to run, jump, wrestle and just "be boys" (of course the girls need these things too so maybe they all just need to be kids!).
 
This is an important issue. So much new research is showing the harm of "helicopter parenting" and the problems of over-scheduled kids. I don't have the answers. I don't know how to balance these things. But I'm thinking about it. And hopefully by the time the boys are old enough to free play somewhere other than our game room or backyard I'll have a more coherent thought about it!
 
 
Do your children free play? Do you encourage them to just be kids? How do you balance unstructured play with your own fears? What are you doing to actively foster independence in your child(ren)?
 
 

Mar 24, 2014

A Love Letter to My Big Boys

This post is more a reminder to myself than anything. Feel free to skip reading it. But, I’ve been stressed, tired, and emotional lately (or in summary, I've been pregnant, nauseous, and in pain!) and I’ve been allowing it to shape my interactions with the boys (or at least with the oldest two!).
 
Tripp and Davy at 3 months
So, a swift kick in the behind to remind me that these boys will not always be this little. Despite their typical one year old behavior like throwing everything, laughter every time I say no, intentional feeding of the dog, etc, - or maybe not despite, maybe, BECAUSE of their typical joyful one year old behavior I need to remember this time with them – - the good, the bad & the ugly. Because before I know it, they will be brooding, hormonal teenagers who won’t want to snuggle or hug anymore. Yes, I know it is a terrible cliche, but dang, time goes by so fast. Exhibit A -- it's already been over a year!
Tripp and Davy at 12 months
 
 
Dear Tripp and Davy,
 
  1. Even when I am frustrated and think I am at the end of my rope about to lose it all and I am dreaming (sometimes out loud) about bedtime (both yours and mine), all it takes is smile. Or a wave. Or, the best ever, one of you crawling or toddling over for a hug or cuddle and I melt. I am forever yours and those little moments are a constant reminder.

    A reminder that I love you more than life itself.
    A reminder that I love you with an all consuming, passionate love that will not end.
    A reminder that no matter the time, the distance, the space, I will love you forever. Nothing you will ever do or not do or say or think or be will change this. Nothing.

    You should also know, the love I have for you has only made me love your daddy more. There are times when I watch the three of you together and I feel like my heart might just burst. Soon I'll be watching four of you and wow! the joy of watching daddy with another itty bitty turns me into a big puddle of goo.


  2. You amaze my daily and I am honored to have the privilege of watching you learn and grow. I know that this will only get more miraculous as you get older. Watching a little person learn about the world and how to do things that we as adults take for granted is a great reminder of the enchantment in the world.

    Gravity? So cool! Every time you drop your blanket out of the crib it falls to the ground.
    Cause and effect? Wow! Every time you open the barn door it moos. Every time you use your feet to push your high chair away from the table you can't reach your food anymore.
    Every time!

    Watching the determination on your little faces as you try to get the toy ball into the hole over and over again gives me a glimpse into your future. A future filled with hope, promise, and unlimited possibilities just as long as you keep that can do attitude!


  3. I love that you will try any food I set in front if you. No hesitation. No testing it out. Just full on shove each bite in. Sometimes they immediately get spit out. And that's okay. But never lose that sense of adventure and willingness to try new things.

    Throw caution to the wind and jump in with both feet!

    But boys, please please please stop throwing food!


  4. I love that you both have your own identities and even though you are together all the time I can clearly see that you are so very different. I love watching your personalities come to life and develop.

    Tripp and Davy, you complement each other so well and I love watching you play and interact.

  5. I love being your mommy. The few and far between moments when I am away from you, I can't wait to return. I cannot wait to see your eyes light up when I walk into the room. Although I do look forward to the day that the excitement isn't immediately followed by tears.

    Right now, in your eyes, I can do no wrong. I know the day will come when, in your eyes, I will do no right. But I'm going to remember these moments when you needed me. When we laughed together. When we played together. And let them sustain me.
 
Boys, we have our good days and we have our bad days, but even on the bad days, there are no two people I'd rather be with than you.
 
You made me a mom.
 

You make me a better wife.

You make me a better person.
 
You humble me daily.
 
You show me true joy.
 
You taught me how to love unconditionally.
 
I am excited for our journey together. Together we will learn how to become a family of five. We'll get through this together.
 
So, thanks (in advance) for your patience.
Thanks for not holding grudges.
Thanks for helping me grow into the woman and mother God intended me to be.
Thanks for being you!

I love you always and forever!
Mommy
 

Mar 23, 2014

Donuts!

The RockNRoll Marathon goes around our church making it totally inaccessible by car. So, on race weekends we offer Saturday night service and sleep in on Sundays.
 
I have to confess that we didn't go to the Saturday night service. We have lots of excuses: The service was from 5-6. The boys eat dinner at 5:30 and last night were so tired that we started bedtime at 6:20. Not a good night for staying out "late" and messing up bedtime! I also wasn't sure my back could handle sitting in a pew for an hour.
 
But we did take full advantage of our Sunday morning!
 
We got up, headed out and went to a great little donut shop just north of us in Richardson that has dairy free donuts! We have no idea if any of the donut shops nearer to our house are dairy free and when we tried asking at one we didn't get a helpful response. So, when we learned about this one that is dairy free and knowledgable about all their donut ingredients, we were thrilled. After our first visit when we learned how helpful and super friendly they were, we were ecstatic.
 
Casey ran up a few times and got donuts for the two of us when I was still nursing so eating dairy free, but this was my first time in the shop. And I was impressed! When Casey walked in she remembered we were a dairy-free family and guided us through ordering and which donuts were and were not okay. So helpful! So friendly!
 

And the boys loved it!!

 
They ate a dozen donut holes on their own (plus they each had a banana and an applesauce pouch I brought from home) and were signing for more. They ate a few bites of my donut with white icing and sprinkles. And loved it. They ate a few bites of Casey's donut with chocolate icing. And by a few bites, I mean Casey got a bite and they ate the rest of the donut! My boys who were less than thrilled by birthday cake and turned down brownies, loved donuts. To say donuts were a hit would be a giant understatement. I don't think Davy has ever cried because we took him out of his highchair before. He did this morning! Our little guy would have sat there eating donuts all day if we let him.
 
We ran one quick errand (to Fry's to look at new video monitors) and the boys literally crashed. Sugar high means sugar crash!
 

It's only lunchtime but we are feeling like heroes. We successfully took two mobile babies to donuts in a shop without high chairs (luckily we always have these in our car!). And then ran an errand. And went to the grocery store. Parenting win!

We try to eat fairly healthy so donuts aren't a common thing for us, but for a special treat this was pretty perfect!
 
 

Mar 20, 2014

March Favorite Things

Today I am linking up with the lovely Andrea at Momfessionals (who I knew in high school and learned was a blogger via Facebook. It's so fun seeing her precious family come to life on her blog!) and Erika at A Little Bit of Everything for their monthly Favorite Things Party.
I looked at my amazon wish list and recent orders and here is my favorite thing this month.
 
Dry shampoo is seriously one of my favorite things ever. Ever! I. Could. Not. Survive life with twins without this. Because as much as I would like to, showering doesn't happen everyday. And even days I shower, I don't always have time To wash and dry my hair. Because as much as I would like to, styling my hair doesn't happen everyday. And on days I don't have much time, dry shampoo is a fast way to give life and body back to my hair. I also asked around on my twin moms board (because who has less time for hair washing than a group of moms with twin babies?! We're all experts!) to get opinions of favorite brands to share with you!
 

Like a good shampoo or a brush, what works for someone else's hair might not work for you. It might take 3-4 tries to find one you love. A lot depends on the color, texture, oiliness, and how you are styling your hair. But, you will eventually love dry shampoo. I promise.

And if you are a twin mom, dry shampoo is a twin mom essential!

 

My Favorites:

 
I typically use this one by Oscar Blandi that I originally found at Ulta (but now order on Amazon. Because I buy everything at Amazon). I'm not in love with the price, but I do love that it is a spray not a powder and so it doesn't leave remnants showing in your hair. It also great for adding volume.

It's not under $10 though.
Whomp. Whomp.



But this one is!
 
If I am going to stay around the house I use this one by Tresemme that I can pick up at my second home, Target. It gets the job done but doesn't leave my hair as easily to style as the Oscar Blandi does. But it is A LOT less expensive which I appreciate. Because we are trying to save for three kids to be in therapy and go to college around here. Oh and the grocery bill for the insatiables. So, less expensive is good!
 
 

Other suggestions from The Twin Super Mommies:

  • Lush (powder not a spray)
  • Batiste (less than $10 and comes in lots of yummy scents)
  • Suave Professionals (this one was suggested as someone's favorite, but I have to add that I've tried it and wasn't impressed. Maybe it works better for your hair texture) -- available at WalMart
  • Umberto (spray it at night so it has time to blend or it will leave your hair white)
  • Dove (got a few votes. This one is sold at my local Target but always seems to be sold out!)
  • Rockaholics (another more expensive brand)
  • Kevin Murphy (another more expensive brand)
  • Got2be Rockin' It

Ones that received on or more negative comment:

  • Suave Professionals
  • Pssst!
 

Mar 19, 2014

Calling Dr. McDreamy

I keep starting this post and don't know exactly where to go with it. So it's just going to be a brain dump. You've been warned. If you haven't been following along - you might want to start here with the origins of my back pain.
 
On Monday, the triage nurse from my OBs office (the one who suggested I see a chiropractor) called to follow up on my back pain. (Have I mentioned how much I love this office!! Great doctors. Great nurses. Great staff. Seriously amazing care!) I was still in pain and still had tingling all through my foot and loss of sensation in two toes. She was concerned by this and said in most cases piriformis syndrome remains above the knee. While it CAN cause symptoms like this in the foot, it only does so in the MOST severe of cases and she wanted me to get checked out by a neurologist. Within the next 48 hours.
 
So began two hours of calls between nuero offices, myself, and the amazing triage nurse trying to find a doctor who is accepting patients, sees pregnant patients, and had an opening. Thankfully, one of the nuerologists they normally refer to had a cancellation.
 
My mom came down and picked up the boys and I to drive to the neurologist on Tuesday morning. And he was really very good. He wasn't Dr. McDreamy (but really who is?). Dr. J was very blunt and very direct. But he did a great job explaining everything and answering my questions. He didn't sugarcoat anything or try to hold my hand. And I appreciated that. I need my doctor to tell me what's what. And he did.
 
The boys found an empty cabinet in the office and it entertained them for almost 20 minutes!
Needed entertainment during our hour long wait!
 
Given the severity of my pain, severity of the weakness in my leg, and the tingling and numbness, the most likely cause is a bulging disc in my spine putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. (Pretty much textbook symptoms.) While it can clear up on its own with rest, pain management and physical therapy, this is less likely due to the increased weight and posture issues associated with pregnancy. So the treatment is surgery. Which can't be performed while I'm pregnant. (And might not be necessary if I wasn't. Catch-22!)
 
If I wasn't pregnant he would have ordered an MRI that day to confirm his suspicion.
But I am.
So he couldn't. (Well, you can do MRIs while pregnant but drs don't like to unless it's absolutely necessary.)
 
He also said my piriformis muscle is abnormally tight and clearly spasming. This could be a reaction to a bulged disc. It could be piriformis syndrome. It could be both. It could be "something else" (And I didn't ask the logical what else follow up question. My brain was still processing that "the most obvious cause" would require a surgical fix. AFTER delivery.) So, something is going on with my piriformis muscle but it is unknown at this point if it is the cause or effect of the sciatica.
 
Therefore, Dr. J wants to treat the piriformis muscle issue. So, we will treat it like piriformis syndrome for now. Because that we can treat. Sort of. The normal treatment involves anti-inflammatories. Which I can't take. Because - pregnant. So, I got a prescription for a muscle relaxer and a steroid on Tuesday morning. This should decrease the pain level and increase my mobility. And hopefully it will completely eliminate the pain!

He wants to give the drugs two weeks to do their job and have me continue seeing the chiropractor 2-3x a week. At the end of the two weeks if I still have pain he will do an EMG which looks at nerves. I'm not exactly sure what he would be looking for with this test - I guess the "something else"?
 
In the meantime, the primary nurse for the "referring physician" from my OBs office (who is not my normal OB although I have seen her before and she is a great doctor) called Tuesday afternoon after getting the results from the neurologist. They wanted to rule out one additional possibility: deep vein thrombosis (or in less fancy language: a blood clot). So this morning I headed to the hospital imaging center to have an ultrasound of my leg. I don't have official results yet but word from the ultrasound tech is that patients with DVT are admitted and immediately put on anticoagulants. I was allowed to go home.
 
So, drawing conclusions here, one possibility ruled out!
 
The other promising thing the neurologist said: (I'm paraphrasing with probably more than a few liberties here) nerves are confusing little buggers and we don't always know the cause of nerve issues and pain. We also don't know why they sometimes just go away all on their own. So I could wake up 100% pain free any day! AND since I'm pregnant this is even MORE likely because my body is going through so many changes and the relaxin is causing my hips to widen the pressure on my nerve could just disappear. So yay!
 
So basically:
  • I have a tight and spasming piriformis muscle. Either causing, caused by, or in some other way associated with sciatic nerve pain. And potentially sciatic nerve damage.
  • We still don't know what the issue is. But will slowly rule things out.
  • Most likely given my symptoms: bulging disc.
  • Worst case scenario: bulging disc.
  • Also likely (and perhaps present in conjunction): piriformis syndrome
  • Treating as if it's piriformis syndrome for now.
  • And it seems to be working!
    • I'm still in pain but I can walk!
    • I'm still in pain but I can pick up my boys!
    • I'm still in pain but I can function!
So now we are hoping that I continue to get better! We are so grateful for our families this past week who have stepped up in a major way to help take care of Tripp and Davy when I couldn't. We are so very very fortunate!
 

Mar 17, 2014

St. Patricks Day what?

Today my Facebook feed literally blew up with cute St. Patrick's Day outfits, green desserts and drinks, homemade Irish fare, Pinterest inspired crafts, decorations that make my head spin, green leprechaun prints leading to pots of gold and leprechaun traps and other holiday hoopla.
 
For St Paddy's Day??
 
When did this become a thing all the moms do? Do I just know the wrong moms? The serious overachieving moms of babies? Or is this an expectation now? When did moms start doing all this work for non holidays? When did celebrating everything to the nines become a thing? When did wearing a green shirt stop being enough?
 
Thank goodness my kids are too young to be in on this because my underachieving status would be all too obvious. I'm 100% okay with my underachievement. Because my kids are ONE. And they don't care about any of this. All of the fancy I saw on Facebook was done by moms for moms. It wasn't done for your one or two year old. (The few moms I know with kids 3+ get a pass because your kids might get it. But even then - WHY turn every tiny day into something so big?)

To add to my frustration about this non-holiday infatuation, I am now seeing the nighttime mamas posting on twitter and Facebook beating themselves up that they didn't do more. Mamas: YOU DID ENOUGH!!! Even if you did nothing.

So, for all the underachievers out there: St Paddy's Day at my house.
 
 
In my house, no one had a special leprechaun shirt. Because I refuse to spend $20 (x2) on a holiday shirt to wear once. I feel sort of ripped off by the cost of their first birthday shirts (which I've made them wear again even though they say one!) and that's a FIRST BIRTHDAY! No way am I ordering adorable etsy shirts with green clovers for St Paddy's. They did wear coordinating outfits yesterday - which meant Davy was in blue and Tripp was in green. So I got it half right?

In my house, their were no fancy dyed green drinks or desserts. And it isn't because we are so healthy we don't use food dye. It's because they are ONE. And they just don't know the difference. And I worry enough about their diet and total calories consumed (they are still underweight) and adding food dye isn't going to help get more calories in them. They did eat a green pear and green beans and applesauce from a green pouch. So that's a win right? I could have made them a smoothie - they really like green smoothies. But I didn't. Maybe next year I'll step up my game and make sure I have spinach for a green smoothie on St Patricks Day. But probably not. Because they will still only be TWO!

In my house, we are eating lasagna tonight. Because I'm in a lot of pain and a lasagna is easy. And spends most of its time in the oven where I don't have to worry about it. And the boys will have grilled chicken because lasagna isn't dairy free. And grilled chicken is already made for them and in the fridge. And I know they eat chicken (underweight remember?). I could have made Irish Stew. I have a really good crock pot recipe. But the ingredients weren't on sale at my local grocery store and meal plans are based on the advertised circular. So no stew. I'll take responsibility for this fail. The babies like Irish Stew and I could have at least done this much. But I didn't. Underachieving.

In my house, we don't do crafts yet. Because they are ONE. And would rather eat a crayon than color with it. And while yes I could put their footprint on something and paint around it, that's a craft for me not them. And WHY?!? When they are old enough to color a rainbow we might do a craft for the holiday. But until then, why the pressure for moms to do all the work on a craft the kid doesn't care about? Are you really planning on saving that footprint leprechaun forever? Because I can promise your 30 year old son isn't going to jump for joy when you give him a stack of infant art.

In my house, we had no decorations. For those who know me, this one is actually surprising. I love decorating my house! And I have tubs of decor for every holiday in the attic. But I'm pregnant. And chasing two mobile babies. I can't go in the attic when they are awake because, mobile babies. And I can't go in the attic when they are asleep because it is loud right by the nursery to open the attic pull down stairs. So I have to decorate on the weekends when Casey is home. And I have chosen to enjoy my weekends with my babies and my husband instead of decorating. I have also been throwing up most every night and so weekends are for sleeping while Casey watches the boys. I have big plans for my Easter decorations though! So stay tuned!

In my house we had no leprechaun who left dirty footprints for me to clean up. We didn't search for the pot of gold. We didn't set a leprechaun trap. And I know nothing else about this "tradition" so no more commentary.



So basically, in my house today was a day. The boys played with their grandparents. They napped. They ate three meals and a snack (or two). They went outside. They got a lot of clean diapers. It was a Monday. Not a holiday.
Snack time with Papa.
Thank goodness for amazing Grandparents who came to help out while I'm incapacitated!

As I said, I'm completely okay with my underachieving. And since it was just a Monday I don't have any fancy special pictures to go along with this post even! But here are the boys enjoying snack time with their Papa.
 
 
 
 
Edit: No, I am not a total Grinch. I go all out for real holidays.
Edit: Yes, we are Irish actually. My grandmothers maiden name is Shay. Very Irish.
Edit: I am not judging moms who love this stuff. Although I might be confused as to why it goes on Facebook and blogs with questions about what the other mommy's of one year olds did. I get having fun with your older kids who understand. Heck, I'll probably be making some green dairy-free cupcakes when my boys are old enough to enjoy them! My concern is why this is starting in my babies groups!
 

I Bought All The Things: BabyWearing Edition

Throughout my pregnancy, I did a decent job of posting my thought process and research on the baby things we purchased. Now it's time to analyze what we have.
 
I am a huge advocate of baby wearing and honestly don't know how I would have survived without it! I currently own 2 Baby K'Tans (a wrap style carrier), a BabyBjorn (soft structured carrier), an Ergo (SSC) and a Lillebaby (SSC). It seems like a lot of carriers, but there is only one I would get rid of. And if I could justify the cost, there are a few I'd love to try! (A hiking pack, a Tula Toddler carrier, a sling for the new little one, etc.)
 
 

Baby K'Tan

For me, the big selling point of the Baby K’tan was that it is a wrap carrier (like the ever popular Moby) without all of the complicated wrapping. I knew I would be dealing with two babies and the time and effort it took to wrap seemed like a problem. Basically, the Baby K'tan is two big loops of soft stretchy fabric that are attached (with a smaller little loop) to make an X. There is also a sash necessary for some of the carry styles. To use the k'tan, just put the carrier over your head and arms through the loops. Then, you drop one of the shoulder straps to your waist, put your child in (multiple positions to choose from) and bring the strap back up onto your shoulder. It sounds complicated but takes seconds. Literally, seconds. After baby is in, you tie the sash on for security depending on babies weight and the carry you chose.

My mom and I each wearing a baby on their first trip out of the house. A perfect way to stop strangers from touching them and spreading germs. You can really see how happy Davy is all snuggled in.
 
K'Tan at the SMU Bookstore. Raising these little boys right!
 
K'Tan on a plane. Sleeping baby so I can play on my phone.
 
I started using the k'tan when the boys were around 7lbs and LOVED it for the tiny newborn stage. I am still using it around the house now with my 13m 20lbers. This is an awesome, easy to use wrap carrier. It is a perfect gift for a new mom who isn't an avid baby wearer -- good shower gift price point and a great starter wrap (although I love it enough I don't see myself ever moving beyond starter level!).
 
 
 

BabyBjorn Original

We received a BabyBjorn carrier before the boys were born and started using it around 11lbs. I personally am not a fan. I find the straps dig into my shoulders and the weight isn't well distributed. So it hurts. I think if must just not fit my body shape well though because Casey likes it. He likes the way it fits and likes that for short trips he can allow the boys to face out. (Because of "crotch dangling" concerns we don't let the boys face outward for very long though). One huge positive to this carrier: it is extremely easy to use. Their are no buckles or snaps in the back (instead it crisscrosses in the back and unhooks in the front) so anyone can get it on and off solo. It is quick and easy to get baby safely strapped in.
Happy Tripp and a handsome camera-shy daddy
 
As the boys have gotten bigger, this carrier has gotten less and less use. It is one of (if not THE) most popular baby carriers on the market, but is the one we would be most likely to get rid of.
 
To add: BabyBjorn is an awesome company and the maker of my number one favorite baby product ever, the BabyBjorn Babysitter Chair. I've heard their other carriers, like the Miracle, are better and more comfortable than the Original but don't have any personal experience.
 
 
 

Ergo Organic

After realizing I didn't like the BabyBjorn, I found a good deal on a used Ergo Organic. And really liked it. It takes some maneuvering and practice to get used to the buckle on your back and just how to contort to reach it, but once that is mastered, it is a comfortable carrier.
Tripp fast asleep on his Daddy's back.
 
The Ergo and Bjorn at The State Fair of Texas.
 
My favorite feature: the back carry. Once I mastered the art of flipping a kid onto my back I became a huge fan of tandem babywearing! Back wearing is amazing. No risk of hip injury, baby can see evetything, your hands are completely free to shop, cook, clean, whatever, and baby is still comfy enough to settle in for a nap. Basically I think back wearing is everything.
 
Back to the carrier... As I said, it is incredibly comfortable to wear. With multiple straps for fit adjustment, giving you not only the ability to distribute baby's weight evenly, but also the freedom to trade off babywearing duties with a different sized person. This is great because with one carrier in the car, my husband and I can both use it! Like the k'tan, getting baby in and out is easy, although the security buckle snapped across your shoulders/upper back area requires a bit of flexibility to do on your own (A trick I found online that works for me: lift up baby's bottom just a wee bit with one arm, which makes it easier to stretch over your shoulder with the other arm and buckle or unbuckle the strap. You do have to master the one handed buckle/unbuckle though.
 
Overall, we really like the Ergo and it lives in the car for frequent use on outings!
 
 
 

Lillebaby

This is by far my favorite of the babywearing devices we own. It is more comfortable than the Bjorn. It is easier to put on than the Ergo. It is more age appropriate for my kids current stage than the K'Tan. The Lillebaby gets my full endorsement!
 
First the fabric. I originally intended to buy the Lillebaby Complete Organic (that's what all the links are to) because it is so incredibly soft. But, when it came time to buy, I found the Lillebaby Complete AirFlow. It is the exact same carrier in 3D mesh so it is breathable. This seems like a little thing but when it's 110 outside adding a little hotbox to your body can be brutal. The mesh makes the boys and I both more comfortable!
 
Now the carrier. This one is versatile. Like the Ergo, it easily does both front and back carries. But it also does an outward facing front carry (like the Bjorn). This is because it has so many freakin options - like a flexible leg position on the seat that makes the seat area wider or thinner to fit a newborn or to allow a forward facing carry. Pretty cool.
 
If you are looking for one carrier that really can do it all (until 45lbs!) this is the one. It also has a "seatbelt" sort of thing on the inside of the carrier so that it really secures the tiny newborns in (without needing a sweat inducing infant insert like on the ergo). I've never used this strap on the inside because we didn't own the Lillebaby when the twins were that young, but I look forward to buckling in baby three and keeping him extra secure in just a few months.
 
The last feature I'll mention - I've heard folks complaining about back wearing their toddler in the Ergo getting uncomfortable because toddler legs get long and kick against you. Lillebaby solves that issue by selling stirrups to help support longer legged kids. I own the stirrups but haven't needed to use them yet on my tiny guys.
 
This is the carrier I reach for 100% of the time.
 
Buy on Amazon here for $135. (Not the Airflow one we have. Same carrier in organic cotton.)
 
Despite wearing the Lillebaby at least once a week, I don't have a single picture with it! I intended to rectify that over the weekend before publishing this pits, but instead I was laid up with whoa (like seriously whoa) pain. I use the Lillebaby constantly for quick runs into MOPS to drop the boys at nursery and short errands like grabbing dog good. I find it SO MUCH faster to strap a boy to me than to get the stroller out, set up, and loaded. For a long errand like the grocery store or mall I use the stroller but still bring a carrier in case someone gets fussy.


Tandem Wearing

 
Well, the only time I tandem wear is when I'm by myself so a collection of low quality selfies:
 
Two babies in one k'tan. This carry works until the babies hit 10lbs.
 
Ergo on the front. K'tan on the back.
My favorite tandem carry is now Ergo and Lillebaby together. But no pictures. Sorry.
 
Now that my pregnant belly is getting bigger, I am planning to go back to using the k'tan on the front to get that bit of stretch. Once my back is in a better place (which I am naively hoping happens soon) I may (or honestly may not depending on what the doctors tell me) be back to tandem wearing and update this post with a few more pictures.
 
 
The Other Posts in This Series:
 

Mar 16, 2014

A Serious Pain in My...

I am suffering from a serious pain in my butt.
 
And this time it's not my husband.
Casey being SuperDad.
Reading Dear Zoo (for the 586th time) and entertaining both boys.
 
(Totally kidding. Casey is pretty much amazing. SuperDad. Loving husband. Godly man. Supportive. etc)
 
 
Last Monday I had a mildly sore back. It hurt on my very lower back (just above my derrière) on the left side. This lasted a few days until...
 
As I wrote on Friday, on Thursday I woke up and couldn't walk. Both boys woke up around 5 and I hobbled into the nursery, picked up Davy, called Casey to come get Tripp, and pretty much collapsed. I was on the floor of the nursery and in tears. I limped/hobbled back to bed after we got the boys resettled and promptly fell back asleep. When the boys woke up at 8:45 I went to get out of bed. And fell. My left leg was so weak it couldn't support my weight. I tried crawling and even with that I was screaming with every movement. Thank goodness for my mother-in-law who was coming over that day to play with the boys! I managed to get to the front door to let her in and I honestly don't know how I did it. I really couldn't walk.
 
I made a few calls in the morning and spoke to the triage nurse at my OBs office to make sure none of the things I was experiencing could be hurting the baby. Because I was experiencing both weakness and pain she said I most likely had sciatic nerve damage and a Chiropractor is the right answer to get my vertebrae realigned to get the nerve unpinched.

I posted on my area moms group (LHAECPTA) and my blog asking for advice and promptly had a few recommendations for a chiropractor. After quickly double checking their recommendations with my insurance coverage I was able to get in for an appointment that afternoon.

I had never been to a chiropractor before and really didn't know what to expect. For that first appointment, it was warm, fuzzy, massagey, stretchy, goodness. Some of the things that happened were uncomfortable don't get me wrong, but by the end of the appointment I had a diagnosis and some amount of mobility back.
 
The diagnosis: piriformis syndrome leading to sciatica-like symptoms.
 

So, what is piriformis syndrome?

 
The piriformis muscle is a TINY pyramid shaped muscle that sits deep beneath the gluteus maximus (in the butt). It helps your hips function and turn outwards. Well, small things can cause big problems. This tiny muscle is the root of my issues.

Source


In piriformis syndrome, this muscle contracts and traps the sciatic nerve causing pain in the lower back, butt, and potentially all the way down the leg and into the foot. In extreme cases, it can cause weakness, numbness, and tingling all the way down the leg and foot. This mimics the symptoms of sciatica and many doctors will call it sciatica for ease of comprehension. (Although technically, sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve by either a herniated disc, bone spur or inflammation at the lower lumbar spine causing pain and numbness throughout the branches of the sciatic nerve affecting the buttocks, posterior thigh, calf and foot.). Like in sciatica, piriformis syndrome effects the sciatic nerve and can cause pain all the way down its branches. This is because of the proximity of the piriformis muscle to the sciatic nerve.

Source


In most people, the sciatic nerve sits right behind the piriformis muscle (as seen in group A in the image above). From my understanding of the chiropractors explanation, in these people piriformis pain is painful but not crippling. But, in a small portion of the population (groups B, C, and D in the image above) the sciatic nerve pierces the piriformis muscle so a tight piriformis muscle can actually antagonize the sciatic nerve. It can go so far as to trap the sciatic nerve inside the muscle causing incapacitating pain.

Also, this is genetic. During my appointment I was blaming my dad who had back problems for much of my life. But, when I was telling my mom all that I learned she confessed that she has had crippling piriformis syndrome! And for her, it took nearly six weeks to get over it. So it's her fault!

Pregnancy can't cause piriformis syndrome. But, some changes to the body caused by the pregnancy can make the syndrome more likely to rear its ugly head. During pregnancy, the pelvic floor will shift gradually to accommodate the growing baby. For this to happen, the body releases a chemical called relaxin, which relaxes the pubic symphisis (pubic bone), surrounding ligaments, and joints in the pelvis. The release of the relaxin allows the entire area to widen and gives baby enough space. This can increase the stress and strain on the tail bone where the piriformis attaches, causing the muscle to tighten until it is in a constant state of contraction. And maybe even spasm.

Since Thursday I have been pretty much useless. I can't lift the boys. I can't sit flat in a chair. I can't walk very far without screaming. I can't take care of the boys on my own. I can't be the mom I want to be.
 
Casey multi-tasking.
Walking the boys around the parking lot of the chiropractor
while making calls for work.
 
 

I am so thankful that Casey and I are a team (as he has reminded me over and over the past few days during my down moments!). He worked from home on Friday so that he could take care of the boys. I am able to lay in the baby corral zone and play with them, but I can't get them there, change diapers, or feed them. So Casey worked during nap time and a bit during play time and ALSO took primary care of the boys. He was the one in charge all day Saturday and all day Sunday too. He is seriously SuperDad! The boys and I are so lucky to have him.

But, he can't stay home forever and while we have a plan for our parents to help this upcoming week, I need to get better. I have seen the chiropractor twice. I am religiously doing the stretches she gave me so I can keep the mobility I do have. I am applying heat and ice. I have soaked in a steaming hot bath. I am taking Tylenol (the most useless drug ever but all I'm allowed to have).
 
Despite all if this, my leg is sore and weak. My butt hurts. My foot is tingling.
 
And the nighttime nausea I've been suffering from - still happening. Because that's fun.
 
Basically, everything is terrible.
 
And I can't take care of my own children.