It seems like just yesterday that we brought these little five and a half pound cuties, home, from the hospital. Overwhelmed, with so much emotion, love, joy, and fear, and miraculously, we all survived. We pretended we knew what we were doing and those precious little babies have turned into funny little people.
Four years have flown by in the blink of an eye, and today, the girls had their annual well visit check-up. My mind was blown when I realized their next check-up will be their kindergarten physical. How is this even possible? Please stop growing, now.
When our names were called, the girls lined up (thank you, preschool), and followed their nurse through the door and to the nurse’s station. According to our physical, Katelyn measured 41″ and Chelsea measured 40.5″, but I’m pretty sure Katelyn may have snuck up on some tippy toes for that measurement. She was probably practicing for future Knott’s Berry Farm visits (sierra sidewinder, here we come)!
The appointment ended with the girls’ final immunizations (aside from the flu shot) needed until they enter 7th grade (woohoo)! They were so big and brave, they didn’t even cry. Instead, they looked at the nurse with puppy dog eyes and calmly said “Ouch. That hurt.”
The nurse gave them each a new book and a high five and all was right again! Chelsea even asked me if we could go to the dentist next. Who are these kids?
One great check-up. Two healthy kids…. who must have two amazing parents. Cheers!
It’s hard to believe that we are now 35 weeks pregnant. I have hit the point in twin pregnancy where I not only have a doctor visit every week, but also go to the hospital twice a week for non-stress testing. I know the next few weeks could drag on, but having 3 weekly appointments to see my girls will definitely help out in the waiting process!
Non-stress tests (NST) are a painless procedure used to evaluate the girls condition. We start off with a quick ultrasound to check the positioning of the girls… and, great news, they are both still head down!!
Next, I sit in a big comfortable, reclining chair and the nurse straps three devices to my stomach. Two of them monitor each of the girl’s heart beats and movements while the third one records contractions in my uterus.
During the test, the nurse monitors the girls’ heartbeats, first while each baby is resting and again while they are moving. As you would expect, the heart rate should go up while they are kicking and moving.
I was told to eat a good breakfast to give the girls a little boost and get their feet kicking.
If the baby’s heart beats faster while she is moving, for at least 15 seconds, on two separate occasions, during a 20-minute span, the result is normal and she passes the test! A paper printout monitors every movement and is later sent to my doctor for further evaluation.
Depending on the cooperation of the babies, the test could take anywhere from 20-60 minutes. At our first visit on Monday, we were done in 20 minutes, and the nurse said the girls received their first “A”. I am so proud!
We have our next NST tomorrow morning and I’m hopeful it will go as smoothly as the first one!
Yesterday, we attended another Kaiser prenatal education class, Breastfeeding with Success. I know that I want to breast feed, and with twins, I recognize it will be easy to get overwhelmed. Kaiser has an amazing support system, access to lactation consultants, and of course, my husband will be my #1 supporter at home.
The class addressed a lot of the myths and worries of breastfeeding which actually was a big sigh of relief. According to statistics, less than half of all babies born each year in the United States are exclusively breastfed, and most for less than 3 months.
For thousands of years, babies depended on their mother’s milk for survival. Only recently, in the United States, we have changed our ways and are now living in a bottle-feeding culture. There are several contributing factors, and one of the big ones is women returning to work. Cultural norms in the US have also caused us to look down on breastfeeding. We are the only country that has these views.
There are a lot of myths about breastfeeding that were addressed in this class.
- Many women do not produce enough milk
- A vast majority of women actually produce an overabundance of milk. The baby may not be getting enough milk if they are poorly latched. The more you breastfeed, the more milk you produce. Once you start supplementing 1, 2, 3 bottles per day, you will produce less milk. Studies have shown that only 1-2% of women are truly unable to produce adequate milk.
- There is not enough milk the first 3 or 4 days after birth
- The first few days of feeding, your body produces colostrum (newborn milk), which is a rich, thick, yellowish milk. Their stomachs are only the size of a marble when they are first born, and the small amount of colostrum that comes out is the perfect amount for your baby.
- Breastfeeding is Painful
- Although many women experience some nipple tenderness during the early days of breastfeeding, breastfeeding is not meant to be painful. It is usually a sign that the baby is not latching correctly.
- Modern Formulas are almost the same as Breastfeeding
- Formulas do provide nutrition, but Breastfeeding also provides antibodies to strengthen your baby’s immune system. Breastfeeding also provides good cholesterol and other types of fat in human milk that support the growth of nerve tissue and brain growth.
There are a lot of other myths that were addressed and those were just a few. In our culture, there are many reasons that women choose not to breastfeed and that is a very personal decision that is to be respected.
In our class yesterday, we learned a variety of breastfeeding holds, including some that were specific to twins. We learned a lot from this 2.5 hour class, but we are also meeting 1-on-1 with a lactation consultant on Thursday to go more in detail on nursing for twins. Our lactation consultant will meet us again in the hospital and her office will be open to us after the babies are born for additional support. I think the support will really help us when times get tough.
I have obviously not been down the breastfeeding path yet, but I do believe that breastfeeding will be the best choice for our girls. Although life does not always follow your desired path, this is the path my husband and I have chosen to navigate.
Kaiser Permanente offers a multitude of prenatal education classes including breastfeeding, prepared childbirth, and preterm birth prevention. The majority of the classes are offered at no charge and it is a great way to not only learn about your pregnancy and what to expect, but also to meet new moms that are on the same page as you.
We have signed up for all of the classes and last night, we attended the preterm birth prevention class. The class is intended to help you recognize the signs of preterm labor and decrease the chances of preterm birth. It is recommended for women between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy. I learned a lot of valuable information and think it is important to share.
Babies born before 37 full weeks of pregnancy are considered to be born premature. Being pregnant with multiples does put us at an increased risk for preterm labor. Some other factors which can place women at an increased risk include:
- A history of previous preterm birth
- A history of preterm labor in another pregnancy
- Carrying more than one baby
- An abnormally shaped uterus
- A history of 3 or more miscarriages or abortions
- Frequent uterine contractions in pregnancy
- Changes in the cervix this pregnancy
- Frequent bladder of kidney infections
- Cigarette Smoking / Alcohol / Drug Use during this pregnancy
Even though you may have one or more of these risk factors, it does not mean you will deliver a preterm baby. In fact, over half of the women who deliver preterm babies have no risk factors. It could happen to anyone, so it is important to know what to look out for.
If you experience any of the following preterm labor signs, you should immediately call your healthcare professional.
- Low, dull backache – the pain is constant; starts in your back and comes around to the front
- Cramps – could resemble the cramps you get with your menstrual cycle or abdominal cramps
- Leaking fluid – could be your water breaking
- Changes in discharge – notice an increase
- Pressure – feeling that your baby is pushing down low in your pelvis
- Contractions – abdomen tightens like a fist and occur 10 minutes apart of closer
For more information on preterm labor, you can visit the March of Dimes website.
The hour-long class was very educational. I learned the importance of recognizing the preterm labor signs and getting to the hospital as soon as possible so the labor can potentially be stopped.
I love the Kaiser classes and overall, we have had a wonderful experience. Although, we cannot predict everything (such as having twins), we can try to be as prepared as possible for what’s to come!
Trent and I are members of Kaiser Permanente and our girls will most likely be delivered by Kasier Anaheim Medical Center or Kaiser Irvine Medical Center. We switched insurance coverage about 2 months before we found out I was pregnant. I cannot say enough good things about Kaiser. We have been blessed to have all wonderful experiences throughout the pregnancy so far.
Kaiser offers a lot of prenatal education classes including: Have a Healthy Pregnancy, Preterm Birth Prevention, Prepared Childbirth, Breastfeeding with Success, Baby Care Basics, Infant Safety & CPR, and Maternity Tours. The majority of their classes are free and we have signed up for all of them. The more education, the better!
Last night, we attended the Maternity Tour at Kaiser Anaheim. Upon our arrival, we were given two adorable hand-made hats for the girls to wear when they arrive.
The first ninety minutes of the course was in the audtiorium where we talked about the classes offered, birth certificate information, choosing a pediatrician and took a virtual tour of the hospital.
The virtual tour reviewed everything moms-to-be and their families will experience while at Kaiser, from labor to delivery to going home! It was really eye-opening and a relief to see the entire process so we will be as prepared as possible for the big day!
We received a handout that walks us through every step of the process including what number to call, when to go to the hospital, where to park, where to go, etc. We learned that we can handle the admission paper work 4-6 weeks before the babies are due. That means paper work and co-pay will be handled ahead of time, making it one less thing for us to worry about. It was very detailed and thorough. We were quite impressed!
I learned that the Kaiser in Anaheim, which is where we most likely be delivering, has a Level 3 NICU department, which is for babies born over 28 weeks, who will need special care. The Kaiser in Irvine has a Level 2 NICU department, for babies born over 32 weeks. With twins, I am definitely high-risk for pre-term labor, so it was very reassuring knowing that these NICU departments are there in case we need them.
One thing about Kaiser that I loved is the G.I.F.T program. GIFT stands for Giving Intimate Family Time. They stress the importance of skin-to-skin contact after the baby is born. The mother and baby are wrapped up together for 1-2 hours. There will be one nurse in the room, but there will be no interruptions. It is your time.
Following our girls birth, mom and dad are sure to be hungry. Kaiser provides one celebration meal in their room. It is a gourmet meal ordered off a special menu and served with sparkling cider!
After the lecture in the auditorium, we split up into smaller groups and took a walking tour of the Labor & Delivery unit. We got to see every room that a pregnant mom and her baby would go to, with the exception of the Operating Room. With our pregnancy being high-risk, whether we are delivering natural or having a c-section, our labor and delivery will be in the operating room.
The rooms were very nice. Even though Kaiser Anaheim is a much older building, all of the rooms were completely renovated when Kaiser Irvine was recently built. Kaiser Anaheim now has a beach feel, which I love!
After the girls are born, we move into our private recovery room. On the way to the room, there is a mural on the wall of a beautiful painting of the beach. Within the painting there is a little button. Mom (and in our case Dad too) presses the button in the center of the red and white umbrella. A Brahms Lullaby chimes spreading the happy news throughout the hospital, that a baby was just born!
The maternity tour was awesome and again, I cannot say enough good things about Kaiser. We are so glad that they are our providers and every day we are more and more excited for our girls to arrive!