Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lessons Along The Way

The past few days I've been thinking about some of the best parenting advice I've received as well as good lessons I've learned along the way.  I thought it fitting to share here!  Some are controversial, others you've heard 1,000 times and I'm simply here so you may hear it 1,001 times.  :)

Trust your gut.  I wrote about this with Jude's recent SPD diagnosis but that is not the first time I pushed back on something I felt wasn't right.  "Trust your gut" is one of those expressions you always hear and (if you're like me) often roll your eyes.  It just seems so silly.  But what it really means is you know your child better than anyone else in this world.  A doctor sees them for 15 minutes at a time.  A friend sees them once a week.  You see them every single day.  And from the time they were placed in your arms at the hospital, you have studied their cues so you can best support them and be their biggest advocate.  This doesn't change as they get older.  In fact, it gets easier because they've learned to communicate as well and together you are a pretty amazing team.  

Don't feel pressured to potty train.  This has been one of my biggest parenting struggles.  When the kids turned 2.5, we decided it was time they moved to undies.  Did either one of them show signs they were ready?  Absolutely not.  We decided for them.  And it worked... for Sloane.  It took her exactly one day.  We spent a solid two weeks with Jude and while he would use the potty when we took him, he never asked to go.  I became a nervous wreck to leave the house or be away for more than 30 minutes.  Their pediatrician told me potty training should not be that difficult and to try again later.  We put Jude back in diapers for several months and then tried again.  Same results.  I'd always said my children would be potty trained by three (easy to say when you don't have kids) and their third birthday flew by with my boy still in diapers.  We tried again when he was 3 years, 2 months and it was a completely different story.  Of course he still had accidents at first - I'm not saying potty training will ever be easy (unless you have a potty savant like Sloane - ha) but it just clicked with him after a few days.  He was ready.  More good news: When he's filling out college applications, there isn't a line that asks, "How old were you when you potty trained?"  If your child is like my son, just know it will happen.  One day it will happen.  So many people told me that and I had my doubts but guess what?  It happened.  

You don't have to spend a fortune on Birthday and Christmas presents.  This is something we have stuck to since the beginning.  Regardless, thanks to family & friends there are still so many toys in our playroom that I have a borderline anxiety attack at least once a week.  I felt a little guilty this year at Christmas when there were only a few toys under the tree, but my 3-year-olds were completely ecstatic to see what Santa brought.  Not once did they ask for more or wonder why we'd only gotten them a few gifts.  I think it's a good lesson for all of us that it's just stuff.  And stuff is expensive and takes up a lot of room. 

Television is ok.  It's even good.  I will come clean and admit I was not always a follower of this.  We didn't let our kids watch (or even face) a tv screen for their entire first year.  I became a little more lenient around 15 months and have never looked back.  Obviously there is a balance, but the shows they watch have taught them so much.  They learned how to count and all of their shapes from Mickey Mouse.  They learned the potty song and have some of the best manners I know thanks to Daniel Tiger.  They've learned to be kind to their friends and share their toys.  Could we have taught them all of these things without tv?  Of course.  But being a first time mom, I didn't even think it was possible for 2-year-olds to count to 20.  I probably would've waited until the day before kindergarten and then decided, "Ok, they can probably handle this now."  Another reason I'm so grateful for television is the repetitive nature.  Jude is great at memorizing songs & phrases and it's given him more confidence with speaking.  He will recite an entire speech from Paw Patrol and in my head I'm thinking, "You just said 37 words in a row!"  And you know what?  Sometimes they don't learn a darn thing but it's 30 minutes when you can sit and drink your coffee and completely zone out.  That's ok too.  

Keep a (somewhat) tidy space.  This makes me sound like a 1950s housewife, but I can't tell you how much happier I am when there isn't junk everywhere.  My friend once told me, "If it takes you less than five minutes to do, do it right then."  It's such great advice.  I breathe easier when I look in our living room and can see the floor.  That being said, one of the biggest rules in our house is we clean up our own messes.  Before bedtime the kids help pick up the playroom.  If they spill milk, we give them a paper towel to clean it up.  Sometimes it's excruciating because what would take me 12 seconds to clean up takes a good five minutes from my turtle toddlers, but they're learning an important lesson.  

Your children are your priority... and no one else's.  This is a bit harsh but I think it's something we need to accept.  It doesn't stop me from posting too many pictures and videos of my kids but it also means when my kids are talking loudly in a public place, the rest of the world doesn't find it nearly as cute as I do.  I think it's just something to remember when you may feel slighted by an acquaintance or overly dependent on a friend.  It doesn't mean they don't love your child or have their best interest at heart, it just means they probably don't need to hear the 15-minute version of your child's bowel movement.  

Don't give up everything you love - find what makes you thrive.  I actually wrote a blog post about this once but I think it's worth mentioning again.  In the beginning, you're pretty much forced to give up everything, which is (most likely) just fine because you wouldn't want to be anywhere else.  However, there comes a time when you are not physically and mentally 100% attached to your child and when that time comes, it's healthy for you to remember what you loved before kids.  For me, I missed writing so I started Twin Talk.  For others it's the gym. (You bunch of weirdos.   Just kidding.)  Just don't lose yourself in your kids.

Be the same person outside of your home as you are inside.  I grew up in a very normal family.  We were far from perfect, but there was a lot of love and amazing memories.  I respected my parents and they respected me.  Because of this, I also trusted them completely.  One of the best takeaways from my childhood experience is that what I saw in our home - the way they talked to us and treated each other - was the exact same as what I saw in public.  It made the world far less confusing and is something I try to think about on a daily basis.  Now let's be honest with ourselves.  There are times when my patience is thin and I throw a mini fit inside our home - probably not going to do that in public (you're welcome, world).  But it's so important you aren't throwing mixed signals your kids way. 

Make mom friends and make them a priority.  This seems so obvious, but it is absolutely crucial.  I couldn't do this mom gig alone.  And I'm not slighting Michael in any way, because he hears every story I share with my mom friends.  But there is something about hearing a fellow mom tell you, "My kid does it too."  Or "That sounds like a terrible day, I'm so sorry."  And here's the biggest takeaway from this: Any mom friend can sympathize.  Or empathize.  Find a mom friend who can also celebrate with you.  Find one who is genuinely excited when you or your child does something well.  It seems so easy, but when you find that friend or friends, hold onto them tightly because it truly is a gift when you feel comfortable sharing the bad and the good.  

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Trip to the Bank

There was nothing unusual about yesterday.  Michael spent the early morning moments with the kids while I grasped a few more minutes of precious sleep.  He poked his head in at 7:15 and told me he had to go so I stumbled out of bed and brushed my teeth.

My day began at 7:17am.  For the next 12 hours, I was solely in charge of two toddlers.  We chased each other around the kitchen island, made artistic drawings that (I feel) could hang in any modern museum, caught up on our favorite shows, built sand castles using kinetic sand, took great naps, and shared our feelings on Jesus's birthday cake (still hanging around), clean floors (too slippery), and bedtime stories (Mama Bear's lumpy bed is funny).  

It was a great day.  It's almost always a great day.  But with every day comes those little not-so-great moments that add up...

The kinetic sand made a huge mess under the dining table... three different times.  The chases inevitably led to tears.  The ink from the artwork ended up all over our clothes and hands (regardless of what the box said, it was NOT washable).  Nothing big.  But I feel like there's a savings account for parents and every time something like this happens, a small deposit is made into that account.  By the end of every day, you're a millionaire.  Even when each new day starts at zero.

Every time I had a negative thought, I quickly reminded myself that a) this was my dream job and b) I was so lucky.  I shouldn't complain and how dare I grumble about cleaning up the 47th mess when the kids had so much fun?  I either pushed my feelings aside or chastised myself for even having them.

I'm no psychologist, but Itook a year of psychology in high school and I think that's called repression.  And I'm pretty sure I remember it being a bad thing.

Staying home with my kids is my dream job.  And I am so lucky.  But there are plenty who have dream jobs outside the home.  They also have bad moments when their employees don't listen or when they have a big "mess" to clean up.  But when they get frustrated they don't immediately feel guilty.  Why is it different here?

I've found the same is true when my kids get sick.  Our first response is, "It's only a cold, we should be grateful."  Or "So many kids have far worse things to deal with, this is nothing."  And both of those statements are probably true.  However, just because someone has it worse than you (and trust me, someone will always have it worse), it doesn't mean you're not allowed to take a minute and realize right now... this very moment... it's just not a good time.  

We need that minute.  That little bit of time where you hide in your closet and cry (or do it in front of your kids - no hiding necessary).  A minute of having a tough time and not immediately feeling guilty for it.

I think we need to allow ourselves to feel the bad and the ugly.  Even if whatever it is we're feeling may seem small and insignificant compared to what a friend is going through.  To stop comparing our sad moments to others and just realize that yeah, this is sad.  This is frustrating.  This is hard.  

The next time I start feeling that tightness in my chest because it's been 12 hours alone with my kids and my daughter starts every single statement or question with, "Mama, mama, mama, mama, mama...." I'm going to the bank and cashing out.  For one minute I'm going to allow myself to wish for bedtime to come quickly and I'm not going to punish myself for it.  Because if I let myself have that moment, I will be better off for it.  The weight on my shoulders will be a little less than it was before.   

My love for my kids, however, will not.

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Friday, November 27, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Michelle Stalzkowski

Name: Michelle Stalzkowski

Where do you currently live?  Berea, Ohio

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins
8 weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy? Sciatica, I couldn't walk more than a few feet without my legs going numb! Nothing else too out of the ordinary!

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
Finding out I was pregnant with twins- before even seeing the Dr. I thought something was wrong- I felt awful, freezing cold all of the time, almost lethargic, it was awful. I insisted to the Dr. that if she wasn't going to see me any sooner- I wanted a ultrasound. I made my husband go with me in case the news wasn't good. As soon as it started- the tech asked my husband to sit down- his face, the poor guys, was scared to death and in the moment i just knew there were 2 in there:) She turned the screen to show us our 2 little miracles... my husband looked at me in shock and said "I think I will sell the Harley, we are going to need a minivan, and once they are born i am getting snipped!"- I will never forget it!

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 37w 1d

Baby A's Information: Cole Patrick 
July 9, 2012
6 lb 6oz
19 1/2 in

Baby B's Information: Mason Michael
July 9, 2012
10:22 om
6 lb 15 oz
20 in

Are your twins identical? No

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? ONE OF EACH!!
The short version- went into labor with both babies head down, declined a C Section because I did not want unnecessary surgery (and we had a 3 yr old at home and I was hoping vaginal birth and quick recovery). 11 Hours later- pushed Cole out with no issues! I was so relieved, as I started to get ready to push for Mason- the ultrasound showed he had flipped and was feet first!! Doctors we able to flip him back (horrifically painful) and I pushed and pushed , his heart rate dropped and I had to have an emergency C Section. He spent 3 days in "constant care" in incubator in nursery for breathing struggles, but came home with us! 

Did you have any complications after delivery? Nothing out of the ordinary!

How long did you stay in the hospital? 
4 days

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? Hospital Nursery

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 

1. So glad I had comfy maternity pjs!
2. Super glad my parents helped out with my daughter so that my husband could stay with me the first night!
3. Wish I would hadn't been so stubborn about taking pain meds! 

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: Packing the twins to come home! Mason was out of "constant care" and for the first time we were all together!

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Listen to your body! Find a Dr. you trust!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Alyssa

Name: Alyssa

Where do you currently live? Geneva, IL

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins
8 Weeks!

Any issues during your pregnancy? I didn't have any issues WITH my pregnancy. I did however fall down the last 4 stairs in my house going to put my shoes on for my baby shower. Which very unfortunately ended in me breaking my ankle in two places and dislocating it, missing my baby shower, and causing A LOT of discomfort for the last month of my pregnancy. I had to have surgery 5 days after the girls were born and in total was unable to walk for 5 months. It was a tough one, but it is certainly memorable and already in the baby books!

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
The funniest moment when I was pregnant was when we found out we were having twins! The doctor hadn't even begun the ultrasound yet and said "It looks like there are two!" Clearly he was joking because he had nothing leading him to think that whatsoever. Immediately after the ultrasound started he said it again, so we laughed, and he was like, "no, there really are two heartbeats!". We spent about 5 minutes trying to figure out if he was serious or not. I was laughing so hard because I was so in shock that there really were two! My husband who was also in total and complete shock, just kept asking if he was serious. It was by far the most funny, terrifying, and amazing appointment ever!

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? TAKE PICTURES OF THAT BUMP!!!!! I have very very very few pictures of me while I was pregnant. I so wish I would have taken bump pictures!

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 34 weeks

Baby A's Information: Penelope Austin (Her middle name is in honor of her Uncle that passed away)
December 5, 2012 6:29pm
5lbs 6oz
18 Inches

Baby B's Information: Violet Ann (Her middle name is in honor of her Grandma and Great Grandma)
December 5, 2012 7:11pm
4lbs 13oz
17.5 Inches

Are your twins identical? Yes :)

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? I naturally delivered both girls! It was a fairly easy delivery, outside of the bulky cast that was in the way, and Violet being face up, taking longer for her to be delivered.

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long? We spent 26 days in the NICU. They were there mostly for feeding issues, and some apnea issues. All in all they were healthy, breathing on their own. We just needed to be able to finish bottles and gain weight to be released.

Did you have any complications after delivery? I didn't have any complications after delivery that were pregnancy or birth related. Just the surgery on my ankle.

How long did you stay in the hospital? 
Three days

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? They were in the NICU

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 
I honestly cannot remember. I really only remember my time spent in the NICU, where you really couldn't have items.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: My favorite moments while we were in the hospital are hearing the girls first cries, and being able to hold them. Initially they told me I wouldn't be able to hold them when they were born, but I was able to, and it was amazing. My other favorite moment was being released from the NICU and being able to come home. It was a long 26 days and we couldn't have been more ready!

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? It really isn't as hard as people think it is. You learn, you adapt, you thrive as a family. It is truly an amazing journey, regardless of how challenging it may be at times. Tomorrow is always a new day, a fresh start. The days may be long, but they are so unbelievably rewarding. Having twins is truly a gift!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Anna

Name: Anna

Where do you currently live?  Bothell, WA

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins
20 weeks!

Any issues during your pregnancy? None at all, blessedly. Just some pretty nasty all day sickness for the entirety of my pregnancy and some painful aches from all that weight but ultimately, it was a healthy and normal pregnancy.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
I would have to say the moment we found out we were having not one but TWO babies was pretty memorable. During my 8-week appointment, I had a quick ultrasound but at that time, my midwife only saw one heartbeat -- to which I replied, "Thank God. I already feel like I'm ruining my sons life, I don't know what I would do if I was having twins." (God has quite the sense of humor, to which I am forever grateful. So glad I don't have the control and He does.) I was experiencing heavy mommy guilt even though I knew that giving my son a sibling was an awesome gift. I was so excited to be having our second baby but I was experiencing horrible all-day sickness and taking Diclegis just to keep food down. That combined with caring for our 17 month old son made for a rough first five months. 

Fast forward to our 20-week anatomy scan ultrasound. I was shocked and pleased to see I had gained 11 pounds after losing during my previous appointments. I still had NO IDEA that there was even the slightest chance that there was more than one baby -- even after the ultrasound started. My husband said he knew right away, as soon as that wand touched my belly and he saw the crazy mess of limbs going on up on the screen. I still didn't think anything abnormal was going on. I needed the tech to tell me. Twice.
"Have you had any other ultrasounds, Anna?"
*heart sinking with worry that something was wrong* "Just one at 8 weeks but it wasn't very clear."
"Well, there are two."
"Excuse me?"
"There are two babies!"
*enter total and complete brain function loss -- in my mind, I was thinking, what do you mean two babies? There's a little one in there? I got pregnant again? -- obviously, not my smartest moments....
The rest is a blur, with spurts of clarity, like when she asked if we wanted to know the sex.
"Well, I saw a penis..."
"Yes, they're identical so you're having two boys!"
*cue more shocked laughing/crying/shock/awe/panic

Looking back on it now, six months into having these two crazy babies earthside, I can laugh and be SO THANKFUL that God knew what He was doing. 

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? Well, I would've probably planted the seed that there were two babies, just so I wouldn't be so shell-shocked. :-)

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 37 weeks 5 days

Baby A's Information: Cohen Tate
7 lbs 9 oz
19" long

Baby B's Information: Isaac Rhett
5 lbs 9 oz
18" long

Are your twins identical? Yes

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? I had a scheduled c-section. This was incredibly hard to wrap my brain around at 20 weeks, when we had to shift our whole life plan (moving from midwives to a doctor, natural to cesarean, one baby to two, moving homes, buying a new car, etc etc etc). My doctor was and is phenomenal and through the second half of my pregnancy, provided me with encouragement and support. He never shut down my desire to deliver vaginally, saying that if I went into labor on my own and the babies were head down, I could go for it. But I never did go into labor and I'm at peace with how my babies were delivered. After the final months of painful joints and restless nights, it was nice to have a date to plan for and not have to go through the contractions and discomfort (understatement -- ha) of delivery.

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long? None at all. Again, so incredibly thankful that my pregnancy and babies were so healthy.

Did you have any complications after delivery? I had a low platelet count heading into the final week of my pregnancy and even the morning of, it was fairly low. But we had the go-ahead for the spinal and went forward with the c-section. Afterwards, my doctor told me that I had lost more blood than was typical and while I didn't need a transfusion, it was something they wanted to keep an eye on. I wasn't even able to sit up fully during the first 24 hours, which was really challenging. But by the time I was discharged, I was past most of the pain and was feeling okay.

How long did you stay in the hospital? 
4 days

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? They stayed with us, as our hospital doesn't have a nursery. But we had our parents come in the evenings to hold the boys so we could sleep. We also had a few friends who worked the night shift at the hospital who would come and give us a break around midnight. That was awesome, too.

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 

1) Camera.
2) Maternity sweats and nursing tanks -- it was so nice to have some clothes to feel "normal" in.
3) Snacks! It was so nice to have Greek yogurt to eat in the later hours or the early morning.

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: Having our 22 month old son, Liev, come in and meet the babies a few hours after they were born was my absolute favorite. Having our little band of brothers all together for the first time is something I will never forget. He was so gentle and loving towards them. I was so thankful to have three healthy and perfect little boys. It was a surreal and blessed moment.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Try and enjoy the ride. It's a finite season and while there may be pain and discomfort, you're participating in a miracle and it is awesome to experience. (sidenote: I love being pregnant so this was easier for me even during the bad days but I recognize that not everyone feels that way. Still, staying positive and remembering in the hard moments that being pregnant is not forever helps tremendously.)

Anna's Instagram: aschauf21

Professional photos courtesy of Ashley DeLatour of One Thousand Words Photography.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Lindsay Blouin

If you'd like to contribute your own twin birth story, CLICK HERE to fill out the questionnaire!

Lindsay Blouin

Where do you currently live? Rhode Island

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins
six weeks

Any issues during your pregnancy? I had to take the gestational diabetes test at sixteen weeks and I failed. They had me take the three-hour, which of massively failed. I lucked out though, and was able to control it with my diet. Then I started getting higher blood pressure, and ended up with preeclampsia and needing the babies out.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
At the time, our oldest was 2. The days of our first ultrasound we had asked him how many babies were in mommy's belly and he said two right away. Little bugger was right!

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? Take more time to enjoy my oldest. I feel bad that he seems to be pushed aside right now because the babies need so much. And to enjoy being pregnant. I didn't do well with pregnancies and I wish I tried to relax more.

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

Baby A's Information:  Sawyer Anthony
June 19, 2014
6 pounds 2 ounces
19" long

Baby B's Information: 
Weston Alexander
June 19, 2014
6 pounds 12 ounces
19" long

Are your twins identical? No, fraternal

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? We had scheduled a repeat c-section for June 24. I was due on July 10, and the chief resident in the prenatal department said that the 24th was too early. We changed the date to the 30th. We never made it to that date.

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long? Baby B (Weston) didn't want to come out. When the doctor pulled him out, he decided not to breathe. I got to see him for a second before they took him to the NICU. I got him back 25 hours later. It was a long 25 hours, we just wanted our whole family together.
Did you have any complications after delivery? I feel like I bled a lot more, but the pain was significantly less then my first recovery.

How long did you stay in the hospital? 
One day before they were born, and three after.

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? With us. The hospital has a new policy for the babies to be with the parents. Which is crap.lol

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 
I brought slippers, but I still didn't fit into them. I'm glad I brought real clothes. My own shower products. The boppy.
 Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: My favorite part was when my son came to meet his brothers. "Mommy, are those my babies?" Melt my heart.

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? Honestly, I still can't believe I have twins, lol. I feel like I'm a lot more relaxed this time, which I guess you have to be when there's two. Don't compare them to each other. They are still two babies. And enjoy them!

Lindsay's Instagram: lblouin82

Friday, November 20, 2015

Twin Birth Story: Hillary

Name: Hillary

Where do you currently live?  Athens, AL

How far along were you when you found out you were expecting twins
7 wks

Any issues during your pregnancy? Early in the pregnancy I had woke up to spotting and immediately went to the hospital and it was determined that I had a hematoma between the babies sac's. I was also admitted to the hospital at 31wks for being a good 1-2 cm dilated and 50% thinned. I had to stay in the hospital for four days and after that I was prescribed Procardia (to stop contractions) and bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Memorable/funny moment when you were pregnant: 
Our daughter (Piper), who was 3 at the time we found we were expecting had said from the beginning she wanted TWO babies (I kid you not)!!! She even told her pediatrician the day before my appointment that she was getting TWO babies to which I adamantly said "NO"! My husband also found out the day before our first appointment that he had to leave on a business trip and wouldn't make the appointment. I was very upset but had changed my tune the next day and decided this was my second pregnancy and I was a big girl so I could handle going by myself. I had explained to my ultrasound tech why my husband wasn't there and once she got started with the ultrasound she asked me in a non worrisome way if I could somehow reach my husband to which I told her "no, I believe he is still on the plane" and then I looked at her dead in the eyes and said, " are there two babies in there" and she said, "YES"! Tears immediately started and the first thing I could thing of is my little clairvoyant 3 year old who had been right all along and also how in the world was my husband going to believe me from thousands of miles away! He for sure was going to think this was a joke, but oh no...I had a picture to prove it!

Looking back, what is one thing you would tell your pregnant self? To enjoy the pregnancy as much as possible. For me, I had extreme nausea for the first 17-18 wks and I remember telling my family during that time that I would never do this again, because I felt miserable. I did the same thing with my first pregnancy, but once I got past those 18 miserable weeks, I felt great pregnant. I also knew this was probably going to be my last pregnancy so I needed to enjoy it as much as possible.

How many weeks/days were you when your twins were born? 36 wks

Baby A's Information:  Sadie Ryann
6:06 pm
4lbs 4oz.

Baby B's Information: 
Mackenzie Raye
6:06 pm
4lbs 6oz.
18 inches

Are your twins identical? No

Did you have a c-section or natural delivery? C-Section. I was extremely uncomfortable the day before my scheduled 36 wk appointment so I called my doctors office and asked if I could come in a day early. They had an afternoon appointment so I took it. Good thing too because when my doctor checked me I was 5 cm dilated and completely thinned (I was so surprised my water never broke)! I was immediately sent over to the hospital (the doctors office is attached to the hospital) and was told I'd be having babies today! I was prepped within an hour and wheeled to the OR for my C-section. After my spinal the babies were delivered very quickly, in fact they share the same time of birth! I had a vaginal delivery with my first pregnancy and the C-section thing was all new territory for me, but my doctor has a high volume of multiple pregnancy patients/deliveries and he was adamant about me delivering via C-section so I trusted that he knew best.

Any NICU time?  If yes, for what reason and how long? Yes, a 9 day stay for my little ones. Right after my girls were born they were swept off to the NICU and put on CPAP machines due to labored breathing. They were on CPAP machines for less than 24 hours. After that it was all about getting their body temps regulated and gaining weight. One thing that was stressed to us was how lucky we were that both babies went home from the NICU on the same day. Apparently most twins go home at separate times.
Did you have any complications after delivery? Not immediately after. I had my tubes tied right after my twins were born and I basically kept a period for 15 wks after their birth. I figured it was due to my tubes being tied and my body recovering from carrying two babies instead of one! I maybe had a total of a week without bleeding during that time. I consulted my doctor about the constant bleeding and with a ultrasound my doctor had determined there was a white dot right smack dab in the middle of my uterus and this must be the reason for all my problems. I had a DNC the next week and it stopped the bleeding (hallelujah)! The spot was determined to be a polyp and it was not cancerous, thank goodness!

How long did you stay in the hospital? 
3 days

Did your twins stay with you or the hospital nursery at night? NICU

What are three things you are so glad you had (or wish you would have had) at the hospital? 
Glad I had:
~Robe (this helped me hide my PJ's as I went back and forth to the NICU)
~Slippers (nobody wants to walk barefooted on hospital floors)
~Phone (I used it for pictures in the NICU instead of taking my big ole camera)

Describe one of your favorite moments while you were at the hospital: My favorite moment was the first time I got to hold my babies, in the NICU, on my birthday! My twins were born the day before my birthday and I am quiet certain had I not had them the day before, we would have definitely ended up sharing the same birthday! They were so tiny and precious and it was the best birthday present I could have asked for!

If you had one piece of advice you could give an expecting mom of twins, what would it be? I would say figure out a schedule and stick to it (obviously it may vary some) but its what saved my husband and I when we brought our babies home.