Readjusting to the Working Mother Life

“How are you doing?” is a question I’m asked multiple times a day, usually with the person’s head cocked to the side in empathy or concern because most people know life is unbelievably chaotic right now. I never quite know how to answer that question.

I am thankful for my babies.

I am more exhausted than I could ever put into words. So exhausted that lately I’ve been falling asleep during Jaclyn’s bedtime routine, sometimes as early as 7:30pm. I woke up one morning and asked Seth if I read Jac her Bible story the night before. He said yes, but I had no memory of it.

I both love and dread the weekends. I love that I get to be home with everyone for two full days. I hate that I’m trying to recover from the exhaustion of the week. And let’s be real, we’re home with all three littles, so there’s very little rest.

I am thankful for my babies.

I am tired of broken sleep. Thankfully, I’m mostly only getting up once in the night to pump, but that’s also because I wake up between 4:30am – 5:00am every day and that’s still a stretch for me to get to work on time. I wake up the boys and Seth whenever I pump (if they don’t wake me first) so we knock it all out that one time. We usually turn on a show on Hulu to help us stay awake and pass the time.

I feel like a cow. Exclusively pumping is a whole different experience now that I’m back to work. First of all, I’m so thankful that my supply hasn’t decreased! I was not prepared for how much hungrier I could be, so I literally eat all day long to try to sustain some energy. My work days are packed, so I have to be strategic about my pumping. I pump at least 3 times while at work- sometimes on the drive to work and/or while coming home. Sometimes during meetings depending on who it is; I cover up of course. Definitely during Zoom meetings. Then there’s the matter of carrying my milk and flanges through the halls to the staff lounge where I transfer them to storage bottles, clean up and prepare for the next time. Then when I get home, I have to figure out how much to keep out for the next 24 hours and how much I can freeze. And the washing of all the bottles (Seth often does this for me). I’m proud to say that after the first 2 weeks of being back to work, I was still able to freeze almost 450 ounces on top of feeding the boys each day.

I am thankful for my babies.

I’m emotional. From hormones, from the exhaustion. Last week I went to Sam’s with my parents and almost cried just because I was tired. They even asked me several times if it was safe for me to drive home.

I am sad to be back to work and away from my family. Seth just left to go climb during nap time and showed me what helps Luke relax before a nap. It devastates my soul that I don’t know that because I’m not home with them and when I am, I’m grumpy from exhaustion and pretty incoherent. 

I’m happy to be back to work. I’ve always loved my job, and I’m pretty good at what I do.

I’m mentally drained by being back to work. My role often requires 100% of my brain power for the full 8 hours I’m there each day for problem solving, building processes, supporting staff, and a million other little things.

I am thankful for my babies.

I’m at peace knowing that Seth and GG have my babes every day. The kids are on a rotation so each morning I have to think which day is it and who am I dropping off where. It often feels like a circus, and I carry no less than 5 bags every day for all of us. And yet, I know how lucky we are to not have to find or pay for childcare.

I’m so proud of the man I married. Seth has always been the best husband I could ask for. But goodness, he has blown me away watching him stay at home with our children and take care of our home. He does the laundry, washes the dishes, helps me cook, gives the kids their baths, cleans up the clutter, and then goes above and beyond to have a candle burning when I get home so the house smells nice. Last week, he googled toddler crafts with a pinecone and made this with Jaclyn after they took a walk. Seriously, Husband and Dad of the Year… of all the years.

I am forgetful/not as observant as I once was. I’m going to a baby shower this weekend. I stopped at the store and got to check out with 2 blue gift bags and a card and remembered that my friend is having a girl. So I gave the cashier one of the bags back; the other is for big brother. But then on my way home, I remember that I picked out an “Oh Boy” baby shower card… for a baby girl. I’m still gonna give it to her with some sort of silly note lol. But this is just so unlike me.

I am thankful for my babies.

I’m frustrated that I still have so many home projects and tasks that I couldn’t finish while on maternity leave. I want to keep up with the boys baby books better. I need to make their shadow boxes. There are children’s clothes of various sizes everywhere that need to be organized, labeled, and stored. I have no idea when that will happen. And I know it’s not the end of the world, but it’s still in the back of my mind.

I’m more mindful of spending money than I’ve ever been. We’re a family of 5 now and our financial situation has changed significantly. I’m trying to drive Seth’s car more because it’s a hybrid and gets better mileage. We eat out maybe once a week now. We’re doing much much better with cooking and eating at home and not wasting leftovers. I’m eating healthier because I’m starving from pumping and want the most bang for my buck with snacks, so we don’t have much junk in the house. Amazon doesn’t frequent our house as much anymore. The primary reason I’m adamant about pumping is because I don’t think we can afford formula for 2 babes.

I am blessed to have wonderful people in my life who are still so practically supportive. One of the ESL instructors on our team brought me dinner this week. It was so thoughtful and helpful. My mom just offered to have a slumber party with all 3 kids sometime soon. Praise. The. Lord.

I don’t know what I’m going to wear each day. My body is so different now and I know it will never be the same. I’m still mostly wearing maternity clothes, which are a little too big now. I’m rocking this sort of sporty mom look most days, which isn’t the most professional for work, but oh well. I still haven’t made time to try on my pre-twins clothes yet because that’s gonna be quite the task, and I’m likely going to be discouraged at what does or doesn’t fit.

And I’m thankful for my babies.

When the New Year came and went, I said that my only resolution is to survive this year. I know it’s temporary. We’ve worked really hard to have this family. And regardless of the tone of this blog, I am ever so thankful and enjoy the small moments. And it is HARD. How am I doing? I’m making it. I’m adapting. I’m learning. I’m surviving. And I’m thankful for my babies.


Before the boys were born, I was confident that we were going to avoid NICU time. They were measuring large, so size wouldn’t be a problem. The main concern was going to be low blood sugar due to my gestational diabetes but increased insulin was giving me better glucose readings.

So when Luke spent every single day of his new little life in the NICU for 17 days, I was blindsided and quite devastated. Days 1 and 2 of his life was partially spent at Norton Children’s Hospital downtown with his Daddy while brother and I stayed at Baptist East Hospital. Days 3 through 17 were spent at Baptist.

Luke hadn’t been back in the room with us for even 24 hours. When Luke started showing continuous trouble breathing, I called the nurse and they took him to the nursery for monitoring. A couple hours later, the Nurse Practitioner came in to tell us that they were already starting his admission to the NICU for a slow flow nasal tube, a feeding tube, and further evaluation to determine if anything else was needed. She said we could probably go see him in the next two hours, but it ended up being even longer. Hospital time is always longer than the estimate they give you. So several hours later, we made what seemed like a very long walk to the NICU. Gabe had to come with us and be admitted to the nursery while we went to visit. Each time of entry, our security bracelets were checked and our temperature was taken. Then we had to scrub in like you see in the movies by disinfecting your phone and washing your hands a certain way. There were yellow gowns to wear over top your street clothes too.

Luke was in a private room at the end of the hall so it always felt like a long trek to get to him, especially when I was only days out from my c-section. Each room had sliding glass doors with a curtain on the inside to give the child privacy. Depending on the time, the room might have very dim lighting so the baby can rest or the lights might be turned up to try to wake them for a feeding. There was always some sort of faint beeping in Luke’s room because of all the monitors. Despite that, it was a very peaceful setting. I often felt like I could rest or even nap if I wanted to while there to visit.

Luke looked so small and helpless in his NICU bed that first night with all of his tubes and monitors on. The lighting was turned down low because it was nighttime. We quickly learned about cluster care- where they took care of all his feeding, diapering, and check up needs during the same time frame every three hours so as not to disturb him and he could rest in between.

We were able to hold him a bit that first night but didn’t stay too long because it was late and Gabe was hanging out in the nursery. He was never allowed to come back into the NICU. Seth or I had to be with him 24/7 or else put him in the nursery to wait on us. Though we couldn’t always be with him, they offered us access to Luke at any time. They set up a camera with a private login for us to see Luke at any time except during the care time. We could also call at any time of day to check in. I often called at least once or twice during the night to check on Luke and how his feedings were going.

The next day we talked to the doctor and learned that Luke would need to stay in the NICU until he no longer needed the slow flow nasal tube and when he was eating independently without the feeding tube for 48 hours. The next 14 days I learned so much about how the NICU staff assessed and worked with our boy to help him grow the skills to come home.

At some point, a nurse brought us a new family packet and said, “From now on, no matter how long or short your stay, you’re a NICU family now.” That made me nearly sob because it’s a club no one wants to join. I was greatly impressed with the amount of family support they provide around classes, a family room with free snacks and goodies, no set visitation or phone call times so you could visit or call any time day or night. They truly try to give you as much access and control as possible depending on your child’s situation. 

The initial risk was Luke’s rapid, sporadic breathing. Sometimes he was breathing up to almost 90 breaths per minute when they should be closer to 60. At that pace, it was unsafe to bottle feed him because it increased his risk of aspiration. So for awhile, the nurses would assess his vitals and if his breathing was too fast, they would automatically decide to tube feed him for safety.

As that settled down, the nurses taught me about Infant Driven Feeding, which allowed the baby’s readiness to determine if they were bottle fed or tube fed. It’s silly how easy it is to forget that babies are tiny humans and can actually communicate with us if we learn to listen. They know their own capabilities and will tell you when they are developmentally ready. You can’t will them onto your own timelines; trust me, I tried.

When rapid breathing was no longer a concern, we would assess Luke’s readiness to eat. So we’d change his diaper to try to wake him up and look for feeding cues- rooting, sucking on his pacifier, etc. If he slept through it all, he wasn’t ready to bottle feed on his own. If he woke up and showed some of those signs, we’d try to bottle feed with tube feeding as a back up. 

After he bottle fed, we would assess the quality of his feed. Was he doing the suck, swallow, breathe pattern consistently and correctly? Was he gulping and choking due to the angle at which he was being fed?  Did he lose much milk due to a loose latch on the nipple? Based on those observations, Luke and I started working with a speech therapist nearly every day to help accommodate some of these challenges. 

Luke was mostly on his own in learning and practicing the suck, swallow, breathe pattern, but the more he used a pacifier, the more he could practice sucking and breathing. To help him not gulp and choke while eating, we put him in a side lying position so that the milk can pool in the side of his cheek and he has a little more control of when and show much he swallows. When Luke was losing too much milk due to his latch, we would give chin and/or cheek support by gently putting a finger under the chin and/or cheek to encourage him to tighten his latch. Day by day, we would practice these things. Soon, Luke had significantly improved his eating skills, but he was still to tired to stay awake or was unable to finish eating while he dozed off. When this happened, I often had luck angling the bottle down without removing it from his mouth so most of the milk fell out of the nipple and back into the bottle. That would often prompt him to start sucking again.

This was pretty much our routine until Luke decided he was ready and strong enough to come home. I visited him every day, which was quite a challenge when I couldn’t drive for 2 weeks from having a c-section. I had to rely on others to take me and pick me up. Afternoon visits were tough because each morning I woke up and couldn’t get to him fast enough. I often got in a terrible mood until I saw my boy. My day just wasn’t okay until we had our visit. That being said, I’m very very grateful to my parents, my sister and brother-in-law, Seth, Cammie, and Jen Jen for helping transport me so I never had to go a day without seeing Luke.

I was so thankful for the NICU staff that I nearly cried a couple of times because I felt like our family was so cared for. That team of people is very special. They work with the most delicate, sickly of babies to help them grow stronger while also navigating relationships with the families who are emotional and heartbroken to be separated from their kiddos. I can’t imagine it being an easy job.

Our favorite nurse was Sandy. Anytime Luke was under her care, I felt more at peace and at ease because it was obvious how much she cared for him and for us. She was the one who fully introduced us to the NICU and all it had to offer. She was thorough in her explanations but not in an overwhelming way. She was patient and checked in with me often. She celebrated Luke’s progress and on his bad days, she was still encouraging while realistic. We didn’t get to tell her goodbye because Luke was discharged on one of her days off, but I will never ever forget her and how she took care of our family.

Anytime we had a nurse who wasn’t Sandy, I would get anxious because everyone had their own style and preference related to Luke’s care. Some didn’t mind if I held him the entire visit. Some wanted us to leave him alone until his cluster care time so we didn’t disturb his rest time. Towards the end of our stay, we had a nurse we’d never worked with before. So when I arrived and was introducing myself, I asked what her preference was in getting Luke ready to eat- did she want to do everything or should I help? Her response hit me right in the heart- “You just be his mama and do whatever you would normally do. I’ll just be here if you need me.”

Up to this point, I had rarely ever felt like I could “just be his mama” because Luke had had so many struggles since his birth. His entire tiny life, medical professionals had told me what he needed and how it needed to be done. They had dressed him, bathed him, fed him, and held him more than I had. So in this moment, I was so very thankful for her response to just be his mama. It also made me feel more confident as we prepared to bring him home, like I knew what I was doing despite all of his health troubles.

On the flip side, there were a couple nurses who weren’t my favorite. I called and talked it out on those days and am mostly satisfied by how it was handled. In those moments where I was unsatisfied or concerned with Luke’s care, I was still able to stay relatively level headed in my conversations. I remember saying, “I realize I’m emotional and hormonal, and this is how I feel and why. Do I have reasonable expectations for his care or do I need to readjust?” One of the two times I directly requested a nurse not work with him anymore. The second time, they responded by not placing the other nurse with us anymore, and I was thankful. The NICU journey is tough and we were fortunate to have been there at a time where there was enough staff to have our wishes honored in that way.

The NICU journey was also one that was often one step forward and two steps back. For every good day, the next day had a set back of some sort. It was frustrating because there was no real answer about when Luke could come home. The day before his discharge, the doctor called me and said if he has another good day like today, he can come home tomorrow. But again, the fate of that decision was in the hands of a 2 week old. It wasn’t until roughly 10:30am the morning of his discharge that I got the news. I’d called to check in with the nurse as usual, “Hi this is Ashley just calling to check in on Luke.” The response was, “Luke is doing great. He took his whole feeding, has peed and pooped, and he’s going home today!”

The next couple of hours was a blur. Seth was climbing that morning so I called to tell him the update and the timeline. I called my mom to update her that we’d be taking Gabe to the hospital with us so they could finally take their newborn pictures together. We needed to eat lunch. I ran to the Dollar Store for a few minutes to get some snack items to make a thank you basket. And then we were on the road!

I danced into the NICU that day… and I don’t dance lol. As I entered doing whatever shimmy my body decided to naturally do, I was also singing, “We’re going home today!” The nurses in the entryway either danced with me or clapped; I can’t remember but there was some group celebration. I scrubbed in for the last time and finally saw my boy with no more feeding tube, monitors, or cords. He needed one last feeding as the nurses helped me pack up his things. Multiple nurses popped their heads in to wish us well and congratulate us on going home.

Gabe and Luke were reunited for their sweet newborn pictures. The hospital photographer agreed to stay until we arrived to help us get these pictures and I love them, despite Luke being mad at the world haha. Then we loaded them both in the car to head home, and Jaclyn immediately knew which brother was which. That night, the true exhaustion began as we had all the babes under the same roof. We are now in a (mostly) joyful delirium as we navigate the newborn phase with our baby boys.

Twin Delivery and Hospital Stay

We somehow made it to C-section day though I was fully convinced that the boys would decide to come sooner. We arrived at 8am for all the prep and then a little before 11am it was go time.

Since I wasn’t in active labor, I actually walked to the operating room. Seth couldn’t come in until I was fully prepped. I hated that part. I was genuinely scared of this procedure and the spinal and all the things, and Seth just naturally puts me more at ease. However, we soon learned that I’m the only patient they’ve ever had who giggled through the entire spinal. I have a very ticklish spine and awkwardly laughed the entire time. Once I went numb, I have no idea what else they did regarding prep, but soon, Seth was behind the drape holding my hand, and my doctor told me it was time.

I’d been told that I’d be numb from pain but I would still feel tugging and pulling. That all felt pretty minimal as well. It felt like no time when Dr. Lewis said, “Get ready to see Gabe” and then one minute later came Luke.

This was the best moment in comparison to my vaginal birth with Jaclyn- the beautiful reveal of our baby boys. It was truly a surprise because the blue drape had to be dropped each time and I could see them and touch them through the clear drape. They were absolute perfection that instantly made me sob in pure joy and relief that they were here and okay.

I don’t remember a ton between when they started sewing up my incision, recovery, and moving to Mama Baby Care. I do know that Seth almost fainted in the operating room. He went to get Gabe to bring over to me and accidentally looked at the clean up going on behind the drape. He sat down and kept repeating that he was hot and the nurses had to take Gabe and helped him regain his strength.

I also remember feeling terribly nauseous- so much so that I couldn’t do skin to skin with them for too long because I started heaving. I ended up throwing up on and off for the rest of the day and couldn’t move my head around much for being so woozy. So I gazed at my beautiful boys as Seth and my fam held them. Honestly, I wasn’t able to hold them enough the first day to truly learn who was who by looking at them.

And then that night, Luke was taken to another hospital by ambulance for more tests and evaluations to see if he needed an emergency, non-life threatening surgery. He was born with a bruise on his scrotum and when they did an ultrasound for blood flow, they couldn’t find any. So initially, there was concern that he may lose one of his testicles but thankfully got the all clear.

Seth and Luke were at the other hospital from 10pm on Monday until 2:00pm on Tuesday. Our first night together we were all separated, and Mom came to stay with me and Gabe. She left early the next morning to get home and take care of Jaclyn. Tuesday was rough. I was solo with Gabe on the day that all the long lasting meds from the spinal wore off. I was able to walk around, but my abdomen was so sore from the incision and my insides were very uncomfortable trying to settle back into place.

Additional postpartum woes included horrific itching and swelling. The weekend before my c-section, my belly became so terribly itchy that I just lived with ice packs on my stomach for relief. A few days later I found out that I had PUPPS rash in addition to an allergic reaction to the orange soap they scrub you with before a c-section. So from my rib cage to my feet, I was covered in various bumpy rashes that itched so bad I would bruise from the force of my scratching. I ended up getting a special compounded cream that gave some initial relief and then finished it up with a round of steroids. Misery.

I don’t remember being so swollen after having Jaclyn, but then again I had just delivered two babies. From my belly button down, I was retaining a ridiculous amount of water. My stomach looked like it had several intertubes built in and my legs and feet were so swollen that I couldn’t even comfortably wear my XXL maternity clothes anymore. Shoes were absolutely out of the question. It wasn’t the most uncomfortable thing ever except for not having clothes to wear, but the swelling concerned most everyone who looked at me. Seven to ten days later, it all mostly went down just as I was told.

Back to that lonesome Tuesday after birth, I also desperately wanted a shower but needed someone to be in the room with me and everyone was otherwise occupied. I had to send Gabe to the nursery for some of the day because I couldn’t move around well enough to take care of him and that devastated my soul. The time we did spend together I used to study his little face and features since I didn’t get to the day before.

There was a lot of drama and confusion about Luke’s release from the other hospital and if he would be readmitted to ours. For awhile, we were told that Luke would be discharged to go home and we would all remain separated. Thankfully in the end it worked out. However, they kept him in the nursery upon arrival for hours and by 7 or 8pm I still hadn’t seen him. During shift change, I sobbed to three nurses who came in at the same time about needing to see my baby as I sat in nothing but hospital undies while I pumped. Finally, they brought me my boy, and we were reunited.

For less than 24 hours.

We had a tough night of feeding Luke. It was difficult for him to take his full feed and at this point, he was still having low blood sugar so it was extra important for him to eat, but he just couldn’t. Soon we also realizad that his breathing was fast and chaotic and they wanted to monitor him in the nursery for awhile.

By Wednesday, late afternoon, they told us that they were admitting him to the Baptist NICU for lots of monitoring.

They were still monitoring him for low blood sugar from birth. His poor little feet look like they’d been to war from all the sticks and pokes.

They did an echo heart ultrasound and a chest X-ray. We were told we may have to follow up with a pediatric cardiologist eventually due to his echo results but the little they found usually resolves naturally. The chest X-ray showed some fluid in his lungs that was lessening and is likely from being a c-section baby.

Thankfully he didn’t need additional oxygen but they inserted a slow flow nasal tube to push the regular air into his lungs to help regulate his breathing. It helped stabilize his breathing for the first four days.

He has had a feeding tube to help with his eating that he ripped out twice. The first time, they left it out for a bit to see how he did but it was just days after the removing of the slow flow nasal tube and it was too much work on his little body.

The speech therapist discovered Luke had a tongue tie, so they went ahead and clipped that, which significantly helped his eating.

The breathing troubles were likely from the initial stressors on the day he was born and fluid in the lungs. The eating troubles were likely a result of a late preterm babe and he just needs time to grow into these skills. We kept hearing about these “37 weekers” who are often okay in size and appear to have it all together but often needed another couple of weeks in the womb for final development and maturity. Gabe was fine; Luke needed help.

We were all supposed to go home together on Thursday. So we maxxed out  our c-section hospital stay until Gabe and I were released on Friday. That final goodbye to Luke before going home was brutal. Though I knew he needed to be there, it was absolutely heartbreaking to leave him there. We had the option to stay and board since we had been discharged but we really wanted to get home with Jaclyn.

She was beyond thrilled to meet Gabe. My mom did a great job of prepping Jac that Luke still didn’t feel good and had to stay with the doctor. And so we began our transition to a family of three to a family of four at home while little Luke worked on his eating and stamina for 13 more days in the NICU.

Our real life horror story

WARNING: Do not read if you get grossed out easily. This may also be triggering for those who have experienced loss or have had traumatic pregnancy experiences.

I’ve been bleeding for four weeks now; I’ve had 7 ultrasounds. In some ways, I’ve almost gotten desensitized to the large gushes of blood or color changes that prompt immediate ultrasounds and doctor’s visits. But I don’t think there was any way to be prepared for the real life horror film we lived this morning.

I woke up a little after 6:30 and started washing my face. Immediately I felt several gushes that were quite different. I sat down on the toilet to find that I’d bled through the bottom half of all my clothes, down my leg and onto my foot. And worst of all, there was a giant clot in my pad. 

I flung the door open and screamed for Seth to wake up. I said, “Something came out! Can you come in here?” He came running in and we both stared at a sea of red. “Is that one of our babies?” I asked. He was pretty still and gently grabbed my shoulder and said, “It’s so big.” He didn’t think it was our babies and hoped it was just the hemorrhage passing. Just in case, Seth went to get a paper towel and a ziplock bag to save it for the doctor. In that short time, I passed 3 more clots. I couldn’t see them because the toilet water was so red but they felt as big as the first one. 

I continued to sit there on the toilet, terrified to stand up because of what else might fall out. So I sat there as we called the doctor’s after hours emergency line. My hands were trembling and covered in blood as I explained what happened and he took down the message to have a doctor call me. To say aloud that I passed four tissues as big as baseballs, was horrifying. Seth just collapsed face first on our bed, still within listening distance. The doctor on call advised us to see if we could get an ultrasound first thing when the office opened an hour later or else go to the ER to check the babies and monitor my blood loss.

We scrambled to get out of the house. Seth woke up Jaclyn and took her to Mom and Dad’s while I quickly got cleaned up. I packed an extra set of clothes in case I bled through mine again. I brought a towel to sit on in the car. Apparently this is how I need to live for this season.

The ultrasound experience was a little different. I was relieved to see both babies as it confirmed that I did not bleed one of them out. But then the seconds felt like an eternity while we waited to find their heartbeats. They were both doing great! As we moved back to the waiting room for the appointment with the nurse practitioner, we were feeling a bit more encouraged. 

Until all of a sudden I started having terrible stomach pain, I sweated through all my clothes, and I was very woozy even while sitting down. I asked Seth to walk me to the bathroom and as soon as I stood up, my vision got dark and fuzzy and I was terribly weak. A nurse quickly ran to my other side and they got me to a bathroom. Seth really couldn’t leave my side for fear of me fully collapsing. When we opened the door, three nurses were waiting with a wheelchair and got me into a room to lie down.

I felt pretty terrible as I laid on the table. Soon the door opened and we were surprised to see my doctor and the nurse practitioner walk in; I should’ve known something wasn’t okay then. My doctor shared that there are now two large hemorrhages; they’re unsure if it’s the same one that broke in half or if there is a new one. Both are bigger than the measurements from yesterday, almost double. I’m pretty sure I dropped the F bomb at that point because how was there still so much in there when so much fell out of me just hours before?

The doctor shared that she is more concerned now that the hemorrhages are growing so quickly and it could be really bad for our babes. There’s a chance that there won’t be enough room for them to grow or that the babies will lose connection with my uterus until the placentas are fully formed, which is pretty soon. 

We confirmed that there’s no way for them to remove the hemorrhages. They shared that there’s literally nothing to do but wait and monitor. However, they wanted to do some labs and monitor me from the blood loss and almost fainting. So I was admitted to the hospital for several hours. In that time, the power completely went out so we we’re just chilling in the dark for a bit. Eventually we learned all my labs came back fine. I’m not anemic. I didn’t need blood. I did need some fluids though. We were able to come home early afternoon.

So here we are. Neither of us have processed the emotional aspect of the news we learned today. One of my friends described it perfectly as agonizing anxiety that we’re walking through. It’s literally just a waiting game for the next gush of blood or passing of tissue or bleeding through my clothes and almost fainting. Then more waiting to find out if our twins are going to make it. We are determined not to lose 2 more babies. And we have zero control over any of it.

Don’t Forget the Journey- with Twins

I feel like I’ve been pregnant for 30 years. We got a positive pregnancy test at 3 and a half weeks. After two consecutive losses and a total of three, my OB recommended taking the test as early as the instructions said and if it were positive, she’d put me on progesterone immediately to try to help prevent another loss.

Our journey with growing twins has been perhaps one of the most wild rides of my life. I think back to the positive test and am shocked and so thankful that we’ve made it this far. For those wondering, we weren’t doing fertility treatments, and it doesn’t run in the family. I just ovulated twice and we were trying really hard 🤷‍♀️

A couple of things I learned shortly after learning I was growing 2 babies. Read What To Do When You’re Having Two by Natalie Diaz. Get connected to Twiniveristy on social media. Connect with other twin parents for advice, support, and hand me downs. Perhaps most importantly, have no shame in how many times you call your doctor. None. But also know they will likely make you come into the office since you’re carrying multiples.

As for the actual journey, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times, this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life. I could’ve never imagined the complications, the physical pain, the anxiety, the planning. And we’re not even there yet. I am proud of how far I’ve come but I’m also just in constant misery. Like, there’s no need to ever ask me anymore how I’m feeling; you can just assume miserable. If I’m not, I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops. However, I also know this too is just a season and I will likely forget some of it. So I don’t want to forget my journey with twins.

At 4 weeks, not even a week after finding out we were pregnant, my Mamaw passed away. I didn’t get to tell her our happy news.

At 5 weeks, I went to get evaluated by a psychiatrist because my mental health and anxiety were so out of hand with worry about losing this baby. I was diagnosed with a trifecta of depression, anxiety, and PTSD and was offered several treatment options, but I wanted to wait until our first ultrasound to decide how to proceed. I was also bedridden for a day or two with terrible dizziness.

At 6 weeks, I already had to purchase new maternity bras and pants. Pro tip I wish I’d known, go on up at least 2 sizes in both… otherwise you’ll be waiting on clothes to be delivered while you’re barely squeezing into what you own. I would also highly suggest used maternity tops, but I’m a big fan of new maternity pants because the belly bands are tight and not stretched out, and I’ve needed all the support I can get.

Due to our previous losses, my OB allowed us to come in at 7 weeks for our first ultrasound where we found out we were pregnant with twins. My gut response was, “You’re kidding right?” And then I squealed and screamed and cried in pure joy because we could see two tiny babies with heartbeats in my belly. I’m pretty sure the entire waiting room heard me. Shock and panic came later, but immediately it was joy and thankfulness.

Literally 3 days later, I started gushing blood and rushed back to the doctor for an emergency ultrasound. We were relieved to learn our boys were okay, and that I had a subchorionic hemorrhage. I never knew that was a thing but apparently it’s much more common in women who are pregnant with multiples.

For the next 13 weeks (from 7 to 20 weeks), I bled or spotted almost nonstop, ended up with 2 subchorionic hemorrhages, a hospital visit because of one really bad bleeding episode that nearly caused me to faint due to blood loss, 13 OB visits, and 12 ultrasounds.

By week 10, I’d already spent over $1,000 in medical bills, after finding out we were pregnant in February.

10 weeks

At 12 weeks, we had a small impromptu gender reveal after taking the Natera test to check for chromosomal abnormalities. It also tells you the gender.

2 boys! There was lots of nervous laughter.
12 weeks- we got this very sweet ultrasound picture with both of our little fellas in it.

At 14 weeks, I started carrying a small pillow around to work with me to put behind my back. I also started parking on the first floor and avoided stairs because of the pressure and bleeding from the hemorrhages.

At 16 weeks, I purchased Tummy Tape ( for the early on heaviness of the belly. I also could no longer sleep on my back because the weight of the boys was too much.

At 18 weeks, we learned I had previa placenta that’s was blocking my cervix and could be very dangerous if it didn’t move on it’s own. The doctor had me work from home until my 20 week appointment to see if it helped the bleeding from my hemorrhages and if it would help the previa placenta move.

At 19 weeks, we took our 2 year old to the Newport Aquarium for her birthday. I had to rent a wheelchair because I couldn’t walk for long but we had a wonderful time ❤️

At 20 weeks, we confirmed that the rest from work from home was helping and the doctor told me to work from home for the rest of pregnancy. I started using my belly band in addition to my tummy tape. I always had to have a pillow behind my back and a donut pillow when sitting on hard chairs. And I could no longer see my toes.

20 weeks

At 21 weeks, I finished our baby registries. Preparing for twins required more research than I expected.

At 22ish weeks, I mostly stopped picking up my 2 year old. I change her diaper in the floor so I don’t have to lift her. When she says “Mommy hold ya”, we either hold hands, sit on the couch together, or someone else picks her up and hands her to me. I don’t care for it.

At 22 weeks, Seth and I took our baby moon, which consisted of a day out to lunch at Joella’s and a Marvel movie in theaters. Mama couldn’t handle much more.

At 24 weeks, the heartburn and indigestion became constant. Indigestion was so bad I literally had vomit just hanging out in the back of my throat. Fans must be on in every room in the house. I often got winded simply from talking because these boys are squishing everything. And my belly button was almost a full outtie.

At 25 weeks, I had my work baby shower. My back pain got so bad that I had to scoot to my next destination because picking up my feet to take a step makes me yell out in pain. One weekend, I cramped for 24 hours straight and was called in to check for preterm labor. My cervix was still closed and I wasn’t dilated but was told to pay attention to the pain and discomfort level. On a fun note, Seth finally felt the boys for the first time.

Love my work family!
Gotta do what you gotta do.

At 26 weeks, unrelated to pregnancy, we were at great risk of losing our Adult Ed program. For almost 2 weeks, I used every spare moment of time and energy I had trying to save our program by speaking to the news, multiple legislators, and making videos for social media. Thankfully, our program has been approved for at least this full year.

At 28 weeks, puffiness started in my face, hands, and feet. I ended up at the chiropractor with my entire pelvic region off kelter. I failed my 1 hour glucose test. But on a fun note, we had our friends and family baby shower and got the majority of the rest of our registry items!

At 29 weeks, I failed the 3 hour glucose test and began figuring out life with gestational diabetes. At 29+5, I got admitted to the hospital for a preterm labor check. 2 cervix checks and a preterm labor swab later, everything was okay except there are ketones in my urine likely from dehydration, and I’m 1 cm. dilated.

At 30 weeks, I’ve had 5 appointments. 1- My new weekly chiropractor appointment where I learned my sacrum (tailbone area) was getting out of whack. 2- I had 3 new car seats installed into my backseat. That made everything feel much more real. 3- A follow up check up with my OB from our short hospital stint. There I learned that insulin is almost inevitable because I can’t control my fasting blood sugar. So it’s just a matter of time before I have to learn about shots. 4- A prenatal lactation consultation, which was amazing! I feel much more confident to try to breastfeed the boys than I did with Jaclyn. We have a plan 🎉 5- I went back to the doc for UTI symptoms. My urine sample had no indication of an infection and my symptoms are similar to those of a kidney stone. They didn’t do a scan or ultrasound to check just yet so we shall see. In the meantime, I’m in lots of pain from cramping and internal shooting burning pain. And the urgency / frequency to pee is unbearable on top of the usual frequency of using the bathroom in your third trimester.

30 weeks
So far, Jaclyn is pumped about the 3 car seats.

We’re still a maximum of 7 weeks til the boys arrive. I’ll fully complete our journey once they get here but goodness what a ride it’s been so far.

At 31 weeks, I started insulin for my gestational diabetes- 20 units at bedtime. The nurse practitioner zoomed with me to teach me how to do it. I give it to myself which feels like a small miracle every time.

I went on what I’m guessing is my last hoorah this week to a Kids Stuff Consignment presale and had a ball. I got the remainder of the clothing we needed for the boys and some fun seasonal clothes for Jaclyn. I also got a great deal on a toddler bed for her to have at my parents’ house in the next couple of months. By the time we left the sale, every muscle in my entire body was aching and screaming at me.

I had a perinatal therapy consultation via telehealth from a woman who also happens to be a mom of twins. Many factors of this pregnancy puts me at high risk for PPD or PPA and I’m trying to get ahead of it. I liked her a lot! Next steps, trying to find a day and time to do a prenatal visit with both me and Seth so he can also hear the warning signs of the post partum mood disorders so we don’t waste anytime if I’m struggling.

On a non-pregnancy related note, Jaclyn started potty learning this week. After 3 days, she was peeing in the potty with minimal to no accidents and pooped in the potty on day 5!

At 32 weeks, they upped my insulin to 22 units because my glucose readings didn’t go down.

At 33 weeks, we got to labor and delivery around 7:30am because I had been having severe, nonstop cramping for the last hour and a half. I couldn’t walk or stand longer than about a minute. The color of my pee immediately alarmed the nurses so much that later they told me they’d be talking about my urine for a long time. There was so much blood in it that it looked like grape koolaid. Pain meds and an antibiotic through an IV saved me from the cramping; I was also mighty dehydrated. I got an ultrasound for a kidney and bladder scan. There were no signs of a kidney stone now so the theory is I passed it while at the hospital. There was another theory that it was some sort of infection but the culture came back clean. I stayed overnight just to make sure all was okay.

I also have some sort of sinus stuff going on. My primary care doctor didn’t want to immediately give me an antibiotic since I’m so pregnant. The pharmacist disagreed with the meds that were recommended and I walked away nothing. I spoke to my OB’s office and they okayed some over the counter meds but I’ll go to urgent care over the weekend if I feel worse.

In the meantime, my glucose numbers are fluctuating and they’ve upped me to 24 units for awhile.

At 34 weeks, the increased units of insulin helped! My blood sugar is finally normalizing to acceptable numbers. A sinus infection resurfaced more in my chest and via cough. I ended up back at urgent care for more meds.

At 35 weeks, I am large, exhausted, and very tender belly. Lots of folks were checking in to see if I’m still pregnant and how I’m doing.

At 36 weeks, I was convinced I was in early labor. My Braxton Hicks contractions became more frequent and tight. I had sporadic cramping and an increase and change in discharge. I mostly stayed in bed all weekend and was an absolute bear. My belly dropped even more from just Sunday to Monday that everyone was freaking out that they would just fall out.

At our 36 week and final ultrasound, we got a good report and learned that Gabe was 6 lb 13 oz and Luke was 6 lb 8 oz. I begged the doctor to take them this week but she said only if I go into labor. I was 3 cm dilated.

I cancelled as many appointments and meetings as I could. I’ve mostly been in the bed working all week and the plan is to work through Friday. 36 weeks and 3 days was the first time Seth slept on the couch because I had to sleep so reclined in the bed. My belly is just so heavy if im reclined at all, the boys’ weight shifts and it hurts to get up to go to the bathroom every 2 hours.

I sat on the side of the tub and shaved my legs and by the end my entire body was trembling from exhaustion.

My maternity pants are so tight they leave lines in my belly. My bigger man clothes sit way too low and fall down. So I’ll be riding the rest of this pregnancy out in dresses.

The weekend before the c-section, my belly itched so badly I could cry. And with our c-section timeline, I’m not allowed to lotion now. So I’ve started putting ice packs on my belly to ease the itch and the boys don’t care for it.

37 weeks- the day before our c-section

The morning of our c-section, my entire body felt different and was preparing for labor. By the time we got to the hospital, my cervix was contracting and I feel sure if we hadn’t scheduled the c-section, the boys would’ve made their arrival that day anyway.

Pregnancy after loss- Part 2

It’s nearly impossible for me to explain the effects of losing multiple babies on the way you raise the children you get to meet on this earth.

The majority of the last three years of life have been trying to grow our family, navigate grief and multiple pregnancies, while in the middle of COVID. I’ve chosen to be very conservative in my personal response to it as that is the only thing I can control. 

I birthed my first rainbow baby when the doctor’s offices looked like ghost towns and no one spoke to each other in the eerie silence of the waiting rooms. Seth and I were alone for 5 days in the hospital with Jaclyn because no one was allowed to visit. 

I worried so much about Jaclyn making it into this world, I hadn’t even thought about how we would raise her as a pandemic baby. She hasn’t met many people in her two years of life in attempts to keep us as safe as can be from COVID especially when the strains were more aggressive and at its peak.

In those two years, we’ve lost 2 more babies, had 2 more D&Cs, and are now 23 weeks pregnant with twins. If I could’ve made it happen, the three of us would’ve lived in a bubble. And a lot of folks think we have. But the large majority of it is my trauma response to trying to protect my babies, whether in utero or in our home.

I’m well into the 2nd trimester and developmentally feel some peace that our babes will be okay. However, the PTSD of my other losses hits me out of nowhere and often cause me to spiral- much of it still prompted by COVID.

I’m terrified of getting COVID again, while pregnant with twins. The super illogical part of my brain goes to worst case scenarios such as losing our boys or going into super preterm labor and not knowing if they’ll make it. The more rational part of me warns those closest to me that if I catch it and become any more miserable than I already am, everyone better watch out. You see, carrying twins is not for the faint of heart- I am miserable 97% of every day. 

I also don’t want to waste my sick days by actually being sick. Our country does not truly support parental leave. It is complicated and if you are granted leave through your work, you often have to use your sick or vacation days for it to be paid. I desperately want as long as possible with my boys after they’re born, and I need all of my days so that some of my leave will be paid.

So when you see me still masked wherever I go or the fact that I’m still virtually attending church, this is the context. When I don’t accept your invitation out somewhere or invite you over to our home, its because most people I know do not mask as I do and I can only control what I can control. However, we will happily entertain visitors who agree to mask in our homes.

I will likely go back to therapy in the near future to work through my PTSD of our losses and how that’s affecting my parenting, but in the meantime, I’m doubly hormonal and growing two tiny humans while raising a two-year old and working full-time. This is the best I can do for now.

Our Little Pumpkin

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. But for us, one in four pregnancies produced a baby. Today I made a shadow box for our fourth baby, our Little Pumpkin.

One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. But for us, one in four pregnancies produced a baby. Today I made a shadow box for our fourth baby, our Little Pumpkin.

Soon I’ll have my second D & C at a little over 10 weeks, and my body will begin getting closure on this loss. This pregnancy has been a very wild journey.

8 weeks and 3 days

We walked into a familiar nightmare during our 8-week ultrasound. “This is the yolk sac,” she said as she pointed to what I thought was our baby’s head. “Then where’s my baby?” “I don’t see it yet.” There was no baby. We’ve already experienced a blighted ovum miscarriage before and couldn’t believe it was happening again.

The yolk sac

The measurements of my gestational sac were very close to the determination guidelines, so we returned two days later for a follow up ultrasound.

8 weeks and 5 days

THERE WAS A BABY. The ultrasound nurse showed us our tiny jellybean.

Our baby

The embryo measured at 6 weeks and 1 day, but I was almost 9 weeks. Several other measurements and timelines were not in sync and didn’t make sense. There was no heartbeat but we were told that’s okay because it’s so small. Time to wait another week and come back to see how our baby is doing.

Waiting blows.

9 weeks and 5 days

The ultrasound nurse was quiet as she measured various things. “Can you tell us what we’re looking at?” I asked. “The baby is still measuring at 6 weeks and 1 day, and I can’t find a heartbeat. I’m sorry.”

10 weeks and 2 days

We officially say goodbye to our Little Pumpkin as I opted for a D & C.

You see, I’ve had a baby bump. I’ve been in maternity clothes since 5 weeks. I regularly wear nausea bands because I feel like I will vomit all day every day. I am constipated. I often fall asleep before 8pm because I’m so fatigued. I need this physical part to come to an end as quickly as possible.

For the first time in three miscarriages, we have the opportunity to test the embryo to give any insight into the causes of our losses. Beyond that, there are options to do some more blood work on me. And even with these options, we still may never get answers.

I’ve been pregnant four times in two and a half years. I don’t have a hard time getting pregnant; I have a hard time staying pregnant. I cannot express how difficult the entire process is on my body, my mind, and my heart. With babies, no matter how tiny, I don’t think there will ever be full closure.

A few more closing thoughts as a I speak my peace:

I love my doctor and am beyond grateful to be in her care through this. I chose for her to be my regular OBGYN after she did my D & C with our first loss because of how caring and compassionate she is.

I appreciate when people acknowledge and honor this tiny life.

I need time to feel everything— sadness, anger, guilt (yes, I know, not my fault), confusion— I need to ride it out.

Grieving with a toddler is very difficult. Jaclyn can sense when Seth and I are sad. She tries to help me blow my nose when I cry or play peekaboo when my head is in my hands from crying. It’s hard to let out all the feels when you’re constantly taking care of a tiny human.

I do not believe this happened for a reason. I believe we live in a fallen world and it is what it is.

I believe the Lord has a plan, and that plan may or may not involve us producing another biological child.

Thank you for everyone who has been so uplifting in words, prayers, and in deed through feeding my family the last couple of weeks. We love you all.

Seth and I love being parents. With Jaclyn, we are the three amigos. And we’d also love to add to our family.

We will always remember you, our little baby pumpkin and the excitement we had anticipating your arrival.

Feeding My Tiny Human

There is so much to learn about feeding a tiny human. Throughout the first year, there’s breastfeeding, pumping, formula, transition to whole milk, solid foods, weaning off the bottle… every time I got the hang of one thing, it was time to do something new.

There is so much to learn about feeding a tiny human. Throughout the first year, there’s breastfeeding, pumping, formula, transition to whole milk, solid foods, weaning off the bottle… every time I got the hang of one thing, it was time to do something new.

When I was pregnant, I read a lot about breastfeeding. I even paid for an online course about it. But goodness none of that prepared me for how difficult it is. I was impressed by the way Jaclyn naturally wiggled her way from my chest down to my breast shortly after giving birth. But beyond that, nothing about breastfeeding came natural for us.

Our troubles with breastfeeding actually kept us in the hospital longer than planned. Her incorrect latch made me bleed and hurt; she wanted to feed constantly because she wasn’t full. She wasn’t getting enough milk and before we realized it, she wasn’t having enough output. The nurses said she needed formula supplements, which made me feel like an absolute failure. How did I not know she wasn’t getting enough milk? How were we already switching to formula when I hadn’t given breastfeeding a fair shot? I laid there, crying and apologizing to Jaclyn for failing her already but I ultimately knew she needed to eat.

Within the first week of her life, we worked with five different lactation consultants. By the end of each attempted feed, Jaclyn and I were both crying and frustrated. So I decided to breastfeed via exclusively pumping, not nursing. I spent 2-3 hours each day pumping, storing, washing, and organizing my pumping supplies. I needed to pump every 2-4 hours for 20 minutes each time. I was an over supplier and after three months, I had almost 2,500 ounces of frozen breast milk in the deep freeze.

I had someone cute to hang out with while I pumped.

Exclusive pumping is quite the time commitment, so I tried several ways of organizing all the milk. The pitcher method was by far the easiest. You just pour all your overage milk in a pitcher for the day and then pour it into freezer bags. Unfortunately, the mixed levels of fore milk and hind milk in these batches made Jaclyn sick… so they got thrown out. That still makes me want to cry a little. Though it seems wasteful with the breastmilk freezer bags, I found it best to use what I need and freeze the rest individually. Sometimes that was 1.5 oz. and sometimes that was 6 oz. When I thawed the milk to give Jaclyn, I would supplement whatever I thawed with formula. I ended up pumping for 3 months and was able to bottle feed Jaclyn breastmilk for her first 7 months.

At about the 6 month mark, we began Baby Led Weaning. It’s the latest trend, so I had already decided we would do it before I fully understood what it was. When I realized we’d be feeding Jaclyn solid foods at 6 months old, I panicked. But goodness, we’re SO glad we did! By the time Jaclyn turned 1, she was eating nearly everything we were and drinking out of an open cup.

Solid Starts and Feeding Littles are great resources in this eating journey. So much of the beginning weeks are simply good and texture exposure, lots of funny, grossed out faces, and adorable tiny eating utensils such as this tiny cup and these GOOtensils. We also love these bibs; we call them her treasure trove. We tried these full body aprons but we’d rather just feed her in her diaper than cover her up like this.

Jaclyn has become such a good eater. The only two foods she wasn’t a fan of is oatmeal and applesauce, but she eats both now after more offerings and exposure. She had a healthy, sugar free smash cake at her first birthday, and she just sat there and ate it like a big girl because she knows how to eat.

Now, at 14 months old, she has breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner. We love these suction plates and she does really well with these cups. Her favorite foods right now are any kind of bean, peanut butter, all fruit but especially strawberries, and cheese.

Our final greatest feat has been the bottle. The pediatrician said to have her weaned off the bottle by 14 months, and we barely made it! Jaclyn does great drinking water from an open cup, but she would refuse her milk in anything but a bottle. See the struggle in the photo and video below.

Our saving grace was another Mommy blog who suggested watering down the milk so it was mostly water and then slowly adjusting the ratios until it was fully milk. It worked! Within days, Jaclyn was drinking her milk from an open cup, but we still needed the bottle to start and end the day. Finally after enough exposure, Jaclyn fully transitioned to drinking milk out of this sippy cup.

I put a lot of pressure on myself through the journey of feeding my tiny human. That Mom Guilt comes in hard and often. But I have a wonderful team alongside me. My husband, Seth, is always right there with me, learning how to best feed our little Jaclyn. My mom is incredible and follows whatever routine we set up as she watches her each day.

Our feeding journey has been quite messy and oh so rewarding.

Baby Beanbag

Sunday evening- positive pregnancy test. Monday morning- positive pregnancy test. Wednesday morning- negative pregnancy test. W.T.F.

Sunday evening- positive pregnancy test. Monday morning- positive pregnancy test. Wednesday morning- negative pregnancy test. W.T.F.

The last week has been a roller coaster of hormones and emotions. I don’t always take two tests but we were surprised, and that second blue line was mighty faint. For two short days, we hesitantly celebrated the new life we created together. The pain of losing our first baby will always haunt us. Nevertheless, we were excited that Jaclyn would be a big sister and have a playmate close in age. Seth had already nicknamed this babe, Beanbag.

Wednesday morning brought bleeding and cramping so the doctor’s office quickly squeezed me in. Covid restrictions didn’t allow me to bring anyone for support so I had to go alone. I was barely 4.5 weeks pregnant so as expected, the ultrasound showed an empty uterus. I did not, however, expect a negative pregnancy test in the office.

I sat there in shock, unable to look the nurse in the eyes. Did I make it all up? How is this even possible? I quickly pulled out my phone and made her look at the pictures of my at home pregnancy tests so she didn’t think I was crazy. She kept reassuring me that the doctor would explain everything.

Chemical pregnancy. The sperm fertilized the egg but for whatever reason, it couldn’t develop beyond that. Within two days, my hCG levels were nonexistent and it triggered my body to start my cycle, hence the bleeding and cramping. Just like that, I wasn’t pregnant anymore.

I sat in the room for awhile to call Seth and my mom to try and explain. I sobbed as I clarified that we had been pregnant. And then I was confused about how I could be so upset when I hardly knew that this baby existed. I eventually collected myself and went through the motions that I’d learned from the last time. At check out, I made sure they cancelled my upcoming ultrasound appointments and that they rescheduled my annual. Despite knowing that none of this was my fault, I still felt ashamed and found it difficult to look at people in the office. At least this time my mask hid my splotchy swollen face that showed I had confirmed what I had feared all along. At least this time I didn’t have to schedule a D and C.

The days that followed have been strange. After my appointment, I spent most of the day alone sitting in shock and crying. On Thursday I tried to distract myself with Jaclyn all day but anger and confusion just built up until I yelled and cried before bed. On Friday, I decided to be productive by organizing Jaclyn’s clothes and toys. I somehow didn’t realize how triggering it was to be immersed in baby items. There were multiple times I felt my chest tighten as if I were about to have a panic attack.

Miscarriage isn’t easy on the body. Grief isn’t either. I’ve felt insane multiple times a day. But then Jaclyn crawls over to me to play. Or I remember that Cammie was waiting for me outside my doctor’s office with a donut and tissues because she insisted I shouldn’t be alone. Or I get another sweet message checking in on me. Or I remember I haven’t had to cook because Elizabeth brought us a delicious dinner, Hannah took me out for lunch today, and Ashley sent me a gift card to Panda Express.

I have so many kind, caring people in my life. My family hasn’t had to bear this alone. There are so many offers to talk when we’re ready. For now, there aren’t really words. There’s just a lot of feelings that change from minute to minute. There are other mamas who have reached out because they’ve gone through the same thing. There’s the right song at the right time to remind me of God’s goodness.

I’ve now been pregnant three times in the past two years, and we’ve only gotten to meet our sweet little Jaclyn. We will try again as we want to continue growing our family. But we will always remember our Baby Beanbag.

These are a few of my favorite things

Prior to having Jaclyn, I didn’t do kids. I never babysat growing up. I worked childcare for one summer and realized very soon that Adult Eduction was my jam. I didn’t really know anything about babies or infant development. So how in the world do I start preparing for my first child? I polled my friends on social media and made various lists to see what was the most popular. There was also plenty of help online— checklists galore, but that was overwhelming too.  Now that I’m on the other side, these are a few of my favorite things in preparing for and caring for my baby.


Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep Course “Will I ever sleep again?”
This is worth every penny. Cara is the baby sleep master and this would be my number one suggestion for new moms. Follow her on Instagram for lots of free tips and tricks, but the course is gold. We learned how to calm Jaclyn when she was uncontrollably fussy, how to get her on a loose daytime schedule of eating, playing, and napping, and soon after that, she started sleeping longer hours at night. Currently at 4 months old, her record night’s sleep is eleven and a half hours.

SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
I was convinced that Jaclyn only liked to be swaddled in the hospital blankets because she liked to move her arms. I was wrong. Babies actually prefer to be tightly swaddled because it resembles the womb. I learned all about it in the sleep course and these swaddles were game changers.

Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit
When Jaclyn was 3 months old, she learned to roll from her tummy to her back, meaning it is no longer safe to swaddle her  We went one night with her in a sleep sack and realized that her startle reflexes still weren’t controlled enough for her to sleep soundly. She kept smacking herself in the face and woke us up all night. This suit really is magical; it’s similar to a weighted blanket and is recommended for the transition between a swaddle and a sleep sack.

Sound Machine
Another recommendation from our sleep course. Another way to make your baby feel like he or she is in the womb. We like this one.

Personally, I love having Jaclyn sleep right next to me. Her bassinet fits right up next to our bed so I can see her anytime I want. On another note, she naps in the crib in her nursery so when we are ready to transition her, she’ll be ready.


Oogie Bear
I vowed to buy one of these for every pregnant friend from now on. This helps clean out boogies from those tiny nostrils in a safe, easy way.

Nose Frida
I gagged the first time I realized what this was. I told Seth he would have to use it. But the first time I heard Jaclyn struggling to breath, I didn’t even hesitate. I’m super thankful for this tool. Also, the saline spray that comes with it is the best. The size is just right for baby nostrils and it sprays a good mist.

Probiotics with Vitamin D
Good for the tummy and reflux!

Gas Drops
We prefer these to Gripe Water.

Baby Nail Clippers
Be extra and get the ones with the light and magnifying glass. It is terrifying to clip baby fingernails. Also, go ahead and get a baby nail file. It’s super handy.

Changing Pad
Super easy to clean for the surprising pee fountains and poop explosions.

Baby Oxiclean
There will be so much poop. SO MUCH. This stuff is miraculous at getting out poop stains.

Register for several different types and let other folks buy them for you. Sometimes babies have preferences, and you won’t know until you try. Jaclyn mostly prefers these.


Like the pacifiers, register for several different types and let other folks buy them for you. Sometimes babies have nipple preferences, and you won’t know until you try them. With bottles, I learned I had a preference depending on how easily she ate from each one. We ended up liking Nuk and Dr. Brown’s the best.
Be sure to get a microwaveable bottle sterilizer! Such a time saver.

Bottle Warmer
We didn’t register for a bottle warmer, but it was worth the purchase later. I was planning on breastfeeding, but I ended up exclusively pumping, and Jaclyn won’t drink cold milk well. This one was affordable and easy to use.
Burp Cloths
I was told cloth diapers are the best burp cloths. And I agree. These are my favorite because they’re nice and soft.


I was told not to register for clothes because you’ll get a ton regardless. That was good advice. However, if you really want something specific, register for it.

I would suggest getting some 3 month sleepers with mitten cuffs like these. Jaclyn started biting her hand a lot in her pre-teething stage, and those cuffs saved her little fingers. You could also put long socks on the baby’s hands while they sleep. I loved this pack of socks. Mittens just don’t stay on that well. We didn’t get many pants. Perhaps it was because Jaclyn was born in the summer, but I think I’ll register for more next time.

You’ll get a million blankets as gifts so don’t register for them unless you really want a specific one. I have enjoyed having multiple bigger blankets to keep in different rooms for her to lay on.


Favorite Toys
This rattle
Elephant Lovey
These Teether Rings
Fisher Price Stacking Rings 
Activity Mat

Baby Books
Some of my favorite baby books so far include You’re My Little Honey Bunny, Little One God Made You Special, Counting Kisses, Global Baby Girls, ABCs of Kindness

Baby Songs
10 in the Bed
Old MacDonald
The Ants Go Marching
Beauty and the Beast: Calms her down every time.


Google the best items of the current year. Baby List has rankings for most everything and was very helpful. We primarily chose items that convert and grow with her. The crib will turn into a toddler bed. Her changing table top can be removed so she will have a regular dresser. You get the idea.


Drawer Organizers
Perfect for organizing teeny tiny clothes.

Plastic Tubs
It’s difficult to stay organized when your baby grows so fast. I bought some under the bed storage containers and some taller ones to fit on shelves. These have been super helpful in switching out baby clothes of different sizes, maternity clothes, etc.

Phone Apps
Baby Tracker App: Track your baby’s eating, sleep, and potty time.
Baby Story App: Make all kinds of cute pictures even cuter.

To each their own, but I hope this helps narrow some things down for other mamas!

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