Friday, December 25, 2009

Best Christmas Gifts EVER!

I'm not sure anything can EVER top the most beautiful and wonderful Christmas gifts I received this year.

Do you know what they are?

I bet you do........

I cry every time I think about how amazing this Christmas has been .... Santa sure was good to me this year- TWO beautiful baby boys and an amazing husband!

I hope Santa was just as good to you this year as he was to me!

Merry Christmas all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Worth Their Weight in Gold

I still cannot believe we have two precious baby boys! Time seems to escape me on a daily basis, and I find myself wanting to post all that is happening but having no time to do so.

It may be easier for me to post in bullet points for a while and just upload a few pictures rather than trying to upload lengthy posts like this one. Of course, that's hard to do when it has been five weeks since I posted. Oops!

The boys are terrific. Both Mason and Brody have nearly doubled their weight since birth. At our doctor's visit last week, Mason weighed 10 pounds and 12 ounces; Brody weighed 9 pounds and 5 ounces. They have outgrown newborn clothes, and Mason has almost outgrown 0-3 month clothes. Mason is really a chunk, and it is hilarious. They are currently in Pam.pers size 1-2 diapers but will be outgrowing those soon as well. Both of the boys are enamored with the lights on our Christmas tree. I told Allen we may need to leave it up for several months for their entertainment. He didn't find that comment amusing.

After losing most of his hair in the front, Brody has started to grow some of his dark hair back. He has a small hemangioma on his left side that the doctor has told us not to worry about at this point. It is about the size of half of a pencil eraser and will get much larger in the next few years due to rapid growth, but the pediatrician said 98% of them go away on their own by a child's fifth or sixth birthday. Brody is still smaller than Mason, and although there is only about a pound a half difference between them, it feels more like five. Brody eats about three and a half to four ounces at every feeding. He has become more verbal than Mason and his smiles are less frequent. His stares at you with an intensity that makes you wonder what he is thinking. He even tracks you with his eyes as you walk past him often making me feel guilty when I leave him wide awake in his crib after the 2 AM meal. Brody has his Daddy's hair- a bit curly and very dark. He is constantly in motion. He loves to move his arms and legs, holds his head up for several seconds pretty well on his own, and is actually stronger than Mason despite being the smaller baby. Brody is more independent than Mason and tends to be cold often. We have to keep him bundled up or he is not a happy camper.

Mason has more hair than Brody, and it is much lighter in color with no curl at all. This guy usually wakes up with a smile on his face, and his grin always makes me chuckle. The child loves to be naked! During diaper changes and bath time, he is all smiles! Ingrained in the male species, he loves to lift his leg when he toots. It cracks Allen and me up every time he does it. Mason is a hefty dude, eating about five ounces at every feeding. Mason coos more than Brody right now, and his eyes are much more blue. I think Brody's eyes will turn brown, but we may actually get a blue-eyed baby with Mason. Mason has to be wrapped tightly or he wakes himself with his flailing arms and legs. He is a much lighter sleeper than Brody as well. Mason tends to spit up often, and Allen thinks he may have acid reflux, which I need to ask the doctor about when we go in January. He is a snuggler and loves to bury his head in your neck. He loves to be rocked and held, something we have had to really work on because he got to where he wouldn't go to sleep without being rocked first.

We have finally conquered a schedule that works for us. Yippee! The babies eat every three to three and a half hours during the day and about every four hours at night. We feed them at 10 PM, and then they typically wake up about 2 AM and then around 6 AM. They are staying awake much longer now too, so getting things done is difficult. "Multi-tasker" will soon be my legal middle name. HA! I'm also feeling more competent as a parent. The first two months were rough, and there were many times I felt like a failure, including the time Mason fell off the rocker while I was putting Brody back in his crib (he was fine). Things are settling in and along with managing babies, I am learning to be a mother while also juggling the role of a wife. Of course, now that I've got it all figured out, my maternity leave is over and I start back to work. Just like life- as soon as you get things figured out, it changes.

Allen and I haven't ventured out to dinner or on errands with the babies yet. My mom and I have taken them shopping a few times, and we even went to visit Santa at the mall. I keep pressuring Allen to take us all out to dinner, but he's scared to death the babies will start screaming and we'll have to pack up and leave. I'm sure it wouldn't be the first or last time.... I'm not brave enough to go to the movies with infants like many of you are, but dinner seems like something we could conquer. Anyone have any stories about your first outing with your baby or babies?

We have honestly struck gold with these boys; I feel like we won the lottery! They have brought me more joy than words can describe; even typing this simple statement this brings tears to my eyes. I am so grateful and utterly blessed that they chose us to be their parents. The holidays are a time for cheer, fun, and good will, all of which we have. I am more than thankful this holiday season....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

A New Normal

First of all, a big thanks to Danielle for posting for us once the babies arrived. Thanks, chica. You are so good to me.

We went in for a scheduled c-section on October 16. Thankfully, the babies waited for their Aunt Leah to arrive from out of town prior to making their appearance; both my ObGyn and Perinatologist didn't think the babies would hold off until the 16th. Of course, being a planner and my kids, they waited! Woohoo! I was 37 weeks and 3 days when the babies were delivered and am thankful that my body held up and that the babies didn't have any problems whatsoever at birth.

Here's a rundown of the babies' birth story:

We got to the hospital about 5:30 AM and were admitted. An IV was started and all our paperwork was filled out by 6:00 AM. From there, it was a whirlwind.... the anesthesiologist came in and told us what to expect with the spinal. He confirmed Allen and Aunt Leah could both be in the delivery room. The doctor came in next, and we all headed to the delivery room about 7:25 AM. After the spinal, things happened quickly, but my memories of the actual delivery are pretty blurry. I remember that my heartrate skyrocketed; Allen and Leah had to wait to come into the room until I settled down a bit. I remember the doctors asking if I felt the "test cut." I remember the doctors saying I was the smallest person they had ever seen that was pregnant with twins. They also told me my abdominal muscles were extremely tight and they were envious of them. Scary! I've never worked out a day in my life, so I got a good laugh out of that comment. Thanks for the great genes, Mom.

I remember Allen coming in and holding my hand while Leah took pictures and some video of the babies after they were delivered. Baby A came out screaming, which was music to my ears. The nurses said it was the loudest scream they had ever heard from a baby. HA! Baby B was delivered a minute later, and although he came out crying, his was nothing like his brother's cry. The doctor told Allen he could go look at the babies; he told her he couldn't leave because I had a death grip on his hand. The doc forced me to let go of his hand so he could go see and be with the boys.

"Baby A," or as Danielle called him, "Thing 1," Mason Atticus, was born at 7:50 AM, weighed 5 pounds and 13 ounces, and was 19 1/2 inches long. He has proven to be a hands-on little guy who LOVES to be held and rocked. He is also more verbal than his brother and keeps his eyes closed more than his brother as well. We think this guy will be the instigator of the two boys.

"Baby B," a.k.a. "Thing 2," Brody Harrison, was born at 7:51 AM, weighed 4 pounds and 14 ounces, and was 18 inches long. He makes the best faces and is a very easy-going little guy. He only cries when he is really hungry or has a dirty diaper and is content just looking around and taking in his surroundings. Brody will be the easy-going dude that thinks things through and is very inquisitive.

Although my pregnancy was easy, I can say that I didn't expect my recovery to take as long as it has. While in the hospital recovering, my legs looked like they had a terrible sunburn, felt warm to the touch and swelled up so big I could hardly get out of bed. In fact, my legs were more painful than my actual c-section. The doctors, nurses, and anesthesiologist were all called in to see if they could figure out why my legs were swelling. We finally discovered I was allergic to the in ICK! Once my pain meds were switched, I started feeling much better. We left the hospital on Sunday, October 18; I was thrilled to be going home to my own bed despite the boys being down a few ounces from their original birth weight. If I remember correctly, Mason was 5 pounds and 7 ounces and Brody was 4 pounds and 4 ounces when we left the hospital- both within the normal range of weight for babies to lose post-delivery but terrifying nonetheless. They seemed so small and helpless.

Since I have been home, I have had minor complications with bleeding and my uterus not contracting and shrinking the way it was supposed to after birth, partially because my uterus was so large from carrying the boys. Although I had a reaction to the medication the doctor gave me to help with this, I can now say I am feeling much better. I also tried to wean off my pain meds less than a week after the babies arrived, which was a very stupid idea, and I ended up having to take them again much to my chagrin. I guess we all learn....

I recently developed Mastitis as well. I am currently on antibiotics to help get rid of the infection and hope to feel better very soon.

My family and friends have been amazing! I haven't felt like being on my own with the babies yet except for an hour here and there, so someone has been here helping during the days while Allen helps me at night. Family and friends have brought meals, stayed with me and the babies during the day, cleaned our house, done laundry, and changed, held, and rocked the boys (that's the hardest chore ever. HA!) We've made adjustments to feeding and sleeping schedules, and sleep is few and far between around our house at the moment. Our new normal is three to five hours of sleep (on a good night). For someone who requires a lot of sleep, this has been the biggest challenge for me, along with trying to rest and heal because I'm not one to sit still. EVER. Poor Allen is working during the day, so this has been hard for him as well. He's doing such an amazing job of taking care of the babies AND me, which I know has been a HUGE job! I just adore him and wouldn't have been able to do it without all his help. He is amazing with the boys and is proving to be more hands-on than I ever imagined he would be. He is already a great dad, acting like a seasoned pro after only four short weeks of their life. I love you, Babe!

Three weeks and five days post surgery/delivery, I only have fourteen pounds to lose to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight. It is unlikely my body will ever look the same again, but I surely don't care because I have two beautiful boys as a reward! I will also admit I usually spend my days in my pajamas and often don't even get a shower until the late afternoons or evenings. Most times I don't even wear makeup. I'd rather exert my energy on the babies than myself right now.

I have only been out of the house without the babies twice. Once was to run to Target for more diapers; we are going through 140 m- 160 diapers a week. Can you believe that? And the other time was to run to another store to grab a few more things for the babies as well. It's hard for me to leave them, but I know it is good for me to get out and get some fresh air too.
I have very little time to do anything other than things that are baby-related. For those that know me and my love for work and technology, you would be shocked to know I check email about once and week and haven't responded to any emails in almost two weeks. THAT'S how busy I am! If you have emailed me, I promise to get back to you some day; I just have no idea when that will be. It's not that I don't care or want to- I just literally don't have the time and sometimes don't have the energy. I know this will all improve as I learn how to manage and juggle being a new mom a bit better. The same applies to me returning phone calls. Be patient, friends; I'm learning. Baby steps....

My memory and train on thought stink right now too. I attribute it to lack of sleep and hormones, but my sister-in-law calls it the "placenta theory." She says that a part of your brain is lost with every placenta. Since I lost two in one delivery, I guess I'm super brainwashed at the moment. HA!

My sense of time is also insane. Time flies. Three hours can pass in the blink of eye. No wonder I can't seem to get anything done around here. Between feedings and diaper changes, there is little time to do much else.

The boys sleep in a crib together right now. They are adorable, often migrate toward each other no matter how far apart we place them, and their cries do not usually wake the other one.

Brody had really bad diaper rash for a while, and we tried all kinds of diaper rash cream. What we found worked best was Vaseline; it cleared him up better than anything else we tried. Both boys currently have some congestion that tends to really flare up at night. The poor guys sound like pigs snorting when we feed them at night but neither has a fever. Mason also has a clogged tear duct that we are cleaning, massaging, and applying antibiotic topical ointment to until it is better. I hate seeing the poor little guys sick, but they are improving.

I know many of you don't care about all of these details and have likely stopped reading at this point, but I wanted to document as much about the birth experience as I could while my memory is somewhat intact.

Without further ado, I'll go ahead and leave you with some pictures, which I know is the real reason you are skimming this post..... Enjoy!

Nightie night. Sleep tight.

Chief Brody

Mister Mason

The babies and Aunt Leah

Sweet sleepers.

Allen and his boys

Can you say precious?

Sheer exhaustion

Cuddle bugs

Watch dogs

Look! We found our hands!

Mason and Moxie

Too sweet for words.

Someone feels neglected as my mom feeds a baby...

Tucker Bug found a friend!

A moment of peace with pacifiers.


Wouldn't you love to know what I am thinking?

Ashley and tiny Brody

Mommy and Mason

YES! I'M A MOM!!!!! My dreams have come true!

Wide awake

A family of four

Mason in his first "outfit"

Brody in his first "outfit"

Cutie patootie

What are YOU looking at?

* I know some of you may have questions I didn't address in this novel, so feel free to leave a comment and ask. I'll do my best to post again very soon and answer any questions I receive, hopefully in less than four weeks this time. (Chuckle) Adios until next time, friends!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The babies are here!!!

Hi everyone! It's Ashley's friend and blog designer Danielle. I wanted to let you know that the boys arrived this morning and that everyone is doing very well.

We'll call this little cutie "Thing 1."
He weighed in at 5 lbs. 13 oz. and is 19.5 inches tall.

On to this adorable little guy. Yes, you guessed it...I'm going to call him "Thing 2."
He weighed in at 4 lbs. 14 oz. and is 18 inches tall.

Aren't they just the cutest little things you've ever seen? {I couldn't resist!}

They do have names, by the way. Really cute names. But I am going to wait and let Ashley post them. So until then, you can ponder what they may be.

Welcome to the world, boys! And a big congrats Ashley & Allen, the proud parents of two precious little boys!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

36 weeks and 2 days!

YEAH! I am so thrilled that we have come this far! Yippee!

I am up a total of 44 pounds, and I am measuring 42 centimeters. Yowsers! I'm a big girl now and even wear big girl panties! HA!

I'm craving caffeine like crazy. In my opinion, it is because I am so darn tired. Sleep comes in spurts throughout the night, and I have nights where getting an hour or two at one time is wonderful. I suppose my body and brain are preparing for when we have the babies home with us!

My feet and "cankles" are even larger now; I'll spare you the pictures this time. My carpal tunnel is also much worse because my hands are swelling so much more now too.

I have a few stretch marks around my belly button. They aren't terrible, and they are pretty light in color. I know these sweet baby boys will be worth it all though!

We had to start our non-stress tests last week. If you have never heard of this test, basically, both babies and their heart rates have to be measured for at least twenty minutes. The doctors want to ensure the heart rates are going up and down, depending on the movement of the babies. They want to see fluctuations in their heartbeats. The first non-stress test we took was at my regular ObGyn's office, and it was a nightmare! Two nurses worked two and a half hours to find the babies' heartbeats. They could only find one heartbeat no matter how or what they tried. Obviously, I was completely geeking after all this, and then major contractions started from all the stress. The doctor finally ordered an ultrasound. It was the longest wait ever and my mind went to one of those dark, scary places where you wonder if your world is about to come to a screeching halt. Needless to say, once the ultrasound technician arrived, she found both heartbeats immediately and apologized for our horrendous experience. We literally were at the doctor's office from 2:30 until 7:30, and I was an emotional wreck by the time we left. I'm just happy to report that all is well with both babies, even though they sure gave us a scare.

We have since had two more non-stress tests at our perinatologist's office, which has been a complete blessing. The tests have lasted less than thirty minutes each and have all been great. Whew! I'm so glad the perinatologist's office offered to do the non-stress tests for us because they seem to have soooo much more experience and empathy.

I've also been feeling nauseous. The doctor thinks it is all related to the fluctuations in my hormones, but it kinda stinks. One day I feel okay, and then the nausea hits me and I can't eat but feel like I really need to for the sake of the babies. This too shall pass.....

The perinatologist estimated that the babies weighed five pounds and three ounces and five pounds seven ounces on October 1st. Hallelujah! We are so dang happy with this! Baby A is also fully "engaged" and very low in the birth canal, so the doctor said I am essentially walking around his head. No wonder I have a waddle. Poor buddy boy!

Still working full time. My brain is half there and half in LaLa Land. Oh well; what can I say? I have babies on the brain.

I don't sleep much these days either, which likely contributes to my lack of a brain at work. I sleep an hour or two at night. I either wake up choking on acid from having heartburn so badly or because I am really sore and achy. I know- gross. But I just want to document every last thing because I feel so fortunate to be in this position. I can't tell you how elated I am, despite the not-so-fun-things about pregnancy. And I've had an amazing pregnancy. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! Every time I feel these little babies kick, I am thankful. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be a mom and be doubly blessed!

Well, that's probably enough blabbering for now. I'm getting teary-eyed.

But I will leave you with some pics.....

Final nursery pictures.....

Pics of Allen and me.....

And the pups.....