On our heads...


I'm sitting here, blogging, while the Zabies eat their mid morning snack, 
with a sippy-cup of milk, in lieu of the usual mid-morning bottle. 
Their contagious laughing cued me to glance up to see what all the giggling was about. 

Sippy cups on our heads, of course!

Earlier today, we played with nesting boxes; I placed them on their heads and mine.
 Each time I said, "Where did the box go?"
The girls thought it was hysterical!
Their memories are getting much better; they napped and are now putting everything on their heads!
Smooth move Momma.

Moving on...

Pumping has been a way of life since the Zabies came along. I pumped for days before I could ever put Kensington or Quinn to breast. Even then I was only allowed to nurse them once or twice a day in the very beginning; it was too exhausting for them, as preemies, to do so at every feeding. When I did nurse them it was imperative that I pump off the excess milk to establish and maintain my milk supply. I started out pumping every three hours around the clock.
 I remember having to wake up in the middle of the night, lonely and no baby in my home, to pump in a great effort to establish my supply.
 Every time I cried and thought it would be so much more rewarding if my babies were with me. 

Fast forward to when they came home. Suddenly I was thrown into the routine in it's entirety, alone. Josh had to go back to work and neither of our families where here to visit yet since we expected the Zabies to spend a little while longer in the NICU. Nursing the girls took 45 minutes per baby, not including burping and diapering. It was exhausting to say the least. I did some research and reached out to my local Multiple Moms Mingle Group for support. I quickly found that many mothers of twins exclusively pump, bottling feeding their babies breast milk. I was determined to give my babies breast milk so exclusively pumping seemed like just the thing for me. 
I exclusively pumped through four consecutive months of, excruciatingly painful, mastitis, thrush, a second emergency surgery, the worst case of thrush my doctors had ever seen, colds and Coxsackie virus. Like I said, I was determined! 

I started weening from the pump around 10 ½ months. I gave the Zabies 75/25 (breastmilk/organic whole milk) for three weeks. At 11 months and 1 week, we gave them 50/50 for a week and I dropped the 3:30 pump. Two weeks before their birthday I dropped the mid-morning pump and started shortening the morning and evening pumps. My supply decreased drastically and the Zabies got 25/75 of breast milk and organic whole milk. The week of their birthday, I started going 12 hours and then 24 hours between pumps; the Zabies were getting breast milk in their morning and bedtime bottles but not the mid-day bottles. 

On August 21, 2014, my sweet girls turned one year old and also got their last bottle of  breast milk. It was bittersweet. I had a love/hate relationship with the pump. Today, August 28th, I still can't bring myself to remove the pump from it's usual spot. I sat on the couch for five or more hours per day pumping with that thing! So it will sit there a while longer. 

We are moving on in so many ways today that I can only handle one thing at a time. I am putting away all of the pumping parts. They will no longer sit on my counter waiting to be used. 

It might take a while longer, however, to remove them from my cabinet. 

I also removed the bottle drying rack and bottles today. No more bottles for the Zabies. We are going cold turkey. 

Yes, I am mourning all of the things we are moving on from. My babies are growing up. 
I'm positive this all is much harder for me than it is for them. 

My Pumping Schedule:

At birth:
 Every three hours, around the clock, for a minimum of 30 minutes each time, sometimes 45 minutes.

2 months:
Every time the girls ate (every three hours), I pumped for 30 minutes minimum. We fed on demand at this point so we were going longer stretches at night.

4 months:
The Zabies slept from 10 pm to 5 am. I pumped every time the girls ate (every three hours) for 30 minutes each time. I, too, went from 10-5 without pumping.

6 months:
The Zabies went to bed at 7pm but ate every three hours during the day. I pumped every time they ate for 30 minutes and also pumped one last time before I went to bed at 9 or 10 pm. My next pump was at 7 am when the Zabies woke.

8 months:
The Zabies ate every four hours thru the day and went to bed at 7pm. I first transitioned to pumping every four hours and then by 9 months I also stopped pumping before I went to bed; I was then going 12 hours between pumping.

10 Months:
 I pumped at 7 am, 11 am, 3pm & 7 pm

11 months:
I pumped at 7 am, 11am & 7pm

11 ¾ months:
7 am & 7 pm

12 months:

If you have any questions about exclusively pumping or weening from the pump feel free to contact me! Support is key!

12 Month Check-Up...


Today we experienced the dreaded 12 month check-up. To say it was awful is an understatement. 
It was all fun and games while getting their ears and mouths checked. 
I'm certain they will never go near that nurse again! 
Kensington went first since Josh was holding her. 
I stepped outside of the room with Quinn to prevent her from getting upset before it was her turn. 
Within seconds all I could hear was screaming and Josh saying, "All done!"
We switched babies and I attempted to calm, a very upset, Kensington. 
Quinn's shots were over quickly but not without a major meltdown from her as well. 
The hardest part about being a twin mom is during shots or times of illness. 
It is extremely difficult to hold and console two screaming infants. 
Today I tried to hold them both equally and let them both know that Mommy was there. 
I sat in the backseat on the short ride home and held each of their hands. 
Upon arrival they both took a bottle and went straight down for a late nap. 
After two hours we woke them and fed them dinner. 
What do the Zabies want for dinner after shots? 
And that is just what they got!

The Zabies 12 Month Stats:
Kensington Rose: 20 lbs 4 oz & 30 ½ inches tall
Quinn Harper: 20 lbs 4 oz  & 31 inches tall

23rd Percentile for weight &
 92nd & 95th Percentile for Height

Great report for the Zabies! 
You would never guess that they were 8 weeks early by looking at them!

Sister Love...

I am an only child by birth. My cousins are like my siblings. My brothers. My sisters. 
When the Zabies were born two of my nearest and dearest cousins flew to CNY 
to support me in my new mommy role. 
Although they are younger than I, they had a lot of support for this hormonal, crazy new Mommy. 

Heather was here during the NICU days. She cleaned, cooked and even painted our master bath in our new home that desperately needed a fresh coat of paint. 
She took photos of moments that I didn't have time or energy to capture. 
I remember, sobbingly, leaving the NICU at the end of the day and her placing her hand, ever so softly, on my back so that I knew she was there. 
She's my sister. That's what sisters do. 
Heather holding Quinn in the NICU
Felicia arrived a few weeks later exactly when I needed her most... first shots.
 I vividly remember crying, as both babies screamed, while I was phoning in to their pediatrician to discuss a reaction around Kensington's injection site 
and the correct dosing of Tylenol for my clearly uncomfortable babies.  
Felicia calmly held both crying screaming babies. 
She rocked and sang to them as I prepared their medicine. 
She slept with me several nights to give Josh a break since he was back to work; 
she helped with the nightly routine of bottles and diapers like they were her own children. 
She is my sister. That's what sisters do. 
Felicia holding the Zabies- Thanksgiving 2013
The bond that I share with Felicia and Heather is really special to me. 
The fact that the Zabies' bond is ten-fold what I have experienced
 is truly an amazing and awesome thing!
I am so thankful that my girls have each other and love each other unconditionally. 

Kensington giving Quinn love
Melt my heart!


"Sisters are angels who lift us to our feet 
when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly." 
- Author Unknown

My Twin Birth Story...


This can also be found in the above link. 

I always imagined one day being pregnant and having the middle of the night wake-up call with close time-able contractions that would finally end the feeling of being huge and uncomfortable like so many women talk about or even being in the grocery store and having "the gush" indicating that my water had broken and it was game time. Unfortunately my birth story is far from normal. Actually it is as abnormal as they come, unprecedented even.

29 weeks. That was the view on my What to Expect when you're Expecting app the night that I felt tightening in my stomach. I felt as though I needed to urinate but I had just laid back down from attempting to do so two previous times with no success. Then I noticed every few minutes, at the same time that I had the urge to go, my stomach was tightening. This tightening wasn't painful or uncomfortable. It was only noticeable due to the pressure it was putting on my bladder. I started timing them out and quickly realized that they were time-able contractions which is one of the differences between Braxton-Hicks contractions and the real deal. Silly me decided that since I wasn't in enough pain to hinder me from falling back asleep that it was, in fact, just Braxton-Hicks contractions. The next morning I gave my OB a call and they had me come-in for a non-stress test which lead to heading down to the hospital for an ultrasound since theirs was booked until the end of the day. By the time I arrived my contractions had become noticeably more frequent and a little uncomfortable. After all of the usual questions they brought in the machine, completed the ultrasound and a cervix check. 3 centimeters and 80 % effaced. That was the results of the cervix check. A flood of emotions came over me. I was almost paralyzed by the words and all I could do was cry. It was too soon. They needed more time to develop and grow. Their lungs weren't developed yet. My mind went in a thousand different directions. Before I had the opportunity to ask any questions they had sent the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) doctors down to answer all of our questions and give us survival rates while simultaneously starting a bolus of Magnesium Sulfate to mature their lungs. Scare was an understatement. I prayed every waking second that my babies stay inside me long enough to get both of the Magnesium doses. Forty-eight hours later we got the second shot and two days later I was sent home on strict bed-rest at 3 centimeters and 70% effacement.

32 weeks and 2 days is what my i-Phone screen was showing when my regular scheduled ultrasound technician told me, "Don't move. Let me go get the Doctor." From the looks of things I no longer had a cervix. They wouldn't let me stand or sit up. They didn't do an actual cervix check because I needed to get to the hospital immediately. My husband picked me up at my doctor's office and off we went to the hospital.  Upon arrival they immediately started an IV and checked my cervix. 4 centimeters and 90%. That was how far I had progressed. I wasn't terrified, worried or emotional this time. I knew in that moment that if my babies were making their entrance into this world that the world was ready and so were they. I had prayed for weeks for understanding and peace in whatever my birth story ended up being. If only I had known what God was preparing me for each time I prayed those prayers. 
My last pregnant belly picture at 32 weeks and 2 days.

"32 weeks and 4 days," the nurse said as she came in to do my morning non-stress test (NST). I hadn't had a contraction since an hour of arriving to the hospital two days prior.  With the lack of contractions it was only necessary to complete two NSTs a day and as long as everything/everyone looked good there was no need to wear all three of the belts to monitor my contractions and the Zabies heartbeats. An hour later my Doctor came in, she, too, is a mother of twins. She said,"You haven't had a contraction in days. I want to check your cervix one more time but as long as everything looks okay you can do strict bed-rest at home. I'll be back in just a minute to check you." I was going home again. Praise the Lord. Every day inside of my belly is two days (rule of thumb) the Zabies didn't have to spend in the NICU. I stood up put my freshly washed hair in a bun and the it hit. A tetanic contraction. I quickly sat back on my bed, called a nurse and while waiting on the nurse I called my husband who was working (no contractions for TWO days! We thought we were in the clear.) When the nurse beeped in I was screaming out in pain. "PLEASE!!! I just need pain meds! PLEASE! HELP ME!" My room was suddenly filled with doctors and nurses. Dr. G (my doctor) was confused because she had just been in my room less than five minutes prior. The nurses were pushing turbutaline injections to attempt to release the contraction while Dr. G and the 5th year resident were rolling me from side to side, on all fours, back on my back rolling again while trying to stimulate my Baby A. Baby A's heart rate dropped tremendously and was in danger. After what felt like a lifetime. Dr. G said, "We have to get these babies out! Stat C!" In the rush to the OR, while vomiting from the pain and crying from being so scared, I managed to text Josh...Emergency c.  The last thing I remember is Dr. G holding the knife just above my belly and me begging her to save my babies. "Please save my babies," I cried to her as everything went dark. 

Josh made it in time to see our GIRLS come out of the operating room. GIRLS!! He couldn't believe it and neither could I when I later awoke. One NICU team came rushing through the OR doors and said, "She's doing fine. We had to intubate her to get her breathing but she is breathing on her own now." Josh's response? "It's a SHE? We didn't find out. Do we know what Baby B is yet?" The Doctor replies with, "It's a she too!" "Are you sure?" Josh questioned the doctor. I'm sure he thought, oh boy (or girl), time to cut up all of the credit cards!  Shortly after he got the news that I was not doing so well. I had lost nearly half of my volume of blood and they were still trying to stop the bleeding. A vessel rupture on the posterior portion of my uterus is what caused the contraction and was causing the extreme amount of blood loss. Two hours later I went into recovery. I was alive with uterus in tact and BOTH of my daughters were alive. This was unprecedented. After much research it was found that my daughters and I are the only living case with a vessel rupture on the uterus causing a tetanic contraction while pregnant with twins. Most other resulted in either a total loss of babies or babies and mother. Although I was alive. I had the hardest fight of my life in the coming 10 days. I will go into greater detail in a later blog but, in short, my intestines shut down in what's called an ileus and was unable to eat or drink anything for 10 days! 
Although I had a horrible birthing experience and it is not anything like I always imagined I have happy and healthy daughters today and the joy that they bring me overshadows the unfortunate way they came into this world. My girls were right on time. They were ready for this world and the world was ready for them.  God has a way of preparing you for all things in your life. All of those days I prayed for understanding and peace. I needed wanted to understand why me? Why my babies might be born early. Why I couldn't carry them to full term or why I was having problems with pre-term labor. I needed peace. Peace in knowing that if my babies were born early that they would be just fine and that God was in control. I might not have had a clear understanding until recently. Now I understand that I was in preterm labor so that the doctors would keep a closer eye on me and my babies. I was in no pain the day I was admitted into the hospital at 32 weeks. If my doctors weren't seeing me two times a week I would have never been admitted into the hospital and would have been home when that vessel ruptured. Me and my girls wouldn't be here today. I understand that all of that was God's way of protecting me and guiding me exactly where hewanted needed me to be. My babies were born early to protect me. He makes no mistakes and his timing is perfect. 
The Zabies, Kensington Rose (Baby A) & Quinn Harper (Baby B) 
Taken within an hour of birth

Photo by: Nicole James Photography

What to expect...

Do you have any idea how much pressure there is when making your "first" blog post? The pressure is INSANE!!! You have to make it count and have a lasting impression. 

When I decided to create a blog I had a pretty good idea what direction 
I wanted to go in with my blogging. 
Here is my inspiration. The Zabies. 
Photography by: Nicole James Photography
What you can expect to see here on Zabie Love.
Life with twins will be my main focus. 
From breastfeeding, pumping, solid-food feeding, caring for, 
scheduling, traveling, bathing & family activities with twins
to keeping an organized home
& maintaining me time in the midst of being a mother of twins!
We had our kids to live life with them right?
Infertility, pregnancy, bed rest and birthing will also be topics that I cover
that are near and dear to my heart. 
I hope to offer support and a fresh perspective to new moms,
moms who have growing families
 & seasoned moms who could 
probably certainly teach me a thing or two. 
I hope to be posting a lot in the coming days to get the ball rollin'. 

One of my all time favorite pictures.
 There is something about a twin bond that I'll never understand!
Sweet sisters holding hands. 

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