Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sale Time - advice from a veteran

It's that time again! It's a favorite for many CMOTC moms! I myself am a minimalist so I'm especially fond of the CMOTC Twin Sale. It pleases me to no end! I get to purge my house of all the unneeded toys, books and clothes. That is...if my kids to don't to my piles first. I'm sure you know how that goes.

If this is your first sale, you are probably feeling a little overwhelmed. I would suggest spending a year or two attending the sale before you start selling. Once you add the selling element the sale gets really crazy.

Assuming you are only planning to buy for your first sale, here are a few suggestions.

Preparation: Go through your kids' closets and determine what they will be needing for the coming season. Jeans, shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, dress pants, dress shirts, dresses, jammies, shoes etc. Next, list the items and how many of each of the items your children will be needing. Finally, prioritize what you need the most and where you need to go when you get into the sale.

For those of you who need big items such as strollers, high chairs, car seats, cribs, pack n plays etc, you want to head toward that stuff ASAP! The good stuff goes fast. Bikes, doll houses, and art kiosks would fall in this category as well.

I always grab my big items (my MUST HAVES) first, run through the line, pay and transport them to the car (utilizing one of the many volunteer husbands working security). I then return to the sale and dig into the clothes, toys or whatever is next on my list. Bring cash or lots of checks as you will probably need more than one. I usually use 2-3 per sale.

Also, BRING BAGS or a cart to stack clothes on. You will be surprised how much you can acquire. This sale is probably the BEST way to clothe your kids on a very frugal budget. Don't forget Christmas presents too. You will find many toys that are new and still in boxes!

Feel free to comment on this one. Advice as well as questions are welcome.

More Sale Advice

Advice from a veteran:

Don't forget to bring a large bag or granny cart to put your stuff in (the IKEA shopping bags are a great idea).

And bring a checkbook, as payment is either check or cash. No credit cards. Have more than one check, as you may find yourself going back for more.

I always come armed with a list and prioritize it. My kids are long and skinny and hard to fit in pants. I started shopping with a tape measure. Now I don't bring home dresses and pants that are too short. Also, I do less impulse buying and stay on track for the things we need or want.

I also carry a bottle of water and lipstuff and leave my coat in the car. No matter how cold it is outside, I don't want to deal with another bulky garment. I always get warm and a bit dehydrated. For those who are PG, I think the water is important, as well as a little portable snack.

Shopping Getaway

Ladies! The member only deadline is this Saturday the 3rd for the Mom's Only Getaway Shopping Trip and I need to know if you are attending!

I will be able to take your rsvp form and payment of $25.00 at the sale on Friday night only. Saturday is too busy for me at the cashier area...sorry! If you are planning to use this option, please please send me an email so that I know to look for you.

After October 3rd, any available seats will be open for member friends and family. I don't want to miss any of you, so PLEASE let me know your intentions!

Thanks and happy tagging! --Denae, Family Activity Chair

Fall Harvest Party

Hello Moms,

I know you are all crazy busy with the sale, however our Fall Harvest party is coming up. Join us October 11th from 4-6pm at Jacquemin Farms. Please rsvp , to me, with the number of adults & children attending from your immediate family by October 5th!

Hope to see you on the farm! -- Denae, Family Activity Chair

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Virus Season

It’s that season again. If your multiples (or singletons) were premature, it’s time to remind all those you know that even though your babies/toddlers may look normal, their prematurity still affects their ability to fight viruses such as RSV or the flu. In the blog, Surviving Triplets, the mom discusses her information on the issue which is detailed well. Below is the post (minus personal information). If you would like to read more on her experiences (one of her children had to be put in the hospital in January), view the full post here.

From Surviving Triplets:

People don't seem to really understand what sick means when we tell them they can't come over if they are "sick". What we mean is if you have the sniffles or the remnants of a cough or even a tickle in your throat, DON'T COME OVER! I'm not trying to be rude but the Dr specifically told us that you have to be symptom free to come visit. I'm sorry but we are listening to her over anyone else.

Why is this important? Because our babies are preemies. No, they aren't small anymore nor do they look ill. They actually look like any other 13 mth old toddler at this point BUT their lungs are still underdeveloped & they still have a compromised immune system. This is very important to know b/c there is a virus called RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) which to us or a full-term baby, would not do anything more than just give us a cough & a runny nose, much like the common cold. For our babies, it can mean DEATH.

Why? Our babies lungs look very different from that of a baby the same age that was born after 37 weeks gestation. Let me show you a picture of what our babies' lungs look like compared to that of a regular full-term baby. The 1st 3 pictures are that of our babies' lungs (not actual but you get the idea). The 4th picture is that of a regular baby. Scary to see how much less our babies have compared to them!

This is another good picture to look at. As you can see, they used trees to explain the difference between a normal infant's lungs (left) & a preemie's (right). WOW!

Finally, this is a photo of the airway when affected by RSV. On the left is a normal infant & on the right, a preemie. You can see how much LESS airway is open in the preemie's picture. SCARY!

Once RSV has been passed to one of our babies, hospital stay is an almost certainty. Actually, they would probably end up in the PICU (Pediatric ICU). There is NOTHING they can do to help our babies except to give them O2 via vent (intubated) to help them breathe. Again, something we don't want to experience ESPECIALLY after seeing Ian intubated w/o sedation last year. VERY SCARY!

How do we keep our babies healthy? By staying away from sick people! You may not even know you are carrying RSV & if you come over & infect our babies, you would feel very badly afterward. Sorry if I sound so harsh but I have had to explain over & over again why it is important not to come over.RSV is contracted through physical contact or vapor droplets in the air. RSV can also live on surfaces for several hours so you better believe I will be Cloroxing all surfaces at least once a day!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Look Into Prematurity

Alisa Parker, one of our CMOTC members, has written a post for us detailing some of her family's journey through the birth of premature twins. She talks about her feelings, the many great resources they have found during this journey, as well as some advice to any parents who might find themselves in a similar place.

Ava and Andersen Parker

I have been asked by the Columbus Mother of Twins Club to write a post on prematurity and how it has shaped my family's life. I often say it happened to us, but it does not define us. Many of you know Andersen and Ava's story but the members of the twins club do not and MANY of these twin moms have experienced prematurity and bed rest or will experience it. I can only speak for our family and over the course of four years, I have met many mother's whose stories are similar yet different but we all share one thing in common.... The "P" word. I hope my tips help other's out there and welcome anyone to approach me at anytime.

I was having the BEST pregnancy. I had no morning sickness, I had no discomfort, I had no worries. The first sign of trouble came at my 21 week doctors appt. My cervix was measuring a bit short so I was put on modified home bed rest and instructed to come back in 2 wks. I took a leave of absence from work which ultimately became a permanent one but while I was on home bed rest, I realized it wasn't that unbearable at all. It was kinda great... my hubby waited on me and all I had to do was say "Nah, can't do that... doctor said to stay off my feet". It can actually be a good thing!!!

Although I still had no discomfort, things took a drastic turn when I showed up at the doctor's after those two weeks had lapsed. After examination at 23 weeks, I was told I was 3cm dilated and 90% effaced. I was in active PRE-TERM labor. There was no going back home, there was not an overnight bag with me, baby showers had not been thrown, the nursery was still a spare bedroom and my twins were on their way into this world.
I am finding that this post is quickly becoming a scary one and that is not the message I want to convey to expectant mothers of twins or singleton babies for that matter. I will skip many details, but want to tell you that I was able to hold onto the twins for three more crucial weeks on hospital bed rest. They were born Sept. 26th, 2005 at just 26 weeks. Andersen was born first weighing 2lbs, 13 inches long...
Ava came next via emergency c-section weighing 1 lb 13oz and measured 13 inches long...

These are my suggestions to expectant mothers:
Do not be afraid to ask your doctors questions. Do not be shy or feel like there might not be enough time at your appt. and you can ask next time. They have one of the most important job roles in this bring human life into this world.. you have the RIGHT to ask questions. You know your body best ... be educated about the signs of pre-term labor.

The March of Dimes website is a great resource to visit to learn about prematurity & learn about the signs of pre-term labor. Did you know that any baby born before 37 weeks is considered premature? One out of every eight babies are actually born premature. Obviously there are variations in regards to what the health of a 37 weeker looks like compared to that of a 26 weeker. Regardless of when they are born, be prepared for anything. You may feel paralyzed with fear if your baby has to go to the special care nursery or what they call the NICU, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is actually a GREAT place to be ... VERY safe, very sterile and your baby has the ultimate setting to thrive and grow. There are many angel nurses there to take care of your baby and some babies call it home for a few days, some a few weeks and other's a few months. A standing term you can always tell your child later in life, is that they are a NICU graduate!!! What an over achiever from the very beginning. :)

If you have a preemie, they are often referred to by their adjusted age. It's a term health care providers use when evaluating growth and development of your baby. It is based on your child's actual due date, not when he or she actually came into this world. It gives them a fair chance when being evaluated for developmental milestones.

When it comes to protecting your little one after they are discharged from the hospital, I would recommend staying in (really depending on how early they were). That seems to be the best way to protect them from germy places. We opted to just go out to doctor's appts and would have people visit who were primarily family and most importantly, not "cold like, not flu like, not sore throat like, not sneeze like, etc." You get the idea! You have to remember, my kids were born right at the beginning of RSV season and although they made it through their first year without catching it, they did get it the next year. The first year they received synagis shots to protect them. This was set up through their NICU doctor at Children's hospital (BPD Clinic). They will set it up for you at the hospital or your pediatrician will. We also were fortunate to have a nurse come out to the house to do this for us so that again, we didn't have to take them out. I want to say this was through Children's as well, called home health care or Homereach. I can't say enough about Homereach (an Ohio Health program). They delivered us our oxygen tanks that the kids needed and heart monitors. They are excellent with teaching you how to operate equipment if you need such things and just overall customer service. They are truly there to help! I would like to dispense some fear about RSV and let you know that most kids get it by the time they are two years old. Just pay attention to breathing and if your child seems to be wheezing, take them to the docs and make sure their lungs are okay. Many preemies lungs are fragile and the good news is that they get stronger each and every year!

Lastly... I need to wrap this up... a few other resources I would use, would be the social workers at the hospital. They can hook you up with Help Me Grow, an Ohio program that strives to help children succeed developmentally. Ava and Andersen received in home services such as OT and PT for several months and then eventually became enrolled in a center based program outside the home that helped tremendously with socialization! They received OT and PT there as well. Help me grow was on top of everything and will follow up with you closely so that your children will get all the intervention they need to catch up. They will follow your children until the age of three. Even if you don't have a preemie and had your child at term or close to term, you can contact them if you suspect a delay at 1-800-755 Grow and fill out a referral form on their website (hyperlinked above).

Almost done.. promise! My daughter has a very complicated course in regards to her eyesight and we learned about an Ohio program that's within the Ohio Dept. of Health called BCMH or Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps. Her diagnoses (ROP - retinopothy of prematurity) qualifies her to receive support from this program, specifically when it comes to our private insurance not picking up the bill for treating her conditions. I highly recommend it.

My kids will celebrate their 4th Birthday in just one week! They have come a LONG way since their very fragile start.
We would not be where we are today if it had not been for family, friends, the March of Dimes, Dr. MaryLou McGregor at Children's hospital, and countless other doctors and hospitals that had our miracles best interest at heart.

Do not let fear overtake you. Preemies grow up, they thrive, and although there may be delays along the way... they are manageable.

I cannot believe the support out there to help these young lives get to where they need to be. Utilize the programs, ask questions, get your family to babysit so you and your significant other can go out to eat, still take countless pictures in the NICU...
And reach out to your friends.. they want to help! You can join a NICU support group that your hospital might offer, join a preemie yahoo group or chronicle your child's journey by starting your very own blog!

When RSV season is over, join a spring March for Babies walk and honor your children or child. You can walk in their honor or their memory, whatever the case may be. It really is a great way to give back to an organization that has done so much for prematurity, not to mention therapeutic for one's self.

DO NOT blame yourself and realize you cannot control mother nature as much as you'd like to!

Did you know that Stevie Wonder, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain were preemies? The sky is truly the limit!!!

Here's to my soon to be four year old's!!! They would love to play so feel free to look us up anytime. I hope to make it to the farm in October for the harvest party! They are known in the blogging world as "Fully Charged Double A's." Thank you for allowing me to share our story!

Here's what prematurity looks like, four years later!
I want to extend my support to a dear online fellow blogger, Kelly Butler. I started following her some time ago because of her sweet daughter Brooklyn, who has Rett Syndrome. Her smile is so contagious, I couldn't quit checking in on her. Kelly just had a baby boy named Boston (so cute!), and she had some complications with his growth in utero. He was born at 30 wks and weighed 2lbs, 3oz. She just started a second blog, chronicling her NICU journey with Boston. You can follow it here.

This post is also on Alisa's blog. There you will also find more on Ava and Andersen's extraordinary journey. Including these posts which detail their birth and early diagnosis.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Coping with bed rest

It's not uncommon for expectant moms of multiples to be put on some form of bed rest. The words bed rest can sometimes be welcome leaving you thinking "some much needed sleep and rest before the little ones arrive" or they can leave you thinking "what do I do on bed rest all day, day after day?!" Rest assured, there is a plethora of advice from our multiple moms who have been down the bed rest road.

Below is a list of suggestions from our multiple moms who have been on bed rest:
  • Read books. If you have books you have been meaning to read, read them now while you have the time. There are also a number of good (and funny) twin books out there, like "Ready or not, here we come."
  • Organize photos.
  • Have some bring you drawers or files to organize.
  • Organize recipes.
  • Update your address book.
  • Watch movies.
  • Do crosswords.
  • Knit, cross stitch, crochet or some other crafty thing.
  • Address baby announcement envelopes. Or Christmas cards (depending on when you are on bed rest).
  • Shop for last minute items on the computer (for baby, for you, for birthdays, for holidays, etc).
  • Catch up on your correspondence.
  • Do some work from home if you have a laptop, a wireless connection and the desire.
  • Journal.
  • Arrange for help once the babies come. Don't be shy. Think of it this way, if you have help, you will have more time to enjoy your precious new bundles of joy. Trust me. If you can, arrange for some extra hands at least a few times a week. Besides, who can resist babies? People want to help! Take them up on it.
  • SLEEP. SLEEP. Oh, and sleep some more. It will be a while before you get to do that again after the babies come.
  • Did I say sleep? SLEEP.

A few other notes of importance were if you are on strict bed rest (meaning you can't move from the bed/sofa), make sure that your partner has a cooler with cold drinks and food for you to eat and drink during the day. It is important to stay hydrated and eat well. As well, have them line up anything you want to work on or read that day within arms reach. And if you have a laptop, have that ready to go too.

Here is a link to a website that has more helpful information on bed rest.

And if you still have questions or you just want to talk to someone who's been through it, you can find a contact list of the support people for bed rest moms on the CMOTC website. It is located in the "Quick Links" section on the home page and is called "Twin Resources." If you have concerns or are having issues with your pregnancy, you can also consult this list for people who have been through what you are going through. Really, at any time if you need or want to talk to someone, just to talk about non pregnancy related topics even, use this resource. We moms stick together and help each other, welcome to the sisterhood of the multiple mommies.

So, as best you can, rest, relax and get some sleep. This time will pass quicker than you think!

If anyone has more advice, please comment below. Or if you have a lot of advice and want to write a post on this topic, please contact us at the address at the upper left. We would love to hear from you!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Spread the word!

The CMOTC semi-annual sale is quickly approaching - Saturday October 3rd. Please help us get the word out about this sale. You can see a copy of the flyer on our website. From here you can print it or download it so that you can email it to friends.

Here are some suggested places for posting these flyers:
  • Preschool
  • School
  • Church
  • Work
  • Fitness Center
  • Grocery Store
  • Doctor's Office
  • Gymnastics Class
  • Karate Class, any kids classes

Thank you for your help in getting the word out!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Trouble With Twins

I thought I'd dealt with the hardest things about having twins. IE. Pregnancy, breastfeeding 2 babies, differing sleep schedules, potty training, and enduring the terrible 3's times two.

I'm wrong. I'm now stumbling into new territory, that of Planet School. Tonight I went to curriculum night where I spoke privately with the teacher. She and I discussed Boy Wondertwin without her ever having mentioned my daughter.

I wonder if this is going to be a regular thing. I hope that neither of my kids will "suffer" as a result of having another just like him/her. I'm starting to see why parents choose to split up their twins. I don't regret having them in the same class and I will keep them together as long as possible.

No cause for panic presently but I do hope that both twins get equal treatment and equal attention. I guess we'll see.

Also posted at Ventalicious.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

New York Times article provides food for thought on prematurity.

(Cross posted in part from a recent blog post on my blog The Adventures of Taderbaby.)

My good friend Mel over at stirrup queens blogged about a lovely article that really hit home with me, and so I thought I'd share it. Another blogger friend of mine, Stacy hasn't posted in a while so I thought perhaps some of you with preemies might have thoughts regarding this article's findings.

Here's the article: For Parents on NICU, Trauma may last. One of my favorite quotes?

"Experts say parents of NICU infants experience multiple traumas, beginning with the early delivery, which is often unexpected."

The article discusses the issues parents face after leaving the NICU, including PTSD, and dispels the belief that the amount of time your child(ren) spend in the NICU correlates with the amount of trauma you suffer from the experience. Rather, your coping style partially plays a role in possible after-effects. It also states that men are more likely to suffer PTSD after the NICU than women.

Many of you know my own personal struggle with PTSD, and I started seeing a therapist that specializes in EMDR last winter to deal with my anxiety and flashbacks related to the NICU experience, and trauma of my birth experience. I am sorry to admit that with the move and diagnosis of the boys, I let my own treatment fall to the wayside. (I know, big shocker, right?!?) This article really made me realize I need to make healing a bigger priority, especially if we want to eventually try for #3.

What are your thoughts about this article. Did you suffer PTSD from your delivery or child(ren's) NICU experience? What about your significant other?


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When twins need "intervention" developmentally.

It's so hard to know when your twins need help developmentally. Many multiples are born prematurely and that can be a risk factor for many things such as developmental delays. Some parents might have been linked up with a Help Me Grow coordinator straight out of the NICU. Others, whose children might not have been preemies, may still notice their children seem delayed. What should you do?

The state of Ohio has an excellent resource in the Help Me Grow system. Help Me Grow is a stepping stone which allows you to get your (under 3 year old) child evaluated for a variety of services, all paid for by taxpayer monies. Depending on the level of service needed, you might be linked with your local Board of developmental disabilities. (Franklin or Delaware County) Your child can receive physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and a variety of other therapies and services. They can attend group classes, receive respite, order equipment for their home, and attend preschool/classroom type settings.

As a parent with twins who have developmental delays and sensory processing disorder, I know it can be hard to admit when you think your child needs help. Go with your gut! You are your child's best advocate and YOU know when something is not right! There's no harm in having your child or children assessed. The earlier the intervention, the better the end result!

If your child is over the age of 3, contact your local school district to ask for a MFE. (Multifactored Evaluation) If your child is already in a county-based system such as help me grow, you will be led through this process approximately 120-90 days before your child(ren) turn 3.

In addition, children nationwide are allowed one free vision exam prior to their first birthday under the InfantSee program. This eye exam is free, and is not billed to your insurance.

I plan to write future posts about my specific path towards getting my children diagnosed with sensory processing disorder and developmental delays, but wanted to write this first post to help provide information about the basic, paid programs available to parents, and MoMs!

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