When Your Due Date Comes Earlier Than Expected :: How to Manage the NICU

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Featured in the Fall 2013 issue of Multiplicity Magazine

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Twins and higher-order multiples have greater odds of being premature and needing a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) stay. Although no parent wants to spend any amount of time in the NICU, if you are expecting multiples, it is best to know what to expect and be prepared. Start off by asking your caregiver to give you a tour of the NICU facility when you tour your hospital prior to delivery. Ask about private spaces for lactation and consultations, as well as family or sleep spaces. Find out if you are allowed to bring photos, your own linens and other keepsakes for each baby from home to decorate their incubators.

The first things you may notice when you initially see your babies in the nicu are the many wires and tubes attached to them. Some of the most common are a pulse oximeter (a tiny light on their finger/foot), a cardio respiratory monitor made up of three patches, a blood pressure monitor, a temperature probe, a heart monitor, various lines for medicines, oxygen via tubes into the nostril or a respirator, and/or a gastric tube. Ask the care team to explain each one and why they are necessary.

Get to know the staff, doctors and nurses that will be taking care of your babies. The more you communicate with them, the more information they are likely to share. Don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way and if you don’t understand, ask for clarification. You will be faced with a lot of medical terminology and asked to make a lot of decisions, so try to ensure you understand each interaction with a doctor or nurse. Along the way, keep a log for each baby of important pieces of information you receive and concerns or questions you have so you can make the most of the daily rounds.

Request kangaroo care and to interact with each baby as much as the hospital and care team will allow. Even if your babies are not well enough for physical contact, you can interact by reading, singing and talking to them. Another great way to start bonding with your babies even while they are in their incubators is to be involved in their care by helping change diapers, take temperatures, and if possible, to feed them.

Cnsider setting up an online journal or blog to keep friends and family updated. This will also serve as a place where you can share your emotions and thoughts while having a recording of your NICU journey. You can use this outlet as a way to celebrate milestones like weight gain or coming off a medicine. Another way to share your emotions is to talk with other parents in the NICU. They understand and may have resources or tips to share to improve your hospital experience…

… to read more about managing the NICU, about putting your babies together in an isolet, what to do if one baby comes home before the other, and learn about the most important thing to remember while your babies are in the NICU. Turn to page 7 in the Fall 2013 issue of Multiplicity Magazine.

Julie McCaffrey is a mommy to 3 kids, including a set of twins. Julie owns BabyNav Baby Planners where she offers personalized consultation to new and expecting parents. She is a modern baby gear expert and loves to help parents navigate everything from baby gear to preparing for multiples, to getting back to work and getting the whole family on a routine. You can also follow her on Facebook.

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Tags: Multiplicity Magazine, Multiplicity, NICU, babies in the NICU, twins in the NICU, multiples in the NICU, preterm delivery, preemie, premature twins, premature baby, premature birth, preterm birth, twin preemies,

Twinnies of the Month :: October 2013 :: Eva & Emma

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We had been telling you for weeks that we had a big prize from Step2 in store for you. We searched high and low and found the most deserving twins to receive the special prize, a Deluxe Kitchen Play Set.

-Meet Eva and Emma-

They are four year old twins full of heart. They show us that you are never too little to do something big. It all started with a lemonade stand and a tag sale. Their mom Kelly asked them what they wanted to do with the money they made? They both replied “Give it to Anthony’s dad!”

Anthony, his dad Michael, and his family are a friends to the family going back three generations with their grandmothers being best friends. The reason the girls wanted to give their earnings to their friend’s dad was because he was fighting cancer. Kelly continues, “I told the girls since they wanted to do that we would have the lemonade stand all weekend to raise more money. We hung signs all over town letting people know what we were doing and why.”

At the end of the weekend the girls raised $300 by selling $.25 lemonade. With such great success, their mother suggested the girls do this every year and give the proceeds to other families fighting cancer, the girls were on board!

When a family member found out about their cause, he jumped in to help the girls. As a woodworker by trade and owner of  Corey’s Country Creations he built them a lemonade stand which has their mission “Fighting Cancer One Cup At A Time” inscribed so everyone will see.

Now armed with an eye catching lemonade stand the girls decided to take the show on the road (well in their local community anyway). They also learned how to make “no more cancer” wish bracelets and sold them for $2.00 and their mom made a facebook page to let the community know where they would be to come by and support their cause. In the past month the girls hit several events and have now raised over $1,000, and the girls don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

Unfortunately, Anthony’s dad lost his battle with cancer in September, just three weeks after the girls first weekend behind the lemonade stand. But the girls have continued on their mission to help other families in their community battling cancer, donating %100 of their earnings to those in need.

You too can donate to their cause by mailing a check to

Eva and Emma
PO Box 243
Cheshire Mass, 01225
or
The Bank of Adames Community Bank
C/O Eva and Emma’s Lemonade Stand
PO Box X
Cheshire Mass, 01225

 

Thank you Step2 for supporting Twiniversity in honoring Emma and Eva. These girls will be receiving a Deluxe Play Kitchen so that they may have many days of fun ahead. This set includes the Deluxe Kitchen, Table and chairs, play food and a real baking set to take a spin in the real kitchen! There is just SO much in this set for a couple little girls to have so much fun!


If you know twins who rock, tell us about them and they could win a prize from the Step2 company. Your multiples could be our next featured cuties! Nominate them here!

Plan Family Photos Using Pinterest

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Featured in the Summer 2013 issue of Multiplicity Magazine page 49

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of a photographer’s job is helping the client feel relaxed enough to allow their true personality shine through during their session. More often than not, people are nervous, uncomfortable, or just are not sure what to do or how to pose when in front of the lens. At my sessions, we have fun and take a more lifestyle/photo journalistic approach to the images. The chronology of photos should tell a story of the session and your family, and it is my job to prepare you, the client, to tell your story as you wish it to be told, thus helping to alleviate any potential nervousness or anxiety. That being said, what we do before the session is as equally important as what we do during the session. More

Tame the Tattle Tale

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You hear the shrieking cry of, “Mooooom!” You know what is coming next. Tattling. It starts around two to four years of age and can continue into their school years, and can become annoying if excessive.

This is a delicate matter that needs discernment to handle properly. You don’t want to encourage the tattling, because then children will not learn the important lesson of how to get along in social situations and will always rely on someone else to solve their problems. But you should not ban “tattling” either. Ignoring every situation can result in retaliation that will escalate the situation and push kids away, and erode the security in knowing that they can come to you with problems. They need to know that you care about their problems. If you become unapproachable you risk the child becoming isolated and withdrawn when serious issues, like being bullied, arise. More

Bedrest, NICU and Love

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imageWritten by Vicki Philipp

Bedrest, NICU and Love, that’s how we got though it and are a happy family with healthy and playful two year old twins boys.

When I was pregnant with my precious twin boys, it got complicated at week 24. My cervix was dilated about 5-7mm. The doctor told me that I had to go to the hospital right away. I was floored and beyond upset, I could not lose them. We were devastated.

The next day, after getting both shots of betamethasone in for the boys’ lungs, I woke up to being in labor and not knowing it. The hospital staff was thankfully able to stop the contractions. I was sent home home on bedrest five days later. I was only allowed to go from the bed to the couch with one shower a day (not to exceed ten minutes), and to my weekly doctor appointments. I was given weekly goals, but our main goal was to ideally to make to 32 weeks. We took it one week at a time. More

Parenting Perspective: From the Eyes of an Older Mother

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Written by: Nancy Kuzniar

Nancy with her husband, 22 year old son and 2 year old twins

I love being an older mom.  I got pregnant with twins at age 47 and had them at 48. My pregnancy was quite smooth, considering my age and the fact that we were having multiples.  I did get gestational diabetes and I did have preeclampsia but both twins were born healthy at 36 weeks 2 days.  One came home with me at discharge, and the other came home the very next day.  My children had no developmental issues, no mental issues and no physical issues.

Throughout my pregnancy, I was told all the negative aspects of being an older mom. Friends and family questioned me and had all sorts of information about what it is like, although not a single one of them had gone through it.  Health and longevity seems to be an issue that others like to point out, but we personally are in good health. Of the older parents I do know, I’ve found them to be more physically active with their children than the younger parents.  Older parents tend to be a little more on-point when it comes to health. And truth be told ,the unfortunate demise of any parent almost never has anything to do with age.  I have kept positive though the negative comments. More

Be Prepared for a Roadside Emergency

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The temperature reads 97 degrees at 3:20 PM. It’s been a long, hot day and I am ready get home with my three year old twins. But as the turn of events would have it, we’re not going home any time soon. I blow a tire and am stranded on the side of a busy road.

I learned some hard truths that day about being prepared. So are you prepared for a roadside emergency? Consider these few things to be prepared. More

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