Oh my, Twins!

~ getting ready for the ride of our life

Twin Data August 23, 2010

Filed under: childbirth,concerns — Mezzo-Missoula @ 6:13 am
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E is NOT sleeping well right now . . . a cold, teeth, growing, etc.  And so I’ve been awake since 4am.  Whenever she or L wakes up this time of night, I just can’t get back to sleep.  This was ok in June when it was just me & the babes and no agenda, but it’s not working well now that we really need to be on the “back to school” schedule!

Anyway, I was on my Uni’s library webpage and happened to see a link to the National Center for Health Statistics which of course led to the CDC.  But what really piqued my interest was a featured link to a pdf report – Births: Final Data for 2007.

Regarding twins:
“The twin birth rate was 32.2 per 1,000 births in 2007. The twinning rate rose 70 percent between 1980 and 2004, but has been essentially stable since. The 2007 triplet/+ birth rate was 148.9 per 100,000. The triplet/+ birth rate climbed more than 400 percent between 1980 and 1998, but has since generally trended downward. (Preliminary 2008 data are not available on this topic.)”

Looking at other statistics available from 2007:

  • Most twins were born between 34-39 weeks gestation
  • More twins were born between 20-17 weeks than 40 weeks or more, however, the reproductive endocrinologist I saw said that term is 40 weeks . . . just like singletons!  I point this out because so many people are under the impression that term for twins is 36 weeks.
  • Of the 53, 407 twins born between 34-36 weeks gestation, about 25K weighed 2000-2499g (4.4-5.5lbs) and 16.5K weighed 2500-2999g (5.5-6.6lbs)
  • Of the 48,447 twins born between 37-39 weeks, about 12.5K weighed 2000-2499g and about 22.75K weighed in at 2500-2999g
  • Method of delivery stats I’ve posted at Trial of Labor, please do check them out!  I wish these interactive tables seperated out multiple gestation, but we know empirically that most multiples are born via cesarean section.  Please understand that just because a practitioner tells you that you have to have a cesarean for multiples that you have the right to say no!!  Make the best decision for you and your family.

Here are some other stats from the 2007 report that I found interesting:

  • 11.5% of babies born to white, non-hispanic moms are premature; black, non-hispanic moms are most at risk of preterm birthing – 18.3% of their babies are born before 37 weeks gestation! (Fig. 1)
  • wow, it’s surprising to me how many more babies are born to moms age 20-24, 25-29, and 30-34 – I don’t know why I’m surprised that nearly 120 per 1,000 babies are born women aged 25-29 vs. less than 50 in (ahem) my group.  (Fig. 2)  Denial?
  • Mexican women were the most fertile in 2007; Cubans were the least (Fig. 3)
  • Birth rates to girls age 10-14 decreased by 14%, 2005-2007 (Tbl. A) – it makes me feel a bit sick just reading that . . . birth stats on 10 YEAR OLDS!!!
  • Hardly anyone uses forceps or vacuum extraction as an alternative to cesarean section (Tbl. D).  I will have you know that a good friend recently had her baby delivered with the assistance of forceps.  Doctors need to be trained to use these (and other) alternatives to major abdominal surgery!!
  • You really must see Figure 4, so I’ve copied and pasted it for you below.  What I want to know is what in the HECK happened circa 2006 to cause the percent change in cesarean delivery to go positive around 1996 and skyrocket around 2001-2002?  Probably this can be traced to changes in insurance policies and/or premium costs.  I’d have to go back and look, and well, I don’t have the time at the moment (babies!!!), to see if ACOG published a statement around that time that changed things.  (Read Jennifer Block’s Pushed!)

percent change in cesarean rate

And now that I’m hearing “oh, boh, boh, bow, wow, etc.” loudly and clearly from the twins’ room, I’d better git!  And make more coffee . . .


And Just Like That, We’re Done June 29, 2010

After 10 months and 8 days of breastfeeding, my babies, within 18 hours of one another, weaned themselves from me.  I tried to nurse E last night, and she got so mad!  I tried to nurse L this morning, and she wanted to chew and bite, not eat.  I know that I could work them through this, but since I’ll be out of town next week, it’s probably just good timing.  I’ve only been nursing them 1-2 times a day for several months now.  This seems to be the natural end to that relationship.  I’m mostly ok with it.

To help dry up my milk I am putting peppermint oil on my breasts and covering with a cold pack.  My breasts don’t feel too uncomfortably full, but I know I need to be careful to avoid mastitis at this time.


Eating Time June 17, 2010

Now that the babies are nearly 10 months old, they are really getting the hang of eating.  E is somewhat on a solid food strike, but little L is great with table foods.  Here is how I handle feeding two babies three times a day. 

Step 1:  Get them into their high chairs and immediately supply them with Os.  The Os never get put away – this is how I avoid melt downs. 

Step 2:  Give them things that they can feed themselves.  They both are doing well with self feeding.  In addition to Os, I usually give them bits of banana, peach, pear, and/or apricot.  By far the favorite is banana.  And yesterday they did well with quartered grapes.  L even tried quartered cherry tomatoes, but most of them ended up on the floor or in the chair, so I’m not really sure she cared much for them.  Fine – I LOVE ‘EM!  Personally I stay away from Biter Biscuits because they are so messy and sticky and make clean up a pain for me and the babies. 

Step 3: Combine things they like with things they don’t like for spoon feeding.  I can usually hide any vegetable in yogurt and get it into them.  If I try to feed them babyfood veggies alone, they won’t eat them.  I’m hoping that once beans and peas are in season that I can steam them and get the babes to eat them.  So, what I do is start with more yogurt and less veggie.  As they eat I start adding more veggie and less yogurt. 

Step 4: Clean up!  They hate being cleaned up, especially E, but TOUGH.  I put them down to play and then clean up the high chairs.  It’s pretty awful to put a baby in a high chair that’s still dirty, sticky, grimy from a previous meal.  My favorite thing to clean their chairs with is Young Living Essential Oils Household Cleaner.  Seriously – it’s the BEST, and I love knowing that when my babies gnaw on their high chairs, they are coming in contact with essential oils of clove [Syzygium aromaticum], lemon [Citrus limon], cinnamon bark [Cinnamomum verum], eucalyptus [E. radiata] and rosemary [Rosmarinus officinalis CT cineol].  Here are the ingredients for 409, a common kitchen cleaner: n-Alkyl (C12-16) Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride, n-Propoxypropanol, and Monoethanolamine.  Now seriously, what would you prefer for your babies to lick? 

Breastfeeding and bottles:  Sometimes I nurse or give bottles before meals, and other times afterward.  Most breastfeeding advocates believe that it is important to give breastmilk or formula before meals, but I’m a firm believer in doing what works and following your babies’ cues.  There are times when I put E in the high chair and she refuses to eat until she’s nursed.  So, I leave L in the chair and nurse E nearby.  I am not yet offering water or juice in between meals.  If my babies need liquids, then they need breast or bottle.  The reason I don’t yet offer water is because they are both small and don’t need their stomachs full of zero-calorie water.  Nobody needs juice.  They are both intolerant of milk and soy.  I’m experimenting with almond milk in their cereals.


Nuts! We have nits!! April 23, 2010

Filed under: daily grind,essential oil — Mezzo-Missoula @ 9:06 am
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Luckily the twins, my husband, and I have not been infested, but my 5 year old daughter caught head lice.  Poor thing.  Poor us, especially DH who is more the stay-at-home parent than am I.  Since the infestation, we have pulled a few live and dead lice, and a ton of nits off the poor child’s head.  We’re not sure where we caught lice, but I can tell you . . . this sucks.

Lice have become resistant to the usual neuro-toxic treatments that you can buy over the counter.  And then there are the nits.  Nits aren’t affected by these treatments.  So good luck, eh?  We spent over 2 hours last night picking through her hair.  She was such a good sport.  This is a particularly tough thing for a sensitive-scalped child to bear.  Nits are sticky buggers, and nit combs are pretty much useless in my opinion.

Here are some resources for dealing with nits:

  • get a good comb that has a pointy (pick?) end and use that; I don’t recommend using a regular brush that has any “hidden” surfaces as nits can get caught in there and possibly infest or reinfest someone
  • use alligator clips or clips like the hair stylists use to separate the hair into section – divide and conquer, if you will!
  • spray the hair with a mixture of vinegar and water – supposedly this helps loosen the adhesive that holds the nits to the hair; though we’re not sure this really helps (other things that have been suggested include mayonnaise, peanut butter, Vaseline, olive oil, and coconut oil)
  • if you are dealing with a LOT of nits, meticulously pick through the hair at least twice a day for 3-7 days; then you can go to once a day; this is a major pain in the ass, but it beats reinfestation – believe me!
  • DH has some success with nit combs, but I find them useless; if you use your fingernails to remove the nits, then be sure to use a nail brush after your done in order to avoid putting nits into your own hair; I think I’m going to switch to tweezers
  • place nits on a wet paper towel or masking tape; when you are done with your nit removal session, put the nit towels/tape in a zip-style bag and suffocate those little buggers
  • oh, and there are TONS of household chores that have to be attended to if you’re fighting lice and nits – vacuuming, washing, heating, bagging . . . over and over and over again!

For prevention, I recommend tea-tree oil shampoos and the use of therapeutic grade essential oils, such as the ones you can purchase from a Young Living Essential Oils distributor (like me).  Oils that have been recommended (because lice don’t like them) include: eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, lemon, pine (repels them), rosemary.  According to the Reference Guide for Essential Oils by Higley, you should apply the oil(s) to the bottom of your feet and rub over your scalp three times daily.  I myself am using lavender, lemon, and pine because I have them on hand.  Also, my scalp finds tea tree oil to be irritating, and my hair is pissy about it too, so the lavender in particular is soothing for my bothered scalp.

Reference Guide for Essential Oils Eleventh Edition, October 2008 Reference Guide for Essential Oils Eleventh Edition, October 2008
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Here are some other things you might want to read regarding lice and how to deal with them.  Good luck!!

And just remember that this too will pass.  Even though lice are pretty disgusting, your friends and family members won’t permanently disown you.  Also, most health departments do not recommend that children with nits be excluded from school, so at least your children don’t have to be made to feel even worse than they already do by being treated like outcasts!!



And I’m Still Nursing March 15, 2010

I can’t believe that the twins are nearly 7 months old.  In some ways they seem so “new,” and in other ways, I feel like they’ve always been part of my parenting life.  I imagine that they are two of the three souls previously lost from my body . . . and it makes me selfishly yearn for one more.  Just one more baby.

But I digress.  In case some of you wonder if women nurse twins beyond 6 months, I can tell you definitively that they do.  What’s more . . . I’m a full-time working mother.  I’m no saint.  We do give the twins formula at times.  They have an annoying habit of rejecting breastmilk from the bottle.  Since they are small . . . much smaller than they could be at this age, we’re not allowing them to wait until I get home to eat.  Instead, my husband feeds them formula and now some solids.

This arrangement may not work for you.  It works for me.  I just throw it out there to the blogosphere in case someone finds it encouraging.

Now . . . back to grading music theory homework and watching the babies play . . .


Beginning Essential Oils January 24, 2010

Filed under: daily grind,essential oil — Mezzo-Missoula @ 9:01 am
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I’ve started getting into the medicinal use of essential oils.  To do this, you must purchase medicinal grade essential oils, not “mere” aromatherapy oils.  I’ve gotten set up as an independent distributor of Young Living Essential Oils and have a handful of oils to play with now.

What prompted this?  Well, a couple of things.  First, I’ve always enjoyed diffusing essential oils.  I am very sensitive to smell, and having certain fragrances around me really seems to help.  Also, I have a friend who is a distributor, and after reading her e-mails (which can now be read via her blog), I decided to try Thieves Oil.

I am a believer.  I stayed healthy through numerous family, friend, and student illnesses.  When I finally did get a cold – after little L had what seemed to be RSV (but it wasn’t) – it was mild and short lived.  I can only atribute it to using Thieves Oil.  How do I use it?

  • Rub it daily on the soles of your feet
  • Rub a drop onto your neck/chest when congested
  • Diffuse it

If you’re going to use Thieves on children, it’s best to dilute it with an edible oil like olive oil.  I don’t think I’ve put any on the twins, but C tolerates it just fine on her feet.

Anyway, I’ve agreed to try pine essential oil and talk about how I’ve used it.  The thing that I find frustrating about Young Living is that they don’t share their information.  In my opinion, if I’m going to pay the bigger bucks for their product, the least they can do it help me learn how to use it.  I should have received a one-page info sheet on the pine oil or been provided with a link to the pdf upon purchase.  I’m finding it hard to learn about how pine oil is used.  Luckily I did find this one post and am trying to incorporate the suggestions there.

More on my oil adventures . . .


A Bottle a Day January 17, 2010

We need to be giving each girl a bottle every day this next week since I’m getting ready to go back to work full time. I was sitting on the floor a few minutes ago with one of them (can’t remember), and I realized how much I’ve enjoyed being here for them nearly full time! I’m not looking forward to going back to work as much as I’d expected.

More about bottle feeding my girls:
(I’m hoping that some of you can relate or at least feel comforted by some of the compromises I feel I’ve had to make. I’m not looking to draw criticism or quarter-backing from people who have done a better job than I.)

  • I don’t usually pump – when would I have time?
  • So when the girls get bottles, they typically are fed formula; I will have some milk to give them during the day when I go back to work because I’ll be pumping at work when I can
  • I have no guilt with feeding them some formula – I’d have a very hard time completely breast-feeding them; an all or nothing scenario would probably have resulted in me weaning them early
  • Plus because they’re not gaining weight quickly enough, our doctor wants us to be supplementing (E in particular – the larger twin – is having the harder time gaining wait because of all of her vomiting)
  • To see a growth chart for exclusively breast-fed infants, click here
  • I’m concerned about having enough time to pump when I go back to work – I don’t have many breaks scheduled  and only have 10 minutes in between classes if I don’t have a break
  • I HATE the smell of formula (well, at least the one we use reeks)
  • I REALLY HATE the fact that the formula I give them is so expensive and STILL has dairy protein in it (you simply can NOT buy a commercially available formula for protein sensitive babies); Neocate is just too expensive especially when my breasts work just fine and dandy
  • When we give them formula, we feed them Similac Alimentum which seems to be slightly cheaper than Enfamil’s Nutramigen (do not buy Nutramigen with Enflora if you have a dairy protein sensitive little one!)
  • I miss dairy but am glad to know that I do have some control over the amount of dairy protein that gets into my babies’ stomachs


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