Nothing but a Dreamer

sunset-2I’m not sure if its an age related thing (I am coming up to the big 4-0 next year) or a mummy thing but just before conceiving the twins and even more so now I feel a real desire to ‘achieve’ something…make my mark in life.  I know that all you passionate mummas out there are probably thinking…”you have achieved something!!”  People who know me know that I would never down play the role of a mother but lets face it I am more than a mum, wife, daughter, friend….I’m just not quite sure what makes me me.

Perhaps this is part of my reason for blogging….searching for different ways to express myself, looking at what could be some of my strengths, attempting to connect with other like-minded people and expanding my community.

A quote by Bruce Wilkinson from his book ‘The Dream Giver,’ “you may not be able to describe it.  You may have forgotten it.  You may even no longer believe in it.  But it’s there.”  This is talking about dreams that we all have from my favourite inspirational read at the moment.

It seems no easy feat to discover my dream.  I questioned my mum about what I enjoyed playing/doing as a child (in the hopes to finding that perfect fit) and she told me I enjoyed anything involving bossing people around!

Haha!!!  Well I guess in that case I’m living it.

Does anyone else feel in limbo?  If you’re living your dream was it easy to discover?

One of my dreams has been to see my children live out their dreams.  Another dream of mine which was recently fulfilled twice over was to have another child and I am truly having a blast with this whole experience.

Yet I still can’t help feeling deeply compelled to discover what other dreams I may have. Perhaps this is how God designed us….to keep on dreaming.

Anyone with young children, especially multi mums, know how easy it is to get caught up in all our mummy duties but I think having goals and passions is a necessity so we don’t loose who we are.

I know this is a bit of a deep post but I can’t help but reflect on this and what better place to express myself than here.  I really believe God didn’t put us here to simply just exist.

Keep on dreaming 🙂

xxx

 

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Coffee Break

coffee-break-resizeI’m sitting in my car, yet again, enjoying my maccas cuppacino parked up at Neil Hawkins while the twins are sleeping peacefully…I dare not wake them!!

The tedious tune of ABC classic plays in the background (apparently it’s great for babies…not so great for me). These times of tranquility are so important to me, parenting can be stressful and really tiring.

After waking up this morning with my head spinning, literally struggling to stay upright while juggling a hungry baby on my hip and trying to figure out why I felt so exhausted I was reminded of my chaotic evening last night.

It wasn’t that my evening was hugely eventful, just one thing after another it seemed, building up in my mind like a Jenga stack waiting to collapse.

I realise I may have an issue with boundaries, I have discovered that I don’t cope well with too many things being put on me at once.

There seems to be a fine line between helping others and being burdened and it seems I struggle to balance between the two.

One thing I try to do is put myself in others shoes, to what their delemia is and whether or not their expectations on me are fair or not but when I’m under pressure I find it hard to make the right decision and instead feel defensive.

Last night was one of those nights….about to run out the door to my spin class (aka saviour session from the daily grind) when I’m stopped by a frantic phone call of someone in need…a babysitter of all things.

Believe it or not I’m actually not that much of a kid person…I love and adore my nieces and nephews and am known to get pretty clucky over my friends babies but unless I have time to mentally prepare myself looking after them is a different story…go figure.  I think it’s partly a control issue and if put under too much pressure without warning I find its like a huge weight.  It’s not that my friend in need was necessarily after me to babysit, but my daughter….thank goodness I have an amazing daughter who stepped up to the plate and after some juggling it was sorted.

Still feeling flustered after having a clingy twin all day, the frantic phone call and rushing (another issue of mine that needs work) I make my class only to be visited by my friend “the guilts.”  Could I have been more helpful?  Was I a little harsh??  However I push through, determined to be an overcomer no matter what and finish the class but unfortunately lacking the usual high I feel after exercising.

Bee-lining for the car to hurry home, shower, eat icecream and ‘veg out’ only to drop the car key down the side of the passenger seat.  Leaning over awkwardly to move the car seat forward and back a few times while straining to reach the key and getting stabbed by the screwdriver in the cup holder I realise enough is enough!  In glorious form I have my mini meltdown in the car, feeling the adrenalin from the cycle class and my rage along with exhaustion the tears started flowing.

This probably sounds like a pitiful story but the silver lining is I managed to laugh at myself not long after at just how pathetic that would of looked if I was lucky enough to have an audience (thankfully I think it went unseen).

I make it home only to be greeted by two screaming babies that just refused to settle.  Anyway long story short we managed to settle the babies and I got some well deserved ‘veg out’ time but I am realizing more and more that I need to understand what boundaries work for me.

I reckon being a twin mum also means permission to be a little selfish.

Signed, work in progress xxx

Where it all began

de bie scan cropped (2)So my journey to being a twin mum began a few years after my husband and I had what we thought was to be our last child.  We started having a family quite young and after having 3 children fairly close together we both felt as though that was it for us.  My husband had a vasectomy around 2002 and I contently continued living life with our little family.

By the time I got to my late 20’s and especially into my early 30’s I felt very maternal.  It didn’t help with friends and family having little ones and being surrounded by my gorgeous nieces and nephews.  Of all the things in my life being a mother was one of the things that I was so sure of and made sense…that along with marrying my husband of now 20 years and my personal faith.  I tried going down the career path and even went back to studying and although these things had a certain amount of satisfaction it just didn’t fill the longing for another child.

Fast forward a few years down the track after failed pregnancy attempts since my husbands vasectomy reversal and we then started exploring the IVF option.  One thing I have learnt about myself going through this is when I decide I want something I tend to not give up until I explore every possible option (still unsure if this is a blessing or a curse). It is incredible how much a desire can turn into an obsession when it is not fulfilled – at least in my case anyway.

We began with IUI (intrauterine insemination) in the beginning of 2014 and both attempts were unsuccessful.  The choice to try IVF wasn’t taken lightly but both myself and my husband felt that it was the best path for us and if it all fails I could be content knowing that we really tried.   At the end of 2014 I went in for egg collection and we made the choice to do pre-syngamy due to our faith convictions (another topic for another blog).

Can I just say that the decision to go ahead with ICSI (the option that our fertility specialist recommended) was probably the most challenging thing I have ever been through.  For the women out there who have had fertility treatment I have absolute total respect and admiration for what you have gone through.  The concoction of hormone drugs along with the anxiety of waiting and the disappointment when it is unsuccessful is SOOO HARD!!  

So the first attempt was unsuccessful and I was heart broken.  One of my best friends who is also my sister-in-law and  two of my other sisters-in-law both fell pregnant within a couple of months of each other right when I was going through the treatment.  The funny thing was (although not so funny at the time) one of them wasn’t even trying to fall pregnant and was using ‘protection,’ the other miraculously conceived despite fertility issues and my third sister-in-law was going through her own fertility treatment journey. It took everything in my being to be happy for them all and I had many, many pity-parties and crying out to God….”what about me?!!”  I think at this point I felt like I was going to go crazy.

I was incredibly blessed to fall pregnant on our second attempt and almost feel a bit selfish that I felt so sorry for myself considering the many women out there that have had numerous unsuccessful attempts.  Our fertility specialist suggested that we consider having two embryos transferred because of my age (late 30’s) which we excitedly agreed to as it still seemed to be unrealistic conceiving twins although we felt as though we were up for the challenge.

February 2015 after the second attempt (successful) of ICSI and waiting for the results was probably the slowest 2 weeks of my life.  Initially I honestly had such faith that this time round was going to be a success but near the end of the 2 weeks I had all of the signs of being pre-menstral.  I was devastated but decided that I was going to go on and everything was going to be ok.  I have 3 beautiful children, a wonderful husband and my whole life ahead of me.  I stopped taking the progesterone pessaries as I was convinced that I wasn’t pregnant.  The day I got the phone call I will never forget.  I braced myself for the ‘negative’ result which I believed was the outcome and when the nurse informed my I was pregnant I challenged her that she got me mixed up with someone else.  I literally could not believe it.

You would think at this point I would go on my merry way and enjoy pregnancy bliss.  But with those crazy preggas hormones surging through my body (at incredibly high levels with twins which I didn’t know at the time) I was sure that something must be wrong. Even the phlebotomists were concerned with my hormone levels.

My 6 week scan couldn’t come soon enough and to hear the news that I was pregnant with twins still seemed to be such a shock despite the high probability after having 2 embryos transferred.  We were both so excited and I would be lying if I didn’t say we were at the very least a little scared.

The 16th October 2015 at just over 37 weeks by elective C-Section we welcomed Ivy Belle (2.5kg) and Scarlett Lilly (2.3kg) into the world.

I thank God for such an incredible blessing and the life of being a twin mum had begun…..

debie-13

The Twins are One!!

We celebrated the girls first birthday over the weekend and wow what a year it has been!! They have bought so much joy to our family and are absolutely adorable, I can’t imagine our family without them.  Do I miss my freedom?…..yes.  Am I at times a little freaked out at the whole idea of ‘mummy-ing’ again….yes.  But these are pretty normal thoughts…aren’t they??

I couldn’t help but ponder the old cliche “surviving the first year,” a saying which every twin mum relates to.  I really believed that although having twins has its obvious challenges, me being a seasoned mum would breeze through this first year.  Well I clearly underestimated the strains of “twinning it.”

The first year is HARD WORK!  Forget about being that mum sitting in the cafe discreetly breastfeeding her little bundle of joy….the first 3 months where I did breastfeed was a circus act that I definitely couldn’t pull off in public.  There are no little cutesy outings with a baby casually hanging on my hip, its pack a suitcase and make sure there is double of everything.  My pram is an absolute necessity because I can’t hold two babies and a purse let alone a couple of items from the supermarket as well.  If one baby decides to ball their eyes out  when I’m out I literally panic at the thought of both of them loosing it. Thankfully I have only been in this situation a handful of times.  This is where being armed with milk, snacks and toys is vital and of course one of their older siblings if possible.

If both girls have been put to bed and one wakes up during the night then it’s time to get my ‘ninja’ on and swoop that baby out of the bedroom before she disturbs the other one. Who am I kidding….I unashamedly admit that I usually try and sleep through their cries and my hubby tends to them (that man is an absolute legend).  But during their day sleep I am ‘ninja’ all the way.

All the craziness aside I have generally been up for a challenge and find it quite boring living the status quo…however that looks.  This past year has been a time of reflection for me of how I parented in the past and what I would like to do differently this time round.  It has also been a time of assessing how my life looks and what direction I want it to head in for myself and as a family.

Although this has been an extremely hard year it has also been alot of fun.  I have met other amazing ‘twin’ mums and done my best to still get out of the house at least every couple of days for my sanity.

This mumma is livin’ the dream….at least that’s how I like to look at it.

twins-first-bday-cake-2

Survival Tips

twins 10 months

It would be great if there was a step by step survival guide that worked for all twin mums but lets face it every child, scenario, parenting style and core beliefs and values for each parent varies. Being the second time round for us I naively believed that apart from the obvious challenges of dealing with two babies we “had it in the bag.”  Who would be more equipped to deal with twins than someone with experience and is perhaps a little older and wiser.  Well that was an absolute farce.

With our first children (I say that as there is a 16 year age gap between our once youngest child and our baby twins) we did our best to learn and mimic other parents who had similar family values and ideals.  We were young and knew that with our lack of experience we needed to glean from more ‘seasoned’ parents.  In hind sight I like to think we did okay…sure there are many things I would probably have done differently now but generally speaking we were able to parent three children without too much drama (excluding some of the teenage years but that’s another topic for another day) and even enjoy the whole experience.

This time round it has been quite the experience.  Some days feel like I am running a marathon.  The days can be relentless….slow and steady I go about my day, trying to get all the housework done as well as enjoy my babies and even trying to have a bit of a social life in the process.  My confidence that I experienced whilst pregnant with the twins has dwindled to feeling like a first time mum navigating the uncertainty of it all.  But amidst the chaos is giggles, joy, excitement and two cute little faces to wake up to each day (and sometimes in the middle of the night…sighhhh).

My tips for surviving the first 10 months are –

  1. Coffee – This is number 1 for a reason!
  2. Routine – I am not completely rigid with this but it does tend to make things run more smoothly when the girls sleep at the same time and I get a break.
  3. Exercise – Without this I don’t think I would have the energy to parent….Even just taking the twins for a walk around the block helps.
  4. Hanging with other twin mums – We need one another and what better people to connect with than other mums who are living the same experience, who totally get the craziness of it all.
  5. Make a choice to enjoy it – I can sometimes get lost in the busy-ness of it all….the copious amounts of nappies, the constant feed times and the lack of sleep but one thing I remind myself is that this stage only lasts for a little while and I will never get these baby years back again.  God has totally blessed me with these babies…Just focusing on the simple highlights of each day, their little smiles and watching them grow and change….just amazing!
  6. ‘Me’ time – Ohhh so important!!  I am more than just a mum.  Whether its going on a girls night, dinner with my man or a night out with friends I need time to do things other than the laundry, washing, cleaning, bum wiping,etc,etc……..
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself – We are our biggest critics yet to our babies we are just the greatest.  I am well aware of my short-comings,my imperfections and insecurities all of which can effect my parenting and cause me to make mistakes.  Learning to forgive myself has become so liberating and actually helps me to parent better.  There is nothing more soul destroying and joy stealing than wallowing in self-pity or comparing yourself to other mums.

This has been my basic survival guide and has gotten me through thus far.  To think that the girls are already 10 months old is just incredible and I am absolutely loving it (most of the time).

We got this!!!

xxx

 

The “Older” Mum

Jackie and Jess

When I was 19 with our first born Jess

 

To say that this has been an interesting journey so far would be an understatement.  I still have to pinch myself at the thought of “mummy-ing” again especially to TWINS!  But one of the strangest things is the fact that I am now part of the “Older” mum group…the late  30’s mum.

Being a young mum meant plenty of interesting and flattering comments such as “wow, you must of been 12 when you started having kids,” “I can’t believe you have children that age, you don’t look old enough.”  However now I am 39 (I’m still trying to come to terms with that number) and have 8 month old babies.  When I go out with my older children I have some people assume that the babies belong to them, which wouldn’t be that unusual considering when I was as old as my eldest child I had 2 children.

I think going into this stage again in my life I expected to see a lot of older mums.  It’s not uncommon for women to have children later in life after travelling and focusing on careers, right?  Being a twin mum also led me to believe that the majority of twin mums would be older as I had the misconception that a lot would have gone through the IVF journey to get to the point of having multiples.

Just recently I went on a girls night out with other ‘multi mums’ and was absolutely blown away with the amount of energy they all had.  By 11.30pm they were ready to hit the clubs and dance until the early hours of the morning.  Although I actually considered going for a dance I was just soooo tired and bed was more inviting.  Miss Scarlett has been waking up at least once a night for weeks now and I needed that sleep.  All I could think of was not getting home until 3am and then being woken up by the girls and trying to function running on empty.

I remember being in my 20’s and early 30’s, where catching up on sleep was easy and really not that important.  I remember struggling to sleep at times because my mind was busy and my body wanted to go out and party.  Now as soon as my head hits the pillow I almost crash as fast as my husband (5 minutes and he’s snoring…10 minutes on a bad night).

Going to the gym used to be an activity that I could take or leave but now it feels like its a necessity.  I need to try and stay fit to have the energy needed to take care of babies.

Then there’s the over thinking…..so when my twins turn 18 I will be 56, eeekkkk!!

It certainly isn’t a bad thing being an older mum, just very different.  I feel way more ‘grounded’ and emotionally stable (not all the time of course) than I did in my 20’s.  I recognize the importance of not taking time with my babies for granted, that they are going to grow so quickly.  Patience also seems more readily available than when I was younger and not feeling so concerned about whether or not I am parenting correctly (as if there is such a thing).

Being an older mum does come with its challenges but I wouldn’t change a thing. Xxx

shane and jackie

Taken when the twins were just over 2 months

The Things People Say

twin group pic (2)

Our girls…just missing our son

People warned me about the weird and wonderful comments I could get being a mum of twins but I admit I was skeptical….however, they were right.

 

It all began when I was pregnant with the twins.  “Is this your first?” they would ask and being the relatively open person that I am I would respond cheerfully “well actually its number 4 and 5.” I should’ve known that this would only instigate a range of interesting and personal questions.

I remember one conversation with a shop assistant which began just like this and ended up almost with my whole life story.  Not to say there is anything that exciting to share but after the questions such as if this was my second marriage and when I responded that it wasn’t you could see the wonder in her eyes and then the prying into why we needed IVF.  Before I knew it I was led into the trap of TMI (too much information).  Now I can’t blame the shop assistant as I was guilty of over sharing and it wasn’t the first time.

These situations didn’t bother me while the twins weren’t in tow but once they were born it was a different story.  My shopping trips consists of being stopped at least once and generally I don’t mind a bit of chit chat as people stare delightfully at the girls (except when I hear the ever repetitive “wow you’ve got your hands full”) but sometimes my trip to the shops consists of a crying baby or two.  This was one of those days…

I was quite excited about getting out of the house and doing a bit of shopping with the girls but unfortunately Miss Ivy wasn’t happy with being in her pram…I’m not referring to a bit of winging, this was all out balling as though something tragic had happen.  According to Ivy it was tragic, I wasn’t carrying her at that point of her sadness.  After numerous stares and not to mention no-one making any effort to clear the path (double prams are not that easy to maneuver around busy shopping centers) I was left with no choice but to carry Ivy while pushing Scarlett in the pram and shopping.

This was no easy feat and probably one of the few times where it would’ve been fab for any random stranger to come up and offer to give me a hand.  However, it seemed even requesting a hand carrying a few items from one of the staff members was a bit of an inconvenience.

Anyway as I was lining up at the check out there was a lovely elderly lady standing in front of me.  After looking at my girls and giving them some smiles she asks “is it a boy and a girl?” Now I don’t mean to be blunt but if they are both dressed in the same clothing, pink I might add, is it not some what obvious that they are both girls???  I know that being gender neutral is all the rage now but surely it was plain to see they were both girls…I really wanted to ask her which one she thought was the boy but didn’t have the time or patience to discuss it.

After politely responding that they are both girls she made a comment that I have heard other ‘multi’ mums complain about but this was my first experience.  She proceeded to say that she had 2 girls that were 18 months apart so it was basically like having twins.  Arggghhhhh are you kidding me woman!!  My first 2 were 13 months apart and honey it ain’t nothin’ like having twins!! (picture that with some Jerry Springer show swag).

I didn’t say any of this but it was what I was thinking.  Instead I did a little chuckle and nod and we went our separate ways.

In all fairness this lady was probably just wanting to converse with someone and felt we had common ground but when you are dealing with a mum of twins at the shops, one baby crying and the usual sleep deprivation in the mix it can be a recipe for disaster.

Rant over xxx

Super Mum….if only

super hero

Super heroes (taken a few years ago now)

I don’t think I have ever exercised as much as I do now without even leaving the house.  I’m not referring to jumping on the treadmill or doing weights in the comfort of my own home, instead I am constantly up and down, swapping babies from one play toy to the next, changing nappies, hanging washing, cleaning the kitchen, cooking dinner not to mention being available for my older children and husband.  I’m not having a boo-hoo moment its just an observation.

Sometimes when I am in this mode of running around the house and checking things off my list I almost feel like I can do anything….that probably lasts about 2 hours before last nights lack of sleep catches up on me and the early morning hit of caffeine wears off.

Multi-parents I take my hat off to you!!  This is no easy feat, definitely not ‘a walk in the park.’  As much as I am enjoying being a mum of twins I truly cherish their nap times….when their nap times are in sync that is.  At times I feel guilty when I reminisce to the days when life was easier, when I could leave the house without packing copious amounts of nappies and when car trips were peaceful.  Sitting down to a HOT cup of coffee is somewhat of a privilege now and usually only a once a week event (which I cherish).

Popping into the shop wearing one baby on my hip isn’t an option most of the time.  Actually there really isn’t any ‘popping’ into the shops these days, it is now an all out half day event.  My little miss Ivy doesn’t always enjoy the pram which means I sometimes end up holding her whilst pushing Scarlett…try adding doing the actual shopping to this mix and its a little crazy.  In the early days going to the shops was a fearful experience for me….what if they both start crying, what will I do??  who will help me??  It was easier to stay at home most of the time until my husband got home from work and he could watch them.

It’s amazing how much I took basic freedoms for granted.

But it is starting to get a bit easier….now that they are 7 months old they are beginning to entertain themselves.  They also give me cuddles and kisses and beautiful smiles.

twins may 16

Maybe I was having a boo-hoo moment!  But its OK….. I am no Super Mum but at least I know that I am my twins hero.

Wouldn’t change being a twin mum for anything.

Forever grateful xxx

 

Love Bites

tired mum (2)Arms covered in love bites, bags under my eyes, desperately grasping at my once hot cup of coffee….this might sound like some crazy persons morning after a wild night out but for me it is life as a twin mum.

I am finally attempting to sleep both my babies in the same bedroom after holding them off for 6 months, for the sake of my own sanity.  It was 3am when little Miss Scarlett awoke and in an attempt to prevent Miss Ivy from waking I raced into the room to soothe her.  Scarlett seems to find it comforting sucking on my arms (hence the ‘love bites’) rather than sucking on a dummy.  After numerous attempts over the first 6 months of both their lives we had surrendered to the fact that they just will not take a dummy.

It wasn’t long before Ivy also wakes and then its time for team effort from both myself and my husband to get them back to sleep.  One thing I find amazing is that I tend to not even hear the babies if they wake before 5am (convenient… I know) however this morning was different unfortunately for me.  After almost an hour we cave in and bring Ivy back into our room and get Scarlett off to sleep in the babies room.

I have heard another twin mum share how at times she has hoped into the cot with one of her babies in an attempt to soothe them.  I totally get it….the cot looks ever so inviting when it’s 3am and baby won’t settle.  I was almost tempted to grab a baby blankey and crash on the floor.  Sleep is as precious as gold when you don’t have enough of it.

By 4am both babies are settled and I’m laying there solving the world’s problems.  Doesn’t my mind understand that in a couple of hours I have to be up and functional??  Let me ponder that thought for awhile….arghhhhh!!

It’s now 11am and the girls are successfully down for their nap in the same room.  I have put my mascara and eyeliner on (bringing out the big guns) in an attempt to look alive and am ready to take on the rest of the day.

Feeling tired yet fortunate. xxx

 

 

Fist Pump Moments

fist pump

In the first couple of weeks of being a twin mum my ‘fist pump’ moments consisted of brushing my teeth before 11am or getting a 20 minute cat nap during the day.  As my girls have gotten that bit older these moments have changed.

I call it ‘fist pump’ moments because when I am on a role or ‘in the zone’ and everything feels like it is falling into place I have my little imaginary ‘high five’ or even a victory dance.  Being a bit of a control freak means that having these moments brings a sense of normalcy into my already hectic life, a feeling that I’ve got this, that I am achieving something.

This morning I was up nice and early (that’s pretty much every morning), I gave the twins their bottles, changed them, did 2 loads of washing, chucked a whole lot of ingredients into the slow cooker for dinner, cleaned the kitchen and then dropped my 16 year old off at school.  I was on a role and determined to get to playgroup even if it meant upsetting the girls sleeping routine for the morning.

Getting out of the door by 9.30am with the twins is quite an achievement so I rewarded myself with a ‘maccas’ cappuccino so that I could get through the next step of going to playgroup without one of my older daughters to assist me.  Once I was there amongst the chaos, which is typical of a ‘multis’ playgroup, I was reminded that I am not alone.  Hearing stories from the other mums that I could relate to and sharing our highs and lows as well as enjoying all the antics that comes with the territory of having twins.

I lasted about an hour at playgroup before it was time to head home as to not miss the next opportunity for some ‘me’ time as the twins settled for their nap.

My ‘fist pump’ moments may not be major feats but to me they are my gold stars, my little achievements that gives me strength for the next day and the challenging moments where things aren’t all smooth sailing.

xxx