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Welcome To The World

Hello World! So if any of you follow me on Instagram, then you may already know that we welcomed our twin boys on Monday, March 5th! Ranger Joseph Buckley was born at 5:45pm weighing only 4 pounds 12 ounces and 2 minutes later he was joined by his brother, Bodhi Robert Buckley weighing in at 5 pounds.

Their journey into this world was quite the whirlwind. I had started having contractions the Thursday before they were born. I was admitted to the hospital to stop my labor and given medicine to halt any contractions. I was home by Friday afternoon. Then on Monday morning, my water broke, and I headed right back to the hospital. At this point there was no way to stop my labor, and the boys would be born that day.

My babies were born via C-section this time. Prior to going into labor there was concern about Ranger’s size and his lack of growth over the last weeks, and they were concerned he had IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). Bodhi had a dilated aorta and was being monitored closely for this condition as well. The decision to have a C-section was made between my doctor, Aj and I due to all of these contributing factors.

Although I wish I had my twins naturally, I was happy they were delivered safely. I just have to say C-sections are a trip! It was a bizarre experience (as having babies naturally can be too!) and far different from what I had originally envisioned. I think it took my doctor all of  1o minutes to deliver both babies.

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka

Since I was only 34 weeks along, Ranger and Bodhi had a bit of a rough start. They were immediately taken to the NICU post birth as their little lungs had not fully matured. I didn’t get to do any skin to skin, or hold my boys for about a week. I was only able to see them the night of the delivery, and then touch then on their heads and feet for so many days after they were born. The boys both needed support breathing and caught an infection as well. They ended up spending 23 days in the NICU, and many of those days were an emotional roller coaster. It was one of the happiest days of my life when were officially allowed to bring them home.

I took a much needed break from blogging to recover from birth, the NICU and to really be present with my family. I have received so many kind and supportive messages from all of my followers and readers over this time. Thank you so much for your continued support. If anyone has advice on twins, raising three kids or preserving my sanity… please leave me a message in the comments below

XOXO,

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The Coolest Contraction Monitor: Bloom Life

I had just finished my 10th patient of the day, and suddenly there it was again. A strange pressure, and an intense tightening of my pregnant belly. Since being pregnant with twins is a whole new ball game to me, I thought Baby B was doing his usual roll from one side of my stomach to the other. Then ten minutes later it happened once more, and then again about twenty minutes later. I had four more patients to go, and had several more of these episodes as I finished work. It occured to me that these “episodes” were happening more frequently, although at irregular intervals. Yet they were starting to make me nervous, but I was reassured by the fact that later that day I would be seeing my doctor.

 

I rolled into my appointment per usual, and nonchalantly explained what I had been experiencing throughout my work day to my doctor. My doctor turned to me with a stern face and said, “do you know how far apart these contractions are happening?”

 

Contractions?? Say What??

The truth is I didn’t know they were contractions, how many I had been having or how far apart they were. I only knew they were happening a few times an hour over the last several days. And just like that I was put on a machine to monitor for contractions and had a really fun ultrasound (and by fun I mean not fun at all) to ensure my cervix wasn’t shortening or opening.

 

We found that my contractions were irregular, not causing any progression of labor or cervical changes, and if I kept off my feet they would slow down. I felt so funny as nurse, and one time mom already that I didn’t realize these were fake contractions. If I was going through my OB rotation in nursing school I would have definitely failed at this point ( I blame my pregnancy brain, because in nursing school I actually got an A in this rotation)! The doctor sent me home, and told me this time to track any and all contractions so I could report my activity to him at my weekly visit.

 

As I was leaving I thought to myself that is super simple and I will come back with a full report.  Except I would have these contractions taking Willow to school, while driving, when checking out at the grocery store, then forget to capture the time, length, etc. Needless to say my report was not accurate the next time I saw the doctor. That’s when I stumbled upon Bloomlife, a women’s health company focused on improving the health of moms and babies.

 

Bloomlife created the world’s first clinically validated smart pregnancy tracker that automatically tracks and counts contractions for you sending the data directly to an app on your phone. It is a small sensor that sticks directly to your belly, so you can remain hands free. I actually forgot I was wearing it a few times. As you go about your daily activities, Bloomlife’s automated contraction tracking and timing does all the hard work for you from the comfort of home.

 

I know what your next question will be already. Is it safe and what is that little sensor pumping into your body?? Well, Bloomlife has been clinically validated for accuracy and safety. The award-winning sensor technology is 100% passive and simply listens and decodes the natural electrical chatter of the muscle without sending any energy into the body. Need I say more?!

 

My doctor was overly impressed with me during my last visit as I was able to show him my Bloomlife app complete with my contraction pattern bar and contraction stats! It’s simple, safe and accurate!

This device honestly brings comfort to any expecting Mother. Use code ChicMamas20 to receive $20 off your Bloomlife at checkout.

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka 

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The Real Difference Between Boys and Girls

Growing up I was such a tom boy that I always thought Willow would follow in my foot steps. I was outside playing ball with the boys for most of my child hood. I must say that over the last four years my baby girl has been nothing but princesses, purses, make up and dress up. Things that she gravitated towards all on her own. Now that I am having two boys, I have been reading all about gender research, which shows more and more that gender differences can be hardwired since birth!

I fully understand that they can be born loving dolls or dresses and I am totally fine with that. They can play with whatever they choose as far as we are concerned. Yet the more I read I seem to find a common theme with little men according to science and gender research. Here are some facts about little boys:

  • They love to move. They tend to squirm, kick and wiggle more than little girls.
  •  Little boys will watch mechanical motion over human motion, and appear to have spatial skills starting as young as 3-5 months old (the ability to solve problems involving size, distance, and the relationship between objects).
  • The stereotypical notion that little boys are less emotional is completely false. Little boys are just as sensitive as little girls and should be treated as such.
  • Little boys tend to be less fearful than little girls according to multiple studies.

I cannot wait to meet these little boys soon! Do you notice gender differences in your children??

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A poem for my sons

I came by this poem on the internet and adjusted it to fit the twins. I hope you all enjoy reading it for the first time as much as I did! Pregnancy is such a special time and sometimes it can be hard to put it into words… this poem helped put into words some of my feelings.

Mamas, how did express some of your feelings about pregnancy? I would love to hear!

Time is moving slowly,

The day is almost here.

The anxiety and joy is building up,

For my baby boys will soon appear.

I can’t wait to see your smiling faces,

And hold your little hands.

Just then I’ll know deep inside

that you’re my little men.

I have so much to share with you

day after day.

And to you my sons I will give my love

in each and every way.

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#AskAbby: How To Manage Your High Risk Pregnancy

I keep getting questions from followers asking how I am managing my “high risk” pregnancy. So I thought I would share whats been happening in the last 29 weeks. I am considered “high risk” because I am carrying two babies, and when you are pregnant with multiples you have a higher risk of developing complications. Usually the most common risk is a premature delivery. This is why you have more doctors appointments, and must be monitored more closely. I seriously feel like I live at the doctor’s office and I am there every single week!

We talked at length about nutrition and a healthy, steady weight gain throughout my pregnancy. This was to ensure that the babies and I were healthy but also to help reduce any risk of gestational diabetes, increased blood pressure or aches and pains due to increased weight gain. As I have mentioned before, I gained 75 pounds with Willow and have severe back problems. So this time around I met with a nutritionist, Kevin Libby and we created a food plan in which I eat every two hours. This has been a major game changer for me, I feel full and have great energy. Thus far I have gained about 36 pounds so far.

I noticed in the last two weeks that I was starting to feel a tightness and pressure in my belly, multiple times an hour. I really thought this was the babies turning over for the longest time. It wasn’t until I saw my accupuncturist that she told me I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. Braxton Hicks contractions are your bodies way of preparing for the real thing, and usually are called “false labor”. I was starting to have them more and more, usually they correlated with me standing and working for long periods of time. Around this time I also started experiencing increased ligament pain that was unrelieved with laying down or a supportive belly belt. So my doctor made the decision to put me on maternity leave and gave me a serious talking-to about taking it easy or I would end up on bed rest.

I will do anything to avoid bed rest at this point, so I obliged and gave up working at the office. Now that I am in my third trimester I have been drastically more hungry and more tired. I really found that I must pay attention to my body to ensure I stay healthy for these two little boys!! After all I want them to stay put for as long as they can! Have you experienced a high risk pregnancy?? Let me know how you dealt with any restrictions in the comments below!

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What I Packed In My Hospital Bag For The Twins

When I was pregnant with Willow I vividly remember packing everything plus the kitchen sink in her hospital bag. I’m not even joking, I packed nail clippers for my newborn baby! Since this is my second time around I am packing smarter! I want to bring what I will really need for the boys and that’s it! One pearl I really took home from Willow’s birth is that hospitals provide more supplies than you think. I went on hospital tours before she was born and only asked questions regarding her birth. A good tip for new Moms is to ask what supplies your hospital provides for baby before you pack your hospital bag.

When I delivered Willow the hospital provided onesies, hats, diapers, pacifiers, hand sanitizer, burp cloths and receiving blankets. Here is what I am packing for the twins in my Paper Clip Diaper Bag:

  • Two premie onesies, just in case they are born with a lower birth weight. I’m hoping they are chunky and full of baby rolls so they can fit into those newborn hospital onesies.
  • Swaddles that velcro or zip. These are so easy to use compared to wrapping a your new baby in the hospital blanket.I have these on my registry!
  • Eco-friendly diapers. Like I said before the hospital will provide their own diapers, but they usually are to eco-friendly or organic. I love the Honest Company and Aden & Anais brands.
  • Water wipes. I found these after Willow was born and really love them. Made with 99.9% water, they are natural and easy on a newborn’s skin. Find themHERE
  • Going Home Outfit. This was my favorite part for Willow! I can’t wait to pick out the boys outfits!! I’m still on the look out for the perfect outfits for them.
  • Going Home Blanket for the car seats! Love these two blankets! See them HERE and HERE. 

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Let me know what you pack in your hospital bag for baby!! I always love getting advice from you guys!

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Why Winter Break Needs To Be Over

Disclaimer: I love my kid, like a lot.

Even though I could squeeze her until it hurts, I also need my alone time and my sanity. So at the end of winter break (yes I know it was only a little over two weeks) I am ready for the sound of the school bell.  Call me selfish, but I bet you have felt the same way as me at some point over the break.

Winter Break needs to be over because:

  1. Quiet, I just need some quite time.
  2. Distance makes the heart grow fonder.
  3. My bank account and the sitter need a break!
  4. I want to throw my activity planner out the window (no more play dates, museums, or Disneyland trips for at least a month…okay maybe a week).
  5. Mom, Party of One, needs to happen. I want to watch daytime television in my pajamas, or get ready for work without any interruptions.

Are you sad to see Winter Break come to an end? Or do you feel like school can’t start soon enough??

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Pregnancy: The Exhaustion Is Real

Photo Credit: Kate Hauschka 

Pregnancy comes with many beautiful qualities, and many what the hell is happening to me moments. I like to call these “the little things no one tells you about” symptoms. When I was first pregnant with Willow everyone talked about how amazing they felt, when really I was feeling borderline narcoleptic over here. I literally had no energy and could easily fall asleep anywhere. I kept reading that I would be the energizer bunny when the second trimester hit, but I almost felt worse. I just thought this was normal for me and everyone is different, so this is just my plight.

With the second pregnancy, this Mama got a little smarter and realized I don’t want to be the girl snoring at the party. So here are some tips that have helped me beat exhaustion with this pregnancy. It is important to note that some fatigue is related to pregnancy hormones. Although there isn’t anything you can do to change hormone levels, I have found that these little actions help me feel alive and energized.

  1. Scheduling, scheduling, scheduling. You really might have to rearrange your schedule to allow yourself to rest more. Embrace your inner slacker and become less busy if possible. If you have more energy in the morning, schedule activities then and rest in the afternoon. Remember it is okay to say NO, and to put yourself first. Plus who is going argue with the pregnant lady?
  2. Eat regularly. This has been a lifesaver for me this pregnancy. I eat every two hours to avoid any dip in blood sugar (this has also helped my pregnancy weight gain remain steady and on point.)
  3. Moderate exercise. I know this one sounds like the complete opposite of what would make you feel better. Yet, regular exercise, even a 20 minute walk can release mood-elevating hormones and put a little pep in your step. So ignore the couch calling your name and set aside a little time for exercise.
  4. Set an earlier bedtime. Go to sleep one hour earlier than you normally would. This can give you a bit more energy in the morning.
  5. Ask for help! This is what I wish I would have done more of during my first pregnancy. You don’t have to be Wonder Woman, and there are people who will help you! Asking is the first step!!!

 

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#AskAbby: How are you preparing for the newborns?

Like all expecting moms, I’m not immune to the stress that comes with preparing for a new baby (or two babies in my case!) but one thing that has been useful in managing my stress is a handy to-do  list.

This list is comprised of actions that need to be completed before the babies arrive and is not inclusive of my shopping list for baby items and the nursery (I will be writing a blog post on my favorite baby brands soon but would love any recommendations!)

 

  1. Making sure the house is as organized/clean as possible to come home to after the babies are born. This is a must! The last thing you want to be worried about is cleaning up or clutter when your hands are full with newborns. Thankfully I’m able to get some help in this area, but planning ahead so everything is immaculate for the first day back at home is important.
  2. Getting my general to-do’s out of the way. Whether it’s getting the oil changed on the car or paying bills… any of my general tasks will be done before the due date or hopefully far in advance since these boys may arrive early! This will help make sure my brain is fully in the moment with the babies when they arrive.
  3. Planning meals for the first month or so of the newborns being home. I’m the queen of easy meals but having a plan thats suitable for the whole family is important. Homemade frozen dinners, healthy takeout and/or meals prepared by family and friends is key!!
  4. Planning Willow’s schedule. I definitely want Willow around as much as possible with her new baby brothers but I know there will be moments when it may be best to have her occupied. I’m arranging drop-offs and pick-ups for school and some playdates so she’ll be able to have some fun while mom and dad hopefully get to have a nap.
  5. Clearing phone memory. This may be a ‘huh’ on the list but newborns grow SO QUICKLY and I know I’ll want to capture every moment (x2). I would be devastated if I miss the new cutest thing ever  because my phone ran out of memory.
  6. Arranging the nursery in a realistic way. Though aesthetics are important, I know when two new babies are crying and need a diaper changed… I’ll be less concerned with whether it looks cute! Setting up the changing table where everything is within close reach and being practical in my decor is important!
  7. Packing my hospital bag. Though we still have a couple months left, this is something I’m taking care of early on since I know the babies could arrive unexpectedly. I’ll probably consistently remember things to add to it since I have a slight case of pregnancy brain!
  8. Making our labor playlist. Going into labor is very memorable experience and special moment… I want to make sure the background music is not a stressful decision in the moment. I’m curating an energetic one for when I may need some motivation and a peaceful one for the quieter moments.
  9. Going through Willow’s baby items. From books to blankets, I don’t want to overbuy baby items that I may already have. Plus, it’s pretty nostalgic and fun to go through her old stuff!
  10. Organizing and saving important phone numbers. From our pediatrician to local emergency numbers…. I want to make sure I’m as prepared for every emergency situation with the fastest way to get help.

 

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How To Manage Large Crowds During The Holiday

Many of us are able to handle and prep for the holidays very well but one thing that will always be unavoidable are the large crowds during this busy season. Large crowds freak me out and I try to avoid them as much as possible but that’s not so easy when I have holiday shopping or other family outings to do with a little one in tow. When I do need to go out I try to bring Willow with me, which can become another challenge in itself. I’ve picked up some tips along the way on how to make managing crowds more merry!
Here’s some tips for staying safe in large crowds with kids:
1. Keep Sight Close: I try to make sure to not let Willow out of my sight and I (or AJ) will try to physically hold her hand as much as possible! Shoulder rides count too 😉
2. Bright Colors: My friends have suggested putting bright colored clothes on Willow so she’s easy to spot, definitely something to keep in mind though #1 and not losing sight in the first place is key!
3. Stroller: If you child is still small enough I suggest taking a stroller with you for a sense of containment. I still bring mine with me sometimes even though Willow is starting to grow out of it already.
4. Talk to Your Kids: Willow and I had the stranger talk not too long ago so she is aware not to talk to anyone she doesn’t know. It’s important to stress the importance of stranger danger and what to do if they were to get lost (tell an official in uniform, remember mom/dad’s phone number, meeting spot, etc.)
5. Time Your Trip Well: Before I go out I make sure to have a list of things I need so I manage my time well and don’t spend too much time out which may lead to a cranky child that makes the whole outing more difficult than necessary.
 What other tips do you have for managing crowds with kids? I’d love to know them!