2 Vs. 1: Playing The 2 Under 2 Game

Hello, my Gals! It’s been a minute, or two!

Potty training, bed training, teething, and just generally trying to keep the house in a state of somewhat organized chaos keeps me busy. I’m sure you understand.

A lot of people told me that having 2 under 2 would be hard, but honestly, it’s not quite as difficult as I’d worried it would be! It’s busy, that’s for dang sure. I’m twice as tired, but my heart is twice as full. ❤ And so far (for me, at least), it’s been pretty manageable!

Of course as with all things babies and kids, it’s all subject to change! But for now I’m taking what I can get!

When I was still pregnant with Mikey I tried reading all sorts of material on how to handle 2 under 2, and there’s some good stuff out there! So I thought I might throw in my two cents into the two-under-two tip jar and tell you all how I personally have been doing with this crazy beautiful little adventure.

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A fairly recent picture of Vinny saying “Good Night” to his little brother ❤

Pregnancy

So here’s something I didn’t find much information on: How to be pregnant with a baby under 12-18 months!

Let me just tell you, it’s  e x h a u s t i n g.

A good friend of mine online who also has two under two said that she was much more tired while pregnant while caring for a toddler than she was with a newborn waking up every few hours and a toddler. The same was true for me! So if you’re in that boat right now worrying about how you’re going to tread water once baby number two comes, rest assured after a while it feels like smooth sailing in comparison.

What really helped me out was having Vinny in a good routine. At the time he was taking two naps a day for at least 2 hours at a time, so I was able to rest when I was feeling sick and when I was generally exhausted later on. Having a “First (Trimester) Aid Kit” by my side with some gin-gins, saltines, ginger ale, etc was also helpful while I was playing with him so when I was feeling ill I could grab something without having to leave him unattended.

And of course my village came in clutch a bunch of times to get supplies, help with Vinny, and help me clean up every now and then.

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“Hello in there!”

As far as preparing him for his soon-to-be sibling, Vinny was only about 10 months old when we found out we were going to have another baby. I can’t say for sure how much he understood about the situation, if anything at all at the time, but regardless, I would show him my app with “pictures” of the baby, point at my belly and tell him his little sister or brother was in there.

I also brought him to a few of my OB appointments, in particular the first Doppler appointment, the first ultrasound screening, and the anatomy/gender reveal ultrasound. Again, I’m not sure what he got from that exactly, but I like to think it helped start some kind of bond beforehand.

I brought him to a few bonus appointments towards the end of the pregnancy, where he would “help” the doctors measure my belly and watch them in awe as they ran the Doppler over it, listening to baby’s heartbeat.

First Meeting

Vinny was 18 months and 2 days old when Mikey was born, so he was still practically a baby himself. But I have to say, I think he took to his new sibling fairly well.

My in-laws graciously agreed to look after him at their house while we were at the hospital, and for one additional day after. The day after Mikey was born, his Gram and Pop brought him to see us, and his new brother.

This visit wasn’t very long, as Vinny quickly became overwhelmed, so it was kind of a “Hi/Bye” thing.

Then when he got home, we made sure to go to him and give him lots of hugs and kisses. Instead of “forcing” Mikey on him, for lack of a better word, we kept him in a cot in the living room for Vinny to interact with him on his own terms.

I feel like this slow approach really helped in giving Vinny more of a sense of “control” over the situation, if that makes sense. Over time, Vinny began to seek out Mikey and want to interact with him, and occasionally he would share my lap with him.

I also tried to include Vinny in as much to do with caring for Mikey as possible, so he didn’t feel slighted that Mikey was getting so much more attention.

For instance, if Mikey needed his diaper changed, I would ask Vinny to “help” me by taking wipes out of the container (one of his favorite forbidden activities) and hand them to me so I could clean Mikey up. Then we would walk to the trash bin together and I’d have Vinny lift the top so I could throw the dirty diaper away.

I can’t say for sure, but I think he liked the feeling of taking charge in a way, and to this day if we’re in the other room and Mikey fusses, I can say to Vinny, “Mikey needs our help, let’s go help him!” and he will lead the way to the rescue.

Of course, he still had his jealous moments, and he still does once in a while, but generally he seems to adore his little brother.

The Fourth Trimester And Beyond

My three biggest tips for anyone considering or about to embark on 2 under 2 life are try to get on a schedule, get your little one comfortable with independent play, and learn to read a book one-handed.

I breast-fed for about 3 months, until the well ran dry due to the flu and a stomach bug not long after. Vinny has always loved and still loves sitting on my lap and being read to, and while I was nursing was no exception.

The cross-cradle hold was my breastfeeding position of choice before, as it’s the most comfortable for me, and it kept one hand/arm relatively free, which helped me be able to read to Vinny while feeding his brother. Vinny could sit snuggled up to me, or even on half of my lap, and I would hold the book with one hand and hold Mikey to me with the other. I quickly got good at turning pages one-handed, when Vinny didn’t feel like turning them for me.

This skill also came in handy when Vinny didn’t feel like helping with diaper duty because he had only heard “Giraffes Can’t Dance” three times that morning and he was wayyy overdue for a fourth and fifth reading.

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Sometimes it’s so chill being in the #2under2club

If your little one doesn’t love reading already, I recommend helping them fall in love with it as soon as possible! I feel Vinny’s love of reading was pivotal in helping us survive those early days after Dad went back to work and Mikey was constantly feeding. While he was listening, he wasn’t getting up and getting into trouble.

As I was saying about schedules, having Vinny in a routine was also wicked helpful. When Mikey came, Vinny was waking up at 8, napping from 12-3, and going to bed at 7, and eating at the same times each day.

Because of this rhythm, I even think I was able to get Mikey on some kind of loose schedule without even trying.

At one point, he and Mikey even started napping at the same time each day! I’m going to chalk that up to luck to be perfectly honest, but if you can somehow manage it, it’s awesome! This was how I was able to get a load of laundry and the daily dishes done lol!

It didn’t go a hundred percent smoothly all of the time, but most of the time I was able to tend to Vinny when he needed food, nap, etc and get to Mikey before he got too upset because Vinny was used to doing things at a certain time.

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besos ❤

While I was still pregnant, I soaked up as much one-on-one time with Vinny as I could. Those days were really special to me, and I’ll cherish them forever.

However, I also knew that he was soon going to go through a major life change, and he would have to learn to share me. To make this transition easier on him, I tried to get him used to playing by himself as much as I could.

I would give him his own space with his own toys and encourage him to play with them. At first, he only wanted to interact with me, but eventually he would stack his blocks, use his shape-sorters, and attempt puzzles on his own. These would keep him happy for a good half hour at a time, which was enough time to get Mikey through one feeding before Vinny wanted something more or it was time for his own feeding.

I would also try to give Mikey tummy time each time I needed to tend to Vinny, whether it was to set him up with his lunch, snack, naptime, etc. Because it would take about a minute or two each time, it was the perfect amount of time to let Mikey work it out and I was able to get back to him before he got too too upset.

One quick side note: I highly recommend meal-prepping if you can! Starting while pregnant. I made several freezer meals in my third trimester from my Pinterest List, and would prep ingredients and quick snacks once a week after Mikey was born, and it made a tremendous difference in getting everyone fed quickly and efficiently.

Crock Pots are also a beautiful thing. Just saying!

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Bouncing’s Always Better With A Buddy And Your Big Brother ❤

So that’s more or less my advice on how to navigate all this wonderful madness! Of course there are good days and bad days, and lately it’s been more challenging with all of the training and teething, but you just need to roll with the punches and soak up all the preciousness.

Because with all of the rough moments, there are plenty of Kodak ones as well.

And as we all know, the days are long, but the years are short. Someday we’ll miss this.

What are your biggest fears about having 2 under 2? Any moms happen to be reading this who already have 2 under 2? If so, what are your words of wisdom? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: Battling Body Dysmorphia As A Mom and The Boys Finally Share A Room!

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Labor && Delivery Story Sequel, Natural Vs. Epidural

((Sorry it’s been so long, my gals! 😬 As you can probably deduce, I’ve been a little busy these past several weeks. ☺😊🤱

I took some time to adjust to two under two life, and then I let things get away from me. But I’m going to do my best to get back into a weekly/bi-weekly schedule, and I have lots of content planned, so stay tuned!))

😊💘 So, my husband and I had an eventful Valentine’s Day! 💝☺️

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💚 Meet Michael Antonio! He was born February 14th at 7:07am after a 7 hour labor and delivery.

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“Speedy Delivery!” 😂 I mean, sort of. More on that in a bit 

⚖📏 He was born at 39 weeks and 5 days gestational age, and was a healthy 9lb 2oz and 21.5 inches at birth.

He’s been such a darling baby so far. 🥰🥰🥰 He’s been sleeping 6-7 hours solid at night since he was almost 4 weeks old! 💤💭🙏🏼 I’m still not getting much sleep, though, as I’m getting up in the middle of the night to pump milk at least once, and of course, doing periodical breathing checks. 😅😅😨

So let me give you the details. It was pretty intense!

🤰Prologue😪

At about 38 weeks, I was starting to get very, very uncomfortable. 😣 And honestly a little surprised and disappointed that Mikey had not made his appearance yet. I’ve heard that second babies come sooner than first babies (although of course everyone is different), and was hoping that I would have been able to meet our second son sooner rather than later.

So once I hit 39 weeks, I decided to try out the old induction tricks and wives tales. 💁🏻‍♀️

We had Chipotle for dinner pretty much every night, with extra hot sauce. 🌯🔥😋 I was drinking and eating pineapple like it was my job. 🍍🍹 I did lunges and squats every second I got. 🏋🏻‍♀️🏋🏻‍♀️🏋🏻‍♀️ I followed a few “Baby Mama Dance” videos, and Just Danced as often as possible 💃🏻👯‍♀️ And finally I tried spending some more “alone time” with the husband. 😘😝😅

But nothing seemed to be working. I know you can’t expect these things to work right away, but I was starting to get frustrated. Because with every passing day I was getting more and more miserable. 😩😫

Which brings us to the day before Valentine’s Day. My husband brought me a red velvet cake with our nightly burrito bowl dinner to lift my spirits. I emotional-ate half of it. I got really tired at around 9pm and decided to go up to bed.

🤰🏻Early Labor⏱

❗️Around quarter to midnight, I was woken up by a violent cramp. 😵😵😵

At this point, I had been having some pretty intense braxton hicks for a few weeks, so I assumed it was just more of that. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

‼️Next thing I knew, I was getting woken up every 15 minutes with more of these wrenching menstrual cramp pains.

This felt all too familiar…

“You should probably stay home today,” I said to my husband as he came into our room around 1am (he had fallen asleep on the couch after I went to bed).

🤩”Baby time??” My husband jested.

🤐”Maybe.” I said. I didn’t want to jinx anything.

As it turns out, I didn’t have to worry about that!

I made a few errors in my timing, but this is more or less how things progressed.

⏱From this point on, it was hard to get any more sleep, because every 10 minutes I was in searing pain. Within that hour, I was getting contractions every 5 minutes or less!

A little after 2am my husband called my Mother In Law, and then the OB on call. At this point, I was doubling over every few minutes, but managing to breathe through it each time. 😵😤

💩💩I also felt like I had to go to the bathroom for about half an hour at this point, but was afraid to. 😅😅 I know needing to push can feel like the same thing, and I was paranoid about delivering my baby at home in the bathroom. 🚽👶🏼😨

I mean, we were literally a 60 second drive from the hospital, so I figured I’d wait to go there in case the worst happened.

🚙💨 My in-laws arrived at about 2:45, and I waited out another contraction before we got into the car. We made the one minute commute across the street to the emergency entrance of the hospital. I got out of the car to the receptionist as my husband parked the car and got our bags. 👜🧳

👋🏻 “Hi, I need labor and delivery, please.” 💅🏻 I asked the kind gentleman at the desk as composed as I could. He seemed puzzled at my outwardly calm appearance, but believe me, I was in agony on the inside. 💀💀💀 He got me a wheelchair and we were on our way!

We were admitted at about 3am. I met my first nurse and she began my intake (people think it’s hard to answer questions at the dentist, try being interviewed while in the throes of back labor 😵😵) and then she proceeded to “check” me. 👈👈😂

“Hmmm, I can’t seem to find it…” I remember her saying (I apologize, some details might get a little fuzzy).

😱😱😱”What?” I asked. Can’t find it. What did that mean? Was I not dilated?? That couldn’t be, I thought.

“Let me get someone else,” she said, leaving me in a silent panic. After a little while, she brought in another nurse who proceeded to jam what felt like her entire fist into my business. 👊✊ I felt like a calving cow. 🐮🐄🤠

Now at this exact moment, not only did I have to take a huge post-chipotle dump 💩💩💩 (sorry if this is tmi…but this is a labor and delivery story so… 🤷🏻‍♀️), but I was also contracting and having back labor, all while this woman’s entire forearm was pressing against my internal organs. It was literally the worst thing I’ve felt in my life. 😰😰

🏳️ “I need the epidural this time!” I blurted out. My plan was to go natural this time, like I had before (with minimal use of gas and air). But honestly, in that moment I felt if it was going to continue like this, and I possibly wasn’t even dilated enough (or at all??), I wasn’t sure I could go another several hours of that every 2 minutes.

After they were done with their torturous examination, I decided to try to go to the bathroom, 💩💩 and I felt worlds better afterwards. 😌🙏🏼 The contractions themselves automatically became much more bearable. However, I was still getting the terrible back pain. 😓 The doctor came up shortly after this to check me herself.

I remember the nurse saying that sometimes the baby’s head can be positioned in such a way that makes it difficult to find the cervix, for some reason? 🤷🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️ I was hoping this would be the case, as I was going to be upset if it turned out I wasn’t dilating, or something crazy. I did not want to get sent home after all of this.

“Well, the reason we weren’t finding it was because there is no cervix.” The doctor said, matter-of-factly.

She looked at me and smiled gently. “We’re at 10cm.”

🤯 “Oh.” I said, breathing a sigh of relief, while at the same time feeling a wave of shock run through me. Within 3 hours I had gone from “When is this baby coming??” to “He’s basically already here!”

💉 Not long after the doctor had finished, the anesthesiologist had showed up with his equipment. Even though the doctor had told me I would be pushing much sooner than later, I looked at the epidural longingly.

Although I was so close, the doctor said I still had the option of taking the epidural, and my back was killing me. It was worse than it was during my first labor, which was the only thing that made me consider it at the time.

Getting an epidural was a bizarre experience. It was very uncomfortable, a little squicky, but not super painful. It just felt like a couple of bee-stings in my back, which is what I’ve been told it felt like before. 🐝 And compared to what else I had been feeling, that night wasn’t bad at all. 👌

Truth be told, it was worse on my husband than on me. 😅😅

After a minute or two, I was able to relax a little bit. At the same time, though, I was shaking, which made me feel a little anxious. 😧😧

Things kind of slowed down from here. For the next hour, I took time to try and settle my nerves, joking around with my husband and the nurses.

Then at 5:30/6, the doctor came in to help speed things up. She broke my water, 💦and mentioned that she saw some meconium, or baby’s first poop (lot of poop talk in this post lol sorry 💩😂). This meant that NICU would have to evaluate Mikey before we could have skin-to-skin time.

I looked at the doctor in horror, I didn’t want anyone to take my baby from me so soon! 😰😰😰 Thankfully, she reassured me that he wouldn’t leave the room, and that staff from NICU would come to us to check him out and they’d have him on my chest as soon as they could. 🙏🏼😌

And then it was time to get down to business 💪💪💪

🤰🏻Delivery😫

I had a hard time getting him down and out. I had to go more or less by vague pressure and indication from the doctors to push.

💉 After half an hour, the doctor said she would have to give me Pitocin and turn down my epidural to help give me something to “push against.” I wanted to avoid Pitocin if possible, as I’ve heard the contractions from it can be unbearable, but at this point I just wanted him out and safe. 💯

For some reason I continued to have a bit of a hard time getting him out. The doctor, nurse, and my husband swear I was doing great, but it felt like a struggle! 😣😣 But I continued to push as hard as I could, and then…

💘My Valentine’s Baby👶🏼

It felt like another hour, but soon enough there he was! 😍😭😍 My second baby❤️

I saw them take him to the warmer as a swarm of NICU staff surrounded him to check his vitals. After a couple brief moments, he was on my chest. 🥰🥰🥰

Apparently he got stuck at the shoulder while pushing, and the doctor had to reach inside me and assist him out, which is part of what held things up for a while.

But I didn’t care. Whatever it took. He was here. The best Valentine’s Day gift ever. 💘💝💖🙏🏼💚🤱🏻

🌱Pros And Cons: Natural Vs. Epidural💉

So how did this labor compare to my last?

As I mentioned with my first labor and delivery (btw if you read this please forgive the formatting…still haven’t gotten to fix it 😓), it started out with dull period-cramps. The only thing that clued me in that it was the real deal was their consistency. And then, things very gradually progressed from there. I feel like I had time to get used to the pain and get through it with little to no problem (until that back pain at the end 😖😖).

Whereas this one felt like I went from zero to 100 within mere hours. 😵😵

🚶🏻‍♀️To put it into perspective, it was like going from a walk to a jog to a run with Vinny and a full on sprint right out of the gate with Mikey. 🏃🏻‍♀️

So now that I’ve experienced a natural birth and a birth with epidural, here are my personal pro’s and cons:

💉Pros Of Having An Epidural👍

  • Pain relief, obviously 😅🙏🏼
  • It gave me time to relax and center myself and really take things in 🧘🏻‍♀️
  • It gave me the opportunity to maybe get some more sleep which would mean more stamina 💤
  • It allowed me the center of mind to text loved ones 🤳

💉Cons Of Having An Epidural👎

  • In my case, I feel like it slowed things down. I couldn’t feel my contractions all of the way, which I think took away the “urgency,” if you will, and I think it inhibited my ability to push effectively. I think I might have been able to push and have him born sooner, had I not gotten the epidural. 🕛🕞🕒
  • I couldn’t stop shaking–anesthetics and analgesics can make people shaky, and I felt very shaky while under the epidural, which I think amped up my anxiety a bit 😬
  • Because I didn’t have feeling in my lower half, I couldn’t get up and move around to speed things up or use a tub or birthing ball for pain relief and anxiety, and I was trapped in bed, needing help to shift positions 😑
  • I wasn’t able to squat, which was part of my initial birth plan. Squatting helps gravity assist in getting the baby out, and is actually how it’s supposed to happen, but obviously it was not an option if I couldn’t feel my legs. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • I now have constant back pain. It’s ironic the reason I got the epidural in the first place was because of back labor, because now I have back pain because of the epidural. 🤦🏻‍♀️ It’s a common side-effect, and it doesn’t happen to everyone. Eventually I think it does go away (at least I hope it does!!!), but even as I write this, the site where I got the epidural aches, and occasionally the left side of my back will go numb around the site. Laying on my back is also very uncomfortable still, and standing for long periods of time bothers it as well. ☹️

🌱Pros Of Having A Natural Birth👍

  • You can move around! Because you can feel your legs, you can move around, change positions, get into a tub, etc to relieve pain and anxiety and move things along. 💃🏻
  • You can feel everything, so you know what to push against. 💪
  • Less possibility of back pain from epidural site. 😌
  • Less possibility of feeling shaky from pain medication, just from nerves if you tend to shake when anxious or in pain. 😌😌
  • Bragging rights 😂

🌱Cons Of Having A Natural Birth👎

  • You can feel everything, and it’s painful 😕 If you’re someone with a high pain tolerance, and if you’ve had extreme menstrual cramps, it might not be so bad, though! My labor the first time felt exactly like really bad periods I used to have, and so did this one, aside from the perfect storm of pain I’d had upon admission. 💀
  • Anxiety–pain can heighten feelings of anxiousness and possibly cause you to doubt yourself, but trust me, you can do it! 💪

So, given these pros and cons, what would I do again? It depends.

I think I would prefer to go natural again, when/if we have another baby. I feel there are fewer cons to a natural birth than one with an epidural.

For me personally, giving birth naturally was an empowering experience. But, I’m not against getting an epidural again, either. I guess it depends on the size and placement of my next baby.

🌳Because Mikey was a big baby, and because of his position in my pelvis, it was more difficult for me than last time. And because of how quickly things progressed, I think it seemed even more painful.

So if this type of situation happens again, I might opt for the epidural. 💉👍

Of course they also say that each subsequent labor goes a little faster, so next time I just hope to have enough time to make it to the hospital! 😂😂😬🙏🏼

So that’s my story this time, and I hope I can offer some insight to any expecting Mamas who are debating natural vs. epidural.

I say ultimately, go in there expecting the unexpected. If you’re set on going natural, go for it! But, if things change and you feel you need an epidural to get through, don’t feel bad! I still feel it was worth it, even though without it I could have shaved an hour or so off my whole labor and delivery time, and my back probably wouldn’t hurt so much rn. 😓😓

Here are some pictures to bring you up to speed! 😊😊

Last bump pictures, exactly 39 weeks 🤰🏻

🤰🏻How have all of your labors been different? What are your biggest birth fears? Any other words of wisdom for expecting ftm’s I might’ve left out? Leave them all in the comments! 💬

Thanks for reading, my gals! 😘😘

👀If you’re new here, and this content or any of my upcoming content interests you, make sure you add your email and follow so you don’t miss any updates! 😁😁 And if you’re already following, thank you and bless your heart and soul! 🙏🏼🥰🤗

📋 Upcoming Content: My (Stay-At-Home) Mom Guilt, My Son’s “Home-Nursery-School Curriculum,” and Two Vs. One: How To Survive 2 Under 2