1-4 weeks postpartum

As you slowly make your way back to yourself after the outrageous challenge that is a twin pregnancy, the early fourth trimester is all about firsts.

The first time you:

hold both babies at once

Hold both babies at once.

e with footprints

See your husband as the father of four.

boys with babies collage

Arrive home with your new babies.

the first month

Start back at the beginning.

nana with teo

Realize that your mother may love them just as much as you do.

first time alone with all four

Are left in charge of your new number of children, and the panic you feel.

todays plan

Finally submit to the only to-do list you should be following.

friends in bed

Invite friends over to hang out in your bedroom, and feel totally normal about that.

first time out

Venture out with your new family.

busting out thelma and louise style

Get behind the wheel, all by yourself.

breastfeeding in dressing room 2

Breastfeed your babies in a dressing room.

ian judah june

Witness the love.

b and e

Have two minutes alone to sit with your spouse, even if it’s while taking out the trash.


Accept that there is not enough water on the world to quench your breastfeeding mama thirst.

babies at the pool

Experience, for the handful of times in your life, what love at first sight feels like. Times two.

What were your firsts?

Stay tuned for The fourth trimester part 2, where the theme is S l o w l y.


twin announcement

My favorite photos of our family are from the shoot we did with Tiffany Arment two years ago, so when she offered to photograph our newborn twins, I was thrilled.

Newborn Babies

I love Tiffany’s dreamy, hazy style, and her ability to capture the beauty in everyday moments. She’s not a “babies in a basket” type photographer. Nobody puts baby in a corner basket!

Newborn Babies

I also love that after processing the best shots from a shoot, she presents you with a beautifully packaged CD. This means you can do whatever the heck you want with your images. So many photographers out there try to maintain the digital rights to their photographs. This is fine for corporate shoots, but not for my baby pictures! (I’m still trying to get the digital files from my wedding…)

Planning a photo shoot when you’re  a few weeks postpartum can seem overwhelming.

But it ended up being so easy.

A few days before our shoot, I put together a Pinterest board to give Tiffany a general idea of what I was going for. I knew which room in the house got the best morning light. Fortunately I already had a crib and nursing chair set up in that room. The morning of the shoot, I pulled out a few white blankets to act as a soft backdrop. (We were so on the same page that Tiffany brought some, too.) Wardrobe was easy since I wanted the twins to be mostly au naturale.

Newborn Babies

Unfortunately the babies were a little cranky that morning, but Tiffany was super patient. She even helped hold them and worked some “shushing” magic on my fussiest babe.

Newborn Babies

Things got much easier once they finally fell asleep. In retrospect, I would have pumped some milk so we had bottles on hand. That way, we wouldn’t have had to stop the shoot so many times for little nursing/comforting sessions.

Newborn Babies

I also would have had some snacks on hand for the mom and photographer! I was still on heavy drugs so hopefully she’ll forgive me.

The babies were four weeks old here. But they were born a month early, so they are still super tiny. I’m so glad we captured them in their freshly hatched state.

Newborn Babies

Tiffany, I can’t thank you enough for this beautiful gift. (And your husband for his amazing pasta-free lasagne.)

Newborn Babies

If you are in the NYC/Hudson Valley region, I highly recommend Tiffany Arment Photography for wedding, family and newborn photography.

Or find her on Facebook.




nursing twins

Three months off!

Hours cuddling with an adorable baby (or two or three).

They sleep 18 hours a day!

The playroom will finally look like this!

My basement will look like this!

My husband will come home to meals like this.

I’ll do activities with my older kids like this!

I’ll check in at work to show them how very dedicated and together I am!

And other fallacies of maternity leave.

I remember my first maternity leave, five years ago. I was completely unprepared for how much time nursing an infant would require. I’d sit there in my glider making mental lists of all the things I absolutely needed to get done as soon as this baby was fed. And burped. And changed. And asleep for those alleged 18 hours a day.

But when I’d finally find myself with a free moment, I couldn’t for the life of me remember what was on the list.

(Believe it or not, five years ago we didn’t have the plethora of to-do apps we now have for reeling in our monkey minds. In fact, I think I had a Blackberry that could barely access the web.)

The ADD inherent with sleep deprivation and constant interruptions made me crazy. I’m a Capricorn! I need something to show for my day!

And the ever present cloud of work stress never quite cleared — or I never allowed myself to release it. I ended up going back to work when Isaiah was six weeks old. A mistake I wouldn’t make with my second and third pregnancies.

One day it occurred to me: all of my angst came from trying to get things done other than caring for my baby. Sure, my mom can care for him all day, have the floors sparkling, scrub the fridge, and whip up a roast for dinner. But then again, she probably had a good night sleep.

If I could just surrender and let myself sit and nurse, or sit and play with my baby, he was happy. But the mental vice of my to-lists and fantasies of maternity leave put up a good fight.

(Do I really want my child to think I’m available all day to him? What about the women who work in the fields? They aren’t on the floor all day playing peek a boo. I’m bored as hell with peek a boo!)

It’s just so hard to let go.

Being strapped to a Boppy pillow (or in my case this time around, a double “My Breast Friend”) for hours a day gives a girl a lot of time to look around the room and see what needs to be done. Plus I think postpartum hormones tip my natural organizing fantasies into overdrive.

Meanwhile, I’m reading a book called Large Family Logistics (because, well, yeah), and in it the author mentions being in Newborn Mode. In Newborn Mode, she explains, the only thing you try to keep up with are the dishes and the laundry. As long as those are done, all is well.

But we’re home all day! For three months at least! There’s so much to do! What about my closet? What about the entryway? What about that rainbow cake I saw on Pinterest??

It all comes back to surrender.

Fortunately this time around, I don’t have the pressure of client demands hanging over my head. But I do have two older children (3 1/2 and 5 years old), and a house with an overstuffed basement and attic, and personal interests I’d love to pursue with all this time off.

And see, there it is.

Maternity leave is not “time off.”

Maternity leave is taking care of an infant (or two or three) 24 hours a day. For me, it’s also feeding these little people from my boobs. Which means feeding me a hell of a lot in order to make enough milk for them. Maternity leave is spending enough time with your older kids so they don’t think you’ve replaced them with poopy creatures who cry a lot.

Maternity leave is about focusing on your family. It’s not necessarily for planning your work comeback, executing your dreams of a perfect home, running a summer camp for your older kids, or performing culinary acrobatics.

And hey, if any of that extra stuff gets done, it’s just icing on the cake.

Now, if I could only put this in action…





Note: I originally drafted this post on May 1, 2013. I was 35.5 weeks pregnant. Five days later, I gave birth to my boy/girl twins.

beached whale pm

This is the part of the pregnancy I feared and dreaded the most. This is the part I Googled when I first found out I was pregnant with twins, horrified by the belly’s ability to stretch both outward and down. The back discomfort I expected to have. The abyss of my dark bedroom.

But that’s the funny thing about letting your fears run ahead of yourself.

Sometimes the reality is not as bad as you expected. How much time did I waste, how much anxiety did I ride out in anticipation of what is now my now?

Here’s what I never expected about the late third trimester of my twin pregnancy:

All the ailments aren’t half as bad when you know the end is so close.

Or maybe it’s:

The ailments are so bad that I no longer expect anything from myself. This means I can finally accept a friend’s offer to stop by, and sit with her on the front porch for two hours just talking and sipping lemony water. And then go back to bed.

I am blessed to have people helping me — our au pair and my mother who is here to stay for 2 months — and I am accepting that help. Doing  laundry, picking up objects from the floor, and grocery shopping are among the things I can no longer do (at least without great discomfort). and I’m crazy lucky to have an amazing support system at home.

Don’t get me wrong–it’s not pretty

My ribs have a permanent jack knife stuck in them, which from the ultrasounds appears to be my daughter’s foot.

Getting from my bedroom to the kitchen downstairs is an extreme sport. Heck, rolling over in bed is an extreme sport.

My walk resembles Frankenstein, with Darth Vader’s breath.

My feet are stumps burdened with carrying a weight far too heavy.

I am hungry, always.

I spend most of my waking hours obsessing about when I’ll go into labor.

(And feeling guilty about not spending time with my boys.)

I poll everyone who comes around, peering into their eyes to look for signs of someone who knows.

baby birthday guesses

Every time I get up to go to the bathroom (1,000 times a day), I’m convinced my water will break. I mean, with all this weight, how could it not?

My favorite past time has become reading other people’s labor stories searching for hints of my own.
My Google search history is crammed with versions of the search, “earliest signs of labor.”

I’ve tried convincing my ob that the babies would be better off living outside me at this point. But they just check my blood pressure, say everything looks good, and send me on my way.

I’ve made no less than four trips to Labor & Delivery only to be sent home.

Except for that one night last week when Ian and I got to spend the night in a deluxe suite. I kept thinking we should really whoop it up.

Unfortunately I was connected to monitors the entire time and didn’t get more than 15 minutes of sleep. Trying to get to the bathroom (all 500 times) with all those cables was a ridiculous production as my (sweet) husband snored away on the pull out bed/chair.

Normally this gift of time would be a dream come true.

But even watching a movie seems too taxing on my brain.

So I sit and start into space and try to spend time with my boys and wait. And wait. And wait.

spending time with my boys

(He’s ready for this whole debacle to be over, too.)