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So far Raising Multiples has created 12 blog entries.

Bedrest During Higher Order Multiple Pregnancy

Bedrest might be recommended while you are at home or you might be admitted to the hospital for bedrest.  Bedrest is recommended for various reasons and for various lengths of time. Sometimes your doctor will want you to stay off your feet for a few days after a procedure early in your pregnancy or if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding. Some mothers are put on strict bedrest for months at a time. Many mothers restrict their own activities because they feel that their body needs to take it easy. Some women adjust easily to bedrest while others find it more difficult. Remembering that you are doing this for your babies usually makes bedrest easier. It really is for only a short time even though some days might feel like forever! – Dr. John Elliott

Limiting physical activity helps alleviate or prevent stress on the mother’s vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys or circulatory system. It increases blood flow to the uterus and conserves energy, increasing the nutrients directed towards the babies. Equally importantly, it takes pressure off the cervix and may help keep the uterus from contracting, reducing the risk of preterm labor.

“Bedrest” might mean something different between you and your doctor. Even doctors and health professionals can mean different activity levels with the term “bedrest”. To help you know what level of bedrest your doctor wants you to follow,  use our Bedrest Activity Checklist, found under the Pregnancy heading on our website (Yes, you can print it!). We encourage you to use this list to clarify with your health care provider what you are allowed to do and in what amount.

Tips for Managing Bedrest

Bedrest sounds so much easier than it actually is: physically, mentally and emotionally. The following are many of the different emotions expectant mothers have described feeling while on bedrest:

·         A loss of independence as a result of a reduction in activity level, inability to care for family and perhaps even total dependence on others

·         Feelings of inadequacy because you are not able to have a “normal” pregnancy like other women, are not able to work outside the home or care for other children and your household.

·         Feelings of helplessness/loss of control may be experienced by both parents due to an inability to change the situation. Partners may feel overburdened by an increased work-load at home or financial burdens.

·         Feelings of isolation or being different from other having “normal” pregnancies and being confined to home, bed or the hospital. Support systems normally available through work or outside activities may be gone due to activity restrictions or hospital isolation. You may be worried about your health and the well-being of your unborn children.

·         Feeling misunderstood when others say you are lucky to get to “rest” and “lie around all day” when bedrest and gestating is actually the expectant mothers “work” right now and must be taken seriously. Some of the medications and treatments are also not much fun.

·         The major shift in household responsibilities means the entire burden of the household is now on the co-parent or is a huge concern for a single mother or one with a partner not able or willing to help.

·         Frustration caused by watching other parents excitedly prepare for their baby’s birth and not being able to do this. Expectant parents of multiples may be unable to make decisions or preparations due to uncertainty of the outcome especially if they have had past pregnancy losses. Sometimes people try to help by saying “everything will be all right” but parents know this is not always the case.

·         The financial demands of going from a double to a single income when medical bills are rising especially when the mother may have carried the insurance or been a major financial contributor.

Expecting mothers have found online support groups to be a safe place to share anxieties during this time. Relaxation techniques, having someone who can listen and knowing that someone else has been in a similar situation can also be helpful in decreasing stress during bedrest.

Here are 20 tips and ideas from Sidelines of Oregon to help you manage bedrest.

1.        Wear clothes during the day if possible and be neat and clean: keep up personal hygiene

2.        Set goals, keep them in mind and focus on WHY you are doing this not WHAT you are doing

3.        Shop by phone or online

4.        Plan your weekly meal menus and organize the grocery list.

5.        Consider using a grocery delivery services from your local store or online

6.        Do crossword, word-search or jigsaw puzzles

7.        Have visitors but only when you feel up to it. Watch favorite shows together

8.        Do something special for yourself such as having someone come in to give a manicure, pedicure or facial

9.        Keep a journal of your pregnancy and a calendar to chart your progress.

10.     Focus on how far you have come, not how far you have to go

11.     Listen to books on tape or learn a new language with tapes from the library

12.     Make a list of tasks people can do for you, so when they ask, you can easily offer them a choice.

13.     Request a childbirth class in the home if available

14.     Have a “date” with your partner with take out food and candles

15.     Do craft projects such as cross stitch, needlepoint, knitting, etc. to make something special for the babies or someone else

16.     Do passive bedrest exercises with approval from your physician.

17.     Read books on high-risk pregnancy, multiples, and premature babies such as this one

18.     Pay bills, compile tax data, reorganize files or update your address book

19.     Order and address birth announcements

20.     Call a friend or relative or other support person. Find someone who understands your fears and hopes. And of course, you can reach out to us!

Bedrest with an Older Child

If you have older children, finding someone else to care for them during bedrest may be easier on you. Whether or not that is possible, below are some ideas to entertain them. This can be challenging, but try to make the best of the situation. The days/weeks/months you are on bedrest are really just a short period of time in your children’s lives, and in the long run delivering the healthiest babies possible is better for the babies, their older siblings and for you:

·         If you have toddlers and no older children, make your bedroom into a giant playpen. Put everything out of reach and shut the door so you do not have to worry about where your child is.

·         Watch television, read, play board or video games or just talk

·         Make videos together of you and your child(ren) singing or talking

·         Have a small ice chest next to your bed packed with the day’s drinks and snacks and keep supplies/toys in a laundry basket near your bed.

·         Make a paper chain and have your child take one off for every day

·         Keep a roll of paper towels near your bed for spills

·         Use an old sheet or blanket as a playtime cover to spare your bedspread

·         Let your child play under the covers or Play “I Spy”

·         Play “bed-bowling” with paper cups and a small ball

·         Play “bed-basketball” by tossing rolled up socks into an empty basket

·         Play “bedspread traffic” using small cars to follow the bedspread design

·         Go bed fishing using magnets and paper fish with paper clips

·         Use a mirror to make faces expressing feelings

·         Make hand shadows on the wall with a flashlight.

·         Work jigsaw puzzles, construct building blocks or play board games

·         Play red light-green light with you being the traffic cop

·         Cut up magazines and paste them on cardboard for paper dolls

·         Get children’s books from the library and read

·         Use coloring books or play dough

·         Trace letters/numbers on your child’s back that they can guess

June 4th, 2019|Expecting Multiples, Toddler Multiples|

Fire Safety Exit Strategies: What to do when you have 2 or more Infants

3 girls in firetruckOctober is Fire Safety Month. If you have school age children you may have developed an emergency exit plan with materials from the school. This article focuses on infants and toddlers strategies but has information for all. Resources in English and Spanish are at the end.  Don’t forget to change the batteries in your fire/smoke detectors!

We all know how important it is to have a Fire Safety Plan, including two ways to exit from every room in your home.  But how does that plan change when there are more babies than adults? What if you are alone with 3, 4, 5, or 6 babies?

A good place to start is with prevention and preparation.  Working smoke detectors on every floor of the house and inside and outside each sleeping room are essential. New smoke detectors are available that let you record a mothers voice. They have been shown to be very effective in waking children. Of course fire extinguishers and an escape plan are important too.  Most local fire departments can help you make a family fire escape plan, and may even come out to your home to do a fire safety check.  It is also a good idea to let the firehouse that would respond to your home know how many babies you have.  That way should the worst happen they would  know how many babies need to get out. Depending on where you live, you may also want to contact your EMS or ambulance / rescue squad that an emergency call to your house may involve multiple children. Planning ahead and practicing often can mean the difference between life and death.

Most experts agree that you have less than 3 minutes to exit a burning building, which may not be enough time for many trips.  If at all possible,  carry everyone out in one trip, which we all know is easier said than done.  Here are a few ideas on how to minimize the number of trips, hopefully only one trip!

The Big Grab Method:

For co-bedded infants, who are usually snuggled together anyway, you can probably reach your arms around from either end and grab them all.  They will probably wake up and be upset that they are squished against their siblings, but at least they will be safe.  I know I had no problem picking up three babies with this method and I have pretty short arms.

Laundry Basket Method:

If there is a laundry basket nearby, which there most likely will be, dump out the clothes and fill it with babies.  Drag or push the basket down the hall to stay below any smoke.  If you are on the second floor, back yourself down the stairs sliding the basket of babies down as you go.

Blanket/Beach Towel Method:

Keep a large thick blanket or towel in the sleeping area.  (Fire blankets are available for purchase commercially, but any thick blanket will do.)  The goal would be to provide some insulation from any smoke or fire gases. The blanket would contain some clean breathable air and also act as a filter.  For very small infants you can lay the blanket on the floor, lay all the babies next to, or on top of each other and wrap the blanket up around both sides.  Hold both ends at the top, kind of like how you see “bundles “ hanging from the mouth of a stork.  If there is smoke, drag the entire bundle of babies down the hall to the exit to stay below the smoke.  As soon as you are in fresh air, remove the babies so they can breathe normally.

If you need to go down stairs and they are too heavy to carry (say three or four 6-12 month olds) just drag the bundle down the stairs.  The kids might end up a little bumped and bruised, but they will be alive.

If you just need to get out quick and the air is clear, pick up the whole roll and out you go.  The towel or blanket will keep you from dropping anyone.

Bail Out/Relay Method:

If you are on the first floor, and there is a window, open the window and start passing babies out the window.  Most 0-6 month olds can’t roll or crawl away yet so they will stay where you place them.  If you are alone, think of this as a relay.  First you get the babies all out of the window, then yourself out, then you start moving them away from the house.  Also, as soon as you open the window start screaming for help, hopefully someone will hear you and come running to help shuttle babies away from danger.

Sling Method:

If your nursing sling or carrier is close by, you can put a baby or two in the sling and have your hands free for carrying other babies or directing another child out.  Be careful with this method not to spend too much time getting babies situated in the carrier.  Remember in case of a fire, you only have 3 minutes to escape, so if it takes you 5 minutes to put on and adjust your sling, you will need another method.

Apron Method:

Commercially there are “apron-like” garments designed specifically for evacuating large numbers of babies.  Many hospitals and day care centers have these.  Safe Babies® infant emergency evacuation apron is one product that can carry up to four babies.

Stroller Method:

Of course a stroller can be the quickest mode of transportation, but there are very limited circumstances where this is an option.  How many of us keep a stroller near the bedroom? Also, in the case of a fire, you should never use an elevator, so you could be in for a bumpy ride.  But if you are on the first floor and the stroller is close, don’t over look the obvious.  Throw them in and roll as fast as you can to safety.

You can always combine methods or make up your own.  The most important things is to make sure everyone gets out, and once you are all out, don’t go back in for anything.

Make sure you don’t forget the older children as well.  It is easy to see how a parent would worry first about the children trapped in cribs, or who are unable to walk.  So make sure you teach your older children how to escape on their own.  Children as young as 3 can follow a fire escape plan they have practiced often.  Fire drills are a good way to keep preschool children and toddlers involved.  They also give you a chance to figure out what method will work best for you.  If you are in a two-parent household, run the drill three ways: With Mom Only, With Dad Only, and with Both Parents.  You might be surprised at what method works best in each scenario.

Also be sure to continue to run your practice drills as the children get older.  The bigger they grow the harder they are to carry, so you might need to adjust your plan.  The exit routes in your home will also change with the addition of baby gates, locked doors and toys, toys, everywhere.  Continued practice is key.

If you have doors that must be opened with a key, KEEP A KEY by each door, and REPLACE it when you use it.  Whether it is a child’s room or the front door, you don’t want to have to look for the key.  Hang it on a hook out of the reach of the little ones.  Ideally every door should open without a key, but eventually, babies become toddlers that you may have to lock them in the house to keep them from escaping into traffic without your knowledge.  So, if you have any doors locked, be sure to keep a key by the door or you may have just blocked your best escape route.

If you have babies that require medical equipment, work that into your plan.  I don’t mean that you should try and carry all the babies and all the equipment out in one trip.  Sometimes one baby and a tangle of cords is difficult enough, let alone multiple babies and multiple cords.

If your babies are attached to monitors, oxygen, or feeding tubes, know what you can do without for a few minutes, and how to quickly disconnect to escape and call 911.  When the ambulance arrives, paramedics will be able to monitor/stabilize breathing & heart rates and transport your child to a medical facility equipped with any medical equipment you could have possibly had in your home.  Medical equipment can be replaced, a child can not.

We all hope we will never have to use your escape plan, but it is comforting to know that you have an Exit Strategy should you need it.

 

Resources:

Fire Safety for Kids (interactive games and activities)

Fire Prevention Tips

Fire Safety Coloring Pages

Lista de verificación de la Semana de Prevención de Incendios –

 

Helped A Few Years Ago – Now Doing Better

When you donate to Raising Multiples, you might have wonder what the future holds for these families.  Here is a letter we received earlier this month from a mom that was helped in the past. Your gift makes a difference….this year and in years to come.

(We have removed identifying info to protect her and her children's privacy.)

Thank you for donating to Raising Multiples   

Hello my name is M.  I’m a mother of triplets, I want to say thank you for your help on the past two years. This year I’m able to buy two toys for each of my kids.

I finally got a job which I’m working two days out of the week. For now in my life is getting better and I’m getting there with all my kids.

Thank you for everything that you guys did and I hope that you guys can help more families like you did to me.

 I just want to wish you merry Christmas happy New Years and God bless you and all the people that helps you guys.

Maureen D. Boyle honored with HOPE Award

feet in colorIt is our pleasure to share with you the news that Maureen Boyle received the HOPE award earlier this month.  Maureen was honored by Graham’s Foundation for her work with higher multiples over a 25+ year period.  Raising Multiples was originally known as MOST (Mothers of Supertwins) when it was founded by Maureen and other mothers in 1987.  Maureen dedicated over 25 years to children, parents and caregivers. It is nice to see her recognized for her hard work and dedication.  In addition to the print work cited below, she also helped write Raising Multiples/MOST’s book Expecting Multiples: The MOST Comprehensive Guide to High-risk Twin & All Triplet, Quadruplet or More Pregnancies.  

Maureen, earlier this year, officially stepped down as Raising Multiples’ Executive Director. (more…)

November 30th, 2016|Articles, Parents of Multiples, Preemies|