Ashleigh of Happiness Is

The featured blogger this week is Ashleigh of Happiness Is. Ashleigh is the proud MoM of almost 8 month old twins, Makayla and Austin. Ashleigh’s blog is amazing and was started for a special reason. Plus, she’s a Dave Matthew’s fan so you know she’s awesome, right?

You came into blogging for a unique reason, can you tell us a little bit more about it?

Our daughter was diagnosed with Nystagmus in the beginning of March, when she was three months old. Nystagmus can mean a lot of different things in different people, but for Makayla it means that her eyes pan from side to side uncontrollably, and she is unable to stop the movement and focus on anything. Normally, Nystagmus is accompanied with significant vision loss, but we won’t know how what her vision is until she is able to communicate that to us her self.

In the beginning, we were not sure if Makayla could see anything at all. Overwhelmed by that possibility, and the maddening process of trying to pin down appointments with specialist after specialist, I felt that sitting down and writing out everything might help me sort out some of my feelings while giving me the chance to connect with other parents facing similar challenges.

I’m happy to share that a week ago, we had a visit from a local non-profit group that works with the families of blind children and children with visual impairments, and during that visit, we learned that Makayla can see something! We also, finally have a neurology appointment this week, which will hopefully answer a lot of our questions for us.

Were you surprised by news of twins?

I don’t think you’re ever truly prepared to hear, “it’s twins!” My husband and I struggled to get pregnant for years due to my PCOS. So, when we started clomid and IUI, we knew it was a possibility. However, we had an ultrasound at 7 weeks and saw one single precious heartbeat. Over the next month we began to mentally prepare for our new little one, but at 11 weeks, we went back to find TWO little heart beats! I honestly expected the doctor to take it back and say she was joking. My husband nearly needed to be rolled out of the office on gurney!

What was your pregnancy like?

My pregnancy was HARD. I was so sick, and tired. I hurt everywhere. During my maternity leave, if I dropped something on the floor, I’d wait all day for my husband to get home just so that he could pick it up, because I knew I wouldn’t get back up if I bent over! But honestly, I miss it! I miss feeling them kick, and peaking in on them every few weeks. I miss eating Ben & Jerry’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

How have the first few months been?

The best and hardest five months of my life. My favorite part of the day is at 6:30am when I get to go in and wake them up and get them dressed. They are so excited to see us.

Austin and Makayla were born at 34 weeks, and spent two and a half weeks in the NICU, right before Christmas time. Due to their prematurity, we’ve faced severe reflux in Makayla, a heart murmur and now breathing concerns in Austin, in addition to Makayla’s Nystagmus. I swear it feels like all I do is argue with doctors’ receptionists. This week, we’ll be seeing our fifth and sixth specialists, normally only to be told, “Huh, that’s weird, we donno, they’ll grow out of it though”

What has been the best advice you have received in regards to parenthood? The worst?

The best advice I received was from another parent of twins, when I first found out I was pregnant with twins. He said to make sure I buy everything I can, except car seats, used. And I did! Babies grow out of things so fast, they hardly have time to ruin or wear anything out!

The least helpful thing I was told was to “sleep when they sleep”. I’m actually pretty fortunate in that my twins started sleeping through the night within the first two months, however, those first few weeks, there was no sleeping when they slept. Assuming they both even slept at the same time anyway! If I’d slept when they slept, I would have never ate or showered!

What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?

Any other parents have kids that hate car rides? It’s as if they are panicked because they can’t see us and think they’ve been abandoned. Any tips for getting them to mellow out?

 Be sure to leave your answer to Ashleigh’s question in the comment section and then head over to Happiness Is to leave some bloggy love!

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  1. mine loved their carseats, but they always had a big brother sitting with them! Make sure to stop by and link up with my life with twins! Every Monday at hhttp://Dakotapam,com. I also document a lot of our first year and a half so far of twin parenthood!

  2. My boys (now 2) *hated* car rides also. But unfortunately, I don’t have any advice to give because they “kind of” just eventually grew out of it. I tried everything from toys to me actually getting in the back with them. To this day they still arn’t the best in the car. I can usually get an hour out of them before we have a huge breakdown. After an hour we turn on a dvd, then can usually get another hour out of them before we have to stop for awhile. So, I definately feel your pain. It did help, when they got a little older of course, to plan a trip around snack time, I’d take along puffies, juice, yogurt bites, anything that kind of melted in the mouth so I knew they were safe while eating. They also don’t sleep like most do in a car, 45 minutes if I’m lucky. So, if we’re going on a long drive I try to plan it around their nap so we can get a little more out of them. GOOD LUCK!

  3. My daughter has nystagmus too – but we know hers is a result of brain injury and she does have seizures. She also has CVI and is legally blind. I love the resources out there for kids with vision problems – some of the organizations are SO great. Hopefully you are hooked up with them – I love our vision therapists!
    Jenny recently posted…A place we never have to go againMy Profile

  4. We put mirror toys on the headrests of the carseat so they could see themselves and kick the toys to make them light up, sing or whatever. The driver could also see the little eyes in the rear-view mirror. Now that they’re two, we have a DVD player in the van and it comes in real handy. Used it today so I could get the oil changed!

  5. your kiddoes are too cute…make me wish i could go back to that age! my twin boys just turned 4..and it goes by in a flash. so glad to hear that that your daughter does have some sight…i hope all goes well for her in the next months and for you too as you try to find the right therapies for her. I also hope that all fairs well for your son with the murmer and breathing. when our guys were the age of your two we had some toys that attached to the car seat and the seat that the car seat was attached to…we also played their favorite music cd’s and that helped…and i sang a lot and loud (poor little guys LOL ) but that seemed to help them.

  6. My kids hated the car too. They still aren’t great riding the car, but they are much better. Our first step toward quieter car rides was moving them from the infant bucket seat to a convertible car seat. They were much happier in those than they ever were in the bucket seat. We had mirrors, but they didn’t really care about them. We eventually took out the mirrors and put in Fisher Price crib aquarium/rain forest things. Our girls loved to be able to kick the music, lights and movement on and off. The music was much better than the screaming.
    Valerie recently posted…Busy GirlsMy Profile

  7. One of my singleton’s hated driving in the car. We solved it by putting a tiny dot of vegemite on his dummy. I suppose you may only be keen to do this if you are Australian though…!

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