Featured Blogger: Nikki of The Story of a Lifetime

 

Today’s featured blogger is Nikki of The Story of a Lifetime! Nikki is the proud MoM of 10 beautiful babies, 4 being 2 sets of twins. Nikki’s latest set of twins were welcomed into the world on October 30th and are seriously adorable!

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What made you decide to start a blog?

I began a journal, handwritten in pencil on notebook paper, at the age of 15. I have always harbored a passion for writing. After journaling everyday for 5 years the habit was eventually lost in the busyness of life. Nine years later my husband began his 2 year, 300 mile commute right before the birth of our 1st set of twins. During those hard, tumultuous years I rediscovered writing and began to blog. I found it to be a huge asset in dealing with the many emotions that went with raising 5 very young children as a somewhat single parent. I didn’t make the blog public until 2 years later, once his commuting days were almost over.

You are the proud MoM of almost 10 children! Did you always want such a large family?

We did not begin our marriage with large family aspirations. He wanted 2, I wanted 4 so we settled on 3 spaced “responsibly“ apart in age. After a very surprise 4th pregnancy only 2 months after my husband lost his job, losing all insurance coverage and our youngest only being 9 months old we were stunned. He made an appt to have a vasectomy. When I began bleeding heavily at 12 wks we assumed I had miscarried, but when a heartbeat was heard at 14 wks I had my first ultrasound. It was then we shockingly discovered our 1st set of twins. My husband was so moved over how blessed we were to have 2 babies when there is no history of fraternal twins on my side of the family that his heart began to change. He never followed through with the vasectomy though we did continue to return to birth control after the arrival of the babies. While on birth control and only 9 months later I was pregnant again with baby #6. It was after baby #6’s birth that both of our hearts truly changed and we knew we wanted to be blessed with more…many more! Children truly are a blessing! Only 4 months after #6’s arrival, much to our shock and despite the fact I was exclusively breastfeeding, I was pregnant with #7 and a mere 5 months after #7’s arrival I was pregnant with #8. When she was 7 months old I became pregnant again but at 14 weeks we suffered a long and arduous miscarriage that lasted 13 weeks and ended in hemorrhaging and a hospital stay. The two different dr’s refused to do a d&c after many, many ultrasounds stating I had already passed the baby. To the shock of the medical community, two weeks after hemorrhaging I passed our baby and one week after his birth I passed the placenta. After it was over we were told I would probably never go on to have more children due to hormone induced infertility and a thyroid imbalance the miscarriage had caused. But God definitely had other plans for our family! 9 weeks after the miscarriage finally ended I ovulated and we discovered on Valentine’s Day we are expecting again. With my fundal height measurements normal at every appointment, and even behind between weeks 5-16, we had no reason to suspect another multiple pregnancy. At a routine 21 week ultrasound we found our 2nd set of twins…..2 healthy growing boys hiding within! We feel doubly blessed in every way for the miracle that these 2 sweet babies are to us.

You had a truly awful experience with your ob/gyn during your first twin pregnancy, can you discuss what happened and what everyone should learn from your experience?

I apprenticed as a midwife for 7 years before marriage. Due to the experience and the many amazing births I was able to be a part of it has always been my desire to homebirth and have more control of both my prenatal and birth experiences. My husband, however, is a firefighter/paramedic and was adamantly opposed to home birthing in the beginning. After 3 rather routine hospital births we pursued traditional care while pregnant with our 1st set of twins. The lack of control I had over everything and how I was treated infuriated both of us. We found during that pregnancy that most care providers look at twin pregnancies as a “disease” rather than something that a woman’s body is perfectly capable of carrying out successfully. Throughout the pregnancy we discovered that most women are forced into a cookie cutter mold with no real thought given to the type of twins, the overall health of the pregnancy, and the individual experience itself. At 38 weeks my dr stated I was now “overdue” with twins and a breech baby B was undeliverable. Due to the fact I would not consent to a mandatory c-section he then threatened to file 2 counts of child endangerment against us and promised to see us in court. His office then terminated my care. I knew from tons of years of research and based on my appts and regular ultrasounds that our babies were indeed fine. From 38-39 weeks I went without any medical care. As we searched for a new dr, to our amazement, we discovered that every dr’s office I called was in agreement with my 1st dr’s assessment and would only perform a c-section just due to the fact it was a twin pregnancy. At 39 weeks one specific dr known throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area heard of our story and agreed to take me as his patient. After going into labor naturally I vaginally delivered both babies at 39 weeks 4 days with A vertex and B breech. We later learned that our 1st dr never intended to try for a vaginal delivery, despite what we had been told at our initial interview with him, due to the fact his insurance prohibited it and hospital policy was to perform c-sections on all “high risk” pregnancies, all twin pregnancies being considered high risk.

Since then both my husband and I are huge advocates of educating yourself on your options and not being a victim of the medical system. There is undoubtedly a time and a place for the medical profession but it also is so important to know your options and approach your situation with as much research behind you as possible. It really is so important to be educated about your body and babies and to not enter your pregnancy or your specific situation blindly. After that experience we continued on to have 2 births at a midwife’s birthing home and one unassisted birth at our home. We are currently planning the homebirth of our 2nd set of twins.

All of your children are home schooled, how did you decide this was the best option for your family?

I was homeschooled from 3rd-12th grade, along with my other two siblings. I always knew I wanted to homeschool my own children but never really anticipated the massive responsibility it also brought with it. When we encountered huge learning problems with our oldest and he was diagnosed as severely dyslexic at the age of 7 I was both depressed and exhausted, feeling like a homeschool failure. We had 4 other very young children at home and I felt overwhelmed and incapable of doing an adequate job of teaching any of them. When we finally moved to our current, very rural small town the decision was made to put our two oldest in public school. But while they were enrolled for those 6 months we rediscovered everything about home schooling we love and why we do it. I found that we were able to accomplish in 4 hours what the school was taking 8 hours to accomplish…and we were getting much better results at home! We brought them back home and have been schooling from home every since. I absolutely love having my children home with me.

What is your favorite part of home schooling?

There are so many! Definitely the flexibility within our day. I also love the bond the children have with each other. Being together all the time and learning to care for and respect each other, meeting each other’s needs, definitely grows everyone. I also love the work ethic we are able to instill in each of them home and school responsibilities along with the myriad outside opportunities that are presented to them. Right now our oldest is apprenticing with a taxidermist two days a week. He also runs his own small chicken farm with a large customer base for eggs. There are so many things each of them have the freedom to participate in that we could not do if they were following a traditional school schedule. It’s an amazing thing to watch them learn about life far beyond the black and white text of a book and to experience it in such a hands on manner. It has also been a huge asset to be able to accommodate each of their own learning needs, styles and speeds. And I am so entirely grateful for the freedom to teach them what we feel is right and not what the government dictates can and cannot be taught.

What would you do with an extra hour in your day?

I would write more. Right now blogging is a very interrupted event or it takes place in the very late night/early morning hours. I would love to eventually write a book about where we have been and this winding unpredictable road of life.

What are some of your favorite family activities?

Traveling!! We love to travel as a family. My husband and I both think it’s important for children to not only read about places but to actually experience them as well. We love giving the children opportunities to meet new people and are able to use it as a teaching tool for social etiquette and what is acceptable and appropriate behavior in the presence of both adults and other children. And they LOVE to be on the road! On a more daily basis, we really love family movie nights all piled up in bed with homemade popcorn and cookies…or whatever our oldest daughter wants to make. I’m just not really in love with the kitchen so she and my husband do most of the cooking.

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

What are some of your quick and easiest family dinners? We are always looking for good, quick and easy recipes to vary our dinner routine.

And for those of you who nursed twins, what was the thing you found most helpful in maintaining an adequate milk supply? I nursed our 1st set for 9 months but really struggled with supply issues. I’m hoping to avoid that this time around.

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Be sure to leave your answers to Nikki’s questions in the comment section and then head over to The Story of a Lifetime to leave some bloggy love!
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11 comments

  1. Gina @ MoneywiseMoms

    Wow! Next time a mom of twins hears, "You must have your hands full," they should hear Nikki. Bless your heart!

    Whenever I'm cooking for 10+, especially for kids, I use the crockpot. It's easier to "cook" in the mid-morning when everyone is happier, and I'm not exhausted. Some of our favorite and easiest dinners are:

    1) Crockpot tacos–I use either a big pork loin or chicken thighs and just pour a jar of salsa on top (mild for the kids). Cook on low for 6-8 hours, then shred. I set it out with taco fixings–cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. and the older kids can make their own.

    2) Soups/stews–this is one of the ways I use up whatever leftover veggies are in the fridge from other meals. It's also super frugal for a big family. Use boned chicken or even a whole one when they're on sale .59-.79/lb. You can really stretch meat this way and get lots of healthy veggies into the kids.

    3) Lazy chicken–again, chicken thighs or breasts with a jar of spaghetti sauce on top. You can also add onions, mushrooms, peppers, whatever the kids will eat. Serve on spaghetti. The chicken is so moist and tender.

    Hope these help!

  2. It's always nice to 'meet' another large homeschooling family with twins… though you have me beat by 1. 🙂

    I have nursed my twins for 17 months now and also had a lot of trouble with supply in the beginning. The lactation consultant I talked with suggested taking fenugreek supplements. Now, I already knew about that, but I wasn't taking enough. She said if I didn't have a scent of maple syrup about me (fenugreek smells like maple syrup), I wasn't taking enough.

    Bumping up my fenugreek intake really did make a huge difference… nearly immediately it seemed.

    You have a beautiful family!

  3. Congrats on your new twins and your family size. I am one of 8 kids and loved coming from a large family.

    I am still nursing my almost 15 month old twins. I did a lot of pumping in the beginning to up my supply. After that I was able to keep my supply up by making sure I am always taking in enough water and calories and letting them nurse on demand and not on a schedule. I also ate lots of steel cut oatmeal in the beginning and had an occasional good beer.

    As far as easy meals, we use the crock pot a lot as well. We do lots of bean soups. I don't have recipes though because I just dump stuff in and let it cook.

  4. Nikki, I'm just so proud of you! Love you!!!!!!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

  5. Hi Nikki, I had a chance to read some of your blogs and will start to regularly follow it now – great blog!
    I had "oversupply" issues with my singleton, and always joked about how I could nurse triplets… Careful what you wish for!
    Our twins are now 10.5 months, and what I've found is that my supply was hugely dependant on how frequently I could latch the girls on (it was wicked good if they would nurse often – busy days were my nemesis), how tired and run down I was (trade off with hubby for sleep, or juust get those feet up, especially in the post-wee infant stage, when people stop feeling sorry for you and bringing you stuff!), drink tonnes of water, and learn the double latch.
    I think of all the things I did (including the fenugreek/thistle) when my husband had emergency surgery and my supply plummeted during his 2 week ordeal, the MOST effective was nursing right after a hot shower or hot steamy washclothes on the breast, and getting a really good double latch. I was relaxed, the head brought more blood and therefore more milk, and the girls triggered SOOOOO many more letdowns together than they ever did singly! They were stuffed like little Christmas turkeys, and I had full breasts an hour later, waiting to nurse again!
    Kym @ Twinsideout: When twins make 3 under 3

  6. You are one busy chicka!!! Kudos on doing such a great job. I was floored by the story about your OB…good for you for standing up for yourself! Keep blogging…it's free therapy!

  7. Nikki, since "meeting" you online during your first twin pregnancy and mine you have always amazed me. I am so incredibly proud to know you and know about you. You are an inspiration to us all and I agree that when I think I can't possibly handle my three blessings for one more minute thinking of how you handle your clan with grace helps me get through.

    Thanks for being such an incredible mom!

  8. Congratulations on your little loves! I always love hearing about large families! They are gorgeous!

    Love these cooking ideas! I'm going to steal some of them!! We "only" have 5, (including 2 sets of twins ourselves) and am always looking for ideas for dinner.

    As far as nursing goes, my only secret is to drink and drink and drink some more. I've been lucky not to have supply issues, but always know I'm dehydrated when my supply seems to drop a bit. So far I've been nursing the 2nd set for 6+ months and hope for at least another year.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us!!

  9. what a great post!!! you have beautiful children and are a gorgeous family!

  10. Wonderful story and a fantastic blog… You are living my dream and doing it so gracefully. Thank you for sharing your life, your family and story with us/me as it inspires me to 'continue on' when I am in doubt and feeling overwhelmed.. I am due with our 4th so we'll have 4 5&under and I think that if you can do 10 I can easily do 4.

    Remain Blessed xx

  11. What a wonderful story and a fantastic blog. You make it all seem so easy and even make me think that homeschooling may be the way for me!! Due to some medical issues I was not able to nurse so I do not have any tidbits for you but thank you for sharing with all of us and keep up the great blog!!!

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