What inspired you to start your blog?
A friend of mine began blogging shortly before I did — I liked it, and followed suit. But I didn’t know what to talk about. I was inspired to actually begin blogging when I had my weight loss surgery. I had just moved an hour away from the area where I had lived for over 25 years, and didn’t have any friends in my new area. I was at a loss on where to find a friend to talk to. I had a lot of stuff on my mind and it just needed to come OUT. I also didn’t feel I had an outlet to anyone else in my exact position. Yeah, maybe I’d get someone who had some commonality, such as another overweight mom of multiples, but I didn’t have someone who met them all! I knew I could find a connection with an audience that included people outside my usual circle.
What was more shocking your first or second set of twins?
The first one! Many moons ago, my grandmother told me and my 3 female cousins that one of us would probably have twins because one of her cousins had them. My cousins are all 5-10 years older than me and they all started their families in their late twenties. By the time I got to thinking about having babies, they had kids in elementary, middle and high school already. When I decided to announce my pregnancy to my family, we had already had 2 ultrasounds and several rounds of blood work, which all was indicative of one fetus. At Christmas, we told my grandmother (by then 94 years old) that her great-grandchild #17 was on the way. She looked me square in the eye and said, “#18.” No grandma… it’s #17. My mom and I listed all the great grandkids… and again said, this one is #17. Again, she replied, “#18.” My mom and I gave each other than knowing look which mutually agreed, “yeah right old lady, you’re getting senile…” Well the joke was on us, because at the beginning of the second trimester, our third ultrasound showed two babies! Crazy ole grandma was right. She passed away about 6 months before I got pregnant with set #2. I would have loved to have that conversation with her again!
Where your pregnancies similar in anyway?
They were almost identical… and that it why I knew so soon that it was twins again. My first pregnancy was miserable. I vomited several times a day, starting at about 9 weeks and continuing heavily through week 19. By week 22, it subsided but I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It’s the ultimate cruel joke… a fat lady, pregnant for the first time, with twins, wants nothing more than to send her husband to the store at 3 AM for the cliche ice cream fix! For the first half of the pregnancy, I couldn’t eat ice cream if I wanted to, and for the second half of the pregnancy, I wasn’t allowed to!! I ended up insulin diabetic and had to give myself twice daily shots in my stomach to keep my insulin levels in an acceptable range. I was also placed on bed rest at that point. I gave birth to the babies when I was 15 pounds LESS than the day I conceived – I was successful in keeping those babies full-term (38.5 weeks) and they were about 7 pounds each when they arrived.
The second pregnancy was worse – the all-day-long sickness came at 3 weeks post conception and ended around week 18, when it was confirmed that I had insulin-dependent gestational diabetes again. I was placed on bed rest at 15 weeks, however this time I was responsible for caring for active 17-month old twins!! At 31 weeks along, I needed someone else to care for my kids full time as I was no longer physically able to help them, feed them, or do anything other than hang out with them on the couch! And, the true bummer of this pregnancy was that I gained (only) 20 pounds during the pregnancy and it never went away.
What made you decide to use an au pair? Do you have any tips for people considering hiring an au pair?
The defining moment was when the big girls were 2 and the little girls were almost 7 months old. I left the 4 of them in the living room on the floor in front of the TV so I could run to the bathroom. When I returned less than 2 minutes later, they were all gone!! The toddlers had run into the kitchen, one baby crawled off 10 feet one direction, and the other baby rolled 5 feet the other way. I freaked out when I saw that empty play mat!
I found that an au pair was only cost effective child care solution for our family. The best part is that an au pair is the same price – no matter if you have one 6 year old kid or 4 toddlers! I could not afford to take all 4 kids to day care, and American nannies were too expensive for me based on what I could earn working part time. Both solutions were not flexible enough (7 AM to 6 PM were standard hours). The kids wouldn’t have the comforts of home at a day care, plus I would have to spend 90 minutes dressing them, feeding them, packing them up and taking them somewhere early every morning. Plus, a day care center is not going to go with you to help wrangle your 4 toddlers at Disneyland or the zoo! With a nanny at home, I could at least leave the house stress free and not worrying about forgetting to pack the diaper bag just right. Plus, day cares and nannies won’t take kids who are sick. The only answer was a live in nanny, and the only cost effective nanny was an au pair. Plus, we really loved the idea of a cultural exchange with a foreigner looking for the “American experience”. With an au pair, I was able to work 2 partial days a week to afford to have the au pair work full time in my home … and I would have someone who could watch them while I went to the gym, or to the shore, or go on a rare date night with my husband! I could certainly never afford to pay a nanny $80 in salary just to join me on a casual play date!
My second au pair just returned home after spending 18 months with our family and we will miss her dearly! My third au pair arrive this week and we are getting to know each other now. I am truly blessed to have this help and appreciate these girls who share our life! I have a ton of tips for parents looking to hire an au pair… and I can help you determine if an au pair is a right fit for your lifestyle. In fact, I liked my au pair program so much, that in January of this year I got a job with my agency as an Area Director, in charge of a group of girls and the families they work for. I am happy to speak to any prospective host family about the au pair programs, and offer them a discount on our program fees, including a special discount for parents of twins or higher order multiples! (Email me at twiersmaapc at live dot com.)
You are on an incredible weight loss journey, can you share a little about this?
I am on a very incredible journey! I was so lucky to have been connected with the oBand Surgery Centers, and in the fall of 2010 I got a LapBand. The procedure took one hour, and I was back in my car for the ride home just 3 hours after my appointment time! I only took 2 days off of work and within a week, I was able to walk up and down my stairs without pain! So far, I have lost over 50 pounds. In fact, just this week, I was able to get into my wedding dress again and it fit better than it did on the day I was a bride! My little girls enjoyed playing princess with mommy!! It was such a good feeling.
Obesity is a disease… and I denied that it was affecting my life for 20 years. I have blogged about my journey to acknowledge that I had a problem, to share the procedure with others, to encourage others to make a change, and to keep myself accountable! So far, my story has encouraged 5 people I personally know to go the extra step and get help for their obesity. If you live in the Los Angeles area, you can actually hear me on the radio updating the listeners with my progress! Talk about holding myself accountable…sharing my story with 5 million listeners will do just that! I still have a LONG way to go. I would like to ultimately shed a total of 200 pounds, but I will be absolutely satisfied with 150. I’m satisfied already… without oBand, I would still be at least 50 pounds heavier than I am today. I LOVE the compliments I am getting from friends and I am encouraged to keep on working to achieve my goals!
What question(s) do you have for the other families in the community?
My questions for the other families in the community: Now that you have multiples, is this it for you or do you want more children? Are you concerned about having another set of twins on a subsequent pregnancy?
Be sure to visit Twin Factory to leave Tami some bloggy love!