When I complain about my daily life, I feel bad after I read Mama Kristen’s story. She has her hands full to say the least. She had her first daughter at 21, and now is a mother to twin boys + 2 girls! She went to school and graduated while being nine months pregnant with twins. She is one strong mama, and she seems to figure it all out. I promise her story will have you glued because you wonder how does she do it all! Listen to her story below in her words.
I never ever thought in a million years that I would be a mother of four who drives a minivan. In fact, if you would’ve asked me a year ago if I would ever get a minivan, I would say, “You couldn’t pay me to drive one.” My, my, my how things have drastically changed over the course of this past year. And, since this is the mothereffin truth, truth be told…..I kind of love my van and when you have three little ones in car seats it’s kind of a necessity. My kids are Kylee, who’s 12, Raelynn, who turned three this past week, and twin boys Connor and Devin, who are three months.
People ask me if I’m done….or more like, “You’re done right?” We’re sooo done. I love my children with all my heart. They are my everything, but 4 is enough for this gal.
I had Kylee pretty young at 21. I was on the verge of a break up with my then-boyfriend when I found out I was pregnant. It was really scary. I never thought I’d be the first one out of all my friends to have a baby. In fact, I thought I’d probably be the last. I had no future plans or goals back then. I was a party girl and just wanted to have fun. I had to grow up real quick. Once the shock of it all wore off, I really embraced being pregnant. I loved that I was growing a human being inside me. I was one of those annoying people that just loved being pregnant. This is where my passion for pregnancy and childbirth started.
Once I had my beautiful baby girl, I knew I had to do everything I could to give her everything that she deserved and give her all the opportunities that I got growing up. School and a career became a priority so that I could support my child, being that I was a single mom living with my parents. I went down a few paths trying to find my niche. I started school to become a teacher. That wasn’t what I wanted. Then I got my cosmetology license. I did hair for a few years, but that wasn’t really my thang either. In the back of my mind, I had always wanted to be a labor and delivery nurse since Kylee’s birth. The nurses at the hospital were so amazing and helped me to have the birth experience that I wanted, but I thought I would never make it through nursing school. People had told me how hard it was and how so many people fail out. Finally, after a few years of contemplation I said, “F-it! I’m going to nursing school.”
It took me a couple years to finish the prerequisites; anatomy, physiology, etc. I was working so I could only do one class at a time. During that time, I met my now husband, Ronnie at an art show that he had put on. I knew after hanging out with him a couple times that he was the one I wanted to spend my life with……However, he was moving to Hawaii the week after I met him. I never stopped thinking about him and decided to take a trip with my friend to Oahu, coincidentally (wink wink) the island that he was living on. We met up and hung out the entire week I was there. We totally fell in love, and he moved back to Cali a couple of months later.
After a couple of years dating, I became pregnant. I was super excited about it. I had always wanted another child. However, I was finishing up my prereqs and getting ready to apply for the nursing program at Ventura College. I had heard it took about a year to get accepted into the program and figured I would probably start when my baby was about 1. To my amazement, I was accepted right away and started the program when Raelynn was six months old. It was super hard studying all the time and basically feeling like I was neglecting my family, but I just had to remind myself of the bigger picture and keep on trekking.
The summer before my last semester of school, I started feeling really tired and nauseated. I knew immediately that I was pregnant again. I took a test and sure enough…. I knew I wanted to have one more kid, eventually, after I was making some bucks as a nurse, but not yet. Up to this point, Ronnie was the only one working because the school was like my full-time job. We were living in a two-bedroom apartment. How were we going support another kid? How was I going handle morning sickness and exhaustion of the first trimester doing my clinical hours at the hospital with all the smells and bodily fluids?
As if that wasn’t a shock enough, I went to my 12-week ultrasound, and the tech said, “Do you see more than 1 in there?” What?!? Twins?!? Yep, she said. I bawled!!! I had finally wrapped my brain around having three kids, but one more? No way. Would I physically be able to finish school being pregnant with twins?
In actuality, the first six months of my pregnancy weren’t too bad. I felt pretty good. I was able to do my one-month internship of 12-hour shifts in the labor and delivery unit, which was the last thing you do prior to graduation. I loved it. I graduated nursing school being 6 ½ months pregnant. I had my NCLEX state board exam scheduled two weeks before my delivery date. I prayed to God that I wouldn’t go into labor beforehand and passed it at 36 weeks pregnant! I honestly think the practitioner was also hoping I wasn’t going to go into labor during the exam. It was an amazing and accomplished feeling to get that out of the way prior to their birth.
Now I must say, the whole twin thing is a whole different ballpark. I felt pretty good until about seven months pregnant, then I felt like a whale. I was exhausted all the time. And probably TMI, but every time I would laugh, cough, or sneeze I would pee and I’m not talking about a little bit. When they both would move, it would hurt. They would kick my bladder and my ribs at the same time. I did not love pregnancy like my previous two girls. I was soooo over it. This pregnancy seemed to last forever, and I was miserable. But, I made it to my scheduled C-section at 38 weeks that was quite a feat as most twins are born by 36 weeks. They were big healthy boys with no problems weighing in at 6’3 and 7’6. You heard it right. I was carrying about 14 pounds of the baby inside me. I feel like my uterus deserves a metal or something.
Those first six weeks were hard, however that being said they slept better than both of my girls did and were pretty chill little guys. Thank god! Yeah, they cry at different times and they’re not quite on the same schedule yet, and I feel like I’m nursing all day long, and I have a baby in my arms most of the time, and I barely have time to take a shower, and let’s just forget about trying to clean the house. All in all, they’re doing great, and I’m actually not as sleep deprived as I thought I’d be. In fact, I think my three-year-old is sometimes more work than they are because she just wants to go go go. And thankfully, my oldest Kylee is an amazing helper and does a lot as is my hubby. Are there days that I want to chug a bottle of wine before 11 am? Absolutely, but in the end I feel so blessed to have these four amazing little beings in my life, and honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I am nominating my friend and neighbor Felicia Otero. She is a young mom who quit her job to be a stay at home mom and take care of her three kids. She has recently endured tragedy and yet still is very positive and optimistic. She has a great outlook on life, and I think will have a great mom story to tell.
Life completely changed for you once you had your first daughter, what advice would you tell yourself back then?
I would probably tell myself to enjoy every moment with my child, the good and the bad. It’s such a mom thing to say, but it really does go by so fast. You don’t really realize how fast time flies until you see your child grow up.
What were your feelings the exact moment you found out you were having twins?
I was just in shock, total utter shock. There had always been this running joke between my husband and I about someday having twins, like, “Haha! It would be just our luck to have twins someday.” They run on his side of the family, so he always joked around like that. I cried my eyes out and then my husband started tearing up, then like 5 minutes later we just couldn’t stop laughing. We were overwhelmed to say the least. It was such a rollercoaster of emotions. The joke was definitely on us.
Describe a typical day with four kids?
It’s just a juggling act. There’re a lot of breastfeedings involved. There’re a lot of diaper changes. We don’t really go out anywhere unless I have someone with me to help. My poor three-year-old watches way too much TV while I deal with crying babies, but what can you do? I’m just living in survival mode at this point. It is getting easier, though. I’ve learned that sometimes you just have to let the babies cry and get the dishes done, and if I can get a shower in, that’s a good day. When my husband gets home, we tag team dinner, clean up, and bedtime routines. It’s like, “You get that one, and I’ll take this one.” I do finally get some alone time to relax on the couch with my hubby maybe around 9.
Honestly how do you do it all? Do you have help?
You just do what you got to do and what you’re able to do. I struggle and have a hard time sometimes, but my kids are just so damn cute and fun that seeing them laugh or smile makes it all worth it. I also have an amazing husband who never complains and just does what I ask him to do and helps out wherever he can. My mom is also sooo helpful. She just retired (thank god!), so she comes over when she can to help me. If I want to go out and do errand or shopping, she’s the one that comes with me. She’s awesome. I never thought that going to one store could take like five times as long when bringing along all the kids.
What do you wish you could do more of on a daily basis for yourself?
I just wish that I had a little more time to myself to relax, or read a book, or watch a movie. I swear that every time I get the babies down to sleep and start anything, whether it’s laundry or dinner, one of them starts screaming! Every time! I also wish I had a little more time with my husband without kid interruptions every 2 seconds. I know, though, that this time of them being little is short, and I’m just trying to enjoy it all. Someday they’re not going to want me to hold them and squeeze them anymore, so it’s all good.
Now that you have told the Mother Effin Truth, who do you want to nominate to tell their story as a mother? And why?
I am nominating my friend and neighbor Felicia Otero. She is a young mom who quit her job to be a stay at home mom and take care of her 3 kids. She has recently endured tragedy and yet still is very positive and optimistic. She has a great outlook on life and I think will have a great mom story to tell.