MOST Family Spotlight

As a single mother of an 8-year-old daughter, Sandy was shocked when she found out she was having triplets! “Like many other “surprised” parents, I scoured the internet for any and all information I could find. When I discovered MOST’s webpage it became one of my main “go to” resources for all things related to my pregnancy and babies.

This summer I became overwhelmed with the expenses of a family of five, especially three very active and hungry growing triplet boys and the cost of summer daycare. I found myself falling behind on my bills and was out of options on how to get caught up. I work 45+ hours a week so, unfortunately, I wasn’t eligible for any state or local aid. I’m not a person to ask for handouts, but I remembered reading how MOST was able to help families in need at Christmas and decided to send a note to see if there were any programs I might qualify for.  I was so grateful when I received a check in the amount to cover one month of my mortgage. It was above and beyond what I was expecting and a huge load off my stress level!

It’s still a struggle, but as the boys are getting older, more independent and helpful, I’m starting to see a glimpse of normalcy and calm in my future. And when they start full day pre-K next year, it will feel like I won the lottery with what I’ll save on childcare! I promise to “pay it forward” to MOST in order to help another single mom who may also be experiencing a temporary struggle or setback.

I’m so grateful for MOST. There are so few resources out there for families like ours, and it’s nice to know that we have a place to go to get help from people who know – from experience – what our challenges are every day. I feel so lucky and blessed to have found them.”

A forever fan,
Sandy

Please help MOST continue to help families like the Sandy’s by making a donation online today. Or you may call the MOST office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

Read more family stories on our blog.

In Honor of Brendan, Patrick and Nora Boyle

MOST wishes to thank the Campbell family for supporting multiple birth families through their donation celebrating their triplets 27th birthday.

Smoking when Pregnant May Lead to Behavior Problems in Kids

Most people know that smoking during pregnancy is a bad idea. The CDC warns that smoking during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of a miscarriage, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and certain birth defects like a cleft lip or palate, and premature birth.

New research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry in July, is adding “conduct disorders” to that list of health risks. Mothers who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have children who had behavioral issues, the study found.

“The evidence is emerging that smoking in pregnancy and the frequency of smoking in pregnancy is correlated with developmental outcomes after (children) are born,” senior author Gordon Harold, professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Leicester in England, said.

The CDC estimates that 13 percent of women smoked during their last three months of pregnancy. A 2012 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) showed that an even higher amount, 21.8 percent of white women aged 15 to 44, smoked while pregnant. Black and Hispanic women’s rates lingered around 14.2 and 6.5 percent respectively.

Read more.

MOST eNews August 2014 End of Summer

 

 

 

Continue reading MOST eNews August 2014 End of Summer

Next Stop Adulthood: Tips for Parents

With high school and college beginning soon, here are some things for parents of older children to keep in mind from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Becoming a young adult is exciting, difficult, and scary for both parents and teens. It is a time of increasing independence and change, no matter what the situation.

For example:

World Breastfeeding Week

August 1st – 7th is World Breastfeeding Week. This year’s theme: Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life! asserts the importance of increasing and sustaining the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding.

MOST has several resources available to families who want to breastfeed their multiples.

Infant Multiples & Breastfeeding Combination Packet

Breastfeeding Higher Order Multiples

You Can Breastfeed Your Multiples

MOST Family Spotlight

Seven and a half years ago Keira’s triplet daughters were born at 25 weeks 5 days with a combined birth weight of just 4lbs 4oz.

“This was my first and only pregnancy and I was terrified.  The first few weeks, of what would ultimately be 291 days in the NICU, were simply a blur as I dealt with the shock of such an early and traumatic delivery.  Two of my girls faired pretty well, all things considered.  My third seemed to bear the brunt of their extremely preterm birth.  No one expected her to live the first few days but weeks passed and she defied the odds, my worries switched from whether or not she would live to what kind of life she would have.  Would she walk and talk?  Would she go to school, play sports or dance?  Or would the issues she was facing as an infant prohibit her from living a “typical” life.

MOST connected me with another mom whose support gave me hope.  Her situation mirrored mine in several ways, with one of her boys struggling far worse than the other two.  She was three years down the road and talking with her, hearing that the unknown is scary but it could be handled and that I would come out stronger than I ever knew, that is what got me through.  Maybe I would not have the family I envisioned with three healthy children running around my home, but we would be a family.  We might be carting around an oxygen tank and a feeding bag or two, but you learn, you adapt and you realize that there is always hope, no matter what the ultimate outcome may be.

Hope was the greatest gift I could have been given and even when we did ultimately lose my daughter at 14 months old, I thought I didn’t belong in the HOM community anymore.  I didn’t feel like a twin mom either and honestly considered dropping out of my same age triplet group.  But it was the MOST community that continued to embrace me, lift me up and reminded me that I still was and always would be a triplet mom.” – Keira

After her daughter’s death, Keira was connected to MOST’s Lost Angels, a private support group for families who have experienced a loss to help them through their time of grief.

Please help MOST continue to help families like the Keira’s by making a donation online today. Or you may call the MOST office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

MOST eNews July 2014

Continue reading MOST eNews July 2014

In Celebration of Alexis, Ashlyn, and Gabby Lam’s High School Graduation

“MOST wishes to thank the Teresa DeVirgilio-Lam for supporting multiple birth families through her donation celebrating her triplets graduation.

In Honor of the Lisanti Family

MOST wishes to thank the Lisanti family for supporting multiple birth families through their donation in honor of their family.

The Importance of Family Routines

Why are family routines so important to children?

Every family needs routines. They help to organize life and keep it from becoming too chaotic. Children do best when routines are regular, predictable, and consistent.

One of a family’s greatest challenges is to establish comfortable, effective routines, which should achieve a happy compromise between the disorder and confusion that can occur without them, and the rigidity and boredom that can come with too much structure and regimentation, where children are given no choice and little flexibility.

Continue reading The Importance of Family Routines

Do Active Moms = Active Kids?

Researchers at England’s University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, launched a study to build on other research into how the physical activity of mothers and their kids are connected.

Parents seem to affect their kids’ physical activities in three ways — by acting as role models, by helping kids be active (by taking them to the park, for instance), and by being active with them. “All three aspects are thought to be important,” Esther van Sluijs, group leader, said, “but it has generally been unclear how directly mother and child’s physical activity are related.”

In the study, the researchers used devices called accelerometers to track 554 children, all 4 years old, and their mothers for as many as seven days. “The more activity a mother did, the more active her child,” van Sluijs noted.

Specifically, for every single minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity that the mother did, her child was more likely to do 10 percent more of a similar level of activity. Those extra minutes add up over time, according to researchers.

“If activity in mothers and children can be encouraged or incorporated into daily activities so that more time is spent moving, activity levels are likely to increase in both,” van Sluijs said. “In return, this is likely to have long-term health benefits for both.”

Another expert focused on the issue of fathers and what role they might play.

“This is a big question not addressed here,” said Leann Birch, a professor at the University of Georgia’s department of foods and nutrition who studies children and obesity. But, she said, research on parenting suggests that fathers tend to engage in more rough-and-tumble and high-action play with kids than mothers.

Also, she said, “some of our own work showed that reported activity by dads was more important than by moms in predicting the activity of daughters, especially in organized sports during later childhood.”

Adapted from an article in Medline Plus.

MOST Family Spotlight

Bill was caught between jubilation and terror when he learned he and his wife were going to have triplets. He had a lot of questions and was very concerned about his wife’s health and how they were going to manage their miracles after delivery.

The doctor referred Bill to MOST, a place where his questions could be answered and his first-time dad and triplet dad fears could be eased. Everyone at MOST “has been fully invested in the well-being of my wife, daughters, and us as a family.”

“We felt very prepared when we had our NICU tour due to our conversations with MOST and the information that we read in the MOST book. My wife and I are truly grateful for everything that you have done for our daughters and us.”

Please help MOST continue to help families like the Bill’s by making a donation online today. Or you may call the MOST office at 631-859-1110. We’d love to hear from you! Thank you.

MOST’s book, Expecting Multiples: The Most Comprehensive Guide to High-risk Twin & All Triplet, Quadruplet or More Pregnancies, is available at Amazon.com.

Early-warning System for Preterm Labor in Development

The following is adapted from Erin Allday’s article in the San Francisco Chronicle, March 19, 2014.

A team of University of California, San Francisco, obstetricians and bioengineers is building a wireless device that can be inserted into a pregnant woman’s vagina to monitor her cervix and, when necessary, send an alert that the woman may be going into premature labor.

The device, which will be similar in size and shape to a diaphragm used for birth control, would be the first early-warning system for preterm labor, which is the main cause of death among newborns worldwide.

It’s still in early development, but the device, called the Smart Diaphragm, just got $2.7 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to start manufacturing and expand clinical trials. A prototype has been tested in about 15 pregnant women at UCSF, and a larger study is planned for this summer.

“We need a way to have an early heads up – who needs to be seen by a doctor, who needs surveillance. That’s what drove us,” said Dr. Larry Rand, an obstetrician and the lead developer of the diaphragm.

“For 30 years, we’ve been doing research on preventing preterm birth,” Rand said. “But we’ve been focusing too much on the uterus and the contractions, and that’s sort of like trying to treat a heart attack after someone has chest pains.”

Monitoring the cervix at a molecular level, he said, may be the answer. Rand believes the cervix may be critical for understanding preterm birth because it undergoes subtle molecular changes a long time – weeks, perhaps- before labor begins.

When preterm labor is detected now – either because a woman has started having contractions or because an ultrasound has detected a change in the size or shape of her cervix – it’s usually so far advanced that there aren’t many options for doctors to stop it.

The cervix softens when the collagen starts to break up. Ordinarily, collagen forms a tight crisscross pattern, like a basket weave, that keeps the cervical tissue stiff. But something causes that basket weave to loosen.

Rand’s device cups the cervix and monitors the collagen, ideally revealing when the basket weave starts to come undone. The device is embedded with two types of sensors – one to monitor electric currents moving through the cervical tissue, and one to monitor fluorescent light. As collagen breaks down, electrical currents move more easily through the tissue and the tissue bounces back light in a different pattern.

“We’re measuring multiple times throughout pregnancy. We’re getting in essence a virtual biopsy of the cervix,” said Mozziyar Etemadi, a postdoctoral bioengineer from UCSF and UC Berkeley who’s working with Rand on building the diaphragm. “This wasn’t possible even 10 years ago. The tools that we’re using didn’t exist – the electronics and the wireless connectivity were not there.”

The idea is to insert the diaphragm into a woman’s vagina at some point early in the pregnancy to get a baseline reading on her cervix. Then, the woman would reinsert the diaphragm periodically during pregnancy – maybe every few days or so – to get more readings.

The data would be transmitted wirelessly to cloud storage, where it would be accessible by the patient and doctors. If her collagen structure was changing enough to raise concern, an alert would go out, either to the patient or her doctor, or both.

MOST eNews June 2014

 

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