photos by Linzy Pelt | LP Photography
Jessie, a new mommy to twins (one boy & one girl) dishes what it’s like to be a new mom to multiples, how family is everything and how parenthood has changed her life.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m a native Houstonian. I grew up on the west side of town and went to Stratford High School. After graduating with a degree in Studio Art at Southwestern University, I moved to NYC. I went to Parsons School of Design for grad school and specialized in Accessory Design. I worked as a handbag, jewelry, and runway accessories designer, most notably for Henri Bendel and Tory Burch. I met my husband in NYC (a native Brooklyn boy) and in 2015, we got married and moved back to Houston. During this time, I started creating custom jewelry that was sold at Houston fashion designer David Peck’s atelier. In 2017, I officially launched my jewelry collection online under my name JESSIE DUGAN. I currently live in the Heights with my husband, our dog Rosie and now our newborn twins Jack & Lily.
What were your thoughts when you found out you were having twins?
I found out I was pregnant with twins at the first ultrasound. I’ll never forget the moment when a second embryo showed up on the screen! I was totally shocked… twins do not run in my family and we didn’t use any in vitro methods. I kept asking the nurse if she was sure! My husband and I spent the whole car ride home nervously laughing.
What has been the biggest surprise about being a first-time mom?
It’s a very surreal yet wonderful experience. I still can’t believe I had those two babies inside of me and then all of a sudden, they were out! It’s mind-blowing! Also, the love I have for them is more than I ever imagined.
They say, “it takes a village,” who is your village of support?
I’m so lucky to have my whole family here in Houston – grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings. Everyone has been over, taking shifts, helping to cook meals, clean, feed and change the babies. Also, I have the best husband in the world! He is incredibly proactive. His company gave him 4 weeks off to help with the babies, which was such a blessing. He cared for me while I was recovering from a C-section, went and visited our one twin Jack in the NICU for 2 weeks and helped me change and feed Lily at home. He is a great dad and I’m so proud of him. We also hired a night nurse which has been the greatest gift I’ve ever received. Being able to have a few nights of sleep makes all the difference in the world.
What were your pregnancy cravings?
Strawberries and mint chocolate chip ice cream!
Did you have any issues with your pregnancy?
My pregnancy was relatively drama-free for a twin pregnancy. My doctor recommended a scheduled C-section at 37 weeks because twin pregnancies rarely go to term. I was so glad to be scheduled for 37 weeks… that last week felt like a whole month… I was pretty miserable by the end and had to hold up my tummy to walk around.
What’s your daily routine look like with the twins?
They are feeding every three hours during the day and we are now trying to push their feedings a little longer at night (the night nurse is helping us with this!). I’m breastfeeding and pumping like a maniac… it’s pretty intense right now! I try to get out for a walk with the babies or a trip to HEB every day to help with the C-section healing process. During their naps, I try to get jewelry design work done. My desk is in a nook upstairs right by their nursery, so I can hear them when they are stirring awake! I think it will be a while before I get back to working on my business full time, but I’m trying to allow myself time to find the new normal. It’s a process!
What were your “must-have” baby products?
Burts Bees Burp Cloths, Dr. Browns Glass Baby Bottles, Joovy 2 Changing Table/Playard (we set it up downstairs so we have a changing table downstairs and upstairs… very necessary!), Aden and Anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets, the Willow Breast Pump and an endless supply of short sleeve bodysuits (I’ve got hot and sweaty babies and they do NOT like long-sleeve onesies or pants), and lots of Aquaphor.
Lessons learned as a new mommy…
My favorite lessons learned so far is #1: it’s important to take it day by day and #2: accept as much help as you can from friends and family. Our boy twin Jack was in the NICU for two weeks. It was an incredibly difficult experience but was made easier by celebrating his daily milestones and accepting help from our family and friends. Now that both babies are home, we say yes to any and all help. Delegating is the ONLY way to get through it.
Where do you go for advice or do you have any favorite resources?
I go to Instagram often, especially for advice on pelvic floor exercises and posture strengthening (favorite accounts include @ourfitfamilylife, @thebump, @twinversity). Also, we read the “Moms On Call” book like it’s the Bible.
Buying double of everything has to be stressful, any pre-planning advice for other moms getting ready to experience the same thing?
We got two mini cribs to save on space in the nursery… they are still plenty big. We also got two rocking glider chairs in the nursery so they both can be rocked simultaneously for bedtime and for nighttime feedings. The uppababy Vista stroller is great because it’s stacked so it fits through doors. Also, you can easily clip in both the car seats and bassinets (the bassinets are great for walks and we unclip and use them in the living room for naps). Although it’s important to have double the baby gear, it’s more important to ask for help and try and schedule as many helpers as possible!
What has been the best part of motherhood so far?
Nothing is better than snuggling up with the babies and kissing their little heads. Also, being able to spend time with the extended family, especially their grandparents, is a blessing. We are all having a great time together.
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Hiring a night nurse is the best money ever spent… do it for however long you can! Also, accept all the help from your friends and family. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself, babies are hilariously awesome!
Thanks so much for allowing us the opportunity to interview you Jessie. Best of luck with the new little ones!