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05-10-03: Motherhood is twice as nice
The Daily Standard

    CHICKASAW - Beth Griesdorn laughs softly, recalling how she once envisioned her ideal family as a loving husband, a curly-haired daughter and a chubby-cheeked son.
    She has achieved the dream and then some.
    Griesdorn and hubby Bart have two sets of twins - 4-year-old daughters Macey Marie and Madalyn "Maddie" Nichole and newborn  sons Carson Lewis and Connor Francis. Mother's Day came a month early with the addition of the twin boys on April 9.
    "I always wanted a girl and a boy," the proud mother says. "My wish came true all right, but it doubled along the way."
    The Griesdorns did not expect twins, although they certainly run in his family. With a brother and a sister as well as an uncle and aunt who are twins, the phenomena certainly didn't skip a generation. The first ultrasound picked up one heartbeat and then another.
    "The news certainly caught us off guard," Beth Griesdorn says as her 41-year-old husband nods in agreement. "We were shocked and very excited."
    The expectant mother continued working as a pharmaceutical sales representative until her obstetrician ordered precautionary bedrest six weeks prior to her daughters' births on Nov. 24, 1998. She used the time to read everything she could find in regard to twins.
    "The delivery was awesome with the girls arriving 28 minutes apart," she says. "I was tired afterward, but the whole experience was great. Bart and I got to hold the babies right away."
    They quickly settled into a welcome routine, crying only when hunger or wetness disturbed their otherwise perfect world. That lasted three weeks until they developed colic.
    The incessant crying started like clockwork each night. Macey started first between 7:30 and 10 and Maddie chimed in between 10 and 12:30.
    "I tried everything - switching to formula, running the sweeper, walking the floor, taking rides in the car and even putting their infant seats on the washing machine - and nothing seemed to help," she recalls. "However, they always settled down by the time Bart got home."
    The second-shift Honda of America worker quietly entered their brick ranch-style home each night to find his wife totally exhausted and the babies sleeping peacefully. Neither parent complained when they outgrew colic nine weeks later.
    The little girls conformed perfectly to the Baby A-Baby B philosophy touted in many books. Macey, who came into the world first, is the dominant leader while Maddie is a laid-back follower.
    "Macey was awake more and needed more attention," according to her mother. "Maddie definitely went with the flow. She was content to eat and sleep." 
    The Griesdorns began talking about the possibility of another child as the girls blossomed into toddlers. She longed to experience the birth of one baby and she hoped for a son.
    Once again the ultrasound indicated a different scenario - two tiny bodies, two distinctive heartbeats. Even the obstetrician was shocked. None of the doctors in the five-member Dayton practice had ever delivered two sets of twins to the same mother. And there were no fertility drugs involved to increase the odds of multiple babies.
    "It took some time for the shock to wear off," the 33-year-old mother says. "OK, so we're having twins again. Better us than somebody else. We already had two of everything - cribs, high chairs, strollers, infant seats.
    "Our biggest concern all along was having healthy babies because with twins you run double the chance of something going wrong. God certainly blessed us with two more healthy children."
    The pregnancy proceeded with few problems other than orders to rest the last three weeks and considerable discomfort. Hopes for another vaginal delivery were dashed when the twins assumed transverse positions. The decision to proceed with a Caesarean section came 31.2 weeks before the due date. Carson arrived first at 8:35 a.m., weighing 6 pounds, 21.2 ounce. Connor followed a minute later, tipping the scales at 5 pounds, 101.2 ounces.
    The boys are fraternal twins like their sisters, but they don't follow the Baby A-Baby B philosophy. Carson is laid back like Maddie while Connor already shows signs of being a leader like Macey. They seem to adhere to a schedule better than the girls, according to their mother.
    "The key is to feed one right after the other," she explains. "That way you don't wind up with a feeding schedule that seems to drag on forever. I'm holding my breath as far as colic goes. So far, so good."
    Beth Griesdorn admits there isn't time for leisurely walks or relaxing on the couch during the day. She considers the early morning hours, when nary a twin is stirring, as her special time.
    "I'm a better person when I have that time," she says. "It gets me ready to handle the rest of the day."
    She typically gets up between 3:30 and 4 for early morning feedings. With Carson and Connor safely tucked back into their cribs, she savors the quiet while exercising, showering and then tackling the never-ending task of laundry.
    Macey and Maddy awaken at 7 a.m. and run to check on their brothers' welfare like two proud mother hens. After generous doses of kisses and hugs, the blond-haired girls settle down to breakfast. They head to Chapel Hill Preschool in Maria Stein two days a week, giving mom and dad some time alone with the boys.
    "We've never encountered the first indication of sibling rivalry," Beth Griesdorn says. "If anything, they shower their brothers with too much love and attention."
    Her current plans are to return to work later in the year. Supportive family members, including two sets of retired grandparents, have expressed the intention to help as needed. There are no plans for another addition in the future, as space is already at a premium in the minivan.
    "Bart and I have been blessed twice over," she says watching two little girls intent on holding their sleeping brothers. "Being a mom is great, but why tempt fate a third time. I have everything I ever dreamed of and then some."


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