Monday, December 6, 2010
The boys are now 7.5 months old and...
...are rolling like mad devils - no crawling yet, although Will is starting to give it a determined effort.
...both have two bottom teeth - and whew, teething is a rough time! And everything goes in the mouth now.
...have been eating solids since they were 5 months old. I intended to wait until 6 months but they had other ideas - so far they love everything they've tried except for avocado, prunes and peas.
...have been wearing their 9 month clothing for about 3 weeks now (*sniff* my boys are growing up so fast!).
...are really into each other as playmates...and for hair pulling. About 15 times a day, I have to pry one boy's hand off the other boy's head while hysterical crying fills the air. Mmmhmm.
...love noisy toys and books - Will is all about squeaks, rattles and songs while Dash will sit holding a book for ages and cries if he sees one nearby that he's not allowed to have.
...and now Dash has woken up crying from his nap, so I've got to run. *sigh* A mama's work is never done!
Saturday, August 28, 2010
To be honest, I've been wondering when they'd start rolling since most of the milestone charts show babies rolling from front-to-back at around 3 months. I know all babies are different and that those are just averages and don't really mean anything - plus multiples often lag a bit behind developmentally since they don't get the one-on-one time that a single baby does - but of course there's that teensy bit of your brain that worries ever so slightly when a milestone date comes and goes.
It's so amazing to watch my little dudes grow and develop - it seems like they do something new every day!
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Here's my little cutie, just a couple of weeks ago. I can't believe he'll be five months old next week!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
And trust me, I do NOT have the skull to pull that off!
When will it end???
Saturday, July 17, 2010
2. My little dudes are sleeping through the night! And by that, I don't just mean the technical definition of 5-6 hours at a stretch, I mean from 11pm-8am. They've done it every night for over a week now so I feel confident in saying it's turned into a habit and isn't a fluke...oh, and it is faaaaaabulous! Between an incredibly uncomfortable pregnancy and the normal sleep deprivation that comes with twin newborns, I had literally not slept that long in over nine months. BLISS!
3. I think I've mentioned that my mother came to visit us from the USA (we live in Australia) for 2 weeks back in May, and my father and stepmom just left this morning after also visiting for two weeks. It's been so good to see everyone - I hadn't seen any of my family members in several years - and I'm thrilled that they could meet our boys, but I'm also so sad that they had to go, especially since I know it will likely be at least 2 years before I see any of them again.
4. A word of warning: when you are holding your baby to your chest, and he looks up lovingly into your eyes then barfs down your shirt, if you're wearing a tank top with a built-in shelf bra, it will hold the puke like a soup bowl. So.Freaking.Gross.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
So, what are you up to these days?
*You looove chewing your hands. Can't get enough of them. I know you'd love it if you could just stuff that whole fist in your mouth.
*You're still exclusively breastfed, even though Mommy has been back at work for over a month now. I have to pump three times a day to make sure you get enough to eat, but so far, it's going well.
*You're generally a pretty good sleeper. We stopped swaddling you several weeks ago, and you didn't mind at all. You'll take naps in your crib, but I don't think either of us are ready for you to sleep there all night yet. Right now, you're still sleeping in the co-sleeper bassinet next to Mommy's side of the bed.
*You're a very happy baby! You love to smile, and I've gotten you to laugh a few times. You're still very stingy with the laughs, but the smiles come all the time now - even first thing in the morning. I love how you wake up happy!
*Daddy weighed you the other day on the bathroom scale, and we think you're close to 14 pounds. We'll find out for sure on Monday, at your 4-month appointment. You'll get more vaccinations then too. You did great with your 2-month shots, so I hope you do equally well this time.
*Your favorite thing to do is stand up. We still have to hold you steady, but your strong little legs can bare all your weight no problem.
*You hate tummy time, but we make you do it anyway. Your arms are still a bit weak, especially compared to your superbabylegs, but we're working on it. You've rolled over a few times, but I think it's just because you were on an uneven surface. Still waiting to see a real "rollover".
*You have your entire family wrapped around your finger. They all adore you, and why wouldn't they? You're the cutest baby ever! (Daddy and I agree on this).
I love you so much, Benjamin, and I truly enjoy watching you grow up and learn about the world around you.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
I can't even begin to describe the first week at home after we left the hospital. No really, I can't. It was such a fog of hormones and sleep deprivation that I don't even remember it. I do remember turning to Mr Bibliosaur at one point, tears streaming down my face, and asking, "What have we done?" I know that sounds terrible. It wasn't that I didn't love our children, but I was so incredibly overwhelmed by...well, by everything. By the massive hormonal shifts that were happening in my body, by not getting more than 30 minutes of sleep at a time, by the overpowering neediness of the two babies that were suddenly in my life. In desperation, I picked up my twin book and discovered there was a word to describe this: twinshock. It's what happens when it all suddenly hits home.
It helped that my mother flew to Australia from the USA, arriving after we'd been home just a few days and stayed with us for a couple of weeks; even though she'd never had multiples of her own, she had given birth to and raised three children and her experience and advice were invaluable, and Mr Bibliosaur and I grew more confident by the day. And then she went back to the States. And Mr Bibliosaur, who had taken a month off, had to go back to work. And I was home. Alone. With two babies.
I was terrified. How could I even begin deal with this? What would I do when they needed to be fed at the same time? What about if they both started crying at the same time? I'm not a baby person - I never babysat as a teen, never even interacted a great deal with my friends' children until they were toddlers. What did I know about parenting infants? Nothing! The twinshock returned in full force, and I was shaking hard when I kissed Mr Bibliosaur goodbye the morning he returned to work. I turned to face my two 4-week-old children, uncertain how we'd make it through the next eight hours. And yet somehow we did. I cried with relief when Mr Bibliosaur arrived home that night, but at the same time I felt a surge of hope - we'd managed to survive a day! I had no idea how we'd make it through the rest of the week, but we could at least make it through one day.
The same thing happened the next day, and the next, and by the fourth day I was starting to feel better - more clear headed, more confident. I'd worked out my preferred method of feeding them both at once, and luckily for me they seldom fussed at the same time. Since then, things have gotten easier every day, taking a huge turn for the better at around six weeks when the boys dropped one of their nighttime feedings and started sleeping for slightly longer at night; and now at nine weeks, I feel like an old pro. The twinshock has long since worn off, and although I still get nervous occasionally when I need to take them somewhere that's crowded and busy, on the whole I feel happy and confident about my ability to care for them.
So if you've just had twins and are feeling overwhelmed...hang in there, OK? It will get better - I promise!
Monday, June 14, 2010
For now, I'm just trying to enjoy our good luck, and our Easy Baby, and be so thankful that we haven't had to deal with colic or reflux or attachment issues, or any of those other newborn difficulties. Maybe we'll have a difficult two-year-old, or our time will come once he's school-age. Who knows. For now, though, I am just so lucky to have such a wonderful baby boy.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
It had reached the point where I didn't even know why I was doing for anymore. I enjoyed the bonding time with the boys, but that was becoming more and more difficult. I thought tandem feeding would be easier as they got older, but it actually got harder - they're far more difficult to lift with one arm, and squirm a lot more - so our breastfeeding sessions were quickly turning into half an hour of: "Dashiell, stop moving, you're sliding off the pillow. Will, latch back on. OK, we're set. No Dash, hold still. Crap, Will is sucking down air - hold on boys, he needs to be broken off and burped. Dash, stop squirming, I need to lift you over to the side for a minute. Please stop screaming honey, it's just for a minute... Will, latch back on. Now to lift Dash back - oh geez, you're heavy kiddo!" Yes, I could feed them separately, but that makes feeding take twice as long (effectively turning me into an all day buffet) and would put them on different eating/sleeping schedules.
So the only things that were keeping me BFing were convenience and cost - not having to buy formula or wash and prepare bottles, and having food available on tap when we're out somewhere (I packed bottles since tandem feeding isn't exactly discrete, but the breastmilk was always there as a back up). And even those arguments were starting to wear thin.
When I realized all of this, I didn't know what to do. I wanted SO badly to stop, but felt like an asshat for fighting so hard for it only to give up, even though after six weeks of desperately struggling I still wasn't anywhere near fully breastfeeding (I could manage one session in the morning without supplementing, and then they got 1-3oz of formula in the afternoon/night as my supply progressively dwindled).
It also really wasn't helping that side effects from the domperidone had started to kick in - the mild headaches sucked, but the worst part was the fatigue. It was so bad that several times I nearly slept through the babies screaming for food - Mr Bibliosaur had to shake me awake. So the drug that helped me to breastfeed also made it harder because I was so unbelievably tired all the time. And being extra tired also meant it was even more difficult to cope with two fussy babies.
I was so torn...one part of me wanted to push ahead, but the other part wanted to put an end to all of this and admit surrender. I was just so TIRED - I didn't know how I could keep doing all of that - the breastfeeding, the pumping, the supplementing. I'd been battling breastfeeding for six long weeks and I desperately needed a resolution - an end to the marathon feeding sessions, to the stress and worry, to the exhaustion.
So after some long, tearful conversations with friends and with Mr Bibliosaur, I decided to stop breastfeeding. Today is day three after I made this decision, and I won't lie - it's been emotionally devastating, and I've cried numerous times. It's a terrible thing to have to look at something that you've wanted so much, that you've struggled and fought for, and be forced to acknowledge that it's simply not going to happen no matter what you do. I tried everything - nursing, pumping, natural remedies, even medication - and it still wasn't working. I'm just one of the minority of women who cannot get a good enough supply to breastfeed (at least not two babies).
After just one day, the drop in my milk production was astonishing, even though I'm still taking the domperidone (it's recommended that you wean yourself off vs simply stopping, even if you're no longer breastfeeding) - I think the rate that it's declined at is a pretty good indication of just how perpetually on the edge my supply was. Right now I'm still pumping a couple of times a day to relieve the pressure of engorgement, so the boys are still getting that breastmilk in their bottles a couple of times a day, but the quantity is steadily dropping.
I know I'm not alone in all of this - I know there are a lot of formula feeding mothers out there. And I know that formula isn't bad or evil (in fact, I'm grateful that it exists, since it means my boys can still grow and thrive even though I can't feed them myself). It's still been a difficult decision, and I'm sad and disappointed that I couldn't feed them on my own. But I look at their little faces - happy, smiling little faces - and I know I made the right decision.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I was at the end of my rope, beyond exhausted - I've never been so stressed and sleep deprived in my life. I couldn't move, couldn't react; all I could do was start sobbing. Finally, at 11.45pm, the boys were both asleep, and I crawled into my own bed and cried myself to sleep, knowing that in less than an hour they'd wake up again...and knowing this pattern would be repeated throughout the night, and the next night, and the one after. I laid there, listening to the rain on the roof, and eventually fell asleep.
A while later, I blearily woke up to the sound of Dash's cry coming through the baby monitor. There was a hazy gray light in the room, and I looked at the clock. It was 5.45am. At first I was confused - was my clock broken? Then I realized that my clock was fine - at just under 5 weeks old, the boys had slept for 6 solid hours! I woke Mr Bibliosaur to help me feed them, and we confusedly discussed what had made them sleep for so long. What was different about that night to all the other nights in their life? Finally I remembered: it had rained.
here and here) and set them to play on a continuous loop all night long.
After their late night feeding, at about 11.30pm, we put the boys (including Dash) down in their cribs while they were drowsy but still awake, turned on the rain sounds, and went to bed. We laid there a bit nervously, waiting for the howling to come through the baby monitor...but it never did. And at 5.45am this morning, they woke up - another 6 hours of sleep!
I can't begin to describe how amazing I feel after two good nights of sleep - it's no wonder that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture! I feel alive again, ready to take on the world, and about a thousand times better able to handle the boys when they fuss during the day. Tonight is the second night we'll try the mp3s, and if it works again then I'm officially declaring this method a success!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Because I was incapacitated with an epidural headache for several days in the hospital, early breastfeeding efforts were hampered a bit. I did pump on those days, but not nurse - I couldn't sit up to hold the babies and couldn't nurse them well while lying on my side because of the headache. And even pumping was difficult because I was so sick and stressed - not good conditions for expressing milk!
On top of that, establishing supply is quite difficult for many women who have multiples because your body doesn't immediately understand that you have two babies instead of one. Take all of the stresses and uncertainties that come with starting to breastfeed one baby and complicate that with having serious supply issues, and I had some extremely rough days before my milk came in - I have never felt more like a failure in my entire life than when I would try to nurse the babies and they'd only get half the amount they needed, and then have to be supplemented with formula. I don't think I've ever cried so much in my life - here were these two perfect little people and I couldn't even provide their most basic need. It was heartbreaking to feed them and then watch them desperately cry with hunger afterward.
Even now that they're nearly 5 weeks old, it's an uphill battle. The boys are still getting about 1/2 - 3/4 of their food from formula (depending on the time of day, as my supply is significantly lower at night). I nurse them at every feed before they get their bottles, being careful to make sure that they fully empty both breasts so my body gets the message that it needs to make more milk, but it's slow going.
I had originally set a one month breastfeeding goal for myself so I wouldn't give up too soon, and we reviewed our options when we hit that mark. The choices I had in mind were:
#1 - continue as I was (nursing and pumping to try to increase my supply, along with supplement feeding)
#2 - switch to exclusively pumping (most likely along with supplement feeding)
#3 - switch to exclusively formula feeding
When the 4-week mark arrived, I was strongly leaning toward #2 - so much so that I did a ton of research on it and was thisclose to buying a more hardcore pump than the little one I was currently using. Then I decided that I'd trial it for a day, just to see how I liked it. Exclusively pumping is one of those things that sounds easy, but really isn't - it's not just the preparing/washing bottles, but the dedication of forcing yourself to pump every 3 hours regardless of the time of day or night, etc. I wanted to make sure I would be OK with the schedule, so for one day I committed to pumping and bottle feeding instead of nursing.
I hated it. It wasn't even the schedule that bothered me - I just hadn't realized how much I loved nursing them. Just the closeness of it...it's so hard to describe what I mean. I love looking down at their little heads, even when I'm exhausted and they're being difficult feeders (and ohmigod tandem feeding is hard when they're fussy - one will drop off and then start screaming, then the other will, and you're left frantically wavering between them trying to get them both to re-latch and failing because you don't know who to pay attention to first!). I deeply resented being hooked up to a machine instead of my babies and couldn't even make it through the whole day before I started nursing them again. This isn't to knock exclusive pumpers at all - in fact, now I have even more respect for women who stick it out, because it's HARD! It's just not for me - I would rather 100% formula feed (and thereby get that extra play/snuggle time with the babies that I would otherwise spend pumping) than exclusively pump.
So then I looked at option #1 and realized that I don't want to keep doing THAT either. Nursing AND pumping AND bottle feeding is soooo hard. I mean really, incredibly time consuming. I felt like literally all I ever did was worry about feeding the boys, that I never got to actually enjoy my babies or enjoy being a mama. I want to be able to play with them and cuddle them without looking at the clock and saying, "Oh, it's halfway between feedings - time to pump" and having to put them down.
That left option #3 (100% formula feeding), but I wasn't really happy with that either since, as I said, I'm still enjoying the closeness of nursing them. So for now, I've changed to a modified version of #1 - but instead of nursing, pumping and supplementing, I'm now just going to nurse and supplement. No more pumping. I am going to spend that time with my sons, not hooked up to a breast pump. If my supply ends up decreasing because I've dropped the pumping, that's fine - it's worth it for my happiness and sanity, because I believe I will be a better, happier mother for my boys even if I end up having to swap entirely to formula. But interestingly, my supply seems to have increased after I stopped pumping in between nursing sessions, presumably since I’m less stressed and getting more rest now. That said, it still just won’t catch up to what the boys need even though I’m nursing them at every opportunity and my boobs are getting drained every time.
I saw my doctor this morning and got a prescription for domperidone, which is pretty much my last ditch effort at breastfeeding. Domperidone is not a magic pill - it does stimulate lactation, but you still have to do the hard yards and keep up a diligent nursing schedule.
So where does that leave us? Well, my domperidone prescription is for one week, so at that point we'll review yet again and decide what we want to do (I know I keep saying "we" - this is because although they're my boobs, I value Mr Bibliosaur's input). If the drugs didn’t work, we’ll probably stop and go to 100% formula, if only for my own sanity. I know that might not be a popular choice, but it will be what's right for our family.
It's difficult to express just how exhausting and frustrating this process is and I can absolutely understand why many women give up when they have multiples. Some days are easier than others and on them I feel very positive and hopeful that eventually we'll be able to exclusively breastfeed. Other days (like today) I just start sobbing and want to give up entirely. Breastfeeding may be natural, but that doesn't mean it's easy!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Later that same day, I got a call from the pedi's nurse, saying that Ben's bilirubin levels were "really high", and they were sending someone over with bililights for home phototherapy. So for the next 36 hours, this is where Ben spent his time...
We called it the "baby tanning bed". The tube coming out the end there is connected to a paddle, which emits the same light that the bed does - that way he got maximum skin coverage. When I fed him, I had to hold this paddle up against his back. Oh, and I was ordered to make sure he ate every 2 hours, because that also helped to break up and secrete the bilirubin. The night he spent in the tanning bed was rough (for me, anyway) - I stayed up with him, feeding him 30 minutes out of every 2 hours, and napping on the recliner in between. That has to be the worst night I've had, out of them all!
Fortunately, he responded really well to the treatment, and he was finished with that after a day and a half - and that included breaks in between to go to the pediatrician each day (days 7 & 8) - and, since our pedi was on vacation, we had to go to the hospital both those days as well, to get his heel stuck again.
Day 9 - Our 10-day follow-up at the Birth Center. Fairly routine, everything checked out well. We told the midwife our jaundice story, and bragged about how well he did with the phototherapy. He got his footprints put on the wall of the Birth Center (those are his at the top):
Day 10 - Newborn hearing screening at local hearing/speech therapy clinic. Normally, this is done in the hospital, but we didn't have a hospital birth, so we had to get it done elsewhere. He failed, we scheduled a retest for a few weeks later.
Day 12 - Routine 2-week visit to pediatrician. Ben finally makes it back to birth weight.
Day 33 - Follow-up hearing screening. Failed again. Told to go on to a more thorough Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test. That test is scheduled for early May.
Day 36 - Routine 1-month visit. Still looking good.
Day 38 - Six-week post-partum check-up. This one's for me, though Ben did tag along. Everything checked out nicely, released to resume normal activity.
Day 55 - Ben goes to pediatrician for a persistant and unusual-sounding cough. Another heel stick for bloodwork. I get a call that evening that he has a "highly contagious viral infection" in his chest. Told to come in first thing the next morning.
Day 56 - Back to pediatrician - diagnosis: RSV. Sent home with a nebulizer and a prescription for albuterol to use with it. Told to give breathing treatments every 6 hours and come back in two days.
Day 56, part 2 - Right after visiting the pedi, we head to the hearing clinic to get the ABR test. Results: inconclusive, but mostly good. He's not deaf, there are just some slight hearing difficiences showing, probably due to fluid still lingering. Could've been from the RSV, could've been from something else. Repeat ABR scheduled for late June. If he still doesn't pass that one, it will be on to an ENT for more testing.
Day 58 - Back to pedi again. Not sure the point of this visit, except that the pedi listened to his lungs and said his breathing was getting better. Told to continue treatments "as needed." (We did, for a couple of days, and then sort of petered out...he hated that oxygen mask!)
Day 67 - Routine 2-month pedi visit. No more RSV, and Ben had gained a pound since the last visit, 10 days prior! What a growth spurt! He also did quite well with his vaccinations - 3 shots and 1 oral. He slept most of the afternoon, but the two doses of (generic, due to the recall) children's Tylenol I gave him seemed to keep the fever at bay.
So as you can see, we've had quite enough of medical visits over the past couple of months! Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, everything has been fairly minor, and today we have a very healthy and very happy baby! Speaking of which, he just woke up from his nap, and it's going to be time to feed soon! I'd better be going. I'll be back for more soon!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Being a mama to twins definitely has it's own special challenges. Some days, like yesterday, are easy - everyone was happy and things went smoothly. Other days, like today, are hard...
I'm typing one handed right now because Dash erupts into a screaming fit any time I put him down and won't sleep unless he's being held. This makes feeding times nearly impossible - although I often tandem feed the boys, for their last meal I fed Dash first, and then he screamed his head off the entire time I was feeding Will. But I can't hold him and nurse Will at the same time, and Will would have screamed if I stopped feeding him, so I had to leave Dash where he was (although I did lean over to talk to and pat him). Then I had to cut poor Will's cuddle time short to pick up Dash - thank God that Will is in a good mood and happy to be settled in his rocker. On days like this, I feel like no one wins and neither boy gets the attention they deserve.
There have been other challenges as well - breastfeeding has been a huuuuuge issue (and will get an entire post of its own), juggling two crying babies is insane at times, and everyday life can be incredibly overwhelming - plus all of the usual things like getting used to running on two hours of sleep and being spit up/peed/pooped on every day! But it's worth every moment to have my beautiful little boys - they are the greatest joy in my life, and I am beyond in love with them.
I'm looking forward to writing about my experiences as a first time parent of twins - it's going to be one hell of a ride!