My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Two sentence blog post 001

Each girl showed off two more teeth today.  Charlotte will be rocking the bucktoothed beaver look with her two top center teeth and Tina will be styling more of a down home hillbilly appearance with her two top side teeth.

Our morning routine, or, how my husband saved my life

This one is for the dads out there.  All you dads who are looking at your stressed out wife and not really understanding why they are so stressed out, or what you can do about it.

My husband is blessed with the ability to fall asleep at a moments notice.  I however, am not.  In the early weeks of parenting, my inability to just fall asleep added to my torture.  I would have about an hour before the girls would be up again and even though I was completely exhausted, it still took me about a half hour to fall asleep leaving me with only a handful of minutes to actually sleep.  Once I did, I was woken up by crying babies and that feeling of crap that you get when you've only slept a few minutes.  The cycle would feed on itself as I started fearing going to sleep because the moment I did, it meant the next thing I would know was screaming babies and the rush to prepare bottles and make the crying stop.  In a way, sleep became very unappealing.  It almost became more restful to just stay awake and futz around for those few precious moments of happy, sleeping babies.

Eventually my husband realized what was happening and came to my rescue.  He bought me earplugs.  We moved the baby monitor to his side of the bed.  He started getting up in the middle of the night to tend to babies while I slept through.  We had an agreement, if he needed me to help, he would wake me up, but if he could handle it alone, he would let me sleep.

At first, he generally let me sleep through one baby awake cycle per night and after that, I would have to get up when the babies woke up to pump while he did the feedings.  That one chunk of sleep gave me some of my brain back.  I still had issues, but they slowly started getting a little better.  As time went on, the girls would sleep longer and we both got a chunk of sleep.

We still found it unpleasant to wake up to crying babies though.  I mean really, who wants to wake up that way?  So we started anticipating their wake up times, and we'd set our alarm to wake up about a half hour before we expected them to, prepped bottles, and did a dream feed.  During this time, I would take my portable pump and would pump as we did the dream feed to minimize the time we both had to be awake.

I was still having trouble because I was still only getting bits and pieces of sleep.  So sometimes, K would get up by himself and do the dream feeds alone.  Then he started feeling the effects of all of these night feedings and lack of sleep so he would stop setting his alarm and just let the babies wake him up.  As he got more confidant that he could handle it by himself, he stopped waking me up to help and the girls started rewarding him by sleeping longer and longer between feedings.

By allowing me to sleep several hours during the night, this made it almost impossible for me to assist when I did wake up because I was so engorged that the first thing I simply had to do was pump.  The portable pump is great, but not as good as the one we rent from the hospital and when I was that full, I really needed to just sit down and use the hospital pump.  So as we drifted out of night time wakings and into sleeping through the night and just starting our day early in the morning, K was still in the habit of taking care of the morning care cycle for the girls.

This brings us to now.  Life is good and my husband is the reason.  Lately, his work schedule is often the midshift so he doesn't get any time with the girls after work.  He's often walking in the door a few minutes after I've put the girls down.  Sometimes I can keep them awake long enough for him to rock with one for a few minutes, but usually they need to go down before he gets that chance.  So he takes the morning shift with them and lets me sleep a bit longer.

Unless he has to leave early to open the store, we've fallen into a morning routine that works really well for us.  The girls wake him up somewhere between 7:30-8:30am.  Ok, I kind of wake up too, but he gets out of bed and takes the monitor with him so I can fall right back to sleep.  He gets them changed and fed and does play time with them.  They go down for a nap between 9-10am and he comes to get me up.  Depending on his work schedule, if there's time, he'll go back to bed for a quick nap and I'll do a Starbucks run and then come home and do my morning pump.  If the girls wake up while I'm stuck at the machine, he gets to work on their second breakfast (we're raising hobbits apparently).  Then we'll share in the care duties until he needs to start getting ready for work and I take over.

I just love this.  I love that he's cool with this routine and that he enjoys having some time with the girls.  I love that I have a husband who found a way to help me and does it simply because he wants me to be happy, not because he wants some sort of credit.  I love that letting me sleep a few extra hours is no longer a favor he's doing for me, but rather it's just the routine that works for us and I can count on it.  I love that I have a husband who is just as involved in the parenting as I am and doesn't need me to help him do it.  Other than a little more familiarity with their daytime schedule, there's really nothing that I know about how to care for them that he doesn't know.  I love that I don't have to encourage him to interact with his girls, or to get off the video game and actually DO something, he just does it because it's a part of our lives now.


If I had married one of those jerks who thinks he shouldn't ever be a parent because he goes to work every day, who gets angry when the wife just begs him to take ONE night feeding a week so she can sleep for 4 solid hours, who has to "unwind" with 5 hours of xbox after work, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have survived the early months.

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I'm grateful every day that I married a real man instead of a guy or a boy.  Real men make babies and wives happy.  This is the type of thing my husband is doing when I'm stuck pumping.  That's a man my friends.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Crawling implications

No updates on the attempts to learn how to crawl, Tina is still just flailing around the blanket with an occasional scoot forward.  Charlotte is still just lifting her arms and legs and hoping to body surf to her dream location.  She's been doing it since around the first month, it's a pose she really seems to enjoy.

A few hours before Tina's demonstration of her soon to be crawling prowess, I had called to schedule a bid for new flooring in the house.  That's on Monday and I'm really excited for it.  I want the new floor NOW!!!!

So I've been thinking about the logistics of the new floor and the work that's going to entail.  Along with the new floor, we need to child proof the house.  As I started thinking about it last night, I just got this wash of dread come over me because holy crap, we have a TON of work to do around here to make sure our children don't kill themselves once they can move.  And since we're getting pretty much every bit of our floor done, we're going to have to move just about every single belonging in our house during the floor installing process.  I think K is going to need to cash in a few of the vacation days he's built up because this is going to be a major undertaking.

Off the top of my head, the bookshelf in my office will need to move or just go away all together.  The shelves aren't secure and the backing is just cardboard, and right now it stores the inventory for my pottery store.  One kid tries to pull themselves up using one of those shelves and that kid is buried in planks of wood and pottery.  We have 50 billion cabinets and drawers all below waist level that will need to be secured.  There are computer cables and other electronic cables all over the floor that will need to be dealt with.  All of the general "stuff" that we have piled everywhere (I haven't seen the top of our dining room table since the girls were born) will need a place to go.  Litterboxes will need to be moved off the floor with mini steps made so the cats can get to them but the kids are less likely to nap in them.

Oh, litterboxes.  That reminds me of one of the very few things about K that drives me nuts.  In terms of husbands, he's as awesome as they come, but he's not perfect.  Very close, but not quite.  He has this habit of only listening to the first half of what I'm telling him and reacting to that first half, totally not hearing the second half.  However, my speech patterns are such that the first half of what I'm saying doesn't make any sense without the second half.  So last night we're talking about baby proofing and I talk about getting the litterboxes off the floor.  His cat isn't very agile anymore, we've set up small steps that lead to the hope chest at the foot of our bed so she can easily climb up the steps, onto the hope chest, and then onto the bed.  So last night I'm saying to him "we'll need to find a way to move the litterboxes up off the floor and ......." and he immediately jumps in with "we can't do that, my cat won't be able to get to them".  Argh!  Let me finish my damned sentence!  "Had you let me finish before jumping in to react, the rest of that sentence was going to be.....and set up a means for the cats to get to them that the kids are less likely to climb."  I know we can't make it impossible for the kids to get to them, but we can at least make them more of a challenge so they are far less likely to do so.  "K, see how we have the steps set up for her to get on the bed?  If we come up with something similar for other areas of the house and put the litterboxes up on surfaces like that, the cats can get to them, and the girls will have trouble climbing such itty bitty steps.  Or by the time they do, I'll be able to see what they're doing and redirect them before they manage it.  Besides, since our bedroom is going to be mostly off limits to the girls, your cats litterbox can stay on the floor where it is."

K claims he doesn't stop hearing me halfway through what I have to say so I had to call him on it in the moment that he did it.

Anyway, back to the implications of babies crawling.  Here's the big one - I get to wean off the pumping!!!  YES!!!  Once they are officially mobile, I wean down to 3 pumps per day so I'm only pumping once while K is at work during their nap, and then twice a day so I never have to do it when he's not home.  I get to change mindsets and go from having the frozen stash available to supplement if I have low production days to pumping to supplement what they eat from the stash.

Them becoming mobile has always been my stopping point in my mind.  My goal is to be the best mommy I can be, and while they're immobile, that means trying to produce as much milk as possible.  But once they can move and get into stuff, I think it's more important for me to be able to react to potential danger quickly than it is to keep them completely on breastmilk.  Everything in life is a trade-off and that's one that I'm totally cool with.  Even if my supply tanks to absolutely nothing when I start cutting back on the pumping, I'll still consider my primary goal as being reached.  If we can manage to keep them on breastmilk for a year, that's kind of my reach for the stars goal.

At their current consumption, we have about a months worth in the freezer.  There's a growth spurt coming up, abut they are increasing their solids, so I just have no clue as to what to predict in terms of how much milk they're going to need between now and their first birthday.  We might make it to the stars, but it's gonna be tight.

I think it would be wise if we broke open one of the sample cans of formula that we have, start using that for their morning bottles for a week just to make sure that they'll drink formula and that it won't upset their tummies too much.  I'd hate to find out that formula doesn't work for them after the freezer stash is gone and I'm no longer producing anything.  Besides, that's 12oz of breastmilk a day for that week that we can bank in the freezer while we're testing how they do.

So right now, one last push to get as much out of me as I can for the next couple of weeks and when the girls get moving, I wean down guilt free.  Hopefully by pumping twice a day, I'll still produce a significant amount for a while, but if I don't, that's ok too.  I'm totally looking forward to no longer running into that moment when the girls need me, but I'm really needing to pump too.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Flooring

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Well, it looks like Tina is going to crawl any day now.  I'm not sure, but perhaps her first official crawl was today while I was taking numerous videos, but I don't think one or two successful inch long scoots count, so I'm saying it's still a few days away.


Our carpet is gross.  And it smells.  Wanna know why?  Yeah, too many cats and the two males have been competing for territory.  Since the babies came, that big orange fluffy one in the middle has been taking at least one pee a day somewhere on the carpet.  I'm not talking a bit of marking, I'm talking puddles.  Most of the time we find it right away and pull as much out as we can then go over it with the steam cleaner but the whole house just stinks.  It's embarrassing.

A few years ago, we invested in getting all new carpet for the house.  That was a bad move.  I thought that if we started fresh, we could keep up with it and it would remain somewhat nice.  Nope.  The cats just became bigger jerks.  For a while we were able to contain it because the gray cat was consistently peeing in front of the litterboxes.  We put down washable puppy pads and are constantly washing those damned things.  But hell, at least that cat is consistent in his jerkitude.

Last month, as we purchased yet another device designed to clean up cat messes in the ever losing battle of keeping the carpet from stinking, I decided I'd had enough.  As much as I love this little spot cleaner, after a week of owning it, our floor is completely polkadotted with little scrubbed circles from all the messes we've used it on.  It really demonstrates just how much the cats have been messing up the floor and how chasing after them is a losing battle.  I thought about all of the devices and products we've spent money on in an attempt to keep the house smelling halfway decent, crap, we've probably spent near what it's going to cost to just put in a better floor.  We should have just done that in the first place and saved ourselves the money, aggravation, work, and time that all ultimately failed anyway.

We're taking out a new mortgage on the house to pay off all of the IVF credit card debts at a lower and tax deductible interest rate.  We've decided to take out a little more than we need to pay off those loans and redo the floor entirely in the house.  We're getting rid of the carpet and putting down laminate (probably).  Who knows what damage we're going to find when we pull this carpet up, probably massive amounts of urine soaked plywood (it's a manufactured home), but we're going to take care of this once and for all.  We're going to get it done right.  No more bandaid fixes.  If the entire floor has to come up and be rebuilt, so be it.  Hopefully just a good thick layer of Killz will be enough, but if it's not, oh well.  We're going to put down a cleanable floor and area rugs that can be replaced when they get gross.

With the girls poised to crawl any day now, and knowing that they're only going to grow into toddlers and kids that will spill milk and have potty training accidents, it's time.  We have a guy coming on Monday to take measurements, give advice, and ultimately sell us a new floor.  And with this, we commit to living here for several more years.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Nature vs Nurture

I've always been curious about the nature vs nurture debate.  One thing about multiples, it's a scientific experiment you get to watch unfold every day.

I'm becoming more and more convinced that basic personality traits are nature.  From the time the girls were in the NICU, I've been saying that Tina interacts with the world while Charlotte prefers to observe it.  Over 7 months later and so far this is still holding true.

While it obviously doesn't compare to children, I saw this in my cats as well.  I captured 2 stray cats from a litter when they were around 12 weeks old.  One was a little more trusting and affectionate while the other was a fighter.  I raised them both the same but those personality differences never evened out.  The fighter was just an angry bitch no matter what we tried to make her happy (she died a couple of years ago).  The affectionate one (still living) is still a bit skittish, but he just wants the love and is very snuggly when he feels safe.

I'm seeing similar differences (though much more flattering differences) in the girls.  We've been trying to get out of the house a little more often lately and when we're out, these differences become really pronounced.  Last week we went to the mall to have a hang out with other twin moms.  Charlotte was happy to just sit in the stroller the whole time sucking on her wubba and would just kind of look up at anybody who stuck their nose in to see her.  Tina on the other hand, she was itching to get up and interact.  I was holding her for a good part of the outing and she was flirting up a storm with anybody who would grace her with eye contact.  While grocery shopping the other day (yes, we got out grocery shopping!), Tina was bright eyed and begging for attention from all the "oh how cute, twins!" gawkers while Charlotte was perfectly happy to just watch the world go by.

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At home, Tina needs pretty constant stimulation.  She gets distracted while eating, and is energetic as all get out in her exersaucer.  She's jumping around and making sure we're paying attention to her.  Charlotte is just much more content.  She plays of course, but she's not as energetic and needy about it.  Just kind of quietly goes about her business and doesn't make a bit tadoo about it.

When I'm holding one of them on the couch, Tina is bouncing around and demanding attention.  If I'm not bouncing her, she'll do it herself, she'll try to climb and talks constantly.  Charlotte can sit snuggled under my arm, will occasionally glance up at me and grin and then happily goes back to just snuggling.

Tina is just bigger about everything.  As far as babies go, this makes Charlotte the easier baby.  When she's upset about something, it's pretty easy to narrow down what's upsetting her because if she's making a fuss, something is really wrong.  Tina's reactions to everything are so much bigger that it makes it harder to figure out.  While Charlotte needs to really be hurting (from teething or something) in order to be upset, Tina can be screaming her head off because it's not her turn with the applesauce spoon.  On the other hand, Tina tends to be the more, well for lack of a better word, attractive to play with because she's going to be quick to smile and laugh and she smiles and laughs big.  These pictures really sum up the difference.  Both are happy and laughing, but Tina's whole face has gone squinchy while Charlotte just kind of looks like "yes, that amuses me."

So, this boils down to why I believe that personalities are inherent to a person, but it's nurture that determines what people do with these personalities.  Tina is so gregarious, I feel like she's going to be a social butterfly. People are going to be naturally drawn to her.  That is going to give her power in life.  It's what she chooses to do with that power that's going to determine what kind of person she is, and that's where the nurture comes in.  That kind of dynamic personality has the potential of becoming the mean girl in high school.  But she also has the potential to make high school a great experience for a lot of the shyer kids.  Is she going to choose to be exclusive at the cool kids table, making everyone who doesn't sit there feel like crap?  Or is she going to choose to sit with the new kid and offer to show that kid the ropes?  When she's team captain, will she only play with the good players, or will she pick all those kids who usually get picked last and make sure they all have a chance to get the ball sometimes?

Some of you might be asking yourself why I'm focusing so much on Tina's choices.  Well, that's because I grew up as a Charlotte.  Being an introvert myself and not naturally charismatic, it's easier for me to see the benefits of the personality type that I don't have.  In grade school, I remember a girl with Tina's potential who decided to become the mean girl, and I was the nerd that she often tormented.  In high school, there was a guy with that same personality type, but he chose to be very inclusive and was just a blast to be around.  He was physically ugly as all get out but he had this gift for making you feel like he especially liked you so most of us had a crush on him at some point.

Since it appears that their personality types are inherent to them, my challenge as a parent will be to guide them toward making good choices with those personalities.  To teach Tina the benefits of being kind and inclusive when it will be so easy to be a jerk and to teach Charlotte that attracting more people to you is less important than attracting the right people.  While Tina is running around with her 50 friends, Charlotte can get just as much companionship from a few very close friends.

It's like looking at the differences between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.  One was a seeker of the limelight, a natural leader, the other was just as brilliant, but more content to be behind the scenes.  K and I are both theater people.  I was an actor in high school, but I was eventually drawn to the jobs that took me out of the limelight.  I was an awesome stage manager.  K is an actor with a gift for making people laugh.  Both valid and necessary for a good show, but one gets a few more accolades in our society than the other.

Of course, these are all observations and predictions based on baby personalities.  I'm totally open to being proven completely wrong about my predictions.  Maybe they'll switch at some point and Charlotte will be the butterfly while Tina is happy at home with a book.  Heck, even I had a couple of years in there where I was the butterfly with a packed social calendar.  But in terms of nature versus nurture, I currently believe that as a parent, there's not much I can do about personality, but there's a lot I can do about the choices they make with the personalities they seem to be born with.  I hope I'm able to steer them both towards the choices that are more difficult in the moment, but lead to a much happier life over the course of time.  Tina, please sit with the nerdy new kid in the cafeteria, that day will be remembered forever by that kid as a positive experience. And Charlotte, please have faith that you can enjoy your quiet talents even if it's hard to find others who recognize those talents.  One day, you'll find a crowd of people who think it's totally awesome that you're so good at something even it's not a popular skill to develop.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mama Moron

So I figured out why the last week or so hasn't been working for us.  I've been responding to the girls too quickly!

Today, they woke up after a half hour and I rolled my eyes and decided, screw it, they're fine, they don't sound unhappy, they can just sit there until either I finish my lunch or they start sounding upset.  I looked at the monitor when I finished my lunch and they were asleep again!  They were asleep for another solid hour!

Duh!  I can't believe I've been stuck in this cycle of only a half hour per nap when if left to their own devices, they would sleep for about 90 minutes.

This feels like the moment when I discovered that Tina will resist sleep for as long as she knows I'm around, but if I leave completely, she'll nod off quickly.  I felt like a horrible mom when I would step outside to clear my head because she wouldn't go to sleep in those first months until I realized that me being outside for 5 minutes was more productive to her sleep than me trying to soothe her for an hour.

Well now apparently me going to get them as soon as both are clearly awake and chatting with each other isn't the best move either!  I felt like a real jerk today making them wait for a while but I guess it's what I should have been doing all along.  I bet they'll be awake a lot longer before showing tired signs now that they've taken a long nap.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Magic Sleep Suits


Someone asked what I thought of the Magic Sleep Suits so I figured I'd write a post about how the girls are sleeping now, and the challenges that are coming up.  This has been on my mind for a while so this is as good a time as any to write this.

Right now, I'm loving these things!  The girls outgrew their swaddles a month or so ago and at the same time, someone posted a coupon code for getting these at half price so I went ahead and bought two of them to try them out.

We put the girls in their little suits and they pretty much go right to sleep.  They sleep through the night, a solid 12 hours or so and don't appear to wake themselves up much.

When we first got them, we thought they would be useless for some time because they are designed to be really snug, but the girls were swimming in them.  They come in sizes 3-6m and 6-9m.  The larger of my girls is only now crossing over from 3m clothing to 3-6m clothing.  But they've been doing fine these even though their little arms and legs barely got into the arm and leg holes and certainly didn't reach enough for the hands and feet to come out of the ends.

At first, the girls couldn't move at all.  They weren't strong enough and their limbs weren't long enough to move around.  Now they are able to move a little bit, but their movement is very limited.  They can reach their mouths with their hands when they want to and they can kick their legs, but they have to flex and use some strength to do that.  Once they fall asleep, they're just little starfish lying there.  Tina has recently been able to scoot herself around enough to turn about 90 degrees, but that's the extent of the movement we've seen.

We zip up Charlottes Wubba in the suit so that the body of it is mostly under her armpit and the nipple sticks out.  She's able to turn her head to suck on it and turn her head the other way when she doesn't want it.  But it's always right there if she wants it again.

When one of these is in the laundry, the girls do have a tougher time falling asleep.  For the most part, we're able to get it washed and dried before their next nap so this hasn't been a big deal.  It's rare that we've had to put them down without a suit.  But yeah, whichever one doesn't get her sleep suit has more trouble going to sleep.  Charlotte had such a rough time yesterday in just a plain sleep sack that I eventually went in and tightly wrapped a swaddling blanket around her chest and she finally fell asleep.

They are just now growing into the size they are supposed to be for these and we've already purchased the next size up.  At the rate my girls grow (slooooooooow), those could last until they are 16-18 months old!

Concerns that I have:

1)  Being too warm.  These are like snowsuits so I have to imagine they are really warm.  We keep the girls in either jammies or onesies, but not both when we put them in these.  It's winter now so I'm not very concerned at the moment, but when we cross over into the summer months, I think I'm going to write to the company and ask about that.

2)  Snuza muffling.  I was worried that there is so much thickness of material that it would completely muffle the Snuza alarm.  We tested it out and the alarm is a little bit quieter.  We turned up the volume on our monitor one notch to compensate.

3)  They really can't move much.  This is generally a good thing, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that all the squirming around and moving that babies do while asleep is somehow good for development.  Problem is, I can't remember where I read that and I can't seem to google anything that will tell me that again so I don't really know if that's true or not.  If anyone else can lead me to that information, I'd appreciate it.

4)  If they manage to roll over, I'm not sure how easily they'd be able to roll back.  They haven't done that yet, show no signs of being anywhere near able to when wearing these things, so I'll worry about it when it happens.  I'm pretty sure that were they to do so now, they could turn their heads and breathe just fine and they're only getting stronger with time.

5)  They only go up to size 6-9m.  For my girls, no big deal, that's going to last a while.  But what happens when they can't wear these anymore?  Are we creating a dependence we're going to have a hell of a time undoing?  We have that same question about them sharing a crib.  They are somewhat dependent on each other, getting upset when the other one hasn't made it into the crib yet, when one cries, the other grabs her hand and that often stops the crying.  What's going to happen when they can't sleep side by side anymore and each need their own sleep space?

Overall, yes I recommend these.  They seem to do what they claim to do and my girls sleep very well in them.  Added benefit if you have twins that sleep together - they can't really move enough to smack or kick each other.  Pretty much how you set them down is how you're going to find them when they wake up.


*****Update*****


A few people expressed concern that the girls looked like they were roasting in the pictures.  Their cheeks were really flushed and Tina has some drool on her chin that further looks like she's just dying.  Don't worry, the cheeks had nothing to do with the temperature.  I took those pics right when I got Charlotte in the suit and before Tina was even zipped in.  That was before their nap, not after.

When the girls get overtired, their cheeks and nose go red.  My mother commented on it this morning when we were all out for breakfast.  After about 2 hours of awake time, they get overtired and their cheeks flush.  Here's a picture from this evening, Charlotte refused her afternoon nap and had been awake for a few hours by the time we took this picture.  Big rosy cheeks and a cheesy dad.

This was the closest thing I could find to a picture taken immediately after a nap.  They go from the crib, sometimes directly into the high chair to eat, sometimes there's a diaper change in there....anyway, since Tina doesn't have food on her face in this picture and I hadn't yet put the tray in place, this must have been within a few minutes of waking up and being taken out of her sleep suit.  No rosy cheeks!

Just wanted to reassure everyone that the girls are perfectly fine.  While the rosy cheeks and Tina's drool covered chin does look like they were sweltering in the those pictures, they weren't.  They weren't even warm at that particular moment.  Y'all know how paranoid I am about being judged as being unworthy.  The last thing I need is CPS showing up at my door reporting that a bunch of people from the internet are claiming I'm roasting my babies alive every night.  And again, when spring comes around and the nursery temp increases, I'm going to really keep an eye on how warm they are in the suits.  I appreciate everyone's concern and if anyone knows anything about temperatures and these suits, please share that info in the comments.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Today didn't work

Most days, we've got a pretty good groove going.  Wake up, eat, play, after they've been awake for about 90-120 minutes, down for a nap, rinse and repeat.

Today, Tina wouldn't finish her bottles.  She left about half an ounce in all of them.  She did that thing that she does where when she's eating solids, she cries like her tummy hurts or something until the spoon gets near her and then she gobbles it down.  We've figured out that her problem is that she likes eating so much, she gets upset at the pause in between bites.

Charlotte finished her bottles, but was just a spit up queen.  Every time I took my eyes off her and looked back, it was time for another wardrobe change.  Most often it was because she spit up, but we lost an outfit or two to errant poop.  I stopped putting her in jammies and started going for tshirts and pants in hopes of reducing the amount of laundry she was generating, but no, she managed to spit up on both the tshirt and the pants just to ensure we did a full wardrobe change every 5 minutes.  Between them, they also necessitated putting the tummy time play mat and 2 boppy covers through the laundry.

Yesterday, we had all of the laundry in the house done and put away.  It was a major undertaking because we were a little behind, but we went to bed with a sense of accomplishment.  Today, I've put through 5 more loads and still have another load in the hamper to do.

Tina was generally content, but not her quite her dynamic, happy self.  She spent a lot of time playing in her exersaucer because Charlotte was getting upset whenever she was put down.  She didn't seem to be hurting in anyway, she would smile and be happy when we sang songs, but she wanted to be held a good portion of the day.  I did my best to engage and interact with Tina while holding Charlotte but still feel like she kind of got the shaft.  Besides, I spent so much of the day at the changing station just changing Charlotte's clothes....I'm just glad both tend to be pretty content playing on their own most times.

Anyway, something was up with their naps today.  After about an hour, both would show tired signs.  I'd keep them up a few more minutes because I figured I was misreading them, but they would continue to show tired signs so I'd put them to bed.  Sometimes that worked out, but other times it was a screamfest for 20 minutes or so before they would conk out.  Then they'd only be asleep for about 30 minutes before getting up again.  Usually when they wake up, they are happy and cheery but today they seemed to wake up crying which is really unusual.  So we spent the day in this weird unpleasant 2 hour cycle when we're usually on a 3-4 hour cycle.

This did not do good things for my pumping schedule.

Thinking back over the whole day, the only thing I can think of is maybe something was off about their milk.  When my folks babysat last night, I started thawing 2 bags in case there wasn't enough fresh in the fridge for the time we were gone.  They weren't needed, so today I distributed that milk into the bottles for today.  Maybe it upset their tummies or something?  I used it less than 24 hours after thawing it.  Tina did reject the last half ounce of her bottles, but chugged down the other 3.5oz and Charlotte seemed to enjoy it just fine.  Normally if there's anything off about the milk, they both reject it outright.  They've never had an issue with thawed milk before.  I just don't know.

Normally bedtime is about 7pm but their naps were so weird, they ended up in bed at 6pm.  Then they woke up about 7:30pm but I didn't want to do a full wake cycle so they got bottles in their crib, I changed both diapers, then did the truncated one person bedtime routine all in the darkened nursery and they went back to sleep about 8:15pm.  I hope their day is over.

No catastrophes or anything, it just didn't work right today.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Going out, it's just not worth it

Whenever they find themselves in
matching jammies, I do a photo session.
I had 2 excursions with the girls this week.  First we went to visit my cousin J and her little girl A (the source of a great deal of my hand me downs), then a couple of days later I took the girls to the mall to hang out with some other twin moms and their kids.

Both trips were fun while we were on them, but I paid the price for both once we got home.  We're in this weird place where the girls are ready for a nap about an hour and 45 minutes after waking up.  Their naps are anything from 30-120 minutes with no predictability other than they start approximately 2 hours after the last one ended.  *Just to make a liar out of me, the girls have today decided that they're going to get crabby 90 minutes after waking up so the naps are closer together than usual*

We're now doing solids 2 or 3 times a day.  Since they are sleeping a solid 12 hours at night, I have to fit in all of their bottles and solid feedings over the course of 12 hours.  I feel like I'm just shoving food into them all the time.

Our wake up routine starts with about 10 minutes of getting the girls out of bed, double checking/changing diapers, getting them both into their high chairs.  Then we eat a puree of some sort and that takes 10-15 minutes.  It might go faster if I were to put a spoon in each hand and feed them at the same time, but I prefer the alternating bites method so I can focus on what I'm doing.  Much less mess this way.  Tina behaves as if she's really upset most of the time, crying as if something is really bothering her.  Her problem is that she likes food so much, she gets upset when it's not her turn.  As soon as the spoon approaches her again, she's all gimme! Gimme! Gimme!  Once the puree is done, we do bottles.  Charlotte generally finishes within about 5 minutes but Tina, oy Tina, she's generally a slow eater anyway and now she's reached the stage where she gets distracted by the tiniest thing so a bottle for her can easily be 15-20 minutes.  I leave the girls in their high chairs while still wearing bibs while I clean up for a few minutes to give them a chance to spit up if they're going to.  Often during the feeding, I've heard either farts or poos so there's usually another few minutes of double checking/changing diapers and or clothing if they spit up.

By this time, they've been awake 45 minutes to an hour.  Normally we move on to play until tired and then another nap.  But, on days where I'm taking them out, I have to factor in the time to put them in car seats, double check the status of the diaper bags, and get us out the door.  That's another 15 minute ordeal, and that's IF I packed the diaper bag ahead of time.  I also have to coordinate pumping which always seems due right when I need to be heading out the door and it takes 20-30 minutes.  My choices are either let the girls play while I pump and ensure that we're going to be really late, take the pump with me and try to pump at my location (never happens), or just skip it and suffer having a porn star physique.  I usually opt to just skip it and pump when we get home.

So it's pretty much guaranteed that I get the girls in the car right when they are supposed to be going down for a nap.  It used to be no problem, the girls would either sleep in the car or just sleep in public, but they won't do either anymore.  The good news around our household is that being put in their crib is a very consistent sleep trigger.  Once they are there, they are pretty much asleep within a few minutes.  The bad news is that they pretty much don't sleep anywhere else now.

They might be napping in the car a little bit, we never did get the darned mirrors set up so I can see them when I'm driving, but I don't really think they are.  I often hear little noises from them and when I get out of the car at my destination, they are looking at me with bright eyes as I unload the stroller.  If they are napping in the car, they wake up the instant the car stops.

Where I live, somehow every destination is about a half hour to get there and about an hour to get back.  Not sure why it always works that way, traffic I suppose, but that's what you can predict.  By the time I get where I'm going, I'm pooped and the girls are overdue for a nap.  But since they won't nap when out and about anymore, my job is to entertain the tired babies.  At the mall, Charlotte was content to just sit in the stroller and suck on her wubbanub but Tina is all action all the time so I had to take her out to visually explore and flirt with all the people.  She really wants to launch herself at everything so it's a workout just holding her.  She was flirting with just everybody, totally distracting the business man trying to make phone calls at the other table.  He didn't seem to mind though and thought she was cute.  She gets so much attention (well, she demands it), I often want to point out "Uh, there's another baby right there in the stroller, yup, she's here too."

After about an hour, it's time to give the girls bottles again.  They've now missed a nap entirely and I'm stuck where ever I am to give them bottles and clean up any spit up that happens.  Pile us all back in the car and hope they'll sleep on the way home while stuck in traffic.  But again, I get home, and there's the bright eyes, no indication that they've slept at all so they're cranky.  I put them down for a nap and go pump and they are just thrown off for the rest of the day.  That nap lasts about 20 minutes so they wake up before I finish pumping and I have to listen to them being pissy trying to get me to come get them while I'm stuck at the machine.  They spend the rest of the evening tired and cranky.  We often have a cry it out night on days that we do our excursions because they are so overtired by bedtime.

I think I'm just going to have to bag going out with the girls for a couple more months.  Evenings are ok when K and I want to take them out to dinner, but during the day by myself, it's just not worth the overall hassle.  I'm hoping that in another month or two, they will consolidate their naps into 2 long naps during the day with longer awake times in between them.  But right now, only having the tolerance of a maximum of 2 hours awake time and being unable to sleep outside of their cribs, sorry folks.  Unless you want to do a 30 minute coffee run somewhere that's right near my house, I think we're going to have to decline.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Getting into the benefits of two at a time

While I would never want to do the newborn stage with 2 again, now that they're getting older, having 2 is really great.

This is demonstrated to me every time we put them in their crib.  Tina is so social, I think she might have real problems if Charlotte weren't right there next to her.  When I'm getting them into their little sleep suits, Tina looks over at Charlotte and just smiles so big and Charlotte looks back at Tina, the wubba pops out of her mouth and she puts on a little grin too.  I tried to get some video of what happens when I put them down for a nap, but as soon as the camera came out, they just stared at it like a deer in the headlights.  The best I could do was a still picture taken from the side as I left the room.


I'm not sure what we're going to do when they can't sleep side by side anymore.  We were going to put a second crib back to back with the first, but now I'm thinking they'll need some space in between them because if they are abut to each other, I can see little hands and heads trying to reach through the bars and getting stuck.  Fortunately they are so small that we've got some time before that becomes an issue.  I think we have months before that crib starts feeling a bit crowded.

This looks like an ultrasound, but it's actually me holding up a camera to my video monitor showing the girls sleeping holding hands.

video

I believe that having 2 is a reason why sleep is going so well.  When they wake up in the middle of the night, they aren't alone.  So they don't get that fear and they just drift back off to sleep.  In the morning or when they wake up from a nap, they don't cry or scream, they just talk to each other and that's what eventually wakes us up to go get them.  They wake up all smiles and giggles.

I think having 2 is also the reason I'm able to do things like dishes and laundry.  They sit in their exersaucers and when they need some interaction, they look and smile at each other and then go back to playing with the toys.

Me playing with a cinemagraph app on my phone
I'm still having some cuddle issues because there's two of them though.  Or maybe it's because I've been so diligent about their naps.  The minute they start to appear tired, into the crib both of them go.  They never get the opportunity to fall asleep on me.  I don't think they even comprehend that as being an option because I've just never really allowed it.  I wish I could.  But if one falls asleep in my arms, the other one is going to need something and I'll have to disturb the first one.  All that leads to is a tired crying baby who just got startled awake and I don't want to do that.  The good thing is that when they go into the crib, they are asleep within minutes.  The bad thing is that Mama don't get her cuddle quota.  Honestly, that's one of the reasons I'm considering trying for another baby with our leftover embryos in a couple of years.  I would like the experience of just holding a baby while they sleep.  Oh well.  When they're big enough to be able to climb on and off the couch themselves, I'm hoping to get in extra cuddles.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My little homunculi

ho·mun·cu·lus 
n. pl. ho·mun·cu·li (-l)
1. A diminutive human.
2. A miniature, fully formed individual

For a change of pace, K and I took the girls out to dinner tonight.  It's something we need to be doing more of, getting the girls out of the house.  I'm just such an extreme homebody that I can be in the house for weeks and hardly notice.  But I don't want the girls world to be so small that they get nervous when they find themselves outside of these walls so I'm going to make a concerted effort to load them up and move them out more.

Our waitress fawned over them quite appropriately.  Charlotte just sat there wubbanubbin away, Tina looked around with a bit of concern until I took her out of the stroller and we played a little bit.  Once we introduced her to the space, she was pleased as punch to flirt with whoever happened by.

The manager came over to check them out and thought they were newborns.  "They're what, about 6-7 weeks?"  *sigh*  They'll be 7 MONTHS in a couple of days.

The girls are finally showing signs of growing out of their 3m clothing and we busted out the 3-6m size today.  Hardly have anything in that size.  Probably because for most babies, they skip through these in between sizes so fast that people don't bother to buy them and thus I didn't get a whole lot of them in the hand me downs.  But my girls don't zoom through the sizes.  They get to wear each size for a couple of months before they start getting a little tight.  I wonder if they'll be spending their first birthday in 6m clothes.

I kind of figured once we got them a few months old, they would kind of average out in size by gaining extra weight early on to bring their start weight up near average, but they aren't doing that.  Everything is right on track for when they are supposed to double or triple their birth weight, but with their birth weights so slow, it makes for HUGE differences now.  So when we talk about doubling birth weight, for most people, that's somewhere in the 14-16lb range.  For my girls, it's the 8-9lb range.  I was kind of hoping to be able to continually give hand me downs to my buddy Tulip who just brought home her little girl.  You'd think that with a 7 month head start, my girls would outgrow clothing in enough time for hers to fit in them.  But she's starting out at a healthy 8lbs, and I would not be at all surprised if in 3 months her baby girl is wearing the same size as my girls, and surpasses them shortly thereafter!

It's going to look really funny if they are walking while still so physically small.  Little people running around, bumping their foreheads on my kneecap.  Oh well.  At least it will take a long time for them to outgrow their car seats and by extension, the double stroller and our small cars.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mommy Amnesia

So we said goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013!

Last night I was thinking about the girls and going all giddy with "best year ever!!!" when I took a step back and thought "wait a minute, I'm happy now, but most of the year actually sucked."

Somehow, I've been granted that Mom amnesia where the happiness of your children takes over and you forget how miserable you were getting those children.  I forgot that a year ago, I was in the ER with projectile bleeding, talking with K about what our next steps would be if I weren't pregnant anymore.  I forgot that everything about the pregnancy was scary and uncomfortable and icky.  I forgot that the first few months of my girls life, I was in a miserable spiral of depression, exhaustion, and sobbing.  Because I've actually enjoyed my girls the last couple of months, I simply forgot about how horrible it was before that.

2012 wasn't the best year ever.  10 of the 12 months were actually pretty darned awful.  But 2012 was the year that we put in all the work and difficulty and hard times so that 2013 can be the best year ever!