Thursday, August 25, 2011

head above water

Ian and I knew that moving across the country, just weeks after having our twins would be tough, but I think in the back of our minds we thought it wouldn't be THAT bad. Well, it is. It's really hard. We are dealing with so much at once, it kind of just feels like we're barely treading water. We keep saying to each other "It will all get done one way or another..." but lately even that feels like a stretch.

When I'm home all day with the girls, it's really hard to get much of anything done. I can get a few things done here and there, but not a lot. I mean, mostly what needs to be done for my departure (I'm leaving two weeks before Ian, so that he can do the majority of the packing without two babies to take care of) is just packing my suitcases with stuff that the girls and I will need. But I can't really do that yet, because well, we're still using a lot of that stuff.

Also, we went to the pediatrician yesterday for their first shots, and she said she wanted us to "keep an eye" on how quickly Amelie's head size was growing (it shot up a lot between the last visit and this one) and also to just keep an eye on both of their head circumferences in general. (Poppy is in the 95th percentile). And of course we made the mistake of googling all the things that a large head or quick head growth could mean. Also, they are both favoring turning their heads to one side, which we need to try and correct. Most likely, we're going to take them to a physical therapist once we arrive in Seattle so that he can do some exercises to get them to be ok with turning their heads to the right. Amelie's head is a little uneven because of how she always turns her head to the left, and they both don't like turning it to the right.

Anyway, all of these worries about the girls on top of the move stress is a lot to handle right now. We both know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel; it just might be a little while. For now we just have to hang in there, love each other and love our girls.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

breastfeeding update

So, I figure that as my girls grow and they start eating more, I'll continue to update on how the breastfeeding is going; since it has changed so much already- it's bound to keep changing.

As of right now, things are going really well. (knock on wood.) When I first started breastfeeding they were still really little, and since they were premature, the pediatrician didn't want them to breastfeed for longer than 10 minutes at a time, since it was so much work for them. Basically, it was so hard for them that they'd be burning all the calories they ate if they breastfed longer; so it would be counter productive.

So, in those first few weeks, they breastfed for no more than 10 minutes, and then we'd give them a bottle of either pumped breast milk, or formula (if we were out of pumped breast milk). I HATED giving them formula. I know that there's nothing wrong with it- because the first rule is feed your babies- but there's such PRESSURE out there to only feed babies breast milk.

I pumped after every feeding. It sucked and was exhausting and painful, but I was trying to do everything I could to increase my milk supply. Usually I pumped just enough to give them their bottles for the next feeding. However, if they ever wanted more, that was when we had to supplement with formula.

I started reading everything I could online about increasing milk production. I bought a book on increasing milk supply and a book about breastfeeding twins. I started taking Fenugreek (an herbal supplement that is supposed to increase milk supply) and eating oatmeal almost every day (which is also, strangely, supposed to increase your supply). I tried to eat plenty and drink a lot of water.

Fast forward to today. The girls are 9 weeks, 1 day old. It has now been over a week since they have had any formula. I have a stockpile of about 10 ounces in the fridge. It seems as though I'm finally keeping up with them, and have a little extra to boot! I still pump after ALMOST every feeding (I occasionally give myself a break when it's 2am and I'm just TIRED), still take Fenugreek, still eat a big 'ol bowl of oatmeal almost every day. Who knows which things are helping? It also could be that the girls just breastfeed a lot more now that they're bigger. Or, it could be a little bit of each thing.

I'm just hoping my body continues to keep up with them. Since we're moving, I can't really keep a stockpile of milk in the freezer, because it won't obviously stay frozen on the airplane. I think we might use up a lot of the stockpile though (wow. I'm saying "stockpile" a lot) next week, as I'm going in to work for two half days to train my replacement. I plan on bringing my pump so that I can pump a few times while I'm there, and Ian is going to stay home with them. I'm hoping that even if we use up all the extra, we'll still be able to avoid formula; but who knows.

At this point, I'm pretty proud of the progress (whoa. alliteration alert.) I've made. I'm hoping my body can keep up with the growing girls, but if I still have to occasionally supplement with formula from time to time, that's ok. Right now though, breastfeeding them is pretty much my number one priority ( it seems I have about fourteen days until I'm moving, I probably should start focusing on that a little more...).

Did anyone else out there breastfeed twins and have some tips for me? Or anyone at all have particular success about increasing and maintaining your supply? Any tips welcome! I'll keep updating on how it's going as time goes on.

For now, it's time for another feeding!


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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

on the move

It has been a little hectic in our household lately; and not just because we have two, two-month-old girls to take care of. It's also because we have decided to move back home! You see, we live in New York City now- and have for almost 5 years- but we're both originally from the Pacific Northwest and we've decided to move back; specifically to Seattle.

We couldn't be more excited because all of our family lives in Washington and Oregon, so we'll be much closer to them, and most of our friends live there, too! (Though we've made a few very dear friends here in NYC that we'll miss greatly.)

When we first get back, we'll live with Ian's parents for a while until he finds a job and we find an apartment. We've decided that for now, it doesn't really make financial sense for me to go back to work, as I'd pretty much just be handing over my paycheck to cover two kids in daycare.

I'm both excited and nervous about not working and being a full time mom. Excited because I love taking care of Poppy and Amelie, and think we're going to have so much fun together; and nervous because I've worked my whole adult life! I started working when I was 15 years old, and have always had a job since. It will be an adjustment for sure.

Seattle is a beautiful city, and we're so excited for this big change in our lives. I'm so thrilled that the girls get to grow up there, though I do think it will be totally cool that they get to say they were born in NYC. We'll certainly take them back for visits though, to show them where they started their little lives.

I'm leaving in about two weeks, so there is a lot to do; and not much time in my day to do it! I'm just trying to slowly chip away at it all, and realize that one way or another; it will get done.

Big changes on the horizon for us, and we couldn't be more thrilled!


*photo found here

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Monday, August 15, 2011

two months

Amelie and Poppy turn two months today! Happy two month birthday, girls! The time is going by quickly, but I'm enjoying it so much! We love you more than words.




birth story (part 3)

(You can read parts one and two here and here).

When they were rolling my bed down the hall towards the operating room, I honestly felt like I was in a movie or a television show. It still didn't feel real. Ian had to wait outside until I was all prepped, and my mom wasn't allowed in the room.

I remember in our childbirth class our teacher said many times, that you can't worry about being dignified during childbirth. It's primal and messy and raw. Now, I've never given birth vaginally, but I think there's a whole different kind of undignified for a cesarean birth. I was laying there on the operating table, completely naked except for a hairnet thing on my head. I'd say there were 10 people in the room, at least. Then I had to be lifted, naked, from the bed I was rolled in on, to the operating table. But of course I couldn't help at all, because I still had an epidural, so I was pretty numb. You just feel so helpless and exposed in every way.

Once I was on the table, they began prepping me. Gave me more epidural so that I was completely numb. Then they put up the blue curtain thing in front of my face. My arms were each stretched out to the side. One had an IV and the other had a blood pressure cuff so that my blood pressure could constantly be checked. The anesthesiologist was at my head, explaining things to me; I THINK trying to make me feel better, but it wasn't really helping. I got so nervous, because they never asked me "can you feel this?" while poking my leg or something, so I was SO freaked out that I was going to feel them cutting. I should have probably realized they do these all the time and knew what they were doing. Finally, I was all prepped, numb and ready to go, so Ian was allowed into the room.

As soon as I saw him and heard his voice I got really emotional. It had been a long 30 hours, and a much longer journey to get to this point. All of that rushed through my head; the fertility tests, the ups, the downs, the miscarriage; all of it leading us to this point. We were about to meet our girls. It was finally time.

Dr. Leipzig asked me if I was ready, and off they went. It really only took a few minutes before she was telling me that Baby A was here and she was big! They had a little trouble getting her out, because of how she was positioned. I didn't feel any pain, only lots of tugging and pressure. Then after several minutes, I heard a beautiful little cry. It was so amazing. I remember being too afraid to look at Ian, because I knew I'd start crying; and not just a little, but the kind where you sob and can't stop. Baby A was whisked off to be cleaned. Ian tentatively went over to try and see, and the mean nurse- (remember Ida?) shooed him away. When I think about that now, it pisses me off. He wasn't in their way at all; just wanted to see his first born! Really makes me mad. Anyway, Baby B came out a lot quicker, and after we heard her cry, she was whisked away as well. A few minutes later, they brought Baby A over to us. She was a little bruised up since it had been a little difficult to get her out. But she was beautiful. SO AMAZING. So unreal. There was a tiny person laying there on the table staring up at us, and we made her!

Then they took Baby A back, and brought over Baby B. She looked a little smaller and very different from her sister, but just as beautiful. We had our names picked out, but hadn't yet chosen which baby got which name, so I asked if we could please see them side by side. As soon as they laid them down next to each other, we quickly chose their names. Baby A would be Poppy Lorelei, and Baby B would be Amelie Violet. Our two beautiful girls.

Here are the only pictures we were able to get in the OR:



We got to sit there with them for a few minutes, but then they had to take Poppy to the NICU. She had been in the bag of waters that ruptured 30+ hours ago, and since she was also premature, they had to take her there for observation because of a higher risk of infection. Once they had finished stitching me up, they wheeled me to recovery with Amelie. Ian went to make some phone calls to our families.

Amelie was with me for a few minutes. We attempted breastfeeding for a bit and then they took her to the nursery. I had to stay in the recovery room for about two hours (well, that's what they said then). However, two hours turned in to 6. After six hours, they said I could probably go to my room soon. However, they realized that even though I was being given lots and lots of fluid, my urine output was REALLY low. Not good. So, after 9 hours, Ian and my mom went home, and I was still in recovery.

The time in recovery is SUCH a blur. I was so exhausted and still not able to eat anything. It was a super hectic place to be during the day. I saw so many new moms come and go, and I just stayed. Some people from the high risk OBGYN team came in to see me, and let me know that they were concerned about the fact that I was so dehydrated and holding on to all of the fluid they were pumping in to me, therefore, until that improved, I had to stay in recovery. They hooked up bag after bag of fluid, and I drank apple juice and water as much as I could. I wasn't really scared, but I could tell that the doctors were worried. Finally, things started to improve in the early morning of the next day, and after about 24 hours in recovery, I could finally go up to my own room.

Poppy had to stay in the NICU for longer than they first expected. She ended up being in there for a full 48 hours. I was able to visit her once while she was in there, but it was difficult to get out of bed with a catheter in. We figured it out with a wheelchair though, and I got to hold her after not seeing her for over 24 hours. It was so hard to see her in there all by herself. I knew she was fine, and a lot better off then most of the babies in there, but it was still sad.

I won't bore you with all of the details of my stay in the hospital. I won't lie though; it was rough. First of all, they don't let spouses spend the night, so Ian had to leave every night around 10pm. Also, the first night I attempted to have Amelie in the room with me, and it just didn't work. I still had a catheter in, so I was stuck in bed, and I wasn't able to move her in and out of her bassinet on my own. So, she went to the nursery. I pumped as often as I could and saved the colostrum to feed to them, but it still wasn't how I had wanted it to happen. I had really wanted them to stay in the room with me, but with one baby in the NICU and the other in the nursery, it just didn't work out that way. I cried a lot that first night, feeling like I had let my baby down. It turned out to be just fine though. I got some sleep, and my babies were well taken care of.

And.... that's pretty much it! I hope you weren't bored to death by all of the detail. Writing out this story was just as much for me as it was for the blog. I don't want to forget any part of our experience. It didn't turn out the way I had pictured and hoped, but I think that's pretty much what happens to everyone. You can't plan these things. There are times I still get really sad that I didn't get to have a natural birth. But when I look at these sweet faces every day, it really matters less and less as time goes by.

~ M

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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

my how we've grown....

As the girls near their two month birthday, I can hardly believe how much they've grown! Poppy is over 9 pounds and Amelie is nearly at 9.

For a little comparison, here they are on the first day we brought them home, (on June 19th) in their coming home outfits:

There were little pants that went with them, but I only have a picture of Poppy in hers:

Now, this is them today:

The onesies really don’t fit Poppy anymore (well, they do, but they’re snug) and Amelie is also pretty much grown out of it. Also, the hat won't even stay on Poppy's head anymore, and it is really snug on Amelie. It’s so crazy how baggy everything was on them, less than two months ago!

I'm so happy they are so healthy, but I'm already getting nostalgic for those first couple of weeks! I know that time will only keep plowing ahead though, so I'm glad I have these photos to look back on!


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Thursday, August 4, 2011

i know....

I'm so behind in posting, it's not even funny. But, have some pity on me; I've lost my grandma helpers. You see, for the first two weeks of the babies' lives my mom was here helping, and then right after that, my mother-in-law. So for 6 weeks, I had a mom with me all the time. They were AMAZING. They cooked for us, cleaned, held babies, let us take uninterrupted 2-3 hour naps; it was great. But, that couldn't last forever, and now I'm on my own. Ian is at work, so it's just me, Amelie and Poppy, holdin' down the fort.

Most of the time its been amazing. I love spending this time with them. However, that's not to say it's without challenges. With only one person, if both babies are screaming crying at the top of their lungs, you can really only attend to one at once. So, one baby is left to cry for a moment while you finish diapering or changing the spit up covered onesie of the other. It's kind of stressful, and of course, you feel horrible that you can't pick up your baby as soon as they start crying.

For the most part, we hang out in the bedroom. Sounds boring, but I think for the first bit it's going to be helpful. First of all, it's hot here, so we keep the AC on in the bedroom and shut it off in the rest of the house; save a little $$ that way. Also, it helps that I can keep everything I need in the bedroom and don't have to schlep it from room to room. Boppies, breast pump, water, burp cloths, swaddles, etc. I have a little station set up for me; my water, my laptop, my breast pump and my phone. So, we're all set up in here for now. It also doesn't help that it's REALLY hot outside, so that makes going out a lot more difficult. We went on little outings while my mother-in-law was here, but sometimes it seemed to really be hard on the babies. They would be REALLY thirsty when we got back home. So, for now, we're hunkered down in the cozy bedroom. :) We'll venture out soon enough, but for now, I like the special little baby room we have going on.

~ M
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