Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday photos (and more)

I don't know why Bean looks so forlorn in this picture, he's the one who wanted to watch "Cars" for the 80th time this week.

Life isn't all television watching for Bean these days (just mostly). Here he dines with his friend Emily, who became a big sister two weeks after we welcomed the twins. They commiserate over pasta.

He also got to help Grandma frost a cake -- she even let him lick the beaters when they were done.

You can't see my face, but I'm as content as the babies are.

I generally prefer nursing one twin at a time, but there is an undeniable cuteness when I tandem feed. This is the blissed-out result of double mommy milk.

And this picture just because I have a zillion of them.

This morning the traveling circus and I we all took the twins to the pediatrician's office for a weight check to make sure they are gaining properly. I was nervous because they haven't been getting much formula at all (only 1-2 oz total each day) since their last check a week and a half ago, so this was a real reflection of my milk supply. But I needn't have worried... they are packing on the pounds. The doc was hoping to see an ounce per day, but just like last time, they are up an ounce and a half per day and she was thrilled. Twin A is now 8 lbs 14.5 oz (born at 8 lbs) and Twin B is now 8 lbs 1 oz (born at 6 lbs 6 oz). WOO HOO!!! The boobies are working!!! All it takes is 9 fenugreek pills a day and countless delicious lactation cookies mailed to me by some generous mamas on the parenting forum I frequent. I am thrilled and relieved that the kiddos are doing so well. They didn't get any formula yesterday (accidentally... long story) and this news may just give me the confidence to cut it out completely. It won't do any good for my efforts to get more than an hour of sleep at a time, but that will change soon. Right? RIGHT? PLEASE GOD SOMEONE WITH TWINS TELL ME I'M RIGHT?

Last but not least, my friend Allison brought to my attention a post by Jenn, a high school classmate of ours. Her 26-year-old cousin, Ashley, has Cystic Fibrosis and is raising money to cover her share of a double lung transplant. I can't even imagine what she's gone through with this disease. For every tax-deductible $10 you donate towards her goal, you'll be entered to win an iPad. I plan on winning it myself, but it's for a great cause, so if you feel inclined and able, you can click HERE to donate. Thanks!


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More bullets

-- Nursing. It's going... well, not horribly, I suppose. We have greatly reduced the supplementation, the twins are only getting an ounce or two extra before bed. They are epic diaper fillers with awesome weight gain (they were each up 10 ounces in 6 days at their last check-up, the pediatrician wanted at least an ounce a day), and really we could stop that little bit of formula altogether without harm to them. But not without harm to me, as the twins are impossible to soothe at that time of day otherwise -- and my supply as well as my sanity are at their lowest to survive it. Nursing newborn twins can really take a toll, let me tell you. I am hopeful that eventually we'll get rid of the supplementing altogether. In the meantime, I'm just trying to stay zen as we figure all this out. And with the appropriate amounts of under-eye concealer and ice cream sandwiches, I actually appear successful at that.

-- Sleeping. This is going horribly. My bed, once a comfortable prison of endless crappy television viewing, now teases me with its crisp white sheets and unfulfilled promise of rest and relaxation. I snuggle under the covers at the end of the day, let out a giant sigh of exhaustion, and drift off into a blissful sleep... that lasts no more than 60 minutes at a time. Basically I am awake for one hour, feeding both the kiddos and changing their diapers, and then I am asleep for one hour until the next cry starts the cycle again. And that's the best case scenario, if they go back to sleep after eating and don't want to stay awake and play for several hours, which happens as well. Some twin mommies have recommended sleeping in shifts with DH to get a longer stretch, but I don't see how that would be much help while breastfeeding. If the boys didn't wake me with a loud cry every couple of hours, my girls would anyway. And because of my supply issues, I'm not able to pump in advance so anyone else can feed them. As I wait for things to improve, I'll just stick to complaining and groggily threatening to give the babies away to the circus in the middle of the night (or so DH told me in the morning). But the kicker? I'm still watching tons of crappy TV while I nurse throughout the wee hours of the morning. Much to my own surprise, I'm a big Bret Michaels fan now. Be careful, those shows can wear you down.

-- The mall. It's as incredible as I remember it, after all these months. Hallelujah.

-- DH. I didn't mention this last time, but when the twins were 8 days old, DH developed two stress fractures in his right foot. He has been in an air cast ever since with instructions to take it easy, lest he develop a full-blown broken foot. Good timing, no? This leaves me 95% responsible for night duty, considering I'm the only one of us who can lactate or walk. He swears he doesn't know how it happened, but I'm not sure why the hammer was on the kitchen counter the morning after it developed. Well played, DH. Well played.

-- Twins. When Bean was a newborn, it was difficult for me to enjoy it because of all my new mommy anxiety. After finding out we were pregnant again, I was looking forward to feeling more confident with my baby and (hopefully) having a better time of it. Then came the news that it was twins. I was disappointed thinking that I would once again be overwhelmed (for a different reason this time) and would miss out on early bonding again. I am surprised to say that hasn't happened. Although having twins is much (much, much, much) more difficult than a singleton, I am enjoying it quite a bit. Because I am nursing for what feels like 22 hours out of the day, I get plenty of one-on-one time to stare lovingly at each twin. And they are so adorable together, smacking each other with uncontrolled limbs and trying to suck on the other's elbow. When we go out with our double infant stroller, we are swarmed by women who are biologically compelled to ooooh and awwww. I kinda feel like Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan with the paparazzi constantly following me. Without the head shaving and crotch flashing, of course.

-- Bean. He continues to be a rockstar with the babies. When he's tired, he does have flashes of jealousy (wanting me or my Mom to put down a baby to snuggle with him), and he did cry when we wouldn't let him climb in the infant swing earlier today. But overall, he continues to amaze us with his sweetness. This kid is pure gold. And he does the dishes. No you can't have him.

-- Pictures. Only slightly lower on the list of Difficult Things to Do with Twins beneath "sleeping" and "breastfeeding" is "getting a good picture of both of them." They can't even crawl out of the shot yet and I still had to fight the urge to drown myself in Puget Sound while trying to get a decent picture for their birth announcement. DH found the outtakes quite hilarious, and perhaps he is right. Now that I finally got one that I deemed acceptable (not posted here, watch your mail!) I suppose I can laugh about it too.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Nom nom nom

I am abandoning my attempt for a real blog post, and instead I'll give a quick update in bullet form. Such is life right now.

- Status: Much better than a week ago. Which is relative, of course. No one would look at me and say "Wow, you look great..." without following it with a "...for just having twins." But I no longer walk like I'm hoping to land a part as a gunslinger in a Western flick, and I no longer sob uncontrollably when I burn my grilled cheese sandwich. Physical and emotional stability = a very, very good thing.

- I must qualify the first bullet to say that the only reason I'm doing so well right now is because of all the help I have. When DH goes back to work, my mom leaves, and my friends stop bringing meals, I will be totally screwed. Stay tuned for the fun!

- Another reason I am doing better is that breastfeeding has been getting easier. The kiddos are catching onto the process and my supply is increasing. I am still topping them off with formula after certain feedings via the wonderful/horrible supplemental nursing system, but it's much, much less these days. Hoping to make it over the hump to full breastmilk soon so I can lose the cumbersome contraption. Or at least survive until I'm ready to introduce the bottle, maybe another week or two. In the meantime, I am a walking advertisement for Denny's, as my fenugreek supplements (to boost supply) have the side effect of making me smell like maple syrup. Hmmmm... maybe I can turn this into a lucrative sponsorship. Can I interest anyone in a Grand Slam? Tell them Sunny sent you.

- Related to breastfeeding, I am feeling a bit stir-crazy in the house. After bedrest and then limited activity while I waited to deliver, I feel like it's been ages since I've been a part of the real world. I would love to get out and about with my mom, DH, and the munchkins (so much mall time to recoup!), but because of the supplemental nursing system, I am hesitant to do anything other than very brief jaunts between feedings. I strongly believe in a woman's -- and baby's -- right to nurse in public, but I don't think it's right to flash innocent bystanders while positioning the tube and trying to get a kiddo latched to it properly. It's true the girls never look better than when I'm nursing, but I'm holding off on their big debut until I get offered the big bucks for a magazine spread. I'll keep you posted on that.

- The sleep deprivation isn't as difficult to deal with as it was with Bean, although I'm getting fewer hours of shut eye with the twins than I did with him. I recently heard (or read?) that once you become a mother, you never sleep as soundly as you did before you had kids. I imagine this is true... even before the twins with Bean sleeping through the night, I would jolt awake at even a sigh coming from his room. I can see how this will still be the case even when they are teens and adults, keeping one ear open for the click of the front door or the ring of the telephone. Seeing as I haven't slept completely soundly in over two years, I guess the shock of the newborn phase doesn't quite have the power it had before. Interesting note: Dads do not appear to suffer from this chronic inability to return to deep sleep after having a child.

- Bonding with the twins has been so much easier than I thought. They immediately filled vacancies in my heart that I didn't know existed -- all the worries about loving them less than Bean (what if they aren't as cute?) have disappeared. Although DH and I obviously love the both of the twins to pieces, we have each sort of "claimed" one of them. Twin A is mine, and Twin B is DH's. This is going to work out well for me, because Twin B (our spunky little guy) will definitely be giving us more trouble as he gets older. Hope DH is up for the challenge. At least he'll be well rested from sleeping soundly at night.

- My two-year-old is now huge. And heavy. This applies to his physical characteristics as well as the contents of his diapers. Good lord.

- I am insanely behind all communications, from email responses to blog reading and comments. It took me 3 months to get caught up after Bean, but I'm hoping to do better this time. Please bear with me, I miss you and I'm working on getting back in touch!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Has it really only been one week?

'Cuz it feels a lot longer to me. I am absolutely exhausted.

It's interesting, having twins after having a singleton. DH and I both agree that even with double the newborn, we have done much better this past week than we did the first week with Bean. Currently we are beyond tired, constantly running in a hamster wheel of feedings and diaper changes. It is SO much more work having two, we can't help but think how much easier it would be to just deal with one of the twins. But we are a lot more comfortable in our roles as parents because of our experience. Our lives have changed again, but not as much as when we had our first child. We aren't scared when the babies cry, we are more confident in how to respond to their needs. One of the biggest advantages perhaps is that we already know that it will get easier over time -- we have Bean running around our house as a constant reminder. When he was a newborn, we couldn't see out of the fog enough to understand or imagine how wonderful life with this little person could be. But now we look at the twins with more appreciation, discussing their emerging personalities and all the fun things we want to do in the future as they get older. I don't know how the next few weeks or months or years will go, but despite the extreme sleep deprivation and overwhelming feeding stresses, this first week has been filled with The Wonderful too.

Breastfeeding is going marginally better. The boys' latches are improving, and they are getting more breastmilk every day. We still use the supplemental nursing system (a syringe and tiny tube that provides formula at the breast) because they are so young, I don't want them to develop a preference for the bottle and then refuse to nurse. It's an absolute pain to use, but I'm hoping to hold out another week or two. Ideally at that point my supply would be great enough that we could be off the formula entirely, but in the likely case that doesn't happen, at least we can throw in a bottle with less risk of messing up what we have built. The hard part is finding time to pump in between feedings, which increases demand (and thus my supply). I have one twin or another at the breast constantly, and who wants to spend the brief time in between at the pump? I want to simply be in the moment and enjoying my boys. And Bean is so patient that when he asks for "mommy hugs," I think it's important to snuggle with him on the couch instead of brushing him off in favor of the pump. We'll see where this goes, I am not going to give up but I'm daunted at the task of building up enough milk supply to grow two infants.

On a random note, Red asked how we chose which twin would have which name. No great reason. We came up with one name, so it just kinda naturally went to Twin A without intention. Then we came up with the second, Twin B. The more we got to know them in the womb, the more the names seemed to fit, so we never switched them.

And a couple of pics...

Grandma snuggles her grandbabies.

The twins (duh).

Twin A. (Still working on their nicknames.)*

Twin B can't wait to go to the pediatrician.


*DH just informed me that this is Twin B. Still looks like Twin A to me. We'll have to agree to disagree. (It's really Twin A. I'm pretty sure. But not really.)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Sometimes you're the tornado, and sometimes you're the trailer park.

Right now I feel like a big ole double-wide.

It's funny, but what I was fearing the most (getting the spinal block, as lame as that sounds) felt no worse than a bee sting, literally. And the rest of it since... well, more like being stung by a Mack Truck going 80 mph.

I don't want to complain, because damn am I thrilled to have given birth to healthy full-term twins. I am blessed to have my Mom here, I literally do not know what we'd do without her. I am thrilled at how well DH is handling everything, he is taking care of me and the boys and actually seems to be enjoying it. I am grateful that Bean is adjusting well to siblinghood so far. I know that could change at the drop of a hat, but any good day is still a good day. (Special thanks to my friend Sarah who suggested the twins "give" Bean a special gift when they came home from the hospital... he has spent hours upon hours playing with his Little Tykes b-ball hoop from the babies. Genius!) And thank goodness I was wrong about the gestational diabetes diet ruining yummy food for me for the rest of my life because of the guilt factor. I had absolutely no problem having cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then downing that cookie ice cream sandwich (and the remainder of DH's chocolate pudding with Oreos and whipped cream) after lunch.

But for the sake of honesty, I must say -- I am struggling. I don't remember the C-section recovery being this difficult last time, but maybe it was. I'm feeling a bit better today, but after this and the bedrest, I am just incredibly sick of not being physically able to do simple things. And I still have a ways to go.

The biggest challenge of caring for the twins from my perspective is nursing. Or lack thereof, at this point. I was thrilled to be able to breastfeed them right after the surgery, they both seemed to latch right on and go to town. But that went downhill... downhill... downhill... by last night, they were obviously suffering. Lost 12% and 13% of their body weight and still declining. Not enough filled diapers. They were too exhausted to even latch. We have been meeting with a lactation consultant for days, and today I agreed to make the plan to put them on formula (using a supplemental nursing system at the breast) meanwhile I pump and we work out our issues. (Any breastmilk I pump is substituted for the formula, naturally.) I am so pissed at myself for having the same problems this time as I did last time. It's hard not to feel like a failure, even though intellectually I know that's ridiculous.

The other thing I'm working through is the post-partum hormone let-down. It happened with Bean, too -- basically three weeks of crying. I think of it as my body just has to release these pregnancy hormones (maybe twice as many this time) and it happens to come through my eyes. Bean gets concerned when I cry, then he says something cute to cheer me up ("Mommy, look! Mister Fork and Mister Spoon are dancin'!") and I have to try not to cry even harder because of his pure sweetness. Maybe I should just lock myself in my room with "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M. on repeat and see if I can get it all out in a couple of hours.

Last night, my Mom brought Bean downstairs in his jammies to say good night to me and DH, who were holding the babies in the family room. Bean looked just like a sweet angel in his white footie PJs. He happily bounded between us, giving us kisses and smiles. When he disappeared upstairs with my Mom again, eager to pick out a bedtime book, DH turned to me with tears in his eyes and said, "Sunny, we are so lucky. We are so lucky to have this family."

And everything considered, he's exactly right.

I'll get there. Eventually.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The wee ones

So much to say... SO EXHUASTED. Short story:

Twin A was 8 pounds; he's our gentle giant. Twin B was only 6 lbs 6 oz, and he's a spunky little guy. I am head over heels for both.

Surgery went fine, I am recovering okay. (Aside: writing a blog post on morphine is NO EASY TASK.)

Longer story coming soon.

A few pics to tide you over in the meantime.

I do plan to use only nicknames for these little ones on my blog, but I will give you a sneak peak of who they really are. The one on top is Twin A.

We did it.


They're Here!

This is C's friend Mary, sorry I didn't post earlier, I was out at a ballgame, I got a text from C late this afternoon (east coast time), the boys are here, I didn't get any other details except that she would post soon. She did attach a picture of 2 of the biggest most beautiful twins I've seen.

Congrats and welcome to the world boys!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Calm before the storm

Yes, I am still pregnant.

At 38 weeks + 1 day, it is hard for me to believe that in less than 48 hours, all the waiting will come to an end. All the waiting, worrying, and wondering of the last 13 weeks will finally culminate in me cuddling two hopefully very chunky, very healthy newborn boys in my arms. We've been holding our collective breath here, waking up each morning thinking it might be "the day," holding off plans and expectations since January 2nd when I went into the hospital on bedrest.

This is it, the finish line. I feel so incredibly blessed to be here at full term. It was hard at times, of course, but it was much easier than delivering two preemies and spending weeks or months in the NICU. Many women face worse challenges with their pregnancies (twin or otherwise) and don't have the option to hold off labor as long as we did. Those are the women that have my admiration. I thank my lucky stars that all I had to endure was the bedrest and medication, and that everything went smoothly with my husband, Mom, and Bean during that period. We have one final hurdle -- delivery -- and I pray that our luck will hold.

This will probably be my last blog post until Wednesday, unless the babies prefer to come today or tomorrow. The plan: On the 7th, DH and I have to be at the hospital at the crack of 5:30 am. At first I was annoyed at the early hour, but I'm sure I'll be awake most of the night worrying anyway, so I may as well just get up and get ready. The eviction officially begins at 7:30 am, and if my previous C-section is any indication, the twins should be born shortly thereafter. Once all my body parts are returned to their proper locations, we will be sent back to our room... as parents of three boys.

My Mom is going to let Bean leisurely wake up in the morning, and if he feels well enough (he has a cold today), she's going to drop him off at a friend's house for a few hours so she can visit her new grandbabies without distraction. She'll head home to give Bean his nap, then they will both likely come back to the hospital so Bean can meet his brothers. Similar routine on Thursday.

God willing, the boys will be healthy and not need any NICU time. I fully expect to deal with jaundice (Bean had it, as did DH and I as newborns), but hopefully it won't be severe enough to require a longer hospital stay for treatment. Depending on how I recover, we should be discharged on Friday or Saturday. DH hopes to take the next two weeks off, and then my Dad will fly in to provide another set of hands when DH goes back to the office.

I am so {insert any emotion here}. Your thoughts and prayers have worked wonders for us so far, please keep it going for another couple of days. We appreciate it more than we can say.

See you on the flip side...


Friday, April 2, 2010

Thrill of the hunt

This morning -- yep, no April Fools popping out of this preggo belly! -- my Mom and I took Bean to the MOMS Club Easter Egg Hunt. He and I went last year, but he couldn't walk yet to collect eggs, and the Easter Bunny left him quaking in his Pampers. This year he was better able to appreciate the process... like his mama, it doesn't take much more than some chocolatey goodness to make Bean a happy camper.

The hunt was held inside due to our temperamental weather. Here Bean gathers the goodies with Gamma, right before I accidentally nailed him in the face with the camera hanging around my neck. (Way to go, Mommy!) Well, he didn't cry too hard. Mostly.

He recovered quickly to sort through his loot. Winner: Dove chocolate eggs. Loser: Black jelly beans.

"Sure, I'll share my candy. Black jelly bean?"

Bean enjoyed seeing the Easter Bunny as he hopped around outside...

But being in the same room? Some things never change.

Good thing "Gamma hugs" keep the bunnies away.

And just for fun... here is my belly this morning at 37 weeks + 5 days. Yowza.