First, except for last night, the twins' nighttime sleep has been pretty good. This is surprising because sleep was pretty much an ongoing issue with Conor at this point. On the other hand, things really feel much, much better now with Bridget and Christopher. They go a good solid 3 hours between feedings and eat relatively quickly (20-3o minutes, if I'm actually awake while they are eating). And they usually go right back to sleep after eating (hence, last night's issue). Even though I understand that sleeping in 2 to 2 1/2 hour spurts is no one's idea of a good night's sleep, we actually think it's going relatively well.
We've decided to keep giving them the one bottle of fortified breastmilk at night. This is per the NICU doctor's advice to increase their calcium and phosphorous to help their bones grow quickly as they play catch up in weight. I am not sure I actually buy that advice, but it's the only way we can figure out how to also give them their nasty vitamin supplements, which contain the extra iron they didn't get the last few weeks they should have been in me. If there are any mothers of former NICU children out there or breastfeeding mothers who give their children Poly Vi Sol and can do so with the dropper directly to their mouths, let me know.
The weirder part of "Where We Are" has to do with "Where We Are" in infant development. Some of the best advice I got from a Mentor Mom with Conor is that the first 3 weeks are the roughest, then you have 3 more not-quite-as-rough weeks to make it past 6 weeks and it gets better. It gets better again after 3 months and then again after 6 months. It may have been closer to 4 months with Conor, but for the most part she was right about the 3 weeks and 6 weeks.
However, we have no idea where we are with the twins. By birth, they are nearly 7 weeks old. However, by gestational age, (when they were really due, how you track development with preemies) they are about 6 days old. So are we passed the 6 weeks of hell or are we just starting it? I would also like to add that I swear to GOD(dess) if someone says "Stop worrying about it and just wait and see what happens", I will track them down and clobber them in the head. It makes a difference in how much stamina I have and I need until we get to the good part. Do we have 2 more months? 3 more months? 4 more months??
The doctor's can't even figure out their "real" ages. The main pediatrician thinks they are 6 days old, essentially, now. We don't need to start tummy time until *next* month, when he thinks they will be more like one month olds. Then again, when I challenged him on the fact that twins due dates are actually 38 weeks not 40 weeks, he suggested that they could also be anywhere from 3 weeks and 6 days to not-even-born yet since term is 37 weeks to 42 weeks. But when we took Bridget in last Friday because we suspected reflux, the doctor thought she was acting like a one month old. (Yes, Bridget does have reflux and she's on Zantac now. She no longer screams during and after breastfeeding because stomach acid is not burning her throat)
Their ages also make a difference in their place on the growth chart. We read in the books the doctor's would follow special growth charts for preemies. So far, no. They are being compared to term children based on their birth ages (not adjusted ages). That means that although Christopher has gained over 2 1/2 lbs in the last three weeks of being home, he is only at the third percentile in weight. And Bridget, who has gained over 3 lbs in a month is not even on the chart for weight for her "age."
Final, final thing for a blog entry that is not the wittiest I've ever written (have I mentioned that I'm pooped and that last night's sleep sucked?). I've been searching long and hard for ways to nurse the babies at night in bed at the same time. There are illustrations in several of my books of women reclining on pillows with a baby in the crook of each arm with their arms propped up with pillows. I have tried this position. It has not succeeded. I can get one twin attached but can't figure out how to get the other one up there. And when Dave has helped, I still can't get Twin 2 latched and can't come out of the position as I am stuck like a turtle on my back.
Even the Internets has been useless, with the most specific advice being "It's tricky, but if you can learn how to breastfeed while lying down, it will make night time nursing a lot easier."
Ummm, thanks!! In the meantime, I continue to search for the Kama Sutra of Breastfeeding positions so that I can get some ideas of positions that might work with the twins at night. If you have any ideas, feel free to share them!!
Off for a snack and maybe a nap before they wake up again.