Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Where Are We?

It's been busy around here in the Mother Thing Household. That is no surprise. There are surprising things, though, so of which has, ummm, surprised us.

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.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

A Several Thousand Word Post

This weekend was Conor's birthday party. Here are some of the guests in Conor's tree house.

Here is the present frenzy. Conor is actually opening a gift from Amy Matthews of Sweat Equity on DIY Network. He also got a card and photo from Dean and Derek of Rock Solid of DIY, too. It was very, very special.

This is Conor's Spiderman cake. The theme was actually Superheroes/DIY. It works for a 5 year old.

Here is Christopher. We have a picture of Conor in which he looks almost exacty like this.

And here is Conor holding Bridget for the first time. Close up pictures of Bridget Ann being alert are coming soon.
Life is busy. It's going pretty well, to be honest. They are sleeping well at night, but we're obviously still be pretty tired. They are starting to act more like newborns---with alert times and lots of sleep. They are gaining tons of weight which is good on the one hand, but awfully hard on their tiny digestive sessions. It's pretty painful to toot and poop like they have been tootin' and a poopin'.

More later when there's a break from nursing and napping.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Getting to Know Bridget and Christopher

I think most of my posts about the twins for a while is going to be about breastfeeding because that is mostly what I am doing. Ummm, that's all I'm doing. The good news is that we took the twins in for their one month check up today and their weight gain has been great! I am a whole milk cow!! They are growing with leaps and bounds and hopefully, soon, they will be on the regular baby growth charts and not the preemie growth charts.

I have to admit I am so proud of how well they are doing with transitioning from bottles to boobs. We occassionally have to supplement one or the other, but for the most part they get everything they need straight from the source. (There is an issue of using fortified breastmilk twice a day to increase their calcium and phosphorous and also they are taking vitamins, but more on that later)

One funny thing the twins do is that they are very vocal when they eat. They are constantly talking and making noises about the quality of the milk. Sometimes it sounds like a flock of geese are nursing at my breasts. And then Bridget likes to snort a lot. We sometimes have a hard time telling whether she has burped or just snorted at us. Bridget also will let us know with no hesitation if she is displeased with the situation. She can yell loudly enough and at a high enough pitch that I am concerned that glass will crack. Honestly, though, it's endearing because she is feeling so much that she just has to let us (and the world) know about it.

As for breastfeeding *twins*, we are trying to feed them together although they are not always awake at the same time. I think that as they get a little older and more skilled at eating, we'll be doing more tandem feedings. The nice thing is that they like eating together and will actually reach out towards each other and even hold hands while they nurse. Yes, this is as adorable as it sounds. Actually, it's more adorable that it sounds. It's beyond precious and as soon as I get a picture that doesn't show too much of the boobage, we'll post it.

As for now, I think I have about 15 minutes in which I can nap. however, I'm hearing squeakage, so I may be mooing again sooner rather than later.

It's worth it. Oh, but I'm looking forward to some decent sleep. In a couple of months.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Life with the Twins

Are they not adorable? Christopher is on the left and Bridget is on the right. This is their reunion photo, taken minutes after Christopher came home from the hospital. You might think I'm being facetious, but as soon as Bridget figured out he was there, she had her arm out and was touching him. I think he subsequently poked her in the eye.

Things are going well, for the most part. They are both gaining good weight, eating on demand instead of on a schedule. On Tuesday, I tried feeding them both at the same time at nearly every feeding, which went well. However, yesterday, I decided to focus a little bit more on each twin individually. It, ironically, out to be a little easier, especially when Bridget demonstrated that she could drain a boob by herself in about 10 minutes. Whereas Christopher takes his time to enjoy the ambiance of the boobage, Bridget is making up for "sharing the groceries" as the nurses called it in my uterus.

Sleeping is not as hellish as I remember with Conor. However, my parents are helping out a lot. They essentially moved in here in April after my first hospitalization had have been helping out a great deal. Lately, that includes delivering a baby to me if one is already on the boob as well as keeping an eye on them in the afternoon (and rocking down Bridget through her massive burps) while I take a nap.

Conor is being an amazing big brother. Who would expect anything differently? Yes, there are some whinage issues but really, we're ALL doing that right now more than usual. Here is Conor holding Christopher for the first time. And yes, Christopher is smiling at his big brother. Is that not the cutest thing you've seen?