After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.
Monday, August 28, 2006
Every single emotion that has surfaced in this time has been intense. Nothing has been partial, or gentle or simple. Feelings are exemplified and multiplied - joy is immense, and despair is, at times, intolerable. I get through each high and each low by knowing that, for better or worse, this phase/time/behavior will not last forever and will be quick to depart, so it's best not to dwell on it, or conversely, to savor every moment of it.
They are beautiful and growing well.
MyBoy is almost 13 pounds. His brown hair is falling out and being replaced by reddish strands. His mouth makes the perfect "O," and when he sticks out his tongue, it has a little divet right in the middle. He favors the right side of his head, so it's getting really flat. We turn it every chance, and do stretching exercises every day. He hates it. He is a lovebug, and wants to be cuddled as much as possible, and is pudgy enough to have beautiful creases in his fat legs. His belly is enormous, in relationship to the rest of his body, and he loves to eat.
MyGirl is 9 1/2 pounds, and a powerhouse. She can practically stand up, with assistance, and looks all around her, quickly back and forth, up and down. If she's laying down, her legs are moving, moving, moving, as if sprinting towards a finish line. She still has little hair, but it's blondish, and her fair complexion gives way to little red splotches here and there. She's a finicky eater, and would clearly rather be doing anything but. Perhaps it's the crazy gas that propels her forward. I forsee intense times in her future.
We lay (lie? laid? I can never remember!) on the floor today, and I looked at them with disbelief that they were mine. And have been for four months. I wondered aloud, what kind of people will you become? Will you read books, like your mother, or prefer movies, like your dad? Will you let me walk with you to school, or will you be embarrassed and make me drop you off down the block? Who will be your first kiss? Who will you take on your first date? Will you be competitive and athletic? Will you be sensitive? Will you be boisterous and loud?
The future is enormous, and has arms outstretched, beckoning us to come in.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Sleeping was difficult this morning, as both sides were really, really tender and kind of hard. But not crazy-engorged-rock-hard. I've stopped taking the mini-pill that I'd been on for the past few months (laughable, the fact that I am at risk of getting pregnant on my own, but I'd hate to be one of those "Oops! It's amazing that an infertile suddenly fell pregnant!" pregnancies right now) , and started on the regular, full-strength pill. Which apparently can help dry up your milk. I'm taking Tylenol for the pain, and I'm going to see if I can stick it out through the afternoon with out pumping.
There is enough in the freezer to get me through to the babes official 4-month birthday, my original goal.
It. Could. Be. Over. Yahoo! And a little sad. But YAHOO!
I got lots of good advice and encouragement to keep this up as far as I did, and I thank everyone who helped me stick it out.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
While it can be a difficult thing to do, it is best to accept the fact that my day will begin early ... much earlier ... than I would ever possibly desire.
For weeks, I fought the early morning feed, which happens between 6 and 7 a.m. I'd sludge through it groggily, and attempt to put the babes back to bed immediatly. I'd be immediatly frustrated, because they wouldn't want to go back to sleep, and therefore, I couldn't either. I'd fight the waking of the day, tooth and nail.
I'm learning to simply accept the early morning. The babies are actually quite alert and giggly in the early hours - they are fun to play with after their feed. So I'll take them downstairs for their meal, put them in their bouncies, and the them watch me as I wash bottles, make myself something to eat, and put on a pot of coffee. Oh, that blessed pot of coffee.
Yes, my day is longer, but they were tired enough to go down to nap afterwards that I got to shower AND blow dry my hair. Which is a non-existant luxury these days, to which my rat's nest can attest. Because we have a date this afternoon. A play date. Our fourth ... more to come on that later.
Back to bouncies. I thought everyone knew about bouncy seats, but apparantly they are a new phenomenon, familiar only to those of us who have born children within the past ten years or so. Older releatives and friends find them amazing.
As does our very best bachelor friend. He spent the weekend with us, out of town at the in-laws, and was simply enamoured with the concept of a seat that vibrates! Wow! They should make those for adults!
To which we replied, oh yes, they do. And we just got one for the office. It was intended to soothe the backs of aching parents (actually, it was just cheap, and we needed an office chair), but amazingly, it does double duty. Sit down with a screaming baby, and shhhhhhushhh! Peace returns. At least momentarily.
And back to screaming babies. I am continually amazed at the ability of one baby to sleep through the bloody-murder screaming of another. We have finally seperated them into two cribs, which makes me a little sad, but it was necessary as they were kicking helicopter twirls around each other. MyBoy just woke up from morning nap, with cries that would wake the dead. I fixed the problem (milky-snot out of the nose - bad mommy for not burping very well), and tried to shush. The cries return, louder than ever, while MyGirl sleeps soundly, just three feet away, not a care in the world. Alleluia.
Monday, August 21, 2006
I knew from the beginning of my parenting career that I wanted to breastfeed. Add twins and an extended NICU stay to that equasion, and things get more complicated. I never had any intentions of making it to a year, but thought I'd do it as long as I could. Which ended up being a shorter time - until the babies were about three months old - but, honestly, I began hating everything about it, including the children attached to my boobs.
I enjoyed the one-on-one closeness of nursing an individual baby, but doing so simply overwhelmed me to the point of chaos. I miss it a little bit, looking down at my child, knowing that he or she is surviving off of what she is taking from me, bit by bit. That I could give that to them is huge.
I was adept at pumping, having done it, eight to ten times a day since the very first day of life. And I had friends who'd exclusively pumped, no breastfeeding. So I made the switch. And it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would, and afforded me a bit - a very tiny bit - more freedom. But what you gain in freedom, you give in time. Not only must you spend the time feeding the milk to the babies, you must additionally take the time to pump it, which adds up to hours and hours a day.
It's been a month since I started pumping full time. I've tried herbs, medications, and other ways to increase a milk supply that has never been enough to keep up with the needs of two growing babies. Four months old, four months old ... that has been my mantra. If I can make it to four months old, I'll have done my duty, I'll have done well for my children.
For the first day in ages, I woke up this morning, and didn't NEED to pump. I wasn't engorged, I wasn't in pain. I didn't have to wake up before the babies first feed to pump. It was wonderful. And three hours later, I pumped, but not because my body needed to. Again, I find myself at a scheduled pump time, and I'm trying, but not a whole lot is coming out.
We're at three months and three weeks.
I don't know that I'll make it to four months. There is a little bit in the freezer, and I could probably continue to squeeze out a little more, but do I want to?
I know how much back and forth there is about breastfeeding, and I don't want to get into a discussion about the merits of breastfeeding vs. formula, but let me reiterate that this is a very hard decision to make. I feel the need to take care of my babies in the best way possible, but one way to do that is by being a saner, happier person myself. I think I've reached the end.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
MyGirl is a smiling, kicking machine. She runs her legs like she's racing for the Boston Marathon, pat, pat, pat, thump, thump, thump. All the time with a smile on her face. More than a smile. A Joker-like grin, with tiny little points turned up at the edges.
And MyBoy, such a doll, a virtual Victrola of unique noises. His cries are so "newborn" like, and sometimes sound like a mewing kitten or a distressed goat. Squeek, squuuueeek. Ahh, but when he eats, the most satisfied gulps turn into a sign of complete contentedness. Ahhhhhh. Thank you, mom, for keeping that bottle tilted at just the right angle so I can finish every. last. drop. Ahhhhh hhhh.
And lest I jinx it by evening mentioning it to anyone besides my husband, the nights are better. We're talking about one night feed, not two. Depending on how you look at it. But now, bedtime is after the 7 p.m. feeding, we feed them sleepy at 10, and I go to bed, bless my dear hubby. He's been sleeping out here on the couch so that he can appease them when they fuss, and has had one nighttime feedings between 2:30 to 4:30, depending. Then I'm up by six, since my boobs wake me up, screaming "Juice me, Juice me!" And a feeding soon follows, which I'm trying to hold off till 7 a.m.
So it's no 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. just yet, but we're getting there. And wow, does sleep make a big difference in your outlook the next day.
I did go see the counselor today, and it was good. While I had no problem bursting into tears and telling her what I thought my problems were, and from where they stem, I did find it just a little uncomfortable delving into the "why do you feel that way" kind of questions. But it was good.
I understand now that, just like we can grieve the death of a loved one, it's perfectly acceptable to grieve the loss of an experience, of a dream, of a vision in your life. And that's what I've been doing. Perhaps not in the most healthy ways, but I've been grieving the loss of the conception, pregnancy and birth experiences I thought and subconsciously dreamed that I would have.
I've always known I am a bit of a micromanager, a control freak. Not crazy out of control, but it's definelty there, lurking under the surface. And all of these situations, in addition to the babies early birth, hospitalization, leaving my business and job, crazy babies with hectic needs, etc. have left me in a place where I feel I have no control. So I'm thinking about ways I can regain a bit of control in my own life.
Enough of the psychobable. I left the appointment feeling confident, renewed, and forward-looking.
apparently I wasn't backward-looking enough, because I went straight to a friend's house, and promptly mowed down her mailbox with my stupid SUV. Should've kept the fun little VW. Grrrr rrrrrrrr.
Monday, August 14, 2006
The past three or four weeks have been a blur for me. I'm so completely exhausted, subsisting on 3-4 hours of sleep per night and virtually none during the day. I'm not enjoying my babies the way I should be. I feed them, and wish they would just go to sleep. I'm jealous of other people's babies, who coo, reach out, laugh, and return the affection that their mothers give. I'm jealous of the mothers who have it so in control. Who laugh through their exhaustion. I'm jealous of the mothers with one baby.
I'm resentful of my husband, who helps so extraordinarily, and doesn't seem to be affected either way by the exhaustion.
I'm still caught up in the angst about infertility, IVF, bedrest, premature labor, NICU, etc.
I'm unable to ask for help, since I did quit my job after all. Since I did want these babies so badly.
So Wednesday, I'll hash it out and see how that goes.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Sunday, August 06, 2006
So when I'm feeling like I need some 'us' bonding time (or there is screaming that has no end in sight), I'll give up the boob. But otherwise, I'm hooked up to my juicer before or after each daytime feeding and at least twice during the night. And it's okay. I feel so much more confident about how much my babes are eating, and I find comfort in a measurement of ounces, as opposed to minutes.
I've increased their formula feeds from the mandated two for overnight to three, either replacing the breastmilk evening feed or the wee hours of the morning feed. My thought in doing this is that (1) I'm still not making enough milk - more on this later and (2) perhaps heavier formula on their bellies might encourage longer sleep cycles at night.
In regards to (2) above, it's a big N-O. These babes do not sleep more than two hours in the nighttime. I've done all the recommended things to help them sort night from day, and NOTHING WORKS. My mom keeps reminding me to be patient, that although they are more than three months old, their adjusted age is just over one month. And who expects a one-month-old to sleep through the night? Well, a new friend with a three week old cringes with shame whenever I speak of the long, long nights, as her little dumpling has been sleeping seven or so nighttime hours since the very beginning. It can't last, I have to believe. Sleep deprivation is a topic for another time. Another night when I find myself at the laptop at 3 a.m.
I finished my 10-day prescription of Reglan, and I think it had a minimal effect. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow, and ask for one more refill. I'm not sure how much good it will do, production-wise, but I need the encouragement to keep going with the breastfeeding/pumping.
I'm really, really loosing steam. The devil on my shoulder whispers Formula is so easy. It doesn't double my feeding time like pumping does. And it's good for them, right? What's the harm?
The angel on the other shoulder reminds me why I started breastfeeding in the first place. It's the healthiest thing for your babies. They had a rough start...why wouldn't you want to do this for them? You're not working...what else do you really have to do but take care of these babies in the best way possible? Stick through the challenge.
I'm currently telling myself that I need to stick it out to their four months. Which, incidentally, coincides with my pump rental, which expires the second of each month. I haven't bought a pump, as I can't decide what I'm gong to do. I'm hoping that I'll get to four months, and convince myself to go to five. But for now, I'm just going to work towards that one goal.
I've heard my fair share of horrible getting pregnant/infertility as*vice during the past few years. Just relax ... go on vacation ... start the adoption process ... stand on your head... then you'll get pregnant.
And now I can't help but share a few pearls of wisdom I've received during the challenges of this past month:
Why don't we put some maple syrup on your nipple? That should get the baby to latch on.
Your poor daughter is just screaming so loud ... wouldn't the doctor write you a prescription for some phenobarbitol? We used to put it in your father's bottle to calm him down.
My doctor told me that I was too anxious, too nervous. And that my anxiety and nervousness would be transferred to the baby through my breastmilk. That's why I couldn't breastfeed.
Okay, so they're all from older people, but still! Come on!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I was this close (hold thumb and index finger right next to each other) to posting a pic of my gorgeous babies, but I am entirely too paranoid about "outing" myself and my little ones. No one in my "real life" knows about this blog, and I'd like to keep it that way.
So I show you today just part of my little ones. I admire these hands daily and love the way strong, miniature fingers clasp
onto mine as if there is nothing else out there in the world of any more importance.
A big, huge congratulations to Alex on the exciting and sudden arrival of Alejandra. G-orgeous, too!