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.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What We Love

We love this book. "We" being MyBoy and MyGirl. I, on the other hand, am sick to death of it. They bring me this book every naptime, every time we play in their room, every bedtime. They will cry and scream and protest, unless I read it through. Many, many times over.

“This baby wants her mommy … ma ma!” “This baby is hungry … yum yum!” "This baby is hiding ..... peekaboo!" “This mama wants a break … yahoo!”

As the pages are slowly disintegrating, and are dutifully repaired with white duct tape, I realize ( hope! ) that perhaps it will one day be unrepairable. Because we have many, many more baby-picture books waiting in the wings.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

MyGirl and MyBoy are getting very good at following some basic instructions. I almost can't believe that they actually understand me ... it's like I thought they'd be infantile forever.

They can touch their noses, clap their hands, "wash" their hair, find their belly and a few other things. Amazingly, I thought it was great that they can take their wrapped up diapers to the diaper pail (the non-poopy ones, of course).

Until this:

While I wish that they had just put their wrapped-up diapers in the Diaper Champ, it was not so. It was sippy cup and Green Frog. Nice.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Two Evils?

Wow. The 11 a.m. viewing hour in my area has two main network choices: Rachel Ray or The View. I'm usually not watching television at this hour, but due to our nap-in-flux schedule, I've found myself checking email, doing dishes, folding laundry, getting lunch prepared, or something equally thrilling.

I started watching RR when the babes were little, and they had an 11 a.m. feeding. They'd be propped in their bouncy seats, me perched in between with a bottle in each hand. Enjoying 20 minutes or so of uninterrupted gab and cooking. I immediately started to tire of RR and her bountiful enthusiasm for, like, everything!! Including her dog! Oprah! EVOO! Yum-o, everyone!

Now I've never watched The View. I never understood why Bawbwa Wawa annoyed so many people, why Rosie was good/moderately bad/evil, and what the heck is up with Elizabeth?

I sit here trying out The View, and poor Martin Sheen is plopped down in the middle of four catty, catty ladies, looking every bit as uncomfortable as I'm sure he feels. I can't watch .... what are these women even talking about?...It just sounds like blah, blah, blah, blah.

Ugg. Back to RR. Ohh... cute {but dead} guy from Grey's Anatomy. And Weeds. Yum-o!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Quest for the Perfect Lunchblock*

Subtitle: Healthy food that toddlers might each.

Seriously, I came across Julie's eureka! idea* for a toddler-friendly pasta that is easy to self-feed when I was reading Emma B.'s great post about her fruitful morning in the kitchen. It's been in my head for a few weeks, and I finally got the stuff together to get it done yesterday.

And I'm so disappointed ... I can't figure out what I did wrong. Well, I might know, but I could use some hints from anyone who's been successful in the creating of the ideal Lunchblock.

First try: Using a generic brand wagon-wheel pasta and a name-brand Alfredo pasta sauce. I crammed the leftovers into a container and waited. Of course, it fell apart when I tried to slice it. Should've followed Julie's directions.

Second try: I purchased a variety of Annie's shells and cheese, and for this attempt, I used the Mild Mexican flavored one. Of course, I assumed that it is created like any other mac & cheese, so I returned the cooked and drained shells to the pan, added the milk and butter, and poured on the powder. I stirred it all up and added some peas, then shoved it in a container. When I found excess space in the container, I stuffed a piece of bread on top and pressed the lid on. Surely it should've worked ... right? Well, it certainly took on the block shape, and sliced well, but fell apart when the babes tried to eat it. Tons of little shells all over the place.

So I guess I should've followed the cooking instructions, and omitted the peas, which might have impeded the stickiness of it all.

Third Try: I did it all right ... this time I went for the tried-and-true orange cheddar variety, and eschewed any veggie add-ins. I followed the directions religiously, adding the prescribed amount of milk and butter, mixing the sauce separately, and pouring on top of the cooked shells, then mixing it up.

I stuffed a container in the same manner, and yes, it was a great block. Great shape, slices, chunks. I was so excited that I'd found the perfect, easy meal ... and alas, it fell apart in their fingers. Now I have little pieces of orange and white shells dotting my dining room carpet. Yes, I know I should vacuum. Or get a dog.

But really, what am I doing wrong? I did use whole milk vs. skim, and I added 1 tsp butter vs. the 2 that's recommended on the box, but that couldn't be it, could it? Now I feel very challenged to figure this out ...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Rh Factor & Miscarriage

A quick posting with some bad news and hopes of help from anyone who may have experience ...
My dear, sweet sister has had her second miscarriage in 10 years. She has no children, and was not planning any pregnancies, but was excited at the prospect.

I'm piecing together the details, as we haven't spoken in depth, but while at the hospital enduring a D&C, they told her she was Rh negative. She is overwhelmed, crushed, scared ...

Does anyone have any expereinces or resources I can share with her? What does this mean for her future and hopefully, planned pregnancies? My computer is being wanky and slow and incompaible for searching.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Bottles & Nipples & Pumps, Oh My!

I started to write a comment to answer Hopeful Mother's questions about bottles and such, and realized it'd be better addressed here, rather than writing a book in the comments.

Let me preface my advice with the disclaimer that different things work for different babies. What worked for my twins might be wrong for yours. You often have to try out different brands, products, etc. before you find what works for you.

And obviously, breastfeeding makes all of this a moot point, and is totally ideal. But I'll be honest. Many (not all) mothers of twins find exclusively breastfeeding twins to be an exhausting and daunting task and find that supplementing (either with pumped milk or formula) gives a little bit of respite. I breastfed / pumped for four months, and still ended up with all this stuff!

Hopeful Mother sounds pretty darn prepared. I had one bottle 'starter kit' and that was it, as I didn't anticipate preemies that couldn't nurse and five weeks in the NICU.

I started with plain old Avent bottles, and really liked them. I bought an "adapter kit," made by Avent, that let me pump directly into the bottles. (I used a hospital grade Medela pump). I started out with the small size (4 oz), wide-necked bottles, and moved up to the larger 8-oz bottles as needed. All the caps/nipples work with both.

I had two very gassy babies, and one with really bad reflux, and when it finally got really bad, I was willing to try anything. Enter the slender Dr. Brown's bottles, which are reputed to alleviate gas/air bubbles. I found that they absolutely helped with my twins' symptoms. However ... it's a bit like setting up a crack lab, what with all the bottles, tubes, stoppers, etc. These bottles take the smaller, standard size nipples.

Personally, I preferred using the Avent bottles for a number of reasons. (1) They were easier to hold on to, and I imagine once the babies were old enough, they'd be easy for them to hold on to, also. (2) Avent makes more accessories, like the pump adapters, sippy cup inserts, etc. (3) It was easier to mix formula right in the Avent bottle, since it's roomier. (4) Less parts to wash! (in comparison to the Dr. Browns). But then again, they just didn't work for gassy, refluxy babies.

I think it's absolutely okay to use second-hand bottles, just make sure to run them through the 'sanitize' cycle on your dishwasher before use. I might invest in new nipples, though, just to be on the safe side, and make sure I'm using the right flow levels -- it's awful hard to read the tiny numbers imprinted on the side of the nipple.

In terms of pacifiers, I consider myself lucky. They started the babies on the very small Soothie pacifiers in the NICU, and they came in handy ... whenever they had to do a potentially painful or uncomfortable procedure on the babies (inserting a pik line or something similar), they dipped the pacifier in a glucose solution, and it calmed/distracted the babies. One nurse called it "morphine for preemies."

They came home with the pacifiers, and used them to go to sleep and to soothe. But they were rarely disturbed or awoken when the pacifier fell out .. it never was a problem. We never had "nipple confusion" problems. And then one day, it just wasn't necessary anymore, and away they went. Maybe around five or six months old? But regardless, during the time they used them, I stocked up so that I had at least four at any given time or location.

So, I think that answers all Hopeful Mother's questions (and probably more than she wanted to know). In my opinion (and in hindsight), I think the best advice is to be prepared, and be open to trying different things. I think this applies to breastfeeding, pumping, and bottle feeding, but also to how you raise your child/children in general. We all think we're going to do things a certain way, and maybe we will. Maybe we won't. Maybe we'll learn from our experiences, and those of all the mothers before us, try things that are beyond our comfort zone, and stretch ourselves. Because children do nothing if not make us more than flexible.

Monday, July 09, 2007

What NOT TO DO When You're Expecting Twins

Do not feel the need to stock up on every possible brand of bottle. Every possible size nipple. Every existing design of pacifier. Any potential sippy cup your child might like. And whatever you do, please resist the plethora of bottles, bags, etc. that they give you when discharging your babies from the NICU.

Once your twins are home, and you feel housebound, yet at the same time yearning to see other members of the adult human race, and perhaps drooling at the mouth just to have a civil conversation with a checkout clerk, do not, I repeat, DO NOT go to T*rget and buy the afore mentioned items in even larger quantities, just in case you need more. If you find yourself exhausted and tired of washing bottles around the clock, DO NOT think that having even more, so that you only have to wash them every other day, is acceptable.

Because if you do not heed my warnings, you'll find yourself, 14 months later, in the odd position of, not having yet decided if these two delightful toddlers are enough to satisfy your maternal urges or if perhaps you might like to take another ride on the mind-bending roller coaster called INFERTILITY, IVF, and DEALING WITH NEWBORN(S), figuring out what the hell to do with all this paraphernalia.

Alas, you will pack it up, carefully organized and labeled, and decide that this is a decision better left to another day.

For your consideration: