Thursday, October 22, 2015

Two Months with Twins- It's Much Better Than I Expected

2 mos check up & shots 10/21/15:

weight: 11 lbs. 7 oz. 29th percentile
height: 24" 90th percentile
head circum.: 15.25" 36th percentile.

weight: 8 lbs. 15 oz. 4th percentile
height: 22.25" 40th percentile
head circum.: 14.5" 12th percentile.

It's been two months since we welcomed these little people into our world. It feels like forever ago and yesterday. Today I looked back at photos taken while I was still pregnant and then when we first met Mister Keith and Miss Lauren. They were so puffy at birth it was hard to tell them apart. It's hard to believe that since they look so different.

People ask how it is having twins.

I think it's a lot easier than I thought it would be. Having read too many books on twins, my expectations were pretty horribly low for the first year. They made it sound like I'd be getting 1-2 hours of sleep a night, have difficulty with breastfeeding and supply, and that I'd need to enlist family or hired help for 3-6 months. There was also a lot of advice about putting your kids on the same schedule, starting at birth and doing everything simultaneously. They advised to wake the second twin every time you fed to keep them on the same schedule and tandem feed.

All of that may have been true and useful for other moms, but all it did was serve to scare the crap out of me about having two infants. The books made me feel like I needed to line up family help to make it through each day, and even then it would surely be a hell that I'd have to wade through in order to get to the other side. Maybe when they were one or two or three it would get better.

The first two weeks with them were pretty easy. Our biggest concern was if we should wake them from their naps or not and when. Week three hit and it was what the twins books said it would be. It went terrible. I was up all night several times. Days were challenging. I couldn't get any sleep. I panicked and desperately posted on multiple forums, looking for help and advice. One twin mom sent me a PDF of her book on twins and it had some good advice. It said, "Don't wake the sleeping twin when the other one wakes to feed, otherwise you're just training them to sleep the shortest time." And to stop changing diapers every time they feed. I did that, and we moved the babies into our room and into separate Rock N Plays. When they'd wake up we'd rock them a little to get them back to sleep if we could so they wouldn't be up all night trying to eat. This taught them to sleep longer. I stopped turning on any light and only nursed by phone light to get them attached. I'd burp them sitting up on my leg mostly just rubbing their back instead of slapping it. And then plop them back into their Rock N Plays. Life improved dramatically.

It's been five weeks since then, and not one of the weeks was worse than any other. There's been nights where one only woke up once or not at all, and nights where they were getting up every 1-2 hours. But overall, I'd say they're getting up about three times/night. I go to bed about 9:30 and get up about 7:30AM. I'd guess I'm getting about 7-8 hours of sleep per night. I also don't keep track of how many hours I slept anymore either. That just feeds the fury of sleep deprivation on a bad night. It's better to just move on and assume the next night won't be as bad because it almost never is.

A typical day we wake up at about 7:30 and get new diapers and clothes. The three of us move to the living room for playtime and tummy time for about two hours. Daddy wakes up and comes out to play (he stays up later and does the last diaper change and puts them in a swaddle before I feed them whenever they last wake up at night between 12-2.) We all listen to some music, make coffee and have some breakfast. Then the little guys often fall asleep on us. Sometimes we put them in their beds. Sometimes not.

Later between 11-1, we'll pile the little guys into the BOB stroller and I'll stroll them around town for a couple hours. It's a good way to get out of the house and have fresh air. And good for me to get little errands done. This week we walked to the bakery for bread and met friends, walked to the Albina library to drop off books, and walked up and down Alberta doing other errands. Every day i have a little something to do and we just set off on foot to do it. Much better than being in the car, and we have several months to go before they can try out the bike trailer.

Evenings are more challenging, and we definitely need two people to take care of them. There's more fussing especially Lauren and some crazy body movements and noises especially Keith. We have to do a lot of cuddling at night to keep the house quiet. But, so far we've been fortunate that both babes are not too hard to soothe. If things go south we always could pull out the midnight family car ride but that's only happened once so far.

So twins are hard work, and there's a lot of multitasking, breastfeeding in public and showing people your nipples inadvertently or not. It requires a lot of patience to have two infants, and I'm constantly are giving part of myself. But it's really not that bad at all. In fact, I'm really enjoying it.

this song always reminds me of my dad.

Keith makes so many funny faces. We could never capture them all.

Whoops we lightly rubbed Lauren's cradle cap and made some scabs on her face. :( They're almost cleared up now though. It won't be the first parenting mistake we make.

Keith falls asleep during tummy time most days. He looks so sweet curled up.

After their shots, we snuggled them all night. Here they were sleeping on mommy.

Lauren nursing- she's so funny with her hands.

Snuggling with daddy after shots

Friday, October 2, 2015

Motherhood: 6 Weeks

"A mother's body against a child's body makes a place. It says you are here. Without this body against your body there is no place. I envy people who miss their mother. Or miss a place or know something called home."  - Eve Ensler, In the Body of the World.

Silent but for the birds squawking outside and a hush of a breath from sweet Lauren cozied up in my lap, sleepy after her morning breakfast. Keith is back in the bedroom, secure in his rock and play bassinet that we keep next to our bed. He was the early riser today and snuggled into my arms while I ate two bowls of peanut butter cereal for breakfast. We looked out the window at the park. I'm an expert at making an Americano with a baby in my arms. (And picking up and holding two babies in any order, in any location, for any reason.)

Both of you are becoming more alert. You self-entertain so well, laying on the floor for an hour or two each day together or alone, depending on your moods. Mostly steering your eyes around the room, looking in wonder (I think) at the standard objects that populate our tiny house. Often it's the fan on the ceiling (yes it needs cleaning, little ones!) or the pictures on the way (that is your crazy grandma Kathy standing with the bearded men in the tutus).

Occasionally a smile escapes your little mouths that appears to be reactionary, but as of yet, I don't think you really know how to control it. Laughter and smiles punctuate the breathing noises of a good nap. I wonder if you are dreaming of milk or mommy or daddy or what. If only I could know what you think. I can't help but wonder what the future brings when we can share words.

We're fortunate for now-you're both pretty easy to soothe and sweet little babies. When things seem most out of control, I'll wrap you both in a little fleece blanket and pile you into my arms together. The three of us as one again, and you both quiet right down. Mommy's getting very strong arms these days.

Mornings are my favorite. After a night of sleep (no matter how little), the delusions of exhaustion depart from my system, and I'm able to start anew a day of drifting around with my little ones. It's a full time job, fulfilling for at least 95% of the time, only in the evening when I'm tired and patience is waning that I wish for some reprieve.

Often I think, "I can't believe I have two infants." But then I can't imagine not having one of you. All those years where I proclaimed I didn't want children, and now here I am with you two little sweet peas. I never knew what I thought I didn't want would be so good.

So six weeks down, and twelve weeks to go on my maternity leave. I'm thankful we're only at the one-third mark and not the halfway mark into the leave. I don't want to think about going back to work and leaving you at home with someone else. But for two or three days a week, I can do it. It might even make me a better mama.

"Super mama," people call me when I'm out and about with the two of you alone. Almost every day we go for a one to two hour stroller ride, to the grocery store or Extracto coffee. Sometimes it's in the car to the doctor or Target. I don't feel super or better or anything. I'm just doing what I have to do, and what I love to do. Which is to take care of and love you as much as I can. We are having a great time together, the three of us. Those mamas who have more kids than me or twins and other kids, they seem like the ones who need a reward. But I appreciate the kudos- it lifts me up.

So six weeks you've been here with us. What a delight it's been (except for week three which was pretty tough!) I'm so happy you were freed from my tummy so we could meet and grow together.

The little Charlies are breaking free

Grandma Kathy's sleepsacks make them insta sleepy

 Dressed like twins for once
 Waiting for a feeding, little sweetie fell asleep

 Snuggling Keith (his favorite position)

Tummy time

 This is what it's like to shop at Target without the double stroller. Not bad.
 Funny babies!
Snuggling Lauren (her favorite position)