Thursday, September 30, 2010

The boys' first trip

Last week our family and both sets of grandparents took a trip to Kerrville, TX to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23). The decision to go with such young newborns was last minute, but I was stir crazy and felt they were old enough to be around people (5.5 weeks old). The trip would have been a 5 hour drive with no stops, but ended up being around 6.5 hours by the time we stopped to nurse TWICE. (In the car with a nursing cover, then my mom changed diapers in the front seat with a diaper changing pad. It was quite an operation) We took my parents' van, which made things a LOT easier than if we had taken a smaller car.

Once we got to Kerrville, things were actually easier for me than when I am home, because both sets of grandpaernts were around to help out, almost 24/7! My parents had an adjoining room to ours, and both grandmas were willing to help out at all hours of the night. Not to mention that with twins, an extra pair of hands to hold a crying baby or change a diaper helps a lot! It can mean the difference between pulling your hair out and a little bit of sanity :)

Here is me, the babies, and my nursing pillow in the backseat of my parents' van on the way over.
Me, Alan and our boys by the Guadalupe River. Matthew's expression here cracks me up, because he was actually about to fill his diaper right on my shoulder when this picture was taken. We didn't get my "after expression" lol.

Me and the boys by some pretty flowers while walking back from the Guadalupe. The boys were so good on the walk... as long as they were in their stroller.


Me, Alan & the boys by a waterfall at the resort. The boys are comfortably in their carrier/Moby wrap.

We had a great time, and I was sad we came back early (we had planned to come back early when we thought it would be too much with the twins to go for a full week.) It may have been harder on the extended family, but I was having a blast (especially having so much help!) :)
A few funny moments from our trip:
--When Alan & I were "wearing" the twins in the carrier & Moby wrap, a lady stopped and asked us how old our baby was. Of course we answered 5.5 weeks. She was only looking at Alan's baby, she didn't hear Alan say they were twins. Finally Alan said, "the other baby is over there," pointing at me. She said, "oh, I thought she was pregnant!" Pregnant? THAT pregnant with a 5.5 week old baby also?? Yikes!
--A girl about 10 years old asked me if my babies were wearing clothes when they came out of me. lol
Overall it was a great trip, and I'm glad we went!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My 6 Week Postpartum Checkup Adventure

Matthew

Adam
Yes, adventure. That is how all trips outside the house have been like now that the twins are here.

(We also recently took a trip 5 hours away with the twins.. (we must be crazy) but I will blog/post pictures about that when I have more time)

First, I love my doctor, but a lot of other people must too because she is known for her long wait times. Like 1-2 hour waits. Regularly. Since my babies eat about every 2 hours, I panicked a little.. since as I mentioned in a previous post.. I've never tandem breastfed in public, and they usually wake up at the same time. (I may be able to do this as my boys grow, but we're not ready yet).

So my solution was to bring my precious expressed breastmilk and bottle feed one while I breastfed the other (precious because it takes me about 3 days to pump one bottle!) Both of my parents came with me. And both babies were awake almost the whole time we were at the doctor. So my mom fed Matthew a little over 2 ounces by bottle, and guess what? He was completely happy until his next feed. That was his first bottle feed that completely replaced a breastfeed. I breastfed Adam right after my appointment, and then pumped the other side in the car (so I didn't really lose 3 days of pumping after all).

I thought Matthew might miss being close to his mommy for one feed, but he didn't even care! The little stinker just wants his food after all ;)

Since both babies were happy, my parents & I were able to go out to eat while the babies slept. We had a nice time. Then by the time we got back, the babies were due to eat again. And the cycle started again :)

The checkup went great. It was nice seeing my doctor again, and she said everything looks great.
And since I haven't posted this yet, here are Adam & Matthew's one month weights:
Adam: 7 pounds 7 ounces
Matthew: 7 pounds 6.5 ounces.

I think now they are close to 8 pounds. They are getting so big! Almost 3 pounds heavier than when they were born, and it shows!! They are just getting more and more adorable though.

Friday, September 17, 2010

One month birthday - Part II

As you got older, you started to have more periods of being awake. (Not just for feeds, but after feeds as well). We started to play with you more, and both of you started to focus on our faces and on toys. Your neck, arm and leg muscles became stronger as we introduced tummy time. It was exciting to see you develop! You started getting a log bigger. Your legs, once so scrawny & thin were filling out, along with your tummy, arms, and well, pretty much everything else! We introduced the swing and the bouncy chair when you were around 2 weeks old, and you both loved them. You almost love them more than us holding you! I'm glad we found something that will put you both to sleep easily though.

You've gone on lots of walks since you came home. You love being outside, the warm air puts you right to sleep! Your grandparents on my side love coming with us so they can see you :)Here you are in your nifty snap n go stroller. Matthew in front. Adam in back.
You are still eating every 2-3 hours. Some nights you will go every 3 hours all night, but some nights you decide you are too hungry for that, and only wait 2 hours for your next feed. (That means only about 1 hour of sleep between feeds for Mommy.) I am hoping you decide to sleep longer stretches at night soon!
Here are the birthday boys sleeping on the nursing pillow. Matthew on left. Adam on right.
And after diaper changes, they were not happy to be laid down for a photo instead of being promptly swaddled. Adam on left (he had a clothing change), Matthew on right. (You can see how big they are getting.) I also assigned them colors. Matthew always wears blue and green, and Adam wears all of the other colors.
Ahh... that's better :)

This has been one of the most life changing, tough and rewarding months I have ever had. Happy one month birthday to my precious twin sons!

One Month Birthday - Part I

Happy one month birthday Adam & Matthew. Even though taking care of twins is harder than I thought it would be, I wouldn't trade the two of you for anything. I love both of you so much already. Here are a few of my memories of our time together.

On August 16th, I went to L & D after my doctor's appointment. I was in labor and didn't know it... This is as big as I got with the two of you inside!
Adam was born 8/17 at 1:38am weighing 5 pounds and 18.9 inches.
Matthew was born 8/17 at 1:40am weighing 5 pounds 3 ounces and 17.7 inches.
You were exactly 37 weeks according to the doctor. (I believe you were 36.3 weeks though).
You both were pretty nice to Mommy as far as labor & delivery went (see my birth story). I was so happy the two of you were finally on the outside, and so healthy! Both of you had dark brown hair and blue-grey eyes. You looked a lot alike! You were the most beautiful babies I had seen, and I don't think it's just because I'm biased. You were so small and perfect!

Here you are in your hospital bassinets. Matthew is on the left, Adam on the right. You were so sleepy the first few weeks. You always woke up to eat right on schedule, but you went right back to sleep afterwards. You were late preterms, so your eyes didn't quite focus on us quite yet, but you were very alert when you did wake up. At first we had to look at your hospital bands to tell you two apart, but then we started noticing differences between the two of you. Adam had a wider face and had more of an olive complexion. Matthew had a more narrow face with a redder complexion. We didn't get much sleep those first few days in the hospital.
We finally took you home on 8/19, and I was so excited that you were finally home with me, after waiting so long. I don't think I realized just how much time and attention you two would need from me, but we learned together how to take care of both of you. At 12 days old, Heather came to do a photoshoot of the two of you:

Here is Matthew & me.
Our family:

Alan & Adam.


The two of you cuddling. Matthew on his side. Adam on his back.
Me and Adam:
The two of you don't really notice each other yet, but you definitely don't mind being near each other. You don't flinch when I lay you next to each other and someone's arm ends up in the other's face. Here is Adam latching on to Matthew's elbow:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tummy Time

So I've advanced tummy time from just placing the boys on our chest to placing them on their stomachs in their cribs or on the floor. I am probably not doing this enough, but I'm trying at least once a day. Look how strong they're getting:


video
And here they are getting tired:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breastfeeding Twins



The Beginning...
Almost the first thing our little babies did in this world was breastfeed. They latched on for about 30 minutes each. It was so adorable. Their little eyes were open and looking around. They were so tiny.. born 3 weeks early at just 5 pounds and 5 pounds 3 ounces. But you couldn't tell they were early or small by the way they latched on & ate to their hearts content. However, they did begin breathing fast & grunting shortly after they were born, so after they breastfed they were moved to the NICU for observation for about 8 hours. I missed them soo much, and I worried about how breastfeeding would go with this separation. Thankfully, I was able to breastfeed them once while they were in the NICU.. about 5 hours after they first fed. Our second attempt together was not as smooth as the first feed, mainly because they were not as awake. Eventually both babies ate for about 20 minutes. I was thankful for this, becuase I didn't want the NICU to have any excuse to keep them.


The First 48 Hours
At around 10am the morning after they were born, the babies had resolved their breating issues & graduated from the NICU to the newborn nursery, so they were able to room in with me. And wow, I was not prepared for the amount of work feeding two babies would be! In the hospital I fed the twins one at a time, while we all learned what we were doing. However, this took up nearly all of my time, and I went about 36 hours without sleep. The only way we actually did sleep a few hours was by telling the nurses not to let anyone in our room.. and sending the babies to the nursery for a couple hours until their next feed. I was so sleep deprived that I wasn't able to enjoy my new babies as much as I would have liked. That's when I decided I HAD to tandem breastfeed.

The First Month
The twins will be 4 weeks old tomorrow, and I'm happy to say breastfeeding is going much more smoothly than those first few days in the hospital! I wasn't able to tandem breastfeed more than once or twice in the hospital, but once we all got home I almost exclusively tandem fed. I learned to do it on my own by always using a couch or futon to breastfeed on. I place the twins beside me on the couch while I strap on my (huge, twin-size) nursing pillow. Then I place the babies on the pillow one at a time. Then I latch one, and then the other, both in the football hold. (The picture above shows the general position I use.) When they are both done, I burp them one at a time and then put them down on the couch. Then I change them & put them to sleep.

Sometimes I feel like I am missing out on all the more comfortable positions for breastfeeing... like side lying or the cradle hold. I do use these on occasion when only one is fussing, but the convenience of having both babies fed in the same amount of time as one far outweighs my desire to use any alternative positions.

I have been able to use a nursing cover, so I can nurse when company is around. (Yay.. for a while I just hid out in the nursery when anyone came over because it took me a few weeks to even feel comfortable enough to try the cover. I was about to go crazy from being so isolated from everyone.) I haven't actually nursed in public though. I am thinking it is going to be impossible to tandem feed in public, because of the need for the nursing pillow. That's not something that is exactly discreet in a restaurant or a mall. From everything I read from other twin moms, they either nurse them one at a time, or bring bottles for both, or have dad bottle feed one while one nurses.

The hardest part of nursing has been that I am responsible for all the feeds 24/7. I haven't missed one since they have been born, and it gets pretty tiring! I am working on pumping. I would LOVE to get a huge supply in the freezer, so that I could easily have someone else feed them as needed. However... I have had issues pumping much milk after they twins eat. I am working on it though.. I have 9 ounces in the freezer. I don't want to use any of it until I have enough for the first day I go back to work though. Which by the time I go back to work.. I am estimating I will need 24 ounces for the entire 12 hours for both babies. Yikes!!

Ultimately I do believe breastfeeding twins is the easiest (and healthiest) way to feed them. It beats giving them bottles separately.. and dealing with one crying while the other is eating!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Birth Story!

Well I have been absent from blogger for a couple of weeks, but I have a good excuse! Our twin sons were born August 17th at 1:38am and 1:40am.

I had been having contractions during my pregnancy from about 23 weeks on, so I didn't think Too much of it when a few of my contractions were slightly more painful & crampy. They began to feel like this about 2 weeks before I delivered, but I didn't mention it to my doctor. My main concern when going to my 36 week appointment (on August 16th) was discussing not getting my membranes stripped (see my previous post).

At my appointment, my OB checked my cervix and asked, "how far along do you think you are?" I told her I didn't know. She let me know I was already 4cm dilated. This meant I was already in labor and "didn'tknow it." (So no need to strip my membranes). She wanted to send me down to L & D right then. I was hesitant, because I didn't feel like my contractions were regular yet. However, my doctor talked me into it.. by saying I shouldn't be laboring long at home with twins. If I came in 8cm dilated in the middle of the night, they would have to hurry to set everything up, etc.. and it wouldn't be as safe for the second twin (who would come out by breech extraction).

So.. I shakily told her I would go to L & D. Completely in shock.. I thought I had another week or two left (even though I had made it to 36.6 weeks with twins). My mom had come with me to my appointment, so I let her know what was going on, and we both called our husbands. Then we walked across the street to the hospital. (It was a very anti climactic trip to the hospital I must say.. for actually being in labor).

I got checked in to L & D, IV started, blood drawn & hooked up to fetal & contraction monitors. The contractions were coming every 5 minutes exactly, and I was only feeling about 1/3 of them! This was around 3pm. About 5pm, my OB broke my water & hooked baby A up to an internal monitor. I was still around 4cm then, and still not in pain. Several hours later I was 4-5cm and started on a small dose of Pitocin. I kept expecting my contractions to get painful, since my water was broken & pitocin started.. but they still felt like my contractions from the last few weeks. (Only slightly more painful than the contractions I had been having for months!) Several more hours passed.. by this time both sets of parents had arrived, along with my younger brother and a couple of our friends. I still wasn't feeling much pain at all, but I knew I needed to get the epidural because of the breech extraction (and the possibility of an emergency c-section for twin B). I really didn't want to get the epidural without feeling a few really good contractions though. I felt like that would be cheating the whole process! (Plus the epidural scared me)

I did end up feeling about 5 really good contractions before I got the epidural. Getting the epidural was probably the worst part of the labor. I lost count of how many times they tried to get the needle in, but it was at least 4 or 5. At one point, I told her to stop trying.. I needed a break. My husband was so wonderful during this part, he let me squeeze his hand really hard, and he didn't tell me how horrible the needle looked, haha. My labor nurse was also really good. Once the epidural was in though, it acted really fast. I can only describe it as if my legs suddently felt "warm and fuzzy". I didn't feel any more contractions after this. About 3 hours after the epidural, I had gone from 5cm to 8-9cm. (I napped during this time.. so I kind of did cheat my way through the labor). My nurse told me to let her know if I felt an urge to push & she would check me again. Well... I was really worried I wouldn't feel the urge since I had an epidural. I kept saying.. I think I may feel Something. She eventually checked me again at around 12:50am, and I was fully dilated. She called the doctor, the anesthetist, the NICU team (they had told me they would be outside the OR as a courtesy), and a few other people while they prepared the OR for the delivery of the twins! I don't know why, but it still didn't feel real to me!

The doctor arrived around 1:20am or so, and I was wheeled to the OR & moved to the OR bed. (Alan was with me in his surgical hat, shoes, and outfit). There were tons of people in the room, but I was mainly just focused on my doctor, the labor nurse, and Alan.

I had no idea what I was doing when it came to pushing, my my doctor & nurse were really good about instructing me on what to do. I couldn't feel my contractions, so I told them to let me know when to push. I had no trouble actually pushing though once I got the technique down. I pushed through about 5 contractions, and pushed out our little Adam! It was a strange sensation giving birth to a baby.. and I still yelled as he came out even though I had the epidural. My first thought when he came out was that he was too tiny to be 6 lbs. (He ended up being just 5lbs 0ozs.) Alan cut the umbilical cord, and that sent blood spraying around the OR.. sone even landed on my eyelid, so I have blood on my face in some of the OR pictures... haha.

Matthew's birth was a little less straight forward. He was breech and my doctor reached in & grabbed his feet & pulled him out. I started to push, but my doctor told me not to do anything.. to just relax (that's why I needed the epidural). According to Alan, she pulled, turned, pulled, and turned the baby until everything was out but his head. Then she called in the NICU team, while the head was still inside. That scared me because I wasn't sure if something was seriously wrong with getting the baby out. She used piper forceps to get the head out, and kind of flipped the baby out onto my stomach. He was born 2 minutes after Adam, but it was the longest 2 minutes of my life! The baby was blue, so the NICU team gave him some blow by oxygen & he was fine.

Next I delivered the huge placenta, which felt like delivering another baby! I watched as the babies were cleaned up & given to Alan. After the doctor was finished with me, they handed me the babies, and we took a few pictures before being wheeled back to the labor room. The grandparents were there to take pictures as we went back to our room. :)

(The babies are hungry now.. so I will continue with the rest of the hospital story in a different post)