Friday, February 26, 2010

More Baby Wearing

Some of you asked for a photo of the baby wearing. We went out again on Wednesday with me wearing Grunter in the Moby. You have to look really close, but there is a spot of baby you can see. I swear he had plenty of room to breathe, there is a big open 'pocket' at the top. He was as happy as can be!

I walked more than I've dared since the C section--1.3 miles round trip! We walked all the way to the big box baby store where we had to return a few gifts. I also bought my very first nursing bra! Yeah, I know almost 5 weeks into took me awhile. I do have a nursing tank, but I only wear that when we have visitors. Otherwise, I've been sporting the 'hiking up my tank top' look. Not ideal, but it works.

I'm really glad we got out that day--for an hour and 1/2--because it was snowy and rainy all day yesterday and now for the next couple of days we are looking at nothing but snow, snow, snow and freezing cold temperatures. We will not be venturing out with the babies in this weather. Thank god we can get everything delivered.

I am still at the tail end of this very bad, never ending cold and it's hit Chicken full force. It has been really hard splitting the duties when both of us just want to sleep. I think she's a bit luckier because she gets to take cold medicine and I could only suck on cough drops. Either way, we are both more than ready to stop the coughing and feeling crappy.
Getting sick and twin baby wrangling do not mix!

Is it Spring yet? I'm ready for long walks, farmer's markets, shopping for gorgeous organic produce and having time to make some healthy meals, ready for our CSA farm share to begin and ready for some warmer weather. Oh can't get here soon enough.
Chicken Mommy wearing Whoop Whoop inside. I snapped a gas smile!
Me wearing Grunter in the Moby Wrap

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

New Pediatrician, One Month Check Up, Baby Wearing and Public Transport

Best to just get jump in and try to cover everything! I've got a "Dear Boys" one month letter in the making, but damn, finding the time to finish it is escaping me.

The boys turned one month a few days ago. I still can't believe it. I read back on a few of my posts and already what I'm describing from just a few weeks ago is so blurry and fuzzy. It seems so long ago and yet it has passed by so quickly.

Two days ago, I decided that I felt good enough after 4 weeks post C Section that I would give baby wearing a try. Chicken has been out and about a couple of times in the ergo w/ the infant insert and in the house she often calms a fussy baby (usually Whoop Whoop) in the Moby wrap.
I felt bad that Grunter wasn't been worn as often and also....I was jealous that Chicken was hand's free and mobile.

Let's face it. At this point, I am (almost) nothing but a milk maid. I sit on one spot on the couch with my double breast feeding pillow and then I move to the recliner to pump. I do this anywhere from 8-12 times a day. One day it was 14 times. FOURTEEN feedings.
I never feel too mobile. In fact, what I feel is my ass spreading on this couch by the day and I'm more than a little bit anxious to get back my mobility and strength.
As I was put on modified bed rest for over 6 weeks pre-birth and have been told nothing strenuous and no exercise for 6 weeks post birth--well, that's THREE months of not doing much of anything. As someone who is very physically active, this is making me a bit crazy.

I've gone out for short walks when I can. But that hasn't been many (3? 4?). Just getting out of the house is a giant undertaking when their feeding schedule is so unpredictable. Last week, I didn't leave the house for SIX days. Not a single step out of the front door.

Monday, I tried on the Ergo, popped a baby inside, realized Chicken already had the Moby on and we looked at each other all wide eyed and said "Let's go somewhere!"
Now, we could have done this with the stroller as well. And we have. Twice. I don't know why, but it's just so much easier to be wearing them than to do the stroller out the door.
So, off we went--not only to the post office, but the drug store as well! Ooh la la! Both of these are within a 2 block distance of our apartment, but god, the freedom. The mobility!

The next day was the one month check up with our new pediatrician. As you may recall, we weren't really digging our first choice. The office was not as near as I thought nor as easy to get to as I thought. There was no direct line of public transport to get there which left us hauling car seats in and out of cabs. (Well, I didn't do any hauling, so it was very hard on the Chicken.)
It was also across town and the cross town traffic is a nightmare. One day we paid almost $20 to get home and that is crazy combined with the $10 ride to get there and the $80 co-pay.

In addition, the office was down a flight of narrow stairs in a brownstone building. Very hard with twins and I couldn't imagine doing this myself someday. They have no stroller parking inside which means you have to lock up your (expensive) stroller on the side walk outside and carry two babies down the stairs. In the snow or the rain. The office was tiny, the rooms were tiny....oh and we didn't like the Doctor.
If you are going to charge us twice because yes, we have 2 patients, then we'd better get double the time--which we never did.
She gave me horrible advice about breast feeding (I know, she's not a lactation consultant, but still...) and while we had brought up some issues with Whoop Whoop twice, (he coughs while feeding, pushes himself off, is a fusspot) she was always very dismissive and said everything was perfectly fine. No problems.

We wanted to change to another practice after our very first visit, but due to insurance, we couldn't change and have it covered until their one month check up. Hello one month. You couldn't come soon enough.
Our new practice is much bigger, with many doctors, which initially I balked at, but now I'm happy with. We were assigned a doctor that has consistently been rated one of the best pediatricians in the city and the offices are just a block away from NYU Medical Center. All of the doctors are NYU affiliated, the office is 15 minutes closer to our house, there is an elevator, indoor stroller parking, a sick waiting room and a well waiting room, there are weekend appointments for sick visits, and the waiting area is spacious with plenty of toys for kids.
I can walk up here with the stroller in 20-25 minutes. I could do this by myself when Chicken goes back to work.
I have no idea why this was not our first choice. I think I was swayed by "West Village" versus "Murry Hill". I guess that makes me a neighborhood snob.
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.

The day of our appointment, the forecast called for rain and I simply could not bear the thought of another episode of 'put the baby in the car seat, hail a cab and baby wrangle in and out of a NYC taxi', I suggested we both wear a baby and take the bus (it's still too far for me to walk right now).
Toot Toot. That's my personal horn.
That was a fucking awesome idea. I loved it and I felt so...normal! Somehow we both managed to shower yesterday morning, do a feeding right before we left, grab a baby and an umbrella and hop on the bus. Good thing I held on to my maternity coat. It was perfect to fit around the Moby.
It was the first day where I felt like the haze of the newborn Ground Hog day was lifting.
Not to mention all of the babies in the waiting room were fussy fussy fusspots having been taken out of their strollers, but our babies...? Quiet and content all nestled into the wraps and carriers.

And our new Pediatrician? LOVED him! He thought it was so cool that I carried Chicken's eggs and he heartily laughed at my joke "I get to say my wife knocked me up! You don't get to say that very often". Yes, I am a giant dork.
He spent well over 30 minutes with us, talked to us about everything from developmental milestones, delays, daily schedules, feedings, you name it. Our old doctor basically weighed them, declared they'd gained weight and left the room. No wait, the nurse weighed them. Our old doctor looked at the chart.

He declared that they are fine looking boys, thriving in every way and perfect. He listened to our concerns about Whoop Whoop and determined he has reflux...which is what WE had suspected for the last two weeks. Poor guy has been so fussy and now he has Zantac which he should have been given weeks ago.
Despite his reflux, Whoop Whoop is a good little eater and is chunking up quite nicely.
He has gone from his birth weight of 5 lbs, 3 oz to 6 lbs, 15 oz in one month!
Grunter is not far behind with birth weight of 4 lbs, 15 oz and is now 6 lbs, 5 oz!
They are both starting to really look like normal little babies instead of wrinkly old men. Although I'm sure to those of you with 8 and 9 lb newborns, they still look incredibly tiny!

I had been worried about my milk supply and if they were getting enough from breast feeding (plus one bottle of formula at night). I guess the answer is yes! I have been really, really hard on myself in regards to the breast feeding, but after a emergency tear-filled call to my lactation consultant after reading this post and then seeing their weight gains, I have been assured by all parties I am doing an excellent job and to go a bit easier on myself. It's the hormones. They make you crazy.

And one last bonus...the boys went for 3 hours in between feedings yesterday!!! OMG. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We made it through the first month and already I see great changes. We are going to make it!

PS--Please send healthy vibes to Chicken. Two days ago, she caught my cold and is feeling like extreme crap. I am feeling better, but I need Chicken. We cannot do this without Chicken.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dirty Little Ditty

We like to make up songs and sing them to the twins.

This is my newest breastfeeding song which I swear I did not set out to make it sound like the dirtiest song ever....but when I sang it to Chicken I realized it was! Hee.

"Suck, suck and swallow
Don't bite it!
Just suck it!
Suck, suck and swallow
And you'll grow up big and strong

They are like hungry little animals when they breast feed. No matter how exhausted I am (and oh how I am especially since I've been sick now for...this is the 6th day) when I get them latched on and see their dark little eyes wide open, hear their little baby animal noises, the grunts and swallowing...well, it really is just about the best thing in the world.
I really do love breastfeeding them, even though sometimes I cry on top of their heads because I'm so tired of doing it over and over and over.
I am just waiting for the day when they consistently go 3 hours in between feeds and not the unpredictable hour and 1/2. Three hours. Ah, that would be nice.
But they are gaining weight and growing so big.
We are so happy.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Inducing Lactation in the Other Mother

Who has done this?
What method did you use?
How long did it take for the milk to come in?

You might guess where we're going with this.....
Yesterday while holding Grunter, our little Barracuda decided to lunge out and latch onto Chicken (they were enjoying some naked Kangaroo care) and now...she's wondering about breastfeeding as she'd really like to do this, too.
There's also an SSRI in question, but I'm doing research to figure that one out.

Thanks for any information--there's a lot out there but I'd like to hear from some women who have done this first hand.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sometimes We Sleep

We are so tiny, even our socks are too big...!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Foie Gras

I've been trying to escape a cold for the last couple of days and yesterday the cold won.
Sleep is elusive and I need it badly in order to be healthy. I have no idea how I got sick; I haven't been out of the house in a week.

In a moment of desperation last night we decided we would start "topping off" after BFing. I had enough breast milk pumped to do this plus give them their bottle of BM in the middle of the night.
It worked! They slept four hours with nursing and the top off, then I slept through the next feeding while Chicken gave them their BM bottle.
I got an entire 6 hours of UNINTERRUPTED sleep. This is the most sleep I've had since they've been born.

I nursed for the next 2 feedings, at 5:20am and 6:45am, pumping for 30 minutes after each session, so you do the math...not really much down time. Grunter was fussy and I was getting delerious.
When they were ready to eat again an hour later, we broke down and gave them a bottle of formula so I could sleep.

It was the first formula they've had in almost 18 days--since I started exclusively breast feeding them with the help of my lactation consultant.

I felt like a horrible mother, but god I needed the sleep.
When Whoop Whoop had the worst reflux--he's been having some issues--and projectile vomited all over himself, well then I really felt like the worst mother ever, because this has not happened since we switched to breast milk only.

Urgh. So while we tried to fatten them up like little foie gras in an attempt to get some much needed sleep, it worked...but with consequences.

I know it's not the end of the world...but I just want to be able to feed them 100 percent.
And get some sleep. And stop coughing. Oh, and my sore throat needs to go away so I can eat without pain.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Milk Drunk on V Day

They are eating every one to two hours today. Lord help us! We need sleep!
Thank god they're cute to look at when they nurse.
Oh, we had to put little mitts on them because we haven't had time to file their nails and the hungry little animals were clawing up my titties.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's After 7pm and You're Still Cute!

It's like a different world in our house today. The babies have been great and so far...not a single fusspot episode. Of course, the night is still young, but by 4pm yesterday I'd had my first breakdown.

They have had some separate feedings, but the last couple have been right back on track together which makes it so much easier.
In fact, we had a friend come over this afternoon right as I'd finished a feeding and because of the timing, I was able to take an HOUR nap! OMG, it was heaven and I felt like a new mommy when I got up.
I'm still only getting about 3.5 hours of solid sleep during the night. I can get this because I pump just enough during the day that Chicken can give them a bottle of breast milk during the night while I skip a feeding and sleep. It's awesome. If I can pump more, my goal is to skip two feedings and get some extra sleep. We'll see....
In the meantime, I try to grab a nap where I can, but sometimes that works and other days it never happens. Somehow, the body manages on very little sleep. I don't know how.

Chicken is great for taking the night shift and letting me sleep with earplugs and a sleep mask. It makes all the difference. When we transition to the 'day' shift, I take them to the living room and let her sleep for a good 4-5 hours in the bedroom.
So far, this is working really well.

We've ordered Indian food, we're going to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies, the boys have had a bath (the mommies have not!) and life is good.
Our friend even went to Trader Joe's for us and the groceries were just delivered. If you've ever been to a TJ's in NYC, you'll know this is a gift in GOLD as that place is a madhouse. Let's put it this way--sometimes there is a line forming out the door of people waiting to shop. CRAZY. I didn't think we'd make it there until the boys were 3 months old because it's just that much of a huge trip!

Thanks for all of your supportive comments.
I cried this morning reading all of them and realizing I didn't have any tissues nearby, I had to dry my tears with a breast pad.
Today I feel like I can do this.

Growth Spurt=Ground Hog Day

I remember reading a twin blog from 2 Girls and Their Family from the first two weeks and they were all "hey, this isn't so bad!" and then right after got really bad.
Yeah, I could write a post sort of like that.

The first two weeks were pretty smooth sailing. They were good, good babies. Everyone said so.
When we first came home, my mom stayed with us for a little over a week which was about 7 days longer than she was actually useful. When you have someone come to help you, make sure that person is a nurturing person who is actually helpful. Not just someone who is there to 'hold babies'. Because seriously? That is not very helpful with ALL of the other things we had going on. I had tried to tell Chicken it wasn't going to be all wine and roses with my mom and finally, after 9 years, Chicken saw what I was talking about with my mother. She did not attempt to take care of me at all, nor was she willing to run the vast array of errands that needed to be done. Anything that we needed her to help with, like laundry or food shopping or just feeding the cats, we had to ask for. Over and over and over. And every time, she acted extremely put out, because, I guess she was here JUST to hold babies.
Her stay here, while I recovered from major surgery and tried to establish breast feeding with newborn twins, just reminded me of how selfish she can be and how she never took care of me when I was growing up and as the days wore on, I became increasingly angry with her.
What does it say about me that I can't stand the sound of my own mother's voice?

After my mom left, things actually got better. Chicken and I were able to be ourselves again and bitch freely about my mother instead of seething and whispering about it behind closed doors. We got into the groove and had ourselves a nice little routine going on. The house was clean, errands were being run, we were able to shower, the laundry was clean and folded, we were getting out of the house (her more than me) on a daily basis, fancy cappuccinos were made every morning (only a sip for me) I was pooping and we were even getting some sleep. Good times. We've got this mommy thing down and are puffed up and feeling pretty damn proud of ourselves.
Many of our visitors remark how laid back and calm I seem and indeed, I feel this way. This isn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be. We are lucky!

And then this last Tuesday, they hit a growth spurt. Tandem feeding, a life saver for establishing a routine and getting any kind of sleep, went out of window. I was feeding on demand around the clock and Whoop Whoop was getting increasingly agitated.

I have noticed in twins, that you often have a fusspot and a non fusspot. It took me a little while, but when I mentioned to Chicken how high maintenance Whoop Whoop was, she looked at me a little bit like I was crazy. "You're just now realizing this? I figured that out the first day they brought them down to us in their bassinets." "Really? Hmm. I was on a lot of drugs. I just thought 'oh, babies!' "

Grunter is a happy, calm, laid back kid. Except for the bark. When he wants something he has a barking way of going about it. He doesn't cry. He BARKS. And for that we have affectionately dubbed him "Max, the incredible barking baby". He also conducts invisible orchestras from his boppy pillow if we don't swaddle him up. He does all of these things with the sweetest, crazed looks on his face, so the barking is just adorable because he's so laid back about it all. He's a funny little baby and he cracks me up all day.

This is helpful, because his brother is making us both a little crazy in the past couple of days. He doesn't bark, he simply cries. Loudly. And yesterday, he cried almost the entire day and there was little we could do to console him. We tried everything, holding him, swaddling him, unswaddling him, kangaroo care, Moby wrap, bouncy seat, rocking, shushing, white noise machine, walking around. You name it. If it calmed him down at all, it was temporary and then out of no where his face would scrunch up and he would BLOW.
He has been having some gas issues, the guy is Farty McFarterson and so we've also tried Gripe Water.
Again, nothing seemed to be working.
Chicken had to run to the drugstore yesterday afternoon and that was when I lost it.
By the time she came home, which was only 45 minutes later, I was a pool of tears holding two babies and trying my best not to completely break down.
For the rest of the evening, we would switch back and forth between who was crying and who was trying to be brave and strong for the other party.
There was a point around midnight, when we hadn't had any sleep for way too long when I was absolutely convinced I and had another break down.
Chicken then went out at midnight to get Mylicon drops for the gas as the gripe water didn't seem to be doing anything for the poor guy. He would work himself up so much he couldn't focus on anything, his face would turn beet red and then finally...we'd hear him fart. He must be in so much pain. I can't stand it.

To make matters worse, we had introduced him to a pacifier a few days ago during one of our attempts to soothe him when nothing else was working. And he LOVED it.
But then...yesterday, he refused to breast feed on my left breast and was having a bit of trouble that he'd never had on the right. All day long I fed on command and he would NOT take the left breast. Finally around 2am, I got him latched on the left. We have since done a lot more reading on the pacifier issue and have taken it away. We 'thought' we had breast feeding 'clearly established' and that was enough, but upon more research, they say not to give a pacifier until after 6 weeks if you are breast feeding as it can cause a lot of problems. So, I'm pretty certain the paci was the culprit as he'd been feeding fine before this introduction.

Now it's morning...we survived the night. They finally went to sleep at some point during the night and were both up and ready to feed at 5am. I put Whoop Whoop to the left breast and after a minute or so he was latched and feeding, so I'm going to put that down as a good way to start the day. They're both swaddled back up now, with no fuss in their cribs and I'm pumping.
When I'm done, I'll go back and try to nap until they wake up and then we do it all over again...and again...and again.
That's the part that feels like Ground Hog Day (you know, the movie?).

I know this is the worst part and right now we are just in survival mode. I know this will all get better. I know this. But in the heat of the moment, it is intense and overwhelming.
We love these two little guys with every thing we've got and it's all worth it, but DAMN. This is the hardest thing we've ever done.

Monday, February 8, 2010

38 Weeks vs 18 Days

Dear Maximo and Sebastian,

This past weekend would've been my 38 week due date. Full Term. Exit strategy employed.
One way or another, today I would've been holding you in my arms. As it is, nature had other plans for me and my body--with the end result having the pleasure of getting to know you 18 days earlier.

It's true what they say about forgetting what your life was like before a baby. I remember...but in fragments. Everything now revolves around you, my sons. We didn't know we were having sons. In fact we thought for sure we were having a boy and a girl. Or maybe two girls, but we didn't really entertain the idea of two boys.
You see, your Chicken mommy cheated. Yes, she did and we kept it a secret from everyone for six long months. At the NT scan in August, Chicken looked up at the screen that gave the final results and she was pretty sure she saw an "F" in the box marked "sex". I reasoned that could be the box for me, the mommy, but she reasoned back why would they need a box for that, all mommies are female. True that...
Even so, I never let myself believe 100% that we had a girl in there, that our Chicklet really was a girl.
When they called out that Baby A was a boy we looked at each other like "huh?" Both of us thinking, "well, then Baby B must be our girl". You can imagine we were pretty shocked when they yelled out mere seconds later that we had another boy!
And then I started crying. Because I was so happy to have two boys. So happy to just have two healthy babies and of course once you were here I wanted nothing but two little boys.
Even in my drug induced haze, I remembered the fortune teller's prediction that "I would have two boys but they wouldn't be mine" and told the entire OR staff the story which they found incredible.

You are both so precious (and so different!) and I can't imagine our life without you. We are so incredibly lucky that even though you made you way into this world earlier than expected and your mommy had more health problems than anticipated, we all came out perfectly fine at the end of it all. You came early because you were ready and we were ready to meet you. Sometimes I think we're really quite lucky because we get an extra month of baby wrangling. You won't be this small very long and we are eating up every moment of being with you right now.
Sometimes I hold you and just burst into tears and cry hot salty tears onto your little head because I am SO overjoyed you are here. I have wanted to be a mother for so long and you complete me.

Welcome to the world boys, it's going by too fast already.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Because Pregnancy is Beautiful

Nine weeks ago I was playing dress up--or rather dress off--and nine weeks later I was giving birth.
I felt so beautiful and sexy during pregnancy--especially this stage--and I'm so glad we did a photo shoot to always remember those happy days of twins in the belly. I look at my boys daily and still can't believe we made them, they were inside me and now they are ours.
Pregnancy was beautiful and Motherhood is amazing.

What a difference nine weeks can make.
Mamma Puff, Grunter and Whoop Whoop celebrate 2 weeks of life outside the womb!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Show Me the Milk--My LC and Breast Feeding the Twins

My newborn twin boys are 2 weeks old tomorrow (born at 35 week, 5 days) and I was advised in the hospital to breast feed but to also supplement with formula.
It was not really pushed on me to be breast feeding exclusively nor pumping on a set schedule.
I was so out of it from the drugs/C-Section/gas pain, that I went along with it.
Once I was home I got more serious about breast feeding and pumping, but was doubting whether or not I had 'missed' the window of my milk coming in.
So, we continued to supplement with formula for the rest of the week.

I asked my pediatrician about it at the twins one week check up and she told me to STOP breast feeding except every 3-4 feedings and to pump every two hours around the clock.
I doubted this advice, but tried it out for 2 days. I still did not produce enough to feed them my breast milk and was starting to get really down on myself for not getting it right.

Finally, 9 days after they were born, I contacted LC, Sheri Bayles, who was horrified at my Ped's advice. She had me start to exclusively breast feed that day and pump 10 minutes after each session from 6am-10pm. From 10pm-6am, just breast feed.
The goal was to get them eating every 2.5-3 hours from the breast. Max is a super sucker, so we put all hope on Max to 'bring' my milk in as his brother was not going to be our sucker champ.

I have been doing this schedule now for 5 days and it's working! My tits have milk in them after all. I have them on the same schedule and do tandem breast feeding at every feeding. They are pretty good at letting us know when they are hungry and if they go past 3 hours, we wake them up.

If one wakes up but the other one is still asleep, we wake them both up--otherwise I would not get any sleep at all and everything I've read said I need to have rest to produce my milk.

I'm still not getting that much from pumping, sometimes 1-2 cc, sometimes up to 10cc's, but either way, not very much. So we have 'topped' off with formula a couple of times in the middle of the night (2 nights), but that's it.

Hopefully, if I keep this up, my milk supply will continue to increase and I can get enough from pumping we will have a bit of a back up supply to 'top off' with instead of the formula.

I'm also eating steel cut oatmeal every morning, drinking Mother's Milk tea, taking Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle 3 x day and drinking about 1/2 gallon of water daily.

However, at their Pedi weigh in yesterday, she wanted to see more of a weight gain. They haven't LOST any weight, but Max has only gained 1 ounce over his birth weight and Sebastian has gained two. Of course, she is a doctor and they seem to always seem to be hell bent on 'fattening them up', which of course, I want them to gain weight, but I also want them to be breast fed and not have to rely on formula if I can help it.

I also just found out that my thyroid levels are wacked out again. My TSH is 5.76, where it has been between 1-2 for the entire pregnancy. I have an appointment with the endocrinologist tomorrow to re-adjust my meds and see if this makes a difference in both my energy level (maybe it's NOT all just sleep deprivation!) and my milk supply.

Any other advice would be very much appreciated.