Friday, February 12, 2010

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.


Lez said...

Thank you for writing this Puffer! There are so many people out there who I am sure are sharing in your feelings. BTW, the boys are adorable!

cindyhoo2 said...

Just reading this post stressed me out! Oh Puffer, I am sorry that things are so tough right now. I know that you know things will get better in time but that is not a very helpful thought while you are actually living it. Have you thought about taking a 15-30 minute break from the babies a couple of times a day? I am betting that the stress of always hearing someone cry (or always waiting to hear someone cry) is setting your nerves on edge. I cannot tell you how many new moms I have counseled who felt ready to crack under the strain of 1 baby- you are handling this like a champ despite your periodic breakdowns. I wish I had more wisdom to share, alas.

As for the mom situation, yikes! No wonder you felt irritated: you asked for help and did not get what you needed.

I hope today is a better day.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to parenthood - the gift that keeps on giving!

Sorry for my lame attempt at being funny but I have found that a finely honed sense of humor takes you a mighty long way when dealing with the tougher parts of parenthood. (Gee, how's that for a run-on sentence?)

That, coupled with the way tired cliche "this too shall pass" have gotten my husband and I through many a sleepless night with our five kids. Granted, none of them are multiples but we've certainly had our share of overlapping issues, no matter what the age. My nine year old DID NOT sleep through the night until he was FOUR FREAKIN' YEARS OLD and frankly I am surprised that we had three more children after him! He is a great sleeper now and wonderful to be around but he certainly tested us on many levels.

Anyway, this is just a long winded way of letting you guys know what you already know - you will get through it and some of it will suck but most of it will the greatest experience ever. And one day you will forget about most of the crappy stuff and wish that they were sweet, small and cuddly babies again! As much as I try to cuddle my 11 year old son, now that he's as big as me, it feels a little awkward. But he does let me hug and kiss him on the lips still, as long as no one is looking of course!

Good luck and we're all rooting for you!


Anonymous said...

P.S. Your mom's visit sounds identical to the "help" we had from my mom when our 4th child was born. We actually paid to have her leave 4 days early as I could not stand to see her for one more minute! She did not help at all - she slept, read and talked to her boyfriend on the phone the entire time and we had paid for the whole visit! We were in the process of selling our home, moving across the country and of course giving birth to our 4th child - good times - NOT!

Anyway, I feel your pain and I'm glad that some semblance of "normalcy" will soon resume.

Shaunna said...

Just reading your blog......hang in there the first 3 months of establishing a schedule is the hardest!! Emotionally physically and psychologically draining. It will get better.
Jamison had that severe gas too- we switched bottles and gave him Mylicon like it was crack!!!! Dr browns worked for us:)
My kids never took a paci but if it would have stopped the crying I am sure I would have given it to them.....
I also had problems with my momwhen she was here- she did the laundry and cooked dinner but she still drove us both insane......we put up with it b/c we needed some help. I don't think anyone has an easy time with a visitor. Its just a pain in the ass to have someone staying at your place for longer than 2 nights!!!!!! (Still, we put up with her AND had her back when Jack was born)
You guys sound good. The crying is totally normal too b/c your hormones are all out of whack! I cried a lot the first 6 months!!
Ok someone is screaming gotta go
X shaunna

Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

12 weeks... Its like the magic number. After 12 weeks you are comfortable sharing your pregnancy because you are pretty much in the safe zone. Well with twins, once they are 12 weeks, its like the sun begins to shine again!

I don't know what happens, whether you just get better at it or they somehow get easier, but you wake up one day and it is just different. I remember wondering if we would survive, my sanity, my marriage, my hygiene, they were all on the line. Then one day, it was bliss.

I'm telling you this to give you a "light at the end of the tunnel". I know you know it will get better, I did too, but it helps when you have a date to look forward to. ;)

Hang in there Mama! The first year (or two) with twins is simply survival, anyone who tells you differently is lying through their teeth!

Strawberry said...

We bitched and moaned on our blog for quite some time those first few weeks. It IS hard...and we only had one to contend with (but he was very much like your fusspot). You're right, it's survival mode for a while. And all you can do is live it day by day and do your best, as you are. It will get better, promise.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the other comments...this is the worst of it. i can only offer that in these exhausting days, you write it all out, as much as you can - we're here. if only i owned a laundry/housecleaning nyc!

AdventuresInBabyMaking said...

Holy cow, ladies, I’m exhausted for you guys. Did the Mylicon drops do the trick for poor little Whoop whoop?

N said...

I hope the mylicon helped. n has much the same problems (and can't get poop out, either, joy), and the mylicon has been a LIFESAVER for us. I kid you not. I said to J as we stood in the baby store last night and picked up the larger size bottle that we should buy stock in the company, because DAMN.

Andrew and Brooks said...

It sounds like Whoop, Whoop could have gas due to allergies from what you are eating. Milk and egg protein commonly cause a lot of problems especially for babies who were on the early side and their disgestive tract may not be fully mature enough. My LC also told me that canberry juice, citrus fruits, carbonated drinks, and broccoli can cause severe problems. I might give your LC a call and she what she says.

Also there is a massage technique that works to release gas in newborns that is a lifesaver! I would recommend talking with a massage therapist or buying a infant massage book. My son still loves getting a quick massage after a bath and he is 14months old.

The bummer thing about the crying, is that when they "grow out of it" they have also grown out of the precious, squishy, teeny tiny newborn stage too. And I love that stage! Always a trade off.

anofferingoflove said...

sounds like a difficult few days. i remember that insanity well, and i only had one! keep taking good care of each other and do take advantage of having a few minutes alone here and there (a long hot shower can do wonders!) it will get better, promise.

Anonymous said...

Sounds far away, I know, but around 12 weeks it all gets so much easier. And by 8 weeks you will barely remember this time when time had no meaning. You guys can totally do this.

poppycat said...

Oh Puffer, I can only imagine the reality of all this but I'm glad you are giving me a realistic first hand preview.

Sending love strength and wishes for sleep.

Schroedinger said...

Thank goodness you & Chicken are so good to each other and have worked out a way to keep you both off the ledge. The only parenting advice I have comes from the dogs: be sure they get plenty of walks and good food. Sounds like you are doing both on the human version.

Glad your mom went home so at least youhave the help of one another without the additional burden of anger and resentment over the NON-help from her.

I hope you are able to get plenty of sleep today.


Carrie said...

Girl I am so impressed with how you're hanging in there. Early motherhood sounds incredibly rewarding, joyful, but let's be honest...tough as nuts. And you've got twice the baby!

We're all here supporting you in the blogosphere, and I hope each day eventually gets a little better. My sister told me that the first 3 months are the worst....she loves her kids, loves being a mom, but flat out admitted she hates the first 3 months because they send her over the edge. She promised me it WILL get better. It will take 3 months but it will get better. I hope she is right!

Anonymous said...

You poor things. We experienced the exact same things you are experiencing only with 1 baby instead of 2. It was so intense and I cried a lot. We are now at almost 8 weeks and things are a million times better. It really will get better. But I know it's cold comfort now. Hugs, Mama.

Sunny said...

You guys are doing an amazing job. Truly, amazing. You are clearly devoted to these two munchkins and doing everything in your power to make them happy and healthy. You will all thrive!

I have to echo everyone else... once you hit three months, it will get so much better. My husband and I were so overwhelmed with just one newborn, we thought we had made the biggest mistake fighting infertility for a child we could not raise. It was hard to see beyond the present. But things change! They will grow, and you will learn so much about caring for them. Hang in there, the reward is coming.

Oh, and for the gas... hubby used to scrunch our son's legs and really physically work on getting him to fart or poop. Relief!