Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quickly-A Month's Update

And in bullets. I have so many posts swimming around in my head and just not enough time to write everything down, so I'll try my best in bullets.
  • We went to Florida almost a month ago. The travel itself was pretty smooth. The trip was not. Chicken's stepfather was dying of cancer and took a turn for the worst a couple of days after we arrived. We were shuttled to four different places--with all of our stuff and twins in tow--as a loved one died. The condo we were supposed to stay in was only ours for 2 nights as family members arrived to visit the hospital. We saw members of the family exactly once as everyone was constantly at the hospital and then at the hospice. In the end, we ended up having to get a hotel for the last 3 nights or change our plane ticket and come home earlier because we had no where to stay! The hotel was cheaper than the plane fee. It was terribly stressful. We fought for the first time since the boys were born. The babies were feeling our stress and they were cranky. We have never been more ready to get home.
  • The stepfather died the day after we left. Chicken's father is a wreck (Chicken had two dads) and it's all terribly sad. Cancer sucks.
  • We discovered in Florida that the boys really hated their car seats. That was not something we were anticipating since "all babies love car rides". Eh. Not so much.
  • Upon returning home we decided to do car seat training by taking them out in their snap n go single strollers as much as possible. Three weeks later they are pretty good and we rarely have the meltdowns getting them in as we used to. I don't know how they will be in the actual CAR, but it has to be better than before.
  • Florida was good practice for travel. We became a well oiled machine even while stressed out. We know how to work as a team and to get things done as efficiently as possible. Communication about expectations is key. We also realized we can't do as much as we thought we could while out and about and need to scale down. Travel is different now!
  • The three month mark has gotten easier but a 'schedule' is still elusive.
  • Their feedings are still not predictable. We can almost count on 3 hours in between feedings, but there could be days that it's 2.5 or last night where it was 2 hours. I know this is because I am exclusively breastfeeding them on demand, but it's frustrating to know that if I were bottle feeding them or formula feeding them I would have more control over this.
  • We are getting better at naps. Since they started rolling over and we stopped swaddling, they can both suck on their fingers which is a source of great comfort to them. We still give them paci's at naptime and bedtime, but we don't have to worry so much now if they lose one.
  • We are also really paying attention to the signs that they are tired BEFORE they start whimpering so we can catch them in that golden moment and put them in their crib. We don't do naps anywhere but the cribs. Living room is for playing and eating and bedroom is for sleeping and diaper changes. Period. I think they are getting it.
  • We are trying the 'put to sleep while drowsy/tired but not fully asleep' Weissbluth method. It is going pretty well with Grunter but Whoop Whoop is....well, he's high needs!
  • We will begin sleep training and CIO in earnest in a few weeks after they have passed their 4.5 month mark.
  • I was initially quite resistant to CIO, but every twin mom I talk to who is getting quality sleep had to do CIO and get them on a schedule. It's going to be SO hard, but I know it's the only way and I know they are old enough now. I can't have two babies who can't soothe themselves. Impossible.
  • They had their 4 month pediatric appointment a few days ago (a week early) and things are looking good, but they are still so tiny. It's weird because they are hitting a lot of the milestones on target (or before, like the rolling over) but they are long and lean and only in the 3rd and 5th percentile for weight.
  • I have to remind myself that breastfed babies gain weight more slowly than formula fed or bottle fed babies, but it does make me doubt my milk supply. However, when I pump I consistently get more and more milk, so I know I do have enough to feed them.
  • I'm still taking all of the herbs for my milk supply and therefore my armpits always smell like an Indian buffet because that's what fenugreek will do to you.
  • It took 10 weeks for Whoop Whoop to latch on without a fight. We had about 3 glorious weeks of blissful breastfeeding, but for the last couple of weeks he's screaming at the breast again. It only happens during the day. When he's tired in the middle of the night or early morning he's perfectly happy on the booby.
  • It makes me crazy because it's not the wonderful bonding experience it's supposed to be when he's ballistic and it's incredibly difficult to tamden feed when one guy wants to be anywhere but near your breast and the other guy is merrily sucking away and would stay there for an hour if you let him.
  • I started drinking caffeine again--just a single shot espresso cafe au lait every morning. I try to limit it to just this one glorious drink a day made right here in my very own kitchen. I haven't noticed any effects on the babies in my milk and mama sure does like being a bit more awake these days. A bit more. Only a bit.
  • Speaking of...sleep deprivation sucks. I got three hours last night in what was a truly spectacular hell night. Haven't had one of those in a very long time. I hope it doesn't repeat. I don't know how much longer we can go only getting sleep in increments of an hour or two here and there. Sometimes we are sure we are cracking. It's not pretty. Because you blame the babies. And it's not their fault, they are only babies. But it will make you crazy, the lack of sleep for months on end.
  • Which brings us to the dream feed and maybe a bit of formula. This week we have introduced the dream feed. The boys usually go down for a long stretch beginning their night time at 7-ish. At 10 we have started giving them a bottle of breast milk and then we go to bed. After this bottle they will sleep (usually) 3 hours but sometimes even longer. It's unpredictable but we'll take what we can get. So far we haven't had to use formula to do this, but if I don't have enough breast milk, I'll do it. At this point--to get a little more sleep--yeah, I'll do it.
  • Because while I was in denial I really had bags under my eyes in my passport photo, turns out I do. That's what four months of no good sleep will do to you. It ages you.
  • Next month we have been advised from our pediatrician to start on solids--first up: applesauce, followed by bananas and then rice cereal. SOLIDS! They are growing up so fast. I can't get over it. But I'm really looking forward to seeing their expressions when they eat for the first time!
  • All of you who reassured me the preggo weight would come off were correct. I'm down to the final five pounds and I can now fit into 3 pairs of my old jeans and a few pairs of pants. I still feel super flabby and I've got a little bit of jiggly belly, but for not stepping foot in the gym, I feel damn lucky. I know with the right amount of cardio, pilates and yoga I can be back to almost pre-pregnancy fitness. Someday.
  • Our gym has baby and me yoga and pilates....we have yet to make it! But we will!
  • Some of you may recall I had to put my 18 year old cat, Savvy, to sleep the month after the boys were born. Since then, my other 18 year old cat, Bunny, has rapidly declined. The last two weeks have been the most notable and I don't want to wait as long as we did with Savvy. After she was gone, we realized that we'd waited too long and just how bad her quality of life had been for quite some time. This cat is very special to me. He was my favorite (I know, you are not supposed to have one...) and I know he is suffering. I was truly hoping that both of them would pass before the babies were born so they would never be pushed out of the spotlight. But that didn't happen. It makes me so sad to know that Bunny has spent the last months of his life not getting the attention he was used to for 18 years. Now, I am trying to do the humane thing and ease his suffering before he gets worse. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye and my heart will break.
  • Chicken returns to work at the end of June and even though she will work from home quite a bit, I am terrified at the thought of suddenly losing my full time mommy help. We have been doing this together the entire time and I have no idea how I'm suddenly going to manage by myself. I feel like such a wuss because I know so many twin moms do it solo, but I honestly don't know how. If I had two babies like Grunter--yes, I could do it. But with one Whoop Whoop? I am TERRIFIED!! If you don't have a high needs baby, you have NO idea!!
  • Stay tuned for how it all turns out.....


tireegal68 said...

Wow! Wow! You amaze me. You're doing so great - and it sounds so hard. Your boys sound like such characters. Fx for more sleep soon:)

existere said...

I hate people who offer assvice, but I am going to become one of them because I feel so strongly about this. CIO is not a good thing. There are oodles of studies showing how it raises the cortisol levels in babies and actually causes neurological damage if babies are left to cry for long periods. We're talking their brains not developing properly, neurons not doing what they should be, neural pathways not fully developing. THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES to crying it out.

Also,, advice of the WHO and our government and most governments/health authorities is that you don't start them till 6 months. Is your ped old school?? Just wondering. Because till age 1, all their best calories come from the milkies anyway.

Okay. Sorry if this was as obnoxious as I think it might have been. I just, well, we've never done crying it out and we have twins and we're getting sleep. Happy to talk to you if need be.

Feel free to ignore this all.

And also, HOW ARE THEY GETTING BIG SO FAST? This all freaks me out.

cindyhoo2 said...

So much to say. I am sorry Chicken lost her stepfather and that your visit could not have been more pleasant.

The lack of sleep has to be wearing you down. Can you can Chicken alternate nights? This is the routine
Joey and I are hoping to create.

I am intrigued (and frightened) at the thought of traveling with twins. I will be very curious to see how that works. Very brave indeed.

Sounds like the hardest part may be coming to a close. I understand that as the babies take more interest in the world and gain self-soothing skills, they rely less on constant attention. Here's to hoping, right?

How is the induced lactation going for Chicken?

Two Moms, Two Monkeys said...

You are almost there my will get easier, promise!

We have one ummm "difficult" baby as well, and one super easy, no fuss, goes down without a peep and wakes up 11 hours later baby too. I think you always get one of each with twins, just to make it interesting. :)

We never had to do CIO, its hard enough to hear them cry while you are there and holding them, but I still have the fussy twin in bed with us. :) So I can't say our way has completely worked either.

We got lucky with the little guy, I think because he gets a bottle of breastmilk before bed, he is able to sleep longer. So we feed him, rock him in the glider for like 10 min and then put him in his crib asleep. He goes down about 8 and wakes up at about 6 or 7. Bliss!

The big guy, I nurse him to put him to sleep in our bed, and for the longest time (aka past the one year mark) he was waking up 2-3 times a night to nurse. I was told by our pedi that he wasn't hungry just that nursing was a comfort to him and part of his sleep cycle, since he nursed to go to sleep whenever he got through his sleep cycle he needed to nurse again to go back to sleep. Our pedi said not to try anything until I stopped nursing because it just wouldn't work (since we weren't interested in any version of CIO).

So I wait. Then, out of the blue, about 2 weeks ago, we all went to bed and I woke up 7 hours later! I checked both boys and everyone was still sound asleep. The only reason I woke up is because I was so full of milk I couldn't move my arms! I would nurse the big guy half asleep, but when I realized he hadn't woken up I had to get up to pump. Now he sleeps for pretty much the whole night without nursing and I get a good 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep. (since I still have to pump and 6 hours is the longest I can go in between). Now if only we could get him to his crib in the nursery with his brother!

Whatever you decide, I hope you get the sleep you so need! Its hard being sleep deprived, and I've never felt it more than now that I am back at work.

Next in Line said...

I am so amazed at what you two are doing with so little sleep. Those little guys are going keep getting bigger and getting more sleeping skills. I know it is going to come together, I hope it is soon for you both!