Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tummy Time

Penelope's umbilical cord has finally fallen off after the assist by her pediatrician. That means she has had her first full bath - as illustrated below. We are also now trying to do "tummy time" with our kids. Although I'd like to do it twice a day right now we've been doing it after we eat but before their bedtime bottles. Sometimes they go a couple of minutes before screaming, sometimes the screaming starts right away. It's terrible of us but we do remind the kids whether such child's sibling has already done his or her tummy time. Right now we only make them suffer for 3-5 mins depending on their wailing.

Penny's brother has been hogging the swing (we have another but no place to put it). Finally Penny got her chance and she loves it. I think we'll be finding a place for both swings in the near future.

Husband thinks he can eat Penny up.

Linda and Louise come by for a visit with Grammie in tow.

Penny is exhausted from all this attention. She poses pretty with her mom.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Breatfeeding Chronicles

We are changing our routine again. Husband and I had a long conversation over dinner on Saturday night - we went out while Baby Nurse watched the kids. Husband wants the feeding to be a joint decision which is totally fair. He doesn't want me sitting on the couch all day - and frankly I'm starting to go a little crazy - especially when they hit a growth spurt the end of last week and my milk hasn't been able to keep up. He also wants to be able to help and he feels pretty useless while I just have them on the breast all the time. The breast has become a soothing place for them which I love but it is stressful trying to stop them from routing all the time - feeling like maybe they didn't get enough from me, should I pull out a bottle, etc. I know they have been gaining weight and I take solace in that but the constant breastfeeding has been taking its toll on me.

I am going to feed both children at the breast for their first morning feeding - it is my favorite of the day. Thereafter one child will get the breast but for a limited time (limit to 45 mins instead of the 2+ hours I had been giving them) and the other will get breastmilk in a bottle until my supply runs out. I will pump after I breastfeed but I do not pump enough for the bottles (I get about 2 ounces after a feeding and we give them 4 in a bottle so it takes 2 pumpings to make one breastmilk bottle) so I suspect over the next couple of weeks we'll need to switch to formula for some of the bottles. Plus the pumping gets old and I don't think I can pump if they are fussy after they eat and I don't have Baby Nurse around to keep them occupied. Their bedtime and middle of the night feeding will be formula. One other nice thing is that other people can now feed a baby (which Husband and the grandparents enjoy) and it is easier for me to cover up and feed one child in the presence of company than it was when I was tandem feeding them. And once I have no help I can feed one on a boppy or bouncy chair on the floor while breastfeeding the other at the same time - I'll be practicing that today since Baby Nurse has another commitment.

I'd like to make it through October with the majority of their feedings being breastmilk but that may not happen (I have about a week supply of breastmilk in the freezer to supplement the pumpings). My biggest pumping volume (about 6-7 ounces) is middle of the night but I'll be dropping that once Baby Nurse leaves in a few weeks since I'll be feeding them formula at that feeding so I can get more sleep (they go about 5 hours after their middle of the night formula feeding). I also pump at/after their bedtime formula feeding but that is one of my lower Supply points of the day (as it is with most women). In case you are wondering I pretty much reek of Fenugreek all the time and drink gallons of Mother's Milk tea.

My stress level has reduced and although I feel like I've "given up" after only a month this is probably the right choice for my family. Husband is looking for some measure of stability with our schedule/routine and I don't really blame him. As much as I would like to martyr myself for my beautiful kids they probably want a mommy who feels like she can occasionally leave the house and be happy to see them when she returns. Plus this is giving me more patience to deal with their bouts of fussiness. I'm tired of worrying about Supply (Husband always sees this in his mind with a capital S). I wish I were like those women who can pump 8 ounces after feeding their babies but I'm not. I won't be giving up the breastfeeding entirely because a lot can change in the next month. Maybe my kids will be able to latch better and finish their feedings in 20 mins at some point and I can try to transition them back to the breast full time. But I don't think many women go back in that direction though once they start down the path I outlined above.

I'm sure my kids would be even better off with the 5 months of breastfeeding I originally planned but I think they have gotten quite a bit of benefits from my feeding them for as long as I have. Plus I hope that they will get more "fun" time with Mommy Esq before she goes back to work now that she is trying not to stress about the breastfeeding and her Supply. I only have to say a big kudos to the moms of multiples I know who were able to breastfeed their kids - Nancy and Rebecca in particular.

Obviously this is a hard post to write since I've been trying to be so adament about breastfeeding my kids. I have had to take a hard look at how I want the next few months I'm at home to go and frankly I want to be able to enjoy my kids and not always be stressing about how they are eating - and bottles and formula give you that peace of mind. I don't know if I would have made the same decision if I were going to stay at home with the kids but I know my job is so demanding that there will be plenty of nights Husband is handling bedtime without me so I want to be happy and upbeat for the time I am home for now.

I'll definitely keep you all updated since as you can tell from all my breastfeeding posts things change all the time.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Photo Gallery

To enlarge, click on the photos.

Penny with Aunt Rachel.  Ned talking to Grandpa.  Ned learning important skills from his dad.  Penny with Grandma.  Penny talking to Grandpa.  They clearly like to chat with their Grandpa!

Nap time with Mommy.  Hanging out with Grammie.  Daddy reads a story.  Penny asks - Aren't I a pretty princess? 

Hanging in our hoodies.  Guess who was too squirmy to sit still for a photo-shoot?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Surviving the First Month and Growing

It is hard to believe we have survived the first month. Mommy Esq. is doing pretty well in her mommy role but it can be stressful not to have much time for yourself when you have limited time to shower and feed yourself when the kids are hungry so often - and sometimes unpredictably. My brain is also absolute mush - all I think about is what chores I can't do since I'm tied to the couch. I also watch tons of TV but for some reason TV news (CNN, network, etc.) does NOT give you any real info. I know that there is some economic bailout package being considered but I know none of the details. You think they could talk about that instead of whether it will pass and/or whether there will be a presidential candidate debate.

I hate to alienate any readers with my political and economic commentary but I do not like that we are bailing out people who should have realized they couldn't afford the homes/loans they bought. Yes, banks bear some blame for approving so many loans but Husband and I certainly didn't buy a house for what we were approved - we bought something we could afford the monthly payments on. I'm torn because it hurts everyone not to bail out big business but this is a slippery slope. Maybe if I can manage to read the Wall Street Journal once in a while I could learn more. Hmmm...I might sign up for a "trial" delivery so I can read it while breastfeeding to the kids. It has to be better than watching Oprah every day (that I now shamelessly record).

Apparently all the breastfeeding has paid off. Penny weighs 7 lbs 3 ounces (up 25 ounces in 24 days) and is 21.5 inches long with a 13 1/4 inch head. Ned weighs a whopping 6 lbs 15 ounces (up 29 ounces in 24 days) and is 21 inches with a 14 inch head. I always think his head is smaller but they are very different shapes so I don't think that is a particularly accurate indicator of anything. The pediatrician used a nitrate to try to get Penny's umbilical cord looser. Ned's fell out about 3 weeks ago. We are also going to talk to an ear nose and throat doctor about getting her frenulum clipped. While I can feed her it is really only with the nipple shield and I hear most moms do see a difference in feeding (with latching) if it is cut. Our doctor says her tongue-tie is "mild to moderate". It's supposed to be a simple procedure so I think we'll do it.

To answer a few reader comments/suggestions on breastfeeding and schedules: We do cluster feed in the evening to help stave off the crazies. I am reluctant for now to move up bedtime from 8:30/9 pm since Husband would not be able to participate as much and he expects me to do the middle of the night feeding myself when Baby Nurse leaves and I can't do all the feedings myself or I will go crazy. If they are consistent with their middle of the night wake up time (currently at 3 am) then I will move it back slowly after Baby Nurse leaves. Except today I always bring a breastfeeding pillow with me - I pretty much exclusively tandem feed except when one baby wants to cluster feed while the other is napping (that happened today - they clusterfed at separate 3 hour increments - let's just say I was TIED to the couch). I'm working on not leaning over while feeding but it is easier to control the kids when I do - probably the fault of the nipple shield which I need to start trying to get them off of. For now I am doing part of each feeding without it but I can still tell they don't open their mouths enough.

Tomorrow we are going to look for a couch. I decided I don't need anything in particular from the mom of twin sale so I'm going to skip. It seems like our 8 year old couch that we live on is on its last springs so to speak so it is time to start trying to find a new couch. I'd like a sectional but a smaller one. I hear Jordan's has apartment size furniture (our living room is small) so we'll go there. Cute kid photos to come later this weekend.

Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt's First Visit

Husband's parents and sister came for a visit for Wednesday and Thursday. The kids loved them. Grandpa and Ned had a long conversation and Grandma brushed up on her diaper changing skills. Debi (Grandma) also filled me in on Husband as a child - apparently he did not sleep until age 5 and he taught himself to read at 2 and a half years old. Thankfully my kids sleep and I'm happy that Penny has started to hold her head up (she has really strong neck muscles).

They were one month yesterday and I should have taken a "chair" photo but we took so many with the grandparents that I didn't bother. Plus Ned's hair was really greasy. :)

Many more photos to come from my camera but here are some from Aunt Rachel's camera.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Home Alone

Yesterday we were home alone all day for the first time. In the morning I had my first "screaming at the same time and can't get them to calm down". Thank goodness for the breastfeeding and the swaddling. They took a nice long morning nap so I could regain my sanity. Then they ate and we went to see Goddess in Progress who let us have our own Mom of Twins Sale Preview. On Saturday my Mom of Twins group is having their semi annual sale. If anyone has any equipment suggestions (toys, etc.) that you think we'll need as they get older let me know so I can look for them at the sale. Goddess gave us some clothes and an exersaucer.

After we got home they ate again and were up for a while. I fell asleep with them on the couch (despite wanting to take them on a walk).

From 6 pm to 9 pm (their bedtime) it is the betwitching hour at our house. We try to keep them awake but Penny always wants to sleep. Whoever is in charge of Ned has his or her hands full - and he is always hungry. Plus we have to manage to eat and catch up with each other. Penny refuses to go to bed at 9 pm. Invariably I stay up until 11:30 pm to get her to go to sleep. And last night she was up again at 2:30 am to eat (but only ate 2 ounces of formula - Ned usually eats 3-4 ounces). I don't know how to get her to realize that she should be up during the day and asleep at night. At least they both slept until 7:15 am so I got almost 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Feeding them at 2:30 am (by myself) took over an hour (I did one at a time since Ned was still asleep). Plus I dropped a bottle of formula all over their nightstand. It's on my list to wipe down today. I skipped the middle-of-the-night pumping because of exhaustion and let's just say I was a milky mess this morning. If they get more efficient at breastfeeding I may just do that in the middle of the night instead of formula. The question is how to get my supply stored up (in the fridge/freezer) for the 9 pm post-breastfeeding bottle (they take about 3 ounces each on top of breastfeeding - last night Ned took 4 ounces). It is really hard to find time to pump and after I breastfeeding I only get a couple of ounces (even an hour later). I guess I could do formula if we have to. Ned is much better about eating to put himself into a deep sleep at night. Funny how Penny does that during the day. I've tried to increase feedings during the day (we are still around 6 a day) to help them realize that day time is for eating but they aren't cooperating.

In-laws are coming this afternoon so I have to run around and do some chores. My house will still be a disaster but I need to make some headway while the tykes are taking their morning nap.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birth Order; Hearing Test

On How Do You Do It there was a recent post on birth order. I took the quiz and it said I was likely a First Born. I know I tend to try to make people happy but also order people around- more of a mix of characteristics I think. Interesting since I am the youngest of a set of girl triplets and I have a younger brother too. I think Stacey definitely has middle child characteristics (e.g., worried about fairness) and that we both consider Allison the "older" sister. Her word tends to be the final on a subject matter. I dated a guy once and she didn't like him and very soon after that I ended it. Husband was glad he passed the "sisters test".

I forget all the time that Edmund is older than Penelope. She is at least half a pound heavier and looks bigger so I think of her as the oldest. I think it also has something to do with how she sleeps well, eats well and really only fusses when it comes time to eat or get changed. If I baby Ned (which I definitely do) then he'll probably act like the youngest even if he is technically the oldest. I think it also makes a difference how often the parents refer to the birth order for their multiples. Since my sisters and I were all girls it happened more than it probably does with boy/girl twins. My mom always referred to us by our birth order and often things were parceled out in that order, we were lined up for photos in that order, etc.

Just like not thinking of my kids as "twins" I am probably not going to refer to their birth order very often.

I also wanted to let you know about Penelope's hearing test. We had to be at Mass Eye and Ear by 11 am last Thursday. Penny had to be ready to eat and go to sleep for the test which could take a couple of hours depending on her since she had to be asleep the whole time. It was a lot of pressure to get that letter of instructions - I have no real power over "spacing" out their feedings. As an aside Husband was a bit miffed because the letter that came was addressed to Penelope [My Last Name] instead of his because the hospital set up the appointment and all records are tied to my name. I made sure to fix it when I pre-registered her.

We did their first feeding around 6:30 am and I didn't get a chance to get any more sleep since I had to get ready and get them ready to leave by 10:15 am. Penny was hungry around 8 am so I gave her what I had pumped (about an ounce and a half). We pulled up (to valet parking) at 11:00 am so not too shabby - especially because Storrow Drive was a mess but I realized before we got on the Leverett Connector and went over the Zakim Bridge instead.

Inside we got our first brush with "twin celebrity". Everyone came up to see them. Fortunately my sister Allie was with us. Ned got hungry while we waited in the waiting room so I fed him while Penny slept on. I did have my BF pillow with me - and it is hard to be discrete with the whole blanket thing since I like to see their faces when I feed them.

The doctor explained that Penny would need to have both ears done (even though she only failed in the right ear). We were in an anteroom with a hospital bed in an interior room that felt like a submarine. Penny was so good - I didn't feed her because she stayed asleep the whole time. It only took 45 mins because she did stir from time to time. The doctor put sensors on various parts of her head (including one on her soft spot) and then they place a headphone over her ear (she was swaddled). They measure the electrical impluses through the sensors as they test for sounds. After it was done I fed them both in the anteroom after since they block off 3 hours (!) to do the test. If I had gone alone I wouldn't have been able to bring Ned since I had to be in the room with Penny the whole time. Thankfully Allie kept him occupied (he mostly slept). Just a warning for other twin moms who do this - either bring someone or leave the other twin at home with someone. Everything was fine as I suspect it would be - Penny jumps at sounds so I think she hears fine.

The schedule meant Penny didn't eat for 6 hours! I couldn't believe she slept that long. She is a champion sleeper except when you put her down for "bedtime". She was a little dehydrated (her dent was lower in her soft spot) but she seemed to be fine by the end of the next day.

Tomorrow we are on our own for the first time. Baby Nurse is going back to her home to be sworn in as an American citizen (they only gave her 2 days notice which is weird and cost her a fortune to fly home). Wednesday is when Husband's parents and sister come to town to meet our tykes!

Hands Free

My friend Cameron gave me two great gifts at my baby shower. I love getting gifts from "moms who know" - I hope to be that sort of mom in the future. In fact, since my sister Stacey is pregnant with her first baby (13 weeks) I will be passing on all my wisdom now that I have opinions (doesn't everyone?). In case you were wondering - they confirmed that she is only having one baby. I'm looking forward to being an aunt again and if I can I would like to visit her in North Carolina after her baby is born (end of March) - but it might not be possible with my kids so young. I also don't think Husband could handle them both on his own. I certainly can't yet.

Back to my product endorsements: Cameron gave me the nursing stool I use religiously and a product I just tried this morning - a Moby wrap.

Since it was our first time trying the Moby wrap I did it with just one baby - Ned. He loves to be held as we discovered when Auntie Allie kept him in good spirits during her visit. He doesn't sleep as much as Penelope but rocking and holding put him to sleep.

I watched a You Tube Video (which had a good tip on putting the head under the wrap too) as well as printed instructions. It was pretty easy and Ned loves it. Next time I'll try both kids. I was able to make some breakfast (slowly) and do a little laundry and blog to you all!

I am a fan of attachment parent- I pretty much "feed on demand" (although my kids go 3-4 hours between feedings) and I want to be with them, but I can't do the "hold them" when I spend 1+ hours feeding them each time and I need some time to myself. I hope this Moby wrap helps.

On Friday we had our first play date. My friends Cynthia and Christina brought their daughters - Neve, 11 weeks, and Kiera, 3 weeks. Cynthia is such a pro now! As Husband pointed out - Ned has girlfriend options already. We talked some about going back to work but it still seems so far off - Cynthia still has 3 months and Christine and I have until the beginning of March. Check out the food spread I managed to pull together. Of course in that teapot was Mother's Milk Tea!

I couldn't have organized the play date without my awesome sister Allie. She came for 4 days and was amazingly helpful. Not only was she a pro with the babies (changing, swaddling, rocking) but she picked up my kitchen and brought me food and water. Everyone deserves to have such an awesome visitor. I think back to my visit when she had Finn and I wasn't nearly as helpful.

One more cute photo to end this post on. Tomorrow I'll hopefully have time to fill you all in on Penny's hearing test.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

We Are Hear(ing)

Just a play on words since Penny had a follow up hearing test today - she didn't pass in her right ear when they were in the hospital. I've been MIA because it was a long day. Tomorrow I'll post some pictures and fill you all in on the details. My Sweet P is fine - hearing within normal range - and it was our longest twin infant outing yet. Thanks to assistance from my sister Allie who is in town we made it through the 3 hour excursion with me breastfeeding in yet another weird place. I definitely need some tips because I spend the whole time bending over them - especially without my stool and myriad of pillows.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Exhausted and More Details on Nanny Before Bed

One thing I will say about breastfeeding - it exhausts you. I must have fed Ned for three hours this afternoon and he was hungry when I got back from sneaking away for one hour to my Mom of Twins meeting. I'll fill you in more on our current routine later in the week but I am coddling them and will ask at BF group tomorrow if I am doing okay. I would rather marathon feed (especially in the afternoon) than whip out a bottle and pump (as recommended by lactation consultant). I love that I hardly pump right now.

I wanted to mention that we are going with a nanny instead of an Au Pair because (1) we want live out (we have a VERY small house) (2) au pairs are more like foreign exchange students less like nannies - they have limited hours they can work, get home sick, etc. I have two kids to handle, can't do three (four if you count Husband who is pretty self-sufficient). We need someone who can work from about 9 am to 7 pm. I've been trying to get Husband to understand he needs to be home by 6:30 pm but that has not happened 1 day in the last two weeks. And he is the one who has to relieve the nanny.

I have been thinking about an agency as recommended by 10 lbs of awesome in a 5 lb bag but most people I polled at my Big Firm said they used Craig's list. I'll probably call Beacon Hill Nanny which are supposed to be great. I spoke to them last spring (they said I was calling way too early) and I want a sense as to process, cost, etc. To let my readers know I need someone in February. I know I need to start soon finding someone but I have some time to play with. I also think my job would give me extra (unpaid) time if I needed it for nanny arrangements.

I'm also going to test SitterCity to find a babysitter before Baby Nurse leaves. I need someone who can watch the kids while I run errands.

Life in the Slow Lane

I had a work dream the other night. It might be because the deal I worked on while 7 months pregnant just closed. Before I got pregnant and during my pregnancy I wondered whether I would be one of the many women who can't imagine leaving her kids behind and returning to the work force.

As much as a surprise to me as anyone who knows me I do have maternal instincts and I feel loving and maternal toward my kids. In fact Husband is surprised how "crunchy granola" I am about our kids - worried about making breastfeeding work, thinking about spacing out vaccines (I need to decide this one soon!), wanting to make our own baby food (well, for Husband to do it - he's the cook) when the time comes, etc. It is all about what is best for my kids - not easiest. And for the next six months I have nothing but time to worry about them.

But I miss work. And I'm going back. It's not just that I felt like I had control over my job - most of the time my job is pretty much uncontrollable and certainly not family friendly. I miss the pressure and the colleagues. I miss having my brain challenged. Yes, I could try to challenge myself while on leave but if you spend 2 hours breast feeding every 4 hours you'd watch a lot of SoapNet too.

Since I'm thinking about work this means I need to start thinking about nannies. If anyone has any suggestions about when is a good time to start looking, what process worked for you, how much you paid, etc. - I'm all "ears". I need to start spending some time back on Big Firm postings so I am going to try to balance the breastfeeding and baby updates with our efforts to find a nanny, get back in shape and things more related to "esquiring" than "mommy-ing".

Monday, September 15, 2008

Officially Newborns

On Saturday Helen and Natalie came by for a visit. I think they fell a little in love with them. Later the kids hung out with Husband on the couch and Ned made some gang signs. Husband is making "MidWest" with his hands in case you couldn't tell.

After much haranguing I signed up for Skype. We spoke with my parents, sisters and Finn (nephew) who were in Maryland visiting together. It was so crystal clear - better than cell phones I think and I loved seeing people. I felt like this was the Jetson's future come to life! Finn didn't quite understand how it worked but I'm looking forward to our kids being able to talk to their cousins and grandparents via Skype. We have a camera over our TV and a hard-drive connected to our TV so I can switch to it when someone wants to talk to us (if they call me on my cell first since I'm probably watching crappy TV). We figured the couch was good so people could see both kids.

As of tomorrow the kids will no longer be preemies! Their due date was September 16th according to the first OB practice I used (when I had 2 very early ultrasounds). The practice I delivered with did their own and said September 13th but I have stuck by the original date.

Yesterday we put them in some adorable outfits - I had to share. There are lots of pictures so click on each one to enlarge. I don't think Penny is really a dress girl - she looks great in hot pink but not quite right in dresses.

Husband took an afternoon nap with Penny. Ned would not go back to sleep after he ate at 6 pm - he was up until 11 pm! Husband tried to keep him from being fussy while trying to read a book. Later Ned had his first real bath since his umbilical cord came out. Penny's may never fall out it is lodged in so well. She was happy to sleep while he was bathed.