Sunday, February 14, 2016

Where Have We Been?

I have started a few posts here and there but can't seem to find the time to get them posted. Here is one from last month. I wish I knew the exact date... And I added a LOT of pictures.

Our handsome devil and little pumpkin

I want to say that time flies when you have two babies at home but I'm not sure that is accurate. In some ways it is amazing to think they are already over three months old. And in other ways it seems like they have been here for the long haul. Long days maneuvering all of our responsibilities and short nights being up with babies have made it a fast passing of long days.

I can say that I've missed blogging but life has been quite crazy. The biggest obstacle perhaps even more than having two adorable faces to kiss and pinch and feed is the impending final portion of my board exam coming up next month. I find that it has been very challenging to study. At first finding the motivation to study was difficult; now as I feel the time crunch and the panic coming over me, I find that finding the time is the most difficult. It seems inevitably they wake from their nap or both cry when I try to study but I've been doing my best to do an hour per day where I can. In the meantime, planning to do anything but babies and studying in my free time makes me feel guilty so blogging has taken the hit.


Today they are happily cooing in their mamaroos while their dad is on call at the hospital. I am pumping anyway as I watch them almost lull me to sleep as they bounce and sway so I thought maybe this would be the time for a quick update. So, where to start? Maybe just by answering my most commonly asked questions.


Q: When do you go back to work?
A: I have been back to work for about 5 weeks now. I was pleasantly surprised to remember how much I like my job. Phew! I wish I had more time with the babies but it is much less exhausting to work a full day than it is to take care of both babies. I have been lucky so far to be able to bring at first one and lately both babies with me to work so that has taken away a lot of the separation anxiety and mommy guilt. We have explored multiple options for childcare and hope to find a nanny soon. 

Q: How are the babies?
A: The babies are doing great! They are growing very well and looking more and more like chubby babies. Little brother has overtaken his sister in weight. They are both starting to smile and laugh and interact much more. Brother had some more tummy troubles early on but seems to be feeling better and becoming happier and easier every day. She is incredibly social, happy, and smiley which is a lot of fun.

Also, since I am not using their names online I have decided they will be known now as "Mister" and "Sister."


Q: Are they on the same schedule? 
A: The babies are often on the same schedule, although not really anything we purposefully did. We will often wake the other one up to eat in the middle of the night but sometimes Sister will sleep almost through the night so we may just let her sleep.


Q: Do you nurse them at the same time?
A: I have nursed both babies at the same time a handful of times (this is called tandem nursing in the twin world). Unfortunately, breast feeding has been a struggle. Pre-term babies often have difficulty feeding and this is a residual effect of their early delivery. We have spent hours and many tears and visits to the lactation consultant to make breast feeding a reality but have supplemented with bottles all along the way. Sister is becoming pretty darn good at it and I try to nurse her as often as I can when I am not at work, but Mister is on a nursing strike and has decided bottles are much easier and better. I hope he will come back to me sometime but I am trying to take the pressure off us both. In the meantime, I pump when I can (usually on my daily commute) and supplement with formula. It is frustrating that the better (and cheaper! and often easier!) option isn't the one that is working for us but there is only so much you can do! 


I was surprised by the emotions that come with breast feeding. When it is something that doesn't come easily it is excruciatingly frustrating. I have felt more inadequate in this aspect of my life than in most others I can think of. Logically I know it has no bearing on my worth as a mother but I can't seem to shake the feeling that I am not providing the most basic physical and emotional needs for my babies in the way I am "supposed to." That doesn't mean I disapprove or look down on anyone who chooses or has to use formula but I am surprised how hard it has been for me, despite my expectation all along I would likely use formula at least some times, to shake those feelings. I think the "breast is best" campaign did such a good job convincing me, it is a little hard to believe now when they tell me, "They are great! Formula is great! It really doesn't matter." I am grateful they take bottles and am fine with them having formula but I would really love it if when we tried to nurse it was a positive experience for all three of us and that I could produce a bit more (which my work schedule and my need to sleep preclude). No, I do not have a single ounce of my own breast milk as a stash in the freezer.

Q: Do they sleep in the same bed?
A: While they used to recommend twins share a bed or even be co-swaddled, they no longer recommend this. We felt the safest bet would be to follow the recommendations so they each have their own crib. And maybe as a boy-girl pair encouraging them to learn to sleep on their own is less awkward as they age...?

Q: Do they sleep through the night?
A: We have been lucky we had a lot of support in the beginning. After my mom left a few weeks after their birth, my MIL was gracious and generous and spent many nights up with them so we could catch up on sleep. This was amazing especially since we had to wake them up every 2 hours to feed them due to concerns about weight gain early on. Now, they usually go to sleep about 8:30 or 9 pm and sleep until about 1:30-2:30, and then we all wake up at 5:00 to get ready for work. Some nights sister will sleep straight through until 5:00. I wish I could go to bed when they do but I find myself staying up to study, complete some tasks on my to do list, interact with Abe, or just have some me time.

You get creative in baby holding and maneuvering

Q: How are you recovering?
A: I'm surprised by how many people ask this sweet question. I feel a little surprised by it because I have been feeling pretty good for quite some time now. The first days in the hospital were very difficult and painful but I overall feel great. I am really hoping after my boards are done and I get better at taking care of two babies I will manage to get into a healthier eating regimen and start exercising again after what has been a year or two absence with a challenging pregnancy and activity restrictions during fertility treatments.

Q: Did your mom come live with you after the babies? 
A: Unfortunately most of my family lives in Utah and were unable to move to Iowa for the birth of our babies (wouldn't that have been great!). I was lucky to have my mom stay with us the day we got out of the hospital for about ten days. She originally planned to stay for a shorter period of time but generously extended her stay when she saw how much help we needed in the beginning. We were also very excited to have my parents make a last minute trip to visit at Thanksgiving. It was great that we were able to introduce the babies to my parents so early on. Abe's parents and sister live in town with us and have been a wonderful support as well. We have reaped the benefits of free babysitting multiple times and have even been able to get out for some date nights on our own early on. We are so happy to have some family close by and they have made the transition to two babies so much easier.

It seems everyone is a little tired taking care of two babies!

1 comment:

Rachel Culmer said...

Ah Erin! They are so adorable! Great pics. You two make good lookin' babies. :)