Saturday, January 28, 2012

2 Month Letter

To my Belly Girl and Little Gopher,

Happy 2 month birthday!  The time has flown by, and to be truthful, I have loved every second of it.  When there were so many people around, we got really spoiled.  I was recovering from surgery, so everyone was so helpful, and you two peanuts were just so darn precious that you got held the majority of the time.  And then…everyone left!  At the same time! I was anxious leading up to it. I worried about what I would do if you both cried at the same time, how I would feed you both at the same time, how I would make sure not to hold one of you more than the other, but the good news is that the worry seems to have been for naught.   Yes, you cry at the same time every once in a while, and it can be heartbreaking, and yes, it’s not easy or ideal to feed you both at the same time, but I feel like I have everything solidly under control, and there have been no “OMG GET HOME” texts or phone calls to daddy yet!  

Our little family has started to get into a routine that is working well for us.  You two are still my “sleepy bears” and nap on and off throughout the day.  The mornings are usually my most hectic time.  Depending on how things went at night, you are up by about 5 or 6 to eat. (Although for the last three nights you have slept from 10 to three or four, then until 7ish)  This is about the time dad gets up and gets ready to go to work, so we either each feed a baby or I take you and feed you at the same time. Depending on what time it is and how alert you are, I will either get up and going for the day or swaddle you up and put them back to bed and go back to sleep as well. I love this because when you start to wake up again around 8 or 9, I pull you into bed with me and we snuggle and talk or sing for a few minutes until you tell me it’s time to eat.  You both seem to really love this time and enjoy hanging out in our big, soft bed. 

Insert mom or dad in the middle for feedings
The big piece of advice that everyone gave us when we found out you were twins was to make sure you were on the same schedule.  Now, even though you really aren’t on a schedule yet, you ARE on a feeding schedule of every 3 hours, and during the day, you are pretty adamant about me not messing with said schedule.  So I quickly realized that if you were going to be on the same schedule, I would have to figure out a way to feed you at the same time because you both are ready to eat (and thus get fussy) at the same time.  At first, I was putting you both in your bouncers, sitting in front of me, and I would sit in between the two of you and lean over and feed you.  This worked, and I was super proud of us for getting it figured out.  But on day 3 or 4 of doing this every 3 hours, my back was starting to take a beating, so I started putting you in your Boppys on the couch, one on each side facing me and feeding you that way.  It works SO well, and it’s comfortable for all of us.  When one wakes up to eat but the other is still sleeping soundly, I will feed you individually one after the other, which I very much prefer. Yesterday, I managed to only feed you at the same time once, so I considered that a success.  Now daddy is a whole different story—he CAN feed you and hold you at the same time, and it’s a hoot to watch!  My favorite, though, is when he burps you at the same time.  He calls it “the butterfly” when he puts you both up on his shoulders, crosses his arms, and pats you both at the same time.

Sophie Smiles

Annabel Smiles
You have both grown so much in the past month.  Annabel, you weigh 7lb 11oz now and eat about 3 ounces at each feeding, and Sophia, you weigh 6lb11oz and eat about 2.5 ounces at each feeding.  Since you’re still so small, we had to start putting a little bit of formula into mom’s milk, but you haven’t seemed to mind one bit.  Sophia, you make the cutest little noises when you eat, like you are so satisfied, contently sighing and cooing throughout the whole thing.  Annabel, you chug your food and love every second of it.  You don’t let one drop dribble out of you mouth, unlike your sister, who has a near constant stream of milk dribbling down the side of one cheek.  Sophia, when we take your bottle out of your mouth before you are done to wipe your cheek off, you smack your lips a few times, then furrow your brow and give the biggest pouty face that I’ve ever seen on such a little girl.  If we don’t reinsert your bottle quickly, you start to whimper, then full on scream.   I think it’s super cute, and I’ll admit that sometimes I giggle at that pouty face of yours.  You have both started to smile a little bit, and dad and I get so giddy when you give us your little baby grins!  You both coo a lot, too, and that totally melts our hearts.
Annie relaxing during tummy time

One thing you do mind is your tummy time.  You do not like that one bit, but you can tolerate it in spurts. Within the last week, it really helps if I hold something in front of you to focus on while you lift your head. 
Sophia Tummy Time

You both are usually the most awake in late morning and early afternoon.  When you’re both awake, I lay on the floor with you and we sing songs, play with toys, read books, and we dance, too.  Sometimes I feel really silly dancing my booty off to Sesame Street songs while you stare at me as if I’m crazy!  Someday soon, you’re going to laugh really hard at my booty shaking dancing and cover your ears at my awful singing.

 Speaking of singing, we listen to music all day long.  Grandma and Grandpa got us a portable speaker for the iPad, and I take it everywhere with us.  When you come in the bathroom with me while I get ready, we have it in there. When we go into your room to pick out clothes for the day and get dressed, we bring it in there.  The rest of the time it’s out in the living room with us playing whatever music is appropriate for the moment (I must say, your mom is quite the children’s music DJ).  When we play together, I put the Raffi channel on Pandora, and I think it’s pretty funny that I know just about every song on that station and can sing along with it!  When you are both awake, but not really in the mood to play, I will put some of “my” music on, like Tim McGraw or Celine Dion and sing to you while I work around the house.  When I put you down for a nap (you still take naps in your swing and Rock N Play), there is a lullaby station I put on Pandora. Sometimes I get really emotional when the lullabies are on.  We listen to Kenny Loggins, too, but I started listening to the words of some of the songs, and they made me emotional, too!

A song came on the other day by Carnie Wilson called “A Mother’s Prayer.” It is the sweetest song I’ve heard in a long time, and it’s exactly how I feel about the two of you.  I think it’s really fitting for us because there’s a line that says “I pray that all the dreams you dream come true, and every star you wish upon grants every wish times two.” It’s fitting for obvious reasons, but also because it was always my dream to have a baby, and I wished for a baby for quite a long time, and my wish was granted—times two.  When you’re older, listen to that song, but do mommy a favor, and don’t play it when I’m around, because I’m sure it will make me cry happy tears thinking back to this time in your life. (I would also advise your grandma Dingo to not listen to it either).

My new favorite book to read to you is called “Huggle Buggle Bear.”  Both of you seem to be really content and interested when I read it to you.  I’m pretty sure that you’ll be able to recite it by the time you’re talking with the amount of times I’ve read it to you.

Both of you have an intense desire to suck on something to calm yourself down.  Usually it’s a pacifier, but sometimes, it’s your dad’s finger.  The funniest thing happened this month when dad swaddled you up together (which you love so much) and Annie lost her binky… you didn’t cry for your paci, instead, you turned to your sisters head and started SUCKING on it and making all kinds of noise!  It was so, so funny.  Sophia, the best part was that you slept through the entire thing! Another thing you have really started this month is pulling my hair.  Both of you do it, and I'm not sure why, but you love to!  You will hold on to a big chunk and then snuggle up with it.  I'm ready to cut my hair.

Baby Snuggles

Girls, please don’t hate me for it when you’re older, but I have about a million nick names for you.  Annabel, you’re my Belly Girl, AnnieBelly, Bellers, and AnnieBear.  Sophia, you’re still my Sopapilla Margarita, but sometimes I call you my Sopa, Sophers, Sophie Girl, and Auntie Lauren calls you Sopher Gopher, so I call you Gopher a lot, too.  You’re also my Little Bear (and I really have no idea where “bear” came in, but I add it to a lot of things I call you both… grumpy bear, hungry bear, sleepy bear, etc.)

Well, even at 2 months old, you are still in your newborn clothes, for the most part.  You both still fit in all of them, but I’ve gotten sick of the minimal clothing selections and have started putting you in 0-3 month clothes even though they are still a little big on Annabel and downright huge on Sophia!  But hey, they are still pretty darn cute!  I’ve decided that if I want you girls to match all of the time, I’m going to have to buy three or four of each outfit because Sophia, you are the queen of baby spit up, and Annabel, you are the queen of poopy blowouts.  I like to call the second outfit of the day—that no longer matches the other—the outfit of shame. Dad can usually tell if one of you has had an issue during the day because you’re not matching or coordinating.  Just the other day, we were going out to Annabel’s cardiologist appointment, and I had the most fantastic outfits picked out for you.  They were coordinating, and Sophia, I was dressing you first.  Her outfit had a hood, and just as I put the sweater on, you turned your head, and spit up all into the hood.  It was gross, and I had to take it off and plan an entirely new matching outfit for you and your sister! I was pretty bummed about that.  And just as I was writing this, you were helping your dad brew beer (we’ll talk about that when you’re older), and you spit up down the front of yourself and all over daddy.  You’re currently getting a bath, and you’re not particularly thrilled about that.

While Sophia gets her bath, Annie, you’re chilling here with mom writing this letter.  Just before I started writing, you got to Skype with Grandma Dingo and Grandpa.  We try to Skype with them just about every day, but the past two or three days, you’ve been very sleepy when they called.  So this morning, you were awake, so I called them so that they could see you bright eyed.  But now you’re sleeping very soundly in my arms.  You’re even snoring a little bit! (After Sophia was done with her bath, dad and I switched babies and you got a bath, Annie.  You do the funniest thing ever when you get a bath…as soon as we take you out and wrap you up in a towel…you pee! One time you peed all over my pants, and this time, you peed all over dad’s shirt.  I think it’s hilarious. He does not.) 

Sophia hooked up to her pulse ox to graduate from Oxygen
I think the biggest thing that happened during your second month was the fact that you both got to take your oxygen off!  Annabel, you got yours off about a week before sister, but now you both have it off, and it’s wonderful.  We have made lots of trips to your bedroom, and we give you baths in your bathroom now instead of on the kitchen counter since we can take you anywhere!  You also got your two month shots, which you weren't particularly pleased with.  You cried a tiny bit when it happened, but then slept for the entire afternoon, night, and next morning.  You also wanted to be held pretty much the whole night until you went to bed.
Annabel sad after her shots

Getting ready to go out!
Along with getting your oxygen off came another momentous occasion—your first official outing! We took you to a Mexican restaurant called Carlos Miguels (Sophia, mom had sopapillas in your honor and dad had a Margarita), and to Target.  You both slept right through the whole thing.  Since then, you’ve also been to Pei Wei, Hobby Lobby, Best Buy, Old Navy, and Old Chicago, all of which you also slept through.  I want you to wake up and see the world around you, but I just can’t convince you to do that yet!  Anywhere we go, people just can’t keep their eyes off of you.  Everyone always comments on the fact that you are twins and how cute you are.  Sometimes they don’t comment to us, and we will hear someone walk by and say “did you see those TWINS!?” We have only had one crazy man ask if you were twins and then respond by saying “poor you.”  Mommy took offense to that and responded with “No, not poor us.  We are very blessed!”   Daddy and I joke that if a stranger tries to touch you, we will karate chop them before they get to you. Only one lady at Old Chicago has almost been karate chopped when she actually leaned into our booth to catch a glimpse at Sophia when dad was getting pizza from the buffet.   

Lunch date at Pei Wei

Heading into Best Buy and Old Navy

People told me all the time that motherhood changes you. I’ve always believed that, but I still don’t believe anyone can prepare someone for what it really feels like to be a mom.  I have some very conflicting emotions as your mom. On one hand, I want you to stay just as tiny and sweet and precious as you are right now, forever. I never want there to come a time that I can’t pick you up and snuggle on you whenever I want to.  But on the other hand, I can’t wait for you to grow because I am so excited to see who you will become.  I’m excited to see if you, Sophia, will keep your dark hair and tiny, delicate features while still maintaining a feisty personality. Annabel, I look forward to seeing how much you look like your mom when you get older, and see if you are still pretty “chill” and relaxed.  And my baby girls, what will you be when you grow up? It’s so many years away, but I still find myself thinking about it often.  But, for right now, I’m so content with you both, with your daddy, with your doggies, and with our life.  We have a very, very blessed life. We are all so lucky.  I love you so, so much!



Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012

5 Week Appointment

We had our pediatrician appointment yesterday, and our girls are doing wonderfully!  They got to ride in their stroller for the first time at the appointment, and they loved it!

At 5 weeks and 3 days, here is their data:

Sophia weighs 6 pounds .5 ounce and is 19.75 inches long.  She is a little bit under the 3rd percentile, but they reminded us those percentiles are based on full term babies.  So, instead, we focus on their growth curve, which is perfect right now.  They are gaining weight and growing just like they should be.

Annabel weighs 7 pounds 1 ounce and is 20.25 inches long! She is right at the 3rd percentile and also has a great growth curve that the pediatrician is very happy with.  Annabel had the most significant oral thrush, and it is gone now, so that is also great news.  The medicine we were having to give them 4 times a day was nasty, so it's a huge relief to be done with that!

When the respiratory therapist came on Wednesday, they were also looking great.  They were both sitting at 100% with their oxygen on, AND 100% with their oxygen off!  So, this weekend we will be doing an overnight study with their oxygen off, while they wear a pulse ox monitor the whole time that records their data and levels.  Then we will find out if they can be off of oxygen if all is well.  We are so ready for them to be done with their oxygen.  It's a pain with all of the tubing all over the's actually almost impossible to carry them all the way to their nursery because the tubing is JUST long enough.  Not only is it a pain for us, but it is a literal pain for my little babies.  For Annie, the cannula rubs on her nose and kind of rubs it raw.  Yesterday, I found Annabel hanging out in her Rock N Play with her oxygen in her MOUTH.  Poor baby.  The "tendergrips" that hold the cannulas in place are like triple stick stickers that leave big red welts on their faces.  I can't wait until they don't have to deal with it anymore!

Sophia has discovered my hair!  She grabs on to it when I hold her, and it's always a challenge to get her to let go.  I'm starting to understand why a lot of moms cut their hair short!

I've been a little under the weather dealing with an infection (that is luckily NOT contagious), but I've been on antibiotics for almost 24 hours, so I'm starting to feel much better.  My girls were very good snugglers last night when I was dealing with a fever and generally yucky feeling.

I've spent three days on my own now, and I''m loving being a mom.  It was so amazing having my parents here for the first month of their life and David's mom here for about a week of it, and they were such huge helps.  I didn't have to do a load of baby clothes laundry for the first month of their lives because my mom would always get to it before I would, and David was the cloth diaper connoisseur who was perfecting our CD laundry routine.  So on Wednesday, my first day alone, I got to do all of those things plus some.  I felt VERY productive, but I also promptly decided that being a stay at home mom is a full time job!

Speaking of jobs--the original plan was that I was going to go back after Spring Break, which would be the first week of April.  Since the girls have come, we have decided that I won't be going back full time this year.  We are still working out details, but I will probably be going back half time in April and returning full time in August.  I'm very excited about that. :)

That's about it for now.  Our baby girls are thriving, and mom and dad are doing very well considering that we are adjusting to life with twin infants!

Monday, January 2, 2012

5 Weeks Old!

Mind. Blown.  I know I keep saying "I Can't believe...." but, I can't believe it's been 5 weeks since our lives were changed forever!  I look at this picture, taken just before they were born, and wonder how I could have gotten any bigger, then I look at the two girls and my uterus hurts a little just thinking of how big I would have been had they made it to today, their due date.
In front of the hospital on the day the girls were born
I will admit that I still have quite a bit of guilt over the fact that I couldn't carry them longer, but on the other hand, we get to spend an extra five weeks of life with our baby girls, and they are really doing so well! 

Annie with her funny oxygen
One prong in, one prong out!
They are both still on oxygen, but boy oh boy do they hate it.  They spend a lot of time with it either on top of their nose, with one prong in one nostril and the other one out, or with both prongs in one nostril.  They seem to do fine regardless, and so now it is just a waiting game for them to come off.  They are only on 1/64 a liter of oxygen, Annie down from 1/16 when she came home and Sophia down from 1/32 when she came home.  They call it just a "whiff," and it's really a pretty small amount, and the lowest possible amount.  A respiratory therapist comes every Wednesday to check on them.  She takes their pulse ox, and they have to be on room air and stay at 93% oxygen saturation or above to be able to get the oxygen off permanently.  Sophia occasionally dips into the low 90s and high 80s (like 89), so as of last Wednesday, so had to keep it.  Annabel stays above 93 but does something called periodic breathing, which she also did in the NICU.  They tell us it's normal and all newborns do it (we just don't know it because they aren't on monitors all the time), but they would rather have her on the oxygen so it doesn't happen then make her work a little bit harder.  (A Medical Definition of periodic breathing: Periodic breathing is marked by a pause in breathing that lasts just a few seconds and is followed by several rapid and shallow breaths. Periodic breathing is not accompanied by a change in facial color (such as blueness around the mouth) or a drop in heart rate. A baby who has periodic breathing resumes regular breathing on his or her own. Although it can be frightening, periodic breathing typically causes no other problems in newborns.) So now we just wait and see... the RT will be back again on Wednesday, so hopefully we will have some good news!

Both girls are still being treated for oral thrush, poor things!  They have to have 2mL of medicine injected into their little cheeks four times a day.  They do NOT like this medicine, and Annabel's just won't clear up. The thrush itself doesn't seem to cause them any discomfort, but the medicine just stinks.  Sophia also just got over having a little clogged tear duct, but it as an easy fix and cleared up very quickly.

Both girls are still wearing newborn clothes and will probably still be in them for at least another week or two.  Annabel is still doing great with the cloth diapers, but Sophia is still at an odd size for them.  She is very long and skinny as can be with tiny legs.

Annabel and Dad playing

The girls have still been able to receive breastmilk only, which I'm really happy about, especially given their prematurity, but it has not come without its struggles.  It's hard, plain and simple.  I'm what the internet calls an "exclusive pumper."  Every 2-3 hours around the clock.  It's exhausting and trying, and try as I may, I really can't sugarcoat it.  We went out to lunch one day to celebrate my one month "Pumpebration."  I have read that when you are exclusively pumping (or nursing for that matter), it's a good idea to have short term goals and celebrations at the end of each of those goals, so we decided that on every "pumpiverssary" we would go out to lunch together at my restaurant of choice.  We went out for BBQ for lunch #1, and just this morning decided that lunch #2 will be cheese and chocolate at the Melting Pot.  I can do just about anything for cheese and chocolate. :-)  Annabel nurses every once in a while, but Sophia is pretty used to her bottle and is having a hard time transitioning.

On the same day we went out for BBQ, David and I went to Baby Cotton Bottoms, where we purchase our cloth diapers.  They are a "natural parenting" store, and they sell really neat wraps to carry  baby.  David's mom had generously given us a gift card to the store to buy a wrap, so we finally got one.  I haven't quite mastered it's use, as I am always worried the baby is going to suffocate or her head is going to bob and fall off, but David LOVES it and wears it like a champ!  The babies love it, too.

Our next doctor's appointment is on Thursday, so I will update with new weights and lengths.  I can't wait to see how they are doing!  I love these little girls so much.