Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Week 7 pictures

(Update post below this)

Hangin' out on our playmat:

Nathan cracking a smile:

Just an all around cute picture:

My all time favorite picture of Kenna:

Nathan, passed out after a big bottle (not sure how to turn the pic, turn your head!)

Week 7: The quest for the perfect schedule

I'm a little behind, but the babies turned 7 weeks old Monday and I'm trying to keep up with a weekly update. I feel bad that I haven't been able to keep up with other blogs in a couple of weeks and miss reading everyone else's updates! I'm hoping to be able to catch up soon. :)

Well, the answer to the question of whether week 6 was the peak or not: I'm not sure yet! It seemed a little like a plateau, though it didn't seem as hard. Perhaps that is because we have found...(drum roll)...the PERFECT SCHEDULE!

I have basically been searching for the perfect schedule since they were born. Why? I have many reasons for wanting an optimal schedule as opposed to "going with the flow" but it comes down to this: I believe it is best for both the babies and us. Everyone has their own philosophy on it, so there isn't any use in going into mine here; suffice it to say that that's the direction we're taking.

Since birth I had been focused on an every three hour schedule. We tried 6/9/12/3, 7/10/1/4, every combination possible. The problem was that a lot of times they were in a deep sleep when I had to wake them to feed and I felt like they would benefit from sleeping their natural course. I knew they would sleep longer periods if I let them, but I didn't know when/what times of day would be best for that so as to not ruin their night sleep, throw off their feeding metabolism, etc. It seemed like an insurmountable task to figure out what schedule out of the millions possible would be the one that would give us a good routine to follow and follow their natural patterns more (e.g., if it is natural for them to sleep longer at lunch time, let them go further then, but not at specified other times). To be honest, this has been frustrating me to no end - the search for the perfect schedule. The schedule that makes us happy and makes the babies happy. The schedule that means less crying because they are well rested at the right times and well fed at the right times. The schedule that means longer night sleeps sooner rather than later. The schedule that allows us to have adult lives too.

And then came the book. What's that you say? I already have a trillion baby books? I already have read them too much? Ah, but I didn't have THIS one. An online friend read a posting of mine a while back about schedules and sent me the book she said was the only one that worked for her. It's a best selling book in Britain and I don't know why it didn't make it here, but I'm so grateful that she sent it to me. It's called "A Contented House With Twins". It is a very strict schedule, which is what I was looking for, but it's based on the author's observation of thousands of babies and their natural rhythms - basically a schedule designed based on what babies tend to naturally, but they get molded into it more precisely this way for your sanity (if you are someone who needs predictability).

Every two weeks the schedule shifts slightly based on changing needs for less sleep, less feedings, etc. I started the first day trying it out for 6-8 week old babies (since that is their age) but quickly found that ours need much more sleep than that. In fact, the schedule we eventually settled on is for 2-4 week old babies; this would make sense based on their due date rather than birth. It was the first time I really started to see that babies born a month early don't develop at the same rate as if born on their due date. They really do have the sleep/wake patterns of much younger babies. They do, however, eat like babies bigger than their age!

So after several days of the new schedule I have found it to be brilliant. They are almost doing it perfectly, except that Kenna often struggles to stay asleep as long as she should. I would think that means she is ready for the next step up in the schedule, but she still falls asleep right on time or earlier, so she is not able to stay awake long enough to try the other one.

Here's what we are doing:

6:45 am - Wake up and eat! (I feed them at the same time now)
Play until 8:15 am - Nap
9:45 am - Wake up and eat!
Play until 11:15 am - Lunch nap (the long one)
1:45 pm - Wake up and eat!
Play until 3:30 pm - Afternoon nap
4:45 pm - Wake up and eat!
5:45 pm - Still awake, eat again to stuff them with more calories while getting close to bed time!
6:45 pm - Bed for the night
10 pm - Wake up and eat, but do it very peacefully and with no alert time after
After 10, wake up naturally (usually happens between 2 and 3 - yes, with the brilliant new schedule the babies naturally sleep 4-5 hours in this stretch, which they never did before! We don't unswaddle them, turn on the lights or change the diaper unless there is poo, which hasn't happened. No stimulation at all - no eye contact, no talking. They go immediately to sleep afterward. It's amazing.)
6:45 am - Wake up! (several times they have slept from the last feeding to the next morning, but sometimes they wake up a bit early and I have to try soothing them back to sleep)

There are a couple of things that have been life changing about this:

1) 6:45 pm bed time. OMG, this is worth everything in the world. I know eventually babies should be working toward sleeping 7p - 7a in a few months, so it makes sense that the author is recommending getting them used to that pattern now. It's an absolute sanity saver for me because after a long day of baby care, I know I can look forward to a bit of a break between 7 and 9 (when I go to bed). I can make dinner, read a book, watch TV, whatever. This gives me SUCH a better attitude during the day because it no longer feels like the unending and exhausting baby treadmill. It gives me and B a chance to have a quiet dinner together at night too. Remember in my last post the 6-9 pm crazies? Doesn't happen anymore. I think before they slept so much during the day that by night they were wide awake and yet grumpy because their natural disposition is to go to bed then. They sleep wonderfully from 6:45 to 10 (the next feeding).

2) As I mentioned, they are sleeping 4-5 hours now in a stretch at night.

3) We cut down to 7 feedings no problem. When I tried the standard methods of equally stretching out feedings across the day, it just didn't work. But with this schedule, you know the appropriate times to stretch them out (when they naturally sleep) so they are not even caring about the extra feeding. It's fabulous.

4) I'm mostly feeding them at the same time. The book doesn't necessarily tell you to do this, but I started to do it. I fought it because I felt like I wasn't going to have that critical bonding time during feeding, but with two, it's really just not practical. I do it with some feedings still, just not all. I don't feel like we have lost bonding time; we just have more time to play because there is less time spent with the bottle in hand!

It's funny because when I look at the schedule, it doesn't look too wildly different from what we were doing - still roughly every three hours; but the small differences make ALL the difference in the world (the long lunch stretch, the cluster feed at night, the 6:45 bed time, the 6:45 wake up time).

Don't get me wrong - we have not "perfected" it, but it's going very well. Kenna has not been able to stay asleep during her naps for the last 2 days and I'm not sure what is wrong. She is just very fussy suddenly. I'm hoping it's just a bad couple of days.

That was the bulk of week 7! A few other notes:

--We took Nathan to the doctor for possible reflux because he sometimes seems to have pain while eating. It's usually in the afternoon, though, and he never spits up, which makes the diagnosis questionable (sounds a little more behavioral). We are giving him an anti-acid and it has seemed some better, but he still does it once in a while. Still trying to figure this one out.

--Nathan is smiling at least once a day! Yesterday I got the most gorgeous little smile from him. I had them propped up in boppies for morning story time. I take turns showing them the pages and Nathan follows very closely for a baby his age. One of the times when I turned the page and showed him he just suddenly beamed with delight and looked over at me. OMG I was the happiest ever. :) It immediately brought tears to my eyes because it was so sweet. He does little smiles here and there but that one was the biggest. Today he was in the swing and starting to wake up so I brought Kenna over and I grabbed his hand and said "Kenna and I are here to see you!" He opened his eyes, looked over at the two of us, and got a giant smile. SO PRECIOUS! MORE OF THIS, PLEASE, AND LESS CRYING! :)

--Target offers a generic form of Enfamil Gentlease for $10 less per can (huge savings compared to $25). Everything on the back is identical to the name brand. I looked online and lots of people have asked about it and everyone seemed to find it worked just fine as a substitute. So yesterday we started trying it and it's not going to work out. :( Lots of gas, which equals lots of crankiness.

I will post some new pics separately. Can you believe they will be 8 weeks already on Monday??

Monday, January 19, 2009

Week 6 Picture

My week in review post is below, but I wanted to add a picture. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Week 6: Was it the "peak?"

About a month before we had the twins I had posted on a twin mom message board a question about the first couple of weeks after birth and what it would be like having two babies for the first time. My assumption was that things would be crazy for a first time mom and I wanted to get an idea of what to expect. I'm not someone who likes to be surprised. :) I received many responses and a good number of them echoed the same thing: the first couple of weeks were actually not bad, it is the few weeks after that which get crazy. All my reference books say similar things, that babies tend to get fussier and fussier, with the "peak" usually around the six week mark.

Well, you can see where that preamble is going. In the beginning I was honestly thinking, "I can't believe people make such a big deal about having kids. We have TWO and it's really not all that crazy." About the third week I started thinking, "Well, if we only had one it definitely wouldn't be very hard, but with TWO, things sure are a bit hard sometimes." The fourth week was actually not too bad and I thought, "We're already through the worst!" Then week five came along and, well, we all know how week 5 ended (see last blog post; memory jogger - red wine on carpet and screaming babies after very long week of much crying and first week as full time mom without daddy to help).

And then there was week six. Oh week six. How you were even more difficult than week five! There were no dramatic events like in week five, but overall it was more difficult. The babies were definitely fussier in general, but I think it was more me who was having a difficult time than them.

When you go through a lot to have kids, most people assume you must just float on cloud nine every day forever more once they arrive. My blog has always been about honesty, so here it is: having babies is just as challenging and frustrating when you had to go through six IVFs and surrogacy to have them. :)

I figure that week 6, the supposed peak of craziness, is an ideal time to share the frustrations that come with newborns whether you had to stand on your head for 10 years to get them or got pregnant the first try. I hope that for those of you who are expecting via your surrogate, this post will be in the back of your mind after your little one's/ones' arrival so you don't feel guilty for having challenging times like everyone else! This post is not to complain - I will never lose sight of what a blessing this all is - but rather to address the every day realities that are part of being a new mom. And I can write this without feeling guilty since 1) I've read many other posts of this nature and know that this is totally normal and 2) the first thing that strangers say to you after you tell them how old your babies are is, "oh wow, well, it gets better". I think everyone knows that this is not the most fun time you will have with your children!

On this tour of what has made me slightly insane this week (or maybe cumulatively), we will have 4 stops:

1) The non-stop need to feed
2) Crying without reason
3) Crying with an intensity that doesn't match the need
4) The one-way relationship

The non-stop need to feed

Every three hours. Half an hour each baby. Eight hours per day I have a bottle in my hand. Sitting. Feeding. Burping. Feeding. Changing positions. Feeding. A full one third of my life is doing this right now. It truly gets mind numbing after a while. I keep thinking there is no way they still need to eat this often so I start to stretch it out once in a while to 3.5 hours to see how that would go with 7 feedings rather than 8. By night they are super hungry and cry, cry, cry because they just don't have big enough stomachs yet to take in more during the rest of the day. So, back to every 3 hours. I've also tried to get them to take more per feeding but they have really plateaued at about 3.5 ounces for Kenna and 4/4.5 ounces for Nathan. Most books recommend moving to a 4 hour schedule at 6 weeks but I know we're not quite there. I'm absolutely dying for it. The one day I stretched to 3.5 hours during the day was like heaven. It made such a difference! They can do one 4 hour stretch at night without feeding but we're not making waves of progress there either (toward the 5 or 6 hour stretches theoretically possible). They just have to eat every 3 hours and there's no getting around it. I desperately want to have more time to play with them, read books, sing, listen to music with them, etc. But it's really hard to have that when you are constantly sitting around with a bottle.

(Incidentally, the one thing we have had major and critical success with is getting them to know the difference between night and day - it's been a couple of weeks since we've had any issue getting them to go straight to sleep after the midnight and 3 am feedings. Even though they don't sleep all the way through without eating, they pretty much eat in their sleep and go right back to dreamland. This is AWESOME because night times really aren't a big deal for us.)

Crying without reason

In our house, we've developed the 6-9pm nightly crazies. Every night between this time both babies are extremely fussy. I don't know why, but I have read it's common to have more fussiness late afternoon/early evening (especially around 6 weeks) and boy do we have it. Especially with Nathan, but some with Kenna too. They won't go to sleep during that cycle usually and just cry no matter what you do. Cry, cry, cry. I find it VERY VERY VERY hard to be sympathetic during this time because there is NO reason for them to be fussing! They aren't hungry, they aren't wet, they don't want to play, they don't want to sleep, they are JUST FUSSY! I just want to explain to them, "I feed you every three hours all you want to eat. I change your diaper so you are always clean. I bathe you regularly. I read to you. I tell you stories. I tell you all about the things around you. I hold you. I cuddle you. I dance with you. I love you. You scream for 3 hours every night. WHY?! WHY MUST THIS HAPPEN?!!" I can't STAND things that don't make logical, objective sense, and this is the epitome of that. There are other times periodically when it happens and when it does it just makes me nuts. Crying when there is an obvious "need" (food, diaper, sleep, play time, scenery change, etc.) really doesn't bother me at all. They cry, you fill the need, done. I can handle that crying. But inconsolable, "I'm crying just because" crying is something I just can't fathom dealing with every night for the foreseable future.

Crying with an intensity that doesn't match the need

There have been times when I thought Nathan was being tortured by a thousand little people in his crib given the intensity of the sudden crying. I jump up and run in and see that no, it's not torture, there's no pain, there's nothing crazy going on, he just wants the pacifier that fell out. I guess this falls under the same category as above - things that just don't make objective sense. Why do babies have to SCREAM when they just want a pacifier, or they are ready to eat, etc.?

The one-way relationship

If you have read my blog for a while, you might remember a post where I gave the analogy of picturing myself with older kids when I thought of us having a family ("butterflies") and never with babies ("caterpillars"). I was saying that I couldn't even picture what having caterpillars would be like because they were such different creatures than the butterflies I always dreamed of us having. When I pictured having kids, I pictured them learning to snowboard, building sand castles at the beach, going to gymnastics classes, summer Saturdays at the pool and quiet nights reading stories together. Maybe because I've never been around babies, maybe because I'm just not a baby person by nature, I never, ever pictured us with babies.

I still don't.

But at least now I realize WHY the concept of B and I taking care of babies seemed (in the past) and seems (currently) foreign: Neither of us is the nurturing type. We are extreme type A, analytical, right brain people. When this is your personality type (and we are both far on that side of the spectrum), you aren't a care taker by nature, and now more than ever I realize that's what this stage of having kids is ALL about. It's truly a ONE way relationship:

Baby needs to eat. Baby cries. You feed baby.
Baby pooped. Baby cries. You change baby.
Baby is bored. Baby cries. You move baby.
You talk to baby lovingly. Baby doesn't seem to care and stares at you blankly.
You smile at baby. Baby doesn't smile at you.
You get to know baby more and more all the time. Baby couldn't care less about you as long as baby's needs are met.
You love baby. Baby doesn't even seem to recognize you.

I guess that I expected all of this in the first couple of weeks, so it didn't really cross my mind as something that bothered me initially. But I would have thought that the last four things on the list - the more emotional two-way aspects - would develop more quickly. It's not something I ever consciously considered, but I guess I just thought they would be reciprocating on the emotional aspects much sooner. (Yes, I know that I will be doing the first three things on the list for much longer.) It feels like with all the work involved in the first three things, you would get more back on the last four. :) When there are no smiles back, no looks of happiness or recognition, only the states of default silence or upset crying, it makes it feel more like work and less like a loving relationship between baby and mommy. What about all those pictures of infants smiling at their mommies and mommy lovingly gazing back at baby? When does that happen? Trust me, I've been scouring my books to find out!

I know not everyone gets crazy about this kind of thing when having a baby because some people are more nurturing by nature and don't think twice about the one way relationship...they just enjoy caring for babies. My mom is a nurturer by nature - she loves taking care of others and providing comfort and it just comes naturally to her (incidentally, however, she has told me that the baby time period drove her crazy!). And of course I know that the ongoing role of a parent is to take care of their children...and I WANT to do that! I look forward to doing that for many years to come! But I also really look forward to feeling like there is a MUTUAL love and adoration that comes with it. Those first true smiles just couldn't arrive fast enough over here. :) (There have been smiles while falling asleep, and a couple of questionable responsive smiles from Nathan, but nothing that would be characterized as the beginning of true smiling.)

I've come to the conclusion that having babies does not necessarily make you into a "baby person" - someone who enjoys taking care of babies for the sake of taking care of babies. That is just a personality type and is not something that naturally comes to everyone. I adore Nathan and Kenna and I just long for them to get a little older. :) I'm trying REALLY hard to enjoy these days because everyone says they go by so fast. It's just not easy!

The upside

We made it to church with Nathan and Kenna for the first time on Sunday morning! The greeter went crazy over them and was calling others over to "look at the twins". She just loved seeing them and told us that they made her morning. (The few times we have been out with them people stop us everywhere to look at twins - I'll admit, the attention is fun!)

We went to the new parents room, where you can watch on the monitor and there were about 8 other couples in there. It was nice to be around others with babies. There was a woman changing a baby in the little changing area and the baby was screaming bloody murder. It actually made me really happy to see that it's not something I'm doing wrong, it's not something wrong with my kids, it's just that all babies are crazy little creatures without a perspective on the world yet and spend a lot of time crying. I had an inner sigh of relief with that reminder. I never thought only my kids cry, but the reminder in seeing it elsewhere was sooooo helpful. It felt good to go to church too with them, and return to our normal lives. We then went to lunch afterward. It went great - a very good morning.

I've started to understand what I've read about finding things you enjoy doing WITH the baby rather than TO the baby. Doing things constantly TO the baby is extremely tiring. But when you make the baby part of things you like to do too it is much more pleasant. B installed an internet radio system in the living room, where I am all day. I discovered an 80s music channel - I LOVE 80s music SOOOO much! I started playing it in the afternoon cycle and it put me in so much of a better mood. I suddenly started feeling way better. I picked up each baby (one at a time) and danced for a song around the room with them (they seemed to both really like it!). Yes, you can just see me dancing to "Come on Eileen" with Kenna - that's what we were doing. I found so much joy in that. I had fun. For the first time I felt like I was doing something WITH the babies rather than TO them. After a very looooong couple of weeks, it was really great. It will now be part of our afternoon routine. I will call it "80s with babies" time. :)

Stay tuned for the week 7 update...was week six the peak? Or will week seven defy the rules? :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pictures and video

As promised in my last update, here are some pics and a video! Oh, and I know it looks like they are different sizes in the one pic I posted in the last entry but it's just the way the picture was taken. They are the same size. :)

Here is a video from when I propped Kenna up on Nathan's shoulder:

Here are some pics of Nathan:

Here are some pics of Kenna:

And some of them together:

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week 5 in Review

Since it seems that having two newborns around takes up 99% of your time, my new goal is to update the blog once per week to review the last week. Since we are coming up on 5 weeks tomorrow, it's time for an update! It's funny to look at my last post and see how much has changed just in a week.

I'll give this post the theme of "good, bad and ugly" and categorize the updates that way:


--Nathan, Nathan, Nathan! In the past week we have gotten him settled into Enfamil Gentelease and he is doing GREAT with it! I'm so relieved that he is no longer having such terrible gas pains. It was hard to watch him deal with it, and it was hard for us to deal with the long crying bouts. He is back to a "regular" baby now.

--Both babies have really come into their own with personalities. Nathan cracks me up because he just grunts, grunts, grunts when he is ready for food and is SO excited about it. He gets this concentrated look on his face and shakes his head back and forth in search of the bottle. He loves sleeping and eating and is awake far less than Kenna. When he is awake, he is very rested and alert and just looks around in wonder at everything. It's so cute. Kenna has gotten herself into the goal pattern of eat-activity-sleep naturally; she wakes up for just about every feeding and spends some time awake (sometimes extended periods) before going back to sleep. It's a lot of fun because I get to "play" with her more than Nathan since he sleeps so much. She is very intrigued by my face and spends a lot of her time searching it. Nathan seems much less interested and doesn't hold eye contact in the same way she does at all. I read that that is common for boys vs. girls at this age and it's definitely true for them. Nathan is basically happy as a clam when his basic needs are met; Kenna seems to be more interested in the world and people. She is more sensitive than he is and startles easily. Everything she does is just daintier. :) It's really neat to see they really are two little individuals.

--Nathan is VERY strong. On his fourth day of life (being a month early) he was able to lift his head and turn it over. Now, at a month old, he can lift his head all the way up when on his tummy, hold it for a bit, and yesterday he TURNED OVER! LOL I couldn't believe it. Of course at this age it isn't something they can replicate intentionally but it was pretty impressive nonetheless! Kenna rarely tries to lift her head on tummy time, but when she does it doesn't go very far. I've noticed it's getting a little stronger but she is nowhere near him in this area - by desire or ability.

--Less poopy diapers. Need I say more? It used to be a poopy diaper with every change, now it's like twice a day. One of my books says that happens around a month, and it was like clockwork - both of them started the two per day poopies the exact same day. Awesome.

--The routine. Every three hours is working so great at this point I couldn't be happier about it. At night we let them wake up naturally after the 11 pm feed so we can slowly get them toward sleeping a 6 hour stretch (basically skipping one feed - 2am) and multiple nights they have slept 4+ hours already. It is hard after that to get them back onto schedule to start the day again at 8, that's the only hard part. For example, they pretty regularly go from 11 to 3 am (one hour longer than schedule). Then they go back to sleep and fairly regularly will go until 7. Then there is the delimma - do you try to occupy them until 8 for the sake of the schedule or do you go to 7:30 to get them closer, or do you feed right then and try to go 4 more hours until 11 to get onto schedule then? If they wake up at 6, I definitely feed them and then feed again at 8 since it's long enough for them to be hungry. But 7 is a killer. Last night they went to 3:30 (inching closer!) and then again until 8. HOORAY! I had lost hope last week when I posted, saying that everyone says you can't train them at this age, but I kept trying this week anyway and I have to say it's been working quite well. I don't expect the same fast success as if they were 3 months old, but I'm impressed with where we have gotten. :)

--General cuteness. LOL Isn't that a good thing? They are just soooo cute. We went for their first photo shoot yesterday and the pictures are incredibly precious. We got one of them naked, stacked on top of each other, that is just amazing! They both peed as soon as the diapers were off, but it was well worth it. :) I can't wait to post the pics when they are ready (5-10 business days). I'm still taking hundreds of my own and some videos too. I can't stop myself. I will do a separate post with pictures and video!

--Breaks, thanks to B's parents. No matter how much you love your kids, no matter how cute they are, no matter how much chaos you went through to have need a break. B's parents babysat last Saturday and this Saturday and it was such a treat to get out on a date. We used to go out to eat a lot, which I really miss right now. It's nice to go out to eat, see a movie, etc. It really does feel like the proverbial gerbil mill most of the time with the 3 hour feeding routine, so breaks are very welcome!


--This isn't really "bad", but Kenna has definitely found her voice this week. She is awake much more (after almost every feeding) and no longer goes to sleep easily on her own like she was before. She requires much more soothing. Nathan actually goes to sleep much more easily now! He cries for a short time then falls asleep without me now usually (who says babies can't learn that at this age?!). She is a bit more iffy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

--I miss time with B. Remember, we were happily married 9 years before having kids, so we are very used to our quality time together. Now we are on a mutual train schedule and often pass like trains in the night (literally when we are changing shifts). There is very little time together now. That's why I was so grateful that B's parents were able to come two weeks in a row like that so we could get out. Our two dates have been soooo nice. I'm really lucky that I am married to my best friend in the world, but that leads to me missing our quality time together. I know it's going to be awesome when we have quality family time when Nathan and Kenna get a little older and things are less chaotic.

--I'm having some guilt that I didn't induce lactation. I still have no desire to breastfeed, but like I mentioned before, I would have given induction more consideration if I knew you could just pump exclusively. J is not going to be pumping any longer because it was more difficult/time consuming than she expected and is ready to move on, understandably. I'm really glad they had about 5 weeks of breastmilk, but keep thinking it could have been more if I had induced lactation. I guess it's hard to beat myself up for something I didn't know about, but I am annoyed at myself for being so opposed to the actual act of breastfeeding that I didn't explore alternatives more to find out of the pumping possibilities. (I'm not opposed to the act of breastfeeding for anyone else, it's just not something I would have ever felt comfortable doing myself.)


Yes, there is one ugly. One big ugly. It was Friday. The whole day of Friday. It was a mini-disaster and led to my first mommy meltdown. I was completely sobbing by the end of the day.

I decided to take the babies out by myself in the morning for the first time. We went to Babies R Us to get some needed items and a couple of baby shower gifts for friends. The babies were sleeping and I didn't have a watch on and got carried away with the time. I didn't realize that by the time I headed for the check out line, we were half an hour over feeding time. Kenna started screaming. And screaming. And screaming. The pacifier didn't work. I was so embarrassed while in line. Fortunately, pretty much everyone in line behind me had already stopped to talk to me about the twins at some place in the store so they didn't seem to mind at all. (I couldn't believe that two babies would be such a novelty at a baby store, but it was all I could do to get through the store without people wanting to ask about them! I enjoyed it at first but it started stressing me out time wise after a bit.) By the time we got home they were both screaming in hunger. So I had to feed them at the same time. This is deadly because it is hard to do and once you do it, they will want to eat at the same time at every other feeding (normally they stagger half an hour apart). The rest of the day we were off schedule, they were fussy because of it, and they kept needing to feed at the same time (which I do on boppy pillows when necessary).

Now, I should say that this was my first week as a full time mom with B back at work. I was quite fried regardless of the schedule issues Friday so combined, I was really on edge. B is almost always at home because he works here, but he was gone late Friday afternoon/early evening. I was just watching the clock waiting for him because I was lonely, fried, stressed, and on huge edge after dealing with crying babies all day. I decided to relax with a nice glass of red wine. That should help, right? (hold on to that thought for a minute)

As I'm feeding Nathan soon after, our house alarm gets set off. I guess it's hard to explain, but suffice it to say that I have been CRAZY paranoid my whole life of someone breaking in my house while I'm home. I slept on my parent's bedroom floor until I was 12 because I was so scared (I have no idea where this fear comes from). So I always have the alarm on when I'm at home. Our alarm has indiscriminately gone off before when we were home and it is terrifying. Our censors just come lose sometimes. But B has always been home before and can calm me down (I'm usually shaking it is so unrattling). This time: No B, just me and two babies. I completely freaked. I jumped up with Nathan in my arms and ran down to the alarm pad to see what zone was open, not fully convinced this wasn't going to be the night I have always feared when some person is standing in my house. I see it is the zone where I was sitting, so I knew it wasn't a break in (logically I knew, but emotionally I was a total mess at this point). I turned it off and paced back and forth looking around the house to make sure. I get back to the living room where I was and see that in my franticness to turn off the alarm I had knocked over my red wine all over our beige carpet and B's computer (fortunately it was closed). There I stood: frazzled from the off schedule of the day and incessant dual baby crying that had resulted, extra frazzled that it fell at the end of my first full time week with the kids alone, trippled frazzled that the alarm went off (which was playing with my head), two screaming babies due to the scary alarm, and red wine all over my nice carpet. As if it couldn't get worse, not 5 minutes later someone rang the doorbell...I HATE when people come to the door at night that I am not expecting. I left both babies screaming and ran to the door to see if it was someone who set off the alarm. I see a man I've never seen before standing looking at my door and talking to himself. We live in a very nice, safe neighborhood, so this is really out of the ordinary. I started crying at that point and was incredibly stressed out. When B got home about 10 minutes later I just turned hysterical. I was reduced to sobbing tears and shut myself in the bedroom.

That was ugly. :)

So that is week 5. I will probably post again before week 6 because I have a post in mind I need to "get out" about my career questions at this point. For now, I will leave you with this picture, which I just love (there is a video to go with it that I will post separately):

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Today is the babies' due date

It's hard to believe that today is the babies' actual due date...and they will be a month old tomorrow! Oh, how much we have learned about them this month. I can summarize it pretty well with a baby quiz. Hint: there is a pattern to the answers.

Which baby sleeps like an angel?
Which baby sleeps like he/she is slaying dragons and is so noisy that the babies have already had to be moved to their nursery without the monitor on and with the door closed in order for only the "real" cries to be heard?

Which baby will eat any formula without problem?
Which baby has led us to try 4 formulas, gas drops, and two nipples in the course of 3 weeks to alleviate post-feeding craziness?

Which baby consistently eats the same amount?
Which baby has an appetite that sings wildly between 2 and 6 ounces, leading that baby to wake up too early (after a 2 ounce feeding) or not want to eat at the next feeding at all (after a 6 ounce feeding)?

Which baby likes to be occasionally held, but after a while really enjoys just being peacefully placed in his/her crib to drift off to sweet sleep on his/her own?
Which baby requires extended burping, swinging, pacifiers, tons of holding, a specific type of swaddling and a feeding...and only when the stars are order to go to sleep?

If you answered Kenna to all the first questions and Nathan to all the second questions, you are correct! Kenna is pretty much the easiest imaginable baby, and Nathan is pretty much the most difficult imaginable baby. I think the most difficult thing is the sleep issue. He absolutely is incapable of going to sleep on his own. Ever. I desperately want them to get to 3 months old so we can do sleep training (it's too early now - they aren't "trainable" yet). That's been the hardest thing for me - not being able to really work on making progress in difficult areas, because it's pretty much universally agreed that in the first three months you can't train them. I'm a person who needs a plan; I see a problem, I will find a solution. I see Nathan needs to learn to sleep on his own, I want to do all the recommended techniques to get him there. But, I can't yet. It makes you feel like you are just treading water. The only progress I feel we are making is time toward that 3 month point. Oh, March, how you look like a wonderful month. :) (And yes I know that it won't be a magical day on their 3 month birthday where they are suddenly trainable - but I know I can start working on it then!)

The good thing is, we have learned a lot about their cries and cues and I feel more confident that I know what is going on at a given time. We know their patterns for the most part. I'm sure that will continue getting easier too. Nathan had a couple of weeks of extreme gas pain and agitation at times so we have been trying different formulas and think we have found one that works pretty well for him in the last 3 days. Now he is "just" fussy but not in pain. A step forward. J is still pumping, but we mix with formula to have enough for them. Nathan is eating about 36 ounces per day now and Kenna about 32!

B goes back to work tomorrow and I'm a bit nervous about that. Right now, when one of us just can't manage Nathan anymore, the other is sane enough to jump in. But as of Sunday, B will be doing his 9p-3a shift at night and it's all me the rest of the time. We are going to try this for a couple of weeks to see if B will survive doing his night shift and still be able to function at work. If he can't, we may look into some nightime help.

Feeding every 3 hours is going really well for the most part. Only occasionally do we get off schedule. But of the 3 hours, about 1.5 hours is spent feeding, diapering and getting back to sleep so there isn't much time in between cycles left over. I'm very excited to move to a 4 hour schedule when that becomes possible. Kenna I think is ready to eat every 4 hours already because we usually have to wake her to eat, but Nathan definitely needs his 3 hour feedings (even though he eats a ton!).

Amazingly, I don't feel completely exhausted physically. I just feel drained energy wise from the never ending 3 hour cycles. Just when I feel like I get to relax I look at the clock and have about 15 minutes until the next feeding. I'm always surprised - like, it can't possibly be time for them to eat again?! lol

We did get out the other day for the first time with them. We took them to an open air mall (to avoid indoor germs) and went to our favorite restaurant. Then we got ice cream and walked around. It was so great to feel like we weren't homebound anymore! I loved just cruising around with them, getting to spend time with them while getting time to be out of the house. There were a lot of onlookers. People think you can't hear them, which is so amusing. We were just sitting with the double stroller and people would walk by and say, "Oh my gosh, twins" or "ooohhhh twins" or "oh wow, twins" (in a tone of "I can't even imagine what that would be like"). A guy actually asked us, "how crazy is YOUR life?" lol

So, that's the first month. I'm really looking forward to when we get to enjoy them all day and enjoy sleep all night. :) That's fair, right?

Friday, January 2, 2009

Check out J's video

I just wanted to do a quick post to point to J's blog and an awesome video she created to "sum up" her surrogate experience. It's beautiful! Go check it out at:

Happy new year everyone!