Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Weeks 14 and 15: Sailing along

I am happy to report that the last couple of weeks have been blissfully uneventful. :) It's just so nice to be in a good pattern with nothing major going on.

Let's see, there have only been a couple of changes in the last 2 weeks. First, we have completed "unswaddling". I really didn't think it would ever happen because Nathan especially has very active arms and he keeps himself awake. We started off by letting them sleep during daytime naps with their arms out of the swaddle. That took about a week for them to get used to. Then we let them do it during the 7-10 time at night (we wake them at 10 for their last feeding). Although it seemed they hadn't quite mastered that and were still waking themselves up, it was close enough that one night we decided to go for it after the 10 pm feeding for the rest of their sleep. Kenna did amazing! She slept all the way through and never made a peep. She had always been waking up at 5 or 6 (rather than the "goal" of 7) and she just could never seem to sleep on through. After we unswaddled, and ever since this week, she sleeps all the way through to 7 every night and we don't hear anything from her. When she wakes up she just lies in her crib looking around until I come in (at which time I get huge smiles and coos)! The first couple of nights Nathan woke up at 4-5 am, but that is what he had been doing anyway for a couple of weeks before (he had regressed from sleeping through for some reason). I figured he was waking up early anyway, so keep unswaddling. Well, he finally got all the way through and for the last few nights has done great! He still wakes up early, cries for about 5-10 minutes, but now goes back to sleep on his own and waits for me in the morning without crying. Hooray!

Kenna is doing better with her head lifting. She has gotten it very high a few times and can hold it up for limited amounts of time. Definite progress. I'm confident that she is getting it now. She's just not as motivated to lift her head as Nathan, who now loves his tummy time and lies around for long periods with his head way up in the air.

Both babies discovered thumbs this week! They have had much fun putting their hands in their mouths. They had their hands in their mouths many times before but now you can tell it's intentional and they are really working hard at finding those fingers. I'm happy about that because neither one is good at keeping a pacifier in so it's not fun to keep replacing fallen pacifiers. We have mostly weaned them from pacifiers anyway, but I still use them when we are out and sometimes at night when we put them to bed.

That's all that's new right now. I will post some pics in a bit here. I love these babies more and more every day, even though it seems like I couldn't love them more than I already do. We just bond more all the time and I am loving being a mommy. Boy, those first three months were hard. It was harder for me than I even let on in my earlier posts. But it sure makes me appreciate our smooth sailing ship all the more now. Nathan and Kenna are the precious lights of my life!

My heart goes out to some of my online friends/fellow bloggers who have had very difficult news lately. It's made my heart so heavy for them and I think about it so much when I look at my little ones and know so many are still struggling. When you come out "victorious" from infertility you can still easily feel the pain of others going through their own battles. One friend, after several IVFs and losses, tried surrogacy for the first time recently and the surrogate did not get pregnant. Two others, after devastating past losses and many IVFs, did surrogacy for the first time recently, both surrogates got pregnant, and both just suffered miscarriages in the last couple of weeks. Another did seven IVFs, finally got pregnant with twins, went to her big ultrasound to find out the genders yesterday and found out one of the babies has a severe heart defect and will require multiple heart surgeries as a baby. My heart just pours out to all of these families. I feel like we can't possibly be this lucky so something bad must be around the corner for us too. It's just not fair that things worked out for us and these other wonderful women are still in the trenches. It really feels like you are stuck in the bottom of a well when you are going through IVFs. Yes, you can see there are several possible ways of getting out; a possible step here, a loose hanging rope over there. You know that something can probably work, but every time you try something and it doesn't work, it feels more and more hopeless. You try the rope and the whole thing comes down into the well with you because it turns out it wasn't tied at the top. So you try the step but it's too wet and you slip and fall back. With every option used you feel more and more hopeless and frustrated. Sometimes you just sit down in the dark bottom and cry. It's hard to imagine trying that other step over there since it looks wet too and will take a whole lot of energy. Meanwhile, you hear all the happy people at the top having fun and playing with their children freely. But you are stuck in the well. You keep trying because you have to. And someday you know you'll be on the other side. But those days stuck in the well, you will never, ever forget. They leave you a changed person.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weeks 12 and 13: Lots of changes!

I feel guilty combining weeks but I just didn't have time to update last week! Nathan and Kenna, if/when you read these someday, know that it's not that I didn't love you enough to update both weeks...I was spending time with you instead. :)

So let's see, what's new? Well, I feel there have been a lot of developmental and physical changes with the babies at this 3 month mark!

Nathan, in week 12, suddenly went from being strong about lifting his head when on tummy time to lifting himself consistently 90 degrees while leaning on his arms and just holding that position without struggling. It's amazing to watch! For so long I was impressed that he could just lift his head so high and then put it down, but it's like one day that week he realized he was strong enough to hold it up once it got into position, supported by his arms, and he never turned back! This skill then enabled him to roll over one morning. He rolled over from tummy to back a couple of times before he was even six weeks, but purely by accident as he never did it again. The morning he rolled over recently I was so excited because I could tell he was really trying! I put him on his tummy again and he rolled over two more times that morning! Since then he has rolled over multiple times per day. He loves it!

I know that by 3 months babies are supposed to be able to lift their heads at least 45 degrees and last week I really started getting concerned about Kenna. On tummy time she really doesn't try at all to lift her head and when she gets frustrated and does try because she wants out of the position, she really barely moves it up. I wouldn't even call it 45 degrees. So I started obsessing about this issue and putting her on her tummy a kazillion times per day. I started doing "exercises" with her that intuitively seem like they would help. I would hold her head up for her on tummy time to show her what things look like if she tries to look up, exercise that muscle by lifting and lowering her head, put her across my lap for a different view, etc. She still didn't seem to get it. Then one night I put her down one last time and she suddenly lifted way up OVER 45 degrees on her ARMS (not just the newborn head lift) and held it there! I was so excited I went dashing for the camera across the room and slipped and hurt my knee on the hard wood floor. LOL She has done it a few times since then but is not consistent yet. I'm just relieved to know she can. We'll continue working on it.

Aside from the physical aspect, something significant started happening on February 28 (end of week 12). I know it was that day because we were over at B's parents house when the babies really started vocalizing the first time. They had been making little sounds here and there before, but nothing like that morning...and they haven't turned back. I've tried really hard to talk a lot TO them because that is supposed to really help from an early age, but it just didn't occur to me that they were at a point to talk WITH them. B's mom was talking "with" them that morning, pausing to give them the opportunity to chime in, and that's when they started doing it. Now I make it a point to talk with them every day - where we establish good attention and eye contact and then have a conversation. :) I absolutely love their little sounds. Sometimes they aren't even sounds, just little "squeals" or excited kicks, but it's all communication. They are so fun!

I can't believe how much they have grown, which is something that has really struck me lately. In the past it seemed impossible to tell because I was seeing them every day. But when I look at them now they just look like SUCH bigger, older babies. I really see the changes in their faces. They both have faces that have filled out so much. Kenna has gotten especially plump lately (in a good way!!). I've been feeding them at the same time for a while now, using the two boppies, and the other day I decided to feed one at a time because I missed it. I couldn't believe how different it was to hold them while feeding now compared to a few weeks ago when I regularly did it that way! They just seemed huge! Of course I hold them every day, but I don't have the same obvious reference point with that as with feeding so it struck me. They are also moving through their clothes so fast, I can't keep up. I have clothes for the future in sorted stacks in the closet. Periodically I remember, "hey, I should check the next range of clothes in case they can wear them now" (so we don't get too far along and they've already outgrown them before I realized it). Every time I do try it they fit and I just can't believe it. Nathan is now in 3-6 month (3 month is tight) and Kenna will be very soon (she is good with 3 month exactly). It's fun to have them wear new clothes all the time, but OMG, my babies! They are getting so big so fast! I never thought I would say that a month ago when I was so overwhelmed. LOL But each time I put away another outfit that is too small I feel a little pang of sadness. In a good way, it really has made me "get it" in terms of enjoying each stage, because now I'm really experiencing how fast the stages go. I am obsessively taking pictures and need to do a better job remembering to grab video.

For those who don't know, I own my own company (started it 4 years ago) and work from home. The problem is, running it to make it worthwhile means I really need to work more than full time doing it. I don't want to work full time for now. So, I made the decision recently to put my company on "hold" for a year (it's something that requires advertising for business, so I can just keep my advertising off). That said, I value the balance of work and do want to work part time, so I've decided to work two days per week. I've been doing some minimal marketing consulting for B's business (he owns his own also) for the last couple of years because they don't have a marketing executive, needed a marketing plan and that is my background. They have hired me to be their Marketing Director and I'll be doing that with my two days per week. It's perfect for me because it's a high level job doing what I love, while working from home exactly how much I was hoping to. :) To enable this, we've hired a nanny for one day per week (on a neighbor's referral) and B's mom comes the other day. We started this last week and I'm really happy with how it's all working out!

For those of you who are still expecting, I would like to leave this 3 month post for you with this thought: Getting through the first three months is akin to getting through the first trimester. It's a totally new phase of your life with lots and lots of adjustments. It's a very emotional time filled with highs AND lows. I really feel that I have "conquered" those first three months now and emerged alive. :) I feel like I know my babies inside and out, the daily mystery and frustration of trying to figure out what is going on is gone, our schedule is like a well oiled machine, we all sleep great through the whole night, and I love these little precious children like I can't even explain. I am so grateful for every minute and I dream of all the wonderful times ahead.

I don't have time to post pics right now, but will soon!