Saturday, July 30
I don't type much, so my mind is like a runaway train... feel free to skip. :)
I'm a stay-at-home-mom by summer and a working-mom by school year. It's something I knew would be a reality when we started having kids. We had two choices back in 2006 when we decided to start trying- we could wait a long time to make sure I could exclusively stay home, or we could get pregnant and know I would have to work. I wasn't willing to wait, so we took the dive and 2.5 years later welcomed the boys.
Admittedly I always hoped something magical would change and I could stay home... we'd win the lottery or get a free house or Johnny would realize that cable & Red Sox tickets & health insurance & well, food, were luxuries we could live with out. (That didn't happen, babies like to eat & we love True Blood)
So, 6 weeks after the boys were born, I went back to teaching my 3rd year of K & two months later I headed home for 5 months of leave with Colby. 2 months after returning back to work I was at home again on Summer vacation & then a half a year after the start of my 4th year I was put on bedrest and rode out 12 weeks at home (again). And now it's summer & I'm back to taking on the "at home" role. Basically I'm my school district's worst nightmare.
Anyways, I waiver between how I feel about my roles. First, I'll complain that SAHM's call themselves "Full Time Mothers" as if those of us who work aren't Full Time Moms. But I digress (and I totally tried to find Blair's post on this, but I can't & I'm a little lazy).
Anyways, on a good day I'm okay to be working & taking care of the kiddos. My mom worked and I always admired her for it. We were technically latch-key kids, but I didn't feel neglected because of it. Both my parents were there 100% for everything- baseball, soccer, dance, gymnastics (because, yes, they still managed to find the time to let all 4 of us do whatever activities we wanted although they both worked full time jobs themselves). Because of that, and because of how I felt about my mom, I'm sometimes proud of what I'm doing. In the end I'd like to think that Colby, Sydney & Zoe will admire me for everything I'm doing on my quest to be Super Mom. When I was working I managed to work, take 3 grad classes, get dinner on the table (most nights), give Colby his bath, tuck him into bed with stories, and still be somewhat functioning. (And usually our floors were swept a few times a week) Oh, and I was pregnant with twins at the time. And there's the fact that I really love teaching.
Other days I'm so overwhelmed with jealousy that I can't stay home when all I want is to be with my kids. Instead it seems a little off that I'm at school with 25 other kids while mine are being cared for by a nanny, or day care provider, or even grandparents. I feel like it should be me. Are they any worse for the wear? Probably not, but I still have pangs of jealousy that I'm not there. I wish I were one of the moms who worked that is completely at peace with her decision (or need) to work, but I'm not quite there yet...
So the point of all this? I am getting a little tired of the line "You're with them all day." when I try to object to being told that I should leave the girls for a night with someone else or that I should send Colby to his grandparents for the day. Yes, I understand that it's good for the kiddos to see their grandparents, but I don't think that seeing them for a whole day or weekend at the expense of not being with me is really worth it. (Or rather, it's not worth it to me, but maybe someone can prove it is developmentally worth it.)
No matter if I'm with these kids forever, every day until the end of time, forever isn't enough.
Monday, July 25
A spare moment! It's 4:30AM and I'm pumping. Typically I'm also topping off a baby right now, but the both fell asleep nursing so here I am. (I'll regret this later when they wake up in an hour though.) What's been going on...?
Less than 10 minutes in the girls started waking for the rest of their feed... I guess that's better than being up in an hour.... And now it's actually the next night and I'm still working on this...
Two years old...
Colby loves HAPPY BIRTHDAY and was thrilled that it was being sung to him.
The boys second birthday came and went on Tuesday. I spent the AM at the doctors with the girls getting Zoe's hips ultrasound-ed. She was transverse/breech so it was a precautionary thing- she looks great. :) Colby headed into Boston with Johnny to go to the Children's Museum and loved it.
I was sad I missed his first time there, but I've had to realize that I can't be there for all his "firsts"- especially with having the girls and that if I tried to hold him back until I could go then that would be unfair to him. So, I've been missing out on a lot lately (Children's Museum, parade, fireworks, day at the beach) but I'm trying to be okay with it. (I'm not really).
Afterwards we had a lowkey day and celebrated it will Connor's cake. The past two years for Colby's party I've made a little Connor cake it a loaf-pan and we've eaten it on their actual birthday. It's become a nice little tradition. This year we couldn't release balloons exactly at 11:56am. It made me sad, but I was in the ultrasound at the time...
Anyways, two-year-old Colby? SUPER fun. (As was one-year-old Colby) Colby is a talker and will tell you the most elaborate stories. He talks with his hands and I can't help but laugh at the expression he puts into his stories. He talks in his sleep which cracks me up and melts my heart. If he has something important to tell you, he'll grab your face between his hands and make sure he has your undivided attention. He loves his sisters like crazy, but their crying clearly annoys him sometimes. He knows the babies only drink molk and they can't have any big people food. The loves to tickle them and when they "tickle him with their toes". He's become a little afraid of the dark. He's a total water baby and loves the pool, the water table, and puddles. Playing in the rain gives him the greatest thrill. He's a total boy's boy and loves trucks, trains, mud, dirt, and balls, but he can appreciate a good pair of shoes. He's still totally in love with his Mama and attached at my hip- perhaps more so because of the girls. He's the best. :)
Two years ago...
Colby and Connor's cake.
The 21st brought two years since Connor died. It sucked. I guess I never prepared myself for the face that 1 year out might not be the worst. Last year I expected the 21st to be awful and it was. This year I thought it would be sad, but I thought I had come far enough that I would be more "okay". Not okay but... that it wouldn't hurt as much. It was awful times a lot. I think not bracing myself for the awfulness of the day made it even more awful than it should have been. I blame Colby... he's so amazing and smart and cute and loveable that he just makes me wonder even more what it would have been like to have his brother around. And he deserves to have his brother around and... well, it just sucks.
Funny... 2 years ago as we sat in the boys NICU room with our family I remember holding Connor in my arms not ready to let go. I was sitting next to my dad and all I could say was "It just sucks." It hurt so bad and I was dying inside, but really there were no words to describe it than "It just sucks". To this day that's the only way to sum it up.
Two months old
Today the girls turned two months old. I can't believe how fast they're growing up. They're so alert and they hold their heads so well and they're so darn cute it kills me. They're not skinny little newborns, they're plump and rolly and chubby and adorable. Both girls are just over 8lbs now. They're still in newborn diapers and clothes but they're about ready to pop out of both. (But holy cow they have a lot of newborn clothes! I don't think they've worn them all yet.)
Our days a busy and some days it feels impossible to take a breath. I can tell by 8am what kind of day it will be. If I can catch the girls in the AM before they start tandem screaming and I can get one girl changed, fed, and happy before the other wakes then we're golden. If I don't catch them early enough (by giving in to my desire for 10 more minutes of sleep) we're in trouble. The whole day seems to be chaotic and they seem to be off their "routine". (We don't have a routine, but they're really good about eat/play/nap/repeat most days)
Sydney's a screamer if she isn't attended to quickly, but once she's fed and changed she's content just to watch the world. She's shorter and leaner than her sister with a pointed nose, pale skin, and huge eyes. She's a good napper and sleeps well at night between feeds.
Sydney being a pretty princess.
Zoe's more easily calmed while she's waiting her turn to eat or be changed. She also loves to watch the world, but only if she's doing it from the comfort of someone's arms. She's heavier than Sydney, though not by much. Her nose is wider, she has more olive skin, and huge eyes. She can nap well, but prefers to be held. She's stay awake for hours if it means she can hang out with you and smile.
They both have BIG beautiful eyes. They're a dark blue now... but we'll see what happens!
Things were going so well in the world of nursing. The girls hadn't had formula in probably a few weeks and I had started to develop quite a store of milk in the freezer as well. I'd nurse every feed expect for the 10/11pm feed so we could give vitamins. I still pump 8-10 times a day so in addition to whatever they were getting directly I was pumping an additional 1,000 or so ml a day. Some would be used to top off the girls, but most was frozen.
Thursday night came and I knew that I was on my way for an infection and come Friday morning I was in a ton of pain, running a fever of over 102, vomiting, and just miserable. (Yeah, taking care of 3 kids while feeling so sick is doable, but not fun!) I immediately called my OB and got antibiotics going. Unfortunately my supply took a pretty immediate hit. I'm still pumping quite a bit, but it's definitely lower than it was and the girls are now taking 3oz every feeding instead of just over 2oz, so it adds up over time. I've already had to dip into my frozen milk which bothers me a bit... but I'm still pumping as often as I can and I'm going to start taking the Fenugreek tabs once I finally get out to get them. Formula definitely isn't the end of the world for me (look how awesome Colby turned out, and I stopped pumping for him at 4 months) but I was hoping to keep up breast milk exclusively kind of just to see if I could do it... well, and because I know it has it's benefits (free!). So we'll see... I'm keeping it up and trying to keep spirits up. Whatever happens will happen. I've already got 2 healthy rolly polly babies... :)
BLEH I am so sick of bloodthinners I am going crazy. My belly is a stretch marked mess. What they say about carrying boys and girls differently proved true for me, so I have stretch marks everywhere from the two pregnancies. If that didn't look gross enough, add on the immense bruising from 2 months of twice daily Lovenox injections and it's just unbearable to look at. I have huge purple marks and old yellow bruises and painful lumps from injections that didn't absorb right. Ick. I go on Aug 5th to Hematology and I'm praying that I can stop the shots, but I think I'll be stuck on them until I can get a CAT scan in to make sure the clot is gone. (And I'm almost willing to stay on the Lovenox forever to avoid the scan because the barium sulfate you have to drink for the scan is so disgusting I'd rather take the shots...).
Saturday, July 16
Today we celebrated Colby's second birthday with a low-key family party. As you know, time is limited these days so no invites went out, we ordered the cake instead of making it, and I sent Johnny to the store with the list of things to get Colby (water table, baseball chair, potty, and Rex if you were wondering). We grilled burgers and hot dogs and our parents brought over sides. Easy.
I didn't really give the party a second thought until this AM when I set about baking a small Connor-cake like I made last year.
Then I lost it.
This year was a million times harder than last year. And it hit me like a truck.
Tuesday marks the boys' two year birthday and Thursday marks two years since Connor died.
Two years. I can't even fathom and my heart continues to break a little each time I think about it.
Johnny brought home balloons for Colby. A Buzz & Woody balloon, plus two blue balloons (the boys) and two pink balloons (the girls). Colby absolutely lit up when he saw the boons. Pure joy on his face. Imagine if I could have seen pure joy times two?
Each day I miss him more and more and each day he seems to get a little farther away from reality. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I did give birth to two live, kicking (if not healthy) babies. I carried two babies for 6 months and felt them kick and move. I felt Connor's hiccups on a daily basis as he waited to make his grand entrance into the world. He held my finger as I met him face to face and again as he slipped away.
Because it all happened so quickly- how could it have been true?
But it was. Almost two years ago I experienced the greatest joy and the worst low. That's my reality now. It's the truth to my life.
And it's not going away...
Monday, July 11
So far the hardest thing about having the twins & Colby at home isn't the lack of sleep. Or lack of time. Or lack of personal space-- Colby's still totally in our bed every night (which I feel so much better about after talking to a friend about this... I kept feeling like I had to defend it, but she made me feel more okay about it which is great because I totally love it).
Instead it's the guilt of "choosing" one kiddo over another.
When Colby came home he was never down awake just laying there (hmm... maybe a part of the sleep issue?). He didn't cry for more than a few seconds. He was toted everywhere. Obviously he was just the center of attention because he was the only child (at home).
But now having the girls? I am constantly aware of how much attention everyone is getting. Colby needs a lot because he's 2 and I don't want him to feel replaced. And then of course the girls need a lot because they're tiny and always eating. But to feed the girls so often, Colby is often playing alone. And to hang out in the pool with Colby or to race a few cars on the floor, well the girls are sometimes wide awake hanging out in their rockers alone. And of course I feel so guilty about it all. I don't want Colby to resent the girls and I don't want to risk not having the same close connection with the girls that I had/have with Colby because I can't be holding everyone every minute.
And to make things a little more difficult... while Colby is not outwardly jealous or resentful of the girls (quite the opposite-- he LOVES those girls and is so gentle!) it is clear that he needs more Mama time. I really don't think it has too much to do with the arrival of the girls, but more because of the 2+ months prior to their arrival. I know everyone assured me that bedrest and being away from him wouldn't affect him in the lease, but I don't think they were right. Colby is a smart kiddo and he knew that Mama wasn't home and when Mama was home, she couldn't do much. (He used to say that Mama was broken)
Now that I'm back to full force Colby is absolutely attached at my hip. And he gets anxious and upset with me simply moving across the room. It's the separation anxiety we had way back when multiplied by a million. Around 15/16 months he'd get upset when I left the room, but he'd get over it in a few minutes with a good distraction. Now distractions don't really work-- if I run upstairs to shower he'll cry at the gate the entire time and ignore all distractions. I'm not quite sure how to deal with it... how to calm him down to be okay with me popping out of the room for a few minutes. I guess it's a work in progress!
Saturday, July 9
Wednesday I packed up Zoe and handed Sydney and Colby off to my mom to head to my 6 week check up with my OB. (Despite the reflux Zoe tends to be a little easier & less drama-queeny-- go figure)
Everything looks fine and I was given another prescription for 100 Lovenox needles. Fantastic.
I'm down 8lbs less than my pre-pregnancy weight which is great. But my belly is so weirdly stretched and saggy (gross) and tender from all of the injections (and a weird yellow/green/purple from all the bruising) that I'm not wearing normal sizes yet. Typically I don't even get dressed in the AM & stay in my pjs all day, so I guess it doesn't matter. (I'd claim that they're at least cute pjs, but then Johnny would read this and expose my lie.)
Dr. K asked about birth control. I didn't laugh in his face. In the end he settled on the fact that we could use condoms (ha, yeah right) but then again "You're probably not going to be having much sex anyways!" I love that guy. :)
At least 5 times during our 20 minute visit he asked me the same thing- "Are you happy?"
And it's a harder question to answer than it should be.
On the one hand I'm so incredibly happy that I have these 2 perfect, amazing, beautiful daughters. (Seriously, have you seen their eyes??) They're healthy and thriving. Colby is beyond incredible and the best big brother these girls could have.
There's always a but.
Having these two perfect, amazing, beautiful daughters has made me realize even more just how possible it could have been to have two perfect, amazing, beautiful sons two years ago. Birth 13 weeks early didn't have to happen. Ventilators and PICC lines and death didn't have to happen. After having the boys I kind of felt that extreme prematurity was the hand that I had to be dealt. But this time I realized that that just isn't true. I could make it to 34 weeks. I could have children who could breathe and eat on their own.
I try so hard not to dwell on the past and what I can't change, but I guess I'm pretty bad at that. :) But knowing these girls and Colby doesn't make it easier to accept that Connor's gone. It doesn't make it more okay. It doesn't make it bittersweet or anything that people say. Instead, it makes it harder and less okay. There's no reason he shouldn't be here kissing the girls, cuddling in bed with me, or going shoppin'! with Daddy. But he's not here and it's hard to say 100% that I'm happy.
But I am happy. And I told Dr. K that. Because we're making the best of what we have, we're learning to accept, and we're learning to stop and really appreciate what we have. Because who knows for how long we'll have it.
And because I truly believe deep down in my heart that Connor is the reason that other things are so good. I truly believe that that little boy is keeping us save and healthy and looking out for all of us. I truly believe that he's the reason that Colby is as healthy as he is despite his rough beginning, that he's the reason the girls made it to 34 weeks, that he's the reason for everything.
- We're at the point that I am nursing for all feeds and then pumping after all feeds.
- Occasionally I time pumping wrong and I pump right before someone needs to eat though. :) Of course I feel like all I do is feed and pump. :)
- They haven't had any formula in a long time except for an emergency bottle when we visited Johnny's work on Thursday. :)
- I've even managed to freeze a bunch of milk. For the past few days I've been putting about 6-12oz of milk in the freezer each night after fortifying a few "top-off" ounces. I do still tend to throw a lot out when I try to top one off and they don't want it.
- During the day I'm nursing every 2-3 hours. Sydney is 2 hours on the dot usually and Zoe is a little less frequent. Sydney tends to fall alseep while nursing more prompting the more frequent feeds I think.
- Both girls still use shields and get very frustrated when I try without them.
- Typically it's tandem nursing which saves so much time, but occasionally Syd's off the schedule.
1. Short of buying a scale & weighing before & after each feed, how do I know the girls are getting enough?
2. How often should I still be pumping? How much should I be pumping? It's so hard not to focus on the numbers or to be jealous of people that say "I can pump 8oz in 10 minutes!" because I'm definitely NOT one of those people.
3. How long should it take before they can start taking full feeds each time?? They fall asleep or get frustrated sometimes and get hungry soon after, but I can pump 1.5-2oz each side after a feeding quite often so I know there is plenty of milk there...
Sunday, July 3
At birth on May 25:
Sydney - 4bs 10oz
Zoe - 4lbs 10.8oz
At first Dr. appt on June 9:
Sydney - 4 lbs 14oz
Zoe - 4lbs 14oz
At 1 month check on June 30:
Sydney - 6lbs 6.5oz
Zoe - 6lbs 12.5oz
I'd say they're putting on weight just fine. :)
We're dealing with some reflux with the girls.
Zoe's reflux is more pronounced- as in I cannot ever lay her flat or she will spit- usually out her nose. It's not really bothering her yet - as in no crazy crying or up-all-nights - but it can't be comfortable. It started pretty sporadically. Every now and then I'd wake in the night to her coughing/gagging and choking on a spit. She'd turn purple and you could tell she was struggling to get it out or her mouth and nose. Then it became an every night thing. Then an every time I laid her down. So now we got her a new elevated rocker thing to sleep in. We're holding off meds so far, but we might be down that route very soon.
Sydney never spit in the beginning, but about a week or so ago she started with occasional spits though never out her nose. Just this AM she did this weird thing where she was on the floor next to me and she started arching like crazy, but she wasn't making any noise. I picked her up and she wouldn't stop arching but she was gurgling. She had spit too so she was silently choking on it. It's scary... I need to invest in a bulb syringe company.