Sunday, September 24, 2006

A whopper and a small fry

The whopper: B-Boy is now 12 pounds, 11 ounces
Small fry: Miss M is 9 pounds, 5 ounces

I shouldn’t categorize them like that, though. They’re both growing well. (But B-Boy jumped from the 20th to the 75th percentile, or something like that!) I’d have more details, but I was a bit traumatized by the injections. Three of them into each of my kids was a lot of needles. And I’m not sure if you remember, but I was a big old needle-phobe before launching into the world of fertility treatments. At playgroup last week* one of the moms consoled me about the shots, noting “I just nursed her right afterwards, and she was fine” and I crumpled a little. We went in with a strategy - make sure they weren’t hungry, then J got to comfort MissM, who likes to suck on his finger like she’s nursing, and then I could nurse B-Boy, who uses me as his own personal pacifier. It worked out okay, though still - those needles? They looked to be the same size I used for my own IM injections, and, um, I have a lot more muscle (and fat) in my ass than my wee babies do in their thighs. Man that sucked.

In other mundane news, we’ve been using the g-diapers everyone recommended. They’re not bad, though the size small doesn’t really fit my chunky boy, and having to take them to the bathroom to flush adds a step that requires both hands to be free. And they’re pretty expensive. So I think we’re going to go with a combination of cloth pocket diapers (Fuzzi Bunz, probably, though I have one other kind on order to try out) and ‘sposies, but we’ll use up the g-dipes we have first. We’ll see how that goes.

What else? The babies have both developed silent reflux (which means they’re not spitting up all the time, but they’re really REALLY fussy when they eat). So we’re working on that. And the big exhaustion of all of that determined that if we can swing it, we should hire some part-time help so that I can focus on feeding these babies and leave the rest of it to someone else as much as possible, at least for the next month until I no longer have to keep them upright while nursing and for 15+ minutes afterward. So we’re venturing into the world of hired child care. I’m sure I’ll have more on that once I dive in, but for now I’m just barely slipping my toes in.

* This time at playgroup, I learned that the other cool thing is a nursing cover called a Hooter Hider. What I don’t understand is how all these moms who haven’t met before know what’s cool. I mean, I’ll understand if there are even more Hooter Hiders next week, but at our first group meeting? It went well, otherwise. Still too big to be a playgroup, but I think people will slowly drop out. We’re the only twins in this group, so still quite the spectacle. And I’m not getting an infertile vibe from any of the others, not that I know what that vibe would be. I did put out some hints, though, in case there was another in the room.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Pickle Petuniabottom and her friends

Things I learned by attending the start-up meeting for a playgroup organized by the JCC:

  • The cool mom accessory in my area is a Petunia Picklebottom diaper bag. Man, are those things huge. Geez. I have two babies, and my diaper bag is smaller. And less flashy, but that’s another story.
  • There were four sets of Jewish twins born in July and August. Or at least, four sets that were on the list for the playgroups. Only one other came to the meeting (I brought J, she brought her mom).
  • My previous self-doubting post aside, I guess I’m doing well after all. The other twin mom also looked like she had it together, but she didn’t feel like she did. And her mom lives in the area, and they have a nanny/housekeeper/helper person during the week, and even then... So in comparison, I guess we’re doing well. This is not to play “who has it worse” or anything, but just to have ventured out to the meeting says something about how we’re doing, and then having other moms of babies the same age in a room leaves a huge window for comparisons.
  • Apparently, breastfeeding is impressive. I guess that’s the twin thing. Also the fact that they sometimes go 4 hours between feedings.
  • Little old ladies (in the lobby) find dads with twins to be insanely fascinating. And they think nothing of asking if I’m able to breastfeed them. Which is fine, but if I weren’t able to breastfeed them would that have felt rude or harsh or judgemental?
  • I have no good way of scoping out infertiles in a crowd like that, though I wanted to. Even with the other twin mom - mom of b/g twins, y’know. People ask me if twins run in the family all the time, yet I can’t come up with a good way to ask if twins run in her RE’s office or whatever. J suggested asking if people always ask her if twins run in her family - as one twin mom to another. Because I can’t just ask “so, spontaneous or assisted” - can I?

The first meeting of the actual playgroup is tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. And I'm hoping we can put together the four sets of twins and form our own sub-group. Because while some stuff is the same, some things are Just So Different. I just have to restrain myself from thinking that everyone else has it easier with just one, though I've been thinking that a lot lately. With just one, even when they're being fussy you don't have to worry that you're going to have to put them down to tend to the other. Or that you can't do the thing that will calm them (nursing, or carrying them in one of my slowly accumulating carriers) because the other is hungry. Or having to put them down when they're napping on me because I have to be able to get to the other. I know it's hard for everyone at this age, and different for everyone, but just like Jenn said, it's hard not to contemplate what it would be like with just one at a time. Not that I can imagine life without both of them, but I do wonder.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Routines, or lack thereof

My children are somewhat dirty. Their clothes are clean, and their diapers get changed regularly, but we somehow can’t work regular baths into our routine. And by routine, I mean the haphazard way we’re currently running our lives. I’m not expecting that we’ll be able to come up with a schedule. I have no grand plans for each day to be meticulously planned and flawlessly executed. (If I did, you’d all be well within reason to bring me back to my senses through whatever means necessary.) But it seems like every day we’re just making it up. There’s no getting-up routine. No bedtime routine. No playtime routine. Sure, there are some things we’re starting to get the hang of - middle of the night feedings, to some extent, some days (not that they necessarily go smoothly, but I know what’s supposed to happen). Going out (it still takes forever to get out the door, but it usually doesn’t feel out of control). But for the most part we’re just letting the kids sleep when they sleep and working the rest of it around that.

Except that this feels totally out of control to me. As I said, I don’t expect any formal schedule, but in the sleep-addled early morning, I’d like to know that whenever the babies wake up (one of them, or both together) first we ____, then _____, then _____. Or for naps - where do they sleep? Lately they’ve been falling asleep while nursing, but waking up if I move them. So I spent several hours on Sunday with both babies asleep on my lap. Adorable, yes, and okay when J was around to bring me lunch or whatever, but not really the routine I’d like to establish.

And of course the baths. We had been doing bathtime whenever the babies seemed awake enough, generally midday, sometimes morning, sometimes afternoon. And not very regularly. Baths seem to get pushed aside - not because we don’t think they’re important, but because they’re a bit of a logistical challenge - the babies have to be awake, but not needing to eat nor having just eaten. And there have to be enough hands available. So we’re trying to work bathtime into our bedtime routine. That is, the bedtime routine we’re trying to create.

But then, our bedtime routine is sorely lacking in other respects, too, so it’s not surprising that we’re having trouble with bathtime logistics. I’d tell you what we do, except that it’s really not working at all. So instead, I’m looking forward to seeing what other people do. What are your routines? What works?

(I’m hoping the fact that this was the topic of Emmie’s most recent Twinkle Hack Tuesday means I’m right on time to get lots of useful advice. Or even just a little bit of only vaguely useful advice. Anything will help at this point, even if it’s “oh, I can’t see us doing it that way!”)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Slip sliding away

We’ve come so far. It’s not that things are settled, at all, but it’s starting to sink in that we’re here - we have these two wonderful babies, at home, with us. And yet it’s already slipping away. Part of that is good - I don’t actually need to remember the details of their delivery or our hospital stay.* But I’m also starting to forget what it was like in those first, precious days at home. And I’m scared that soon I’ll start to forget this - the grunts and snorts as they feel their bodies working, the furrowed brow as B-Boy studies the world, the switch from peaceful to so frustrated as MissM nurses. It’s not all perfect, but it’s all ours.

I’m trying to be better about jotting down notes (I think B-Boy smiled today and it looks like he’s going to have a dimple - MissM had some good tummy time) and taking pictures, but it’s not enough. Even as I’m experiencing it, it’s slipping away and we’re moving to a new stage. And that’s going to be wonderful too. But bittersweet.

People say having boy/girl twins is an instant family - now we’re all done. And I just don’t know. I can’t comprehend having any more kids now, obviously, but I’m not ready to say we won’t ever want them. The babies are outgrowing some of their tiniest clothes, and I’m boxing them up and putting them away. We might need them someday. And yet, we might not. This might be my only chance to experience these stages - to watch my babies discover the world. And I don’t want to miss it.

* I was sorting through the pictures J has sorted by week on his computer, and came across the folder from the first day - most of which were pictures I never saw. Pictures from the delivery room. Pictures of B-Boy all wapped up in the NICU. Pictures of J holding MissM in the NICU (where they kept her until I was stabilized). Pictures of the CPAP. Weird to see things in pictures I didn’t see firsthand. Very weird.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Things I never thought would be of concern:

  • Too much milk. Yeah, I seem to have a bit of an oversupply problem, which carries with it an overactive letdown (which floods the babies and makes them choke and sputter) and is connected to what we think is a foremilk hindmilk imbalance which is probably to blame for MissM’s green poo. * Maybe now that we recognize the cause we can do something about it. (Most of the recommendations out there for this don’t work for nursing twins, but I got some useful input from a twin-experienced LC who suggested nursing them each on one side for a full 24 hours, rather than switching between feedings. We’ll see if that helps, but I think it’s having an impact.)

  • My MIL is leaving soon. I never thought I’d want her here this long, and while it hasn’t all been perfect, we’ve found a routine and she will be missed. Which is weird, since I’ve certainly had my share of issues with her. Not sure how it happened, but she and I are actually getting along. Plus she takes the babies, and does laundry and grocery shopping and makes sure I have a snack to eat in the middle of the night. I don’t think what I do will be hugely different (though this post is made possible by her taking the fussy-shift), but the impact on J will be huge, since he’ll need to do much much more of the household and support work. Conveniently, I guess, he still doesn’t have a job, so he’ll be around for a while. He’s freelancing some of the time, but not back to a regular work schedule - bad for many reasons, but good for transitioning (since otherwise we’d go from having a grandma in the house, plus J, to me being all alone all of a sudden).

    On the cloth diapering front: When I first expressed interest in trying to CD, my mom and MIL both seemed shocked and concerned - especially since I planned to wash my own (both because it didn’t seem like that big a deal, and because there isn’t wasn’t a diaper service. And then someone started one. And now another. My city went from having no diaper service (which none of us could believe) to having two start up within a summer. Both had the same thought I did - “how is it possible that there’s no diaper service here???” So we signed up with the first one, though they’re still getting it together, and gave the CD thing a try. And so far, I’m not convinced. I still think I want to CD, but the service seems like more trouble than it’s worth, the kids don’t seem comfortable in cloth (because it feels so wet, I think), assembling them is a bit of a pain with two kids in different sizes, and having a week’s worth of diapers for two just sitting around seems like more of a pain than just doing laundry. But I’d ordered a multi-size pocket diaper a while back, and it seems really promising. As do FuzziBunz, though I’ve never used them. So I have an order in for one more of the multi-size (with smaller inserts better suited to smaller babies) and a couple of FB to try. We’ll see how that goes, but I think it’s where we’ll end up. Any other tips on CDing are most welcome, though.

    * Did I forget to mention that Dr. Dismissive suggested that the green poo was the result of bile? Yes, bile. And that it was fine and not related to anything else. Not so much, it seems. So nyah nyah nyah. Someone pointed out to me that the range of “normal” that some pediatricians expect is based on formula-fed babies, and is a completely different conception of “normal” than is found in breastfed babies. Which reminds me - that article about inequalities in terms of continued breastfeeding for working mothers? That’s some serious shit we should be doing something about. Seems more important than having a nurse-in at Vicky’s Secret (not that there isn’t some major irony there, and not that BFing in public should of course be accepted and why do I keep thinking about BFing in my car rather than in public? Oh, right, because there’s no place to do it). Maybe a pump-in?