Friday, June 30, 2006

No Guilt Allowed

It was a good day for me today, much better than the previous two. I knew it would be hard to have two babies at home at once, but I never imagined I'd be one of those moms who wouldn't get in a shower or a meal because she was so overwhelmed. Everything had been going really smoothly until just this week, when breastfeeding has taken over my life. Since getting both girls at home, I've been struggling a bit with breastfeeding. I wanted more than anything to have two breastfed babies, but I finally threw in the towel last night.

I'm convinced that if it was just one baby who hadn't been taught to bottle feed in the NICU for the first month of her life, I could most certainly make it work. However, we're still supplementing the girls with extra calories, thus having to give her a bottle of supplemented breastmilk several times a day. The more they use the bottle, the worse they are at getting their milk fresh from the source. It's a lot more work to breastfeed, so they get lazy and sleepy and don't eat much. Then half an hour later, they're hungry. All week, it's pretty much been the cycle of feed a baby, burp her, put her to sleep. Then repeat those steps with the second baby. As the second baby is finishing up, calm her sister, who has just woken up hungry again. And on and on and on. Meanwhile, I've been famished and frustrated beyond belief - not wanting to cave in and give them formula.

So today, I decided to simply pump the milk and feed them from the bottle exclusively. That way I could see just how much milk was coming out. Sure enough, there's been just enough to keep up, and with each pumping, I got ahead just a little bit. By the time DW got home from work, I had an extra 3 oz. in the fridge. What a much better day for all of us!

I really struggled with this decision, but I'm not sure why. For some reason, there's a lot of guilt here. I talked it over with my ever-supportive DW, and he backs my decision 1oo percent. He pointed out that I need to give myself a break - and take the time to sleep - and not try to get ahead of two babies at once. He reminded me that this way, we'll know the babies are getting enough food, they'll be more content, and I'll have some much-needed freedom (i.e. time to eat lunch, shower, etc.). What a relief that he's ok with this. And when I start feeling guilty, I just remind myself that the girls are still getting that good breastmilk, and that there's really nothing wrong with bottles. After all, I'll be pumping and giving them bottles once I go back to work anyway.

Whew! I must say, making the official decision has done a world of good for my mental health. Our nurse came out to the house to weigh and measure the girls again today, and she and I talked about feeding quite a bit. She also has twins - 9-year-old boys. And she helped me keep this all into perspective. I know that I'm doing the right thing for both the girls and for me.

Breanna and Lillian are growing wonderfully still. Breanna's a whopping 8 lbs., 2 oz. and 20 inches long! Lillian is exactly two pounds lighter and is 18 1/2 inches long. Yay for both of them! They're both sleeping soundly in their crib right now, and DW is in the bed next to them. All three are breathing softly in unison. What a peaceful feeling. On that note, I'm going to join them. Sweet dreams, friends.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cute Babies

Here's a quick photo. I hate to be a show off, but I can't help it. They are just so darned funny! They make at least 10 million different faces a day.

Modern Living

What would we do without a refrigerator? How did folks in the olden days survive? Unluckily for us, DW and I found out firsthand. On Friday evening, DW poured me a glass of milk and brought it to me while I was feeding one of the girls. It didn't seem as cold as it should have been and so I mentioned it. DW had just opened a can and thought the same thing.

We realized that our refrigerator's lights were on, but nobody was home. Being the handy sort of fellow that he is, DW got out some tools and started investigating. With no luck. He figured it was a bad compressor or else something major. We quickly got out the phone book and started combing the yellow pages. Can you believe that in a community of more than 150,000 people, not a single appliance repair person works weekends? Of course, we're only talking about those who advertise in the phone book, but still.

So, we checked the temp of the refrigerator to see if any of the food would still be ok, but darn it, the temp was 61 degrees. Not being one to chance anything (heck, I throw out salad dressings if the expiration date is in the following month), we pitched almost everything. Some of the freezer items that were in the middle were salvageable, so we were able to transfer them to our deep freeze. Of course, I'd recently been grocery shopping, so there was a lot of waste. Including breast milk (aka liquid gold). How very frustrating. So much for trying to get a little ahead (or even keep up) with the girls' food supply. Thank goodness for coolers for the rest of the weekend.

Maybe it was God's way of telling me that the fridge needed cleaning - what a way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Oh well, at least the refrigerator sparkles now.

This morning, we finally had a repairman out to our house, and thankfully, he was able to fix the bad part quickly and relatively inexpensively. After what I paid for my favorite appliance of all time just three years ago, it had better last longer than just this. Once the repairman left, I hit the grocery store. And it felt great! I wonder how many months it will take me to accumulate all my condiments again. I didn't earn the nickname "Condiments Queen" for nothing, you know.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Morning Breath and All

This morning, DW went to visit the daycare lady that I found and liked. As he left her house, he called me to let me know that his aunt and uncle from Wisconsin would be stopping by. I asked if they were coming for dinner or just an evening visit, and he explained that they'd be here in about a half hour. !!!! What?

DW said he's coming straight home. I'd just gotten out of bed after diapering and feeding the girls - with my teeth unbrushed and still in jammies. Half hour!?! Apparently it's a family trait that goes further than just his parents. At that point, Lillian had just had a really gross diaper and actually needed a bath - wipes would not be enough. I can only imagine them coming to see our darlings and leaving while muttering about the stench of those stinky kids.

In a flurry, I tidied up the house, put on a pot of coffee, searched for baked goods I could offer (came up empty handed), dressed myself, tried to soothe a crying Breanna who still needed more burping, let the dogs out, changed more diapers, found clean clothes for the girls, started a bath for them, and threw on some lipstick. The doorbell rang as I was just finishing dressing Breanna. Lillian had just been bathed and placed back in the bassinet.

On came my sleepy hostess face. Once everyone was settled in and babies were being admired, I got a glance at my hair in the mirror. Yikes! What a way to start the day. Even though I hate having pop in company, especially now with the girls, we did have a nice visit. DW made it home in time to help dress the girls and play host to his relatives. Whew! Once company left, he had to head back to work. He gave me a nice, long kiss and said that he loves me more than ever, morning breath and all. Thank goodness he realizes what a pain in the butt he and his entertaining can be for me.

Now both girls are napping and I can finally grab some breakfast (it's 2:00!). Thanks to the great little front pack my mom brought for me, Breanna is hanging out with me while I type. Lillian is still too little, but, she'll be big enough soon. What a wonderful tool for bonding!

Have a wonderful weekend, all, and please feel free to call and visit any time!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mom's Night Out

Last night, I finally felt like a real person again. The company that I'm going to work for starting the end of July had a get together at a downtown restaurant. They've had some recent successes worth celebrating, so all the employees and their spouses were invited for a dinner on the town. Even though I had nothing to do with the successes, DW and I were invited to join in the party. I was touched to be included already - it really is a nice group.

On top of being appreciative of the invitation, I'm so glad I had a night out to socialize. My darling sister came to the house to watch Breanna and Lillian for the evening, and DW and I had our "date." For a brief while, I forgot about my Bell's Palsy and forgot about feeding schedules and diapers. It was terrific to just get out and visit about regular stuff for a little while. Of course, it was nice to come home and cuddle our girls, too. It's amazing that I already had started to miss them in just a few short hours.

I'm looking at these short outings as breaking in for daycare. What an adventure it's been to find the right provider! I've been calling all over the place, and weeding out a bunch of people just over the phone. Many providers don't have openings for two infants, but of those who do, the pickings are slim. I'm not looking for a daycare mom with a doctorate, but one who can at least speak decently on the phone. I realize that I sound like a total grammar snob, but come on. I wouldn't want my kids to learn to talk so stupidly.

As of right now, there's really only one that I'm considering. The girls and I went to visit her at her home on Tuesday and had a really good vibe. The one we saw today was not good. The provider seemed nice enough on the phone and even is a former nurse. But, oh my! The house reeked of cat urine. Gross!!

Both girls were weighed today and Lillian has gained an ounce a day for the past week. She's now up to 5 lb., 8 oz. Breanna has gained what seems like a ton - she's now 7lb., 7 oz. No wonder it feels like her car seat is getting heavier! They're doing what they're supposed to and I'm so glad.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Photo Functions

Yay - the photo function on this blog site is back up and running. No time to write now, as babies are both ready to eat again. So, enjoy the snapshot. Lillian is on the left and Breanna on the right, both snuggled into the bassinet.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Handful of Toots

When I woke up this morning and walked into my kitchen, I noticed a note I'd written at 4:00 this morning. In very messy script, it simply said "handful of toots." I chuckled out loud.

Lillian was rather fussy after her 4 a.m. feeding, so after many burping attempts, I held her to my chest and half-danced around the living room. After only a couple of minutes, she passed gas - right in my hand. Without thinking about it, I responded with, "Good girl. Good job, Lillian. Keep tooting."

That was the crucial moment when I realized that I really have become a mom. Cheering someone to fart in your hand. This must be what everyone was talking about when they learned I was expecting twins. They kept saying, "You'll have your hands full." I didn't realize that they meant full of gas. This oh-so-profound thought (at least it seemed so at 4 a.m.) was so important that I wanted to be sure to remember it in the morning.

Anyway, on to less flatulent topics. The public health nurse came over yesterday to weigh and measure the girls, and holy moly! They are getting so big! Lillian has hit that crucial 5-lb. mark. She's 5 lbs., 1 oz. and able to go sight seeing in the car now. Yay! And we haven't nicknamed Big Breanna for nothing - she's a whopping 6 lb., 13 oz. Seeing how heavy she is, I'm absolutely amazed that people squeeze such gigantic beings out of their bodies. No wonder you hear so much about the pain associated with labor.

To celebrate their growing, I think DW and I are going to my family's cabin in DL on Saturday for our first official family outing. From what I hear, it should be a relatively quiet weekend there with just my folks, so that should be perfect.

As much as I'd like to show the girls off to our entire clan, I also am remembering what our doctors said as we were preparing to take Lillian home from the NICU. They warned us to keep their exposure to lots of people at an absolute minimum for a while. Specifically, they said don't take them to the mall, to church, to parties, or anyplace where more than a couple people will be touching, holding, or breathing on them. Until their lungs get a little bigger and stronger, they warned us to be extremely cautious. Simply asking friends to wash hands before holding the girls is not enough.

I have a great photo to post, but darn it, Blogger is still not working well for picture posting. I guess others are having the same problem. Yet another instance of you get what you pay for ( is free).

Have a great weekend, all! And don't forget your sunscreen!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Actual Due Date

Well, yesterday was June 12, the day my daughters were technically due. I stumble as I say their "due date" when I look at their sweet faces that I've fallen so in love with for in these last six weeks. What an absolute honor and thrill to be a mom! I'd love to include photos, but the last few days, I haven't been able to post photos and am waiting for the Blogger Help staff to respond to my request for service. Please be patient with me.

After a wonderfully social weekend, we're settling into another busy week. Yesterday I took Breanna and Lillian on a field trip to my OB clinic. I showed them the place where we had so many visits in the past year - this time they got to experience the place outside of the womb. I was a little apprehensive to take them all by myself. What if I couldn't find a decent parking space? What if my arms aren't strong enough to haul both girls in carseats across a huge parking lot? What if the handicap door thing is up too high for me to use my hip to bump it? What if one starts screaming and sets off her sister? What if a toothless stranger gets to close and tries to touch them? It all went off without a hitch and I realized that my arms are strong, but need to get stronger as the girls continue to grow. Everyone we encountered had teeth and no one had any physical contact with them.

My appointment went well and my blood pressure is in a normal place again - yay! I'm one pound less than my pre-pregnancy weight (woo hoo!). Yet, my body is totally not in the same proportions as before. I received the ok to work out, but I'm supposed to ease into things before hitting my ab wheel. So, I've already started salsaing around the house as a way to start working my midsection, and will try situps as soon as I post this entry this afternoon. We'll see how it goes...

Today DW took both girls with him for the first time on his own. Lillian had her 1-week post-NICU checkup. I later asked if DW was a little aprehensive, but he said it was no big deal. Hmpf. Anyway, the appointment went well. Lillian weighed in at 5 lbs., 10 oz.! The nurse noticed a smell and then changed her very messy diaper. Lillian was reweighed and is actually 5 lbs., 1.5 oz. I got a chuckle out of that. Everything looks good according to the doc, so she'll go back in a week for one more checkup and then we'll know we're on the up and up.

While DW and the girls were at the doctor, I was in seeing my eye doctor. He gave me some different drops to try for my eye that's dried out from Bell's Palsy. He also said that I have some muscle damage to that eye, but that once the BP goes away, so should the muscle damage. I'll keep my fingers crossed. I ordered up some clip-on shades so I can be outside more comfortably (that eye doesn't squint, either, dang it). I never thought I'd be "one of those people" who wears clip-ons, but I guess maybe I'm supposed to be humbled some more here. Can you ever be too humbled? I'm starting to wonder.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Reflections in the Rain

Now that our sweet girls are both home, I'm trying to get our lives all back onto the road to normalcy. As we're finally starting to get settled in, I'm starting to think back on the chaos that came with the first month of their lives. Wow - no wonder it flew by! And no wonder I'm starting to feel lonesome for my girlfriends. When I was running all the time, I didn't have a free moment to miss my pals, but now that I'm relaxing and enjoying, I realize how much they mean to me and how much I enjoy having them in my lives. Though many are local, my out-of-town friends are also so very dear to me.

Calling all friends: I'm ready for catching up and hearing what's going on in your lives now. Fill me in by phone or come for a visit, please.

Breanna and Lillian are both doing great They're happy little darlings who really seem to like being together. Very content. It's hard to tear myself away from them - I could sit and watch them in awe for hours. In fact, that's often what I do. Where did my former over-achiever, super-productive self disappear to? I think the doctor might have removed that part of me when she did the C-section.

DW and I are learning some good tricks (not glamorous ones, though) - like how to get a good burp from Breanna right away. And how to give Lillian a huge bottle right before bed so she sleeps for more than an hour. And how to get vitamin goo out of cute little preemie outfits.

This weekend, a long-time family friend is going to be in town for her son's hockey tournament. (I almost wrote than an "old friend" was going to be here, but then decided that in case she ever sees this blog, it might be best to refer to her as a "long-time friend" instead.) Anyway, I babysat her kids all the way from junior high until I left for college, and have felt like they're family. I'm really looking forward to seeing their mother and wish that the whole family would be here, too!

Even as the daughters have grown up and finished college (I'm getting so old so quickly!), our families are still close, and DW has come to love them all, too. DW even pushed to name our kids after the daughters in the family - Alison and Brianna. After all, until birth, they were called Baby A and Baby B - a perfect fit for using those names. I told him he had to pick one because that would just be too weird, but that either was fine. When he saw how big Breanna was as she came out, he decided on Breanna because he'd be able to remember "Big Breanna." You can probably guess how it made perfect sense for DW to come up with Little Lillian. I don't want to give them a stigma as they grow up, so I'll refer to them more as "Beautiful Breanna" and "Lovely Lillian."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Home Sweet Home, At Last

Well, we survived our first night with the family all together. Not that we slept much, but we did enjoy rooming in at the hospital. Lillian was up most of the night, hungry, gassy, sassy - a mixture that kept both Dad and Mom awake for the majority of the night. Breanna slept right through everything.

I'm not sure quite what DW and I were expecting to happen when we reintroduced the girls, but I am sure that we expected at least some kind of reaction. Even just a little. But I don't think that Breanna or Lillian noticed that the other was there. When we did put them together, though, they did seem quite content.

Today has gone really well so far. Right before we left the hospital, the girls finally had their photo shoot for the hospital's Bassinet page. Neither was feeling particularly photogenic, so we took what they gave us and that's that. Can't blame the girls after the long night.

As soon as we arrived home, I rushed off to my appointment with the ear/nose/throat doc to chat about my Bell's Palsy. I should have just stayed home and napped. He told me that there's nothing to do but wait for another couple months. If I'm not totally recovered in 60 days, we'll meet again to discuss surgical options, none of which he's sure will help. He basically said that since there's not much known about the condition or its causes or cures, it's just a waiting game for a while. Not what I wanted to hear. I was expecting to have hope for getting my face back to normal before I go back to work. Nothing like starting a new job with a lopsided smile... ugh.

So, no more thinking about the BS with the BP. Back to the girls. It's great to have them home! Here's a picture of them sharing a cuddle in Dad's arms at the hospital last night. Aren't they cute? Breanna is on the left and Lillian's on the right.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Little Lillian's Big Weekend

What a wonderful day! Lillian went into her big-girl crib this morning and has maintained her temperature all day! Our evening nurse even wheeled out Lillian's isolette, so now it's official! Lillian is one very big step closer to coming home. She's up to 4 lbs., 6 oz. and is 16 1/2 inches long now. She's catching right up with Breanna - I suspect that soon we won't be able to tell them apart!

If she continues to thrive, DW, Breanna and I will be able to stay over for a room-in night on Tuesday and then take Lillian home on Wednesday. Wow! I can hardly wait to put our two girls together and see how they react. They really haven't spent any time physically together since they were in the womb.

After a hot, sunny day at Battle Lake, DW returned from his fishing contest with no fish, no prizes, and no comfort. He has quite a sunburn. (Too bad he didn't use the sunscreen that I packed for him. Hopefully he'll learn some day.)

We came up to the hospital in the evening so DW and Lillian could be on the telethon for the Children's Miracle Network. The interviewer was a bit on the flaky side (but really nice), but despite the handicap of her, everyone did really well. Lillian's nurse had fed her a multivitamin a couple hours earlier than normal (it ended up being right before she went on air), so of course, as the camera zoomed in on her, she started puking on poor Dad. He maintained his composure like a seasoned veteran, though. He commented that it must have been stage fright. Breanna and I watched it live on TV in the waiting room just outside of the NICU. That was exciting!

After that, we went to our first real family outing. (Church last Sunday doesn't count.) We were invited to a barbecue and bonfire at DW's new friend's house. The hosts had adorable twin boys last spring who spent a long time in the NICU, too. They showed us how great it is to use a video monitor. (We tested it out with Breanna staying in her carseat in the kitchen while we sat outside at the fire.) This will probably be our next purchase.

DW met the dad on a ski trip this past spring and enjoyed sharing the bond of twin parenting. We really enjoyed that fire, as well as the visit. Though I had to wash my hair three times this morning to get the smoke smell out, it was well worth it. I hope we get to know this family more in the months ahead.

Today, we stayed in jammies until close to noon. All of us. And it was great! DW and I haven't had a lazy Sunday since our vacation in February. DW's sister and her family stopped in for a visit - they were in town for a graduation party. They seemed to enjoy meeting Breanna, and the boys seemed to really enjoy terrorizing our dogs. It was nice to see them all, but also nice when the house quieted down again. Tonight, I'm writing from the waiting room at the hospital. I came up to feed Lillian at 8, and DW and Breanna came with so that Dad can spend a little time visiting Lillian. So, I'm out here with Breanna, listening to the wonderful sound of the rain splashing against the windows.

Friends, it's been another great weekend. I hope it's been terrific for you, as well. Enjoy the week ahead! I think summer has officially started!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Ultimate Toy

I once heard a very rich man refer to his kids as the ultimate toys. Boy, was he right! Parenting is awesome! (Exhausting, but awesome!)

It's so nice to have Breanna at home. She's getting so big and strong and really is just adorable. I often have a hard time setting her down and getting stuff done around here - and some of it just has to be done - like eating and throwing out dirty diapers. Here's a picture of her in the bassinet today, enjoying the beautiful sunshine.
We're getting closer and closer to bringing Lillian home, too. She hit 4 pounds - whoo hoo! She continues to eat really well (even better than Breanna!) and is growing at such a great rate. When Breanna and Lillian were born, there was a discordance of 39%. Now it's in the 20-something percentile. Little Lillian is catching up quickly! We're celebrating the "bigness" of 4 pounds, but in reality, it's still so small! In this picture that my mom took, she's in a preemie diaper. Unreal!

I really do love spending time with these beautiful girls. I can't believe I'm saying it, but I can see changes in them each day. Wow!

My mom left today, and we had a teary goodbye. I really loved having her here, not just as a helper, but as a dear friend. I feel like our bond grew even closer.

This weekend, DW is going to be on the Children's Miracle Network telethon on channel 11. They'll be recording up at the NICU, and he's going to share some of our wonderful experiences with the unit. The nurses encouraged me to go on air, too, but with this Bell's Palsy junk, I'm not ready to go in front of an audience.

It's one thing to hang out with family and friends who know what's happened, but to go on TV, no thanks. It's bad enough getting the stares when I just stop in at the grocery store... On a positive note, I have an appointment with an ENT next week. Hopefully, someone will be able to help speed up this recovery process.