Thursday, November 1, 2012

How Amber Got Her Groove Back

I know I have been absent from here for a while. To those of you following our journey, please forgive me! I hope you are still interested in what we've been up to!
We have survived 6 weeks with twins! Wow. For the first six weeks I would describe our lives as living in a canoe with several holes-we were bailing water just to stay afloat! It had it's bright moments and trying moments, but at the end of the day we're all in this together and we're still floating. The first few weeks can only be described as chaos-we had no idea what we were doing and the babies were feeding around the clock! However, now, I feel like we are FINALLY getting into the groove of things. We're starting to get this thing figured out. I have made it through an entire work week with the babies by myself without crying!! (I didn't cry that is. The babies cried of course.)

I'm starting to truly be able to appreciate and enjoy our family (I had a tough time adjusting initially and always felt overwhelmed-there were some endless days in the past 6 weeks and many tears). I still feel mommy guilt about the babies crying. Sometimes it's impossible to keep both happy at the same time when I'm here alone. There are two of them and only one of me!! I feel guilty because if there were only one, they would get my undivided attention. However, since there are two, I have to divide and conquer and someone is left crying longer than I'd like sometimes (feeding two babies at once is NOT easy and this is where the bulk of my frustration is centered). I have to learn to accept that this is my life now. I have to acknowledge it's okay as long as I do the best I can. My husband made an excellent point that has kept me sane during the crazy 'two babies crying times'-he said to think about what kind of attention they would be getting at daycare..I am able to provide more attention to the two of them then they would get at a daycare. I am incredibly lucky to be able to take care of them myself during the week and avoid daycare. When one babe is crying because I'm busy with the other, I need to go easier on myself and remember how fortunate I am to have two babies who need me. A friend also gave me great advice-babies cry. It's what they do. Don't worry if you can't get to them right away to make it stop.

So what is a day like in my life right now? I honestly don't think family/friends truly understand how incredibly busy we are during the week. The people with kids can slightly relate, but raising one child at a time is completely different than raising two. It's insane, but I'm falling in love with the insanity!

I usually get up around 5-6 am to do the morning feedings for both babies. This allows the husband to sleep in a bit longer before getting up for work. I do the feedings and get the babies settled in again. I then pump and have breakfast and see the husband off to work. I try to sneak in a load of laundry before it's time to feed again. 

We do another feeding upstairs and then I bath and dress the babies and get them ready for the day. I also find time to hop in the shower and get myself ready (I'm putting that whole 'I don't care if you fix your hair or wear makeup thing' to the test with the husband because I rarely have time to blow dry and straighten my hair and put on make up. It turns out when he said that, he really meant it.) I try to sneak in more laundry/cleaning of the upstairs if time permits and I have another round of pumping.

I then move everything downstairs-this is quite a few trips when you consider their Rock 'N Plays (best baby item we own!!), pumping equipment, books to track their feedings, breast milk I have pumped, extra bottles leftover from the night before etc.  Usually we are fully relocated downstairs around 11 am. The babies are usually awake at this time and they get some snuggles and play time in. Evan LOVES play mats. We have two and it's hilarious to watch him smack the animals and yell out when he does.

It's usually time for another snack around 12-1 when the husband is home for lunch. I love having him home for an hour to help out. It makes a huge difference!! Many days he has been up to his elbows in baby business and had to scarf down his lunch before heading back to work. The man is a saint and never complains about having to jump in while sacrificing his lunch.  Most days, we have lunch while the babies go back to playing, swinging etc. I usually pump around this time as well.

Before I know it, it's for another feeding and then they usually go down for a nap. This nap has become longer and longer (much to my delight!) I try to figure out what we're going to eat for dinner, do some cleaning, take out the babies for a walk if weather permits and pump during this time.

Before I know it, 5 rolls around and the husband is on his way home! We chat about our days and attempt to eat-we're getting to eat together more and more these days :) 

After dinner is cleaned up, it's usually time to eat and pump again. We then get them changed into their pajamas and start to watch the clock for much awaited bedtime because we're both exhausted! Usually around 8-9, depending on how their feeding schedule is, we pack up everything and head upstairs for the night for the last feeding and bed time. We're in bed around 9-10 depending on how long it takes them to eat and settle in. I do a final pumping and we're off to sleep!

At night, they have been waking up around 1-2 for a feeding. We both get up for this one typically and each feed a baby since they tend to wake up at the same time. We get them settled in and we start all over again! 

They have been on a eat every 2 hours schedule during the day which is exhausting because by the time I get both fed, changed and settled (Evan can be quite colicky), I have about 30 min (if I'm lucky) before it's time to start over again! However, they are finally starting to sleep for longer and longer stretches-at this moment they have been sleeping for 3 hours!! I got a few loads of laundry done AND a blog written? Ahhh living the good life!!

When I type it out, caring for two babies seems much easier than it actually is to live! It sounds so cut and dry, but there is a lot of gray area amidst our schedule. I get an immense amount of help from Collin and I could not do this without him. He has kept me going and assured me I'm doing a good job when I thought I was failing. Evan is still quite fussy and has periods of screaming/crying for no apparent reason. Colicky babies are difficult!! He has reflux issues and it's been quite the experience trying to get them under control. We've tried several different things, but currently he is on formula that has rice starch in it. It's a thicker formula and stays down better. He was literally screaming/grunting/crying through every feeding and it was heartbreaking... Yup, formula. Initially I had a hard time stopping breast milk and giving him formula, but when I saw the difference it made I didn't mind one bit. I want him to be healthy and happy. At their two month appointment we are going to talk to the Pediatrician about adding rice cereal to breast milk. Does anyone have experience with this?

That is what we've been up to lately! I'm feeling a heck of a lot better about this whole twins thing than I did three weeks ago! I'm far from perfect, but I'm doing my best and giving my all. I'm getting in the groove and managing things. I'm enjoying this. I AM A MOM! What a dream come true!!

I had several other things written in this post, but I cut them out and I'll add them on to another post.I haven't had time to blog so I guess I had a lot to say. Back to the babies I go...


Nichole said...

Sounds like you guys are getting in the groove!! So happy for you two :)

MaryMargaret said...

It is HARD to take care of twins. And people without twins don't/can't understand. We spent the first 6 weeks just like you- trying not to drown. It sounds like you guys have a great routine going, though!

The guilt is something I'm having a hard time getting over as well- and it's getting worse, unfortunately. There's not one day that passes where I don't apologize to the babies for not being able to give them as much one-on-one time as they deserve. Add pumping into the mix and it seems like they spend a LOT of time in bouncers, or on the floor. It's reassuring to hear that it is a common twin mom worry and I'm not completely alone in that!

robin said...

I'm amazed they are down for the count at 9-10pm! My babies are cluster feeding from 5-11pm, basically crying on and off every 20-30min until they are finally satiated at 11, and then sometimes at 11 they are having reflux issues so often don't go all the way to bed by almost midnight. Then they're up again in a couple of hours for the next feeding! But they are only 2 weeks old adjusted age, I have to keep reminding myself that...

I also feel guilty for how long they spend in bouncers or on the floor, and how long they end up crying when I'm alone. Sometimes I put them both on the boob at the same time just to make them quiet, even though I don't think they're actually hungry. I also feel guilty for how long I keep them swaddled but swaddling them definitely helps them sleep and calm down, so I do it for my own sanity! I haven't even been able to pump! So there we have it. Raising twins is CRAZY.

S said...

Oh my goodness, reading your post brings me back to the early days after our twins were born in January. Caring for two infants at once is hard in a way that people who haven't had twins really cannot understand.

No real advice to offer, just want to say I'm sure you're doing a great job! (Oh, and tandem feeding is tough, and my sons never ate as well when fed together and as when fed separately.)

The not being able to give each baby my full attention was (and continues to be) the hardest part for me, too. I'm sure you are doing GREAT, though, and as my only-child husband tells me, being a twin means you learn about taking turns at a very young age!

Allison Henak said...

Sounds like you really are doing great, really!! Thanks so much for the run down of your schedule. It sounds like you are breast feeding them...with all your free time (ha), could you maybe make a quick little post on breastfeeding twins? Any tips you've learned or any hiccups you've experienced?

Allison Henak said...

This is Allie from blondemombitions, btw!

S said...

Saw your comment on my blog re your embryos. Email me at the address in my blogger profile, and I'll be happy to answer your questions.