Monday, August 30, 2010

Newborn Portraits

Annie Harrison took some beautiful newborn portraits of our babies.  She also did our maternity shoot.  She does beautiful work in the Triangle area, and she has very reasonable prices.  Here is a sample of our favorite shots:

Leslie: 1, Mastitis: 0

After some antibiotics and an entire day of sleeping in bed (literally an entire DAY of sleeping), I'm feeling much, much better.  I still have a little headache and I'm still tired (which is a perpetual state of being these days), but my fever is down and I'm pretty much back to my normal self.  We went for a walk this morning with Jason's parents.  We walked about 2.5 miles (turns out I was walking 2.5 miles all along, thinking that I was walking 3.5 miles... I forgot my mile markers on the trail) this morning before it got hot and it was great.

I'm worried that my milk supply might be a little lower than usual, but the babies are definitely getting something because they're spitting up and I'm still able to pump a little.  It's kind of frustrating to guess what your supply is, because you can't see it while the babies nurse.  The only way to know that it's down is to only pump or to use a highly sensitive scale with the babies before/after feeding (we have a scale, but it's not precise enough).

So, while mastitis really had me down yesterday, I'm back to full speed ahead now.

Leslie: 1.  Mastitis: 0.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy 6 Weeks!

Miles and Vivienne are six weeks old today.  I haven't spent much time with them today (besides feedings) because I've been sleeping in my room and recovering from mastitis.  Just over the past few days, they have started grabbing my hair and holding onto it.  I might have to start wearing ponytails more often.  =)

Happy birthday, babies!  We love you!


Well, I am having my first (and hopefully last) experience with mastitis.  Yesterday afternoon, I was feeling particularly tired and had a headache.  My eyes hurt.  I assumed that this was due to the sleep deprivation.  I took a long nap.  After that, I noticed that I seemed a bit engorged on one side and that I was very tender.  I started reading about plugged ducts and mastitis, and I started really hoping that the problem was a plugged duct.  I had a mild fever of 100.4, but hoped it would not go higher.  I felt like I had the flu, except that I didn't have any nausea or vomiting.

We woke the babies up about every two hours last night to eat.  One of the best treatments for plugged ducts or mastitis is to feed them often.  Around 1 am, I took my temperature again, and my fever was up to 101.7.  I didn't want to let this go any longer, because it can quickly develop into something very uncomfortable, sometimes resulting in abscesses that need to be surgically drained (ew).

I called the SAS emergency clinic line, and they were able to get me a prescription over the phone.  Not only that, but there is a 24-hour pharmacy about 3 miles from us.  Poor Jason went out at 2 in the morning to pick up my antibiotics.  I started taking them as soon as he got home.

We continued to feed the babies every 2 hours throughout the night and today.  I have literally slept all day today, between all feedings except for the last one (and this one).  It has been such a blessing to have Keith and Lila (Jason's parents) here so that they can help him care for the babies while I've been resting.  I'm so grateful for their help.

The antibiotics are supposed to make me feel better within the first 24 hours.  My fever is still around about 100.5, but I'm hoping that by tomorrow morning the fever will be gone.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Walking Again

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, the weather was nice enough for me and the babies to get out for a long walk.  Our town, Cary, has a series of paths called the Greenways.  One of them connects right to the back of our subdivision.  It's so nice to be able to walk on a path that's not beside a busy street.  The trail near our home goes out about 4 miles, but there are also other paths throughout Cary.

On Tuesday, we walked for about 50 minutes.  I think we probably went just over three miles.

Yesterday (Wednesday), we walked for about an hour and went about 3.5 miles.  The babies were wonderful.  Around the half-way mark (over 1.5 miles from home), they started getting a little bit fussy.  This worried me a bit, but there was nothing I could do about it, so we just pushed through and headed home.  Luckily, they calmed down pretty quickly.

 There are lots of ponds along the paths.  We often see little ducklings or bunnies when we walk.

The rocking of the stroller really lulls them to sleep.  Even though they sleep through most of the walk, I like getting them outside and stimulating them with new things to look at and new shapes and colors and sounds.  I can't wait to teach them about bunnies and birds and trees.  We saw a rabbit earlier this week on another walk, right after I had read them Guess How Much I Love You.  I'll be glad when I can point out a real "Nutbrown Hare" to them. 

During the walk yesterday, I got my first "Oh, double trouble!" from a stranger.  I'm surprised no one has said that before now.  Most people ooh and ahh and say how cute it is to see twins.  Other twin moms always let me know that we're a member of the same club and that they're happy for us.  I saw one twin mom yesterday with grown twin sons.

Just before we got home from the walk, they started crying again.  This time, they were really wailing.  People started hearing us before we passed them.  They would look back at us like "What the heck is that sound I hear approaching?"  I think it was pretty clear once I passed them with a double stroller and two screaming babies.  Of course, they quieted back down again just before we got home.  I think I probably pushed it a little too long on that walk, but it was wonderful to get outside (for me and the babies).

So I guess maybe this means that I'm "working out" again.  It's nice to have something I can do with the babies to burn some calories and get some fresh air.  It is hard to remember running 5 or 6 miles a day, though, and now realizing that I'm probably lucky to get in 3 or 4 miles of walking in a day now. 

We're going to get a Bob stroller in a couple months.  I won't be able to run with the babies until they are something like 6 months old, though.  So I guess I'll be doing a lot of walking in the meantime.

This is just a cute picture of Miles' adorable baby feet.  I took this with my phone at the end of our long Wednesday walk.

Video from Three Weeks (Video)

This isn't a super exciting video.  It's mainly for our parents and family to see what the babies looked like at 3 weeks.  They're 5 and a half weeks now, so they are so much bigger than in this video.  I can't believe how quickly they are growing!

Things I've Learned Since Having Twins

  • To eat as quickly as I can (sometimes without chewing) before they wake up
  • To eat without dropping food on the baby's/babies' heads because I'm wearing them in a sling or eating while they're eating on my breastfeeding pillow (quite a sight!)
  • To not use the restroom for at least 8 hour stretches (who has the time for that anyway?)
  • To shower at lightning speed (Wait - do I hear the babies crying over the sound of the shower?  Should I pretend I don't hear that?)
  • To change a diaper quickly enough to avoid being pummeled by urine or feces
  • To keep wearing the same shirt even if it has some milk and/or urine on it (when did a little urine hurt anybody?)
  • To open a door with one hand and pull a double stroller through it with the other hand
  • To carry two babies at once
  • To breastfeed two babies at the same time
  • To clean poop off of walls, clothing, carpet and furniture
  • To clean urine and milk off of the couch (watch where you sit at our house!)
  • To love my babies to the moon and back

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lila & Michelle Visit

The weekend before last, Jason's mother and sister visited us.  It was Miles' and Vivienne's first chance to meet their grandmother and their aunt.  We had a great time with them, and they were so helpful getting us food, making dinner and holding babies (allowing us some coveted time for sneaking in some naps, probably the most valuable thing I can think of right now).  Here are some cute photos we captured that weekend:

Both Babies and Their Grandmother

Vivienne and Aunt Michelle

Thanks, Lila and Michelle for visiting us and helping us with the babies!  Miles and Vivienne were so excited to meet you.  =)

Answered Prayer

I was walking with the babies yesterday afternoon.  We were walking down a lush, green tree-lined neighborhood street right after the rain.  You could still smell the rain in the air, and I was hoping that a nearby thunderstorm would decide not to cross our path while we were out.

While we were walking, I couldn't help but to think back a couple of years at the things that I had prayed for.  I prayed for a home in a good neighborhood with a yard - an affordable home that would allow me to stay home with my children.  I prayed for a baby - a perfect little combination of Jason and me, someone that I could love for the rest of my life and pour myself into, the first of hopefully a few (maybe two or three) children.

Now, here I am 2 years later, walking down a tree-lined street on a weekday afternoon, pushing my double stroller, with the two most beautiful babies I have ever seen.  God is good.  He answers prayers.  I have two living pieces of evidence right here in my family room.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Breastfeeding Twins

The most challenging thing with the twins, besides the sleep deprivation, is breastfeeding.  In the beginning, this was fairly difficult, because I have twice the number of mouths to feed as a typical mom, and I was very, very sore from the babies' tongue tie.  I noticed that I get a lot of questions about breastfeeding them, so I thought I would write more about it.

Our babies are virtually solely breastfed.  We have given them bottles on rare occasions (like when Jason and my mom gave them bottles for four nights during the second week to allow me to sleep for an entire 4-hour stretch).  Besides those four nights, we have only give each of them a bottle three or four times for various reasons.  Other than that, they are fed straight from the source.

I usually feed them at the same time.  I have two EZ 2 Nurse pillows that I use (one upstairs and one downstairs).  I have a friend who is giving us a My Brest Friend twin pillow, and I'm looking forward to trying that out.  It has an extra pocket on the front that seems really handy.

In the morning, I bring the babies downstairs.  I have an entire couch basically devoted to feeding.  In the middle, I have a regular bed pillow for back support and my EZ 2 Nurse pillow.  On the left and right cushions, I have a Boppy pillow.  The Boppies serve as my staging areas for the babies.  I usually have a burp cloth laid in the hole of the Boppy to catch any leaky diapers or spit-up.

When the babies are ready to eat, I will put one in each Boppy.  Then I sit down and put on the nursing pillow.  Then I scoop one baby up with both hands and place them on one side.  Then I scoop the other baby up (usually with one hand because I'm holding the other baby from falling with the other hand now) and place them on the other side.  Using a football position, I feed both babies at the same time.  I usually don't latch them until they are both up on the pillow.  Otherwise, I will accidentally unlatch the first one while I'm trying to get the second one up on the pillow.  That's somewhat painful, and may upset the baby that is unexpectedly unlatched.  When they are done eating, I put each one back in their Boppy and usually move on to change their diapers.  (Vivienne nearly always uses the bathroom while she's eating.  I'm sure it will completely embarrass her when she's a high schooler that I share such private details about her infant life and goings on.)

At the end of the day, we move the babies upstairs.  I usually go through the same routine up there on the bed.  Jason stays in the room with me until around 1 am.  For the feedings before 1 am, he brings the babies to me and changes their diapers.  This is a huge help.  After 1 am, he goes into the guest bedroom to try to get some uninterrupted sleep before work the next day.  We figure that I have to wake up every time anyway, because I have to actually feed the babies.  There is really no point in us both being completely exhausted (though we still are both usually pretty exhausted).

Right now, the babies eat every 2-3 hours during the day, and they often want to eat every 2 hours at night.  This is extremely tiring.  I'm hoping that they will go for longer stretches at night some time soon.  Breast milk digests in about 2 hours, so breastfed babies tend to get hungrier faster and wake more frequently.  With Miles getting close to 9 pounds and Vivienne getting close to 8 pounds, we're hoping that they start increasing their sleeping longevity so that Mom can get some sleep soon, too.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Happy 5 Weeks!

Happy 5 weeks, Miles and Vivienne!  They are 5 weeks old today.  The time has flown by, and at the same time, it feels like they have always been with us. 

Just a couple days ago, I had to take some of the preemie outfits out of their closet to go in a box, because they're getting too big for them.  I can't believe they are already out-growing clothes!  Just today, Miles was promoted from the newborn size diapers to the size 1 diapers.  The new diapers look gigantic, but they seem to fit him just fine.  Vivienne is still in the newborn size.

Here are some pictures we took tonight after their bath.  Miles had his first experiment with a mohawk.  =)

Cute Babies

Just wanted to share some pictures from the past week.  Are these some cute babies or what? 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

They Might Be Giants

After returning the rental baby scale to our lactation consultant, we hit up Amazon for the best baby scale we could find.  Being engineers we love the numbers of raising babies.  While we could not find anything with same degree of precision (1/10 of an ounce) we did find a good scale for about $40 that can measure to the 1/2 ounce.  We love keeping tabs on our little ones and have enjoyed watching them grow ... and grow ... and grow.

Miles is really packing on the pounds.  This morning with a clean diaper he was 8 lbs 8.5 oz.  That is a gain of 15 oz in the last 8 days.  The "normal" numbers we continually hear from our LC and doctor are 1/2 to 1 oz per day, so we are very pleased with his progress.

Vivienne is chugging along but at a pace slightly slower than her big brother.  This morning she weighed in at 7 lbs 10 oz ... a gain of 11 oz in the last 8 days.

We should try to take their other measurements soon -- length (when does one start calling it height instead of length?) and head circumference.  Right now I swear that they both grow while I (Jason) am away at work every day.

We are looking forward to the 10 lbs mark.  Around that time we'll be making a serious effort to switch totally to cloth diapers.  At this rate Miles will 10 lbs in less than 2 weeks!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mall Walk

This morning, I had a message from a friend from church who wanted to see if me and the babies wanted to get out for a bit this afternoon.  To be honest with you, my first thought was that that was a crazy idea.  How in the world can I take the babies out?  What if they cry?  What if they have an explosive diaper?  What if...

Oh, wait.  Then I realized that I do, at some point, actually have to try to get out of my house and take these little cuties along with me.  If they do cry, it's not the end of the world.  And I really wanted to have the opportunity to get to know my church friend better.

So, we went to Cary Towne Center (a mall).  It was great!  I had lunch with my friend in the food court.  The "Thai" food was a bit sketchy (pad thai with fried chicken in it?  seriously??), but the conversation was wonderful and it was so fun to hang out with her.  The babies just chilled out in the Snap 'n Go stroller the whole time.  At the end of lunch, Vivienne got a little fussy, so we started walking around the mall.  When it started getting close to the babies' next feeding time, they got a bit more fussy, so we went out into the parking and snapped them into the car.

Miles has a hysterical cry that sounds like a cat being tortured or something, so I'm not yet ready to have him "unleash his inner beast" in public yet.  On the way home, Vivienne cried a bit, but nothing too dramatic.  Luckily, Miles was asleep the entire time.  The inner beast remained caged.

So today marks yet another successful trip out in the public with the world's most gorgeous twins.  =)  I will survive.  (I can hear Gloria Gaynor now.)  Thanks to Pam (not our doula, Pam) for a fun afternoon!

Vivienne Smiled

Vivienne smiled yesterday (a real smile, not the sleepy or gassy one) for the first time.  I was talking to Pam, our wonderful doula, and she said,"Look!  She's smiling at you!"  I looked down, and, sure enough, there was my baby girl giving me a real smile - using her eyes and everything.  It was beautiful.  Of course, I haven't been able to get her to do it since (hope to capture it and post a picture soon), but I'm looking forward to the next smile, and the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that...

Miles Packs a Punch

A couple days ago, I was changing Miles' diaper around 7 in the morning.  I was pretty tired after a long night of feeding the babies.  They wake up about every 2 hours to eat all night long, so that makes for a tired mommy in the morning.

Anyway, so I was changing Miles' diaper on the changing table in our room.  I guess I was a little slow with my "defense" that morning, because Miles pooped with such force that it traveled at least 4 feet and hit the wall behind our TV and behind the chest of drawers.  I had to wait for Jason to wake up to help me move the chest of drawers and the TV so that I could clean behind them.  It was insane. 

At the time, this was not very funny.  In retrospect, this probably makes a good story for a rehearsal dinner toast for him some day.  I'm hoping that this "power pooping" wears off before he starts eating solid foods.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Happy One Month!

And I completely forgot to post a happy one month birthday wish to my beautiful babes yesterday.  I can't believe you're already a month old.  Daddy was marveling at the size of Miles' gigantic head yesterday.  We can't believe that he's already over 8 pounds.  Our boy is growing up!  Happy birthday, Miles & Vivienne!

Another Good Day

Yesterday was another good day all on my own.  I already wrote about going to the peds office and wearing my shirt backwards.  After I got home with the babies, they slept in their infant carriers just long enough for me to eat some lunch.  Then I fed them and somehow convinced them to sleep for over 2 straight hours!  It was absolutely awesome.  I laid down on the couch.  Miles was in the swing, and Vivienne was in the Pack n Play.  We all got a very well-needed nap together.

After that, they woke up and I fed them again.  Then they were a little fussy, but nothing too crazy.  I was able to get Miles in my sling and Vivienne cried in her swing for a little while before she fell asleep again.  After V woke up, I put her in the sling and played with Miles in the bouncy seat.  My Maya wrap (bought on eBay for $50 with free shipping) and my Moby wrap (bought on Craigslist for $16) are absolute lifesavers.  I have no idea how I would do this without them. 

 Me with Vivienne in the Moby

When Jason got home, I was dancing in the living room with Vivienne and singing to the Glee soundtrack.  Vivienne was really just sleeping through the whole thing, but I think she enjoyed it.  Miles was sitting in his bouncy seat looking at us like we were crazy.  I secretly think he was a little jealous, though.  Maybe I'll dance with him today.

Daddy with Miles after Work

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dancing with my Baby Girl

I spent some time with Vivienne in the Moby wrap today.  We were dancing and singing to the Glee soundtrack.  It was magic.  I hope we do that more often.  =)

My Shirt is on Backwards...

This morning, we had to take Vivienne back to the pediatrician again because there is no record of her newborn screen, a blood test that they give all babies.  Apparently, this is required by the state, and Miles' results came back but Vivienne's did not.  The nurse at the pediatrician said that it was on V's discharge papers, so she thinks that maybe the state threw it out, thinking that it was a duplicate (apparently this can happen with twins fairly easily).  Anyway, it was annoying to have to haul the four of us back to the pediatrician, and I hate it that she had to get yet another heel stick (seriously, it seems like they had their heels poked about 100 times at the hospital for various tests).

At the doctor's office, I stayed in the waiting room with Miles while Jason went back with Vivienne.  I'm grateful that he will take on those kinds of parental duties, because I think it would bring me to tears to see her crying in pain, even though I'm sure it doesn't hurt that much and doesn't last long.  I could hear her crying from the waiting room and I almost cried.

While I was in the waiting room, I nursed Miles (because he started crying and rooting, which seems to be a constant state for him these days) with the new nursing cover that Mary (my sister-in-law) got for me.  It was great to be able to feed him without worrying about modesty.  It makes me feel much more prepared to do it next time.  Too bad I can't ever feed them both at the same time in public.  That's an advanced maneuver that I'm sure I will never master.

After the pediatrician, the babies were sleeping, so I ventured out to Holly Springs to return the breast pump that we rented for the first month out of the hospital.  We made it all the way to Holly Springs and back without either baby melting down.  Success!

However, I realized when I was talking to the lady who rented us the pump... that my shirt felt strange around my neck.  When I got back in the car, I realized my shirt was on backwards.  Oh, well.  At least all the people at the peds office are either parents or pediatric nurses or doctors.  I'm sure they have seen worse.

So even though my shirt was on backwards, at least I successfully accomplished something outside our house (returning the pump).  These small victories really do give me more confidence as a new mom of twins.

Speaking of which, they are still asleep in their car seats so I should probably try to close my eyes for 5 minutes here...

Postpartum Doula

Yesterday was my first day with Pam, our postpartum doula, helping me with Miles and Vivienne.  She has a company called First Daze, and she was wonderful yesterday. My former company, Concerro, gave us postpartum doula hours as a baby gift.

Jason left for work around 8:45, I think.  Pam got here at 9:30 and stayed until 2:30.  We spent a lot of time in the beginning catching up on how the babies are doing, how they are feeding, their weight gain, sleep, baths, etc... so much to talk about.  Pam gave me lots of helpful suggestions on how to make some things much easier for us.  Then she watched me feed the babies so that she could check out their latches and see how they are feeding. 

After that, she cared for the babies and helped with some household tasks (laundry, vacuuming, etc) while I showered.  Not only did I shower, but I shaved my legs (oh, the luxury!!) and blow dried my hair.  It was fabulous.

While she was here yesterday, I also got to sit at the table to eat lunch.  I actually had two helpings of the delicious lasagna that Melissa & Brad brought us on Sunday (thanks, Melissa & Brad!!).  Then I got to take a nap.  I'm pretty sure that I napped for at least an hour, which was just heaven.

Pam was a huge help yesterday, and I'm so thankful for her time and her care for our babies.  It's just great to have someone else here with me so that I'm not juggling the two babies on my own yet.  Pam somehow managed to keep Miles and Vivienne asleep and quiet the entire time she was here.  I guess she just has that magic touch with babies.  I hope that some of it rubs off on me!  She'll be back again tomorrow, and I'm already looking forward to it.

Monday, August 16, 2010

First Day on My Own

I have to type this quickly before the babies implode.  =)

Today was my first full day with the babies on my own.  Jason went back to work last Monday, but my mom was here all week to help until Thursday afternoon.  Jason's mom and sister came to visit from Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.  So today was my first day riding totally solo.

All in all, it was a good day.  The babies were fussy this morning, but I'm getting used to hearing them crying at the same time and just having to pick one baby to console.  It's hard to hear the other one crying, but this is the life of a twin mom, I suppose. 

At a couple points today, I had both babies sleeping at the same time.  Here is photographic evidence:

Unfortunately, this didn't last long, but I had to enjoy it while it lasted.  At one point this afternoon, all three of us took a nap together - Vivienne in her swing and Miles sleeping on my chest while I was lying on the sofa.  I think we might have napped for about an hour (which is an ENORMOUS success these days).

I have to celebrate each little victory like today, because each of them give me more confidence that I can handle this and give these babies what they need.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Happy 4 Weeks!

 Miles and Vivienne are four weeks old today.  I can't believe that they have been with us almost a month now.  Though these have certainly be a challenging 4 weeks, it has been a breathtaking experience to get to know our little miracles.  We thank God for these beautiful, healthy babies.

Miles weighed 6 lb 10 oz when he was born.  He got down to 5 lb 13 oz.  Now, he weighs almost 8 pounds (7 lb 13 oz, to be exact).  He has gained 2 lb (32 oz) in 24 days.  Vivienne was 5 lb 14.5 oz (they rounded it up to 15 oz at the hospital) when she was born.  She got down to 5 lb 7 oz.  She's now at 7 lb 2.5 oz, so she has gained 27.5 oz in 24 days.  These babies are growing very well. 

Part of me wants to freeze them in time right now, so I can cherish these little ones forever.  But I know that every day of parenthood is a process of letting go.  I want to love watching them grow and learning who they are and introducing them to this wonderful world that God has made for us.  I hope they learn to leave it a little better than they found it, as my grandfather, Charlie, always said.  They come from a legacy of world changers, and I hope that they carry that into their lives.

Beautiful Vivienne

Vivienne is happy.  If I had one word to describe this baby, it would be happy.  She always has a happy look on her face, sometimes even when she's crying.  She wakes up happy.  Vivienne may fuss for a couple of seconds after she wakes up, but she often soothes herself back to sleep.  If we come pick her up, she usually immediately stops crying.

Vivienne patiently waits while her brother gets set up to breastfeed first.  She will just lie on the pillow with her usual little semi-smile and wait for her chance to eat.  This definitely comes in handy when her older brother (older by 3 minutes) is not feeling so patient.

Vivienne has the most gorgeous, huge eyes.  She makes the funniest faces.  Her hair is light brown and soft.  She has that wonderful new baby smell.  Vivienne has beautiful, rosy, soft baby skin and lovely pink lips.

Vivienne has the cutest little baby Buddha belly.  She was 5 lb 15 oz when she was born.  She weighs over 7 pounds now.  She has a voracious appetite.  =)

Vivienne likes to take a bath.  She loves it when her daddy holds her.  She likes to kick her chubby little legs and sit in her bouncy seat. 

Vivienne is my amazing daughter.  I will love her more than she knows forever.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Miles Smiling

He's sleeping, so this probably doesn't count, but it's still too cute not to share.

Superdad Changes Diapers

I forgot to post about this before during our hospital story, but here goes a quick post.

At the hospital, Jason had the honor of doing the first parental diaper change.

Jason changing Vivienne's diaper.

Jason changed almost every single diaper in the hospital.  I think I may have changed one before we came home.  He also continues to change lots of diapers here at home.  He also gets up with me during lots of the nighttime feedings and changes their diapers, swaddles them, and puts them back down in their crib (which is in our room).

He's a wonderful daddy.  I'm so thankful that I get to parent these little babies with such an active, engaged daddy.