First Few Days of Parenthood

So it's been five days since we got the twins home on Christmas, and I have to say it's not as bad as I thought it would be. Sure, it is tiring having to feed the babies every 3 to 4 hours around-the-clock, but all in all there's not much to it. We are getting 3 to 4 hours of sleep in between feedings so it makes being awake for an hour to feed and change them not so terribly bad. Of course I see this now as my husband has had the time off and will have this next week off as well. Having your best friend and partner in crime up with you in the middle of the night makes it a lot easier to handle. When she goes back to work, even though my mom and then his mom will be here for a couple weeks at a time it won't nearly be as fun as having mommy and daddy tag-teaming it
together. Short you will be home in a few days after work but I'm not going to meet him get up and eliminate has to work long day the following morning. Even though he says he would gladly help, realistically I don't want him to be exhausted and out of it at work. I did try to see if there was a way to feed the twins at the same time by myself yesterday while G ran to the store. I was able to do it, but it was rather a comedy of errors trying! I tried cropping them up with the Boppy pillows in all different types of ways and one baby's head would fall to the side, one would start to roll off the pillow… It was quite comical. I think tackling that will be easier once the twins have more had control. I'm still going to look online and see if anyone has posted videos of how to do that while they are still little, so we shall see what I find. 

But so far my husband and I have been having a lot of fun with this whole parenting thing. We fall more in love with these babies with every passing day and are getting the hand of everything. We've come up with a system and it seems to be working pretty well (thanks to a lot of research I did beforehand of reading other twin moms' tips and tricks). We're tired but not terribly. It comes in waves and depends how much sleep we get between feedings through the night. The days sure do fly by though. You'd think being up every few hours round the clock would make the days seem longer, but it's been quite the opposite. Of course they say time flies when you're having fun. It's definitely been a learning process and it's truly humbling to have two helpless little people rely on you to survive. 

But we must be doing something right.... We had our first pediatrician appointment and it went fabulously! The doctor was recommended by our neighbor (a very close friend) and we absolutely loved her!! She is a British woman probably around 50, very soft spoken and calls the babies "pea" and "pumpkin" and is like a snake charmer with them! River crying his usual cranky self and the minute she started taking to him he stopped. The twins got a perfect bill of health, AND gained several ounces each! River is 5lbs 5oz and Riley is 4lbs 4oz! Woohoo babies!

We have a follow up next week, so hopefully they'll gain even more!!

We shall see!

The Littlest Jets Fans

Growing up in Jersey (and my husband in New York) we have always been Jets fans. A friend of mine had these little shirts made for the twins. When we first received them, we didn't think they would get a chance to wear them on a game day since the shirts are newborn size and the twins weren't due until January. But, since they came early and we got them home before the new year they got to wear them after all.

Now... even if you aren't a Jets fan, I'm sure you can appreciate the cuteness!

Christmas Miracle

Well, somehow little Miss Riley pulled it off... The doctor wanted her to gain at least 20-30 grams on Christmas Eve in order for us to be able to take them home and wouldn't ya know, she gained 66 grams!!! So we got to take our babies home on CHRISTMAS DAY!!!
Seriously unbelievable! BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVERRRR!!!!

We found this out on Christmas morning (River weighed in at 5 pounds and Riley 3lbs 15.8oz!) so G and I came prancing out of our room to tell my parents who had stayed over, and so began the sob fest for the pair of them. The literally cried tears of joy ALL day. LOL. We quickly got ready and headed to the NICU to go bust our bundles of joy out of baby jail. I had left special Christmas outfits and Santa hats for them so they were already dressed and ready to go once we arrived. We brought gifts of appreciation for our nurse and the doctor who took care of them since they were born. Once the nurse went over all the discharge information, we got them situated in their car seats...

Just as we were getting them ready to go, a group of Christmas carolers made their way into our pod singing "Silent Night" and passing out little toys for the babies. It was like straight out of a movie! Couldn't have written the script better myself!

We had set it up so our favorite nurse from Level 2 was taking care of them that day and word must have spread because as we were getting ready to leave our two favorite nurses from Level 3 came by to see us off!

The staff walked us down to the car and helped is get situated. I sat in the back between them and the twins were calm as can be the whole car ride!

What a thrilling moment it was to bring the twins home for the first time. Funny enough when we pulled in we couldn't get the car seats out of the bases to get them out of the car! So G just pulled them out, bases and all! LOL (we figured it out once we got them inside). 

What an incredible ending to a roller coaster year! It started in January with us being told we would never be able to have babies, couldn't even do IVF, that donor eggs would be our only option. The following two months we were told the same thing by three more fertility clinics. Lo and behold three months after the first diagnosis (after tons of natural supplements, Chinese herbs and weekly acupuncture) I was naturally pregnant with boy/girl twins and now got to take them home on Christmas Day! Miracle day? Try miracle year! Truly remarkable. I am so  immensely grateful, it's beyond words.

We now have our perfect little insta-family and the fun has only just begun! Can't wait to see what's in store. Having spent two months in the NICU, we are more prepared than ever and ready to take on the twins and be the best Mommy and Daddy we can be!

Christmas Wish

So far it's not looking good for the twins to come home tomorrow. Well, River is technically free to go now but they are letting him stay with his sister. Riley just hasn't been eating well the last two days, most likely because of all the shots and tests they've been through in quick succession. The doctor wasn't happy with her weight gain of 3 grams last night and said she would need to gain 20-30 grams by tonight's weigh in. And with the way she was eating today I don't foresee that happening. I always call during the night shift to find out their weight so at least I'll know tonight. If it's not good I know we have our favorite nurse tomorrow so I'll have her weigh Riley again just to see if she gained some more overnight. (They usually only weigh them once at night). 

So, while it would truly be the best Christmas present ever if they come home tomorrow, I wouldn't want to rush her if she's not ready. 

Fingers crossed!...

Slight Hiccup

Today what is the first day in a while that the twins haven't been on the upswing. They have had a rough couple of days in light of their upcoming exit out of the NICU. They have had a slew of test shots including an RSV shot, Hep B shot, a traumatic eye exam and a hearing test. River was also circumcised and Riley did her car seat test (where we had to bring our car seats to the room and each baby has to sit in them strapped in for 90 minutes while being monitored to make sure their stats stay up). Riv is healing nicely and Riley passed her test. River still needs to have his done though. They also will have an MRI on their brains and Riley has a follow up echocardiogram. I'm not sure if it's because of the stress from all the poking and prodding, but they haven't been doing as good as they were with eating and weight gain. River has weighed the same for the past 3 days and Riley gained, lost, then gained it back. They've both been kind of pokey with their bottle feeds, especially Riley who needs it the most. 

The sucky thing about it all is that the doctor told me the other day if the twins kept up the good work they'd be able to come home on Christmas Day. How amazing would THAT be?! But now if they continue to not eat well or not gain weight, that's not going to happen. Which is fine if that comes to pass, the important thing is that they are healthy and strong enough to come home. I definitely wouldn't want to take them home only to have to bring them back if they aren't eating well. So it's a waiting game right now.

The thought did occur to me tonight that the only other difference this past week has been that I haven't been kangarooing them. Not because I didn't want to, but some of the nurses suggested just letting them sleep without disruptions. It's been really hard for G and I, but we want to do what's best for them. However, now I'm wondering if that has played a part in them not thriving as well as before. It is said that kangarooing increases growth and allows them to sleep more deeply. So I've decided I'm going to see how they do tonight with their feedings and weight and if it's still not great I'm going to kangaroo them tomorrow and see if that makes a difference. It would definitely be good for mommy too, I miss snuggling up with them! 

Fingers and toes crossed they get back in the groove and do well enough to come home for Christmas...

They've Come a Long Way

Seeing the babies every day we sometimes forget how far they've come. I put together some side-by-side pictures to compare what they looked like their first week of life next to this week. Amazing what 7 weeks can do!...



To V or Not to V...

... That is the question.

Last week at my 6 week post-partum checkup, the doctor cleared me to get back to normal (Although I had started attending my dance class again a few days earlier). Cervix apparently looks great and incision  is healing as it should. I won't lie though, I've been pretty much back to normal for a while now. I was driving after a week, walking around just fine. While the first day or so was tiring, I have just as much energy as I did before at dance class and, in fact, just did an intense special 2 hour hip hop workshop over the weekend. I do wear my belly bandit during class, as it keeps everything tucked in and my scar isn't bouncing around. I'll probably continue wearing it for a while for class just to be on the safe side, but surprisingly there's been absolutely no pain and I haven't had to restrict myself with any movements. Everyone has been saying they are amazed I'm able to jump back in, but to be honest it doesn't seem that big of a deal to me. I think because I was dancing every day up until I went to the hospital. I'm just used to pushing myself with pretty much everything in life. Doing everything to it's fullest extent. Probably isn't necessarily always the best thing, but it's definitely worked in my favor over the years.

I also got the green light to have sex again. That was one thing I played by the rules just because I didn't want to do any damage down there. I had read in a lot of different sources that it was common to not have much of a sex drive during post-partum, but that certainly wasn't the case for me! I was just as horny as ever. Perhaps it was because I knew I couldn't and I don't like being told I can't do something (hence having twins naturally when I was told I could never get pregnant) so it just made me want it more. Plus I missed being intimate with my hubby. We just shared the most memorable life-changing week of our lives so I felt closer than ever to him and wanted nothing more to to be as physically close to him as possible. Especially since it's always so good! It did hurt a little the first time, almost made me feel like a virgin again (cue the Madonna song).  But then again I only pushed a 2 lb 11 oz baby out, not a ten pounder. I'm sure that makes a difference!

So now we're back in the saddle we had to decide on what type of birth control we'd be on. Before I had the twins, G and I had made up our minds that he would get a vasectomy and that was that. We had always only wanted two kids, so being lucky enough to have a boy and a girl we'd be done in one shot with an instant family. We were 100% certain he'd get the ol' snip snip and call it a day. But ever since they were born for some reason we are hesitant to get it done just yet. It started with my husband... he's had twinkling babies in his eyes since becoming a daddy. I think for him he is feeling enamored with the miracle of life and the magic of creating it with me. Which I totally get, in a way I feel the same. So we've been going back and forth about it. Loving the amazing feeling of creating life together... but it not being financially feasible to have another. Not wanting to close the door in case we change our minds down the road... but thinking having one more after the twins would be like a 5th wheel. Plus I'm 35 so I'd be at least 37 if we had another and would I really want to be pregnant chasing around two toddlers?! Then there's the factor of me not knowing if I can even actually get pregnant again as my body may very well go back to its I premature ovarian failure state. And if not, if I was somehow able to get pregnant again because of the type of c-section I had I would have to have another and man do I not want to go through that again. But then we think, well what if something terrible happened and we lost one of the twins? If G had the vasectomy we'd always be wondering what if I HAD been able to get pregnant again and we threw away our chance. There's just so many what ifs. And we've only started thinking this way since we had the babies. So I think for now we've decided to just wait a bit and reassess how we feel at a later time. The last thing I want is for us to do this with a heavy heart and be endlessly questioning our decision. 

Which brings us back to the birth control dilemma. I had decided last week that I should just go back on birth control (because I do NOT want to use condoms like we're awkward teenagers, I feel like that is so impersonal and they suck when it comes to feeling). But when I went to pick up my pills I suddenly started thinking about how being on the pill messed up my hormones and was most likely the culprit behind my ovarian failure in the first place. I just think I'd be doing myself a disservice not giving it a chance to even see if my body will actually go back to working properly. 

So I picked up some VCFs (vaginal contraceptive film) and have been using that, but I just found out it's only about 85% effective. We looked into potentially using FemCap (which covers the cervix) but for women who have already given birth 25 out of 100 will get pregnant on it. Ummm yeah that's crazy! 

The whole ordeal is stressing me out and making me paranoid when we do get it on. Primarily because we beat the odds in getting pregnant the first time (a one in ten million chance and then we got pregnant with twins three months later) so saying there's a 15% chance we could get pregnant seems like taking candy from a baby comparatively speaking.

Meanwhile the hubs and are still going back and forth on the vasectomy thing and I think ultimately where we stand is that realistically it's not feasible to have a third child financially, it would be rough physically and not even sure it's possible. But yet for some reason we're still gun shy to pull the trigger...

So basically we're at a stalemate for the time being. I guess we'll just have to play it by ear....

December 8- Little Champions

Well. It's been five weeks in the NICU and the twins are doing amazing! They are growing about an ounce a day!! River is already 4 lbs 5 oz and Riley is finally over 3 pounds! Woohoo! It's been incredible seeing them grow and develop these past few weeks. I do miss having them together (they were separated last week when River got an eye infection and haven't been put back together since). It was so cool seeing them interact, so I miss being able to see that. But I guess in due time...

So a few days ago they both had their first try with bottle feeding. They have been cueing for a while now (rooting, sucking on pacifiers, putting their hands in their mouths when they're hungry) so the doctor out in an order for them to start trying. Well the little overachievers that they are got it in the first try and by the second they both finished their whole bottles! It doesn't happen every time, sometimes they get tired and zonk out before finishing. In that case the nurse will give them the rest through their feeding tube. But they were doing so well with it, by day 3 the doc put an order in for them to start bottle feeding twice a day! And of course they are rocking that, too! I'm beginning to think there's nothing these two can't do! 

Every week the twins are showing their 
personalities more and more. Riley is becoming more alert every day! Even though they still can't see very much, she is so expressive with her eyes. Whenever her daddy or I talk to her (we have always said the same things the same way, even when they were in utero, so they would recognize our voices: "Riiiiiiley. Mommy (or daddy) looooves youuuu") her eyes go wide and her forehead scrunches up in recognition. It's truly amazing to see. And she is SO content all the time. When either of us changes her diaper or clothes or do anything with her, she barely makes a peep. We get the sense from her that she just trusts us. Then there's River. He is definitely proving to be a whineypants. Every single time we change him he fusses. We can definitely see who is the tougher one in that duo, and it's not him! Can't wait to see how their dynamic plays out in the future!

In other news the doctors told me that once the babies are 4lbs and taking all their feeds by bottle they can go home. That's a bit nerve-wracking because River is over 4 lbs already! So once he is off his feeling tube he'll be discharged (and if Riley is close to 4 pounds but not quite she'll go too) and with how quickly they are picking things up that is going to be sooner than we anticipated! Eeeek! So we are scrambling to get everything ready. I organized the nursery, got a pediatrician lined up, set up our mandatory car seat/CPR class at the hospital, hubby put together the stroller... getting it done! Few more things to do before we're 100% ready..., well, as ready as we'll ever be! Everyone keeps making comments that "it's going to be so hard the first few months," we'll get "no sleep," "it's going to be hell at first." We get it. But what are we supposed to do with that info? Not much we can do about it! It's gonna be what it will be and we'll just have to tough it out and get through it. After all we've been through this year, I'm pretty sure we can survive anything that gets thrown our way! 

Pics from Week 5:

    Double Stuffed

    Mommy's bottle feeding with River
    Sweet Riley girl so alert

    The nurses put Riv in an oversized 
    onesie so he wouldn't mess with his 
    eye infection. He loves his paci!
    Daddy's first bottle feeding with Riv 
    So you can see just how small he is, 
    check out daddy's hands in 
    Riley can hold her paci!
    Three generations

    It's official... They definitely look alike!

December 3- Happy One Month Birthday!!!

I can't believe the twins are a month old! (Gestational age: 33 weeks). Of course, once they reach their original due date we will have to start going by their "corrected age." Which means since they were two months early, when they are technically three months old their corrected age will be one month. That's what we'll have to go by when looking at developmental milestones. Supposedly they'll catch up within a year and a half to two years. And while they'll be a bit behind in some of their milestones, they may actually be ahead of the game when it comes to talking because they've been exposed to language longer. Interesting stuff. Time will tell....

In the meantime, they are doing great! They grow every day. River is growing much faster than Riley, but we're told it's because she was smaller to begin with. Plus with her heart not being fully closed yet she breathes faster, therefore burning more calories throughout the day. They are sending a dietician over to see her this week to see what they can do savor possibly upping her caloric intake to increase her growth so hopefully they'll come up with a solution to help her grow a little faster.

While we were visiting the twins the other day the nurse had to put Riley's feeding tube back in through her nose and was having a hard time. G and I watched in amazement when every time Riley was in distress, River's heart rate would shoot up and he would cry. He wasn't looking at her, just next to her. It was this very weird twin connection type moment. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the future!

This week they will be moving from a bassinet to a crib. So many changes in just one week, it's amazing! Ever since they started co-bedding they have been thriving. Their stats have improved tremendously and their cuteness factor has been raised exponentially. They are so sweet and lovey with each other. Riley literally stares at her big brother and smiles! It sounds crazy with how young they are, I wouldn't believe it either if I hadn't seen it for myself on multiple occasions. The nurses all go crazy for these two and today I walked in to find a group of people standing around them. They were apparently part of a tour given to administrators! Too funny. The twins are definitely capturing the hearts of those around them, and for sure they've already stolen daddy's and mine! 

    Plotting their escape

    They do this at the same time when 
    we unwrap them from being swaddled

    River apparently has a bit of Mommy's 
    Jersey attitude! LOL

    Double Diaper Duty

    Kangarooing with Daddy