Monday, December 2, 2013

Life lately in pictures

Abuela, Abuelo, and Aunt Betsy came!

Sally loves the new easel.

The whole fam! No time to get dressed and ready, but it still turned out well.

These girls love to smile!

"Sophie is my BEST friend!!" said Sally the other night.

They are getting along so much better these days.
Makeup session with the girls.  They LOVED it.  I didn't put much on them, but just the idea of it was fun.

Sally looks so grown up here to me!

Sophie on a horse swing at the pumpkin patch. 

Sally on the seesaw.  This pumpkin patch was awesome.  If you are in the Wichita area, check out Applejack's.

Cute Soph trying on an apron of mine.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How can it be? The twins are 2 months old already!

Erin and Elise are getting to be such big girls!  They turned 2 months old on the 16th.  We are so busy every day that the time is just flying by.  They had their 2 month checkup today, and both are perfectly healthy!  Elise no longer has a hip click, which is great news.  They weighed and measured EXACTLY the same, which is just crazy to me.  Last doctor visit, they also were the exact same.  They weigh 12 lb. 3 oz. (83rd percentile) and are 65th percentile for height.  As you can see from the pictures below, they are definitely fattening up!  Seems like all our babies are chunky--even Sophie, though it took her a while to catch up.  Sally was a GIANT baby (always in the 90's percentile wise for height and weight).  I am so thankful to be producing plenty of breastmilk to feed them both.   They are kind of picky eaters though, in terms of position.  Most of the time I feed them on the twin nursing pillow for 5-10 minutes before they are screaming at me (because they want to eat, and because when I feed them, they don't like it in that position). Then, I just have to pump and bottle feed the rest.  It takes a long time to feed them this way!  I had thought it was reflux, but meds were not making a difference, and they take bottles (or eat in other positions) just fine, so we have ruled that out.  The reason I want to use the nursing pillow is because it is really the only way to feed them simultaneously.  Other twin positions require more neck control on their part. It is kind of frustrating, but I guess I am hoping they grow out of it soon.

They eat about every 2-4 hours during the day and usually sleep at some point in between feedings.  They definitely don't have a "schedule" at this point, but at least I can kind of predict how long it will be before they need to eat again.

They eat sometime around 8:30pm for their last feeding of the day, and then I do a "dream feed" around 11.  That just means I feed them when they are sleeping or half awake, depending.  Then, they sleep until around 6:30-8am.  It all depends.   I actually kind of like that their eating and sleeping is more based on a routine than a schedule, because I can kind of tune each day to what I need it to be in terms of what else is going on.  I am so glad they are both sleeping for a stretch at night instead of waking me up in the middle of it!  

The girls tolerate tummy time pretty well for their age. Elise does a lot better job of holding her head up than Erin does.  They are both smiling all the time (real smiles) and cooing and making sounds back at us.  I LOVE getting to see them develop and change.   I wouldn't say they have strong differences in personality yet.  Erin is a little more impatient when it comes to waiting for food.They have almost outgrown size 1 diapers.

Overall, the babies seem like a piece of cake when compared to caring for Sophie and Sally.  I remember when our first two were really little and I thought I couldn't wait for them to be bigger and solve all the issues they had as babies.  I thought there was no way it could be any harder.  Well, it is folks.  Toddlers/pre-schoolers are a whole different ball game.  Less demanding and more independent in ways, but overall, way more frustrating to me.  Maybe this is because I have 2 so close in age.  It does seem so much easier when one of the older girls is off with Ryan or grandparents.   I think what makes it so hard is the defiance, disobedience, and tantrums.  Oh, and fighting.  I hate it when they fight!  If you only have a baby, the only way I can convey the sentiment is like this:  think of the thing your baby does that frustrates you/wears on you the most.  Then, imagine that they are doing it on purpose, just to defy you.  That is what it feels like to deal with a preschooler when they are being difficult.  They just lose all sense of what seems so completely logical to you!  But then, they turn around and do the sweetest/most loving thing and you completely forget your frustration.  We are trying to spend lots of one on one time with the older girls which rejuvenates both them and us as we remember that it can actually be enjoyable to be a parent!
Sally and Elise


Erin right

Erin right




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Day In The Life. . .

The number one question I got when we found out we were having twins (and the number one question in my own brain) was "How are you going to do it?" That is, how was I going to manage to take care of my two older girls (who will be 3 and 4 in December) and twin newborns while Ryan was at work?  I truly had no idea how I would make it through a day by myself with all of them.  What I did know is that when Sally was born I also felt like there was no way I would be able to take care of both girls on my own.  But, as time passed, I figured it out.  So I knew that this time I would also eventually figure it out.   When you don't have a choice, you have to make it work somehow.  I am not saying that it is easy, but we survive on a day to day basis somehow.

One thing that has been huge in adjusting to life with 4 kids is all the help we have received.  My mom was here for about 2 weeks after the twins were born, and Ryan was off of work during that time as well.  With 3 adults at home, we managed pretty well.  Ryan and my mom mostly watched the older girls and kept up with cooking, cleaning, etc. while I was basically on baby duty since I am the food source after all.  Then after she left and Ryan went back to work, our church provided us with meals for almost 2 weeks!  Also, my amazing and generous friend Sarah Beth has been coming 2 days a week and staying as long as I need her (pretty much all day!) to help with everything.  My friend Leidy has come to help us a lot too as well as Ryan's mom.  These wonderful women have been so generous with their time and energy and have really made it possible to function around here without dishes, laundry, cooking, and cleaning overtaking the whole house.

There are (and will be) plenty of days where I am solo.  I feel like pretty much all I do is feed people.  There are no breaks.  Sometimes if I find a free moment, I try to get as much done as I possibly can just because I know that if I don't do it now, it won't happen.  It is kind of strange, because sometimes I feel like I am more productive now than before the babies came.  This is because before, though I didn't realize it, I had the freedom to be lazy.  If I didn't do something in the afternoon, I knew I would have time later to do it.  And then later, I would be tired or find something else to do instead.  Now, there is no choice.  I might not get to take a shower later or eat a meal or get some small task done at all if I don't just do it right when I find a chance.  I guess you could say I have been forced to really manage my time.  I thought some of you might be curious to know what our day looks like.  It will also be interesting to come back and read this one day when everyone is older and life is not so crazy (or at least just crazy in a different way).

Here is what a typical day for us looks like:

Between 4-6am: Babies wake up to eat. I always feed them at the same time even if only one woke up.  It can take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half to feed them and get them settled so that I can actually go back to sleep too.  

7:30-8:30am:  Sophie and Sally get up.  I race to the kitchen to get them breakfast.  I have to find something they can eat that won't make a huge mess b/c I can't control it if I am feeding the babies.  I turn on a show for them to watch while they eat and while I feed the babies.

Between 8 and 9am:  Babies wake up to eat.  In the morning, I breastfeed them for about 30 minutes and then pump (about 20 min) so I can keep adding to my supply of stored milk in the freezer.  I also feed them again (the pumped milk from a bottle)  after I pump because they usually want more.

Between 10 and 11:  I am finally done feeding the babies, and Sophie and Sally have watched a ton of tv already.  Usually the babies sleep for 2 hours or so.  I get Sophie and Sally dressed (or at least in clean panties and a shirt), wash bottles, and sometimes try to do some kind of chore or take a shower.  Oh, and find something to eat for myself. 

Around 11-11:30: Get Sophie and Sally a snack.  I try to play with S and S sometime in the morning, because I know they need my attention.   Sometimes I just don't have a choice though depending on what the babies are doing or if I just have to get some things done.

Between 12-1pm:  Babies wake up and eat.  Girls eat lunch.  I try to guess when I think the babies will get hungry in order to decide if I am going to feed the girls lunch first or wait till after I feed the babies.  This is a hectic time because I don't always guess right.  Then I either get screaming babies or a chaotic lunch.  S and S are not the greatest independent eaters.  They just want to play with food or fight with each other, and I really have to monitor them closely to get them to actually eat.  Either that or turn on a show and basically put food into their mouths for them or constantly remind them to eat while they watch.  This second scenario is not ideal but at least keeps peace and prevents fighting and big messes.

Between 1-2pm:  Babies go back to sleep (or just cry a lot while I go back and forth between them and the big girls.  I try to get Sophie and Sally to use the potty and brush teeth.  Then they go down for a nap.  Or at least quiet time in their room.  This doesn't always work though.  They come in and out of their rooms a lot.  Lately Sophie has been going #2 in her panties again (refuses to use the potty), so I will almost always have to clean her up at some point.  Sally is also inconsistent about #2, so lots of times I have to change her too.  This can be difficult if I am already in the middle of feeding the babies.  Sometimes I get the girls down before the babies have woken up to eat, so I end up dealing with the big girls' shenanigans from the couch  as I am limited in my ability to deal with them since I feed both babies at once.  At least, when you just have one baby to feed, you can kind of get up and walk around if you have to during a feeding.  Not so with two at once.

Between 2-3 pm:   Hopefully, the older girls are in their rooms and quiet.  Sophie usually does not nap.  Sally naps a little more often, though not always.  The babies may or may not be sleeping.  I might be able to get a few little things done around the house, if everyone is cooperating.  It is useless to try to nap, because almost always, someone will need something.

Between 3-4pm:  Sophie and Sally get up from naps.  Babies eat again at some point.  They eat every 2-3 hours during the day, so their eating times aren't set in stone or entirely predictable yet.  I get Sophie and Sally a snack and try to do something with them before the babies wake up.  Pretty much anytime I am feeding the babies, I turn on a show for the girls.  This is the only way I can prevent disaster and injuries during this time.  Sometimes the girls will play downstairs, but usually it ends in crying within 5 minutes because of not getting along or someone getting hurt.

4:30-5pm  Ryan gets home from work!  Hooray!  He usually takes the girls outside to play or the the pool or park while I feed the babies or lay down for a little bit and then feed the babies.

Between 5-6pm:  Babies eat again

6-7pm:  Girls eat dinner.

7-9pm:  Girls play for a while and get ready for bed.  Babies eat again.  Ryan usually ends up getting the girls in bed while I take care of the babies.  Evening time is kind of a fussy time for the babies, so usually when they are not eating, Ryan and I have one each in a wrap or baby bjorn while we eat dinner or help the girls eat dinner.

8:30-9pm: S and S go to bed!  Our workload is cut in half.   Well, unless Sally decides to come out of her room over and over until after 10pm sometimes.

8:30-midnight:  Babies turn into eating machines and eat every 2 hours until midnight or 1ish.  You would think I would have more time to do things during this time, but mostly the babies need to be held either to eat or because they are restless/fussy.  So, pretty much every night, Ryan and I sit in the living room and watch Breaking Bad on Netflix while we care for the babies.  When I find little 5 minute windows to do things, I will kind of straighten up in the living room or kitchen or work on a little laundry or paperwork, etc.

Between Midnight-2am:  I get the babies in bed and settled down and finally get to fall asleep myself after a looooooong day.

Whew!  Just typing that is exhausting to me.  Oddly enough, the days go by pretty fast because I am so busy.  And I don't feel super overwhelmed most of the time.  Sometimes I totally lose my patience with the big girls.  And the babies have reflux which makes them frustrating to feed.  A lot of times I feed them for a bit and end up having to pump and give them bottles because they are just crying so much.  They take bottles a lot more easily sometimes.  I try to take the time to really enjoy their sweet newborn-ness.  I wasn't always a big fan of the newborn stage, but I am loving it right now.  I think because I know how quickly they get big!  Even though I look forward to the days when they are sleeping through the night, I know that different challenges come with older babies, so right now I am enjoying all the snuggles and sleeping during the day (on their part).

Monday, October 14, 2013

Birth Story

I ended up being induced on a Monday morning at 39 weeks and 1 day.  I had been somewhat nervous about being induced again because of my bad experience last time.  But, this time I planned to get an epidural, whereas, last time, I was trying not to get one.  If you have ever felt the difference between natural labor pains and those induced by pitocin, you know an epidural really is a must have.  Also, I wanted to be awake when the girls were born if I had to end up having a c-section.
We arrived at the hospital at 6 am, but didn't get pitocin actually started until around 9.  They started me on a lower level of pitocin and increased it more slowly than normal since I reacted so strongly to it last time, so it wasn't for a while before things got going.  Friends and family were wanting updates, but by lunchtime, there still wasn't a whole lot going on.  Finally, the contractions were getting strong enough that I decided I was ready for my epidural.  The nurse anesthesiologist had the hardest time placing it though.  I have never had anyone have trouble placing it before, so I wasn't expecting to have such a hard time with it.  It kept going to one side and she would have to take it out and replace the needle somewhere else.  And I was having strong "tingly feelings" down my right leg, so it wasn't going in correctly when she finally replaced it.  It was hurting more than my contractions at this point.  The nurses were all really nice though, which made a big difference.  I have had a bad nurse before, and that is one thing you don't want to have if you are about to give birth!  If you are a nurse, please know that your job is so important!  You really can make or break an experience for your patients.  My labor and delivery nurse was just so nice and had a great positive attitude.
As labor progressed, they kept trying to keep my pain manageable, but it was difficult.  I was already having a lot of abdominal pain that morning from my digestive problems, and later in labor, I was feeling a lot of pain in my lower right abdomen.  I still don't know if it was contractions only or my previous pain being exacerbated by my contractions.  My mom came to the room for a little while, but when they checked me, I was still only at a 6, and it had taken hours for me to get there.  Water still hadn't broken either.  She stayed for a while, and then we told her she could head home for a bit since I seemed to be progressing slowly.  Well, I feel bad we told her to leave because they ended up being born just 45 min. or so after she left!  After she left, the pain in my lower right side was really intensifying, and they kept trying to figure out what to do as far as medication in order to help me.  Finally, I was in so much pain that they decided to check my cervix again.  Within 30 minutes, I went from a 6 to complete!  I was ready to deliver!
So, they got me ready to move to the operating room.  With twins, at least at my hospital, you always deliver in the OR after laboring in a normal room just in case you have a c-section.  I got to the OR and at this point, I couldn't move my body at all from the waist down.  They moved me onto the "bed" in the OR, which looked so small to me!  I was thinking, "you want me to deliver my babies on this tiny narrow board you call a bed?"  They laid me flat on my back, which was SO uncomfortable.  Being so hugely pregnant, laying on my back made me feel like I was suffocating and that my inner organs were going to burst.  I asked them to elevate my bed, and they did, a little bit.  I was still pretty uncomfortable though.  They gave me more medicine so that I was prepped for a c-section (just in case), and I felt really groggy and so tired.  My doctor had been notified, but had still not arrived when Erin was delivered.  She basically just came out on her own.  They looked down and realized her head was coming out without me even pushing.  I had no idea either because I was so numb.  Shortly after, my doctor arrived.  He looked REALLY annoyed and said something like, "So, was anybody gonna tell me we were having some babies here?"  I know they called him when I was still in my first room, but maybe the communication wasn't so great.  Anyway, about 10 minutes later, I was ready to deliver Elise.  I pushed 3 times, and she was out!  It was, by far, the smoothest delivery of the three I have had.  They let me hold the babies, but I was so tired and weak, I couldn't hold them for long because I felt like I would drop them!  After a while, my medicine wore off, and I felt much more awake.  I was able to feed them, and they both did well for their first time.  They were so quiet and calm and hardly woke up for the first few days.  I didn't have any tearing, which was great.  Actually my tailbone was probably more sore than anything because I sat on the bed in one place as I was recovering and waiting for the epidural to wear off.  It took a long time, and for the next week or two, it really hurt to sit down and to get up from sitting.    We had a nice time staying in the hospital, pretending we were on vacation.  Funny, I know, but when neither of us are responsible for Sophie and Sally for a couple of days, and we get to sit in bed and watch tv while people bring us food, then it is a vacation!  I even sent the twins to the nursery for a stretch one night so I could get some sleep.  They kept wanting to eat or just wouldn't settle down, and I really needed some rest.  I haven't ever done that before because it just made me kind of nervous, but I guess after the third time, you start to let go of control a little more easily.  Or at least, that is the case for me (not saying you have control issues if you don't send your baby to the nursery!  I just know that I do.)  We were supposed to leave the next day, but ended up staying another night because our nurse got busy and didn't get some tests done for the twins until like 8pm.  Ryan really wanted to leave that night, and I guess if we had insisted, they would have made it happen, but we decided to stay.
When we got home, we were greeted by my mom and Ryan's mom and the girls.  Sophie and Sally were very interested in the babies.  Actually, I am now remembering that the girls and grandmas all visited us at the hospital, which was fun.  The girls didn't quite know what to think, and I really tried to make a point to give them lots of attention and let them sit in my lap without the babies there and such.

Well, I am glad I was able to remember that much and get it written down so I can go back and read it later.  We are doing well here at home.  The girls are 4 weeks old today!  I have had lots of help from family and friends, which has been such a blessing.  Next time I post, I will let you know what a typical day in our house looks like.  It can get kind of stressful, but hasn't been as bad as I anticipated yet.  The babies are just so sweet and cute, and have been good sleepers, which has helped a lot.  Actually, right now I am off to feed them one last time and hope for a good stretch of sleep :)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Twins are here! Picture post

Sweet Erin Claire 19 in. 7 lbs.

Miss Elise Abigail 18 in. 6 lbs. 11 oz.

I felt like if I closed my eyes, I would fall asleep immediately.

still can't believe we have TWINS!

Sophie and Sally were a bit perplexed about the babies, but did well I think.

Going home! So thankful they were so healthy.






Soph is definitely the more motherly one.  She always wants to hold the babies.

Sally is really sweet with them too. Loves to "help" give them blankets, pacis, etc.

1 week old (I think Erin is on the left)

Elise left



Erin left-- you can really see the difference between them here.

My big babies.

They are so much fun!

Quilt made by Grandma Sherry

Thursday, September 12, 2013

There is an end in sight!

Well, I will be 39 weeks on Sunday.  Never imagined I would make it this far! I am really thankful, but, by golly, it is time to get these babies out!  I think my doctor agrees.  Baby A is weighing around 6 lb 11 oz. and B is right at 6 lb.  The sonographer said that these weights could easily be too low though, since they are so squished in there and it is hard to get a really accurate measurement. At my appointment this week, they planned to "strip my membranes," but my cervix was too tight to do it.  He said my cervix is very thin at this point, so if I were to start contracting, he thinks it would dilate pretty easily. This also happened at the end of my pregnancy with Sally, and I suspect that having had the cerclage in for so long, my cervix is just not going to loosen up like it normally would unless it has a lot more time.  I am about 3 cm dilated right now and maybe 90% effaced.  I am super super uncomfortable, but getting the babies to come on out is not only a matter of my personal comfort.  He explained to me that as large and distended as my uterus is (carrying 2 full term babies), the likelihood of my labor being long and inefficient or, at its worst, ineffective, only increases as I get bigger.  He said if he were going to induce, it would be better to do it at 39 weeks than at 40.  If I waited until 40 weeks (or later, ugh!), then they might have to help sustain my natural labor with pitocin anyway.   So, we are set for an induction this coming Tuesday if the babies don't show up by then.  Actually, we might even get to go on Monday if a spot opens up. He actually said that, rather than starting right off with pitocin, they might start by just breaking my water to see if contractions will start then.  I am still so hoping that they come on their own this week, but at this point, I don't care how they come out.  I just want them out! I did have a horrible experience with induction with Sally, but I think, in large part, it was because I was trying to go without an epidural.  This time I KNOW I need to get one.  I had actually already planned to regardless of how I went into labor because if I do end up needing a c-section, I want to be awake when they are born rather than have to go under general anesthesia. 

My mom is still here, and has graciously changed her flight until a week after they are scheduled to arrive so she can be around to meet them and to help us adjust at home for a bit.  We are all done with our nesting projects.  She has made me want to hire a personal housecleaner/cook/nanny when she leaves because she has been spoiling me so much!

Pregnancy lately for me has been:
-leaving me sleep deprived, but perhaps better ready to cope with the lack of sleep I will get when the twins arrive?

-causing me to not want to go in public because of HOW MUCH PEOPLE STARE.  I mean, on an individual basis, I understand, and it doesn't bother me so much.  But I just get tired of it.  I feel like I have had a taste of what it might feel like to have a physical deformity or something else that calls attention to itself in public.  I guess people just get used to it?

-slightly sad in that just this past week i started seeing signs of stretch marks (boo hoo, I know--it really isn't a big deal, but I can whine, right?)  If they had just come a little sooner. . .

-making me look like an elephant from the calf down.  See picture below:
Sorry if you don't like feet!  But they feel even worse than they look.  And this picture was only taken mid-day, so they will be much worse by the evening.  I would really like to walk around a lot to try to get things going, but my feet won't let me.
-giving me some extra time with my family before the babies get here.  I am thankful to get to focus on them more right now.
-making me marvel at the contortions my abdomen is capable of as the babies stretch around in there.  Really, there is no room for kicking anymore, so movement is more of a visible thing than something you can feel with your hand (of course, I can feel it though-especially in my ribs).
-teaching my to be patient and thankful.   I am not a very patient person by nature, so it has been a challenge!

I can't wait to meet these two sweet girls!  I love getting to see what they look like after wondering for so long.  Neither of my first two looked like I had imagined, so I am not even trying to guess what these two will look like.  It is so cool that there are TWO of them and that they will look just alike!  Keep us in your prayers over the next week!