Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Every night...

Between 6:30pm and 10:30pm the babies both melt down for no apparent reason. This has resulted in so much stress and aggravation. They don't need or want anything. They get fed, they're changed and nothing really works. Which makes it impossible to get anything done including eating dinner. Every night I feel like I'm going to lose my mind, not to mention I need food, and I need it before 11:00. But there's never any time to make anything let alone eat it. Luckily around 11 the babies always go down and sleep until their next feeding, which are still occurring every 3 hours. I'm losing my mind. We tried putting them down for the night earlier but that plan failed.

Also in the past few days Emerson has had some regression with her eating. She's already made so much progress in the time she's been home, but lately she's been struggling again, especially if she's tired. When she's tired she just can't seem to eat, and ends up choking over and over again. Yesterday, she choked so bad that she turned a little blue and pretty much gave me a heartache. I'm not really sure why this is happening again... but it's frustrating and sad to see her struggle so much to eat.

Friday, July 24, 2009

11 Weeks old

We survived another week and I don't want to jinx anything but the days have been going a little bit smoother. I don't have nearly as much anxiety about everything and while I'm still completely overwhelmed and exhausted I'm hanging in there.

Emerson had the ultrasounds of her hips yesterday at the request of her pediatrician who heard popping during her exam on Monday and everything is absolutely normal, so that's great news. Now we just have the cardiologist next Friday and I'm confident that if there is a murmur it won't be an issue.


Today is officially the first day I have had to supplement with formula. Surprisingly I've actually only had to use 2oz of formula, but it's a struggle to keep up. I had a fairly significant stash in the freezer from when they were in the NICU and eating very little, and I can't believe we've already gone through all of it, although it is nice to have my freezer back.

I've been reading up on some of the different things I can take to boost my supply but I'm not comfortable starting any of them without talking to a doctor or an LC first. So for now I'm pumping like crazy around the clock and hopefully that will continue to help with my supply.

Finally, the babies have been making progress in lots of little things and although they can be stressful they are a constant source of joy for us, especially since they're starting to have more wakeful hours it's so amazing to me how different their personalities are.

Emerson, is hilarious and a wiggly little thing. She never holds still. She likes to be held but the entire time she's in someone's arms she's moving all over the place. She also moves in her sleep, even while swaddled, and stretches all the time. In the past few days she's starting giving us huge smiles, with her entire face. We haven't been able to catch the smile very well yet on camera but it's adorable. She's happiest in the mornings.

Not the best picture but she's smiling.

She's also desperately trying to suck her fingers. This is pretty unsuccessful as she's still not coordinated enough to hold her fingers in her mouth, but this has resulted in her sucking on whatever is near her face. My arms, shirts, her shirt and arm, Eli if he's close enough, the boppy during tummy time. In fact she's discovered that during tummy time she can get her arm right under mouth and suck on it. So instead of trying to lift her head, she instead sucks her arm and goes to sleep.

However, when she stays awake during tummy time she can do this...

for several seconds. Her head control is getting so much better.

In Eli news he too has started smiling. In fact yesterday seems to have been his lightbulb moment when he gave us several of these...

Also yesterday he batted at the toys on the activity mat, and he finally seems to enjoy the swing. The last few days it has worked great to feed him, then put him in the swing so he stays calm and I can feed Emerson. However, if he had his choice he would still like to be held all the time. He's such a cuddly baby.

We spend a lot of time like this with Eli. Unfortunately Eli still isn't doing much with his head control. He still favors one side and for the past few days he's not even attempting to lift his head. He mostly just lays there for a minute and then starts to scream.

Finally, this week for the first time Eli didn't scream during bath time. He almost seemed to enjoy it.

They still do a lot of this...

and not enough of this...

But we're figuring it out. That's pretty much it for my little 11 week old babies.

Monday, July 20, 2009

2 Month Doctor appointment (10 weeks old)

The babies had their two month doctor appointment and my little babies continue to grow.

My little Eli is now 9lbs 3oz, which puts him in the 3% for his actual age, hooray for being on the charts. Everything with him looks perfect.

Emerson is 7lbs 11oz and isn't close to being on the charts yet but she's growing and that's all the doctors are looking for at this point. The doctor did discover two possible areas of concern. First, it seems that Emerson has a heart murmur. Most of these correct themselves but we're going to see a pediatric cardiologist just to have it checked out and watched as she grows.

The doctor also noted that there's something going on with her hips which may have something to do with her position in utero, so we were referred to radiology in the Children's hospital and she'll have that checked out on thursday. Hopefully, both issues are nothing to worry about.

Other that the babies were given three shots and an oral vaccine so we're probably in for some extra fussy babies today and this evening. Eli is such a dramatic little boy. He doesn't cry, what he does instead all the time is scream at the top of his lungs, a sharp awful screeching noise, which is what he did at the doctor. Only he did it after the shot was given, he had a bit of a delayed reaction. Emerson cried a little but calmed down pretty quickly. Poor babies.

We've also reached the point where the babies are eating more than I can pump in a day and I have to start supplementing with formula. Eli eats 85ml every 3 hours. We tried giving him more yesterday and he spit up every time so for now this seems like the amount he requires and Emerson is getting 80ml every three hours. I only pump between 36-40oz in a day and need about 48oz to keep up at this point. This makes me so sad. I've been doing everything in my power to increase my supply and nothing is really working. I know there's nothing wrong with formula I just really wanted them to have only breast milk for a little longer.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happiest Baby(ies) on the block?

We bought the book, we read the book, we like the suggestions in the book except for one little flaw... the book was written for parents of one crying baby and doesn't address how to handle this...

and this when it's happening at the same time and I'm alone.

So I've been attempting to figure out my own ways to improvise, which include sticking one baby in the sling and feeding the other, and then switching. That's all I've come up with at this point. The rest of the time one is screaming while I try and console the other. It is one of the most heartbreaking things to see a baby screaming, fists shaking, with little tears coming down their face. Most of the time all they want is to be picked up and I hate that I have to try and divide the time between them when I wish I could give full attention to both always.

I'm hoping with time this will get easier. I have more to update but I'm tired and have to go hold a baby.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

9 weeks (one week adjusted yesterday)

We survived another week. Thank you everyone for you comments/suggestions/advice on my last post I so appreciate them all. We did try several of the things that were suggested. They still don't really like their bouncy seats I'm hoping that maybe when they're a little bigger it'll be something they enjoy but at the moment they'll tolerate one for about 10 minutes and then they're done... and when they're done, they're totally completely done and they start screaming. So for the moment bouncy seats are not so helpful.

My sister just bought the babies a swing and we're hopeful that it will help calm at least one baby when I'm home alone and both seem to want attention. We've only had it for a day so it's too soon to see if it's something that will work but we're hopeful at least. Finally thursday night when Marcus had to close at work I had a friend come over to hold a baby and we watched a movie. Then Friday night I had three friends come over and they all love to hold the babies so both Marcus and I had a bit of break between each feeding. It's so nice just to have some extra hands.

We're hanging in there, with just a few breakdowns on my part.

In happy baby news Emerson smiled yesterday for the first time. I was holding her and talking and she gave me the biggest smile. Then later she smiled at the rattle I was shaking. So cute.

Finally, I started the 30 day shred yesterday. It was so hard and I have to say it was not a pretty sight watching me attempt some of the exercises. Clearly the bedrest and the babies have left me without any muscle capacity at all. I couldn't do a pushup (I tried and collapsed haha), sit-ups were just as impossible, and a few jumping jacks had me wanting to lay down and die. I have never been this out of shape. I can never remember a time in my life when I couldn't do a push-up. Marcus held the babies on the couch and watched/laughed/motivated. He's very helpful... I might have also used two cans of soup as my weights (I was desperate) overall it was a pretty ridiculous experience. Later, Marcus did go out and buy me some actual hand weights because he found the cans of soup just a little too ridiculous.

I'm totally sore today but it was nice to actually do something, especially since it's baby friendly, and I can do it in my living room. Now I just need to stay motivated and find the strength to attempt day two. We'll see how it goes.

Now I'm off to eat and hopefully nap before the next feeding.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2 months old

My MIL left today and that marks the end of our reinforcements and I don't think I can manage this on my own. My MIL kept saying that we must be happy to finally be alone but I can honestly, say that we are not. Marcus and I desperately need help. Today further illustrated that point. The babies have both been screaming for the last 5 hours and I can't figure out why. They are eating just fine, have plenty of wet and dirty diapers, from what I can tell they just want to be held. As soon as they are put down they wake up and start screaming all over again. I'm losing it. Luckily Marcus had today off so it was a little more manageable except for when I need to do things like pump, dishes, laundry, eat etc. Or when Marcus needs to do school work for his summer class. The whole idea of sleeping when the babies sleep is laughable. We did that today for two hours and as a result have no clean clothes or clean bottles and then had to try and do those things with two screaming kids. I had to lay my screaming baby down again and go into our bedroom so I could cry.

I want my mom or somebody to come back. The best way I can see to manage is to outnumber the babies. Please let tomorrow be better Marcus has to close at work so I'll be on my own pretty much all day.

I'll post their 2 month picture when I get a second to upload it from the camera. I should have taken it of them both screaming it would have been an accurate representation of the day.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Physical therapy

On thursday the babies had their first PT session and the the physical therapist showed us a few different exercises we can do with the babies to help them with their head control and motor development. I like that we have someone coming to the house to work with them to help us monitor their development since it's hard to know what they should be doing at this point. The whole preemie thing and adjusted age is hard and makes trying to figure out what's age appropriate difficult. For now the therapist will come once a month unless I decide we want her to come two times a month. Once the babies are a little older and more active she'll come more often.

She gave us the following homework assignments:

1.) Tummy time- following a handout she gave us with different ways of doing it and we should shoot for at least 30 min a day (not all at once).


2.) Side lying - face to face or lay a large toy in front of the baby to encourage her to notice her hands

3.) modified pull to sit - lay the baby on their back on your thighs while you are vertical and pull gently on their arms to bring her upright. Goal is to get the baby to bring their head forward. Only pull if you feel her pulling back. Gradually bring her closer to horizontal.

4.) Back lying - head in midline- on her back looking at you, cup the babies head to help her keep it centered. Then open your hand to se if she can keep her head in midline. Progress gradually to no support.

5.) Vertical carry - babies back to your chest, and one hand under the baby so they are sitting, with the other hand in front on the baby's chest with fingers to support her chin. Gradually decrease the amount of support she needs to hold her head upright. Walk around like this.
So these are the few things we're suppose to work on when the babies are awake and alert. When she was here both babies just screamed through the entire session. Neither one of them liked being stretched and moved the way she was doing it.

Friday, July 3, 2009

8 Weeks (0 weeks corrected)

We've had a busy week around here. On Monday I was finally able to finish my semester. While on bedrest I was able to finish all of my papers and assignments on time, all that remained were two final exams. One final I finished two weeks after the babies were born, and this last final I was just waiting on my professor.

This particular professor doesn't responded to emails ever. I sent her countless emails throughout the semester and again over the summer in an attempt to schedule a time to complete my test, it wasn't until I contacted the dean of academic affairs that she FINALLY responded back. So I attempted to relearn material from months ago, while also dealing with babies, and a lack of sleep. I can without question say that this was the most ill-prepared I've ever been for an exam. But at this point I didn't care I just wanted the semester to be finished. Luckily, my MIL is visiting and Marcus took this week off so I had a lot of help with the babies but I feel like this one test was a small glimpse of what the next school year could look like. Fun stuff.

Also on Monday we walked over to my school (it's a 2 min walk) and gave my MIL a tour. The babies slept in their slings which worked out really well.

This is the four of us in my schools library.


This week we also decided that we had to attempt to do something about the babies schedules. They seem to have their days and nights confused and so we changed a few things. We're now having them nap in their pack and play in the family room so it's never totally quiet, and we implemented a bed time routine. Which is really simple at this point, a bath every other day, change into pajamas, bottle, rocking, story and then bed in their cribs. We're hoping this will help them at least sleep the three hours between their feedings because we need sleep. Especially Marcus. Here are the latest antics caused by his sleep depravation:

- I woke up to Marcus trying to burp me... when we burp the babies we sort of sit them up and lean them forward with one had under their chin and then pat their backs. I woke up to Marcus hands around my neck in his attempt to burp me. This is not really a pleasant way to wake up.
- Marcus sat on the edge of the bed randomly in the middle of the night. When I asked what he was doing he told me he didn't want Eli to role off. The only problem with this is Eli wasn't in our bed, he never is we don't bring them in here.
-Marcus also woke up and began frantically searching through the bed, once again he was looking for Eli because he thought he had lost him.
-Finally I woke up to Marcus picking me up, because he was attempting to carry me back to the nursery. How he confuses me with our tiny babies I'll never know, but it's such an odd way to wake up.

So as you can see for the safety and sanity of everyone we need just a little bit more sleep around here. We've done the schedule for two nights now so I feel like its too soon to know if it actually works but last night was a little better.


Yesterday was my due date which was kind of surreal to me. It was so strange to think about how much longer I could have been pregnant and how different things would have been with full term babies. I was surprised to find that I was a little sad on the actual day. I really feel like I was cheated out of so much, particularly in regards to their birth. I hate that I have no memory of it, I hate that I didn't get to hold Eli for over a day, and Emerson for over 5 days. I know it's stupid because I am so grateful that they're doing as well as they are but I can't help but think about the "what ifs" in regards to a normal pregnancy and birth experience. It's not a constant sadness it's mostly just when I stop to think about it or see pictures and read stories of other birth experiences where they talk about seeing and holding their babies for the first time. The first time I saw my babies I was basically still unconscious, they were covered in tubes and wires and they were in the NICU.


Yesterday the babies also had their first session with their physical therapist who will come and help monitor their development. Obviously they're a little behind because of their prematurity and she showed us different exercises to do with the babies. I plan on writing a separate entry about all of this some time soon.

I think those are the main updates. It's been nice to have help. I wish Marcus never had to go back to work and I wish we always had extra help available. Yesterday Marcus and I went out to dinner and then went and saw UP with some friends while the babies hung out with their grandma, having family that lived closer would be so nice.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Our cute babies...

I actually do have a lot to report but I'm finding lately there's just not enough time in the day. So this will be short. The babies had a weight check today; Eli was 7lbs 11oz and Emerson 6lbs 5oz. So they're continuing to grow at a great rate. Yesterday Eli smiled at Marcus it was so adorable although he hasn't repeated it yet today. He has to be alert enough but it was so great to finally get some kind of response out of them. Finally, they had a photo shoot 3 weeks ago and we're just now getting back some of the proofs. Here's one..

I may be a little bias but I think they're pretty adorable.