Saturday, August 29, 2009

Maybe, just maybe we're making some progress...

We've had a good week. An exhausting week but I think I'm finally starting to figure some things out. This week was my school's new student orientation and being a 3rd year student I sat on a few panels and even attending a lecture with the babies in tow. Even more impressive I ventured to these things on my own. There was a time that the prospect of leaving the house with both babies was something I never thought possible, but I can do it, and I can even do it successfully. (Although it takes forever to leave).

The babies did really well at the lecture. I did have help from friends and any time a baby made a noise one of us ran out of the room, but it all worked out. I've also been busy with my internship site this week making plans for the coming school year (with classes starting on Wednesday eek), and today I went to lunch with some friends and the babies. The days are so much better when I leave the apartment. I think that's part of the reason this week has been so much better. Being cooped up for hours on end is not healthy for anyone.

I'm even at a point where I don't dread getting up and facing the day. Which has been my reality for the past 15 or so weeks. There was a time that the very prospect of facing the day with my screaming babies alone left me in tears, I didn't enjoy being with the babies (and I hated myself for feeling that way) and Marcus called into work more times than he probably should have to keep me from completely losing it. I don't want to jinx anything but progress is happening... (the progress in this area is probably in part to returning to my therapist). It's nice to actually feel happy again, Marcus commented recently that I don't really call him crying these days (which is a relief to both of us).

We've also got a bit of a loose schedule happening. The babies eat, do tummy time, we play a little, and they're ready for a nap. The structure helps, and I'm getting a little better and reading their cues. I know when they start fussing during all of this they're tired and just need to be laid down, and more often than not I can get them to nap successfully.

Of course now that I'm starting to figure things out schools going to start, I'm taking 5 classes, the babies will be left in the care of others occasionally, and I'll also be busy with my internship. I'm a little worried about balancing all of this. The babies alone leave me exhausted I can't imagine adding all of the other work on top of it, but I'm trying not to dwell too much on that fact, one way or another we'll get through it.

The babies these days are also more and more responsive (which also helps). They smile a lot, have started making cute baby noises, and are more intrigued by their mobiles and activity mat. Eli is still in love with lights and will stare at them forever. He also really likes being outside and staring at the sky. Now, instead of screaming all the time we can actually get some reaction out of them.

(It's funny because Eli is much happier in the afternoon and early evening and Emerson is all smiles in the morning.)

Tonight for example they were both whining and fussing so I decided to start reading them a book, and to my amazement they both stopped crying and started listening.

I started with Eli, but Emerson seemed a little left out so she joined the reading party too,

Then we thought maybe they would like to read by themselves... and they did for awhile (the book has some black and white images in it that they like to look at).

Their head control is getting so much better. I think their PT will be impressed when she comes to visit.

So we're moving forward, and while things are still challenging, I'm still beyond exhausted, I'm feeling happier and a little more in control. Let's hope things keep improving.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Since having twins I have been a little bit shocked at the lack of boundaries exhibited by other people. People feel free to comment, stare, ask personal questions about their conception, and attempt to touch (which is the one that really pushes me over the edge). On Monday, the babies were fussing, I was hot and had been stuck in our hot, small, apartment all day and I decided to be brave and take the babies for a walk on my own for the first time.

The logistics of all of this are not easy as we live on the second floor. I had to haul our stroller down first, then carefully carry both babies down at the same time. Then get the stroller outside and down those stairs and then load them. It's a production but I did it. I decided we'd go over to my school since it's air conditioned, I suppose that was my first mistake since new student orientation was going on.

I ran into a friend (who is aware of my issues with people touching my preemies) and he washed his hands and then carried Eli around since he was fussing. I then had Emerson in my arms. This is when things started going wrong, perfect strangers began to approach, the questions started, a little girl kept trying to touch them, and then some lady asked, "Can I try holding your crying baby?" (She was referring to Eli). My response was probably a little less than polite, "Umm... No. D-- has it under control." Maybe this woman was trying to be helpful but I would never assume I could just approach a mother and her baby, touch them, and then expect to be allowed to hold them especially if I didn't know them. I just don't understand.

We did buy these signs for their carseats in hopes that this may deter the many strangers who seem to lack any sense of boundaries and the only context they have been successful in is at my church.

Perhaps, we'll have to go back into lockdown again since people are strange.

Other than that annoyance things around here have been going relatively smooth. In part because for the last few days the babies have been napping like crazy. On Monday they napped for a 5 hour stretch. Then they would wake eat (5-6oz which is not normal for them) and then go back to sleep. They then proceeded to go to bed at their normal time and sleep until 2am eat, then back to sleep. It's very strange.

On Friday they went in for a weight check and Emerson seems to be catching Eli in the weight department. Emerson weighed 10lbs 4oz and Eli weighed 10lbs 12oz. We think most of Eli's weight is in his head since it's in the 50th percentile and the rest of him is not on the charts. It's no wonder he can't really lift up his head during tummy time.

A friend bought Eli this onesie it seems appropriate, my poor bobbleheaded baby. It doesn't help that Eli has recently discovered that while on his tummy he can easily get his thumb in his mouth, which is adorable but really not conducive to motivating him to lift his head.

Emerson on the other hand has improved immensely on her head control. She can now keep her head up for several minutes at a time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Last night for the first time....

The babies slept 6 hours. They went to bed at 8:45pm and didn't wake up to eat until 2:30am It freaked us out and we were continually up checking on them and debating whether we should feed them (we decided to let them sleep).

I think I can attribute this occurrence to two things. One, they pretty much slept all day yesterday. They always sleep in the car, and they tend to sleep well in their stroller on walks too and for some reason when they sleep well during the day, they sleep well at night.

Second, because we were in NYC they ended up with a weird cluster feeding type thing towards the end of the night. We left NYC when they were asleep, then got stuck in traffic and they woke up screaming for food. The only way we could remedy this was for me to get in the backseat between their car seats and give them a few oz while they were buckled in, to tide them over since there was no where to pull over. Then once we were home we gave the a few more ozs, then they napped again, and we gave them a few more, finally an hour later we did their nighttime routine and fed them one more time.

We'll see what happens tonight. They were exhausted yesterday (and they tend to inch towards each other in their sleep. Sometimes they end up touching or even side by side).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A quick adventure in NYC...

The opportunity presented itself to have family pictures taken in Central Park and we just couldn't turn it down. However, the very prospect of driving into the city, with the babies, very nearly sent me into a anxiety attack. To help combat that feeling I tend to plan everything that I possibly can.

My grand plan for this morning was we would wake up, bathe the babies, feed them at 9:00 am I would pump then we would leave by 9:30, ensuring more than enough time to get to NYC. Once in New York we would park in a parking garage on 73rd street (see I plan these things). In said parking garage we would feed and change the babies, I would pump (pumping, modestly in the car is an art I mastered on our Cape Cod trip) and then we would walk to the block to Central Park. It was such a lovely little plan, that for the most part all fell apart.

The mornings never go as they should but we did leave the house at 9:45 which I thought was decent. Until... I remembered we would need cash for tolls, so we stopped at the convenient store to use the ATM. While Marcus was in there I remembered that while I had breast milk I forgot the formula and the babies would starve since I don't make enough for them. So back we went... still we weren't too far off schedule, until I remembered we forgot our camera (we were on the freeway at this point), so back again... Only an hour off schedule.

Once in New York I learned that the parking garages are not what I thought. They were little tiny boxes that fit a few cars and have attendants that you leave your keys with, and then they charge 4 million dollars (Which I was expecting). Given all of this, there was no way that we could stay in our car to feed and change the babies, not to mention pumping was entirely out of the question. So while I pondered this new discovery we did laps around the block. We tried a different garage in hopes that it was a self service one, but no such luck, so we quickly unloaded everything and tried to figure out how we were now going to accomplish the feeding and changing of the babies (I had given up any hope of pumping). After walking a few blocks down we saw a ton of free street parking (since it's Sunday) so I sent Marcus back to the garage to retrieve our car (we paid $12.60 for 20 minutes of parking), while the babies and I wandered the streets of Manhattan (I found 74th street to be particularly pleasant, no people, very clean).

Once parked on the street we balanced the babies on our knees, fed them quickly, changed their diapers, and put them in clean clothes. For some reason both babies thought this balancing act was great fun, and they were both smiling away during all of this, we were grateful that they weren't melting down. Not exactly how I planned but we had two happy, clean babies.

The photo-shoot was great. I got to meet a really great woman from a message board I'm on, and Central Park was beautiful. The babies did pretty well too. No smiles and Emerson pretty much slept through the whole thing, but I'll take what I can get considering their age. I wish we had more time and energy to explore, but we don't like keeping the babies out for very long. So after our hour shoot, we just went home. The babies were tired, we were tired, and we just needed to be home.

All in all it was a successful day. It's hopeful for me that once just taking them to the pediatrician was a huge ordeal and we've now tackled a week in Cape Cod, and a quick day trip to NYC.

Once home everyone (except me napped). I finally pumped, washed bottles, and enjoyed the quiet....

Which didn't last too long before both babies were in their nightly meltdown mode, crazy kids.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The babies are in love with their dad...

Emerson always gives Marcus the biggest smiles and really loves to sit and "talk" to him. (She's just recently started making little baby "cooing" noises).

I think one of my all time favorite things I overheard was Marcus telling the babies good night in their room and whispering, "I wouldn't trade you for anything."

(A real post is coming soon I just have no energy at the moment).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A trip to...

Last Sunday we left for a week long vacation in Cape Cod with some friends at a house we rented. It was a much needed change of scenery and overall the babies did very well. Marcus and I were both really nervous about taking them, debated it forever, talked to our pediatrician (who okayed it) and so we decided to go for it. Traveling with babies is definitely a new adventure. We packed Sunday morning and in all it took us 4 hours to get ready to leave. We fed the babies, then one of us entertained them while the other ran around trying to remember everything. Diapers, bottles, wipes, bibs, etc. etc. For such little people they sure do require a lot of things. Then we had to feed them again, I had to pump, and finally we left.

The drive was relatively uneventful. The babies slept until it was time to eat, and then we pulled over to feed and change them. Luckily the drive was only about 3 hours with traffic. We were worried about how the change would affect the babies, but honestly if anything they did better at the Cape. Perhaps because there were any number of individuals who were more than willing to hold them all the time (which is their preference and an impossibility when I'm at home alone). They also slept great as we worked very hard to make sure their nighttime routine went uninterrupted.

Emerson was exhausted from the drive up it seems.

The other nice thing was Marcus and I were able to get away without the babies a couple of times. The house we rented had a private beach so we went swimming while the babies slept at the house under the supervision of friends. It was nice practice for when I return to school in a few weeks and others will have to watch them occasionally, and every one was very vigilant about always washing their hands before touching the babies. (I might have given a little bit of a speech about it when we first arrived).

Marcus and I also went to see Funny people at the movie theater. We put the babies to bed at 9, and went to a 9:55 showing. The babies slept the entire time we were gone, although I will admit I was a nervous wreck the entire time we were at the theater. With the beach we were right outside the house, the theater was further away, but the babies did great.

We mostly stayed at our rented house, but we did go to the town of Sandwich one afternoon for a few hours.

All in all it was nice to have a change of scenery and some extra help with the babies, and we experienced some more of the east coast.

I'm also proud that we actually managed to take the two babies somewhere for a week, and did so successfully (I even kept up with the pumping 8 times a day). Not to mention all of the extra help was so nice. They held the babies, watched the babies while I napped, and I had three solid meals each day I was there (a rarity when I'm on my own). My friends are my support system since we live 3000 miles away from family, I'm so grateful for their willingness to help us with our cute screaming babies.

(They seemed pretty relaxed on vacation too).

Now we're back home, Marcus is back and work, and I'm alone with them again. Trying to manage and balance their screaming fits. It really is best to outnumber the babies, if only it could be that way all the time.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

6 years ago today...

I married my Marcus, and with each passing day, and each passing year I love him more.

I wish I could adequately describe just how amazing I think he is, and how much his love and support has meant to me these last 6 years. Through a move to California, his support when I studied abroad and various other international travels, a move 3000 miles across the country so I could go to the grad. school of my dreams, a devastating IF diagnosis, his support through the breakup of my parent's marriage, and finally his love and patience during the difficult pregnancy, bedrest, NICU and now twin parenthood.

I couldn't do any of it without him. I'm so looking forward what the many more years together have to offer.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

3 months old

(Emerson's smile cracks me up, she smiles with her whole face and her tongue).

At 3 months they both smile all the time, and they both still need to work on head control especially Eli.

They both love the swing (unfortunately we only have one).

They are both still in newborn clothes, although Eli can fit some 0-3 mths.

Eli is love with bright lights and stares and turns towards them.

Emerson smacks her lips when she's finished with her bottle.

Emerson has started to coo a little, especially at her dad.

Eli eats 3.5 ozs at each feeding and Emerson eats 3 oz.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Reflux baby and other things...

So it does in fact seem to be the case that Emerson's issues with eating are related to reflux. She saw the pediatrician this morning and was prescribed zantac so hopefully we'll see some improvement soon. Poor baby. It's so sad to see her cry every time she eats. I was a little annoyed with the nurse when I called to ask about it though, according to the nurse Emerson was probably just, "going through a thing" whatever that means. I'm assuming she was implying that Emerson was just having a weird eating phase that would pass, which is a hugely absurd thing to suggest about a 3 month old baby. She's not old enough to "have a thing". Luckily our pediatrician was a little more receptive to our concerns.

When we were picking up the prescription from the pharmacy Marcus had the following ridiculous conversation:

Pharm. lady: You have twins? Boys, Girls?

Marcus : We have a boy and a girl.

Pharm. lady: Are they identical?

Marcus: No we have a boy and a girl

Pharm. lady: Well you never know they still could be

Marcus: ????? oh...????

When he came back over to me he had the funniest expression on his face. People are fun.

We also took Eli to the doctor this morning because he sounds a little off to us. He doesn't have a fever or a cough though and the doctor said his lungs sounded fine. I think we just might be paranoid parents of our little preemies, but I would rather have him checked and have it be nothing than to let something get out of hand.

I really hate taking them out any where. I don't like the attention they get and I don't want anyone touching them. When we have to take them places (like the doctor) we keep their car seats covered with a blanket in an effort to discourage people from looking and touching. This has worked until recently, when several people have requested we move the blankets so they can look... I'm not really sure how to respond to that without looking like a paranoid crazy person.

In other baby news they're 13 weeks old and at night they will now go 4 hours between feedings (which is all we would let them) but that currently seems to be their need. Marcus and I have stopped being so rigid with the 3 hour feedings now that they're older. We follow their cues a little more and feed them when they seem to want to eat (which actually still happens to be about every 3 hours or sometimes sooner).

We're making progress with the fussiness too. Last night I managed to pick them both up at the same time and bounce them on our exercise ball. It was a killer on my back, but it worked until Marcus came home. If only I could figure out how to work my ring sling...

Monday, August 3, 2009

Physical therapy Session #2

The physical therapist came by again today to check on the progress of the babies since last month. Unfortunately, Eli is behind even for his adjusted age. He's no where near where he should be for a 3 month old, and is not even where a 1 month old would be (his adjusted age). Which is very disappointing to me. He still holds his head to the right which has resulted in tight neck muscles, despite all of our efforts and won't really lift his head during tummy time.

Emerson slept through the session, but based on what I told the PT about Emerson's progress she's more in line with her adjusted age development.

The rest of this post is mostly for my own record, I'm just going to transcribe the notes left by the PT. So just a warning that it's not going to be overly exciting.


Progress: Doing well; gaining weight; still holds head turned to the right, despite positioning, prefers tummy time on parent's chest, rather than on the floor.

During today's visit:
- Eli is able to hold his head upright in a fully supported upright position with his back and back of head against an adult's chest, a little bobbling side to side.
-Unable to flex his neck against gravity at all - was unable to do a pull to sit even from almost vertical.
-Tummy time on the floor-lifted head momentarily, emerging ability to turn side to side
-Holds neck rotated to right, was able to track a face and turn head to left about 40 degree in supine.

Suggested activities for daily routine:
1. Position so that he is encouraged to turn his head to his left. Try to get him to turn his head actively, as well as helping him or turning him to his left when he's sleeping
2. *Gently stretch his neck to the left for 30 sec, 10 times a day*
3. Pull to sit- start with him almost vertical, gently pull on his arms and try to get him to pull his head forward. Gradually lower the starting point.
4. Hold him vertical, against your chest facing away from you. Begin to slowly tip him side to side to challenge head control.
5. Tummy time- 30 min. a day total, at least 10 min. combined on floor.


Progress: Healthy and growing/gaining weight. Head control is improving. Tries to suck her thumb, but has trouble keeling it once she gets it. Had hips ultrasound because one appears shorter-ok.

During today's visit: Per mom's report: Emerson is able to lift her head for a few seconds when lying on her tummy and is beginning to be able to turn her head from side to side, Pushes with arms a little. Fairly good head control in an upright position. Pulls to sit actively from about 45 degree recline.

Suggested activities for daily routine:
1. In vertical-support her trunk and less support to head. Slowly tip her side to side/front to back to challenge head control.
2. Keep up with tummy time 30 minutes a day.
3. Pull to sit- keep gradually declining the starting position.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


Today my older brother turned 26...

Today he celebrated that birthday in Afghanistan...

Today on the news I learned that July 2009 was the deadliest month of the war, and heard the latest death toll..

Today I wished he was home, with his wife, in Nevada... not Afghanistan...

Today I said another prayer that he will come home...

Today I hated the war...

Happy Birthday Luke. Stay safe and come home.

Want to see something crazy?

They've changed so much already (click on it to enlarge).

Saturday, August 1, 2009

12 Weeks 1 day

My babies are 12 weeks already and this also means I have officially been pumping for 12 weeks which frankly is a miracle. Pretty much everyday I want to quit, and then I push on. It's a day to day decision. We'll see how long it will last I hate it. I'm also happy to say that the babies seem unfazed by the need to supplement, they each only get about 3oz total each day in formula so I am happy and relieved about that, and it does take some of the pressure off of me having to try and produce enough.

Emerson saw the cardiologist yesterday to have her murmur looked at. They did an EKG and an ECCO and for now the cardiologist doesn't think it's anything to worry about. They'll follow up in a year and keep watching it but for now it's no big deal. The cardiologist was really great. I was impressed that he took the time to look up their records and knew the history of their prematurity and their stay in the NICU.

Marcus and I are both starting to really wonder if Emerson's regression in eating is a result of some sort of reflux (the cardiologist agreed, when he was asking about her eating habits and others here have suggested it as well). While she's eating, she'll suddenly start flailing her arms and crying. She is also resistant to eating about half-way through. Although she almost never spits up. So who knows we'll definitely be contacting her pedi. to ask about all of this, especially since her eating has been getting worse recently instead of better.


I bought a maya ring sling yesterday and I was really excited about it, except for one small problem. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to use it. I read the manuel, watched the DVD, and even looked up youtube videos. I'm not really sure what I'm doing wrong, but Emerson was very patient with me yesterday as I tried to figure it out. I'm going to give it another shot today.


One of the most amazing things to me about my babies is how different they are from one another. Eli loves to be held, cuddled, and swaddled. Emerson also likes to be held but she's not content to hold still, and she has never liked being constrained by the swaddle. Even in the NICU after she moved to her open air crib, she would escape from her swaddle all the time, it perplexed the nurses how she was getting out of it. We've found the same to be true at home. Each night we swaddle her, and then not long after when we go in to check on her we find this...

Every night she unwraps herself, turns herself sideways, and puts her feet up on the crib. It's been really hot and humid here lately (90% humidity yuck! I'm from Nevada and not used to the humidity at all I hate it). So they've just been sleeping in their diapers. Apparently, even that is too constraining for miss Emerson, because she also somehow managed to get her diaper off. Not sure how she managed that either. Although both Marcus and I find it entertaining to watch just how exactly she gets out of her swaddle. She's a clever little baby.