The hardest part?

If there is one thing I’ve learned since we got home from the hospital, it’s that I could not do this without lots and lots and lots of help.

My hubs is awesome, as a support of me and as a parent of twinsies. He feeds/changes babies as soon as he gets home at night. He cooks dinner every night. He tells me all the time how awesome I’m doing as a Mom (haha). He washes pumping supplies and bottles. He uploads our meticulous notes on their feeds into spreadsheets every morning so we can see exactly where they are. Etc etc etc etc etc. He’s awesome.

And my MIL….words cannot express how grateful we are for her help. She is a retired Labor & Delivery nurse (!!!) and has been flying into town for a few days at a time here and there to cover night shifts + a couple of hours in the afternoon (she’s subletting an apartment a few blocks away so we can have our “space”!) so I can either a) run to the grocery store, b) take a walk, or c) lay down and shut my eyes. AMAZING. She’ll be doing this for the next six weeks, and it’s pretty much the awesome-est thing in the world.

The rest of the time, hubs and I split up the night shifts. He’s more of a night owl so he’ll cover the babies from 11 until 3 or 4am-ish. Then I’m on for the rest of the night/day and he sleeps until about 7 or 8 before getting up for work. It seems to work pretty well. At night, we keep both babies in their bassinets in the nursery and the person on the night shift hangs out in the living room, doing whatever (watching TV, surfing the web, laundry, etc), while keeping an eye on the video monitor. Because a baby often needs to be fed every hour of the night, it just doesn’t make sense for the on-call person to be in the bedroom with the sleeping person right now. I really miss sleeping in the same bed as hubs (especially since I can now snuggle him without my big pregnant belly!), but I know this is not forever….

Of course, most of the time no one is here to help and it’s just the babies and me. I am in heaven with them—cloud nine. The hardest part? When I’m feeding one baby and the other one is hungry and crying and rooting because he or she is now hungry, too. Ohhhhhh, how that hurts my heart. With twinsies, you can’t be there for both babies at once all of the time….you have to crises manage each situation. Do I cut a nursing session short to attend to the next baby? Interrupt it to get try to get the second baby to latch on, too? Rearrange everyone and set them both up in Boppys for bottle feeds? And so this triage situation happens. Over and over and over. When hubs gets home in the evening, it is out of control how exhausted I feel. (This definitely tops the summer where I was training for a Half-Ironman. Ooof!)

I have never been happier, or more tired. 🙂

In an ideal, very efficient, world, I would tandem nurse them. But, so far, I’ve found that really hard to execute. For one thing, they’d both have to be hungry at the same exact time. I know someday in the future we’ll get them on the same feeding sked, but for now, we’re maximizing weight gain and that means feeding a baby whenever he/she is hungry, and at least every two hours. For another thing, it’s hard to get two babies situated on a Boppy when you’re alone. And lastly, while they both have it in them to be excellent nursers, none of us are great at it just yet…..while I can almost always get one baby perfectly latched and sucking, it’s pretty much hitting the lottery if I can get them going simultaneously.

So, I do a combo of attempting tandem feeds, taking turns nursing them, feeding them bottles of pumped breast milk, then pumping to drain my boobs, then cleaning everything up. (Sometimes all of that happens in one session, haha.) It’s not a perfect system, it’s pretty freaking inefficient, but it’s working for us right now: They are definitely chubbing up and looking more rolly-polly-ish and that makes me SO SO SO happy. 🙂

We take them outside for walks on weekends….they’ve seen Lake Michigan, been to the park, and hung out at our fave sandwich shop. They’re such a handful and I’m soooo obsessed with feeding them the MOMENT they look like they’re thinking about food…..so I’ve never taken them outside all by myself. That has got to change soon! I know maternity leave will be a lot more fun when we’re all mobile…

The best hours are the ones where one baby is happily snoozing and I have the other one on my chest for cuddles and individual QT. They melt me!!!! I try really hard to give them each as many one-on-one snuggles as possible throughout the day. Sometimes, if the timing is just right, I can put them both on my chest and they’ll nap together while I stare at them, mesmerized and blissfully happy. Sweet, sweet babies.


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29 Comments

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29 responses to “The hardest part?

  1. I can’t believe how extremely calm and beautiful that picture is.

  2. Oh my gosh…it sounds like you are doing so well!! way to go! Everyday will get easier and I hope you guys can get some much needed sleep so soon! That picture is adorable!

  3. lifebytheday

    What a beautiful photo…and a beautiful post! Your life sounds crazy and wonderful 🙂

  4. Oh, that picture is making me cry. How happy all three of you look! Twins sound like hard hard work but also so much joy and fun, and you sound like one happy (and tired) mama.

    I love the updates 🙂

  5. LOVE the picture at the end! it sounds like your mommy instincts are spot on so far, and i’m sure you will be out and about more often very soon!! that is awesome that your MIL is flying in to help, and even more awesome she is subletting the apt to give you guys your space! that is just beyond thoughtful 🙂

    hang in there, you are doing a great job!

  6. lady pumpkin

    The picture is awesome, *you* are awesome, and this sounds like a huge and amazing job! Enjoy!!! xoxo

  7. Sounds hard but you are doing an amazing job. Good for you. Way to go on BF. That can be a challenge with one baby. Very cute picture.

  8. Oh, that picture just sums it up. I can’t imagine how hard it must be taking care of TWO newborns, but it sounds like you’re doing a fantastic job. Lucky, lucky babies.

  9. Lesley

    That picture is just so so sweet!

    Your days sound hectic but SO rewarding. I bet everything will just get easier and easier from here on out. Pretty soon you’ll be able to tandem nurse while typing blog posts! 🙂 And your husband and MIL sound like they are awesome– especially your husband.

  10. They are so precious! As long as a system is working for your family then stick with it. If there is anything I have learned from reading mommy blogs, is that it’s best to do what works for YOU. I love that you have taken them on walks. I bet they are big time attention getters!

  11. Tarah

    I love this post – I can feel your happiness through the computer screen and I LOVE that picture. I melt every time Dayne falls asleep on my chest too, it’s the best feeling ever.

  12. such a sweet picture! don’t you love those A&A blankets? 🙂 we were doing the night shift thing too, but now we’re just cosleeping and waking up at 12ish, 3ish, 6ish when they wake up. sloooowly getting on a schedule. and will eventually work our way up to tandem nursing. ugh and i hate being the only adult with two hungry crying babies too. it’s put one down pick one up, put that one down pick the other up, repeat. sounds like you are doing a wonderful job, and things will only get easier!!

  13. your MIL sounds amazing! having that extra help makes all the difference!

  14. sienna

    omg, i could just die, this picture melts my heart!! soo adorable, and look at lucy’s little hand on charlie! your MIL sounds like a total rockstar and that is awesome that she is helping you guys out so much. esp considering that she doesn’t live in chicago. i feel for girls who don’t have helpful hubby’s, and yours sounds like he’s perfect :o) my dh is also a bigger night owl (i’m totally not) so he’s offering to do the 8-2pm shift while i sleep and then i’ll wake up around 2-ish. or, however else it ends up turning out bc i’m sure there will be many curveballs thrown at us. glad you are doing great and i’m soooo sooo happy with this update :o) xoxoxoxo.

  15. Tio

    That photo brings tears to my eyes. It sounds like you’re doing an amazing job, well done Egg!

  16. how adorable of a picture! my mom raised twins (me and my brother) so good luck! 🙂 but seriously this picture makes me want to cry, its soooo much love in this little picture! awww

  17. FWIW (and to offer completely and totally unsolicited twin nursing advice…), if you are interested in tandem nursing, I cannot recommend enough the EZ 2 Nurse Twins nursing pillow. It’s gigantic and it straps on to your waist and makes tandem nursing SO much easier. The Boppy is good for many things, but as I’m sure you’ve found by now, is a total joke for trying to get two babies latched at the same time.

    As for them not being hungry at the same time, we took the tack of “feed one, feed both”. It goes against every instinct in your body to wake a sleeping baby, but if one woke hungry, I almost always woke the second one to feed at the same time. We fed our boys on demand, and early on, that was every hour or so. So yeah, I basically lived with a nursing pillow on my lap– they took forever to eat, and then they’d fall asleep there (and wake up screaming if I put them down), and it was just easier to strap it on and pile the babies on, and play with the laptop, read books, watch tv, etc.

    Additionally, as for the logistics of getting two babies on to the pillow at once, it’s so hard when they’re all floppy in the early days, but basically, from the time we woke up, until we went to bed, the babies were on our bed with me. So, I’d lay one baby next to my left thigh (sitting cross-legged on the bed with the nursing pillow) and one on my right, and place one on one boob, get him latched, and then place the other on the other side. Yes, it was a circus of “oh GOD, please quit spitting the emtherefking nipple out and then screaming because you’re hungry justlatchalreadyOMGAAAAAAH” at times, but all in all, I think it’s what saved the BFing relationship. I couldn’t have continued if I had to spend hours and hours feeding both one after the other. I never would have done ANYTHING but nurse if I had been feeding them separately! (er, not that I did much in the early days anyway, but it did free up my hands to do things like eating and surfing the web– I’d literally leave the babies for a few seconds, run to the kitchen in the morning and load a tray with whatever snacks/non-perishable foods and my laptop and a book, and spend my day leaning over nursing babies while I did whatever I could to entertain myself. Not that I necessarily recommend spending 4-6 months on your bed with two babies, but that is how it ended up with us.)

    Anyhow, I guess you can tell from this comment that I’m a HUGE advocate for tandem nursing. I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but if you ever want more tips (or just a chat with someone who’s been there– still there– with nursing two), I’m more than happy to share whatever knowledge I’ve gained along the way. Besides, once you get the hang of it, it’s like a little beam of sunshine breaks through the clouds, and everything starts to seem manageable. Plus, eventually they start holding hands while nursing, and if there’s anything cuter than twins, noggin-to-noggin, holding hands, while contentedly nursing and smiling, I’m not sure what it is.

  18. charandjesse

    You’re amazing and doing just beautifully! I remember a week would go by and I would think “how did I even survive that?” and the next week was easier than the week before and so on and so on.

    As far as both crying at once, I just prayed and prayed that they knew I loved them and would get to her just as soon as I could and in the meantime I’d sing to her, maybe I’d tell a story, maybe I’d cry too, anything goes with Twinsies.

    Now, ours are nearly a year and they voluntarily love me, so I guess it’s gone well so far. You’re a Twinsie mom rockstar egg, Rock. Star. Those babes are the luckiest of luckies.

  19. charandjesse

    Oh also, tandem nursing for us was impossible until the babes were about three months and had head control. I gave up trying at about 3 weeks, it just didn’t work.

  20. We never got the hang of tandem nursing. Amazing how much work the breastfeed, supplement, pump start over schedule is. It does get better, and good for you keeping up with them this long, what a supermom you are!

  21. Great picture. You look so peaceful. Glad you’re enjoying motherhood. I love seeing someone get through to the other side of IF. Get some rest!! 🙂

  22. Aw 🙂 I’m glad you have such a great support system helping you out. I’m sure the first month or two is hard. Sounds like you are doing great!

  23. Heidi

    i’m pretty much in love with your twinsies, too! they look like perfect snuggle buddies!!! happy to hear you have a system that’s working for you for now! 🙂 you’re awesome!

  24. AL

    I looove that picture. you look so happy and serene with your sweet babies snuggling right in.

    It sounds like it’s a ton of work but you’re managing well w/ help from your MIL and hubs,. Take care of you. you guys are doing great ❤

  25. Swoon. That photo melts my heart!

    The feeding two babies deal is tricky. It always broke my heart when I was feeding one and the other started crying. I will say, though, it makes for good self-soothers eventually. 🙂

  26. It sounds like such hard work, but if anyone’s up to the challenge, it’s you. What a beautiful picture!

  27. Oh my gosh, you already know from my post on Facebook how much this photo of you and the babes melts my heart. It’s so unbelievably precious I can’t stand it. And wow! You’re like a superwoman right now, Egg! I know having one baby is tiring and hard and tiring, but it sounds like you and DH have done an outstanding job juggling the challenges of new babies, let alone twins! I am in awe of you.

    Keep posting the pics. I really think it makes IFers happy and hopeful that they, too, can be in your place someday soon.

    Lots of love to you, DH, and the babies, my friend. xoxo

  28. It’s amazing isn’t it? My g/b twins are 19 months old already! I can hardly believe it’s gone so fast! When I brought them home, I immediately started pumping and feeding them both positioned in seperate boppies, holding their pumped milk bottles…I tried really hard to have them on the same schedule and for the most part it worked! But I do give you credit…I knew actually putting both on the breast would have been frustrating and VERY time consuming…perhaps you can try pumping because they drink so much faster and are less tired from the bottle. It did wonders for me!
    When you have a chance, I would LOVE to share your IF success story on my blog! Here’s the link for the info: http://stressfreeinfertilityblog.com/2010/01/17/calling-all-success-stories/
    Thanks so much in advance and CONGRATULATIONS!!! They are so adorable!!

  29. That sweet picture is just pure bliss! I am SO happy for you! You sound like you are doing an amazing job and your whole family sounds awesome!! So so happy for you!

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