Saturday, December 29, 2012

A VERY white and crazy Christmas week

The babies' first Christmas was pretty eventful! My parents came down to Little Rock to celebrate with us. It was different, but nice having Christmas at our house. The twins received many gifts, and we talked about how much louder next Christmas will be! I feel overly blessed this holiday season! 

FaceTime with the Adams family

Maddie smiling at my dad
The forecast called for sleet and snow on Christmas night. Typically in Arkansas you don't get your hopes up for snow because it just doesn't happen very often. The freezing rain started coming down late Christmas afternoon, at that point we knew it wasn't going to be good! Our neighborhood always looses power due to so many trees, so we cranked up the heat just waiting for it to go off. Sure enough, around 10:00 Christmas night we lost power. At that point the freezing rain transitioned to snow. We awoke the next morning to about 8 inches of snow, and a house that was 50 degrees! If it was just Matt and I, we would just be cold...but with two babies it is more difficult. Thankfully we have wonderful friends with a generator that let us camp out. We were so grateful that the Lansden's let two adults, two babies, and two dogs disrupt their typically quiet home! The power company was estimating up to 7+ days without power...not good! But, to our surprise and excitement yesterday the power came back on! I failed to take pictures of the initial snow, but here are some after all the melting.

The damage in our back yard

Our day got just a little crazier after getting home. I was feeding the girls on the couch in the afternoon. I turned to pick up Kate to burp thing I knew Maddie was facedown on the carpet. She had pushed back hard enough to flip off the Newborn lounger,and landed on her head. I freaked! !! I knew that she was probably "okay," but also didn't want to take it lightly. I called the pediatrician's office, and they suggested taking her to Children's ER just to check. It was hard figuring out what to do with Kate! Matt rushed home, took care of Kate, and I went to the ER. A friend who works at the hospital met us in the ER to make sure we got in quickly! ;) They checked her out,  then wanted to observe at least until 4 hours past the time of the accident, and were trying to avoid doing a CT scan. All went well and we were home for bath time! I'm SO thankful she was okay! 

Hoping and praying the next few weeks are much less eventful! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Shots, sticks, spit-up...

Kate and Maddie had a rough day at the doctor's office. Not only did they get their two month shots, but they also had to get their blood checked. They were both diagnosed with anemia at birth, and have been monitored since to insure all is well. Another test was also sent off to check their development of blood cells...can't remember it's name! Ha They endured it all well and calmed quickly after all the shots. We received good news that their hemoglobin levels were good, and our doctor is not concerned about adding more iron supplements. Matt and I both were blessed with getting spit up on! ;) 

We had spoken with the pediatrician a week ago about Maddie's eating difficulty. In many ways she has regressed in her ability to eat, suck, swallow, find rhythm, etc. It is difficult to know if it is reflux, trapped gas, or still immaturity. Today the pediatrician was able to witness a feeding! He truly understood our concerns about both girls. We don't just sit down and feed. Rarely do either of them just take a bottle. It is a long, laborious process for most feedings. They stop, take breaks, forget to lower their tongue, get chocked, fuss, refuse to take anymore...Our main concern is lack of volume and calories they are consuming. They take anywhere from just 1 1/2oz-4oz during the day, but then typically 5 oz at night. For their actual age they take very little, but for their adjusted age/size they should be taking at least 2 1/2 oz per feeding. Once looking at their weights and growth chart, our pediatrician became more concerned. They barely gained a few ounces this past week, and just aren't keeping up at the pace they need to. He has referred us to a Speech-Pathologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital to be evaluated for the eating issues. 

I once again had started breastfeeding them more frequently this past just doesn't get them what they need. He has suggested that we use formula half of the feedings to help with extra calories. The Enfacare formula also provides some added vitamins that preemies need. I want so badly to be able to breastfeed them...but in seems like all the cards are against us! My supply just doesn't keep up, they struggle to latch, and they do not receive what they need while breastfeeding. The pediatrician was very quick to say that he doesn't want me to stop trying, but that we need to limit direct breastfeeding until we see more growth. It will also be some time until we will be able to drop the middle of the night feeding. The past week they have been going from 8:15/8:30-until around 3:00/3:30. Even if they would sleep longer, we would have to wake them to feed. They need all the calories they can get! I would love a full nights sleep, but I will also do anything to have healthy babies. 

The pediatrician also discussed with us that even though the girls were not super premature, they developmentally seem more at their "adjusted age" of 6 weeks. They are showing many good signs: being alert, smiling, holding their heads up, rolling over...but aren't necessarily at the development of a 10 week old. It's difficult as a parent to come to grips with the road ahead. I know it could be SO much worse, and I'm so grateful for how well they are doing. I worry about their future, and have to daily trust that whatever comes our way we will make it through. I'll take them back for a weight check after Christmas, and we will pray for big growth! 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Two Months (a few days late)

Katherine and Madeline turned 2 months old on Sunday! At times I can't believe they are two months, but it also seems like forever ago that they were born. I'm a little late on posting for their birthday. The stomach virus hit me in the middle of the night Thursday, and Matt Friday morning. I haven't been that sick in forever. Thankfully my parents were in town and were able to help with K and M. If they weren't here, I don't know how we would have made it. We were all very worried the girls may get sick. My dad dropped off a bag of masks, gloves, and cleaning supplies to help! Matt and I were masked all day! ;) Being sick with babies helped me to truly understand what it means to be selfless...all I wanted to do was take my achey, nauseated self and sleep all day. But, I had two babies who relied on me no matter how I felt. It took until about Sunday for both of us to feel better and be able to eat. Praying it doesn't hit again! 

-7lbs 4oz!
-Still wearing newborn diapers and clothes. 
-You tend to lean towards being a little dramatic, but we love you all the same!
-You HATE clothes being put on over your head!
-Started rolling over from belly to back more...but you often cry once you do it! (see just a little dramatic)
-Lifting your head for longer periods
-Noticed light more just stare all day at it
-If you get fussy, you calm easily when we walk around
-You like to sit elevated (probably due to reflux)
-Starting to respond a little to faces and voices...waiting for the smiling to start!
-Eating great! You have become a better eater than your sister these days. You eat about every 3 hours during the day. 
-Usually a good napper. You hate being swaddled for about a minute, then calm down

-8lbs made it on the regular growth chart in the 5th percentile!
-Starting to grow out of newborn clothes. 0-3 months are still pretty big though
-You are very laid back...and cannot be rushed to do anything
-Rolled from belly to back several times...but again you seem to be in no rush...
-Lifting your head better bob a lot when trying to hold it for a longer time. Dad says you are dancing! ;)
-You love looking in the mirror on the play mat. This week you have started making more noises when looking at it.
-I've gotten a few smiles out of you! 
-Staring is your thing! The past few weeks you have watched people more
-Feeding has been an issue the past week. You started taking drastically less over the weekend, but have gotten right back in the swing of can't be rushed!
-Not the biggest fan of taking a nap in your crib! You like to let us know you are in there!

Sleep: Oh sleep...I miss you! We have had some good nights and some not so good nights. They go down at 8:30...we have made it to 3, but at the earliest 1 some nights. It is SO hard because you will soothe one baby, and get them to sleep...then inevitably the other baby wakes not long after. The mental battle of what is "right" to do wears me out. Matt and I have both just prayed diligently the past few nights that we would have wisdom in how to handle twins! Again, it is hard for me because there is no formula of getting them to sleep through the night. I do have to remind myself to keep in perspective, that they are 1 month adjusted age. Still working on getting them to keep a paci! ;)

Feeding: My milk supply initially was wonderful! While K and M were in the hospital, I pumped every 3 hours. I froze a large amount of milk. I would pump around 10 oz per session. When I started to have to be at the hospital for feeding time, my body/pumping schedule got off. I didn't see a huge drop until the first weeks the girls were home. I think it was a combination of stress, lack of fluids/foods, and my body trying to adjust. We were just giving expressed milk in the first weeks, and I was producing enough to get by each day. Slowly my supply kept dropping. At my 6 week appointment, I was prescribed a medicine to boost it worked for the days I was taking it. Then the stomach bug hit...I became so dehydrated and couldn't keep fluids down the first day. My production is almost gone...After shedding a few tears over it, I started the medicine one last round to help. Again, I didn't think it would bother me much, but it has. It breaks my heart that I can't supply for Kate and Maddie. We were just starting to get the tandem feeding down too! ;) I'm praying that the medicine in combination with breastfeeding a few times throughout the day will help! If not, we will use up the frozen milk and supplement with formula. I've yet again had to realize that I can't control everything! :) 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

8 weeks...reality check!

Can you tell we have started noticing light? Kate would not turn her head!

Kate and Maddie are 8 weeks old today! Soon to be 2 month old girls! Matt and I were talking the other day how the NICU seems so long ago, thankfully! We head to the doctor on the 13th, and hopefully will see big weight gain! We have made some changes in the past week to our schedule (thanks to my correspondence with Moms on Call) to try to get the girls to sleep a little longer at night. It is helping Matt and I have a little more time together at night, which lately has been much needed. 

Our typical day looks a little like this:

  • Between 6:00-7:00 
    • I wake them or they wake. I have been attempting to breastfeed on some days. If it's too chaotic, I stop and give them a bottle. 
    • Right now I put them right back to sleep. In the next few weeks, we may move to starting our day and having wake time
  • 9:00 Eat/play
    • They have both been much more alert in past week. Some days I'm having to try every trick in the book to get them awake for a little while. Other days they are bright eyed and watching everything. 
  • 10:00/10:15 nap
  • 12:00 eat/play
  • 1:00/1:15 nap
    • Fussy girls! This is often our hardest part of the day. I'm still trying to figure out if Madeline is just going to be a shorter napper than Kate or another way to make her comfortable. She naps great in her carseat, swing, anywhere except her crib! 
  • 3:00 eat/play
  • 4:00 quick nap
  • 5:00 (transition to our nighttime routine)
    • eat/play
  • 6:00/6:15 nap
    • I usually have them nap out in their swing or Rock-n-play. I try to manage getting dinner together or even some quiet time!
  • 7:30 bathtime
    • They both LOVE a bath. I love their faces when first getting in the water. A big trick that has helped is placing a warm wash cloth (adult) on their bellies in the tub. It helps to keep them warm! 
    • We try to have some "tender time" with them after bath. They usually rock with Matt, or he reads to them. There have been few nights of them remaining calm! ha They are ready to eat! 
  • 8:00 Eat
  • 8:30 Down for the night! 
  • Around 1:30-2:00 one of them is waking. 
    • Matt or I go in 2-3 times to calm them, check diaper, attempt to offer a pacifier(neither takes them longer than a few minutes). Sometimes we get an extra 20-30 minutes of sleep out of them. After the 3rd time of trying to soothe, we feed. 
    • We have really been able to understand their cries more lately. Maddie is a big, "Hey, I'm just letting you know I'm in here" crier. Hunger cries are full on! Oh, and even better when BOTH are full on crying. Sometimes they even do it in unison! Lots of fun! ha 
    • They are usually back down in 30 minutes. Depending on the number of wardrobe changes due to spit up!
  • 6:00-7:00 start our day again! 

This has by far been the toughest week for me. I am a very a+b=c kind of person...well babies don't always work that way. I'm learning to realize that each day is different. If the girls fuss more or won't eat a lot, I immediately want to find a solution...sometimes there is no reason for something or a solution. We are not only learning one baby, but TWO. One night Maddie will wake early, the other night Kate. It has been and always will be hard for me to "let go" as we raise our children. Mentally is has also been extremely difficult. It seems as if the world is passing by..seasons change...holidays pass...yet each day for me is almost exactly the same. Feed, sleep, play, diapers, laundry, dishes...etc. I am a person that when I feel mentally "dead" it is difficult for me. I shut down, I become too worrisome, I sometimes feel like I'm crawling out of my skin. I'm bored...i'm busy...but I'm bored. When I was teaching, I had to start taking graduate school classes to keep my mind engaged. I know I HAVE to find an outlet of some sort, and I HAVE to get out of the house more! I feel called right now to be a feeling does not make it any easier. There are stay-at-home-moms that appear to be absolutely perfect for the job. This week I have doubted all my abilities...can I do this?!? It is such a wave of emotions. I cannot thank God enough for blessing me with TWO healthy, beautiful, precious children...but I sometimes wonder why he chose me? It will only be by his wisdom and grace, that we will make it through. No matter how frustrated I become, I look at their precious faces and am reminded how much I love them. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's all worth it...

These sweet twin moments make all the sleepless nights worth it...