Friday, July 25, 2014

The Twins: Two Months

Well the fellas are now two months.  Holy cow.  In those unsure newborn days I kept saying I just wanted them to be 8 weeks since that seemed like it would be a bit easier age.  They wouldn't be as delicate, they would have some neck control, nights would hopefully not be as sleepless, they would develop little personalities that I'd begin to understand and we'd be more into a groove.  Everyone always said "it will get better" and while in the trenches, I'd always ask when the heck that would be.  The answer was always 3ish months.  Although at two months, hindsight is 20/20 and I can say with certainty things have gotten easier, still challenging, but easier.  A couple of weeks ago, I said that the days are about 60/40, meaning 60% good, 40% bad.   I'd bump that up to a 80/20 now, maybe higher.
 
Sleep:  Everyone's first question is how much sleep are we getting.  The answer is enough.  My goal is about 6 hours total a night and I've been getting about 7-8 on a really good night.  The boys are eating every 3 to 3.5 hours during the day (my goal is to get them to 4 hours) and this has helped to keep them on a schedule and keep their bellies full so they sleep longer at night.  Their first stretch of sleep is about 5-6 hours and they typically sleep from about 9:30 to 2:30.  The nights when they sleep until 3:00-4:00 are my favorite.  That gives me a great jump on the night if I can get to sleep by 10 too.  Once the first one wakes, the other one gets woken up (such is the life of a twin) and they are up about 30-45 mins. max to eat and then back to bed right away.  No talking, no cuddling.  Jake will sleep until 5:00ish each day and Max usually sleeps until 7:00.  Jake is our early riser with his Daddy and usually gets an extra hour of sleep in Daddy's arms or back for a nap in bed with Mom in the morning.  With Chris getting up early with Jake, I usually get another hour of sleep which is awesome.  Nighttime and losing sleep used to give me anxiety, but that has definitely gotten better if not gone completely (for now).
 
Weight:  I don't know what their weight or stats are at this point as their two month appointment isn't until next week along with their vaccinations.  My guess is that Jake is at least 10 lbs. with Max not too far behind.  Both are really growing, it's amazing (although I think I was feeding them too much/too often for a bit). 
 
Milestones:  They've got eyelashes!  All of a sudden one day I noticed their eyelashes were just there.  So adorable, I just want to put mascara on them.  Lol.  Smiles are becoming more frequent.  Lots of smiles after having a full tummy and not just the reflex ones when their eyes are closed.  My Mom got Max to smile 3 times the other day using her high pitched baby voice.  They definitely love the sound of our voices and one day my Mother's Helper said both boys were almost sleeping and perked up, eyes open at the sound of my voice looking for me when I came in the room.  They've got real strong necks and just love looking around, especially at the collage of black framed pictures on our wall and the patterns of the window panes. 
 
Fussies:  Both are kings of gas (who knew babies could fart so loud?) and for awhile they seemed to have a tough time "pushing it out".  Unfortunately a call to the Dr. had us find out that this is just a stage they have to go through with their immature tummies just getting used to everything.  It was so unbearable to watch them experience as sometimes it just seems so intense and painful, especially for Jake.  Lots of gas drops and bicycle legs and they do seem to be outgrowing it. 
 
Nighttime is sometimes their "witching hour" which is funny as that is when they were the most active in my belly.  During these periods, their bath, bottle and bed is what they want and calms them down instantly.  Drawing that bath can be pretty stressful though with both screaming!  With Jake the morning riser, I think that sometimes at night he is begging for his bedtime routine as always seems ready.   
 
They also have a knack for knowing right when we are going to sit down to eat any meal as will instantly wake up from a nap or be fussbutts so that we end up wolfing down dinner or I've gotten pretty good at doing anything one handed these days.
 
Mommy's Favorite Things:  Maternity leave during the summer is pretty kick-ass.  I say that because in the beginning I felt the opposite.  My bedtime became 8:00ish when Chris and I were splitting up the night shift and I would cry myself to sleep those first two weeks going to bed when it was light out, while knowing that even my niece & nephew were probably still out playing.  Being inside with crying babies all day while it was sunny out and feeling like I was missing things was pretty bumming I've got to admit.  I partially blame the hormones and all for these feelings too. 
 
But now I love being able to take several walks in the stroller throughout the day, helps me get some sun and my exercise.  I love pushing that tank of a stroller around.  And the boys love the walks, I plop them in that stroller each time they seem bored and fussy in the house.
 
I love that I am pushing myself to be mobile with them.  Each week we visit the grandparents which toughens me up for road trips with them.  It's stressful each time to get out the door and worrying about them losing their marbles on the car ride, but I love driving in the car with the tunes and getting out and being social.  And I love when others get to see them and meet them.  We've been to Cedarburg & Janesville several times, the lakefront, Chicago suburbs, the pool and lots of play dates just over to their cousins' house for the day. 
 
Right now they are napping in the pack and play outside while I write this.  Lucky ducks, what a life!
 
Here are pics of the little guys taken at my Mom's house the day before their 2 month birthday:

Check out Max's dimples! 

Bros for Life

Seriously, Max?!  So cute.  And Jake looks like a little butterball here.  Love it.

We spent 4th of July in Cedarburg and did the small town thing with Chris' parents.  Chris ran a 5K and I walked the 2 mile, we went to the music in the park that afternoon, had a few beers and then swapped the beers for ice cream instead.  It was definitely out of the norm for how I usually celebrate the 4th (with lots of alcohol) and I loved having the boys with us to celebrate and dress them cute! (Thanks for Gma F. for their outfits). 



 

This pic is classic and is on our fridge.  What a couple of goobers, hey?!

Jake relaxing at night while grilling out

 
Max tuckered out the next morning

The many faces of Jake
The many faces of Max

Some other Favorites of just relaxing at home,
my birthday and a night on the deck with Dad.  
Some special events:  After pool day with their cousins (they slept shaded the whole time),
meeting the Johnson triplets and Jake's first wedding as Mommy's date.  
 
 One day we walked around the lakefront after meeting Daddy for lunch at Northpoint for burgers and fries.  They also got to dine alfresco.
Two months.  It's still surreal and some days I can't believe they are ours.  I can't complain, they are pretty adorable!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Twins, One Month

So we've survived a month together.  It's been a whirlwind and has gone fast.  We are still getting to know each other and the days are definitely challenging, but overall life is good. 
 
Each week I've had visitors here to help or planned days out of the house to visit others who can lend a hand.  I've also got a Mother's Helper coming in 1-2 days a week for a few hours which is great and gives me time to get things done around the house, run errands, or things like writing this blog. 
 
I've got my six week appointment later this week and overall am feeling back to myself.  Emotions and all. 
 
I wanted to get some first month pictures out on the blog, so here goes:
 
We took some non-professional pictures at home to use for a birth announcement. 
 

 






I attempted one-month pictures.  

They lasted two minutes and then it turned into a meltdown.  Crack me up.
 
 
These next two were taken at exactly one month. 
A couple of muscle-men.

 
Waiting for Daddy to come home one day

Chris had his first Father's Day

We've come into a routine with bath-time each night, including a lettuce bath.  Dan's Mom swears that if you wash the babies each night with lettuce (any kind) and wash their heads, shoulders, back, etc. with it, that they will sleep through the night at three months.  We started the lettuce bath and combine it with lavender lotion and a similar routine each night and it has worked, so we are continuing it, lettuce and all. 





We just had a great 4th of July in Cedarburg that I hope to upload pictures from next. 
 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Twins are Here. Birth Story.

Our boys were born at 36.5 weeks on Saturday, May 24th.

Jakob Michael at 11:55 a.m., weighing 6 lbs, length 20 inches.
Maximilian Gordon at 11:56 a.m., weighing 6 lbs, 2 oz, length 19.25 inches.
(Their middle names are after both of their Grandfathers)


 
 


Earlier that week, I had my last day of work on Wednesday at 36 weeks pregnant.  Things were getting uncomfortable and swelling was getting pretty bad.  I enjoyed the day at home on Thursday and then Friday morning went to my usual non-stress doctor appointment.  The boys' heartbeats looked good and they responded well to the test.  My blood pressure, however, was pretty high at 136/94 for 3 readings.  My OB didn't like the high bottom number, but said it was borderline and didn't feel the need to keep me just yet.  She checked me for dilation and surprised us both when she said that baby A's head was low, like really low and that I was likely 3 cm dilated and 100% effaced.  Rather than admit me she wanted me instead to come back on Sunday and have another non-stress test and get blood pressure checked again.  She said if it was high that day, then "game over and she would pull the plug and deliver" as the only way to get rid of the high blood pressure is to deliver.  I left my appointment that day figuring that most likely babies would be born on Sunday as didn't anticipate that my blood pressure would go down and knew that once I showed up to the hospital on Sunday I would be staying.  I stayed in bed the rest of the day just relaxing and trying to wrap my head around what could possibly be happening in the next 48 hours. 
 
That night we went to dinner as we figured it may be our last meal out and then I tried writing my 36 week blog post.  During it I started to not feel well so decided to take a shower and head back to bed.  In the shower I felt tons of pressure everywhere (stomach, pelvis, butt, etc.) and throughout the night I kept feeling what could have been contractions where a baby would move and it would send sharp pains " below" that would make me jump in my sleep.  Chris came to our bedroom Sat morning so that we at least spend some time together in bed these days, but as he dozed off, I decided to get out of bed and lie on the couch.  I just "felt" like something was happening and knew if I called the Dr. they would want details and timing of things.  Minutes later I went to the bathroom and noticed one of the signs that labor was starting (mucus plug).  Still no contractions yet, just feeling like something was "off" which is strange because I would always ask my OB about labor signs, etc. and she would always list the signs and then say at the end "or if you just feel like something is off, call us".  I always thought that was so generic to say, but now I totally get it. 
 
I called our Dr.'s office and the Nurse said she would speak to the on-call Dr. and then call me back with what he wanted to do.  I knew once the Dr. saw my chart (prior miscarriage, fertility patient, over 35, multiple pregnancy, gestational diabetes and high blood pressure) he would tell me to come in so was already anticipating that when the Nurse called back.  Chris was just about to drink his coffee at this point and then asked how much time he had.  When I responded that I wanted to leave by 8:00 we got cracking.  Bags were already packed and car seats in the car so we left prepared and calm, just in case we weren't returning. 
 
We got checked into the triage at the hospital and then the Dr. checked me and said I was 4-5 cm dilated and was definitely laboring.  Blood pressure was also still high.  I still had no major contractions that were too painful at this point though.  The next crazy part is that when they looked at the babies on the ultrasound, they had changed position.  Baby A was now Baby B and Baby B had made his way into first position.  Prior to this day, both babies were also head down.  Only now Baby B was oblique, so was somewhat sideways.  After discussion with the Dr. about delivery options we opted for a C-Section as there was no way to predict what Baby B would have done when it was his turn to deliver.  I was already planning for a C-Section unless things were progressing well that day, then I might have tried vaginal, but since babies changed things up on us, that made our decision easier. 
 
We asked the Dr. how soon all this would be happening and he said in the next hour to hour and a half, he just needed to assemble the team for the C-Section.  That was absolutely crazy to us that just like that, they were going to be born! 
 
Waiting to be taken to the O.R., about to become a Mom

Dad in his outfit just before they took me to the O.R.

The Nurse came and got me just before 11:30 (see picture above where time is 11:20) so that I could be prepped and then they would come back and get Chris.  I walked into that O.R. and it was bright and cold and I immediately starting shaking from nerves.  I got the spinal epidural and suddenly everything felt warm and weightless, it was great after so many weeks of feeling so heavy!  Everyone was in their places (10 staff members) and they had made the cut and were heading to get Chris.  I asked what time it was and one of the Doctors it was 11:50.
 
I was still shaking from the nerves and now the anesthesia and I just closed my eyes and started praying.  Chris came and got by my side and  they told him he could look over the curtain to see the babies coming out, but in that moment he decided to sit.  Next thing I know the Dr. says they are taking out Baby A and I feel a bunch of tugging and then Chris decides "I gotta see this" and looks over the curtain as Baby A is pulled out.  Hearing his cry was surreal and Chris and I just gasped at each other at what just happened and that a Baby was actually here.  Immediately Baby A was taken to the warmer to get looked over and the Dr. said he was pulling out Baby B.  More tugging and then we heard Baby B's cry just one minute later. 
 
Chris was going to stay by me while the babies were getting looked over, but I told him to absolutely get over there to check them out and take pictures, I would be fine.  I didn't want us both to miss out on that moment. 
 
They played the "happy birthday" song for each baby and as they asked their names I shouted Maximilian for Baby B (Max's formal name was undecided until the very end, it was originally going to be Maxwell).  Funny thing is, that Baby A/the first born was always going to be Jakob/Jake no matter what as we figured we'd always say their names in birth order; Jake & Max.  Although the entire pregnancy I always felt that Baby A seemed more like a Max.  He stayed put and was quiet and always in same position during ultrasounds.  That just seemed like quiet "Max" behavior to me.  Baby B was always on the move in the ultrasounds and sticking his butt and foot in Baby A's face.  That just seemed like "Jake" behavior to me.  But the way they were positioned the whole pregnancy, their names would have been switched.  So, it seems fitting that at last minute Baby B snuck in front of Baby A to get the Jakob/Jake namesake and Baby A became Baby B to get the Maximilian/Max namesake that I always felt that bond with during pregnancy.
 
 
Baby Jake (the new Baby A)

Baby Max (the new Baby B)


Pieces of tape labeling them as Baby A and Baby B were stuck on their hats immediately after birth.

Jake

Max

Chris took pictures while the Doctors finished with me and eventually brought Baby Jake to me to see.  I couldn't hold him yet and my hands were shaking so bad, I looked like a 95 year old woman trying to touch him.  Max meanwhile had some fluid in his lungs that the nurses were tending to.  They thought maybe he would have to go to the NICU, but 5 minutes later he turned around and was doing good so they called that off.  While all that was going on, I just laid shaking on the table with my eyes closed and continued praying until they said everyone was healthy. 

About 45 minutes later I was stitched up and we got to all go to recovery together.  We stayed in recovery for about 1.5 to 2 hours and I got to hold my babies.  The whole thing still felt very surreal, it's like the only word I can come up with to describe it. 





First family picture in recovery room 
 
By 3:00 we were in our hospital room and our family was ready to meet the babies.
 
 







I spent the first night pretty nauseas from the anesthesia, but felt no pain.  The second night is when the pain set in and I had a bad episode but as long as I continued to stay on top of the pain meds, recovery was ok.  I'm still happy we did the C-Section.  Physically I'm feeling back to myself for the most part and I've actually lost 40 pounds since my last weight check at Dr. appt. before delivery.  That is more than I even gained during the pregnancy.  Crazy.  Emotionally I've had what I'll call the "pregnancy blues" in that I've been mourning my pregnancy and my former spoiled life.  I love taking care of the boys, but just really miss having them in my tummy.  I just loved every moment of being pregnant after wanting it for so long and hormones have definitely increased these emotions.  We are getting lots of help at home and learning and getting to know each other so each day gets a little better. 


 



Heading Home From Hospital and Going home outfits




 
One Week Old

Jake, One Week
 
Max, One Week

First stroller ride

Practicing Dual Feeding.  The Snoogle pregnancy pillow lives on!

First Party:  Cousin Lily's birthday. 

At the party with big cousin Liam.
 
 I wonder if they know they are brothers yet?
 
 Jake's Bird-Man face

We all think Max looks like a caterpillar here
 
 
I took the picture below in the hospital and posted it on FB calling it "My New Fairy Tale" with my three sleepy guys. 
 

 
This post is published on what would have been their 40 week due date, June 19, 2014.  Today the boys are almost 4 weeks old though.