My Scooter Pies are Three Weeks Old

27 Aug

  
Zeke and Skeeter are three weeks old.

They have both surpassed their birthweight.  Zeek is now 6 lbs 8 oz.  Skeeter is now 7 lbs 5 oz.    What a fatty!  He is now as big as she who used to be my smallest baby ever.  

My little Scooter Pies.

scotter_pie_twin_1

(They come in a twin pack, get it?  ha ha, I kill me.)

So how are things?  pretty good and sometimes not.  Usually I get a few hours of sleep at night.  A couple times last week I thought to myself, twins are pretty easy.  If I only had the twins to take care of, life would be a breeze. Then it gets really hard and I’m all overwhelmed and weepy. People ask what they can do to help and I don’t know what to say.  I’m either optimistic and feel like I don’t need help or so devastated that I can’t think of solutions.

Toddler Bean is still hard to wrangle, because she quietly sneaks off to do naughty things while I can’t do anything about it.  But I think I’ve outsmarted her on at least one thing.  I put all the kitchen stools in the garage so she can’t use them to climb up and get in the cupboard or play in the kitchen sink.  

What??!!! Toddler Bean just magically fell asleep at a normal nap time(on the floor).

  
Banana Cream Pie is asleep too!

  
I think I will nap too.

We are the napping house.  Please bless it lasts for an hour.

Taking Care of Twins and A Little House Elf Magic

18 Aug

Taking care of twins is not what I imagined. I read lots of other moms of multiples blogs, but all of those Moms were either first time moms, or they had a toddler and then twins.

 I have 7 other children, so I knew my experience would be different from theirs, but I wasn’t sure HOW it would be different.

  
These little sweetie pies are just the best.  They sure are fun to hold and admire, but I haven’t had as much time as I usually get for doing so.

First off, they still aren’t very good at nursing, so I’m still making lots of bottles.  That means I don’t hold the twins as much as I would usually get to hold a new baby.  I miss that.  I’m attempting to remedy it.

  
Zeke is still clearly hungry.  Mm mm. Bacon.

Secondly, I’m not nearly as exhausted as they all said I would be.  The twins often sleep for at least one 4 hour chunk of time at night.  In fact, all they do is sleep and eat.  Possibly this is because they are preemies.  Possibly they will start waking up more and I will have less “not feeding the twins” time.

That’s probably likely.  Already my time falls into only 2 categories: feeding time, and not feeding time.  So far those times seem about equal.  But like I said, the twins sleep a lot for now.

My older kids are super helpful.  They have house chores to keep things running (like unload the dishwasher, fold laundry, set the table).  They are capable of putting casseroles in the oven (I had 30 made and frozen before the twins were born, plus kind friends and family have been bringing more).  They can chop veggies for salad.  They love to hold the twins and feed them bottles.  Thanks to those big kids, the house is pretty clean and the laundry is not behind. I didn’t expect it to run so smoothly.

Even Banana Cream Pie, who is only 3, can hold a bottle for a baby to drink.


Fourth, I didn’t imagine the large impact that even small health troubles would have.  My twins only had trouble with blood sugar levels, keeping warm, and jaundice.  It’s not like they had to be in the NICU.  But it was stuff I had never had to deal with or worry about before.  

I didn’t realize how demoralizing having to stay extra days in the hospital would be.  

I didn’t realize how time consuming extra tests would be.  Skeeter had high bilirubin levels and had to be on a bili-light for this whole week.  I had to take him to the hospital lab every day to have his blood checked to see if the bilirubin  level had gone down.

The first day wasn’t so bad because my big kids were home to help.

The second day was their first day of school.

By the time I had loaded Banana Cream Pie and Baby Bean and Zeke and Skeeter into the van, I was so overwhelmed I was crying.  And then I realized that I was still wearing my pajamas.  

Obviously hormones had something to do with the crying, but leaving the house with a new baby is always hard.  I generally do not even attempt it until my new baby is 4-6 weeks old.  ( I try to avoid unnecessary exposure to germs).  

Attempt to leave the house before the baby is a week old, multiply by 2, and add a toddler and a preschooler.  Well, that was a lot to handle.  It took me over an hour just to get us all dressed and buckled into the car.  Then there was the hour at the hospital.  (Lucky for me I have a friend who lives right next to the hospital, and she kindly kept Banana Cream and Bean during that hour.) Then I had to repeat The whole process 5   more times over the week until Skeeter’s test finally showed his levels had gone down significantly.

(P.S.  If they ever send you and your baby home with a Bili-blanket and tell you it doesn’t matter whether you put the light on the baby’s stomach or on their back, this is FALSE.  Start with it on their stomach.  If the jaundice doesn’t improve, alternate stomach then back.  But don’t just put it on the baby’s back because that is easiest and think you are good. I’m pretty sure we could have shortened our ordeal by 2-3 days if I had started out with the light on his stomach.)

What I figured would be difficult, but didn’t realize how difficult, is taking care of the twins plus my 20 month old, Baby Bean.  I guess she is now Toddler Bean.

Never have I had such a naughty, busy getting into things, toddler to keep track of in addition to a new baby(s).

Always before, my toddler was pretty happy to sit by me on the couch while I took care of the new baby.

HOUSE ELF MAGIC

My sister has 6 boys born in the last 8 years.  Each of her boys is very smart, and that means each boy has been very busy being naughty and getting into things and creating big messes.  I don’t know how my sister manages the stress of trying to keep up with her toddler(s) when she has a new baby. 

 I guess she just does what she has to do.  

All of the experienced mothers (including my own mother) whom I have asked for advice, sort of shrug and say, “I don’t really remember how I did it when I had all those preschoolers at home.”

It’s the magic of moms, I think.

Remember when Harry Potter asks Kreacher how he escaped from the zombie filled sea cave, and Kreacher can’t explain?  

He just did it because he had to.

I think moms are like that.  Moms often cannot explain how they do what they do.  But they do it because it must be done, and they love their families enough that they find a way.

THE DESTRUCTION THAT IS BEAN

Without fail, Zeke and Skeeter will both be crying–needing new diapers (and new dry clothes) and to be fed.  I will be in the process of attending to them, when I will hear the sound of a kitchen stool being dragged across the tile floor downstairs.  It is like the herald of doom.  It is BEAN.


Bean already tried tasting the cayenne pepper and ground white pepper from the spice cupboard.  Sadly, I don’t think she learned anything from the experience.  (Well she didn’t learn what I wish she had–not to get into the cupboard.)

She never tried this before the twins were born.

The DH reinstalled the baby gate at the top of the stairs for me, so I can at least trap her on the same level of the house that I am on.

I can’t really quantify what it is I do all day to take care of Banana Cream Pie and Bean, but they need nearly all of the “not feeding twins” time. So I spend the day feeling just a little bit behind what needs to have been done.

Sometimes I get to have a nap.  Sometimes I fall asleep without really meaning to.  Bean uses this time to her great advantage.

THE RESIDENT LIEUTENANT 

The resident lieutenant will soon be promoted to the resident captain.  He needs a new command level to keep control over the brigade of kiddie pies.  Also, he needs the new pay grade because these little guys use up alarming amounts of diapers.  

They are so worth it.

Introducing Zeke and Skeeter

9 Aug

  
Zeke and Skeeter were born Thursday morning this week.  Zeke is on the right.  He was born first and weighed 5 pounds, 12 ounces.  Skeeter was born second and weighed 6 pounds 15 ounces.  They are both super big and healthy for twins.  However, they are my smallest babies ever, and they were 4 weeks early.  

I was so happy to be able to deliver them without having to have a cesarean section.  I was given a choice because they were both head down when I went into labor.  It was pretty hard to choose, because I knew that regular deliver was more risky–that it had a chance of turning into an emergency c-section.  But in the end, I could not bring myself to ask to be cut open–even though I knew I was okay with whatever delivery had to happen to get them here safely. Lucky me, no emergencies happened.  The nurses all told me how happy they were for me, that almost no one gets to have their twins without at least 1 c-section.   Probably a good thing that I hadn’t realized the odds were that bad against me.  

The twins were born fast, just like all my other babies.  Labor started a little after 7 p.m. And finally turned into something I was sure was the real thing at about 10:30.  I got to the hospital at 11:45 pm and they were born a little over an hour later at 1:02 and 1:08 a.m.  It was intense but not too scary or stressful because I had 4 awesome cheerful nurses and my trusted doctor.  It was like a big party in the OR. 

Everything seemed peachy and normal.   

Then when Zeke and Skeeter were 2 days old, things started going a little downhill.  Saturday morning,  I was worried enough about breast feeding two babies at once that I asked the lactation consultant to watch me feeding them and to see if she could give me any tips.  I was having a little trouble getting them to latch on properly (they have tiny mouths), and they were falling asleep instead of eating once I got them latched on.  In less than 5 minutes she had shown me what I was doing wrong, and they began eating great. I was so happy.  It was totally worth letting a strange woman handle my Dairy Queens to get the babies eating better.

Then the twins’ temperatures and blood sugar levels suddenly plummeted, and Skeeter developed jaundice badly enough that he had to go under the blue lights.  

  
The pediatrician said that they weren’t getting enough to eat and that each time after they nursed, they had to drink 30 mL of formula as well.  

This didn’t phase me at first because I thought it was a one or two time stop gap procedure to get their sugars back up, and then it would stop.  Also, the twins were nursing so much better, I was feeling very positive about everything.

  
Sunday morning, I woke up realizing that the doctor was having them eat as much formula as they needed and not counting the nursing as any food at all.  If things kept up as they were, I definitely would not have enough milk to feed them, because they weren’t eating enough to signal my body that more was needed.  

Then at the next feeding, the twins were both really sluggish about eating until they got to the bottle, and then they sucked it down.  I realized they were starting to prefer the formula because bottles are easier to drink from. 

The pediatrician came in to let me know that we had to stay in the hospital anther 2 days at least because Skeeter’s jaundice wasn’t down enough and Zeke’s jaundice was rising.  He wanted the feedings to continue as they were, with formula every time.  Also, the twins were still having trouble staying warm.  He repeated several times that breast fed babies take longer to get over jaundice (I think this is total baloney, by the way) and that I shouldn’t feel bad if I couldn’t keep up with feeding 2 babies.  I asked him if I could start pumping milk to keep my supply up, and he sort of airily said, “Oh yes, if you want to.” And then he changed the subject.  

Clearly this doctor underestimated me.  I am not used to being underestimated.  I may have been a little slow figuring out what was going on, but I sure as heck was not going to be edged out of feeding my babies the way I know is best for them. 

After I called the DH and bawled my eyes out and told him to bring me my good Medela pump, I pulled myself together and shuffled myself down to the nursery to talk to the babies’ nurse.  

She instantly agreed that I could use the pump and we could feed the twins bottles of breast milk instead of formula.  “There is nothing magic about the formula,” she said.  “It is just easier for them to drink from a bottle, and for us to see what they are eating.”  

Now the eating schedule is:  Skeeter nurses for 20 minutes (so he  doesn’t forget how) and then drinks a 20-30 mL bottle of breast milk.  Then repeat for Zeke.  Then I set up the pump and fill up more bottles with whatever the twins didn’t eat.  

By myself the process takes two and a half hours, and I begin again in half an hour because they have to eat every 3 hours or less.  If I have a helper to feed the bottles, the feeding only takes one and a half to two hours and I get a whole hour break to rest before we begin again.  

I am happy to report that the Dairy Queens are totally keeping up with supplying 2 babies with milk .  Also, since he is exclusively on breast milk, Zeke’s  plumbing is working much better, which is exactly what he needed to happen to keep his jaundice level from getting too high. 

Take that, doctor.

I produce milk.  What’s your superpower?

Baby Bean is 19 months old

31 Jul

  

She might be the most delightful baby ever.  

She started life deliciously chubby and has remained so.  In the last 6 months, she has grown 3 inches and gained 3 pounds.  (In Comparison, Banana Cream Pie took all of the last year to gain 2 inches and 2 pounds.)

She is pretty happy if she has a bottle of milk in her hand at all times.  

When she walks, she plants her whole foot on the ground at once in almost a stomp.  She knows where she is going.  She knows what she wants.  

Baby Bean only has a few words and most of them are of the kind that require an exclamation point following:

Ta da!

Uh Uh!  (Said as in “no” but she uses it for “yes” and “no”)

Hey!  (Give me back that toy) 

Mom! (Come get me out of my crib)

Thank you!

Grandpa!

For anything else, she just points and yells until we figure out what it is.  

Most of the time she plays quietly and I am lulled into complacency.  Suddenly, she will enter the room with toothpaste smeared all over her body (or marker, or peanut butter) and I will realize that Hurricane Beana struck again.   

Race the babies

30 Jul

So my life is now a gambling game.  Can I finish this (whatever needs to be done) before the babies are born.  Today I finished a project which I began only 4 days ago.  I think it’s the fasted dress I’ve ever made from purchasing fabric through completion.

Sunday I discovered the need for a new dress.

Monday I bought the fabric.  ( Usually it would then sit for weeks/months/years, but this time I didn’t dare wait.) 

Tuesday I cut out the pieces. 

Wednesday I sewed most of the day.

Today (Thursday) I unpicked the sash I had sewn wrong, resewed it correctly, and attached it to the dress.  Done!!!

Presenting Cherry Pie’s new Sunday Dress.

  

Isn’t it beautiful?  I love the fabric and the pattern (which I successfully altered to fit her waist.  Woot!)

The pattern is from the book Sew Serendipity by Kay Whitt.  

 
And check out this professional top stitching ;)

  
Also, all the seams inside are clean finished despite the fact that I do not own a serger.

*******

Now that Cherry Pie’s dress is done, there isn’t anything more I really care about finishing before the twins arrive.  I’m super ready for them to be outside me instead of inside.  

Per my last ultrasound, one twin is 5 pounds 9 ounces and the other is 6 pounds 7 ounces.  That is 12 pounds of babies wedged between my ribs and hips.  Yes I am ready for them to be out.  Unfortunately for my crowded kidneys and me, the doctor figures we can wait 3 more weeks.  So I’m hoping the babies are less patient than he.  The good news is they have both turned head down (They were both transverse for quite awhile.) 

  

Going off the Rails on a Grouchy Train

27 Jul

angrythomas

This morning, by the time we got to church, I was struggling.  I was frustrated about some things and worried about some other things and by that point, quite cranky.

What had set off my pity party grouchy train?  Well, my girls’ room is a mess.  I ask them to clean it up, and they will get the laundry off the floor and a few things put away, but the corners stay piles of crap.  As in old papers, bits of candy wrappers, parts of broken toys, hair elastics & bobby pins, clothes, a.k.a.  filthy garbage.

This morning, my oldest daughter announced that she had no Sunday clothes that fit.  Now I knew she had outgrown one dress, but I thought she had others.  I’ve been asking her for 2 weeks what clothes she needs, because I’ve got to get all the school shopping done before the twins are born.  But she waited until Sunday morning to inform me that she has no Sunday clothes.  So I go in to her closet to see what I can find.  That is, I attempt to enter the closet.  It is impossible, as my 9 year old daughter has so strewn the floor with her own clothing and toys as to make entry impossible.  This 9 year old has been told daily for months that she must not leave her clothes and wet swim gear on the floor, but she does anyway and only picks it up when I go in there and notice now bad it is and threaten her that I will burn it all, and she can go naked to school for all I care.

I have wanted a better closet organizing system for a long time.  I found pictures of what I wanted and discussed it with the resident Lieutenant.  I really wanted it done before the twins were born.  But it isn’t going to happen.  I ran out of energy about 2 months ago, and the resident LT has hardly been resident, what with 10 days of Military Duty, 4 days of a mountain climbing trip, 4 days of Scout camp, and taking the kids to swim meets.  Then he has been working 10 hour days for his regular job this summer, which was supposedly going to give him Friday’s off, but somehow he always has to go in for a few hours on Friday and then he uses up the afternoon to drive me to doctor appointments, since I’m too tired and huge to drive the hour to my doctor’s office and the hour back by myself.  Still I feel cranky about how “nothing” I wanted to happen before the twins were born is happening.

I found the 13 year old and acceptable outfit.  I yelled at the 9 year old in a horrifying manner.  We loaded all the kids in the van and headed to church, my grouch train just adding new cars all the way as my brain found more things to be upset about.

grumpycat

I knew my attitude needed to change if I was going to be able to teach my class, not to mention participate in Sunday worship the way I should.  Sunday is a day to worship God and repent of sins and commit to doing better.  I was so far from that at 9:00 a.m. 

I sat in my bench as well as I could with my enormous baby belly.  I glanced around, and it seemed to me that everyone else had life easier than I.  I knew that was just lies, but the score on derailing my grouchy pity-party train was so far train 5, me 0.

I asked myself, “Don’t I have the faith to let the Lord take care of us in His own time?  Don’t I have the faith to accept that the way I want my life to be isn’t always the way the Lord will have my life to be?”  I was getting to where I needed to be, but I was still feeling pretty rebellious and cynical.

Then for the Sacrament Hymn, we sang “As Now We Take the Sacrament.”  It is really my favorite Sacrament hymn.  The last verse includes this line, “And silently we pray for courage to accept Thy will, to listen and obey…”

I asked myself, “Am I going to keep sitting here being angry because things aren’t the way they ‘should’ be, or am I going to accept how things are and then cheerfully do all in my power to make them better, trusting in God to fill in the gaps and make things work out alright?”

The right choice was obvious and the grouchy train was successfully derailed. 

The rest of Sunday was wonderful.  Except the part where I dropped Baby Bean on the floor because she was thrashing around on my lap, well what is left of my lap, and she thrashed too far out where I couldn’t reach or move fast enough to catch her.  So she thudded to the floor and set to wailing good and loud.  But the missionaries gave great talks, which I enjoyed and benefited from, and my Young Women’s lesson went really well.  We had a decently restful Sunday afternoon at home with *almost* no children fighting, and finished it off with a game of Settlers of Catan and then a few rounds of Love Letter.  

Life is going just fine, and new closet organizers won’t really make a difference.  What will make a difference is me helping the 9 year old reduce how many clothes she has so they all fit in her dresser and on the closet rod.  And I can do that while sitting down, so it’s attainable.

Doctrine and Covenants 123:17

Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.

How Much Bigger???

21 Jul

  
Did you know that babies grow faster towards the end of their gestation?  They gain half of their birthweight in the last 7 weeks.  So in the picture above, (photo A)  the twins and I are at 32 1/2 weeks.  Time wise, we are over 3/4ths to the finish line.  Size wise we are half-way there.  

  
Photo B– here we are 9 days later at almost 34 weeks.  Clearly they are growing fast!!

Today I had to remind myself that back a few months ago, I knew that I was going to get miserable and that the more miserable I got, the better, because that meant the twins would be getting bigger and more able to survive outside.  

It was easy to say at 20 weeks when they were 1 1/2 pounds each.  

Now they are closer to 5 pounds each.  Today as my back ached no matter what I tried, I had to repeat it like a mantra ” my back hurting is better than the babies being in the NICU”.  I kept forgetting and wanting to call my doctor and cry about how I couldn’t take it anymore. 

 Mass repetition made it finally sink in, though, and I now feel capable of lasting a couple more weeks.  At which point, I think that I will be able to convince myself that another 2 weeks can be survived.  (Or however long it takes for these little guys to be ready). 

In a side note, I blogged a couple months ago about how awful it is to tell a pregnant woman how huge she is.  Funny enough, once I wrote about it, it quit bothering me.  Now if someone mentions how huge I am, I just agree with them and it doesn’t offend me a bit.  (I do think the twin factor has something to do with it, because I know I have a great excuse to be growing so large.  but I think writing about it helped too.  I no longer harbor ill feelings towards that nice guy who commented on my size two Christmases ago, which is a relief because it seriously bothered me that I was so unforgiving). So there you go.  Feel free to tell me I’m horrifyingly huge.  It shan’t bother me a bit.  

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