Friday, May 28, 2010

Two months!

Yesterday the babies turned two months old.  We went to the pediatrician for their two month appointment, which also included lots of shots for both babies.  I looked away during the shots and also tried not to listen to their crying, but they settled down pretty quickly.

The doctor confirmed that they are growing like crazy!  Asher weighed 10 pounds, 4 ounces (up from 7 pounds, 5 ounces last month) and was 21 1/2 inches long.  Benjamin weighed 9 pounds, 13 ounces (up from 6 pounds, 6 ounces last month) and was 20 1/2 inches long.  These weights are still pretty low on the charts for their age, but they were low birth weight and so the gain is very good.  Benjamin weighs more than twice what he weighed at birth!  So, they are still little, but they are eating and growing well, and the doctor said they were very healthy.

After the shots, they slept the rest of the day (other than when they woke up for feedings-- nothing stops a Landes baby from eating).  By evening, they both had low fevers, so we gave them Tylenol.  Between the shots and the Tylenol, I thought they would sleep through the night.  Ha!  Hahaha!  They woke up at 12:30 to eat.  That's even earlier than usual.  Oh, well, sleeping through the night will come some day... maybe when they weigh a little more.

I am still having trouble sleeping, but it is all my own fault.  I now keep myself up with anxiety about falling asleep.  Which is totally unhelpful.  I spoke to the lactation consultant and she said it is ok for me to take Tylenol PM while breastfeeding, so if I get too much insomnia, I will do it. 

The boys are doing very well, and I can see changes in them everyday.  Asher has started to smile.  I'm not sure if he is smiling at me, or the ceiling fan above me, but it is just great to see a smile on his face.  Ben has also smiled a few times.  And Ben has started babbling a little.  If he is sitting around awake and in a good mood (which fortunately is more and more often), he will just talk away.  It is very cute! 

Here is Ben kind of smiling:
And Asher just sitting calmly:
See how big my babies are getting?!?! 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Making myself crazy

I barely slept last night.  In fact, I am convinced I didn't sleep at all, but I assume I must have dozed off at least a few times.  And no, it was not because of my babies.  My boys slept like angels!  They woke twice to be fed, but went to sleep immediately afterward and had I been able to sleep, I could have gotten about 7.5 hours.  Instead I lay awake and worried.

I felt anxious about how fast my little guys are growing.  I love their little bodies so much, and they are such a good size for snuggling.  They sleep on us all the time after we feed them and they fit perfectly against my chest and under my chin.  But they get bigger everyday! (And yes, I acknowledge that if they were not getting bigger, I would be REALLY worried.)  The other day I found a "newborn" size outfit that got misplaced in the 0-3 month drawer.  Well, the outfit is adorable, we have two of them, and I found them in time for only Benjamin to fit in.  So I feel awful that all of these adorable clothes are getting worn once, or not at all.  My mom got the boys sleep gowns, which we have only used about twice, because we stopped putting them to sleep in the crib, and they can't wear a gown to be strapped into a car seat.  It seems so sad, all the adorable outfits friends and family have gotten for them that aren't getting worn enough.  I told my mom how I felt and she said I'm crazy.  Which I know, hence the title of this post!

Lying in bed, I was overwhelmed with my feelings of love and affection for these sweet boys.  I quietly went into the nursery just to watch them sleep.  They are so perfect, and peaceful.  Everyday I feel more strongly for them.

Eventually I got to the point where my anxiety was all about whether I would sleep at all.  And anyone who has had insomnia knows that once you start that anxiety, you are pretty much ensuring that you won't sleep.  So, at 1 the boys woke up for a feeding, we fed them, and I hoped that I would fall asleep after that.  I was almost asleep, and Trouble jumped on me!  It was downhill from there.  What a terrible night!

Now I am worried it will happen again tonight, which is always a bad way to start the night.  I have my fingers crossed that I will be fine...

Today's picture is of Asher's beautiful face.  He is wearing a very cute outfit that my mom bought for him in Paris back in January.  Now he's outgrown it, of course!  She'll have to go back to Paris and buy him some more clothes!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

So lucky

This is just a short note... Despite all of the fatigue, the noise of the babies crying, the worry, the feeling like I am always failing these babies in one way or another... Everyday I remember how lucky I am.  I love these babies, and I feel so lucky that everything has worked out the way it has. 

I was thinking of my months on bedrest, and the fears of losing the babies.  Now that I know these babies, I can't imagine living without them.  So everyday I remember how lucky I am to be their mommy.

Date Night

Eric and I had our first date Sunday night!  My parents offered to babysit, so we got ourselves ready (this included my pumping and nursing), packed up the babies with bottles and lots of diapers, and left them at my parents'.  We then went to a small restaurant in a nearby town (I am standing in front of the restaurant in the picture.  We took a second picture, in which my eyes were open, but Eric deleted/lost it somehow) with two bottles of wine.  I felt like a normal person!  I looked like a normal person!  We had a lovely dinner together and did manage to talk about things that were unrelated to the babies.  The food was also very good.  As I have said before, breastfeeding makes me extremely hungry, so I ate every bit of sauce on every plate and asked for seconds on bread.  The dessert we had was sooo good.  It was a vanilla/yellow layer cake, in between the layers was a rhubarb-strawberry compote, and then it was iced with a sour cream icing.  I think I'll try to make it this weekend with my mom.  Or have her make it, since I am always getting caught up in breastfeeding when it is time to do something useful.

There was an update I forgot to mention in my last post-- Asher has been able to turn himself over from his tummy to his back.  He first did it almost two weeks ago.  I had put him down for tummy time and ran to get myself some coffee in the kitchen.  When I came back out to the living room, he was on his back!  I put him back on his tummy and could see him working to do it again, but he didn't.  Since then, he has rolled himself one other time.  Maybe it will become a regular occurrence!  Asher is very good at tummy time, and is very strong.  Benjamin tolerates it for much shorter periods of time, and then becomes fussy and squawky.

Right now, Asher is the more patient of the two.  Asher is often happy to sit in a chair or lie on his tummy and just move his arms and legs and look around.  But if Benjamin is awake, he wants to be held.  This makes things very difficult sometimes, because it is not possible to hold Ben and feed Asher at the same time.  They are both awake more frequently now, but not always at the same time.

Of course I have the usual mommy worries about what if they're not eating enough (or, on other days, why are they eating so much?!?), why aren't they smiling at us yet, what if they are already delayed, etc.  I am not sure if I should expect them to be a little late on early milestones, since they were 4 weeks early, but I will ask the pediatrician when we go. 

We are looking into getting some help with the babies.  My mom helps everyday, but I know she is eager to have more of her own life (I know how it feels! I miss my old life!).  I am thinking perhaps a mother's helper in the mornings so that I can have some breakfast, pee, pump, and shower regularly.  And then I am going back to work 1 day a week in July and we will need someone to come spend that afternoon and evening with the babies.  It is hard to think of the money we will be spending on childcare that we don't have, but my mental health is worth it.  I guess this is the money we'll spend rather than send me to therapy!

Friday, May 14, 2010


There is so much going on that never makes it into here... but here are some updates from the past week.

First, I had my post-partum appointment with my OB.  He said everything looks good, and I was cleared to go back to exercising, and am allowed to resume having sex with Eric (should we ever have time).  I got weighed (which I had been avoiding) and found out that I have about 15 pounds to lose.  I have no plans to diet, because breast feeding makes me ravenously hungry, and I would rather be overweight and feed my babies than fit back in my old pants.  My OB also checked my abs and said they are in good shape, and said that my stomach looks great-- better than most people after they have a pregnancy with one baby.  That was nice to hear!

I came home from the doctor and did some push-ups to see if I could still do them-- I did 10 in a row, and then another 10 later.  Not a bad start.  On Tuesday and Thursday I went "jogging" for the first time.  I basically plod along with legs of concrete for as long as I can, then walk to recover, then go back to "jogging" again.  On Thursday I made it 0.7 miles before I needed to walk.  Considering that 10 months ago, when I had my last jog, I did about 4 miles no problem, it is clear there is room for improvement.

Last weekend we took our first road trip with the babies.  On Friday, my mom and I drove up to Cambridge to visit her parents, who had not yet met them.  The car apparently has a narcotic effect on babies, and they slept the whole way there.  When they woke up, I fed them from bottles, but they fell asleep in the middle of the bottles.  Here are pictures of them sleeping in the car:
They are wearing bibs in case of milk spills.  I think it looks especially funny on Ben!  The sleeping in the car was only good as long as we were in the car... when we got to my grandparents' apartment around 6:30, the boys were RAVENOUS and cried and ate for the next 3 hours.  They then woke up throughout the night every 3 hours on the dot to be fed, which they had not done since we stopped waking them 5 weeks ago! 

On Saturday, we went up to Maine to visit Eric's parents, and tons of family came over to meet the boys.  And we got to meet their new cousin, Kiptyn!  Eric's brother and his wife, Kerisa, had their baby boy on Sunday, May 2.  We are so excited that our boys have a cousin so close in age that they can grow up with.  Kiptyn is adorable! (Unfortunately, no pictures yet because Eric's cousin Deb took them and I haven't gotten them yet.)

But here are pictures of our nieces, Taylor and Myah, holding Asher:
Taylor (who just turned 6):
And Myah, who just turned 4, with Eric's mom next to her:

On Sunday, we had a Mothers Day brunch for my grandmother.  My cousin, William, and his wife, Rachel, joined us with their four children.  We attempted to take a picture of my grandparents with their 6 great-grandchildren, with mixed results.  William and Rachel's youngest was not cooperative, as you will see.
Those are the 2 best pictures of the approximately 8 that were taken.  My grandparents are 85 and 86 years old, and I feel so lucky to still have them, and for them to have met my sons. 

Then we drove home again, stopping twice to fully wake our babies and feed them big bottles (I was pumping while we drove, with my fingers crossed that we didn't get stuck in traffic!).  It took us a long time to get home, but our night went much more smoothly than Friday night, so it was worth it.  And the trip was good practice for our next trip to New England, in about 6 more weeks.

Monday, May 10, 2010


This is my #1 activity, so I guess I better write about it.  I have so many thoughts and feelings about it, I don't know where to start.  First, I should say that I always wanted to breastfeed.  And second, I am so happy that I have been able to do it-- I have heard such horror stories about having a low supply, or babies not being able to latch and women having bloody nipples and mastitis and who-knows-what else, so I am thankful that I have escaped those nightmares and have two boys who are just as eager to latch on to me as they are to their bottles.

There are parts of breast feeding I love: that I can feed my babies any time, anywhere; that it gives me time with them, snuggled up against me.  I love listening to the little noises that they make while they eat.  Asher has a very sweet little moan that he makes, and when I hear it I feel like a big hero for making my baby so happy.  And then I love afterward, when I put them up to my shoulder to burp and they fall asleep on me.  I also like the fact that I don't have to buy formula.  There are some things about which I am a cheapskate, and formula is one of them.

But there are parts of breastfeeding that I hate: The fact that I have to be constantly aware of how long it has been since someone nursed or I pumped; the fact that it means I have been away from my babies only once, for 30 minutes, since they were born.  I could probably go out for a 2-3 hour interval, but around hour 2.5, my breasts become painful, and I often start to leak.  I have been wearing breast pads in my bra, but they don't seem to work-- I have cotton ones that I leak right through.  Even if the boys started sleeping through the night (which doesn't seem likely any time soon, unfortunately), I would have to wake up and pump in the middle of the night anyway.  And then there is all the anxiety I have around it-- are they eating enough from breast feeding?  Am I making enough milk? Am I keeping up with their needs?  Sometimes we just give them big bottles at the end of the day to make sure they aren't still hungry.

There are days like today, where one or both babies seem like they can't get enough.  Today, in the past 2.5 hours, Benjamin has nursed, taken 3 oz of formula from the bottle, and is currently on his 2nd 3 oz bottle.  He has not rested or slept in between.  I'm exhausted, and I am hoping he is, too, so that he will sleep all night!  On days like today, I think to myself, "Maybe we should just do formula..." but I hate giving them formula so much, so I always back away from that idea.  I'm trying to convey my sense of desperation on a day like today, but I'm not sure how I can.  I am typing this while I pump, and this 15 minutes is the longest moment alone I have had all day.

There are rewards in this.  Both babies are growing, and have probably gained over 3 pounds each since birth.  That's at least 1/2 a pound a week!  Each!  From me!  It is hard to believe that all of this weight gain basically came from my breasts, but it has.

Tomorrow I am meeting with a lactation consultant to learn how to tandem feed the babies.  This way, when they are both hungry at the same time, which happens a lot, I will be able to breast feed them both at the same time, rather than breast feed one while reaching over to bottle feed the other one, who is propped up in a Boppy.  Not comfortable, and not easy!  I am also hoping that this will cut down on the amount of time I spend feeding the babies.

I'm not planning to give up breast feeding any time soon-- my goal is 6 months and we are almost 1/3 of the way there.  There are enough good days to outweigh the bad ones, and I am hoping with tandem feeding and the babies getting bigger, those good days will continue to increase in number.

The picture at the top is the babies' 1 month picture (taken at 1 month and a couple of days).  Ben is on the left, in green, and Asher is on the right in blue.  Because Ben is in front, he looks the same size as Asher, but he is still smaller.  And the picture absolutely doesn't do justice to how cute they are!  I will make a picture post soon of all our activities.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week

Ok, so it was last week.  But better late than never!

I have much to be thankful for.  Despite my struggles with fertility, I was lucky enough to conceive and give birth to two healthy, beautiful boys.  But on my journey, I learned a great deal about (in)fertility, and I joined a club of which no one wants to be a member. 

Before I had trouble with infertility, I never thought much about it.  We have family friends who have adopted, I have friends who are adopted, but no one ever talked much about infertility, and I certainly never knew about those friends of my parents, or parents of my friends, who had struggled to conceive their own children.  I always assumed I would have no trouble, since I have a wonderful family history of fertility (my mom says she got pregnant with me the first month she tried, and with my sister the second because she was "so stressed out the first month that it didn't work").  So I was very surprised when things did not go as planned.  And as time went on, and I was open about my difficulties, I found just how common infertility is.

At the time I was diagnosed with PCOS, I only knew two women who were also dealing with infertility.  One woman, now a friend, had started trying to conceive in late 2005 (her journey continues to this day; visit her blog at And then another friend of mine began trying to conceive, without success, in the fall of 2007 (she is now the mother of boy-girl twins).  When I began having trouble in 2008, these women and I grew closer as I went to them with questions about reproductive endocrinology, hormones, and medications.  These were members of my club, and our infertility brought us together.  These were the only people who understood what it felt like.  Online, I found an infertility message board with hundreds of other women whose lives resembled mine-- disappointing and scary doctor's visits, menstrual periods when all you want is a positive pregnancy test, crazy hormones and their scary side effects.  In real life, other people got pregnant the old-fashioned way, and as much as they said they were sorry for my struggle, they had no idea what it felt like.

Infertility shook the way I saw myself.  I had always seen myself as a strong, healthy person whose body did whatever I asked of it.  If I exercised more, I got stronger.  If I ate well, I felt good.  I was never sick with more than a cold.  But all of a sudden, I saw my body as damaged and inadequate.  All my life I had thought that I would be a mother, and imagined myself as one of those glowing pregnant women.  And in the moment that the doctor told me I had PCOS, that dream disappeared.  Suddenly I knew that getting pregnant would mean medication and doctor's visits, at a minimum.  I could not have fathomed that I would end up doing IVF.  As the months wore on, I felt worse and worse about myself.  I felt like a failure.  I felt unattractive as a result of bloating and weight gain from medication, and our sex life all but disappeared.  I obsessed over my fertility problems, and other people's pregnancies and babies and how easy it was for them.  These experiences are common for women having fertility problems, and frequently dismissed as all in their heads, or the stress that is keeping them from getting pregnant.  But these experiences are real, and painful.

Despite the pain of infertility, I'm thankful for all the friendships I have made or strengthened with other women in the "Infertility Club."  I have met people through message boards online that have become friends in real life, and have grown my friendships with the women I already know who are having similar experiences.  I now know many women who have dealt with infertility-- a neighbor, a high school classmate, friends of my mother; when I open up about my story others open up to me. Although I would never have wanted to be a member of the club, I am lucky to know these women and I admire their strength.  I am happy for all of the women who have already had their babies, and wish for healthy and easy pregnancies for those who are currently pregnant.  And I have so much hope for those who are still hoping themselves.