Friday, July 30, 2010

Four month pediatrician visit

Yesterday we had our 4-month appointment with the pediatrician. We met a new doctor in the practice, who seemed pretty nice.  She said we should start solids when the babies start to show an interest in people food (not yet), and that the iron in cereal or oatmeal will be enough of a supplement for them.  She seemed pleased with my breastfeeding them exclusively.

The boys are continuing to grow!  Benjamin weighed 13 lbs, 8 oz and is 23 1/2 inches long.  Asher weighed 13 lbs, 15.5 oz, which I say is 14 lbs.  He is 24 1/2 inches long.  The doctor said that their good growth is a sign that I am making plenty of milk, with a good amount of fat in it.  This was good to hear.  It must be all the ice cream I'm eating!  They are both on the charts somewhere, but I'm not sure where.  This is also good, since Benjamin wasn't on the charts at all at birth.

The doctor also commented on how strong they both are.  As I type this, Benjamin is wiggling away on his tummy, working on what looks like crawling (but I hope not, it is too soon for that!).

They both got their shots, and cried a lot.  At 2 months, when they got their shots, they only cried for a second, and then slept all afternoon.  This time, they were cranky all afternoon and took no naps at all!  They got Tylenol after the doctor and before bed, and both went down and slept well at night.  Asher has now slept from about 7:30 pm to 6 am for two nights in a row.  I am hoping this will be permanent!  Benjamin went to 6 on Thursday morning, and 5 this morning, so that's not too shabby either. 

They have been fine today, with lots of smiles (see photos!) and chatter. 

I am noticing some changes in myself-- my hair has started falling out after months of my not shedding anything.  I think I'm shedding worse than Peanut (our long-hair cat)!  My little line down my belly is definitely faded, even though it was never that bad to begin with.  I guess my body has decided I'm over being pregnant.

I also started trying to do some exercises to build back muscle tone.  The Wii decided I was overweight (but the weight it suggested is something I haven't weighed since the 6th grade, so that's not going to happen!) and said I have the fitness level of a 50 year-old.  I think this is based on my being "overweight" and not knowing how to use the Wii.  That and that I really could use to tone up a little!  I am also doing the 30-day Shred, which only takes 20 minutes and can be done during nap times or after the babies are in bed. 

And, today is an important anniversary.  One year ago today, I had my egg retrieval, and 15 embryos were created in a little dish.  Two of those embryos are now my sweet angels-- I can't believe how much can happen in a year!  I have spent all day marveling over my boys' perfect faces and delicious legs.  How did I get so lucky? 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Four months old today!

Today Benjamin and Asher turned four months old.  That is one-third of a year!  This is one of the pictures I took today, and miraculously, both boys are smiling.  I don't think it is a flattering picture of Asher because he looks chunky and in reality he is very thin.

We had a pretty good day today.  The weather was nicer, so we went out for a walk in the morning before a friend of mine came to visit.  She visited from about 10:30 to 1:30, which was the most difficult time with the babies, and I was so grateful for her help!  Then from about 1:30 to 4 we worked on nap time.  It was a lot of back and forth, with one baby up, then back down, then the other baby up and then back down... It was not both of them napping for a solid period, so I wasn't able to nap, do any work, or pump.  But I still appreciated the relative quiet.

In the evening, I cooked dinner with Benjamin in the Moby wrap, and Asher in the kitchen in his high chair.  I try to explain a lot of what I am doing as I go, and I told them that they'll be cooking as soon as they can walk!  While I was cooking, Eric had a video chat with his parents so they saw the boys and Benjamin gave a few of his beautiful smiles.  We had a nice dinner all four of us (somewhat interrupted for me by breastfeeding Asher), and then went for a walk in the pleasant weather.  While we were walking, I commented to Eric how few people we saw on the streets given how nice an evening it was.  Right after saying that, we looked up a side street and saw a woman with a twin stroller!  So we changed direction and went to meet her.
She has fraternal twin daughters who are 1 week older than our boys!  She was also on bed rest for 3 months before going to 38 weeks with her babies.  She had a matching stroller in red.  We had a lot in common with our pregnancy experiences.  I was so excited to meet another twin mommy in the neighborhood, and now I have her phone number.  Hopefully we will have play time with our babies soon.

Eric also got me a gift of the Wii Fit today.  This is good, since it is clear to me that I will not have time to go to the gym for a while, and I don't want to pay a sitter to be here while I exercise.  I hope I like it.  I just got on it and it told me I am overweight, so I guess I have my work cut out for me!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Not a great day

It started with not a great night.  It took forever to get the boys down to sleep, and my dad ended up coming over to take them on walks around the block until they were lulled to sleep.  Then, when I was ready to fall asleep, Eric came to bed and it woke me.  Then Trouble came to bed.  And Trouble sat on my head.  I'm having guilt that our cats don't get enough attention, so I thought maybe I would let him sit on me for a little, but really, it is too hot for that kind of nonsense.  I pushed him off, multiple times.  I finally did fall asleep, but was awoken at 2 am when Asher woke up.  I nursed him and he went right back to sleep in his crib, and I went back to sleep in bed.  I decided not to pump at that point since generally I don't have much milk that early in the night, and it isn't worth it.

At 3:30, Benjamin woke up and Eric went to feed him.  For some reason I decided to pump then, maybe because I had skipped pumping altogether the night before.  So I pumped, got back in bed, and was almost asleep when I heard cries over the monitor-- Benjamin was not interested in going back in the crib.  So Eric said, "Will you nurse him?"  I nursed him in bed until he fell asleep, and then pushed him over to Eric.

At 5:20, I heard Asher crying.  He had peed through his diaper and was soaking wet.  So I had to change him and then I took him to the guest room bed and nursed him there.  After he ate, he decided he wanted to be awake.  Oh, no.  No way.  So I shut my eyes and ignored him while he talked and waved his arms around.  Eventually he came back to nurse again and fell asleep.

At 7:40, Eric came in holding Benjamin and saying, "That was a pretty easy night, huh?"  I wanted to kill him.  I wish men could lactate because I would like to share a little of the load!

Then today I was already tired, and the boys were also exhausted.  They were crying so much, and wouldn't nap.  Every time I thought they were down for a nap, they woke up 20 minutes later.  Around 1, they were both crying, I hadn't showered, I wanted lunch, and I was ready to get in the car and leave them.  I couldn't think of anything to do and felt incapacitated by the stress and feelings of helplessness.  I was just sitting on the couch like a lump, and Eric was standing there with one baby (I don't even remember which one) while the other one screamed away.  Eric told me that I could ignore the crying and see if they settled themselves, but all I could think was that I would be such a bad mother if I ignored it, and they would feel like I didn't care about them at all.

Eric brought me some food and I ate it.  After I ate he asked how it was and I said, "I don't know, I could barely taste it."  Now, for someone who loves food to not care about their lunch...  I was contemplating driving the babies to Main Line Fertility and leaving them there since that was where they came from.  I thought about calling their pediatrician and saying, "Make them stop!"  I thought about calling my dad and asking him to leave work.

In the end, we put Asher in his crib and shut the door so I couldn't hear, and I got in bed with Benjamin and nursed him.  He fell asleep and I slipped out, and then got in the guest bed with Asher and nursed him, and we both slept.  I got up and left him after a little, and he kept napping.  I took a shower and felt a million times better.

The rest of the day was a big improvement, but I was so unhappy.  I thought that things were getting easier, and that I could really manage my babies.  I feel like a failure, and a bad mom, like I can't meet my babies' needs and I can't make them happy.  I know that isn't true, and my boys are thriving, but today felt so awful.  Eric did some internet research on sleep with babies, and we have a few things we are now planning to try, so hopefully we can improve their (and our) sleep.

With that, I'm off to bed and hoping for a better, more restful night!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

One year ago...

This time a year ago I was in the middle of my IVF cycle.  I did my first shot of stimulating medications on July 16, 2009.  On July 19, I went for my last jog (and this picture was taken at a friend's wedding) and on July 20 I had my first ultrasound to see how things were developing in my ovaries.  I remember it as a quiet time in my life.  I had purposely kept my schedule open, since I didn't know when I would have my appointments, my egg retrieval, and my embryo transfer.  After I was told to stop any kind of vigorous exercise, I walked everyday.  I loaded up my ipod with podcasts of This American Life and would walk around my neighborhood and the ones nearby, admiring people's homes and their gardens, occasionally getting lost, but always feeling peaceful and content. 

Yesterday I went for a walk, and listened to a podcast of This American Life, but I wasn't alone.  I had my two sons with me.  Most of the walk was peaceful, because the boys fell asleep, but the end was not so peaceful, because Benjamin woke up and immediately began screaming (see photo). 

One year ago, I don't think I would ever have imagined that I would have twin sons.  My life has changed so much.  There are still many moments where I mourn my "old" life, where I had time to myself and a full night's sleep.  But more often, I feel so lucky to have these two perfect babies, and can't imagine another outcome.  

The boys now pay attention to things going on around them.  It used to be that they could and would sleep through anything, including the other one's screaming.  Well, not anymore.  So yesterday, when one baby would start to nurse, the other would cry a little, and his brother would break off and start crying, so that both of them were lying there crying.  I just kept trying to quiet them down and nurse, and finally things calmed down, but this is happening more often, and I'm not sure I like it!

I have started going back to work.  I am going to work one day a week for a while, and I am very slowly filling my day with clients.  Yesterday I was relieved to go to work since the babies were fussing in the morning.  Of course, they then took long naps most of the time I was gone, but I still had a break.  We do have one problem: Asher has stopped taking a bottle.  This is my doing, because he is such an efficient nurser that I just kept nursing him.  My mom said if he won't take a bottle when she is here with him next week, she is going to give him rice cereal and banana.  So our project for this week: get Asher to take a bottle.

I'm also starting to feel restless.  In the spring and early summer, I was able to go out for walks almost everyday, but it has been so hot and humid now that it isn't safe to go out with the babies much past 9:30, so no walks, and no jogs.  We spend basically all day, everyday, in the house.  Going to my mom's house is the big event most days.  Last week I went to the mall just to get out of the house, be somewhere cool, and get some exercise.  I behaved and didn't buy anything other than a sandwich for lunch, but going to the mall once a week could quickly get expensive!  I want to go back to the gym again, but there is no real reason to spend money on a membership when I can't be assured that I'll have time to go.  So there is some frustration.

The boys are getting bigger each day.  They are much more verbal, especially Asher.  They will sit around and make baby noises, and smile.  They love putting things in their mouths, like their hands or lovies.  Here are some pictures from today:

Asher is not wearing any clothes because he spit up all over his onesie, repeatedly.  He got my shirt, too, but I didn't go topless, I just went around smelling like sour milk.

Here is Benjamin in the high chair at my mom's:
Above is Asher enjoying tummy time with his Tiger lovey.  Below is Benjamin trying out his fist for a snack.
And the two boys together on their tummies.  So big, so sweet!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Celebrity Profile: MeeMa Alison

My mom pointed out that there aren't many pictures of her on my blog.  Which isn't fair, considering that she spends some part of every day with the boys and me.  There are so many things to say about my mom that I don't know where to start...

My mom and I have a very special relationship.  I consider her my best friend (yes, I know my husband is supposed to be my best friend, but there are lady things that Eric just isn't that great at talking about!).  We have such a great time together, doing things like cooking, shopping, gossiping, and eating.  We also have a wonderful time traveling together.  Last year, as a graduation gift, my mom took me to Italy.  My sister joined us on the trip, and we had so much fun.  It helps that we tend to view adverse traveling conditions as humorous rather than depressing, and laugh hysterically when things don't go as planned. We are also co-authors of "ParisWalks" together (along with my grandma Sonia; Mom and Sonia wrote it together over 30 years ago and included me on the most recent edition), which meant that we had to spend two weeks together in Paris to research and make changes.  It was wonderful, and we didn't fight even once.  We've had many adventures together over the years, including our travel, planning my wedding to Eric, and painting the interior of my house in a week.  We have very similar taste in clothes and interior design (except I like brown and green and she doesn't), so I often ask her opinion on what I wear or how I decorate.

I take most of my parenting cues from my mom, which has allowed me to be pretty relaxed about having twins.  If she says it isn't a big deal, or not worth worrying about, I don't.  After the boys were born, she ensured that I got out every day and walked around to help with my healing and to get back my strength.  And now, she still makes sure I get out of the house, or she comes over and keeps me company so that I don't lose my mind.

She is a very loving grandmother.  Or, I should say, MeeMa.  She chose the name MeeMa for herself because she said she doesn't feel old enough to be a "grandma." I think she had some reservations about being a MeeMa, especially one to two boys, but the minute Asher made his appearance in the delivery room, those reservations disappeared. 

I am so lucky to not only have my parents nearby, but also to have their support and my mom's help everyday.  I seriously think that if I didn't live near my parents before these babies, I would have had to move to be with them.  In these first few months, I couldn't have survived without my parents' help.  My mom buys food for us when I can't get to the store, cooks for us when I don't have the time or energy to it myself, and takes the babies off my hands when I am desperate for a nap.

So, MeeMa Alison, thank you for all you do!  And, keep up the good work, we need you!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Date #2

While we were in Maine Eric and I had a date night to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary.  I cannot believe we got married 4 years ago, it seems so recent!  Our wedding was so beautiful, and I don't think I have ever felt so beautiful myself.  I still look at wedding pictures and remember how great our wedding was.  We had some trouble with the venue and the food they served (they gave us one thing at the tasting and something completely different at the wedding) and my parents had a prolonged disagreement with them, but that is not what stands out to me now.  I remember how excited I was the night before, that I couldn't sleep, that it drizzled in the morning and I was worried it would rain all day.  Eric and I took a walk together along the Cliff Walk in Newport and held hands and talked about what our hopes were for the day-- some quiet time just the two of us before crazy wedding preparations started.  Then the hair, the make-up, and finally, my gorgeous dress.  Oh, I love that dress!  Our flowers were stunning, and the sky cleared and we had sunshine.  There were rabbits everywhere and someone said, "Rabbits are a sign of fertility!" and I joked that I would have to be careful to take my pill (ha, ha, could have saved that money!).

I won't say that the day was perfect, because it wasn't.  But we were surrounded by family and friends, just as we are now.  I think that we have both made an effort to include those we love in our lives, and as I have said before, I am so happy that we have so many people around us who care about us, and who now care about our little ones.

So for Date #2 since our boys were born, we went to Portsmouth, New Hampshire and had dinner at a place called Brazo.  We had a very friendly waiter and some excellent food.  I started off with a mojito, my first since getting pregnant!  It was delicious, but I drank it realllly slowly while eating so that I wouldn't get drunk.  We shared tapas and a fish taco to start, then I had an organic salmon with tomato and corn salsa, and Eric had Brazilian pulled pork and black beans.  He ate maybe half his entree and I ate ALL of mine.  After dinner, I felt full for maybe the 2nd time since the babies were born.  I swear, breastfeeding makes me a bottomless pit!

As of the last time I weighed myself, I am only up 4 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Maybe half of that is in my boobs!  I still don't have the same totally flat stomach I had before, but I am hoping to go back to the gym soon so that I can start toning my muscles up.  They have a babysitting room at the gym, so I can leave the babies there while I exercise.  I kind of dislike some aspects of exercising, but I always feel better after a workout, so I am looking forward to that.

I still have a lot more to say about our trip to Maine and all the family we saw there.  There was a constant stream of visitors while we were there!  For now, though, the babies are both asleep and I need to take care of myself (take a shower) while I can.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Big news!

Last night, both Benjamin and Asher slept through the night!  All week they had been taking turns sleeping through the night, and last night it just so happened that they both did it!  I woke up at 6 am with breasts the size and firmness of nice cantaloupes, so I knew something was up.  I sent Eric to make sure they were both still alive while I started pumping.  Yes, they were both alive, fortunately!  I pumped til I was comfortable, and then we both went back to sleep.  Apparently Benjamin woke up around 6:30 and my mother-in-law started feeding him.  Asher slept a little later, and then my father-in-law brought him in to me to nurse.  I am still really tired (I think I need to catch up a little), but if things continue in this vein, I will be feeling a lot better rested in the days to come. 

The nap thing... still not really happening.  I think Asher would be amenable to it, but not so much Benjamin.  But I will take what I can get in the meantime!  We are very lucky, all things considered.

I have to say that I am pretty sure the boys are getting cuter everyday.  They are getting so many kisses and so many visitors.  I told my mother-in-law that if they got a nickel for every time they were kissed, we would have at least their freshman year of college tuition paid!

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July

Yes, today is the 5th.  Well, we made it up to New England.  We drove first to Cambridge to visit my grandparents.  I was so anxious about it because of Benjamin's hatred of his car seat, but somehow we made it.  Ben avoided napping for most of the trip, and Asher napped a lot.  There was plenty of screaming, but when we got on to the Mass Pike, I felt great relief! 

We spent Thursday night with my grandparents in their apartment in Cambridge.  It was a lovely summer evening, and we watched the sun set from their windows.  We took a walk into Harvard Square, and the babies slept through it.

Here are pictures of me with my mom and grandma (3 generations of Landes women), and the babies with Pierrette, who is like a 3rd grandmother to me:

After breakfast on Friday, we took off for Maine.  This time both babies cried.  We had to pull over at the New Hampshire liquor store for me to nurse Asher in the back seat and for Ben to get a bottle.  I couldn't wait to get to Maine and be done with traveling for the time being! 

Maine has been wonderful.  I am getting so much help from my in-laws!  The first morning we were here, I dumped Asher on my mother-in-law, Pat, at 7:30.  I thought I would go back to sleep but of course I couldn't (my sleep troubles are ongoing.  I am not sure if they will improve or if I just have to wait for these babies to start sleeping through the night every night).  But they have taken the babies every morning for a little so that Eric and I can sleep in.  Today I got to sleep til 8:30!  That was so nice.

We have been getting lots of visitors coming to see our babies.  On Friday we saw Eric's cousin, Deb, and her son Hunter.  Our friend Tina also stopped by to get a peek at the boys.  On Saturday, our friends Juliette and Michael came for lunch on their way up from Massachusetts.  On Sunday, Eric's brother and his wife, Kerisa, spent the day here with their girls and baby Kiptyn.  Today we got to meet the boys' newest cousin, Charley (Charlotte)!  She is a beautiful little girl, only three weeks old.  Charley came with her mom, Jessi, and grandparents and uncle.  We had 4 babies 3 months and younger in the house.  Both Kerisa and Jessi are very modest about breast feeding and will leave the room to nurse in private.  I have no shame and nurse anytime, anywhere.  This morning we went to the 4th of July parade here and Asher got hungry, so I sat on someone's lawn and nursed him.  It may be shameless, but it is also convenient!

Here are pictures of the three newest Whitten additions, Kiptyn, Asher, and Benjamin:

And here is beautiful Charley:
More pictures to come, we have tons!