24 December 2012

The New Normal - Week One with Twins!

The twins are 9 days old today, and we've been home from the hospital for exactly one week. By now we've had a lot of "how are you doing?"s, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to post an update! 

The boys: Max and Miles are awesome. Our first night home was a little rough, because breastfeeding was still taking off and we really didn't know what to do throughout the night. It just felt like there were babies coming at us from every angle! By night four we really found our groove and are doing much, much better as far as maximizing sleep. When the boys wake up, which they do at exactly the same time, I nurse whomever has been assigned the fuller breast for the evening, and Andrew changes, burps, swaddles and pacifies Baby #2. Once Baby #1 is done, I nurse Baby #2 on the other side, and Andrew does the change, burps, swaddle and paci with the second one. If, by some chance, Baby #1 is still awake, he comes back to the second side to fall asleep and Andrew will put Baby #2 to sleep with a paci or a little bit of formula. On a goodnight we're using about an ounce and a half of formula to hold one or both over for some reason, but otherwise we're exclusively breastfeeding and doing very, very well. The boys both hated the left side for the first few days, as all of my babies have, as it's not very easy for them to latch onto. Once their jaws got a little stronger, they both started taking it without issue and are doing just fine. They both have a lot of strength for their gestational age, which is pretty normal for twins as they develop faster in the womb. 

We still have no idea if they're identical or fraternal, and it's REALLY up in the air. They looked very different when they were born, but in the past week they've started to look more and more alike. At this point it's really a waiting game. We think we'll know more around 6 months or so and will be able to make the "should we test?" call then. If we decide that we want to know, it'll be a matter of a simple cheek swab and a week-long wait. 

I really couldn't say much about their personalities yet, as I've been mixing them up enough that I still haven't figured that out. Max is VERY much like his papa and is a very patient, quiet boy. He's the one who was willing to work through the left-side latching issue first and would just try and try and try as long as I offered it. Miles would give it exactly three tries and then lose his MIND. Max looks a lot like his daddy and Miles is a little more baby-faced. They both have their daddy's big, square hands, regardless of their very tiny bodies. 

They're both sleeping with us at night, which is just fine. We've slept with all of our babies, so we were planning on that. They swap out sides and like to snuggle together in the middle. Sleeping with them and staying close is good for my milk production, which is important when you have two to nurse! We're also doing a lot of skin-to-skin time and they're nursing about every hour during the day. At night they're waking up around 1 and 4:30 and then getting us up between 5:30 and 7. They'll both go back to sleep right away in the am, but depending on how much sleep I've gotten I've been perfectly fine leaving them in bed and just starting my day. The 4:30 feed is sort of a "we'll go to sleep until something better comes along" and is a great "going back to sleep" phase for me. By 4:30 I've had about 6 or 7 hours of sleep, so going back to sleep around 5 and sleeping til 6 or so feels good and sinful! I've been getting up in the mornings for the past few mornings and Andrew stays in bed and cuddles the boys while the house wakes up. I'm just not a "sleeping-in" kind of gal! 

The girls: Lucy, Mo and Claire are doing just fine and are adjusting well to big sisterhood. Lucy was able to join us for Mass today and just loved sitting indian-style in the pew and holding her brother while the rest of us prayed. She is such a great helped and really loves having responsibilities where the boys are concerned. Molly and Claire mostly ignore the babies, as they really don't add much value to their play time. That's pretty normal at their ages, and I expect that once the boys are mobile it'll be a different story! 

Me: I was prepared for a tough recovery, as this is my fourth c-section and a twin pregnancy. I can honestly say that as of today I don't feel like I was ever pregnant at all. I have lost 40 pounds in 9 days and weight-wise I'm back to my pre-pregnancy weight and a little under. The tone will come back in time, and I'm not too worried about that. I'm losing about 2 to 3 pounds a day, which should continue until about Week 3, as I'm still dealing with leftover fluid. I have been warned many, many times about "twin skin," which is what happens when your skin is just stretched completely to capacity. The first few days I was absolutely horrified and I started blathering about tummy tucks and crepe-paper skin. Since then, my skin seems to have just sort of gone back to normal with nary a mark. I'm pretty lucky to have crazy elasticity in my skin and I'm hoping that by getting my belly back to normal a little slower, I can let my skin work it's way back slowly. I don't think my skin really looks any different at all now, but I do have about another two months of healing before I can make a real judgement. Thankfully, I'm no longer asking Andrew for cosmetic surgery and I have no stretch marks, so something must be going right! I've been wearing an abdominal binder as much as possible, which REALLY helps with the entire recovery. When you have a bunch of organs removed and then put back in, giving them extra support while you heal is paramount to a great recovery. 

Emotionally, I was a little concerned about post-partum depression, as my pregnancy was a huge rollercoaster of hormones. With double the hormones running through my body and a history of crazy post-partum crying jags, my OB and I were fully prepared with meds and a plan of attack. Imagine my surprise when I found that my emotions have been nothing but normal. I haven't had so much as a grumpy thought and have been just so appreciative of these little blessings. The breastfeeding pain usually contributes to the baby blues, and while it's been painful, it's been fleeting and ten times easier to deal with this time around. I am really taking my time with the boys and spending as much time as I can just soaking them in and loving every minute. I can honestly say that even with the adjustment to waking up at night and dealing with breastfeeding challenges, I haven't even felt tired. This has truly been a joyful week, and I know that this alone is proof that God has His handd over us right now. On the way to Church this morning I said to Andrew, "You know, we haven't even snapped at each other this past week, not even once." (Generally the first two weeks of having a new baby in the house is just stressful and exhausting and we eventually crack and someone says something they regret or I end up crying for several hours over something silly.) Andrew laughed and said, "Well, we haven't had the time!" We have just been working as one fluid machine throughout this entire week and every little twist and turn has been sort of like being on a gold-medal bobsled team rather than being lost in the woods. The good Lord has absolutely given us buckets of grace this week! It has been nothing but fun and happiness, and for that I am so, so, so thankful. They really are like two tiny Christmas gifts! 

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