First week with twins
There are not enough hours in the day, especially when you have twin babies!! But I’m loving it. The girls are so sweet, I just stare at them constantly and I’m loving all the cuddles. Andrew has had his moments of feeling frustrated (yesterday he was being SO good then all of a sudden started acting up and said, ‘I JUST WANT ATTENTION!’ lol) but for the most part he has been amazing, and he is SO gentle and loving toward his sisters. Yesterday I did a photoshoot with him and the girls – he wore his ‘Best Big Bro’ shirt and they had on ‘Little Sister’ onesies. He didn’t want to stop holding them once I’d taken the pictures, and then he helped me feed them (bottled breast milk). He did really well holding the bottle to the baby’s mouth, I was actually surprised at how well he did given it was his first time.
Basically at this stage the girls sleep for about 3 hour stretches, then feed. Lots of poops and pees. And repeat! They’re alert at times, Margaret a little more so than Emily, but most of the time they’re sleeping or eating. Yet somehow I am a total zombie already. Exhausted beyond exhaustion. I’m not surprised, but it’s a fact: twins truly are double duty. Add an almost 4 year old who’s accustomed to being largely catered to, and wow…it’s busy around here these days!
The girls will be one week old tomorrow, which is crazy in some ways that a week has gone by, but in other ways I wonder how they were ever NOT here. The fact that a week ago today I hadn’t met them yet is incomprehensible to me. They are such a part of our family already, I can’t imagine it any other way! I’m so glad they decided to make their appearances early =)
I’m not sure yet of what their little personalities are or will be, but I’m trying to decide if they’re similar to how I imagined they’d be, based on how they were in the womb. I thought Margaret (Baby A) was the more feisty one on the inside, because she was always rolling around (and it’s so cute now to see those little knobby knees of hers, and the bum that were constantly rolling out at the top of my belly!) On the outside, like I said she’s a little more alert, looking around at things for longer stretches usually than her ‘little sister by 6 minutes’ Emily. But she’s also a little smaller than Emily (only by a few ounces, but you can see it in her face, she’s not as chubby in the cheeks for example) and has more delicate features. She seems more babyish than Emily to me, which is hard to really explain, it’s just how it seems. Maybe it’s because she has some spit up issues and has trouble with burping at times, and makes this squeaky little noise. She also has a squeakier cry, whereas Emily has the oooh-la cry down pat! They both sound so sweet when they cry. While I was in labour a baby was born and taken to the assessment room right beside the room I was in, and its cry sounded like a cat that was in a really bad fight. It made me worry that our babies would have annoying voices, but I LOVE their little sounds! I’m sure the mother of the baby who sounded like a cat to me loves the sound of her baby, too – LOL, but I’m just saying, our girls are adorable in every way possible!
We’re trying to come up with a routine or system that works for us, but it’s going to be a major challenge when James goes back to work. He’s going to go in 2 days next week so he can extend the short amount of holiday days he had into the following week, and on those 2 days Andrew most likely will go to his nana’s for the day so it’s just me and the babies for the initial transition. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed by the idea of being alone all day with the two babies, let alone all 3 kids. I know I’ll be able to do it but it’s going to be HARD. Especially given the sleep issues. Last night I got 2 hours but not all in a row, and then did a whole bunch of chores that were piling up in the morning, and by early afternoon I felt like I just might slip into a coma, I was so tired! My mom and my cousin-in-law came over for a visit and told me to go nap so I did, and while I still feel like a zombie, it was good to get an hour and a half sleep today!
Breastfeeding is proving to be a challenge with twins. It has been overwhelming me a little bit, but only in the past few days. While we were in the hospital I had nurses coming in to say they were SO impressed that I was tandem feeding and had taught myself how to do it (I don’t tend to like asking for help so I just went ahead and did it, and lo and behold the girls latched on and all was going well!) But then my milk came in a few days ago, and my nipples grew to the size of…I don’t know what, but they’re HUGE – as in, many women’s entire breasts are probably half the size of my nipples alone! Sorry for the mental image. But yeah…the engorgement became so ridiculous – painful and impossible to do anything with. It got to the point where the babies couldn’t latch because my nipples weren’t conducive to little tiny preemie mouths. The community health nurse was here on Thursday and she helped me with tips on how to get them latched, and suggested getting a nipple shield (which has proven effective with Margaret, but Emily has become so lazy with her latch and only takes to a bottle). My left breast was so engorged it wouldn’t even pump a full ounce even though I know there’s an unlimited supply in there, and it was starting to get lumpy and SO sore, I felt like it weighed more than the babies did in utero a week ago!! BUT today James went out and got me an attachment for the breast pump that seems to have done the trick, and I’m able to pump more out, and with the nipple shield Margaret can latch to the breast and help empty it out, so it’s not as engorged now. Definitely my milk is still working on regulating itself, and it’s still going to take a while, but at least my milk supply is there and I’m working on keeping it up with pumping regularly. It’s exhausting though, it takes a lot out of me – literally, haha, but seriously, it just wipes me out because I’m pumping every few hours to get the supply up that I’ll need for feeding two. My goal is to tandem feed because nursing or pumping and bottle feeding separately takes double time, so literally it takes 2 hours to change each baby and feed and burp them and get them back to sleep. They have to feed AT LEAST every 3 hours at this stage, so that’s A LOT of time spent when ultimately it would be half that time if I was able to tandem nurse. It’s still my goal to get there, and I know we’re only a few days in so I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but there have been some tears over the whole thing. (Thanks to the hormones shifting! I’ve had my moments the past few days where I just started crying out of nowhere…But for the most part it really hasn’t been too bad. Maybe the worst has yet to come, because I was told in the hospital that when you have twins for some reason the depression feelings sometimes take a few days longer to kick in and then when they do they’re worse than with a singleton…but so far it’s about the same as what I went through with Andrew, and I have really amazing support, particularly from James, so I never feel as though I can’t talk about what’s in my head).
We’ve been supplementing with formula, which I didn’t want to do, but it was necessary during our hospital stay just to get their blood sugars up. I was offered formula or donated breast milk and I chose formula. We’ve since used samples and bought some ‘ready to feed’ formula, and occasionally we’ve given it to the babies in between breast milk feeds. Mainly when my milk hadn’t quite established yet and the girls really needed the nourishment beyond just colostrum. It’s not going to be a long term thing, especially since the formula isn’t fully vegetarian which of course kills a small part of me, but I know it’s what’s best for the babies given their tiny size (since babies lose weight in the beginning, they both went down to around 5lbs or a little less, so they’re really quite small). Now that my milk is in full force, I’m working on a small stock of it in the fridge for when James feeds them (he has been SO awesome and doing sooooo much for me and the babies and Andrew, I don’t know how I’d do this without him!) I feel better knowing I have milk there just in case they need it and I can’t nurse – especially right now given how challenging the actual nursing part is. It was SO EASY with Andrew because he was such a big baby and latched on immediately and never stopped to take a breath, so this feels foreign to me, having latch issues and babies who want to just fall asleep after two sucks at the breast. It’s challenging for sure, but we’re working on it. Ultimately if I have to bottle feed pumped breast milk more often than I’d have liked, that’s really not so bad, I’m just happy that my milk supply is there and they’re getting my milk somehow.
A lot of this is probably TMI for people reading it, I just wanted to record what’s been happening for my own records!
The babies are just too cute for words. So much more I want to write about but I have to deal with pictures too, and I only have so much time left before the next feed, so more later!
Oh, we went on our first little walk around our neighbourhood today! Just around the block because I was a bit cold, but it felt SO GOOD to be outside as I hadn’t really got fresh air since a week ago. The Graco Duoglider is proving to be an awesome stroller already, great maneuvering, and it felt amazing to be able to walk without waddling and getting short of breath. My belly is still pretty big but has gone down significantly in the past few days. I was told by the health nurse than a subsequent pregnancy = longer time for the body to readjust, and having twins means longer too, so I’ve got a double whammy of not getting my body back as soon as I would like! But we’re only on day 6 so I feel pretty good over all.
And now for some pictures of our little cuties!
And now for some pictures of our little cuties!