5 Months!

Today my babies turned five months old! I can’t believe it. Time is really starting to fly.

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I’m on the right in this photo with Violet. My hubby is in the middle with Layla. See how much the babies look alike? Their similarities are pretty amazing at this age. My hubby’s sister is to the far left with her baby, B–my SIL tested positive the day after we announced our news to my hubby’s family last February! Seemed like the end of the world at the time, but a year later all is forgotten. The baby between us adults is our 1-year-old niece… the one that made me feel so devastated when our BIL and SIL announced their pregnancy at Father’s Day 2010… Ugh! What an awful day, but in hindsight, I’m glad they came first. It allowed us to adjust to the idea of having kids, because we have a niece who came seven months before. Everything happens for a reason–at least for us.

The babies are changing each and every day. A few days ago, Violet started extending her legs up (despite her casts!) and touching her feet a bit. Still not a regular occurrence, but good news nonetheless. Tonight we put both babies on their bellies, and they each (to some extent) pushed up on their elbows. They are behind on this skill, but at least progress is being made. As recently as a week ago, they were not capable of pushing up at all. My eyes filled with tears when I saw Layla push up! I’m hoping the progress continues. They are becoming more alert–enjoying my singing, playing with toys and reaching to scratch on things like my shiny shirt, our couch pillows, glittery cards. They both love scratching the side of their pack and play when we’re changing their diapers. Tonight they were both turning onto their sides, which was amazing because they were synchronized–both were turning onto their own right side. I think twins have a special vibe! They recognize bottles and follow me with their eyes when I have to go up to the second floor. My hubby keeps remarking on how they are developing features they will probably possess in adulthood. Incredible.

Today I scheduled their next Pamidronate infusion (on the 28th), and we return on Wednesday for Violet’s post-tenotomy check-up. We meet with the specialist who will make her feet braces and not 100% sure where we go from there.

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Overwhelming

I had to chuckle when I read the following comment by my friend MyTwoLines: “I am so impressed by all you do taking such good care of them…it must be overwhelming but you seem to do it with ease!” Thank you for the compliment, MTL, but this could not be further from the truth!

I just want to put it out there: most of the time, I feel like I’m in survival mode. I feel outnumbered. I feel like I’m failing because I’m not able to give as much one-on-one time as I want to each baby. There are a list of “extracurricular” things I want to do during the day with my babies (tummy time four times, feeding them oatmeal, reading books, playing music, sitting in the bumbo or in the corner of the sofa, nursery rhymes, baby ein.stein, having the two of them play together in the activity gym, taking them for a walk in their stroller). Very, very rarely do I get all of that done. In fact, I would say never. I do some of those things, but the hours pass and I just can’t get it all done before they are zonked out for the night. Never mind the required feeding, burping, bathing, changing, rocking, etc that goes on around here. I am not complaining one bit, but just being honest. These babies are amazing and getting to be a mom is incredible, but the journey so far has been pretty tough.

In a span of 29 days from October 7-November 6, my babies broke eight bones. That is enough to make anyone feel overwhelmed. We were quite abruptly introduced to pediatric emergency rooms, narcotics, pavlik harnesses, orthopaedists, casts, and x-rays on a weekly basis. I had to become a lion who refused to surrender my kids to “protocol”–no unnecessary x-rays, no unnecessary touching by staff, no unnecessary vitals. I’m probably infamous at our local children’s hospital by now, but that’s what this experience will do to you. I was just trying to save them from additional pain. Along with the bone issues, we were simply first-time parents trying to adjust to the shock of having two tiny babies (with days and nights mixed up) who depended on us for every need. Then throw in the clubfeet treatment, bone-strengthening infusions, pediatrician appointments, and physical therapy, and you have one seriously overwhelmed mama. I have had many tearful breakdowns over the past nearly five months. Despite my intense love for my babies, at times this has all felt like too much. And I grieved over the fact that instead of enjoying this time, I have spent a significant amount of time stressed and sad and helplessly watching them hurt.

Thank goodness, our world changed for the better once we discovered a medication that helps to strengthen babies’ bones. It has literally been a miracle drug for us so far. But despite the medicine, we walk on eggshells with our babies–not allowing them to be held by many people, feeling our hearts thump when they cry, and being mindful of their fragile bones in everything they do. And yet, we remind ourselves how lucky we are to have twins and not have to worry about their breathing, their weight, their heart rate, or their lung development. In that way at least, we are lucky.

This post is just meant to show that I am not handling this with ease. Quite the opposite, actually. I feel like I’m just marching forward, putting one foot in front of the other, checking things off a list, doing what I have to do. I take Violet to the next step in her clubfeet treatment. I take them both for the miracle drug infusions every eight weeks. I take them to the pedi for immunizations every few months. I work with their physical therapist to help them get stronger. I take care of their basic needs and play with them and hug and kiss them. And I’m trying to enjoy these days while our babies are small, because I know that time is fleeting and we won’t have any more children. During tough times, moms find strength they didn’t know they had. And that’s what I’m doing!

From Two Heartbeats to Two Babies

A year ago today, we gazed upon the two most gorgeous heartbeats ever to grace the earth (in our humble opinions)… : )

I could not believe my luck when I found out that both embryos had made themselves at home in my uterus. And a year later, I am still amazed when I look at them and see bits and pieces of my husband and me in both of them. There are still many “O-m-g-I-can’t-believe-we-really-have-twins” moments that occur in my head on a daily basis. I am not normally a very lucky person, but I obviously won the conception jackpot! Being a mom was what I dreamed about, and here I am. And it is just as incredible as I imagined.

I have so many posts I want to write (and others’ posts that I want to comment on); it’s just a matter of finding the time. Thanks for reading!

Four Month Well Visit

Since Violet had a short break from casts, I took both babies to their pediatrician for their four-month immunizations last week. They were four months and 14 days old at this appointment, and it was my first solo trip out with both of them!

First we weighed both babies and measured their length and head circumference. Violet weighs 13 lbs 0.2 oz, which is the 26th percentile. She is approximately 22.5 inches long, which is the 2nd percentile. I say “approximately” to describe her length because we don’t allow anyone to pull on their legs to stretch them out. I very gently pull a little to try for an approximate length, and we go with that. She’s probably actually slightly longer. The nurse inaccurately wrote down Layla’s head circumference, so I’m not sure what the measurement was, but she’s in the 41st percentile. At birth, she was 7 lbs 10 oz and 18.75″, so she is growing!

Layla weighs 11 lbs 14 oz, which is the 9th percentile. She is approximately 22.25 inches long, which is the 1st percentile. She’s finally on the growth chart for length! Her head circumference is 16 inches, which is the 27th percentile. A birth, she was 5 lbs 14 oz and 17″ long.

We receive a paper during each well visit on which the nurse writes their weight/length/head circumference stats, and it also gives some information that applies to their current age. At four months, we can start rice cereal with a spoon as long as the baby has good head control. They should be reaching and grabbing, and starting to work on rolling (goal for that is six months). We need to give them tactile toys, and we should be singing, playing peek-a-boo and showing our babies their gorgeous reflections in the mirror. We should be doing tummy time several times per day. We should be reading to them and encouraging them to sit up. We can try an Exersaucer. We should start a bedtime routine. We should give them 1 mL Vitamin D per day.

I can’t believe how much they’ve grown!

The Long and Winding Road

My heart exploded for my little family today.

I watched my 4-month-old baby get wheeled off to an operating room to have her Achilles tendons snipped on both feet. Before anyone thinks I’m too melodramatic, I know that so many families deal with so much worse. But I’m sorry… there is nothing normal about your infant having a tube shoved down her throat and being put under. We were at a children’s hospital with staff taking very gentle care of her, but still… it felt unnatural. It was also the very first time I’ve ever let her out of my or my husband’s care without a loving grandparent there to watch her.

Before she was wheeled off to surgery, she reached for my husband for the first time ever. I watched his eyes flood with tears, and my heart just about burst. I am so very happy that we got to share that moment during such a tense time. He loves these little girls with every fiber of his being, and I adore him even more for this fact.

Everything went okay. She did wake up absolutely hysterical, convincing us and her nurse that something was wrong. The nurse phoned her surgeon, who came in personally to see her. The doctor gave us the option of admitting her. But after a dose of Lor.tab, she seemed better. We ended up driving home, and she’s sleeping comfortably in her crib right now. I think she is exhausted.

She was totally parched when she woke up and drank 8 oz of glucose solution before they brought her to us. I could tell that she was very, very hungry, so I insisted on giving her a bottle (a brave move on my part considering she was perched on my lap) regardless of the fact that she could throw up. That child has always had an ironclad stomach (completely opposite of her sister). She only ate about an ounce before falling asleep. She kept waking periodically and crying hard, so that’s when the staff became worried. Her reaction basically never occurs during this procedure, but yet she’s been through a lot already, and usually clubfoot treatment occurs earlier and doesn’t involve brittle bones.

Anyway, the surgery went well. The doctor had to make two incisions in her right foot because it was more severe than the other, and he wasn’t happy with the correction that occurred from one incision. He said both feet practically corrected themselves from the snipping. She’ll wear the casts for two weeks, then have them changed out, then wear them for 1-2 more weeks. Then we put braces on her feet pretty much 24/7 for three months before proceeding with wearing them only at naptime or nighttime. That will continue for a longtime–until approximately age three or four. Ugh.

After we arrived at our car in the afternoon, we picked up Layla. She had such a huge smile on her face. She stayed with my dad all day and charmed the heck out of him. My heart warmed watching her smile and grab her feet and just generally act adorable. She has the art of cuteness down to a fine science.

I love my family!