Friday, April 25, 2008

*Insert impossibly clever title here*

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. It really seems like only a day and a half. (Sure, that’s probably because I’ve only slept about 8 hours since then, so all of the days are just blending together, but whatever.)

The real shame is that, since my last post, I’ve thought of about a million updates for you—all wonderfully insightful and witty and otherwise brilliant. Unfortunately, because I haven’t been able to get my act together to write them down while they’re fresh in my mind, Poof! they’re gone. And the world will never know the genius that was…

So, in the way of a less witty and intelligent update, here it goes:

1. It turns out that having twins is hard. Really hard. I know what you’re thinking—we waited a freaking month to hear that having two kids is hard?! I’m never coming back again. But the thing is, it isn’t a cliché—it really is hard. Especially when they’re both crying and you feel powerless to stop it. And the funny thing is, everyone--our pediatrician, my lactation doc, our parents, random people we meet on the street--all tell us how well we're handling it. That we seem really calm "for twin parents." I can only imagine the disasters they see, then, because I'm constantly operating on almost zero sleep, have spit up on my clothes and in my hair, and panic when it looks like both babies are getting fussy at the same time.

Speaking of both babies getting fussy at the same time--it's super stressful. Sweet Potato has a cry that would absolutely break your heart. It’s like he is the saddest boy in the world and he just needs love. And the worst thing is when he’s crying like that and Monkey Girl starts to cry. She actually has tears. And seeing them stream down her face is equally heartbreaking. All I want to do is make them better, but I haven’t mastered the art of comforting two babies at once. If there are twin moms out there who have tips on how to comfort both babies at the same time, please share the secrets, because pretty soon hubby will be back at work full time and I’m on my own. And I’m scared about it.

The good news is that we’ve discovered the joy of excursions. Sure, it tires us out to be on the move all day, but when the babies are in motion, they’re calm. Asleep even. So, in addition to our daily dog walks, we take one excursion a day. And it makes me feel almost human on those days when I’ve strung together only three hours of sleep in total.

2. In the first week or so after delivery, I watched the weight fall off and thought, “how hard could this possibly be?” I dropped about 35 lbs of my 55 lb weight gain almost immediately and got all smug that I’d be back to my pre-transfer weight in no time. And now the scale is stuck and I’m realizing that I might have to actually cut out the B*n & J*rry’s and C0stco chocolate chunk cookies* if I want to drop the last 18. I’m not overly worried about it—I get that it will take a while—but I have to admit that it smarts a bit when the cashier at the B*st Buy asks me if I know what I’m having and I have to explain that I’m not, actually, pregnant anymore. *sigh*

3. I hate to say it, but I don’t miss being pregnant. I think I’m supposed to, but I just don’t. I am really enjoying being able to cut my toenails and sleep on my back. And I’m LOVING taking long walks again with the stickies and the dog. (The absolutely gorgeous weather we’ve been having doesn’t hurt either…) And I really love not having to rely on ultrasounds and dopplers to know how my babies are doing. For me, pregnancy was merely a means to an end. An end at which I’ve happily arrived.

4. I had my four week postpartum appointment last week and it looks like all’s well. I’ll be cleared to take baths, swim, and exercise after six weeks. (So, I guess I’ll have no excuse not to get started on dropping those 18lbs, huh?) Like so many infertile new moms, I had a good long laugh when my doc talked to me about birth control. “Start by using condoms right away. You need to be careful.” Ha! Ha! (doubles over laughing) Oh, wait. My bad. You were serious. Yeah, okay, I’ll go back to condoms. *wink, wink*

I mean, come on, if there’s one good thing about not being able to get pregnant without medical intervention, isn’t it that I don’t have to endure the nuisance of condoms ever again? Give me a break.

5. Breastfeeding twins is complicated on every level. On the one hand, if they’re both hungry at once, it’s hard to feed them together. I almost never do it. So, when you flip to those pages in your pregnancy books that show pictures of calm women nursing twins effortlessly by using the “football hold,” know that it’s a sham. It’s really hard. First of all, when they’re both attached to your breasts, you don’t have a free hand to help relatch one of them when they come off (or start hurting you), which they eventually will. Second, you can’t tend to one to burp him or her, etc. with the other is attached to you. (Or, I can’t anyway. Again, any dexterous twin moms out there with tips, I’m all ears.) Third, when they go on their tear where they’re both feeding every 2-2.5 hours, all you do is feed them. Literally. It’s all you do. And finally, without some serious dedication to feeding and pumping All. Day. Long. it’s really hard to build your supply up enough to avoid supplementing, particularly at night when the supply is lowest.

And, frankly, since breast milk is more easily digested, babies wake up hungry more often on breastmilk alone. So, I don’t really mind giving 10-20 cc’s of formula before bed in the hopes of getting, say, one three-hour stretch of sleep. (PS—that rarely happens, though, even with the supplementing, unless you fall asleep immediately when their heads hit the pillow. Oh, and only if they happen to be on the same feeding schedule at bedtime. It’s all very complicated…)

6. Yesterday was our anniversary. Four years. Of course, this year all we could muster the energy to do is go to the local brewery for a quick sandwich then come home to try to sleep (ha, ha!), but still. I wouldn’t have it any other way. ☺

Okay...babies crying...must go nurse. Moo. ☺

*For those of you who didn’t know, C0stco has THE BEST chocolate chip cookies in the world. Seriously, best ever. Pick some up today.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Quick updates and Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato

I feel like I have much to say, but little time to say it. And, because it’s been too long since my last post, here are a few un- (or semi-) related updates:

1. C-Section: Thankfully the c-section went pretty well. The spinal wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated, but it was definitely weird to be numb like that. I have to say that it probably did detract just a bit from the birth experience. It was weird to be behind a curtain, unable to move, and to hear my babies’ first cries. But, they quickly washed them up and brought them over to me. And hubby was able to hold them and I was able to touch and kiss them right away. It was definitely a surreal moment.

2. Recovery: Things have been going pretty well, all things considered. There’s no question that the first couple of days are hard. And, everything you’ve heard about getting up and moving around is right on the money—it helps immensely, even though it feels a bit torturous as you’re going through it. And the pain isn’t awful and remarkably does diminish noticeably with every passing day. Saturday was the worst day—but the only one I was on perc*cet (sp?). Since they I have only been on motrin and advil. And now I only take that just a little. I’m not quite 100% yet, but I’m a lot better and really looking forward to the weather getting nicer and being able to take nice long walks with the stickies and the dog again.

But, to all of you out there who may have a c-section in the future, here’s a tip from me to you—don’t let your bladder get too full when you’re recovering. This is a little known tip that nobody ever talks about (or that nobody every told me in any case), but let me tell you, it ain’t fun. I fell asleep for more than three hours one night after drinking a ton of water. When I woke up to go to the bathroom, I can’t tell you how much having a full bladder hurt! YIKES! And, it took a while after going to feel better. No fun. I wish someone had warned me.

3. The Stickies, aka Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato: So, now that the stickies have met the world—and shown their very distinct personalities—I’m going to have to refer to them by something other than the stickies. So, from now on you’ll likely be hearing about the adventures of monkey girl and sweet potato. Monkey girl because, well, my beautiful little girl looks and stretches like a cute little monkey. (We had actually bought them stuffed animals before they were born—a monkey for the boy and a giraffe for the girl—and we had to switch them. She really has monkey-like qualities.) Sweet potato because our little boy is always balled up like a little sack of potatoes. It’s so funny how different they are, even at just over a week old.

In any case, they are both beautiful and I love them. I definitely still stare at them wondering, “did you really come out of ME?” It’s so strange. And, they look and act NOTHING alike. It’s really funny. Monkey girl has so much hair! And it’s coiffed in this adorable little pixie cut—I mean, it’s got little spiky layers and everything. It’s really too funny. Sweet potato has hubby’s little round head and much more olive skin. (And hubby’s hair…or semi-lack thereof. ☺) It’s amazing to think how differently your genes can mix together and what they can produce.

4. Being a parent: I always knew that being a parent was going to feel overwhelming. And it does, but not in the way I expected. I thought that midnight feedings and sleep deprivation would be at the heart of it. But really, that stuff—the “process” stuff—is manageable. Sure, we’re tired. But the really exhausting and hard to get used to part is being so emotionally invested and “on” all of the time, and in a way I’ve never experienced before in my life. It really is true that your life is no longer your own. And, while I’m happy to devote myself to these wonderful new arrivals, it definitely happens fast and furious and can feel a little overwhelming. At 8:26 on Friday morning, I was thinking about how the spinal was affecting me—whether I could breathe right or whether something was going to make me feel weird. Then, suddenly, none of that really mattered. At 8:27am, when I heard Monkey Girl cry for the first time, the only reason I cared about how the spinal was affecting me was because I knew how much these two little beings needed me. It wasn’t about me anymore; it was about Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato.

I know that there will be a time when it doesn’t feel quite as intense as it does right now, but for the moment, it definitely feels overwhelming to know that I’ve been blessed with such an enormous responsibility.

5. This blog: Now that I’ve officially crossed over to the other side, the nature of this blog is going to change, if only to acknowledge the continuation of my journey. To be sure, I’m (we’re) still infertile. But, for the foreseeable future at least, there will be an increased focus on babies and … well, parenthood, I guess? I say this more for me than for you. I think you all know that I sometimes feel funny about talking about pregnancy or babies because I don’t want to make anyone in the trenches feel frustrated or upset. But, to be true to myself and to our journey, I’m going to try to be as open about where I am now as I was when I was cycling, etc.

6. On Hospitals: I’m going to have to write a much longer post about this, but I have to say that my four days in the hospital were less than ideal. I found the nurses, in particular, to be wildly inconsistent. A few were remarkable—really wonderfully helpful and supportive. Some were just overbearing and annoying, and one made me so angry I’m actually filling a complaint at the hospital. (Long story short, the evening of my c-section, without warning, she was checking my bleeding and started forcefully pressing down on my uterus. It was excruciating and I was begging her to stop, which she only did when hubby leap off the couch to come over and stop her. It was awful. She also let my IV run dry and gave us terrible breastfeeding advice. She’s on my sh*t list, to say the least…)

It was really interesting, though. I’ve never spent any time at the hospital before, and it was a weird feeling. It’s a very paternalistic place to be and I was so happy to be discharged and able to just come home and start to muddle through these early days on our own.

So, that’s the update for now. Most of all, thank you all for your wonderful words of congratulations and well wishes. It really means the world to me. ☺