Monday, June 22, 2009

Silly cat.

No Jackson, we did not get the bird feeder for you!

Happy Father's Day.

My whole life growing up, I knew I had a special dad. He was kind, gentle, a quiet but strong protector--always meant and still does mean the world to me. In the awkward adolescence stage, we went on "dates," which always made me feel on top of the world. He taught me things--most trying was probably learning the stick-shift. Even thought I know I made him crazy numerous times, he gritted his teeth and muscled through it. I'm fairly certain--at least don't remember--my dad ever raising his voice to me, and yet I always respected him. I've cherished each and every moment, then and now.

As I got older and started dating, I compared every guy to my dad. Most fell very short. If they didn't mirror a lot of my dad's qualities--they were made to hit the road. Most did fairly shortly--I kind of feel sorry for them now. They didn't even stand a chance! One final sticking point my dad--the all-knowing handy man--always pointed out to my sister and I was that, "If we can't marry someone who can fix everything like he can, we'd better marry someone who could afford to pay someone else to fix everything like he could." I listened!

Not only can Sean fix everything like my dad, but he works hard to provide for his family. He's conscientious and kind, and loved by many. He's always treated me with respect, and is quick to complement. (What woman doesn't need that?!)

But what's making me fall in love all over again with him is watching him now as a dad. He's SSSSSSOOOOOOO loving with both kids, and I can tell already he has that extremely important father-daughter bond with Grace that I so hoped would be there. I do believe it's critical for how well-grounded women turn out to be--that relationship with their father growing up. Grace is set! Sean worries when they're feeling bad or fussy, and he spends extra time to make sure their every need is met. He holds them "just because," isn't afraid to change poopy diapers, and races home from work each day just so he can help and hold. He's proud to show them off in public, and quick to stress when deciphering each little cry.

Happy Father's Day, to my dad and the dad I married. I couldn't be a luckier gal.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two Little Darlings

Cool Little Liam.

Happy Little Grace.

Snuggle Bugs.

Just a quick word about their personalities. Grace? She's mellow, bright-eyed, and is a total Daddy's girl. She only figured out how to cry at about a month old, and the first time she did--it scared her and broke our hearts. Now, she's learning quickly how to use her little voice when she wants to be held. The only way we know she's hungry is when we hear/see her sucking on her fist. She's a real beauty, though a little flat-headed still from being wedged in my ribs for so long. Very calm, and very simple. Sean calls her his little squash--she curls up so tight on his chest. Definitely a little princess. . .

And then there's Liam. Liam is an Irish name, that actually means "strong willed warrior." We couldn't have picked a more fitting name for him. Not only was he a fighter in the NICU, surpassing everyone's expectations for oxygen needs, etc.--but he has such a strong personality already now! Goes from calm to on fire in about five seconds flat when he wakes up and decides he's hungry. Yeah, he gives notice. For about a millisecond--then you're in trouble. His hair is RED, too! Follows after his Grammy Gigi. (Sean's mom.) He's got the personality of a strong Irish boy, although he really softens up for mommy. He's our little pipsqueak--always making cute little squeaky noises awake and asleep, and has a raspy little grunt when he's hungry.

How to Feed a Baby

You know, I'm beginning to wonder when breastfeeding became such a public forum of discussion. Why everyone seems to think they have the right to know how I'm feeding my children. I've thought long and hard about this--finally figured I needed to vent. Granted, it's a bit personal--but if everyone seems to think it's okay to ask about such a personal matter--then I'd rather settle things once and for all. I've been trying to figure out if people ask because they're wondering how it goes with twins, or they're simply really too nosey?

My milk never came in. There--I said it. We can sum it up to a million different possibilities as to why, but it simply just isn't there. The few people that have asked, and I light-heartedly try to tell them. . .well, some simply act mortified that I wouldn't do everything I could do to continue giving them my milk. People--it wasn't a choice! I tried every remedy I could, natural and pharmaceutical, and I couldn't produce enough to feed even one. The heartbreak I felt going through this was intense and very agonizing. But then I had to snap out of it and make some smart decisions, because two babies were going to need a strong, competent mom, and they weren't going to wait for me to dilly-dally. I couldn't mope about because things didn't go as I had planned. And especially with twins--there's no time for moping!

So, I made a choice. Yes, I'm using formula. But no, it doesn't mean I'm less of a person. I thought for a while it did, but then I see how well the kiddos are growing, and how lucky I am that they're healthy. And they love me for just taking care of them. That's what counts!

When our parents or even grandparents were having babies, it was often considered taboo to breastfeed. A woman was abnormal for wanting to try. Some women even took shots to make their milk dry up faster. So, now that things have changed, gals in our era act like the world is ending if you can't feed your baby. I was one of them. Not only do I have a newfound sympathy for other mothers who go through this, but need to tell other people to think twice before you ask. Is it really your business? If a mom tells you no, or that she had problems, are you prepared to still be positive in return? And please--don't try to compare your breastfeeding stories to bottle feeding. No one wants to hear it, trust me. Just a word to the wise.

And let me tell you, I have an amazing husband. As we're not entirely reliant on me now for feeding, he gets up every night with one child (usually Grace--she's enamored with him) and feeds and nurtures them. The twins are having an unusually early opportunity to bond with their dad, for which I am grateful. Also grateful for the added moments of sleep this has allowed me.

First Sunday in Church

The day I found out we were having a boy and girl, I told Sean I had to go shopping! I bought two outfits that I swore would be worn their first Sunday in church. Low and behold, conditions finally worked out to be able to take them this past week (June 14th). I believe they got a very warm welcome.

This is Tea and Carl from church.
Liam matched Carl--was too cute.
Had to take picture. Ah, kids.

It's Business Time

You try feeding two newborns at once. Challenging to say the least. I believe I've found a solution.

Shout Out to Pledge Fabric Sweepers!

No, this isn't really baby related. Or maybe it is. But for anyone with indoor pets, you have got to give this a try!

Being home all day with a periodic chance to watch t.v., I fell prey to a commercial for the sweeper with promises to collect all the pet hair in your house with a couple of easy swipes. Sean laughed when I brought it home, but GUESS WHAT! It works like a charm!

They retail for about five bucks give or take, and are disposable--but I'd spend $20 for the ease and effectiveness. Seriously--I haven't found anything better to collect T-Bone's hair. . .that she likes to leave everywhere. Those tape rolls don't measure up at all.

Get one. You'll be very pleased.

Gestationally speaking. . .

They're here! Friday, June 12th was our official due date. We "celebrated" by a trip to the doctor for a check up.

Liam is now 20" long and 7lbs.10oz. Grace is 19" long and 7lbs. 2.5oz. As soon as we got them home, they started packing on the weight. I'd have to say that while obviously--hospitals know how to take care of babies, and we're so glad they took such good care of ours--they're doing so much better at home!

Dr. Scott even said that developmentally, they're tracking at their real age, not the corrected gestational age. I'm convinced we're raising two little geniuses.

Here's a photo of them I snapped at the doctor's office. Happy Gestational Birthday, babies! You are amazing!

They've Arrived.

Little Grace at birth.

Little Liam at birth. This is still how he likes to "pose" for diaper changes. Really fun.

In case you didn't know, Liam and Grace are already almost seven weeks old. A friend of mine who I hadn't been able to keep in touch with emailed about a week ago, and was like, "Hey--you haven't updated your blog lately. What's up?"

Well, friends, my life changed dramatically. On Friday, May 1st, I went to see Dr. Levine in the afternoon, as my legs were so swollen and painful I couldn't hardly take it any more. He'd been telling me all along that yeah, it's part of pregnancy. And the more baby you carry, the more swollen you get. Well, I could barely bend my legs at that point! He did some blood work, called me back a bit later to tell me my kidney function was a bit off, but he didn't think it was a big deal. He wanted me to come into the hospital that following Sunday (he would be there on call), to do a bit more blood work. And oh yeah--bring a suitcase just in case, because if the numbers were too wacky, he'd deliver the twins--we were at that point. He also mentioned that b/c of the lack of change in my body, he still thought I'd get to week 37 without much hassle.

He also said that due to my discomfort, he'd like to "disable" me, so I could quit working (and basically moving), and live like the queen I was destined to be. I had only planned on working one more week anyway, so it was no biggie. So Sean and I go home, I take roost in my recliner, and start making LONG lists of things he had to do--as I medically no longer could not. :0)

We sat around for most of the evening, neither one feeling like making dinner or going to get anything. Finally, around 9:30 that night, we decided we were hungry. Went for a quick run to Taco Bell, and ate in the car on the way home. At 10:15, I declared I was going up to bed. Of course every pregnant woman has to pee before that happens. I did, and when I stood up to wash my hands, I felt a quick weird cramp then something starting to gush.

WAS I PEEING MY PANTS?!?! I had just peed--weird. I sat back down, and went between trickling and gushing. Sean was still downstairs--I didn't want to alarm him, so I waited. After about fifteen minutes, when it wouldn't quit, I yelled a timid "Honey?!" To which he came running. I told him I thought my water might have broken, but wasn't sure, so he sits on the edge of the tub and starts googling the subject. (Thank goodness for I-Phones!) It should be clear, it should smell sweet. Sean wanted me to smell it. WHAT?! I told him too--he declined. After another twenty minutes, we finally decided to call the doctor. She said the only way to know was to come in so they could test the fluid.

Luckily, my bag was packed, but I needed to feed the cats and brush my teeth. Sean couldn't understand why I'd want to brush my teeth when I had an emergency--but who knows how long it'd take before I could do it again? We finally go out of there, and when they tested the fluid--there was no doubt I was having some babies. We sat for a long time in disbelief waiting for the motions to happen at the hospital. Neither one of us had prepared for that moment yet, and I certainly didn't imagine it would happen that way.

The doctor had to deliver three other babies before she could take mine. I had to have a c-section (they were both in weird breech positions), so all the regular births got to go first. We waited in a birthing room for a couple of hours, then I picked myself up, walked into the operating room, and the rest is history.

On Saturday, May 2nd at 4:28am, we welcomed Liam Robert, 4lbs 10.2 oz. & 17 3/4" long. At 4:29am, we welcomed Gratiana "Grace" Ruth, 4lbs. 14.8oz. & 17 3/4" long.

As they were early--I had just made it to 34 weeks--Liam's lungs weren't quite developed yet, and both needed to learn to control their body temperatures and learn to eat well. They were in the NICU for five days, then moved into the "grower nursery" (ISCU) for the rest of the time. They came home together on Friday, May 22nd.

We've never been more tired, or more happy.