Sunday, July 6, 2014

3 Months

3 Months Old dressed in our Memorial Day outfits!

Every time I take the girls out or I talk to parents, I'm told the same thing: they grow so quickly, cherish this time!  Even just 3 months into their lives, I can attest this is true. With every advance the girls make in growing bigger, sleeping longer, eating more, talking more, I lose a little of what they were only a few weeks earlier.  While, yes- my postpartum emotions still get the best of me and I get teary thinking about those teeny tiny babies all wrapped up in the hospital, I'm so HAPPY and grateful that our little ones are growing so well and are so healthy.  I have worked hard at cherishing every moment with Lyla and Nixon both separately and together and plan to continue doing so as a Stay at home Momma as long as I can.

After I was given my 8 weeks maternity leave from March of Dimes, I chose to resign from my position and instead continue my work through the foundation as a volunteer through our family team : Team Sawyer & Tristan.  While I enjoyed my job immensely and my decision to leave was not an easy one, the reason I joined the foundation as an employee was so I could act as a Mommy everyday to my children that I lost too early.  After many prayers, talks with my sons in heaven, and discussions with Trae, we decided that I would be better being at home as a full time Mommy to Lyla & Nixon and continuing to volunteer to March of Dimes as a family, then leave the girls and continue to work. We believe Sawyer & Tristan would agree, as well.  

We haven't had a Dr. appointment since 8 weeks, when the girls got their shots and I've been too busy/lazy to weigh them at home.. so I don't know how much they weigh- but they are growing SO QUICKLY! I look back at their photos often and can't believe how much they've changed. Now that Nixon's face is filling out more, she is starting to look more like her sister and I'm being asked often if they're identical.  While they look completely different to us, I can see why people ask.

So much has changed from Month 2-Month 3.  They eat more, they sleep more at night, they're awake more at day, they both smile a LOT more and like to interact more.  

Food: Both girls moved from the 4 oz Medela bottles to the 8 oz Dr Brown bottles this month. They are now eating formula and breastmilk throughout the day, appx. 4-6 oz a feeding.  They tend to eat every 3-4 hours.  They are eating Gerber Goodstart Gentle when eating formula.  

Reflux: Both girls still spit up after every feeding. It's exhausting. We go through at least 2 bibs per baby a day and often times 2 outfits per girl/day. On days where I have no plans to get out of the house, I most often stay in lounge clothes (a.k.a. pi's) or Yoga pants because I WILL be spit up on.  We switched the girls from Zantac to Prilosec 2 weeks ago and I think the acid has been alleviated a little.. but we're still in the "wait and see" phase. The medicine won't stop the girls from spitting up, but it is supposed to stop the acid from coming up with the milk and causing any irritation. I don't think I will ever forget the smell of stomach acid in spit up.. it smells nasty and the girls are often uncomfortable because of it. No fun.  We give the girls the medicine while they're in the bathtub since they often spit out some of it and it's super sticky thanks to the grape flavor I had the pharmacy add, thinking it would make the medicine easier to take. Someone please remind me my daughters are babies and don't care that the medicine is GRAPE FLAVORED! (duh)

Sleep: This has progressively gotten much better week after week. I am writing this in week 15 and Nixon has now slept 3 nights in a row for 10-12 hours a piece, no waking up. While I'm aware that this could be a growth spurt.. I'm LOVING that she is getting good rest. We put the girls down IN THEIR CRIBS (we transitioned out of rock-n-plays at 13 weeks) between 8-8:30 and Lyla will usually wake up for a bottle between 2-3, then sleep till 7 while Nixon will sometimes wake up around 6, but other times not until 8! If I could learn to go to sleep by 10, I would be getting some amazing sleep! Read: it's currently midnight as I'm writing this.

Sizing: We are just starting to transition the girls into size 2 diapers. They fit better but we have about 100 size 1 diapers that we already opened and would rather not eat the cost of those, hence the transition. Hey, diapers are expensive!  The girls wear 0-3 clothing.

Typical Day:  
2:30 AM Lyla wakes up in crib crying for bottle. I rock her in glider in nursery while feeding her 6 oz. She takes 4 oz, burps and goes back to sleep in crib.
7 AM Lyla wakes up for day smiling and cooing in monitor. I go get her from crib, change her out of her Merlin sleep suit, change her diaper and put on day clothes. I breastfeed Lyla while watching the news. 
8 AM Lyla goes back to sleep on Boppy Lounger in living room. I eat breakfast.
8:30 AM Nixon wakes up in crib. I change her out of merlin suit, change her diaper and put her in day clothes. She is smiley and happy as I change her. I feed her 6 oz bottle, burp her and put her on boppy lounger.
9:30 AM Nixon falls back asleep, Lyla is still asleep. I wash bottles, clean up from breakfast, drink large glass of water, then gatorade (for milk supply), start laundry, make bed & take quick shower.
10:15 Lyla wakes up cooing and wakes up Nixon. Both girls are fussy. I change diapers & I put them on floor to practice tummy time, rolling over & grabbing. We sing songs and both smile & laugh at patty cake when mom pats them while singing song.  
10:30 Lyla is crying - I give her 4 oz bottle while Nixon plays in pack n play.
10:45 Nixon getting whiney, I give her 4 oz bottle.
11:15 I change diapers then read the girls a book while they fall asleep on boppy loungers
11:45 I clean bottles, clean up house, do laundry, eat lunch with Trae when he comes home for lunch.
12:30 Both girls are awake. I change diapers & we play on Mom's bed while Mom folds laundry. We love staring at the ceiling fan and at our own hands. I pump.
12:45 Girls are hungry- I feed both at same time 5 oz bottles. 
1:00 Quiet time in bedroom after girls eat= nap time!
2:00 Girls wakeup- I change diapers thenI turn on music in bedroom and take turns dancing with the girls. They like the movement, especially when mom turns around in a circle holding them. Big smiles all around.
3:00 Back in the living room we play peek-a-boo, practice standing, practice sitting in bumbo seat and girls entertain themselves. I change diapers.
4:00 Girls hungry- both eat 5 oz bottles ( I nurse one of the babies, usually)
6:00 Lyla is napping, Nixon is fussy but awake. Trae gets home from work.
6:30 Bathtime starts! Nixon bathes first- she loves it! She smiles and kicks her feet cooing and smiling the whole time. I let her soak an extra few minutes then dry her off, clean diaper & give 6 oz formula bottle to start bed time.
6:45 Lyla bathtime. She also LOVES bath time. She smiles and coo's through the whole experience. Dry her off, clean diaper, 6 oz formula bottle.
7:15 We put both girls in their Merlin sleep suits and take upstairs with 2 oz left in bottles. I rock one baby in glider while Trae rocks other baby in his arms. The sound machine is on "waves"
8:00 Lyla is put down first, asleep in crib.
8:30 Nixon takes longer to settle, eating her 2 oz and the rest of her sisters and she goes down in the crib asleep.
8:45 We eat a quick dinner
9:30 I pump/watch TV with Trae
10:30 We go to bed.

Social Outings

We are doing so well at being more social with the girls! We find that as long as we're home in time for bath time to start (6/6:30), we can do just about anything with our little ladies!

This month, we attended our first college sports game when we went to a UT baseball game.  I had some anxiety about bringing the girls since it was very hot outside, but packed up some cold bottles of milk, a full diaper bag of other items we might need and we went on our way!
In the end, we lasted 2 innings inside the stadium.  It was simply too hot and too loud. No bottle, nipple, or pacifier was going to make the girls like the situation when the cheering for the baseball game started. The girls just screamed- they were so scared.  So, we left the game and went to the parking lot where we turned on our air conditioning, fed the girls and chatted with some friends before going to eat lunch out.

Trae had a week long work trip to Dallas this month, so my best friend and college room mate, Heather (who we refer to lovingly as Aunt "la la") and her daughter Haley came in town to visit and help me with the girls. It was such a NICE visit. Heather currently lives in Louisiana, so we don't get to see her as often as we would like. It was so nice to be able to spend some girl time with she and Haley and it sure was helpful to have an extra set of hands to help me with the girls.

Trae's 2nd Fathers Day was great. We went to church, where the girls were perfectly quiet and content during the service. After church, we went and visited the boys in the Chapel, like we do every time we go to church. After church we met our friends Kindra & Jack Poage at Lamberts, Trae's pick for his Father's Day brunch! A yummy treat!  We came home where Trae found his Father's Day gift- a table for his green egg grill.  

Lyla working on her tummy time
Aunt "La La" & Haley came to visit!

We attended our first birthday party for Camdyn Kelso- a superhero theme party!
Super Twins!
Papa loves holding his Super Girls!
Trae receiving his Father's Day gift from the girls & I.
Lyla was not impressed with her bumbo seat the first time we tried.
Meeting Great Grandma Jeanne at Nana Mary's house. 
Celebrating 4 generations!
Nixon is starting to smile & "coo" lots more!
We attended our 1st college baseball game- it was HOT and LOUD! 
Tailgating after our meltdown in the game
Sleepy heads back in Mom & Dad's bed. 
Trying out our excersaucer for the 1st time. Still too little, but we were very interested! 
We LOVE going on walks!
Lyla likes making smiles into the monitor camera at night.

Father's Day Brunch at Lamberts.
We wake up SO happy- it is so much fun to wake up to!
Lyla is the most smiley baby!!
Looks like our big blue eyes are here to stay! 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2 Months

One of the most common pieces of advice I have been given is to "Enjoy every moment because time flies and they grow up so quickly!" As the girls start to develop and we accomplish mini milestones we can already tell what all these parents are talking about! Our girls are still so little but my goodness- they are growing so quickly!

I like the idea of keeping track of the girls' milestones and general schedules on this blog so we can show them later what life was like for our little family, when they were little. Plus, its a great way for US to remember as I think most of this will just be a general haze in as little as a year.

Days tend to fly by these days in the blink of an eye. Lack of sleep, lack of real schedules, lack of real showers and LOTS of pumping/nursing get in the way of any day feeling very structured.  I find myself wanting to do things like "tummy time" and/or read to the girls one of the many books we were gifted, but instead with any free time I have, I'm making lists of things I can't forget to do, stuffing a somewhat healthy snack down my throat, picking up the house, cleaning bottles or catching a nap.

Something I wasn't fully prepared for in motherhood was the guilt I would feel for an array of things: lack of breast milk supply no matter what supplements I take, how much I pump/nurse or how much water I consume; asking our parents for help and then subsequently asking our parents to leave when the house is feeling crowded; the idea that I'm spending more time with one baby then another; lack of developmental activities throughout the day, etc.

Play mat time
While I am aware that our journey to parenthood is different than most and we felt prepared to experience an array of emotions, guilt wasn't one that we were expecting.  Ultimately, this guilt comes from wanting to be the best parents we can be to Lyla & Nixon and after talking to many friends about this, it seems to be a normal feeling for most new "Mamas".  For me, I remind myself every time I start to feel guilty of my journey and my thanks for the two beautiful, healthy babies I have in front of me. Before I know it, the guilt/sadness has melted away & my focus is back on the beauty of the situation.

I am still actively nursing and pumping for the girls, but starting to realize that my supply will never grow to the point where I can supply enough for both babies full feedings. Trae and I have been using donor milk from the Austin Milk Bank, but the $4.50/oz cost has us unable to maintain that nutrition for the girls.  I have worked with the best Lactation Consultant in Austin & a doula to help with my schedule, nutrition, supplements and the girls latch to ensure I'm doing everything in my power to increase and maintain my supply. I had the difficult conversation with both this month that I would need to look into alternate forms of nutrition, whether that be donor milk from an actual donor or formula. It broke my heart to hear that I needed to move on from the thought process that I couldn't provide enough milk for the girls. I have been working SO hard since the actual moment they were born and immediately latched on (with the help of the nurses) to ensure breast feeding success, but according to the LC,  many twin moms just can never supply enough for 2 babies. The fact is, I'm making enough milk for one baby... just not 2.

I'm grateful I'm able to make any milk at all, I just never prepared myself for the idea that my body wouldn't be able to produce enough milk for both babies. I have ALWAYS looked forward to breast feeding my babies and it made me feel guilty, insufficient and unworthy as a Mother that I couldn't supply the girls with the only thing they needed to survive.  In a sleep deprived-marathon-pumping-haze I remember asking Trae "What would I do if we were in a horse & buggy in the 1700's & breast milk was the only form of food for the girls?!" He looked at me like I was crazy and just reassured me I was doing a good job and to continue doing what I could do. It took me about a week to really grasp this information. In that week I cried a lot, looked into ways to boost my supply, marathon nursed and pumped, chugged water and in the end, my supply increased so minimally.. it was obvious the LC and doula were right. I began to introduce formula as a secondary nutrition and continue to do so whenever I don't have enough milk to feed both babies. The girls get about 2 bottles/day of formula.

Spit UP
It's official: the girls spit up almost every time they eat. I wan't sure if they were spitting up for sure until we started increasing the amount of food they were eating at a single time (going from 2-3 and now 3-4 oz)but OH YES... we are spitting up.. almost every time we eat. Poor babies. They usually don't care they are spitting up, but occasionally Lyla will cry a lot after she spits up.  Also she has started arching her back and her voice sounds raspy at times.. all signs of GERD. Our Pediatrician is telling us just to keep an eye on it and to keep her sleeping elevated, so for now.. no medication, just being proactive rather than reactive to try to alleviate the symptoms. Until then, we are going through a lot of bibs & burp clothes!

I was cleared at my 8 week check up to start exercising as normal, so in the coming weeks/months I hope to start adding more to my repertoire, but for now we are taking family walks around the neighborhood as often as we can. We enjoy getting out together.

Our 1st family walk with the girls

My 1st attend at baby wearing. Lyla loved it!

The Ehlerts came to visit

Leisha was a pro giving tandem cuddles. 

The Tenerys came & brought dinner and held the babies while we ate. The second time for Katie to see the girls!

Nana Sharon & Nana Mary both continue to help SO much, we're so thankful!

Pastor Carolyn came to bless the girls and check on us, as well as feed our hungry, tired tummies! We are so blessed by our church & Pastors. Their love makes us feel closer to our boys since they are close to them every day.

Nixon immediately fell asleep on Pastor Carolyn. 

Parker came for a visit to drop off yummy food Heidi had cooked!

Uncle Paul & Aunt Mandy stopped by several times to see the girls & offer a helping hand. Uncle Paul got pooped on by Lyla - he MUST be her favorite! ;-)

We took the girls to the chapel to 'meet' their brothers & pray  with them. An emotional visit, but a special one of many.

Pre bath snuggles

Addie & Jack meeting their cousins for the 1st time. They were amazed by how small they are!

Our sleepy girl giving us the stink eye. 

Ashley came for a visit to give me a needed nap - thank you Ashley!!!

Colbie loves the babies

Lyla gave us her 1st smiles!! 

What a beautiful smile!!!!

The girls napping together in the pack n play

Parents of twins are ALWAYS multi tasking! HA HA HA

George loves his babies so much- he hates to hear them fuss and cry!

I have to catch my zz's anytime I can grab them!

My 1st time baby wearing in public. Lyla wanting to be held while we were eating lunch at Austin Terrier.

One of Nixon's many funny faces.

Bath time! They really do love it, despite the funny faces.

A fairly typical day for us:

12:30/1:00 AM Feeding. I usually nurse one baby and Trae bottle feeds the other. We burp them, change their diapers, swaddle them and put them in their Rock n Plays, which are still located in our room.  We turn on the "ocean waves" sleep sound and all go to sleep.

3:30/4AM Nixon normally wakes up ready to be fed. I take her into the kitchen and start warming up a bottle of breast milk. While doing this I typically change her diaper & try to soothe her by giving her a pacifier.  She eats 4 oz and goes back down quickly. I then wake up Lyla and change, feed, swaddle her before putting her back down.  The whole process takes about an 1 hr 15 mins. I'm completely exhausted & climb into bed, anxious about when the girls will wake up next.

6:30/7AM is our next feeding and it's the same process as above, except I normally change them out of their nightgowns into footed pj's for the day.  Trae leaves for work and the girls and I get settled in, in the living room to spend our day.

8:30 I usually try to either do tummy time or some playmate time, but this normally only is about 10 minutes before the girls start getting mad. It normally results in both babies crying, Lyla in the bouncy seat and Nixon being held or vice versa. If I can put both girls in a seat, then I can usually go wash bottles for a few minutes, or eat a banana (my breakfast almost every morning).

10:30/11 Both girls are ready to eat/get changed again.  They typically fall asleep right after, which gives me a few minutes to eat something else, make the bed, tidy up and drink some tea or coffee.

12:30 Trae normally comes home for lunch about 3 days a week and gives me a couple minutes to grab a quick shower/go potty/ take a breather away from the girls before he runs back to work. His lunches home are only about 30 mins so its a quick, but much needed visit!

1:30 Both girls are ready to eat/get changed again. One will usually take a quick nap and one usually stays up to play/look around. We will do different activities like walk outside and look at plants, visit their nursery which is getting very little attention these days, practice tummy time on our bed or I will just sing to them. Its fun to get a little more one-on-one time with the girls.

4:00 Both girls are ready to eat/get changed. I try to plan this properly so that Trae comes home to happy girls, but it doesn't always happen that way. More times than not, Trae is walking in the door to  2 crying babies and an exhausted Mama, but many days it's peaceful and I look like SuperMom. Well, Supermom with no makeup on, no dinner offered, a messy house and messy spit up clothes, but quiet babies, so SuperMom none the less.

5:30/6 Trae snuggles with the girls while I prepare/heat up/figure out dinner.

7:30/8 We give the girls a bath, feed the girls a bottle (4oz), change them into their nightgowns, swaddle and begin the bedtime process.  It's often 10:00 before the girls are down for good, at which point we try to discuss Trae's workday, my day with the girls/watch a TV program and relax for a few moments without babies.

Our 7 week check up on Ash Wednesday with Dr Terwelp

Our Friend Brooke Stacey came by for a visit!

Nap time turns into play time more often than not.
8 week Post Partum check up with Dr Reue

Papa snuggles