Sunday, May 31, 2009

NICU Reunion & Some Scattered Thoughts

Our NICU had their yearly reunion yesterday, & even though the guys are only 5 weeks (I think my math is right) out of the hospital, we thought it would be fun to go see the guys' former nurses & docs. & it was cool to see the people who had taken such good care of our little dudes, & show off how huge they're gotten, but it also reminded me how incredibly blessed we were with our NICU stay.

We met 2 other parents of preemie twins (identical girls born at 30 weeks & boy/girl twins born at 28 weeks), & they had 60 day & 80 days stays respectively. The girls, who were absolutely darling, have struggled with delays in growth & development, & at 9 mos were barely larger than our boys. (One of the nurses actually thought the boys were older.) & the little boy half of the boy/girl twins was hearing impaired. Now, I'm not trying to say these kids are doing "worse" or are somehow less well-off than our guys-- each of them was absolutely beautiful & perfectly happy & busy little kids, just as they should be. It's just that the extra struggles they've faced highlighted for me how incredibly lucky we were (& are) that reflux & adjusted development milestones are thus far (& hopefully the only) legacies of our boys' early birth.

As difficult as our time in the NICU was, (& it had its terrifying moments-- I don't think I knew what fear was before those early days with the guys), at least it is now something we can say with some level of confidence is in our past. With every passing month, the boys get closer to catching up to their actual age, & aside from a few more tests on their hips & the continued battle against reflux, we're moving closer & closer to leaving the preemie issues in the past. The same is not true for a dear computer friend whose perfect little boy still has hurdles to cross (& I have no doubt that he will come up aces-- the kid is amazing!) & the sweet little ones we met yesterday. These kids are so amazing. After having had just a taste of the challenges they face, I am in respectful awe of them & their parents. I don't have much of a point here, I just wanted to send some love out to my fellow NICU families, & a special prayer for those who continue to fight the preemie battles with their little ones.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Seriously Cute

How cute is this kid? Con was just grinning it up when we were playing just now, & I had to post this, I just love it!
And my sweet Val sleeping. Haven't been able to catch his smile yet... but trust me, it's as cute as his bro's!

Pregnancy Sex?

I was just talking with some one about the whole post babies sex debate, & she mentioned how sexy she felt while preggo. Which got me thinking. I know some women see pregnancy bodies as beautiful, & a sign of ultimate femininity & power, & that makes them feel sexy, but for me, the giant swollen belly was NOT a turn on.

Even had I been able to have sex, once I got to a certain size, (which happened fairly quickly considering I was carrying 2), I mostly felt like a beached whale. You can't move well, rolling over is darn near impossible, my back hurt no matter what position I was in & (sorry to be gross), but some parts of me were so swollen that I'm not even sure if sex would have been possible! :P

I have to say I am not one of those women who loved being preggo & loved her preggo body-- I loved it only for what it could do (namely, grow my beautiful babies), but I was more than happy to give it up & shrink back to a more comfortable size. & I think N felt the same way-- when we would do some safe playing around, he always went out of his way to avoid touching the belly. I guess neither of us found the baby-carrying body a very sexy thing. Wonderful, amazing, miraculous even, but not sexy.

When I explained all this to my friend, she thought I was nuts. What do you think? is pregnancy sexy?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sex After Babies

For those of you don't want to hear about my sex life, quit reading now. For the rest of you, sorry guys, but I have to vent!

For those who don't know, I was on pelvic rest basically my entire pregnancy with the guys, at first due to baby A's (now known as Val) placenta being over my cervix, & later due to the preterm labor scare. & then there was the 6 week wait post c-section. Since then, we manage to get it on maybe once a week. N is feeling deprived, since prior to the pregnancy, we were an every day couple. He's been fairly patient, but I know he's frustrated, & in turn I'm getting frustrated with him for pouting over the lack of sex.

Case in point: Last night, we got the boys to bed early & jumped in bed ourselves for some fun. Of course, as the mommies among you know, as soon as we got in bed, the guys woke up & started crying for food. & there is no way I can focus on sex when my little ones need me, you know? Hungry babies come first, in my mind. So we get up to feed the guys, which ends up being an hour long process bc of Con's reflux attacks & Val's huge appetite. By the time they're back in bed, I am exhausted & sex is the last thing on my mind. (Did I mention I haven't slept more than four hours for the past week? & I mean broken up 4 hours, not a 4 hour stretch. & I let N take a giant 4 hour nap yesterday afternoon bc he was getting super cranky. So yeah, I was (& am) really tired.) N, of course, wants to pick up where we left off, & when I say I have to sleep, he gets all disapointed & pouty. Which leaves me feeling guilty, so I try to explain to him that it's not that I don't want to have sex, it's that I can't be all things to all 3 men in my life at all times right now-- there just aren't enough hours in the day to keep them all happy & still have time to sleep, let alone 2 minutes to myself. I know the "mom" role is taking precedence over the "wife" role right now, & I feel bad about that, but I'm doing the best I can.

I'm on my own for 14 hours a day with the boys when N works, & when he's home, I'm still the one doing laundry, washing bottles, doing the grocery shopping, the cooking, & taking care of the critters at least 80% of the time. I have to prompt him to do baby things (i.e. it's time to change the babies, it's time to feed the babies, play with the babies, whatever.) He is totally willing to hang out with the guys, but he's not very self-motivated. (& then I second guess myself, & think maybe it's just me being all type-A about this stuff. But seriously, if the baby is hungry, you feed him. you don't wait until he's screaming hysterically. seems obvious to me, but maybe it's not.) & yes, N works & I don't, so the majority of the baby care is my "job" & I don't mind doing it, but I feel then he shouldn't be surprised when I'm exhausted at the end of the day & not up for sex.

& finally, (this is about to be TMI, sorry), but sex still hurts for me. It's fun during, but not so fun after. It's nothing permanent & is totally related to me still breastfeeding & the birth control I'm on right now, but still, it sucks. & knowing that I'm going to be really uncomfortable for a good while afterwards does not provide much incentive to get it on frequently.

& N really is (mostly) understanding about all this. Or at least he says the right things, but it's just lip service. I know he's annoyed but just won't say so. I would almsot rather he just b****ed about it like any other guy instead of playing the martyr with me. It's a temporary problem for pete's sake, at some point I will stop breastfeeding, the boys will start sleeping & I can switch birthcontrol pills. But for now, I'd appreciate a bit more understanding & a bit less pouting.

If he was serious about getting more, then an offer to let me nap, or have an hour to myself, or even just initiating some baby care on his own without me prompting him would go a long way towards getting me in bed more often. Honestly, at this point, although it is still fun during & I know it's good for our relationship, sex has become just one more thing I have to do to keep my family happy. It's a job. & I know that really offends N, but at least I'm still willing to have sex, right? Why can't he just take advantage of the fact that I'm willing, without being insulted about how I shouldn't feel "obligated"? Of course, I'm obligated, I'm his wife! If I really didn't want to, I wouldn't.

I know this has turned into a really long rant, but I have one more complaint, & it has nothing to do with N. I know that I should consider myself lucky that my husband still finds me attractive enough to want to have sex with me, despite the fact that my a** has so many stretch marks on it that it looks like a detailed map of Detroit. (Either that, or he's so desperate I could be Medusa & he'd take his chances just to get laid!) But I don't feel attractive. I feel pudgy, & totally tore up from the neck down. Having twins destroys your body if you're short & skinny, & I'm only 2 1/2 mos. post delivery. Don't get me wrong, the boys are absolutely worth it, & I'm sure it will get better with time, but feeling super ugly does NOT inspire one to get naked, you know? Of course, that's my own personal problem & exists just in my own head, but it's still there. N was never one to give alot of compliments, & I never needed them before, but it sure might help to hear some now. Although asking for them jsut seems pathetic, you know?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Feeling Pretty

No matter how exhausted, frumpy & funky I am, when my babies smile at me I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.


My husband's family has a bit of a "history", (I don't want to get into a lot of it, as he's a very private person & wouldn't appreciate it being all over the web.) So we'll shorthand the problems & just say his mom passed away when he & his older sister were 4 & 5, & his dad married the woman he knows as mom shortly afterwards & they had a surprise daughter when N was 9 & his older sister 10. Now that everyone is grown up, (older sis is 31, little sis is 21), both girls ran off & got married, & I mean they RAN OFF. Ditched the rest of the family, so that we now have no contact with the older sister & very limited contact with the younger sister. N & I weren't involved in either situation leading up to the girls ditching the family, but bc we refused to "be on their side" against their parents & have insisted on staying neutral, the girls have kind of lumped us into the side of the family they no longer speak to. Both sisters ran off in the last 2 years, & the youngest just got married last month & has been having all kinds of fights, etc with her folks ever since, & now both sides are claiming they'll never speak to each other again. (Which is totally possible with N's family-- all of them are very proud & are very hurt & angry over this.)

Anyways, this is all just background to my point today. N's family took a long time to warm up to me. They were always super polite & nice, but I was not what his mom had in mind for N. I think they were hoping for a "country" girl, who rode horses, hunted, etc, & instead they got me, a hockey loving "city" girl. I then further disappointed everyone (my family included) by ditching the 6-figure job to move back to MI, marry N & go back to school (all with N's blessing, of course). Point being, I was never his mom's favorite. According to N, she's always had a very prickly personality, & I wondered how she'd do with the boys, since they aren't her "blood" grandchildren & I'm not her favorite in-law.

My worries have thus far been totally unfounded however, as she adores the boys & has been nothing but super supportive through the whole NICU/ new baby experience. (N's younger sis & her biological daughter spent 3 mos in the NICU, so she was actually more understanding about the NICU fears than my own family, which was a switch.) She's also been way more involved & nicer to N & me since the boys arrived. I'm not sure if its bc the boys birth coincided with the her daughter (the younger sister) leaving, so that now we're really all the family they have left. Or maybe grandkids would have melted her heart regardless. I'm not sure, but it's like I suddenly have value as a member of the family now. & although I'm glad for the change, I find it interesting that grandbabies could so change a person's attitude. Anyone else have experience with babies changing the family dynamic?

Monday, May 25, 2009

everything smells

in the wee small hours of yesterday morning, we woke to crying babies (not unusual). i got up to fix bottles, & on my way to the kitchen, i walk pass the laundry room & notice that our hall has turned into a swamp of murky laundry water (this is unusual).

i had been doing laundry & the plug to the basin where the water drains had fallen in to the basin & plugged the stupid drain. ALL the water had run out, into our first floor hall & closet. & of course the laundry room was flooded too. awesome. meanwhile, the babies are still crying. so i throw down some towels, get bottles, & go help N feed the guys. of course, this doesn't go well either. both dudes start projectile puking all over. & i mean all over. their cribs, our bed, the carpet, us, themselves. i had no idea so much milk could come out of such small people. so now, not only is our 1st floor flooded, but every piece of laundry that could be dirty, is. at this point, we give up. N has to be at work in 2 hours, the 2 of us combined have slept maybe 4 hours total, & when Val pukes in our bed again after N has passed out, I just clean the baby & then throw down more towels so i can sleep on top.

all the mess was still waiting for me when i got up for the day a little before 5, & things were looking even better bc now everything smelled either like baby puke or mildew. yee-ha. so i wait til 8, then call my folks & plead for help. thank god they live so close! they were here in maybe 20 minutes, & brought fans for our carpet, & coffee for me. (did i mention we were out of coffee filters? yeah.) anyways, after doing laundry ALL DAY yesterday & cleaning like crazy, things smell a bit better, although it's going to take a while for our carpet to totally dry. (thank goodness we're planning on ditching the carpet entirely soon.)

so yesterday was super fun. & N missed it all. sometimes i think he's got the easy job, dealing with crooks & drug dealers all day long!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Update on the Kidlets

We had their 2 month check on Wednesday & all looks good! They got their first round of vaccinations. (Yup, we're doing all of them-- there is no proven link between autism & vaccinations, there is no longer mercury in vaccinations, & I personally think it is incredibly stupid to put your child at risk for a bunch of very scary diseases.)

Anyways, back to our update-- They're growing really well. In fact, they grew so much that they're actually on the normal baby scale! They're in the 90th percentile size-wise for 2mo. old preemies. On the regular baby scale, they're at the 6th percentile for 2mo. olds, which yes, is small, but considering the fact that they aren't even supposed to be measurable on that scale yet, N & I were super thrilled! Val is 10lbs 8.5oz & 21.5inches, & Con was 9lbs 15.5oz & 21 3/4 inches(he's still fighting reflux, so he's gaining a little slower, but still in a healthy range.) They also ordered an ultrasound of their hips, which was never done in the NICU. Apparently since Con was breech & I'm pretty small to carry twins, they're at higher risk for hip dislocation bc they were so smushed at the end of the pregnancy. We have no reason to believe anything is wrong, so this is just precautionary.

We've also had 2 nights were they slept 4 hrs in a row! I'm SOOOO excited about that-- the extra sleep makes you feel like a whole new person. Developmentally, they both can smile (not consistently, but they're working on it) they're starting to coo, & they can lift their heads & turn them side to side when on their bellies. They can track objects with their eyes & are starting to have a couple long bouts of wide awake "playtime" everyday. Their technical adjusted age is 2 weeks, but the doc thinks they're more like 4 weeks developmentally, so they're catching up!! :)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

just one...

let me preface this by saying i would NEVER give up one of my boys or wish we had anything other than our prefect twin babies. i mean that with my whole heart, & love my kids more than i can say.

but as i run myself ragged around the clock, i occasionally find myself thinking almost nostalgically about the lost possibility of having just one baby at a time. my boys will never be an "only", never have both mom & dad's full & undivided attention, never have to not share. n & I will always be that much more tired & distracted.

i know there can also be great compensation for being a twin & having twins, & its the positives that we focus on our day to day lives, but i can't help but dwell on the differences between our experience as new parents & that of friends who had only one baby. what if we had had only one? would i still have fought preterm labor & preeclampsia? could i gave kept them from the NICU?

i know "fair" has very little to do with life, but i cant help but think that its somehow unfair that our boys will always have to share everything in way distinct from siblings who aren't twins. siblings at least have their own birthday, their own role in the family. i know the guys will figure it out, & we will of course encourage them to be individuals, but i don't think you can ever fully escape being a twin. & hopefully they wont want to, but all the same, i cant escape the "what ifs".

& then i see them cuddled together, or staring so intently at each other that you feel like an intruder just watching them, & i'm reminded how very special it could be to have that kind of bond with someone. for better or worse, they'll always have each other!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Boys in a Boppy Nest

Con making crazy faces
Val waiting for his bottle
8 weeks & they just keep getting cuter! :)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm going to do it...maybe...

I'm going back to school this fall. I've been off & on for the past year and a half what with the health problems after our 2nd miscarriage, then the months of bedrest & NICU time with the boys' pregnancy. N & I had a big talk about it & he is firmly convinced that I should stick with historic preservation, rather than switching to a cheaper degree in some healthcare related field. (Which I debated, in hopes that it might be easier to find a job in Michigan's sh*t economy.) When all is said & done though, I don't plan on going back to work until the kids are older so I have several years to wrap up degree #3 & hope the job situation here improves. & in all honesty, if I'm going to do something that takes me away from my family, I'd like it to be for something I enjoy. I've had a job a hated & the emotional costs weren't worth the money. I think I'll start with just one class this fall, and emailed the head of my program to meet up & discuss my options since I've been out of the loop for so long.

I still feel guilty about this decision, like its irresponsible of me to pursue a degree that will cost us more $, when we have 2 LOs at home. & maybe it is. Now that I've made the decision, I can't stop questioning it. We're still paying my student loans from law school after all. N seems so sure that I should do what I want instead of just settling for something to save us some $, but I can't help but feel incredibly selfish about this. It's such a gamble-- will the job market here open up in a few years? would I really be happy in the long run if I settled for a so-so job? will we still be secure financially if we have to pay for another 2 years of a master's program?

I need a crystal ball...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Baby Books

N & I are big readers... we are book junkies, and lately everytime I've been out I've grabbed a book for the guys. Since they've been awake alot more we've been reading to them alot lately, & it is amazing to see how much they enjoy listening. They even stare at pictures-- I love it! Dr. Suess's ABC's is a big favorite, bc there's a picture of a red rhino ("R" of course!) that both dudes will happily stare at for ages. Any reccommendations or favs of yours (or your LOs) that you all would like to share? We're big Dr. Suess fans here, & N has been reading them financial news too... it's really funny, but as long as he's reading to them right? :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

it's been a while!

n went back to work on friday, & since he works 12s & also picked up some overtime, i've been a "single mom" for the past few days & the guys have been running me ragged. we're getting into a bit of a routine tho which helps. & i've decided its best to have no expectations for my day, other than to keep the guys fed, clean & as happy as possible. & having my folks so close is an absolute godsend!

i was catching up on my reading list & saw kim commenting on her son's adjusted vs. actual age & i have to agree with her-- it can be tough to keep in your mind the fact that they're really only X age & remember that all their milestones will be adjusted. my cousin had a baby girl the week before i had the guys & her LO is sleeping through the night now... needless to say, my guys (whose adjusted age is 1 week) are not. we have to keep reminding ourselves that the boys are right where they should be. they are perfect little "newborns" even though they're approaching 8 weeks. especially when both n & i are desperate to get some sleep! we tried sleeping in shifts (i go to bed at 7pm & get up at midnight, & N sleeps midnight to 5am & then goes to work) but it just didn't work for us-- i couldn't make myself sleep that early no matter how tired i was & n was exhausted. so we're back to sleeping when the guys sleep at night & each of us just takes a baby. we still get maybe 4 hrs of sleep, but this way i can give n a break if i wake up first & feed both dudes so he can get a little extra before work. we'll see how it goes...

the dudes are also starting to have a lot more "wake up" time during the day. they have a couple good bouts of playtime in the late morning & afternoon. (they're up right now actually, bopping around under their play gym, although i'm expecting val to get hungry soon...)

a few updates-- thanks so much for all the kind thoughts & words about n's job & my grandfather. n's job is a wait & see situation, so for now he's just collecting all the overtime he can & we're going to keep hoping for the best. & my grandfather once again made a miraculous recovery. he just woke up on friday & by the time i talked to him friday afternoon, he was making plans to get his boat out this summer & plant his garden! i don't know what we'll do when he's gone, he's such a character & i just really hope i have as much fun at 94 as he does!

& HUGE congrats to mandy on her BFP! i couldn't be happier for you sweetie! (& will be keeping my fingers crossed that our other TTC buds will be joining her soon-- hugs to each of you!)

i really had a more interesting post in mind about twin drama, so that will be coming soon.. once i catch another minute to myself. as predicted, val is getting the munchies, so i'm off to start the diaper, bottle, baby cycle again!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of you wonderful mommies, of babies here on earth & in heaven! hope everyone has a great one!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

At least the boys are doing well....

Update on my dudes: We had a check up for both guys today. Con is doing better on his prevacid-- the reflux isn't totally cured, but much better & hpoefully will continue to improve. He's up to 8lbs 13oz now! Val we had in bc he's been having puking episodes where he projectile vomits his entire feeding-- it's like The Exorcist & very not cool. The pedi. couldn't find anything physically wrong with him, so we're going to continue to watch him & if he starts doing it more than once a day we'll have to have some more tests done. For now we're just watching him & hoping it's bc he's a big piggy-- little dude now weighs 9lbs 2oz!! They've been getting up to eat like every hour & a half this week, which is brutal, but at least they're growing well.

In less cool news, the state of MI is in huge debt & doing major budget cutbacks, & the incredibly stupid powers that be have laid off 100 state troopers, including most of N's class. Although the cuts this time weren't deep enough to affect N, alot of our friends will be out of a job come June. & the next round of cuts, (which they're threatening), would include N. Which would leave us in all kinds of trouble & likely force us to move out of state, which we REALLY do not want to do. We specifically moved here to be near family & raise our kids, & while we will do what we need to in order to get by, the thought of leaving our home & family is more than I can bear right now.

In more uncool news, my 94 yr old grandfather, who until recently has been in amazing health, is in a semi-coma state after a surgery. My dad is on his way to Grand Rapids to be with him now & we're hoping he makes a come back-- he's done it before & is the toughest old guy I've ever known, so if anyone can do it, I'm sure he can. He's always been in such great health & seemed so indestructable despite his age that I just can't picture things without him. So please, if you all can spare a moment, think some good thoughts for him.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Being Mom

It occurred to me while I was out getting a gift for my mom today that Sunday will be my first mother's day. I still kinda forget sometimes that a new identity for me is "mom". I still feel like the old me... "mom" still seems like it should be some one much older & wiser & more together than me-- I feel a bit like an impostor. Flying by the seat of my pants & hoping I'm not screwing things up too much. Anyways, N doesn't make much fuss over holidays, & I told him I just wanted to plant my garden for mother's day, so I doubt it will be a big deal, but it's kinda cool all the same. I wanted to be a mom for so long, I still have to remind myself sometimes that this is really my life-- I really am a mom of two little boys. (Anyone else think "mother of two" makes me sound kinda old? hehehe... N called me a mom of 2 the other day & it just sounded way too "grown up" to be me!)

I think the first time I really felt like a mom, (not in the surreal "whoa, i just gave birth" kind of way) was when Val was having an ultrasound done on his back in the NICU. He was so miserable & upset, & I was so furious at the ultrasound tech for making my baby so cold & taking so d***n long. It actually still kind of upsets me now. I swooped in as soon as she was done & cleaned him up & stood next to his isolette for ages with my hands on his little head & butt because every time I went to leave he started crying. That was my first "mom moment". For anyone who feels like sharing, when was the first time you felt like a mom?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

An Everday Update

boys: sleeping, N: running, me: waiting to pump. yay pumping. :P

So the jury is still out on how Con is doing on the prevacid. N thinks he's better, I think if he's better it's a marginal improvement, but his check up isn't until Wednesday, so we'll wait & see. We're going to have the doc check on Val as well, as he has started projectile puking an entire feeding periodically, but often enough for the "nurse hotline" (really the after hours triage for our pedi.) to want us to have him checked out, so we're hoping both guys are ok. GI problems in babies really suck, since if they aren't eating well everything pretty much goes to pot. So far we've headed off major trouble, I just hope things continue to be just minor hiccups, or nothing at all.

Random poll: How worried is everyone about the swine flu? I have to admit, it has me pretty paranoid, especially after both our pedi & my OB gave us warnings last week about keeping the boys home & being extra cautious. I know it's not in every state yet, but it's been found in our state (& in our area) & it scares the snot out of me, since the guys are still so new. (Their due date was yesterday, btw-- their adjusted age is now 1 day!!)