Just for the record....

Evidently the last post touched a nerve with some people, so let me set the record straight. We're all fine. Venting over a rough night with two needy babies in no way means we don't love them to death, or want them. Although so many of you who are parents have expressed understanding and empathy over how difficult those long nights can be, I think it's worth saying to the rest that having newborn twins at home is a challenge that few have faced. I might add the cliched but true "until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes...." Enough said.

As of today we've been home, the four of us, for two weeks. It's already hard to remember a time when the babies weren't here. They had kind of a big week. Saoirse had to get her leg recasted, unfortunately the foot was turning in again. At her appointment with Dr. Brown (her orthopedist) this week, she was very good, even though the air conditioning was out and it was about 90 degrees in there, and we didn't get seen until an hour late. Both of the girls went on their first outing to the lake, which they seemed to enjoy. They did really well on the car ride, too. They got some visitors, which they always like. More people to hold them, which is their favorite way to sleep. And they got weighed on Monday. Rowan weighed in at 5 lbs, 11 oz. Saoirse weighed 5 lbs, 15.5 oz with her cast, which means they're probably about the same size. Getting big...:) They'll be grown out of their preemie stuff soon, which makes Chris and I a little sad, even though it's a triumph. Before you know it, they'll be off to college. (University of Michigan, of course...)

This is so scary.

So, Gwen, Rowan, Saoirse and I have been home now for a week. In that time we have only spent two nights where Gwen and I were alone with the kids. Friday and Monday night. So we have had help. I have also been off of work for the last week. Despite those facts, I feel exhausted. And a grinding nausea fills my stomach. The kind sprung from fear. Can we really do this? It feels so hard and I keep thinking about what is going to happen in two weeks or so when the kids are still just as needy and still not sleeping very much and I am back at work. After our help has gone back to their normal lives, how can we possibly do this? It seems almost hopeless. The only thing that keeps me from completely panicking is that I know people who have done this. Somehow they survived, so we will too, right?

Last night, I found myself freaking out. Gwen has been doing a greater share of the late night duties, and I could see it getting to her, so I decided I would take the kids the whole night with some help from my dad. He was pretty tired though and crashed out by midnight. I didn't get to bed at all until about 2:30 am. At one point, I got so mad at Rowan for waking up her sister, I felt an urge to hurl her against the wall. Of course, all I did was pick her up and take her out of the room to try to soothe her, but still, the impulse disturbed me. I believe that other parents have had the same desire at one point or another, but if that thought occured to me now, how bad is it going to get?

They tag team us. One sleeps while the other one keeps us awake, so that they rest while we suffer. I know it is not intentional, but you get weird ideas in your head when you are starved for sleep.

Anyway, I don't want people out there thinking I am going to hurt my kids. Also, I am doing ok, really. I just needed to vent. I will tell you that any planning we had is completely shot to hell. I didn't think the kids sleeping in the bed was such a great idea, but now, anything that gets them to sleep for more than a few minutes is cool with me. I will worry about their being spoiled a few months from now. And, as time goes on, we do notice patterns that make it easier to handle them and find ways for us to get what we need to do done. It just is all on their terms, at least for now.

Rare moment...

No real new updates, I just wanted to post to show you one of the rare times when they are both asleep, and how ridiculously cute it is. I know, I should have been sleeping rather than taking photos.

Mom went home again this morning, so Chris and I are on our own for the rest of the week. We're terrified....this does get easier when babies are not newborns anymore, right?....

Ups and downs

Holy S"*t!! I was optomistic about what it would be like having Rowan home, since for the most part, having Saoirse at home by herself wasn't that bad. Between Gwen, her mom and I we had it covered and were managing to get 6 hours of sleep per night. I thought having Rowan home would make it harder, but not exponentially so, which turned out to be the case. The first night Rowan was here, Gwen's mom had to leave, but my brother was here so I thought we could handle it. The first night he and I stayed up until 5 am and then slept for about six thanks to some excellent work by Gwen. However, that's when reality set in. The second night, Evan went to bed because he was leaving early the next morning and I had to try to put the girls to sleep. They eat and sleep on different schedules and there's not a whole lot you can do about it. They both do fine when you are holding them, but how can you hold both of them and do what each one needs (get breast milk ready, change them, clean them. It doesn't work. And if Gwen and I both stay up, no one ever sleeps. It takes an hour to get them up, get the bottle, feed them, change them and then put them down, and you can only do one at a time. I got up at 7 am Friday to work and was exhausted. The worst was Friday night though. I had a bad day at work, was exhausted and it was just Gwen and I. Gwen had been taking care of the babies for 12 hours straight by herself if you count my sleep and work. Then we took them to the doctors appointment and came home. I told Gwen to go get some sleep and took care of them for their next two feeding times and I thought I was going to die, and it wasn't even night time yet. Luckily, somehow, almost as if the girls sensed I needed a break, they had a rather quite night and slept for 3 hours and then 4 hours, giving Gwen and I two chunks of sleep. When they were in the NICU, they were fed every 3 hours, but it seems they would rather eat every 1.5-2, which is almost impossible for us. Gratefully, Gwen's mom is back here tonight ahead of schedule because we put out and SOS and it is already less stressful. It was just in time too, because last night I forgot which was which when Gwen came to relieve me at 2 am.

Saoirse got her cast off on Thursday, which is great. Unfortunately, I have to do physical therapy on her twice a day. It consists of twisting her foot up and out for five minutes at a time. I think I have discovered a way to manipulate time and space after doing this a few times. The clock almost goes backwards, making it the longest five minutes I have ever experienced, over and over again. I also just about leave my body as she screams at the top of her lungs and looks up at me. I consider myself pretty tough when it comes to these things. I am a doctor and have treated many people. As part of training you learn to separate your emotions in these situations so that you can do what is necessary and in the best interest of the patient. Still, it kills me.

On the bright side, they are beautiful and getting big. Their checkup with their doctor went well and they seem to be doing great in general. We have given them their first baths in their tub and both seemed to like it. We also used their stroller for the first time today taking them around for a little walk earlier today.

Finally, I didn't realize how much having the kids would impact my interaction with the outside world. The first time I took Saoirse to the store, 4 people stopped me and commented on how small and cute she was and started asking all these questions about them. When we went to the doctor with both of them, we parked in two spots because the cars previously had parked just outside their lines. Since I had to get them both out of their carseats and there were plenty of spaces in the lot, I took up two spaces. When we came out of the office, a big red pickup was parked 1 inch from the drivers side. I sat their, dumbstruck, when this dude comes running out of the office saying he wouldn't have done that if he had known, ie I had two babies with me. I was so tired and pissed I was speechless. It was kind of funny watching the guy trip over himself trying to apologize and move his car when he realized I had two kids.

Anyway, the journey has just begun and I am already humbled by the prospect of doing this for years and years. I also know that as they grow, certain things will get easier and other problems will arise. Let the adventure continue.


Good news. Rowan got to join us at home tonight. They warned us a couple of days ago that she may be coming, but the nurses always warned us that you don't really know they're leaving until you're walking out the door with them, so we weren't sure. But she's been doing really well on her feedings the last several days, and she's gaining weight. They said at discharge tonight that she weighs 4 lbs, 6.5 oz now, and that she has grown 1 inch since she was born. She seems pretty content so far, having been home 2 hours. She drank a bottle, went to sleep, and is now in her very own crib. The picture here is of her in her carseat in the apartment, before I got her out. What a face...:)
Saoirse has been doing pretty well her first few days home. We're getting to know her schedule, as opposed to the schedule she came home from the NICU with. She doesn't really like eating every three hours, as it turns out. She wants to eat smaller amounts more often, so we're adjusting to her needs. She also really likes being held A LOT and sleeping in bed next to her mom. What do you know?...she's making up for lost attention while she was in the hospital.
More soon...


Well, at least we have one baby at home. Last night we brought Saoirse home with us from the hospital. That made three weeks and one day that she was there. We now have a ton of medical appointments to go to. Pediatrician, orthopedic surgeon, ultrasound, ophthalmology (although I am going to do this exam myself. There's nothing wrong. She just needs a routine screening.) and physical therapy.

I think for a first night we did pretty well. She feeds every 3 hours. I stayed up with her to do the 1 am feeding. Gwen got up for the 4 am. I did the 7, Gwen the 10 and so forth. It takes about an hour to get the baby up, get the bottle ready, change her (sometimes once before and once after), feed her, then put her back to bed. I am hoping this routine gets shorter once we have it down better (and when they are strong enough to get all their food from the breast). We'll die trying to feed two children if it doesn't. It is amazing having her here. It is a lot more worrisome too, of course. When I put her down after the 1 am feeding, I tried to sleep. The crib is in our bedroom, and every time Saoirse made a sound, I got nervous, thinking something was wrong, and got up to check her. Obviously, I didn't get a lot of sleep but Gwen and I both managed to get some, as opposed to some horror stories I have heard where babies refuse to sleep and parents stay up non-stop for the first few days. Luckily, Gwen's mom is coming to save the day tomorrow, because once the week starts, it is going to be hard to go to work after these nights of little sleep.

As a policy, the hospital sends all premies home on a monitor. These monitors are not as nice as the ones in the NICU. It is a strap around her chest that checks for breaths and heart rate. If the strap moves, for instance every time you feed her, the alarm goes off all the damn time. It is really a pain and Gwen and I were told that they should be on the monitor for a few months. We'll see about that.

Right now Gwen and Saoirse are napping and it may be the cutest thing I have ever seen in my entire life. Warm fuzzies popping everywhere.

Rowan is still in the NICU but she is doing well. She weighs 4lbs4oz. Her nurse is going to pull her NG tube (tube used to supplement her feedings) tonight. As long as she can gain weight by feeding on her own, and maintain her temp., she should be coming home soon. Which sounds great, but right now having one home while its the weekend seems like a ton of work, so we'll see what happens when they are both here.

I must admit, I really enjoyed having Saoirse all to myself earlier today when Gwen went to visit Rowan. After my initial panic of course. Even still, its hard to imagine one person taking care of two at once.

Thanks for reading. We'll keep you posted.