168 hours a week

Hello everyone. This blog hopefully won’t be too long. But I say that every time, don’t I? Things have not been going as smoothly as I like. I knew preemies were going to be hard, that I was going to be exhausted being locked up with them all day. But I thought that the difficulties would be administering meds and dealing with their crying. Well guess what? That’s the easy stuff!

So no surprise; twins are a lot of work. But I’m really blessed that the girls are both really good babies. Fussy at times, yes, but mostly happy and pretty much healthy babies. And get this: they already sleep through the night!! We usually feed them at 8:00, put them down at 9:00, get them up for one more feed at 11:00, and put them down for the night. They usually sleep until at least 6:00, sometimes even until 7:00. And we love it! Sometimes Abigail wakes a bit fussy, but Eva is a tremendously good sleeper. So we really lucked out with that, because things could be that much harder. I’ve heard stories of mothers who religiously feed their babies every 2 hours for months and months, and God bless those women. They will have a fabulous milk supply, very little sleep, and toddlers who struggle to sleep at night without food.  OK, I’m hypothesizing on all of that but I’m not going to be the one to put it to the test. I like my sleep, thank you very much!

Our main struggle right now is feedings. The basic gist is that they both have started to take less and less milk with each feed. When we left the NICU, they were taking full bottles every time, roughly 3 ounces. We first saw Eva start to do it: taking between 1-2 ounces with each feed. It surprised us, because wouldn’t a growing girl be hungry and want to eat? I panicked and thought it might be an oral aversion, which is a definitely a worse problem, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. She sucks on her pacifier, and she really loves to suck on her hand. So we thought maybe the reflux was causing her so much pain that she didn’t want to eat. She still throws up on a daily basis. So I think reflux is part of it. Our doctor today told us that if it was terrible reflux, they’d be fussy all day and night. So now she is leaning towards it being a milk protein intolerance. I have to cut out all dairy from my diet so they don’t get anything that is making them sick. I had a tear in my eye as I watched Kevin eat my Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream last night.

Anyway, it looks like these eating problems might last a while and are quite typical for preemies. It’s a little bit nerve wracking because Eva has basically not gained any weight for a month. I think for normal newborns it would be extremely worrisome since it’s generally not typical. I’m not thrilled about Eva’s current state, but the nice thing is she is really pretty healthy otherwise. She is actually still growing (she grew 1/2 an inch in 4 days) and is right on track developmentally. She has a lot of trouble pooping on a daily basis (sorry to get so…honest) and we’ve tried numerous things on the doctors’ and nurses’ recommendations: diluted prune juice, Karo syrup, glycerin suppositories, oatmeal cereal…I’m only mentioning these things for moms who might be reading this and having the same issues. Trust me, it would be nice if I could find this information easily on the Internet but it isn’t quite that simple. Let me do what I can to spare an inkling percentage of you readers the pain and effort.

Abigail eats a little better, although she still vomits daily as well. Our biggest frustrations have been that they refuse to eat at times, but also that we have had trouble getting medical professionals to take our concerns seriously. I have called numerous times to speak to a doctor, only to be told I would either have to wait for a nurse to call me back in a couple of hours or wait eight hours for a doctor to call me back. It’s caused me to get nasty on the phone, and I don’t like myself when I’m nasty. I hate being the annoying mom that calls the doctor for every little thing, but a baby having problems eating, vomiting on a daily basis…I don’t think that’s normal. Maybe I’m wrong; this whole parenting thing is new for me, but the only time vomiting daily is normal is when you’re pregnant. After saying all of that, I should elaborate that over the past month I’ve spoken to a good half a dozen doctors about this issue, and while all of them wish this wasn’t happening, none of them are concerned that there are any pressing emergencies. I think at this point for me it’s has sunk in that the girls are going to have feeding issues for several months at the very least. I’m confident they will outgrow it (they are Italian/Hispanic after all; they need to learn to love food!) but the struggle is far from over. I wish there was a magic button or easy solution to this problem, but if I have learned anything from my own past medical experiences it’s that some of these things are bitter struggles that only serve to grow one’s character and faith in the Lord.

Changing the subject, so now here comes my little paragraph about things that I might construe as advice for anyone who thinks it’s helpful. If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, download the BabyConnect app.  It’s seriously the best app ever for keeping track of things like feeds, diapers, sleep patterns, nursing, medicines, etc. The data entry is a bit of a pain, but it’s worth it! Also, if your baby has reflux and has to sleep in an elevated position, use Bendy Bumpers. The NICU used them, and we loved them and bought some when we got home. They do the trick.  Also, I know we are somewhat fortunate that the girls were preemies and could therefore come home on apnea monitors, and while the monitors are a pain, they do give us a huge peace of mind so we can sleep without worrying about SIDS. Eva is actually already off of hers, so we use the AngelCare monitors with the sensor pads under her mattress: it detects any lack of movement and goes off when it senses nothing for 20 seconds. It was a little pricey but definitely worth it in our minds. Again, these things are just tidbits that I’ve picked up from other moms who have generously dispensed advice. Well, the BabyConnect was my own discovery. It’s not for nothing that I’m a tech junkie. 🙂

I promise the next blog update will have some pictures. I’ve been quite busy, needless to say, and I haven’t taken too many pictures. I do have a video of each girl smiling; I’ll post them below. They are such cuties! I’m biased, I know. I hope I can be more diligent about letting you all know what’s going on. It actually took me about two weeks to write this blog. Half of the problem is I type these out on my iPad, and Kevin regularly steals my iPad to play Wheel of Fortune. So I guess I’ll have to get better at hiding. I think it’s a skill that mothers should develop anyway. 🙂