July 28, 2014

Chompers

We have a tooth! It's only taken 11 1/2 months, but yesterday Clara's bottom left tooth popped through her gums. 

I feel like I'm been on tooth watch for weeks and I even joked I had "baby tooth envy" to my friends. 

I'm sure it's not that exciting to anyone else, but it made my day! 

July 22, 2014

Operation Dump the Pump

For the first 8 weeks of Lucy and Clara's lives I pumped after every.single.feeding. It was time consuming and exhausting to say the least, but with them being preemies I wanted to be sure I had an ample supply for them. W was nice enough to take on the task of washing the pieces since I pumped the milk. For a few weeks we were sanitizing after every use due to thrush. We bought a chest freezer for storage as in the early days we were freezing about 25 ounces per day. 

When W went back to work I just couldn't pump during the day. It was too hard for me to take care of the girls, pump, wash pieces, and sanitize. So, I started pumping after the feedings when he was around or if I had an extra set if hands to help. The freezer got fuller and fuller as the girls completely refused bottles. I donated a couple hundred ounces, yet still space was limited. 

For the past few months I've been pumping only in the mornings after the girls ate. Although I appreciated the alone time (W entertains them at this time), I still hated doing it. I would consistently get about 6 ounces from both breasts. 

Recently I decided I wanted to stop. We very rarely use the frozen milk and our chest freezer in the basement has zero space. I've half filled my in-laws freezer and ours as well. 

So, a few days ago I decided it was time. Today marks the 4th day without pumping and it's going great. It's so freeing to not be hooked up to that pump and to get an extra 20-30 mins in the morning. I'm so grateful to have been able to build such a huge freezer stash with the help of my trusty madela pump in style, but so glad to not have to worry about freezing milk, finding space, or washing pieces. 

As the girls get closer and closer to turning 1 I know we aren't ready to start weaning. I think I'd like to cut back on their daytime feedings at that time, but I want to continue to nurse them. I'm so grateful to have succeeded in my goal of breastfeeding twins without supplementing. It really helped me regain confidence in the body that felt like it failed me so many times before. 

July 15, 2014

IVF Revisited

We did 5 fresh IVF cycles and 7 transfers to get Lucy and Clara here. During the process I researched and read about it as much as possible. I tracked hormone levels, medications, my response, and the results all on my blog. I found other bloggers going through the same thing as well as friends in real life through yoga for fertility to connect with. 

For a while there it felt like my life revolved around the IVF process. In the end it was totally worth it, but I can't say any of the details are still super clear at this point. Time has served it purpose in helping me to forget some of it. 

A few months ago my step-sister Liz started the preliminary processes to begin an IVF cycle. Her husband was married previously and he has two teenaged children. After the birth of his second child he had a vasectomy. This meant he would have to undergo a sperm aspiration surgery, but they knew that going into it. 

Through the initial blood work of hormone levels Liz learned she had DOR or Diminished Ovarian Reserve. Her FSH levels were very high and the drs didn't expect a great response from the meds. 

Despite what they learned they decided they still wanted to go through with the IVF. Abnormal TSH levels and a referral to an endocrinologist created another small bump in the road, but finally at the end of June she was cleared to start stims. 

Once her cycle started we began texting pretty much every day. I helped clarify things for her, explained the purpose of some medications, tried to calm her down when necessary, and cheered her on when her body had a great response. Her egg rerrieval was last Wednesday and they got 17 eggs!! Unfortunately the following day she learned that only 2 fertilized initially and that once fertilized many others degenerated. That day 3 others also fertilized. 

Liz transferred a 7 celled embryo on Saturday (they opted for a single embryo transfer-perhaps because my twins scare her, haha). She's currently in the two week wait. 

During this process I revisited some old blog posts in order to share with her. It immediately put me right back in that place and was such a reminder of the fact that I am a "success story" with infertility. I'm living life as a mommy to beautiful twin girls. That are ours. From our genetics. Grown in my body. 

These facts are amazing and not lost on me. My girls are so perfect and I feel so lucky to have them despite everything we went through to get them here. 

Reliving the process through my step sister reminded me how strong every woman is to go through that. Our babies may not realize it or appreciate it, but we put ourselves through a lot just for the chance to have them. 

So, if you get a second, please send positive and implanting embryo vibes to my step-sister Liz. We all know she could use them! 

Here's hoping I'll have a new little niece or nephew next April to snuggle. 

July 7, 2014

10 Months Old?!

Another month has passed and my girls are another month closer to a year old. It's so crazy they will be a year old so soon. This month we attended our first music class, swam in freezing Skan lake, rode on the boat for the first time, and celebrated Father's Day with W. 

We went to the pediatrician and found out that Clara was 15.3 and Lucy was 12.8. The gap had widened some between them, but Lucy had also had a rough month with her eating. She's doing better now but it's seems to be an on and off battle. We have good times and bad times and there's never really any clear explanation as to why. For some reason Clara got so upset at the ped and didn't calm down until we were in the car. We still don't know what got her so upset, but carrying her out undressed and screaming wasn't fun.  



Lucy- You are much happier these days. You are nursing well and eating new foods all the time. Backing off from purees has made you a much happier baby. You love feeding yourself and happily try new things. When we tried to take the cushion out of your high chair you quickly figured out how to recline with one foot on the tray. Although funny, we decided to put the cushion back to encourage you to sit the right way in your seat. This month you worked hard on perfecting your cheesy smile. You would smile as big as possible and squint your eyes really hard. It's so funny! I don't think I captured the perfect picture of it, but it really was cute. Sleep has been a challenge with you as you still want to eat at least once a night. I don't mind feeding you but wish you would sleep better in your own bed. You spend some time in our bed most nights, but we are all less stressed and get more sleep that way. For now it works for us. You've really started to like Clara more and smile and play with her. It's so sweet! This month you started waving and dancing to music from time to time. You love to stand up and can pull to stand from seated with our hands. You're happy on your tummy and have crawled backwards a few times. You've started to snuggle with a lovey for naps and bedtime and still love your paci. You fall asleep great for naps but bed time can be a challenge. You are getting so much better with strangers but still love your mama. You are babbling a ton and smiling and laughing all the time. You recognize a few words and signs but haven't tried to use any yet. You are so sweet and lovable and I love being your mama.




Daddy stopped and brought us home gifts from MacKenzie Childs

Getting adjusted at the chiropractor
Cheesy smile perfected!
Big girl loves standing in her sister's crib
Sweet rain boots!
Crazy girl!
 

Lounging in my high chair with my foot on the tray
Clara- You are such a silly little clown. You make me laugh and smile every day at your antics. You have been trying all different pitches lately and can get pretty high. You scream, squeal, groan, grunt, babble, and giggle constantly as you seem to have a lot to say. You try to sing along to music, even if it's at a funeral and you add in your chorus as loud as possible. You've starting efficiently rolling to get places and have even transitioned out of sitting to roll. You're super smiley and social with everyone and have been into throwing your head upside down a lot. You still love to eat and are expanding what you like with more solid foods. You go to sleep so easily and have taken to an owl lovey. You sleep 11-12 hours every night. You've gotten really into your paci and demand equal treatment by whining when your sister gets something you don't. You steal toys, food, and pacis from Lucy at every chance and love to have a paci in your mouth and one in your hand. You still don't love tummy time and aren't showing too many signs of crawling. You can pull to stand from a seated position by pulling on our hands. You recognize a few signs and words and you may have done the sign for milk the other night before bed. It sure did seem intentional. You love your bath but hate getting changed and dressed and cry almost every time. You are easy going but dramatic when you feel it's necessary. You are 15 pounds now and are such a big girl. I can't believe how much you've grown and changed from the 4 pound preemie you were 10 months ago! 




Just playing
Sweet boots!

Showing off her new neckalace

Soooo cute!
Modeling her dress mommy made 
Someone got a Cuse hat
We've started thinking about and planning for their first birthday party. It's definitely worth celebrating that we survived our first year with these girls.

Twin play date! Jack on the end had a twin who's watching over in heaven
We visited the NICU and saw our favorite nurse/lactation consultant 
Hanging with mommy
Nursing one baby while comforting the other
Hi mama!
Wearing some sweet boots
Frick & Frack

Grandpa came to visit!

Trying out our new swings at the lake
First boat ride
Not impressed by their life jackets
Riding like big girls in the shopping cart
This is what tandem nursing in the back seat looks like
Wearing the dresses mommy made
Everyone is full and happy
Cuse hats with Daddy
Strawberry picking with friends
Daddy didn't get to pick too many berries

July 1, 2014

Fail

I can't help but feel like a giant failure when it comes to Lucy and sleep. 

As I've said before, Clara goes to sleep on her own every night and sleeps 11-12 hours. Maybe 1 in 5 nights she'll need her paci, but she rolls right over and falls back to sleep. 

Lucy, on the other hand, is turning into a night time nightmare. Last night she went down fine around 7. Around 10 she woke up crying so I nursed her. She nursed well but then refused to let me put her down in her crib without screaming. W tried rocking her and putting her down and that didn't work either. She was screaming as if she was in pain so I tried to lay down with her. This didn't help either. I tried Morrin, I tried nursing again and she ate. With a full tummy she again refused to go to sleep. Eventually she fell asleep in our bed, but that is so far from idea. 

She woke at 5:30 am and nursed but has refused to nurse since. It's 3:30 in the afternoon. 

At the pediatrician yesterday she only weighed 12.8. This was an 11 ounce gain in 6 weeks. Although the ped didn't say much, I know this is not a great gain. When I asked him about the sleeping he said she should be sleeping through the night. He said I shouldn't feed her at night and should let her cry. That she'll figure out real soon that waking up and crying at night doesn't get her anything. He said she'd make up for those feedings during the day. 

I think I'd be fine with letting her cry except for the weight gain issues. The night feedings are often when she eats best because she's the most relaxed. She's 10 months old and only weighs 12 and a half pounds! 

So basically I'm feeling like a giant failure. I tried to problem solve and make changes but it hasn't solved our issues. I don't know what to do or who to ask for help in figuring out where to go from here. Feeling super defeated...

June 27, 2014

Dehydrator

When the girls were just eating purees I made them myself. Since switching over to BLW we have a lot of leftover purees in the freezer. I also noticed the girls really lovs snack type foods like mum mum crackers, puffs, and dehydrated fruit. So, in an effort to reduce to amount of processed foods I'm giving the girls I purchased a food dehydrator. Ideally I'll figure out how to make some kind of puff substitute, but for now I plan to make different fruit (and maybe veggie) snacks for them. 

Last night was my first go at it. I made apples (that came out delicious and amazing!) and I made an experimental snack. I combined unsweetened vanilla coconut yogurt with mango puree and a little honey. I put this mixture in a sandwich bag and cut off the tip. I then put little drops onto wax paper on the tray. After about 4 hours I checked. The drops were shriveled and stuck to the paper so I thought it was a bust. Well, come to find out, the little drops peeled away easily this morning. The girls tried them and loved them. The texture and taste is a lot like fruit leather. I would say they were a success! 

Has anyone else used a dehydrator? Any recipe ideas? 

Sleep Routines

For a few months we've been on the same routine/schedule. The girls typically get up and then eat somewhere around 7 am. From there we were doing an eat, play, sleep schedule with them eating every 3 hours. This meant they were also napping 3 times a day for about an hour each time.  Around 7 pm we would start our bedtime routine that included a bath, book, and a feeding before going down. It had been going well until about a week and a half ago when Lucy decided she was going to fight instead of going to bed. 

Some nights for the last feeding she'd nurse well, and other nights she'd refuse altogether. We tried bottles and that seemed to work some, but she was only taking a little bit and then falling asleep. Some nights she wouldn't go to sleep at all. We tried letting her cry but that quickly escalated. I'm just not the CIO type, so that wasn't going to work for us. It seemed she just wasn't tired. This made me reevaluate our schedule and make some necessary tweaks. 

They girls still get up around 7 and eat. They still get solids around 8 and go down for their morning nap around 9:00. They still eat around 10:30. This is where things have changed. After they get up from their morning nap I keep them up 3 hours, feed them, and then put them down for their only afternoon nap that I pray is decent in length. Yesterday they napped an hour and a half and were up around 2:45. From that point on the idea is to keep them up until bedtime. 

With this new routine Lucy is now going to bed at the regular time. There was one day they fell asleep early and didn't nap long so I put them down for a short afternoon nap. This resulted in Lucy not going to bed until around 9 pm. 

So, to sum things up the biggest change is the middle of the day. From when they first wake up they're up 2 hours before their first nap. When they wake up from their morning nap they are up for 3 hours until their next nap. After their afternoon nap we try to keep them up for 4 hours before bedtime. So far it's working much better, although there's definitely been more crankiness with the increased awake time.