Monday, June 28, 2010

A Social Weekend

I will not talk about sleep training
I will not talk about sleep training
I will not talk about sleep training...much

All I'm going to say is that it's going much better than last time and I am learning to adjust and be adaptable with their sleep routine so that they are getting their naps in and there is less and less crying. I would not declare success quite just yet but I am encouraged by the progress we make every day.

We had a great day today and I managed to time their naps so that when I took them to a play group I signed them up for, they were wide awake and enjoyed every moment of it! Yay Mama!

This past weekend, it felt like we really rejoined the world in a social sense. There are long stretches of time where we use the weekends to recuperate and just rest from the week and it's enough to do groceries and chores around the house. Not this past weekend. We were quite the social butterflies and I am very proud of the girls and how they handled it.

Saturday for lunch my DH's family came over to visit with the girls. We made it out in the morning to get some groceries and then we had take-out pizza for lunch. It was nice for the girls to see their grandfather, aunt and cousin and lunch wasn't too bad since we got take-out. Still, we picked it up so we had to get out somewhere to go get it and that isn't always easy with the whole family in tow.

Saturday night I used to prepare for Sunday morning as we had friends visiting from B.C. and that was the only time we could see them. On Friday I baked two batches of muffins during nap time and froze them for the breakfast. Saturday night after the girls had gone to bed, I washed and cut up all of the fresh fruit and made up the pancake batter, keeping the dry ingredients separate from the wet ingredients but preparing everything so all I had to do was stir them together and then cook them. I also set the table, got all of the pans ready and lined with foil to cook the bacon and hash browns and made juice so I didn't have to worry about those little details the next day. All in all, the preparations ahead of time made for a very smooth sailing breakfast the next day although I did burn a few pancakes because I got distracted socializing!

Sunday night, we had another friend of ours come over for dinner. He's an airline pilot in Taiwan and we don't get to see him very often either so he was over for a good steak dinner which my DH BBQ'd in the rain. Talk about dedication to the grill! We kept it simple - steak, baked potato and grilled veggies which I prepped in the afternoon, again during a nap.

The wonderful thing is that we were so social this weekend and it felt good to be doing something in addition to changing poopy diapers and wiping up spit up. I'm grateful to have the poopy diapers to change mind you but it is nice to do something different and it was very refreshing. It proved to us that with a little advance planning and preparation, we can have some semblance of a social life once more!

Monday, June 21, 2010

We're At It Again...

...sleep training.

(did everyone just groan or was that my imagination?)

Our girls are now 20 weeks old or 14 weeks corrected gestational age. We decided to stop swaddling them last week and it seems as good a time as any to start teaching them the skills to fall asleep by themselves.

It really hit me how important this was today when I was dealing with both kids who were super cranky because their napping schedules were off. I've signed them up for a class run at the local community center called Babygym where you take your kids and do "age appropriate movement". It was fun but the time is from 9:45am to 10:30am, right smack dab in the middle of nap time. As I was scurrying back and forth between the two cribs, sticking pacifiers into mouths that were promptly being spit back out, shushing, jiggling, trying to pick one up and then then other, I really felt like a chicken with my head cut off. It was madness as I was trying to soothe both and succeeding at soothing neither. I finally ended up having to let Victoria cry it out and fall asleep like that because I simply only have two arms.

I've also noticed that Victoria has started going from zero to hysterical in a nanosecond because she knows that we tend to cater to her as she is louder and, well, she's just really loud. We started calling her "squeaky wheel" (which we have to stop) but that completely describes her. We are guilty of catering to her needs over Caitlyn's because she is just louder. There is no chance of Caitlyn getting down when Victoria is screaming so loudly. I swear this afternoon I heard ringing in my ears that is how loud Victoria was screaming.

I also feel like I am rewarding Victoria's bad behaviour. Her crying sounds to me like she's throwing a tantrum and by responding to it and always rushing to her side when she does that reinforces the bad behaviour. I'm not saying that I won't go to her if she's genuinely upset and needs me, but this hysterical crying at naptime and bedtime needs to stop. I will lose my hearing if it continues.

This time around, we have also decided to use graduated extinction where we will allow longer and longer intervals between when we will go in and console them. We decided on 2 minute intervals.

Tonight, it took one 2, 4, 6 and an 8 minute interval between crying fits and they fell asleep. Total time - 20 minutes of crying not including any soothing time. All in all, better than the extinction method. We'll see how this works out second time around.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

No Teeth...Just a Virus

I took the kids to the pediatrician's today...I've been there three times in the last 7 days but better to be safe than sorry.

The pediatrician seems to think that the girls are NOT teething but rather have just caught a virus of some sort. He explained to me that the immunities that they picked up from me in the uterus are now starting to wear off and their own immune systems are taking over.

So, we monitor and wait. Caitlyn is still running a low grade fever at 98.5. Is that a fever really? Or, is that on the high side of normal? The girls continue to be sweet and smiling but they do get crankier when tired so they aren't back to their normal selves yet.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Caitlyn is definitely teething. She has taken to biting down on my nipple while nursing and I am desperate to try and figure out how to break that habit. I exclaim loudly "ouch!" and tell her that she hurts me when she bites down but she thinks it's a game and giggles back at me while smiling.

I'm going to try telling her firmly not to do it and stop nursing immediately and then sticking something more appropriate for her to chew on in her mouth.

I have to go shopping for a teething ring for her...the rattle I have has a teething part stuck on one end and it works but is a little on the big side for her tiny mouth.

Suggestions anyone??

Monday, June 14, 2010


My girls are 19 weeks and 2 days old (almost 5 months old). Their corrected gestational age is 13 weeks and 2 days (a little over 3 months).

I think Caitlyn is teething!

The poor girl has been drooling of late but I didn't pay too much attention as I figure you'll hit a point with all babies where they will simply drool. Then today, she developed a warmer temperature than normal. She doesn't have a fever per say but she is warmer than she normally is. Her normal temp is around 36.2 whereas today it was 37.7 and my understanding is that anything over 38 is a fever.

She's also been very upset all day today which is not normal for her and she wants to be cuddled and held a lot more. She was crying so hard at bedtime and she wasn't comfortable enough until I gave her some Tylenol which took away the pain.

She has also been chomping down during nursing which is painful for me but I was reading in the books that the pressure from biting down on something helps to relieve the pain from teething.

I can't see any part of her gums that are swollen so I'm not 100% sure however all the signs seem to fit. My Mom told me that this cutting the first tooth can continue on for some time before you actually see it. I hope for her sake that it comes through quickly and the pain subsides.

My poor girl!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Bad, The Good & The Ugly

The Bad
I haven't blogged of late because it seems as though I only blog when things are not going well and realized that I focus on the negative aspects of what is going on in my life. I am not a drama queen, really. This is just my place to go when things are not going great so I can figure it all out. In sorting through my thoughts to get them down in a coherent way, I organize my own feelings and sift through what is bothering me. So, I guess that makes me a bad blogger so I'm going to try very hard to keep blogging about the good stuff too and celebrate the little milestones along the way. That leads me to...

The Good
My girls are doing so well. We went into the doctor's for another vaccine shot Wednesday and they are putting on weight really well. Victoria is 10lbs 15.8 oz so just 0.2 oz away from 11lbs. Caitlyn is 11lbs 8.1 oz. They've always been about a half pound apart in weight so they are putting it on at the same rate. They are generally very happy babies and when they cry, there is a reason (i.e. hungry, tired, dirty bum to name the most popular reasons). They are not colicky so we are really grateful for that. They're outgrowing their 3 month old clothing (their corrected gestational age is about 3 months now even though they are 4.5 months old by the calendar) and will soon graduate into size 2 diapers - sniff sniff!

In talking with a lot of other twin mommies, I realize that not everyone has been able to put their kids on the same schedule. Now by schedule, I don't mean that I watch the clock and at a certain time of day, I get them to do specific things like eat and sleep. By schedule, I mean that I get the two of them to do the same thing at the same time, whenever that time is. When one wakes up, I wake the other one up. When one eats, the other one eats. In general, they nap the same amount of time so when one starts crying for her bed, the other one is usually really close behind. This allows us to have some semblance of normalcy back in our lives. I know the girls usually sleep for 2 hours in the morning after they get up and then their naps are usually for an hour to an hour and a half for the rest of the day. I'm getting a lot better at reading their cues and responding to them appropriately. It may not sound like much, but I feel like I can interpret what they are trying to tell me and then act appropriately so I don't have two really upset kids on my hands to deal with by myself. Before they would cry and we would have to try to figure out what it is that they want but I have a pretty good grasp of what that is these days. That feels good.

The girls have started sleeping for longer stretches at night. One of the only good things to come out of our attempt at sleep training was that we discovered what the girls' bedtime is. I usually have them in bed by 5:30pm or by the latest at 6:00pm and we don't hear a peep out of them until about 10pm when they want to eat. They go down right away and then wake up again around 2:3am or 3am for another meal. Finally, they sleep after that meal until 6am so our nighttime has definitely improved and we are getting a tiny bit more sleep. Of course the temptation when they go to bed at 5:30 is to run around and do a bunch of stuff that we couldn't do during the day but we have to remember not to succumb to temptation and go to bed early!

In terms of other developmental milestones, they are now able to follow things with their eyes so when I shake a toy above their heads and go from side to side, they can follow me now. They have both discovered their hands and it is the funniest sound to hear them slurping away on their fingers on the monitor. Victoria has rolled twice now although it seemed to be more by accident rather than on purpose but we are now keeping a very close eye on her when she's on the change table. Both are smiling and cooing and we have very long and loud conversations consisting of absolutely nothing and everything wonderful.

The Ugly
So here is my confession. Last weekend I was by myself and I managed to drop not one but both girls on their heads while attempting to position them for tandem breastfeeding. We're all okay and the girls didn't even have a bruise at all but I could not stop crying. I felt like such a terrible Mother. My sister verbalized it the best...we're supposed to be their protector and when we ourselves are the ones that hurt them by accident, it can be gut-wrenching.

I've been tandem feeding them for the past two and a half months with no issues but I forget that things will keep changing as they get bigger and bigger and more mobile.

So how did I manage to drop not one but both of them?

I sit on a couch to breast feed and have a large BF pillow that sits in my lap with the ends supported by two pillows on either side of me. I put each of my girls on the pillows on either side of me and then lift them into position one by one. Last week though, I lifted Caitlyn into place and then turned to lift Victoria into place. Suddenly, I realized that Caitlyn had rolled off her side of the pillow and was sliding off the couch head first. I grabbed for her but in doing so I let Victoria go and she also slid off her side of the BF pillow and off the couch head first. Both girls hit the floor on the top of their heads and flopped onto their backs.

Thankfully, the couch sits only 1 foot off the floor and thankfully, there is carpet in their room so it was a relatively soft fall. That being said though, I don't know who was crying harder...Caitlyn, Victoria or me. I was so upset and I felt like I was the worst Mother in the world to have let this happen. I thought I had given them concussions.

Being Canadian and living in Ontario, there is a public telephone service that you can call and speak with a registered nurse to get health advice. They help you to determine whether or not it is serious and if you should go to your doctor or go to the hospital emergency room and they always err on the side of being cautious. By this time I had placed a panicked phone call to my DH asking him to come home immediately and when he did, we called the phone service.

We were asked many questions such as whether there was a bump or bruise, a red spot at the site of impact, whether the girls were vomiting, if they cried immediately when they fell or if they lost consciousness and whether or not they had black eyes. The answer to all of her questions was "no" and so she told us that it did not appear that the girls were injured and to have them checked out by our pediatrician rather than going to emergency.


Since last weekend, I've spoken to many friends who have kids and everyone has at least one story of their kids falling off of something or being dropped for one reason or another. I've come to understand that every Mother has at least one such story and I am grateful that it was not a bad fall as it could have been worse. Way worse. My pediatrician even had a story like mine and even though she is a pediatrician, she called her pediatrician when it happened!!

I guess I've just passed another of life's rites of passages in becoming a mother. I know they're going to get lots of bumps and bruises along the way but what was different about this one was that I felt that this was something that I caused although it was a complete accident.

For the next time they fall and knock their heads, at least I now know what to look for to determine if it is a concussion and whether to go to the hospital or not. We're all okay though and I guess we're all stronger for it.

So there you have it - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Infertility Hangover

I have an infertility hangover.

I talked about how IF has changed my life in my last post on my other blog. I talked about the scars that it had left.

I realized how deep those scars ran today.

Today, Caitlyn refused to nurse three times and it broke my heart. I have to admit that it brought me to tears. You're probably wondering why this is such a big deal and I wondered the same as well. Why was this such a hard thing to accept that she won't nurse? Can't I just get over it and bottle feed her my expressed breast milk? As a parent, I should only be concerned with what is the best thing for her welfare and as long as she is getting breast milk, it shouldn't matter how...does it?

But it strikes fear into the deepest, darkest places of my heart, places that IF has only touched.

I fear that it is not a temporary refusal.
I fear that it will become permanent refusal.
I fear that this will lead to a dwindling of my milk supply.
I fear that this is a precursor to the end of all breastfeeding for my girls.

I have been thinking about this all day, more and more with each time she has refused to nurse. Why is this such a big deal?

The conclusion that I came to was this: IF has shaken my self-confidence as a woman to the very core. I have learned to take nothing for granted and not to assume that things a woman should be able to do will simply happen... getting pregnant... breastfeeding.

I think that deep down inside, I am waiting for my body to fail me yet again. Logically speaking, I know that there is no basis for this fear. I produce enough breast milk for both my girls such that we haven't used formula in over 2 months. I even have a decent amount of extra frozen in the freezer. There are other mitigating factors that influenced the breastfeeding today that, logically in my mind, make sense as to why Caitlyn would have refused to nurse...she was overtired and tends to lose patience with nursing when tired; she's going through a growth spurt at 16 weeks; she was having terrible acid reflux today. All these things added to a challenging day for her and didn't encourage her to breastfeed. I know all of these things in my head but my battered and bruised wouldn't listen.

I think my commitment to breastfeed is deeply rooted in my determination to not fail again. My body will not fail me again.

I'm not going to let it happen again.

Or so my heart thinks.

I keep reminding myself to keep my eye on the bigger picture. Caitlyn has refused to nurse before but she has always come back. Heck, just yesterday, she spent a whopping 20 minutes nursing at one feed and seemed to enjoy the time spent with me. Finally, first and foremost as a parent, my focus should be on doing what is best for my girls and that is giving them breast milk. Again, that is giving them breast milk and not breastfeeding them breast milk.

I am struggling to let go of my deeply rooted fears but it is not easy. I realized just how deep those fears ran today. I don't want to have those kinds of fears anymore. I want to live my life and embrace these experiences and learn from them and allow them to make me into a better person.

I don't want to be afraid of them.

I have discovered that the process of letting go is harder than I thought.