Monday, September 08, 2014

Letters from the Twin Trenches: 6 Months In

Back story to our "Letters from the Twin Trenches" series...When we were in the BVI's we met up with some blog followers.  They were young, fun and we enjoyed hanging out with them (and the left over provisions they gave us from their charter when they flew home the next day).  Fast forward to months later when I announced our twin pregnancy on the blog...  Imagine my surprise when I got an email from Kimberly telling me that she, too, was pregnant with twins and only a week ahead of me.  "Must have been something in those painkillers!" she wrote... And so began a pretty incredible and prolific E-pal friendship chronicling our respective pregnancies and birth stories that continues to this day.  Her beautiful fraternal twin girls were born (full term) two weeks before ours and I have to tell you, sharing our (eerily similar) journeys via email has been very cathartic for me.  Solidarity.  If there is one thing you need as a parent of twins it's community.  We need to know we are not alone when it seems our sanity is teetering on the brink, which it will do from time to time when there are two newborns in the house.  Particularly if those newborns are screaming in unison.  These are some letters to her...they tell it like it is.  The good, the bad, the ugly...

August 26th, 2014

Gah!!....I have been meaning to write you and am a total boob for not. The past month has been so busy with overnight visitors and travel and's been crazy. I saw an ecard meme thingy with a picture of a housewife holding a pad of paper and a pen and the line: "yeah sure, let me just add that to the list if things that will never get done".  That's how I feel these days. THAT is my life.

Anyway, thank you for writing and CONGRATS on making it through a half a year!!!!!!!!!!

As for the ups and downs, YES. I write you from the 1am feeding that should've been "dropped" a month or two ago and Isla is screaming for me in her room because now she can't sleep without me. I have to lock my door otherwise she comes in and wakes the babies, who, on some nights wake up as often as every 2 hours. Not. Good. It breaks my heart to lock Isla out but what else can I do? And the nights where the twins ("the twins" almost always being Haven) wake every 2 hours? Shoot me. To add insult to injury Isla is also up at 5 am on some mornings which is insane. Is it too much to ask to get one solid 5-6 hour chunk a night and get up north of 6am?!? My pediatrician is like, "They should be sleeping 10 hours at night" and I can't decide whether to laugh hysterically in his face or rip out his eyeballs.  Have you given any thought to crying it out? I fear I might have to go there but am terrified of it. Mira would be fine, or at least tolerable and probably respond well to it but I fear that Haven would literally blow a head gasket. I just don't know what else to do though...

So that's that. I kind of want to kill the twin moms whose kids sleep all night and on a schedule. I mean, WTF?!? HOW?!?! Naps, thankfully, are getting longer but we are nowhere  near a regular pattern. Totally across the board in time and duration. I just kind of gave up on waiting for that and am just happy that they usually sleep at or about the same time. Tiny victories. I'm all about the tiny victories.

What is awesome is how cute they are these days which somehow manages to make up for it all. They are super happy, smiley and social babies which is so fun (and so different than how Isla was at that age). No teeth yet, but they are coming. Both girls chew like puppies on anything they can get their hands on and the drool is impressive and plentiful. Both have started the process of crawling by scootching around on their bellies. I can no longer leave them on a bed. Haven has, er, proven that to me. (Thud!!) #momoftheyear

Vacation was awesome. Just amazing. The kids did better on the boat than we ever could have imagined and the fact that it was just our little fam of five was fantastic. We are still living w my parents right now (guest house not finished) and we needed alone time more than we knew it (and we knew it!!!). House will hopefully be ready in time for us to leave this January - ha!

On vacay we came up with the family motto: "if Haven's happy, we're all happy" because she is still (and I fear will ALWAYS be) loud as s**t and the one child who can turn a good outing into one that must be aborted immediately. Every family's got one, right? We went out for many meals and sometimes she'd start squawking in her pterodactyl way and I'd turn around (as I desperately waved a rattle in her face to distract her) and say, " if you can believe it, these are her happy noises!" But she was good. Just loud. And, man, can her little face melt your heart. That baby is all smiles, all the time. Overall we did a lot (hikes, walks, beaches,etc) and had fun, and the babies were awesome (minus the sleep stuff) which says a lot! I'll take it!

Okay, I have to go. I nursed them and of course chill Mira is out but Haven thinks it's play time and is squeaking.

Congrats again on reaching 6 months mama. Can not even believe it's been a half of a year. Scary how fast time flies.

Much love, sorry I've been such a slacker. It's not 'cause I don't love ya ;)


Follow up ....

September 6, 2014

Sigh.  I just loving having you and knowing we are pretty much going through the SAME stuff.  Honestly, it's weird.  How is it that we are doing EVERYTHING right and NOTHING seems to be working?!?!  So...going out on a limb here (and being my hippy dippy self)... but I once read that Pisces babies are their OWN people and will always march to the beat of their own drummer, they are not the babies that can be put on a "schedule".  I remember reading that and being like, "CRAP! I didn't just see that...that did NOT just get in my head...that is NOT true" but now, after literally doing EVERYTHING "right" I recall reading that and I throw my hands up in the air and think to myself, "Dammit. This is in the stars". Sigh. So maybe it's just their fishy natures, I don't know.

So last night was supposed to be my first night away from the girls.  My girlfriends were all going up to Lake Geneva for a girls weekend and I was just going to go for the night and come back this morning.  I felt funny about it, and really didn't want to go - but Scott insisted (he really is a super dad, so hands on and awesome - I am very thankful for him) and wanted me to go and have a good time. With great reservation I went, and on the way there was caught in a storm so severe I thought it might be a tornado.  Literally had to pull off the road and wait because I couldn't see a thing.  Of course me being me took it as a sign.  But the rain subsided and - urged by my girlfriends and Scott - I pushed on.

Guess who drove home at 2:30am?

This girl.

Haven woke up crying, quickly escalated into her "someone just stabbed my eyeball with a needle" cry and all hell broke loose.  Scott was texting me like, "What do I do? She won't take a bottle!" and, after some back and forth, we finally decided I needed to come home (and for Scott to agree to that says a lot - he does NOT give up!!).  Thank god I wasn't drunk (I did have a couple several hours earlier, but was not impaired, unless you count my COMPLETE exhaustion) - but it was an hour and a half drive and, man, I am just glad I didn't fall asleep at the wheel. In hindsight I probably should have just stayed and let her cry with him as one night away from mommy is certainly better than no mommy!! But...yeah.  I'm in the same camp mama.  I love these babies so much - honestly, they are the cutest things ever - but holy crap, the nighttime shenanigans are getting to me.  I literally drink a pot of coffee every morning.  I joke that my breast milk is a mixture of coffee and wine, which also might explain a few things but, whatever. I gotta keep on keeping on and those are my poisons.  Sue me.

Naps are here and there.  Some days they are 2 hours, some days they are 25 minutes.  No rhyme or reason.  It's insane.  I literally want to call Dr. Wiessbluth and be like, 'LISTEN A-HOLE!! IT'S NOT EFFING WORKING!! YOU NEED TO GET YOUR ASS OVER HERE AND SET THIS S*** RIGHT!"  The fact that he is actually Chicago based is tempting, but booking an appointment with him requires time and energy I just don't have.  

We, too, started solids.  This morning in fact.  It did not go well.  I think Haven's tongue is too big for her mouth, like, for real.  It's just always...there.  This certainly didn't help the whole "eating with a spoon" thing.  (note: Google 'baby with tongue too big for mouth') Nothing that went in, stayed in.  It's amazing, I feel like Isla came into this world knowing exactly what to do.  She just got it. I never remember anything being hard with her, motherhood was a total cake walk with her and with these two? I am like a deer in the headlights sometimes. The Universe is all "Welcome to motherhood!! You don't know squat!" It's pretty humbling.

But, not to be a total Debbie Downer, yes - days are awesome, the babies are seriously too chewable and adorable for words and if they were just sleeping through the night everything would be infinitely better.  What I wouldn't do for a solid 5 hour chunk.  Good grief.  Maybe all this means they will be awesome children from here on out?  Is that possible we're just paying our dues on the front end?  Haha - here's hoping.  In the mean time, lets start an army against smug twin moms who are all "yeah, my babies were sleeping 7pm-7am at eight weeks and taking three two-hour naps in the day".  Those women are robots and should be eradicated.  Their babies will be meth heads.

Okay.  Going to drink some coffee.  Last night was a long one and right now ALL the babies are sleeping so I have probably 30 more seconds of 'me' time ;).  Hang in there mama. I just try to remember that this is such a small period in our lives and to try my best to be present.  We're learning important lessons here.  Not sure what they are at the moment, but I think by the end of this year I will have more patience than a Buddhist monk, so there's that.

Love.  Sleep.  and SOME semblance of a schedule to your day!

Haven on the left, Mira on the right.  Love bugs!
Enjoy this series? Check out my other posts:


Anonymous said...

FWIW - don't know if it's worth much - one of my nieces was such a screamer as a baby that my Dad said he'd "rather sandpaper a wildcat's a** in a phonebooth" than spend 15 minutes with her. From around 12 mos of age (max) she was a fantastic kid and is now the best human being I know. Hang in there!
~ Patricia

D. said...

LOL that comment was awesome! As a mommy of a 6 month old who has decided she needs to eat every hour at night for the past week...I feel some of your pain. Coffee has lost all effect.

Jennifer said...

I don't have twins but I do have two children that are complete opposites. My son was colicky and never slept or napped no matter what method we tried. Felt like such a failure. My daughter sleeps and is calm and content and couldn't be more different. Those people who brag about their babies sleeping have nothing to brag about. After having two such different kids I truly believe 99% of it is the baby themselves.

Melissa S said...

hi dolly :) glad to see you're hanging in there. Side note - Dr. Weissbluth was my husband's first pediatrician. My MIL didn't last two weeks with him - she didn't like his know-it-all attitude. for what it's worth.
xoxo miss you!
Melissa S

Robin said...

Hello, I have 15mo twins and reading this post really brought bad all of the memories of those hard nights. I wasn't blessed with naturally gifted sleepers either. The first 6mo was R-O-U-G-H. We ultimately decided to do CIO as we were at our witts end. Here is what worked for us (but every baby and parents are different). We started tackeling night time before naps. Mine would go to bed fine, but would wake 6x a night each. We turned off the monitor and watched the clock. The first night I gave them 15mins of crying before I sent my husband in (once they smelled the milk machine- game over), then we added 5 mins each time after that. We found that they did not actually wake the other baby up as often as I had feared. In fact, It seemed liked they learned to just sleep through it. It took about 5 nights (wish I could tell you it was shorter) before they started self soothing. Naps where another story. It seemed like they slept lighter then and would wake each other up, so we had to separate them. Once gets the PNP in our room and the other their crib. If this is happening with yours, maybe think about separating. I know space is always an issue so don't be afraid to get creative. Can you put the PNP in the hallway, bathroom, walkin closet?

Now at a 15mo my twins are pretty good sleepers. Occasionally they wake at night but don't fuss for more than 1min before they self sooth back to sleep. Again, situation is different though.

Long story short, I feel your pain, CIO is really hard on Mom and Dad but can work when desparate times come to desparate means. Good luck!

PS. I would have driven home too. I did not leave my twins for the first time until they were over a year. That mom guilt/bond gets you. I always thinks, they will never be this young again.

C5 said...

I have twins that just turned 2 and I very much sympathize with everything you are going through. We used to dread every night when the sun started to set. We knew what laid in wait for us each night. We also have a now 4 year old, so dealing with a 2 year old and infant twins is extremely difficult. I'll share our story, but as another comment mentions, every situation is different.

Our twins had acid reflux, so they couldn't even lay flat in a crib, they had to be inclined. It was literally one waking up every hour or two. We split up the night. My husband would take baby duty for the first part of the night while I slept. We would do the changing of the guard around 2am. That worked for a little while, but it still didn't solve the problem that they weren't sleeping and getting the rest that they needed. Ultimately what worked for us was a combination of things. 1) We increased how much food they were getting during the day. Our doc gave us a target number of ounces to feed each day. We tried to do most of those during the day. I stopped nursing and used pumped milk in bottles so I knew exactly how much they were eating. We did have to supplement with formula. 2) They had to grow out of the acid reflux. 3) We hired help. There are companies that provide exactly this type of service. We found a douala who some of our friends with twins had used as well. She came to our house and worked with our twins to get them transitioned to cribs. She didn't have any magic powers, she simply had the patience and energy to deal with them that we did not. It was the best money I have ever spent. She celebrated every victory, no matter how small. And best of all, she was a coach and cheerleader to us when we needed it most. She stayed from 10pm to 6am every other night for a couple of weeks. She kept a diary of all that went on during the night and we could read it the next day after her visits. We got some much needed rest and the twins started sleeping better.

Hang in there and remember that this is not forever. It feels like this is how your life will be from now on, but I promise it's not. One day, you will sleep a whole 5 hours in a row, uninterrupted, and it will be glorious.

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