Life with Twins

Archive for the ‘NICU’ Category

2 (3) in Progress

NOW:

I’ve been playing;

  • Chase – run run run run run run run – all around the circle of our house.  I don’t know why the dogs bark as we do this, but it adds to the mayhem fun.
  • Tickle Monster – usually after the running….someone climbs into the chair and says “get me!” and the tickle monster does.
  • Hide ‘n Seek – “Mommy, we gonna hide under the table, come and find us!”

– “oh where could those kids be?  In the kitchen?  In the tent?  In the dining room?  Under the table!!!!  What a surprise!”

We also made Jell-O.  Later they told Daddy they added hot water and cold water and stirred it up and made it cold in the fridge.  They had some for dessert, topped with fruit!

I’ve also been cleaning;

Upstairs I dusted and vacuumed every where.  I also cleaned up my bedroom by putting some things down in the basement and stuffing some clothes in Tim’s closet.

In the basement I took all of the pieces of drywall out, broke it up, threw out what would fit in the garbage cans and moved the rest to the garage.  Why have pieces of drywall been laying in my basement for 7 years?  I don’t know.  I just don’t know.

Once the drywall was gone I was able to use that space for garage sale stuff – mostly baby related.  The cleared up a LARGE spot in the middle of the floor.  Then I also organized all the baby clothes.  I had packed them away by size, but not boy/girl, so I just rearranged and reorganized.  Then I started getting rid of some boxes of products we had been saving in case we had to take anything back like from the cookware we bought two years ago and the charcoal grill.

I swept too.  And didn’t see any mice in the two days I was down there.  Hooray!

The kids helped me sweep and mop the kitchen/hallway/bathroom also.  I should have taken pictures.   I’m terrible.  It was cute, take my word for it.  They helped me moved everything out.  They used their little broom and dustpan as well as helping with my big dustpan.  Then they used their little mop but also helped go back and forth with mine too.  Then they helped me put everything back in.  It was fun!  And a good learning experience for the day they can do it by themselves!

I started organizing some toys too.  As in, I took some toys from baby-hood that they don’t really play with anymore and put them in the basement.  Garage Sale Pile.  Shhhh….don’t tell them!

Digging for Gold

Mopping the Kitchen Floor

And now I’m blogging, so that’s a start for goal #3!  This is now.

THEN:  One day a nurse asked me if I wanted to change Will’s diaper for the first time.  A million thoughts went through my head in a split second.

If they were at home I would have changed plenty of diapers by now…..

I’ve never changed a diaper before in my life…….

I have to learn some time……..

There are so many wires and needles attached to him…….

What if I hurt him……..

I said no, but that I would watch and do it next time one of them needed a diaper change.  Having such little experience and having such a small baby with all of those needles and wires was just too much.  I didn’t feel guilty, I just watched and listened as she explained how to get around the wires as easily as possible.  It was important to do it fast so that he didn’t get cold.  Or pee on himself.  She was very reassuring.  That’s what I remember most from my experience in the NICU.  Everyone was so calm.  That made me calm.  And everyone was so efficient.  Like they weren’t fooling around…..even though these babies seemed so small and fragile they got the job done.

Usually when Tim and I would go up we would bring snacks and water and books to read.  We’d walk in and find comfy chairs and drag them over to our babies.  We’d say hi and talk to them and softly touch them through the holes in the incubator.  We’d either look at their charts or wait until a nurse came over to update us – which they always did as soon as they could.  We were mostly concerned about them gaining weight.  The nurses would also tell us if anything important or interesting that had happened overnight or when the doctor did his rounds.  Then we would just sit and read.  Spend time with each other and time with them.  If they needed to be fed, we’d hold them while they “ate” through their feeding tube.  After that first time we would change their diapers if they needed to be changed.  When I needed to pump I would leave and go to a different room to pump.  They had provided me with a whole second set of equipment so that I didn’t have to bring my own shields and tubes and bottles every time – I just left a set there and used the pump in the room.

See the feeding tubes taped to our shoulders?

It was like that for a while.  Just waiting for a change indicating that they were closer to going home.  In the meantime, we relaxed.  As much as we could considering the circumstances.  That was then.

Ariel-feeding tube in her nose now....

Will -no CPAP, with nose feeding tube

6 Days Until My Birthday!! (plus some news!)

No-Twin Thursday (yeah, I know, I know)

NOW: Guess what I did (ok, I haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to do it, really)!!!  I signed up (will be) for the Buffalo Half-Marathon!!!  Whoo-hoo!!!!

Ok, I haven’t signed up yet.  But I am serious about it.  I even had a couple of meetings regarding the topic.  First with Tim, then with my friend/running buddy, Kate. 

Kate and I talked about signing up for this months ago.  Then, we kind of casually talked about it a couple of weeks ago (as in; how’s your running going….not so good…..me neither…..).  But I had a training plan that a colleague had shared with me that didn’t start until February 12.  That seemed like a million miles away, so no big deal.  

Luckily, Kate is more on the ball than me.  I want to do it, I have plans to do it, I got her involved in the first place, but then sometimes I just don’t follow through.  Or I put things off until it’s too late.  Kate texted me Wednesday implying that we needed to get our shit together and figure out what the hell we’re going to do about this training plan that starts in two weeks.  Especially since neither of us has been running since our last 5K in the end of September.

I was lazy calm about it.  I said I’d talk to Tim about a good day for her and I to get together and have a little dinner and discussion.  I was thinking like next week…two weeks….

But then I said to myself; “self, get your ass in gear”.  So I did.  We met at Panera last night and planned out a calendar.  I’m a little less flexible than her as far as time because of the twins and Tim not wanting to stay home with the twins.  We decided running in the morning, 3 times a week would work for our shorter runs and then a weekend day (usually Sunday) for the longer ones.  And any day we can’t run together outside for some reason, we have to check in with each other that we got our running in alone that day.

I talked to Tim first.  He’s my workout buddy and I’m going to be abandoning him 3 times a week!  He basically said that was fine as long as I got him out of bed first so that he’ll get up and do the Wii Fit without me.  The other two days I’ll do the Wii Fit with him.  Until the sun starts coming up in the morning and then he’ll go running by himself those two days so that he can do some 5K runs this summer.

Kate and I are also going to run an 8K Shamrock Run in between.  It works out that it’s the same weekend as we are supposed to do a 5 mile run anyway and it will be good motivation.

Normally, we don’t sign up for races ahead of time.  But that’s mostly because the 5K races don’t have a big difference in price even if you wait until the last minute.  But this is a little different.  Not so much for the Shamrock Run, but the Half especially.  So, we’ll save some money (always nice, especially when she has a wedding to pay for in 6 months!) and again, more motivation.  If we’re already out the money we won’t use the rain or something silly as an excuse, right?

I feel so motivated after this little plan!  I ordered a healthier option while at Panera (garden vegetable soup as opposed to broccoli cheddar) and did not get that 420 calorie Caramel latte I wanted so much. 

Perhaps this is just the motivation I needed.  Hopefully it will stand up to Birthday Week dinners!!!  (6 days until my Birthday! Yay!)  This is now.

THEN: It was SO hard that I couldn’t drive after my C-section for 6 weeks.  I needed to get to the hospital!  Luckily, my parents took me every day that Tim was working.  He had decided he would use his time off for when the twins actually came home, rather than now.  I had to rely on my parents’ schedule but usually it was ok.  My mornings were spent at home alone sleeping, pumping, watching tv, pumping, doing some light chores, pumping, eating, and pumping.  Mostly pumping.  And waiting.  Waiting for the time when my mom and dad would come get me and take me to the babies.  It was stressful, but relaxing.  Does that make sense?

I’m not a worrier.  Whatever will be, will be.  And some things are out of my control so worrying isn’t going to solve the problem.  Was I worried about the twins?  Yes, of course.  But they were healthy.  It had been ME that was the problem, not them.  So was I worried, yes, because they were in the hospital and I had all the what if questions…..what if they didn’t gain enough weight, what if their bodies wouldn’t regulate their temperature, what if they didn’t learn how to eat, what if their oxygen levels dropped, what if a crazed nurse stole them from the hospital like a Lifetime movie?

These thoughts were in my mind, yes.  But they were always in the absolute back of my mind.  They didn’t stop me from enjoying and appreciating everything else I was given.  Especially my sleep and freedom.  I had two newborns and I was sleeping through the night and had loads of freetime.  I try to look on the bright side.  🙂  That was then.

I Guess I Didn’t Knock That Wood Hard Enough

Then (as in a week ago): Oh la la la, Ariel stays in her bed until we get in the room.  Oh happy day, what a lovely child.  Oh girls are so much easier than boys.  Oh I wouldn’t even mind if she did get out of bed because she would probably just quietly read books.  Unlike her brother, who wreaks havoc if you don’t come get him within a few seconds upon waking.  Including, but not limited to, smearing poop everywhere.  (Ok, that hasn’t happened in a while, but just typing that is tempting fate).  What a lovely daughter….a week ago…..when I should have been knocking wood every time I said these things to someone……

NOW: Fast-forward to present day.  This past weekend in fact.  The lovely daughter decides, oh wait, I CAN get out of bed without a grown-up in the room.  And I can run around my room wreaking havoc.  Why didn’t I think of this before?

Thursday night.  We watched a movie (The Little Mermaid!!!) after dinner, so twins are up to bed a little after 8.  Ariel gives a hard time about laying down and getting covered up, but relents because I threaten to leave the room.  Will settles right down, Daddy covers him, Mommy kisses him goodnight.  He tells us he loves us both.  Awww.  (The “I love you’s” sometimes still have to be prompted, so it’s THE BEST when he does it on his own).

The grown-ups go back downstairs to make some tea, have a snack, watch TV, and (for me) do some laundry, etc.

We hear, through the ceiling, the pitter-patter of little feet.  First, we’re amazed it’s not The Boy.  So, up I go.  Sure enough, she’s running around, but got scared when she heard my footsteps so tried quickly to return to bed.  I cover her again and tell her to stay in bed and go to sleep.  She mentions Princess Ariel and I ask if she liked the movie.  She informs me that “my no watch movie yet, my eat dinner first!  Watch movie later.”  This is somewhat concerning because she’s obviously got some time-traveling going on that I don’t know about.  But, I figure that’s good…..she must be SO tired that she’s getting confused.  Good.

I return to my melty ice cream and soggy cone.  Yum.  Then……little feet.  Tim makes the tea while I go up again.  Now, let me tell you, I probably wouldn’t normally go up and keep checking on either of them, but it’s just so weird that she’s actually out of bed. 

She’s naked. 

She informs me that her diaper was wet and she threw it in the garbage and she needs a new one.  Although that’s somewhat annoying, I guess that’s a good sign in some ways (related to potty training).  OK, so I get a new diaper on her, tell her not to take it off again, get her jammies back on, get her back in bed, get her covered up.  Ok, done.

Back downstairs.  Little feet.  I don’t want to run the risk of her being naked again and then peeing all over the place.  So I go up again. 

I tell her that I am getting mad.  She says, incredulously, “Mad??  NO MOMMY, you not mad, you a nice mommy.  You nice to Mil-Yum, you nice to me.”  I am laughing so hard.  But I try to explain to her that even though I’m nice, I can still be angry and she better not get out of bed again.

Back downstairs again.  Little feet.  Now I really am mad.  I go upstairs again, sternly tell her this, and she crawls back up into bed.  That’s the end of that.  For real this time.

Friday night: Little feet, little feet, little feet, naked girl, new diaper, little feet, little feet.  I go up for the third time and find that her pillow and a blanket are on the floor. 

She informs me that she’s sleeping on the floor.  I ask her why.  She tells me, “my no like my big girl bed, my want to sleep on floor….it’s safer.”  WHAT??!!  Um, ok, whatever. 

It’s not a big deal, but I still try to convince her to sleep in her bed. 

I ask; what about all your stuffed animals?

Ariel responds; I’ll just bring them down here, mommy.  (She does.  I help.)

M: what about your pretty star sheets?

A: my don’t like them, my don’t like black.

M: Those aren’t black, they’re purple

A: My don’t like them.  My sleeping on floor.

M: What about your music box?

A: My just bring it down here.  Take it off!

M: No, I can’t take it off, it has to stay up there, I guess you better go back to bed.

A: No mommy, I need to figure this out.  Hmmmm (while tapping her chin)

**Pause**

A: I know, I be right back.  (goes up on her bed, presses music box, climbs back down.) There!  My figured it out.  And if it turns off, my climb back up and turn it on and come back down and sleep on floor.

So, I’m out of ideas.  She tells me again she wants to sleep on the floor, her bed is not cozy.  Ok, fine.  I convince her to lay a blanket down to sleep on and cover her up.

She’s running around again so Tim goes back up around 10. He also unsuccessfully tries to get her to sleep in her bed, so covers her up on the floor again.

I go up to bed around 11 and check on her.  She’s sleeping.  Naked.  Scrunched up on her stomach.  So I somehow get her diaper and jammies back on without waking her too much.  The diaper may or may not be taped to her stomach but that’s  a problem for the morning.  There’s a pee spot on the blanket but she’s not laying on the spot so that’s a problem for the morning also.

Saturday – no nap.  Naked twice.  Little feet for 2 and a half hours.  Closet opening and closing.  Pairs of socks separated, but still in her drawer.  Books everywhere.  She has a whole new outfit on – inside-out shorts and a tank top.  She’s not to happy she can’t wear that downstairs.

Saturday night – Tim’s dad babysat.  She did sleep on the floor but there were no little feet noises and when I checked on her before I went to bed she was clothed.

Sunday – no nap.  Naked twice.  Little feet for 2 and a half hours.  Naked again – pee on the rug.  Clothes out of the closet.  Diaper pack out of the closet – I put it out of her reach.

Sunday night – she asks me to read her a book upstairs (we always read one downstairs together before coming up), so I tell her if she lays down (still insists on the floor) and I cover her up and THEN I will read the book.  She does, I do, she stays and there’s no little feet.

No nap Monday.  Falls asleep quickly at night again. 

I’m assuming this is just a phase.  But after saying that, I better knock wood.  Hard.  This is now.

THEN:  My parents took me home after my visit at the NICU.  I was drained.  Physically and emotionally.  I didn’t want to leave, but I was ready to be home.  My mom was going to drop my dad off at home and then come to my house for a little bit and help me get settled and take care of the dogs.  But then Tim called.  He was leaving work.  Again.  I was so thrilled and so in love with this man who would constantly just put his new family over his job.  I was so amazed at his devotion.

Plus, we needed groceries. 

So my mom stayed until Tim got home.  I was just going to stay home while he ran for groceries, but decided I didn’t feel like being alone.  Plus, I wanted to talk to the pharmacist about my prescriptions.  So, off we went.  After I pumped – which was so much better on my own couch with my own pump and no worries about people wandering in and out of my room.  Still didn’t get a lot, but that was ok for now.

At Wegmans, I had to get one of those motorized carts and just follow Tim around, but that was fine.  I had used them a couple times even while pregnant because I wasn’t supposed to be on my feet for that long (because when Tim goes grocery shopping it’s no less than an hours’ worth of walking).  I putted around behind him as he meandered up and down the aisles.  I was wearing the new shirt my mom had made for me – I’m a New Mom of Twins, with a picture she had drawn of a boy and girl in a baby buggy.  So I was getting lots of attention with my little motorized cart and my shirt advertising my accomplishment.  At least people didn’t have to wonder why I was using the motorized cart. 

After our trip I wanted to sleep.  But I wanted to go to the NICU.  This was probably the beginning of realizing how selfless I could be if I really wanted to.  I could have easily taken a nap, gone to the hospital later, and not been judged about that.  But I didn’t want to.  I needed to see the babies.  And Tim did too.  We packed up some snacks, my pump supplies, and a couple of books to read while we visited.  Soon, we were on our way back to our children.  That was then.

Crazy Planning a.k.a. 180 days til Disney!

NOW:  We are in the midst of planning our trip.  This is probably the most-planned trip we’ve done….although not by much to be honest!

We are DVC members so we are staying in a suite, using our “points”.  For more information on how DVC works, leave me a comment or send me an email!  It’s the most awesome thing we’ve ever done…..and it’s not just for traveling to Disney places either.

Anyway.  Our “home resort” is Animal Kingdom Lodge so we can book a vacation there up to 11 months in advance.  So we called back in August and booked.  But we didn’t really want to stay there.  We love it there, don’t get me wrong, and we have stayed there before and it’s beautiful and wonderful!

But for the purposes of this trip, we really wanted to stay at the “new” Bay Lake Towers.  It’s a new DVC resort that’s connected by a walking bridge to the Contemporary Resort.  So, it’s EXTREMELY close to Magic Kingdom.  We usually spend the majority of our trip in MK anyway and with the twins we figured that would definitely be the case this time more than ever.  Plus, the Contemporary is on the Monorail so it’s convenient to get to some other resorts where we wanted to go for dinner (Polynesian and Grand Floridian) as well as easy to get to EPCOT.

We can’t book at different DVC resorts until 7 months in advance.  But we didn’t want to end up with NOTHING, so we booked at AK Lodge just to be safe because we had the 11 month advantage there.

In December, I was able to call and transfer our reservation to Bay Lake~YAY!  It was kind of a pain because you can only move 7 days at a time, and then our other 3 days I had to call the next day and the next day and the next day.  During work.  Oh well.  It was nerve-wracking but I got the job done.

Then, you can make Dining Reservations 180 days in advance.  You used to have to call day after day after day, but now they let you make your first 10 days of reservations all at once starting 180 days from the day you check in.  So that was good news.  This is an advantage of staying at a Disney Resort.  Also, they have a new online reservation process that starts at 6 am.

So I had called and they calculated 180 days for me and I could go online or call January 11th.  Tim and I skipped exercising and set the alarm so that we could go online starting right at 6 AM.  Well.  The first reservation we got just fine.  The rest?  Nope.  Wouldn’t recognize our Resort Reservation number.  I had to rush to get ready for work so that I could call the reservation phone number at 7.  I wanted to be all ready in case I got stuck on the phone for a while.

Good thing.  I was mostly ready by 7, and called.  I was on hold for a short amount of time, but then the time it took to make all of our reservations, give her all my information, and get all of the confirmation numbers took almost a half-hour!  By then, the twins were up and calling for me, my dad was showing up, my hair still wasn’t done, my coffee wasn’t poured.  These kinds of little things stress me out a little.  And I was already worked up because I was stressed I wouldn’t be able to get a reservation at the places we wanted.  I don’t know why; we’ve NEVER had an issue.

Plus, I still had to call Victoria and Alberts.  But there’s is a separate line and it didn’t open until 9 AM.  And I still had to stress that I wouldn’t get THAT reservation!

You all may be thinking we are crazy.  And we are.  But, it’s who we are and it helps us keep our sanity.  In some ways.  Once, we planned a trip a mere 2 months ahead of time.  Boy, that was stressful to the millionth degree!

I get all the reservations, complete with confirmation numbers and I double-check them all online.  My dad helps me get the twins ready so that I can do my hair.  Plus, I had to go to the bathroom……why is it that nature calls at the MOST inconvenient times?

At 9 I called V&A…..the most faniciest restaurant in WDW.  At first I couldn’t get through so I left a message, but kept calling and calling anyway.  See, we really wanted to sit at the Chef’s Table.  And there’s only one seating for the table a night.  And we really wanted it on that certain night because all the other dining reservations were already in place and I didn’t really want to have to change everything around again.  But, I got through, and got what we wanted.  YAY!!!

Plane tickets are bought, room (2-bedroom suite for us, kids, and my dad) is reserved, dining reservations are made.  Now, the packing lists will begin!  You think I’m kidding?

Wanna know where we’re eating?

Chef Mickeys – Contemporary resort – buffet dinner with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto!

Tuttoo Italia – Italy pavillion in EPCOT

California Grill – very top floor of Contemporary resort

Mama Melrose – Hollywood Studios – Italian food

The Wave – Contemporary resort

Crystal Palace   – in Magic Kingdom – lunch buffet with Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore and Piglet!

Victoria and Alberts – fancy schmancy!

Ohana – in the Polynesian resort – they serve food off of GIANT skewers

Chefs de France – France pavillion in EPCOT – best escargot I’ve ever had!

 Chef mickeys breakfast – Again.  This time for breakfast

Raglan Road – Irish-style pub in Downtown Disney

Le Cellier – Canada pavillion in EPCOT.  Home of yummy Beer-Cheese Soup

Tony’s Town Square – Magic Kingdom – Italian

OK…….so maybe it’s less of the Type A personality…..and more just super-duper excited!!!!!  Either way……it’s planned!  All we do now is wait.  And save money.  And pack (No, not yet.)

Speaking of beer-cheese soup – check out my husband’s venture into the Blog World!  The first recipe he’s going to blog about is the very one from the Canadian Pavillion in EPCOT – yummy beer-cheese soup!  This is now.

THEN: I prepared myself to go home on Thursday morning.  The first thing I wanted to do was take a shower.  I hadn’t had one since the previous Thursday.  I had asked…..but before the delivery none of the nurses were “sure” if I was allowed to take a shower or not.  After the delivery it wasn’t an option at first because of the surgery.  I had gotten permission to take one Thursday before I left.  First I had to walk all around the floor of the hospital trying to find the darn place.  I either hadn’t gotten good directions or I wasn’t really listening.  I finally got to the room, set my things down and turned the water on.  As difficult as it was to manuver myself; it was probably the best shower I’d ever had in my life.  I felt a million times better and cleaner and happier and even a little less sore.  By the time I was done and back in my room though, I was exhausted!  Luckily I had about an hour before my discharge time when my parents would come get me.

They forgot to order me breakfast.  I thought it would be in my room when I got back, but no such luck.  I called a nurse and she wasn’t sure what happened but arranged to get some food up to me as soon as possible.  I was starving!  It wasn’t exactly what I would have wanted, but it was fine.  The hospital food wasn’t as bad as sitcoms would have had me believe.  I watched some TV and I was ready to go.  I was nervous though and anxious.  First thing I wanted to do when my parents showed up was go down to the NICU.  I would have gone earlier but I really really needed that shower and my late breakfast.

I forced myself to be patient and finally it was 11:00.  My dad came up to get me and my mom was waiting down in the NICU already.  I didn’t have to take a wheelchair out because I wasn’t leaving the hospital yet.

I walked (shuffled) down to the NICU.  I went to see my beautiful babies.  I suddenly really wanted my parents gone, but of course I didn’t want to upset or offend them by asking them to leave.  I went to Will first.  He reflexively grabbed my finger with his hand as all babies will do.  He sighed in his sleep and listened to me talking to him about what had happened that morning.  He still had his CPAP machine on and because of the mask, he couldn’t open his eyes very well.  I didn’t even know what color they were.  I listened to the steady beep of the machines and listened to the nurse update me on his status.

I walked over to Ariel after tearing myself away from my son.

“Do you want to hold her?”  Shock.  “yes” I breathed, so quietly because I wasn’t sure I had heard the nurse correctly.  But I had.  She carefully set me up in a comfy rocking chair right next to Ariel’s heated bed.  First, she had to clip Ariel’s feeding tube to my shirt because it was time for her to “eat”.  She maneuvered the cords and wires so that they didn’t get pulled out while she was in my arms.  Then, she handed me my daughter.  I couldn’t breathe.  I was afraid to breathe.  She was finally feeling like mine.  I could actually hold her.  She had to be VERY VERY VERY wrapped up in blankets because she was no longer on her heated pad, which was helping her regulate her temperature.  But I could see her hand.  Her hand couldn’t be covered because of the IV needle in it.  So I stroked her hand.  And her head, which had to have a hat on it.  Again, to help keep her warm.

It was surreal.  The nurse had to help put her back right after she was done “eating” because the very act of digestion was making her very tired which meant her body was maintaining it’s own temperature even less.  She needed to get back to her heat.  And sleep.

The best thing for them was sleep.  Their fragile little bodies used up too much energy doing anything else.  The nurse told me not to be surprised tomorrow if I came in and was told Ariel had lost a little weight…..just from me holding her.  When they slept, they grew.  So sleep was the best thing for them.  And frequent family visits of course.  Talking to them.  Letting them know they were loved.

I felt so guilty after holding Ariel.  Because I couldn’t hold Will.  It’s not like it was my fault or my choice.  I guess I just felt bad for him.  And a little for myself too.  But I was also on cloud 9 after finally getting to hold Ariel.  Like she was real.  Like she was really mine.  Like she was a real baby.  It’s a little dramatic, but true.  And it made me feel a hell of a lot better about going home later that morning.  That was then.

William

Ariel

NICU

I just found out about this and wanted to share.  It really only applies to people in the Buffalo area…….but I thought maybe there would be something similar you could do at your local NICU/hospital.  Check out this link to the story:

After Spending Christmas in the NICU, Moms Deliver Cookies | Video | wgrz.com

As you all know, my twins were 31-week preemies and spent some time (about a month) in the NICU at Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, NY.  I am forever grateful to the people who work there and although it was the worst time in my life it was also the best outcome because of these wonderful people.

I know many of you out in the blogging world have had experiences of your own in the NICU, or know someone who has.

I know it’s last-minute, I know times are tough, and I know not all of you are from this area.  But consider making an extra dozen cookies as you bake and make a simple donation/delivery.  It’s a small thing that so many hurting families would be so grateful for. 

Luckily, I myself was not in the NICU at Christmas.  Luckily, I didn’t have other small children at home waiting for their mom to make cookies with them.  Luckily, my children were not critically ill – just little.  Luckily I have a strong network of friends and family who supported me.

Some people aren’t so lucky.  Or maybe they are.  Either way, a little bit of holiday cheer in the form of cookies might be just enough to brighten their holiday season a little bit.

I am so eternally grateful that I could spend last weekend making cookies with my little ones…..who are so healthy and happy because of my NICU family.

To Milestone or Not to Milestone? That is the Question

NOW:  I feel that every little thing the twins do are milestones.  Little things, that they can do now, but they couldn’t do yesterday or the day before.  Or even events, like this particular Christmas, is a milestone.  It’s not their first obviously, but it’s the first where they kinda really know what’s going on.  Every day is different than the day before and I try to listen and watch and appreciate every little thing they learn and do. 

BUT.  There are some big milestones.  Developmental milestones, rite-of-passage type milestones.  Like the Potty for example.  Big change, right?  I got “yelled at” more than once for starting that one too early.  I get chastised for trying to make them grow up too quickly.  I don’t want them to grow up any faster than they have to, believe me.  It’s a Catch-22…..I know this time is going by so fast and I certainly don’t want it to be faster, but at the same time it’s SO exciting to see what they’ll do next.

Anyway, I do have a point here.  My point is: BIG-KID BEDS!!  DUN DUN DUN!!!!!!!!!

I am having a mild internal struggle right now.  I’ve talked about it with multiple people and most of them, including Tim, agree that once a child is climbing out (especially those as smart as my twins), they need to be a big kid bed. 

I am agreeing with this and pushing it forward for several reasons:

I am terrified that now that Ariel knows she can get out, she will.  She might be too scared to do it for several days….weeks…..months……but why wait until she does it again and gets seriously hurt this time?  Right?

We were going to change them into beds in February anyway.  I have a week off for mid-winter break and we figured that was a good time….they’d be 2 and a half.  So now we’re just moving it up a couple of months.  I have a week off for Christmas, so that will work out well too.

We bought guardrails so they won’t fall out, so that will help with the transition. 

Now…….there are a few people who are against this whole plan.  And who question a lot of my decisions as a parent.  And who accuse me of making the twins grow up too fast.  And whose job it is to question my decisions because they care.  (right?)

Let me just say; yes, we were going to change them over in February, and yes, it’s only a couple months early…..but are we thrilled about it?  No.  We didn’t really want this thrust upon us at this time.  But again, the getting-out of the crib factor weighs in heavily.

Three guesses who is against this plan and vocalizes the concern.  My mom and dad.  More mom, but that’s because dad is not as vocal about his opinion.

Now, when you grow up with a set of people who help influence your every decision in life and then the time comes where you break out on your own and have your own opinions and decisions about marriage, houses, kids…..it’s hard!  I haven’t lived at home in 8 years.  And I am comfortable in my own opinions, especially because I do have a husband that I can bounce my ideas off, and who is a little more level-headed than me about big decisions like this so I know, deep down, that if he agrees with me it’s the right decision and we need to do what our gut tells us.  But it’s still hard not to take my parents’ opinions into consideration in my own mind.  And then I start to doubt myself.  And then I start to question if I am making them grow up too fast because I certainly don’t want that.

Phew.  That’s a lot of rambling.  And a lot I have to remember when the twins are grown up and I’m trying to give my opinions.

Bottom line is; our decision has been made.  And it’s what’s best for us.  And I’ve consulted multiple co-workers, friends, the internet, and other family members and it’s not like changing them into beds at this point is completely crazy.  They are over 2 and if we are concerned about them getting out, we need to do this. 

The twins even agree with us.  🙂  I’ve brought it up a couple of times since we made this decision.  I like to get them used to the idea of big changes before they happen.  I wouldn’t want to just spring this on them.  And that’s worked so far; we haven’t had any major drama when it comes to change in the past.

One night, we were in my bed because we always hide under the covers before we brush their teeth and put them in their cribs.  I asked them if they wanted a big-kid bed like mommy and daddy’s bed.  They were a little hesitant, but said yes.

Yesterday, we were playing and I brought it up again.  I asked if they wanted big-kid beds.  This time, it was a resounding YES!  NOW!  I said, you’ll have to say bye bye to the crib and get a big-kid bed in your own room……

Ariel said, “yes, mommy.  Big kid bed NOW.  BYE BYE CRIB NOW!  Need big kid bed in room.  2 blankets.  Bring all the guys and music?” (She’s referencing the 8 stuffed animals in her crib, plus her musical seahorse). 

I tell her, yes, of course you can have blankets and the guys and the music. 

She’s reassured.  “Ok Mommy.  Now!  Bye bye crib!”  (she waves to the ceiling).

I am laughing so hard, but I manage to tell her that she at least has to wait until we buy it.  🙂  So, that’s good.  For now they’re happy about it at least. 

I’ve also convinced Tim that we should let them pick out their own sheets.  We’re just going to use the fitted sheet for now I think, and then their loose blankets from their crib.  They move around a lot right now while they sleep, and I think having to try and make them face in just one direction with a tucked-in sheet and blanket wouldn’t really work. 

I found this suggestion on the internet about letting them pick out the sheets and I think that would be nice.  I want to get them each 3 sets because even now sometimes their diapers leak, or Will takes his diaper right off.  And when we start nighttime potty training we will definitely be changing sheets often.  Originally we were thinking just get 6 unisex ones, because we change Will’s sheets more often, but I like the idea of letting them pick.  I said, even if we use all of Will’s sheets up before I do laundry I’ll just stick some of Ariel’s on, who really cares?  She might not pick “girlie” ones anyway.  (Her favorite color seems to be blue right now….followed by green).

So we’re going to scope out the mattress situation tonight by ourselves.  We have convertible cribs but we need bedrails and mattresses.  Then tomorrow we will probably go sheet-shopping with the twins. 

I think my uncertainty…..brought to light by my parents……all comes down to that Catch-22.  I am SO excited to move them into new beds and take them shopping to buy new sheets and have Tim switch them over just after Christmas.  It’s so exciting to think about how much they’ve grown and changed in such a short amount of time.

But…….I am so saddened by the fact that my little, once literally teeny-tiny, babies are growing up.  I feel like crying, but I don’t know if they are tears of joy or sadness.  That’s the definition of Bittersweet I guess.  And the definition of Mommyhood/Childhood.  This is now.

THEN:  Things are kind of blurry when it comes to the time spent in the NICU.  The first few days, while I was in the hospital, I went downstairs as much as possible.  Actually, even the very first day, after I was “done” visiting (physically, not emotionally) we went back up to my room.  Our friends, Leslie and Brian were there.  So…back down to the NICU.  YAY!  I even walked.  Behind the wheelchair.  At 1 mile/hour. 

I just felt like I couldn’t get enough of them.  But I knew they needed their rest and so did I.  After Brian and Leslie left, Sarah showed up.  With Dinner!  From Chef’s!  Good thing too, because in the process of changing over my room the hospital staff forgot about my dinner.  I didn’t even mind that my spaghetti parm was kinda cold.  It was the best dinner ever.  My sister-in-law is so thoughtful.  🙂

And then of course Sarah wanted to visit the twins.  So, down we went again.  Each  time we would check and see what had happened in the last couple hours while we weren’t there.  They wrote down everything.  It was really very reassuring because they were obviously keeping very careful watch over my babies. 

It was really very calm in the NICU.  There was the steady beeping of the monitors, which in itself was reassuring.  The lights were dim.  There were multiple rocking chairs so you could sit and relax.  The nurses were nice and sweet and gentle and so good at explaining everything.  They each worked 12-hour shifts, 3 days on and 4 days off.  that way they were with the same babies for a 12 hour stretch, which was nice because then they knew what to watch for. 

I was feeling much better about this whole situation now that I got to see it for myself.  Plus, I was in the hospital for 2 more days.  I could just take a little walk down whenever I wanted.  Or stay there all day and night if I wanted.  They even told me that.  And a nurse would take me down if Tim wasn’t there.  They didn’t want me to walk by myself yet, but they would get me whenever I wanted and then take me back up.  It was nice to be taken care of.  That was then.

Whirlwind Weekend

NOW: We had such a flurry of activities and emotions going on this weekend! 

Saturday morning started with our normal swim class….although we were running a little late because Tim and I got up and exercised and then had to pack up the car for tree-hunting. 

We met our friends, Katie and Erich, for breakfast, and then we were on our way to the Field Of Dreams Tree Farm!  YAY! 

I had put the twins in boots because of the mud/snow and so they were very excited to be going outside.  Apparently BOOTS = OUTSIDE.  Makes sense.  When we got there, we were happy to see a small layer of snow on the ground.  This meant we could use our sled!  YAY!

We bundled the kids up in snow pants, hats, mittens, and scarves and plopped them on the sled.  I volunteered to pull them for a little while.  Big Mistake.  Why did I not realize that it was uphill?  I told Tim I shouldn’t have bothered getting up to exercise that morning, this should have counted.  Oh well, a little extra workout never hurt anyone, right?

So I’m pulling them up the path and we come to a fork in the road.  Now, let me tell you, we have been going to the same Tree Farm for the last few years now.  I knew we always went straight at the fork.  Tim insisted we go left and seemed so sure of himself that we all agreed.  Big mistake.  

Luckily the twins were THRILLED to be in the woods.   I pulled them on the path for a while, but then we decided to go off-roading a little bit.  By that time they decided to get out and proceeded to trip over every tree stump they could possibly find.  Not to mention getting stuck in brambles and hit in the face with tall weeds. 

Ariel was dantily moving each and every branch out of her way as she walked.  Oh my goodness, we were going  to be here all F%$#%ing day if this continued.  Will was just plowing through. 

We convinced them to let us pick them up.  I kept reminding Katie that she was the one who pitched the idea of bringing them.  Of course, she grabbed Ariel, and even taunted that I had to carry the heavier one.  Bitch.  🙂

So now I’m plowing through the brambles, trying not to trip with the boy in my arms who honestly now weighs at least 10 times as much as his normal 27 lbs.  Probably because he ate 1 and 1/2 pancakes, a piece of bacon, a scrambled egg, 2 pieces of toast, a sausage link, and had a full cup of milk with breakfast.  And some of Katie’s waffle.  Plus, his jacket and snow pants have to weigh like 20 pounds each I think.

 And he’s insisting that HE wants to pull the sled.  So, I have it draped around my arm, but then also draped around his arm so that he thinks he’s pulling it.  Of course, he also keeps wanted to manuver himself to peer over my shoulder and constantly reassures me “sled still there mommy.”  Ok, thanks bud.

We get back to a path and I practically drop him.  He probably would have bounced, but I might have would have felt bad.

Now, here’s where we realize for sure that we do not normally go left at the fork.  To the right of our path there is a very scary-looking foot bridge that I have never seen before in my life.  Tim now insists that we should have listened to him and gone straight at the fork.  I almost strangle him, but I still need him to cut down and drag a tree to my car.

Well, we have to cross the bridge now, he says.  Um.  No F-ing way.  It is over a small creek, no railings. and there’s a big sign that says “slippery when wet”.  No way.

Well, we had to.  Katie and Erich went first, with the empty sled.  Tim and I each carried a child.  It wasn’t really slippery.  But it was a little scary for someone who is afraid of heights and has a 2-year-old in their arms.  But of course we were fine.

All this while we were looking for trees, but Tim finally spotted one that might work for us.  It was 10 feet tall.  BUT, there was a big gap in the middle…..so we took the top half of the tree! 

Katie and Erich found one soon after we did.  We made our way back up to the front.  Luckily, we only had to drag the trees a short distance and then the workers came and got them with a four-wheeler, so we just had to get ourselves up front.  By now, the twins were done wandering, and just sat in the sled all the way back.  We paid for our trees, got some hot chocolate, and ate some yummy cookies Erich had made the night before.  It took some time to get the tree secured to the top of my car, but then we were on our way home!

Twins fell asleep for about 15 minutes on the way home.  🙂  We got them out and fed then lunch while we set up the tree and they watched safetly from their high chairs.  Then, we put them down for nap.  Will cried for a while, as usual, but then was quiet.  Ariel was talking to herself, as usual.  I left to do a little shopping.

Tim called me. 

Tim: Guess what else we need to buy for Christmas gifts?

Me: What?

Tim: Bed rails.  And Guard Rails.  Guess who just climbed out of the crib?

Me: Oh my gosh, is HE OK?!

Tim: Oh yes…..he’s fine…..SHE’S the one who climbed out!!!!!

Never would have guessed it.  Even Tim, when he heard the THUMP, went running into Will’s room and found him sound asleep.  It wasn’t until a couple seconds later, when he heard Ariel wailing, that he even figured out what had happened.  She was on the floor.  Crying, but fine.  Tim was a little shaken up. 

Then when he did go get Will, he discovered poop paintings again.  Poor Daddy.  He had a rough couple of hours.  So he was a little stressed. 

The next morning, there were more poop paintings.  So Tim had Will jump in the shower with me to get washed off.  I helped him clean up his room, and he went and got Ariel while I got dressed.  She’s screaming at the top of her lungs when he walks in; “NOOOOO, WANT UPPY MOMMY!!!!!!!”  So our morning started off a little stressful also.  Then they were fighting during breakfast, and dumping food on the floor.

We decided to call Mema and Papa to see if they’d babysit while we got some shopping done.  We just needed a break.  I put the lights on the tree while Tim entertained the twins with Elmo Saves Christmas.  Very cute movie!  They loved it.  Then, while we were out we started looking into our options for big-kid beds.  I’d rather change them over while I’m at home a little, so we were originally going to do it February break.  Looks like we might need to do it a couple months early.  I know she only fell out once, but I really don’t want to risk it now…..knowing that she knows that she can get out.  She’ll get over the scare in a few weeks, I’m sure. 

After finishing our shopping, and then going to a nice dinner at a new restaurant in the mall, Gordon Biersch, and having a beer, we went home refreshed.  And ready to put the ornaments on the tree with the twins.  We put Muppet Family Christmas in because we had watched it already, so we didn’t have to pay super-close attention and answer a million questions.  But they loved it the first time so we figured it would serve as an OK distraction while we put on some of the fragile ornaments.  Everything worked out very well.  After a while, Will started to get a little crabby because he was tired and Ariel wasn’t content with the stuffed ornaments we had deemed ok for her to put on, but we were almost done by that time anyway.  I love sharing all of these traditions with them now that they kinda understand what’s going on!  This is now.

THEN: My children were born at approximately 3 and a half pounds each.  Pretty good for 31 week twins actually.  When I was wheeled up to their incubators in the Dogwood room, I thought they were the smallest people I had ever seen.  They were so fragile-looking that I was almost afraid to touch them.  But I was their mother and I couldn’t be afraid.  Besides, Tim and our families had, and they were fine.

I went to see Will first, because he was closer to the door.  His lungs were a little more underdeveloped than his sister’s, so he had a CPAP machine and a mask on his face to help him maintain his oxygen levels.  It wasn’t helping him breathe, just making sure he got what he needed.  Other than that, he was hooked up to monitors in three different places.  A clip was on his foot, monitoring his heartbeat.  There were two different needles in his hands.  And there was a feeding tube down his throat.  He couldn’t open his eyes because of the mask.  He was so beautiful and precious and little.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, but I had to see his sister.

She was hooked up to all the same machines, except the CPAP.  She had been on the CPAP for a couple hours when she was first born but that was it.  I thought the’d be enclosed, but instead they were on heated platforms, surrounded by blankets.  They only had diapers on, so that they wouldn’t get too warm.

They couldn’t eat, that’s why they had the tubes.

They couldn’t regulatre their body temperatures, so they had the blankets and the heated pad.

They had to be monitored at all times and couldn’t be held yet.  All I could do was lightly stroke their backs or touch their hands and feet carefully to let them know that Mommy was there.   Finally.

That was then.