Wednesday, April 23, 2014

First Easter (7.5 months)

Let's see... They learned to drink from a sippy cup. Both are learning to crawl - lifting their butts and scooting their legs forward like little froggies. I guess this is called "Army crawling".

Here is a pic from Easter. Love those funny shirts on them. Carter ("Kisa") is such a little troublemaker, already instigating trouble when the two of them are together: taking Logan's toys from his hands, kicking his brother, pulling his hair, etc... Logan ("Zipka") is our patient, sweet, quiet baby. Life would be a lot harder if we had two Carters. Logan is so much easier....now that his reflux is under control.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

7 months, 1.5 weeks...



Time flies! Easter is 2 weeks away and I am already starting to think about how much easier life will be when I no longer have to pump… My goal was 6 months and I am still exclusively feeding them milk. Proud…but exhausted. I am so 3rd place on my totem pole. Carter/Logan, then me, then M, then all the pets. Haha

Last week, Logan learned how to bounce in the bouncer. Before that he would just sit there and play with all the attached toys or watch Carter jumping in his own bouncer next to him. Now they both bounce and laugh at each other. Its hysterical!

We started yogurt this week and boy do they LOVE it! Now, we are finishing up with Stage 1 veggies and fruits this week and moving on to Stage 2 veggies later on this month. I have a list of baby food recipes to try. You won’t find jars of store bought baby food here!

Weighed them last weekend. Carter is 16lb 1oz, 11th percentile by weight (unadjusted) and Logan is 14lb 9oz and finally on to 2nd percentile! Growing boys…

Carter now masterfully does “musika” on command – you put your open hand over his mouth and say “musika!” and he starts making sounds while you move your hand over his mouth to make “music”. It’s so funny! One of those Russian things my brother and I learned as babies and now my boys will learn it too. Logan still does not get it and tries to lick the hand if you put it over his mouth. Silly peanut. ;-)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sunglasses


Sunlight in our eyes has been a Problem with a capital P when we go for walks. The solution? These super cool Sungoggles! :)
Both boys went to sleep immediately!

PS: it's warm enough to not wear jackets outside now! Spring is here!



Thursday, March 27, 2014

2 Days Away from Being 7 Months Old!







I blinked and another month went by! I once again failed to deliver on my promise to write more, but I kept
a mental list in my defense. Here we go:
  • C and L started solids!  We give them maybe a tablespoon of something a day in addition to their normal amount of milk, just to learn to chew and eat purees and oatmeal. So far, they both are doing fantastic with it! So far we've tried sweet potatoes, apples, pears, avocado, carrots, prunes, and oatmeal. This weekend we will try green peas. :)
  • Carter was tested for allergies (skin scratch test) and he was not reactive to any of the big allergens - soy, milk, shellfish, peanuts, mixed fish, eggs.  The allergist said that he was either allergic before and just outgrew it (prematurity) or he has an intolerance to milk/soy. So, I was cleared to eat whatever I wanted and carefully monitor him for symptoms. Here we are 2 weeks in and all is well! I am much happier - so many foods I missed!  Now, when we switch C to formula eventually, we may need to get the expensive amino acid formula. The allergist said to avoid milk/soy in his diet directly until he is about 2 years old. So, when most kids transition to cow's milk, Carter is going to get rice or almond milk.
  • Motor Development... Carter and Logan are both very good at sitting up in their high chairs or bumbos. They grab at stuff and explore toys very well! Carter is pretty mobile with rolling both tummy to back and back to tummy. He even lifts his butt and tries to scoot forward. Logan still only rolls tummy to back and tries to scoot a little, but he is going to catch up. Both talk and smile a whole lot!
  •  Both C and L started sleeping through the night about 2 weeks ago. We put them to bed  for the night at 7:30pm, do a "dream feeding" at 10:30pm, and they sleep until 7am at which point we feed them and they go back to sleep while we start getting ready for work. It works perfectly! I also stopped waking for middle of the night pumping, which means I sleep more. :)
We're so happy together! Life as 4 is amazing, but moves soo much faster than life as 2.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Quick Blurbs

I realize now that writing a long, poetic blog is something that is not going to happen. If I don’t get in here for 2 mins a day (or a week?) with a fun blurb about the boys and what new tricks they learned, then I probably won’t write anything at all. So here go some informal blubs about us and them: • They eat 6 times a day now with a dream feeding at 10ish pm and then their middle of the night feeding in actually in the early morning, at 5 am. M and I get up together and usually take turns taking care of them. C eats in 10 minutes and L takes his sweet time, sometimes taking as long as 30. • Love how every morning when C & L wake up and I walk into their room, come over to stand next to their cribs and they greet me with a big smile as soon as they notice me there. So precious & innocent. Those moments make my day! • We usually bring C&L downstairs and put them side by side in a pack n play, where they smile and talk to each other while their morning bottles warm up. Watching them interact is also a really cool gift. They are more interested in each other than in any other toys or even our pets. I like to think there is a true “twin connection” there and not just a wow factor with there being another baby. They’re 2 peas in a pod. • Carter is clearly the less patient one. Logan will fuss in tiny squaks every few minutes when he needs something or wakes up hungry. Buuuut Carter will go from happy and careless to starving and scream at the top of his lungs in a matter of a second. There is no warning or build up. His scream is so loud, you’d think he is seriously hurt. But he’s just hungry. As soon as he sees the bottle, he starts opening his mouth and reaching for it. • Tomorrow they will be going to the pediatrician for their 6 month shots and checkup. I can’t believe half a year has gone by! And then the following day, I’m taking Carter to an allergist to see if he is still allergic to milk proteins and soy (in my diet). I am so tired of being restricted in what I can eat. But this is one year of my life that I can devote myself fully to them. They come first.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

5 months!

Time has been flying!! I wish I had more energy and time to write, but between all the house stuff, work, and sleep I don’t have enough time to sit down or chew food before I have to be somewhere. All in all, C and L continue to do develop like healthy, happy little boys. We had their feeding issues under control for all of about a week and then had to feed them a little more during a growth spurt and everything returned. Now, we have both of them on reflux medication which helps and I also thicken their milk with xanthan gum (following a recipe from Reflux Rebels.com). Carter will be seeing an allergist next week too as his forehead looks like the map of the world, all marked in red eczema lines. Overall, these boys bring us so much happiness now that they smile and babble at us all the time. Just last week, they started looking at each other and smiling. It was such as special moment! M and I also get to enjoy a little more sleep these days – the boys can sleep for a 6 hours stretch followed by a 4 hour stretch. So, M only gets up once a night, while I get up to pump as well… Still, things are better than before! We celebrate small and big accomplishments together: the first time C and L rolled over, the first time C held a ball in his hands and examined it curiously, the first smile, the first monologue, the first walk through the neighborhood in their big boy stroller (not in the car seats, but in actual seats)…. It’s all such a rewarding journey. I can only imagine how much more fun it will be when they start eating solids and teething!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

3 Months Old...

I have been fully submerged into the life of being a mom and as of last week, I am also a working mom. It has been fun but absolutely nuts! Whether or not I am having a good day revolves around pooping and feeding successes with Carter and Logan. But admittedly, things are already a bit easier than they were about a month ago. One of the reasons is that we bought a baby scale and now despite all the projectile vomit that Logan occasionally has and the constant need to be force fed, we still see that he is gaining weight well. That took a huge amount of stress and worry off our shoulders! We also kind of fell into a rhythm and got organized. Our designed days for sterilizing bottles (Tuesdays and Fridays) are clearly marked on the note on the fridge. We have enough Dr. Browns bottles to get through 24 hours without having to wash any. We got new vitamins that don't upset the boys' tummies...And with this first week behind us, I got through the tough part of learning to leave them with my mom and M's parents. It was not so bad at all, but it was a milestone for me. I only cried once, as I was pulling out of the driveway to go in the office. 

A steady stream of weekend visitors has helped us feel like we don't live in a cave, though we kind of are and should be living a bit antisocially this first winter and during RSV season. Last night, M and I actually rented a movie for the first time since the boys arrived and had a little date night in. Its not that we couldn't have done that sooner, but just that we were so stressed and tired each night that we always chose sleep over a movie. Now, there is a crazy talk of taking a family trip to Costco... I don't see the point, but he might convince me otherwise. We'll see!

C and L are thriving! Carter is sooo impatient and screams at the top of his lungs 30 min prior each feeding, effectively moving up our feeding schedule. He is almost 10 pounds now, our little lambchop. Logan is still my peanut, but he has grown too - 8lb 10oz. With L, we have to force feed him every feeding and sometimes he vomits. Lately, L has also had some issues in the pooping department so I am suspicious that he has more than just a milk/soy food allergy and decided to do a trial this weekend, feeding him only from the stash of frozen 100% hypoallergenic milk that I saved back when I was eating no dairy, nuts, eggs, soy, gluten, red meat, alcohol, citrus, etc.. I was eating like 10 things - you get the point. I guess if he does better with the straining and pooping on this milk then I may start cutting out foods I reintroduced already. I don't care if I have to eat cardboard for the next 6 months if that's what I had to do to have two happy baby boys.

Both of them started rolling tummy to back last week. Carter also spends a couple hours a day cooing and trying to talk. He looks up at the birds on the mobile above the swing and coos while following them with his eyes. Logan has not cood this much yet - he is much more reserved and patient compared to his brother. Both of them hold their heads up already, just a bit wobbly. Time really does fly!!! 

Being back at work has given me an opportunity to rest and stock up on energy for when I get home. It is truly so much harder to be a stay at home mom.....

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In a Better Place – 3 weeks adjusted, 11 weeks old


There are so many moments every day with our boys that I think to myself “This is something I need to blog about before I forget” but I never have the time. These days, taking a shower without being rushed is simply a luxury – time is my most valuable commodity right now. Where to start?

Logan had his inguinal hernia repair surgery. There was a 24 hour hospital stay and he came out of anesthesia just fine! My hope was that this procedure would make the straining and discomfort go away, but it didn't. He continued to stain so hard that he would choke while feeding and then projectile vomit. I even suspected that he had pyloric stenosis and like any other mom committed to her son's wellness, I went on a research quest to figure out something that would help. Right now, we are giving him gas drops with every feeding and also probiotics twice a day – its the best combination that works for him though he still strains for hours sometimes.

Carter is gaining weight like a little monster – already 8.5 lbs! It makes me thrilled for him, but I also really want Logan to catch up. It will make things complicated in the laundry department when Carter moves up in size to 3 months old clothes and Logan stays in newborn.

The other day I decided to try nail clippers on Carter instead of filing them in hopes of it taking less time. The first nail clipped great – quick and he didn't even notice. The second nail, not so much. I clipped off the very tip of his little finger and the next hour was a blur – Carter and I both in tears trying to stop the bleeding, M is trying to help but stressed because UGA was losing and I chose a bad time to trim Carter's nails. Let's just say it was a disaster... And now 3 days later, M and I are pro's at putting band aids on tiny little fingers.

A week from now I will be going back to work and it scares me to no end to leave them. I have not really gone anywhere since they have been home from the NICU unless it was a doctors appointment. And even then, it took a lot of patience and planning to make that happen. I worry that Logan won't be eating as much because others will be feeding him and he is a tough baby to feed when he strains or has tummy discomfort. I worry that they will hit a milestone like socially smiling at someone and I won't be there to see it... I guess every working mom has at some point experienced these feelings. Most just had more than 4 weeks to spend with their munchkins before having to return to work. Its tough, but it could always be tougher – trying to stay positive that everything will be ok and maintain an iron-clad level of organization so that I can maximize the amount of time I spend with these two.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy Due Date! (40 weeks)

My calendar says its the 26th of October which means 2 days ago was Carter and Logan's due date. They are full therm babies this week! A week ago Logan came home and Carter followed him a few days later - just shy of 40 weeks. Its still surreal to me that they are both here though it has not been exactly a smooth ride. Logan was sent home on Similac Neosure preemie formula as a fortifier to my breast milk and it has made him strain SOO much until he cries. On the 2nd night of having him home, we took him to the ER because of an inguinal hernia that popped out. He cried so hard and was absolutely inconsolable. The ER doctor told us we'd have to wait until Logan is 50 weeks to get a minor corrective surgery (this type of hernia does not self resolve like the umbilical hernia). Days went by and we continued to hold our breath every time he strained. Finally, we asked his pediatrician for an early referral to the surgical group that would do the surgery. At this appointment yesterday, they decided to operate on him in 2-3 weeks, depending on schedule availability. I am relieved about that... We've been so stressed that he is never happy because of this straining and discomfort. While we wait to have surgery, there is gas drops, gripe water and we may try to fortify milk with a hypoallegenic easy to digest formula instead of Neosure.

Speaking of hypoallergenic, my elimination diet worked for Carter and we have not had issues with bloody stools anymore. I have even started reintroducing a few foods - Gatorade and had a small container of Five Guys fries (cooked in peanut oil) after our first trip to Babies R Us yesterday. It was divine!

Life with our two little boys at home is amazing, all worries aside. They are the most precious little people and it makes me happy to see them without driving anywhere. I have another month until I go back to work and I know it will fly by just like the last couple of weeks did.... Hope the next time I update, Logan and his GI issues will be in a better place. M has one more week off work and I will be a walking zombie after that. It takes minimum 2 hours to feed each baby and pump. We kept them on the NICU schedule so they are eating every 3 hours.... So, I would sleep in 1 hour pieces 3-4 times a night. I just keep telling myself "This is the hardest its ever going to be". Hope I'm right.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

37+2 - Eating Challenges Continue


Our boys are continuing to work hard on learning to suck, swallow, and breathe at the same time during feedings without dropping their heart rates or oxygen levels (when they forget to breathe). It seems though that we stalled a bit – very little progress to report this week. Both of them are still at 4 bottles (out of total 8) per 24 hours and even then, they aren't able to finish them. I have even taken a break with nursing them, so they can focus on mastering bottle feedings which are supposed to be less work than eating from the breast. A feeding specialist came by today to set up a time with us to customize a treatment plan to help them learn to eat. That would consist of finding a bottle and nipple that work for them (so many options out there!), teaching us to pace them some more (tilting the bottle to allow them to breathe), doing suck/swallow counts during feedings, and preventing apnea and bradycardia episodes before they occur by watching the babies. Its not a science, but an art – each baby is different and this is one thing that we don't have machines for in the NICU and the babies have to learn to do this on their own. They don't come home with feeding tubes... 

My biggest fear now is them not coming home by their 40 week due date, October 24. And the fear that follows is that I won't have enough time with them before I have to go back to work. It was hard enough to accept NICU visits eating up most of my maternity leave. Now, my return to work date (end of 12 weeks) is November 12th and I just left a voice mail for my boss yesterday asking him to call me to discuss a personal leave of absence. I plan to ask for just 2 more weeks, so I would return to work the week of Thanksgiving. That would essentially give me roughly a month with them at home before things get more complicated, but that's assuming they come home on October 24, which is less than 3 weeks away... I fear they won't be ready. Perhaps I should just be thankful for 2 healthy babies - this experience has been so humbling and we met SO many parents with kids that have major complications, that I simply can't overshadow the joy of having 2 healthy beautiful boys by my worries about spending time with them during leave. Everything should be considered in perspective! I tell myself that they are going at their own pace and will come home when they are ready.

Another small issue: Carter had some blood in his diaper (again – first time was Sept 23) and this time, its been diagnosed as a milk protein allergy. So, he has been getting Similac Alimentum formula and I have been put on an elimination diet of no dairy. On Monday, it will have been 5 days since my diet started and I will be able to start giving the NICU breast milk again for Carter. Poor little guy – the formula makes him constipated. It kills me to see him eating formula though I know its for less than a week, while I have a half full deep freezer of breast milk he can't tolerate. Logan hasn't had this problem, thankfully. Though I think having no dairy will benefit him too – he gets very gassy sometimes.

A bright spot from last week – a lovely nurse offered me to hold them at the same time for 5 minutes (their schedules are not synchronized so their allowed “touch times” are off by an hour). It was amazing! I never saw them so close to each other before and had a silly smile on my face the entire 5 minutes. Carter was awake and was exploring the boppy pillow with his big curious eyes and everything on it, including Logan. Logan was still snoozing, but he was moving his arms in his sleep. Somehow the two of them got to hold hands for a brief moment and I caught a picture of it... Absolutely precious. Moments like this make me so glad that I have twins and get to watch them interacting together though it is in very small ways right now.