Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Binkie HIjacker

It only took 2 1/2 years, but Eliza finally takes a pacifier.
(I should also take pictures of her in the babies' bouncer and swings. Reverting, much?)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

2 Months With Twins

At two months old, Ezra and Elliott are still struggling with upset stomachs and sore mouths due to thrush. Sadly, the last month has been exhausting for them, but hopefully things are about to change. Despite sickness, each boy has started to show a developing personality.


Elliott is the big brother. He tends to eat more each feeding and sleeps a little longer than Ezra. He has been less affected by the thrush, so he is a bit happier than his brother most days. Most notably, Elliott definitely knows when he wants to be held. If, for some reason, his cries are not immediately answered with a loving touch, he becomes hysterical. Nathan likes to say he goes from "0 to 60 in two seconds."

Once held, Elliott loves to face you and cuddle. He will then lift his head and stare directly into your eyes for as long as he possibly can. He loves making eye contact and has such a sweet smile. He knows his father's voice and will turn his head, looking for Dad, as soon as he Nathan speaks. He is more introspective and calm.

I love him. He always smells so wonderful, and I find myself constantly breathing him in and kissing his baby head.


Ezra is the baby brother. Nathan and I lovingly refer to him as our youngest child, although he is only 8 minutes younger than Elliott. Ezra has had a difficult month. Before thrush, his grandfather jokingly nicknamed him "E-Z" because he was such an "easy" baby, who never made a sound. These days, he tends to have more difficulty falling asleep and loves being rocked or held close. Nathan is usually the only person who can bounce Ezra soundly asleep. Once asleep, Ezra wiggles with stomach pain and cannot sleep for longer than an hour or so. Fortunately, he has found solace in his binky and enjoys being tightly swaddled. 

Ezra has piercing eyes. Sometimes, when I am holding him, I feel as though he is looking straight into my soul! He has the longest eyelashes (so does Elliott), which frame his beautiful blue eyes. He is a curious baby, who does his best to look around the room take in all of his surroundings. Like his brother, Ezra enjoys being held close and falls right to sleep once he is snuggled up against someone. He is precious, and we love him so much. I feel so guilty he has been sick for so long. I know once the thrush is gone, he will go back to being a happy baby.

Although smaller than Elliott in weight, Ezra weighed 10 pounds 14 ounces at the doctor on Thursday (we won't know Elliott's weight until Wednesday). He is currently in the 98th percentile for his adjusted age. The pediatrician said she was actually worried about him gaining too much weight. We can hardly believe he was just 4 pounds two months ago!

This week, the boys actually reached one of their first milestones. On Tuesday, each boy started to smile! I was feeding Ezra when Nathan ran into the room, holding Elliott. He proudly exclaimed, "Elliott is smiling at me!" He was obviously excited about the event, and I smiled a little as I told him, "Well, Ezra has been smiling for the last hour!" I wonder if they'll reach most milestones around the same time (or even day again).

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let's Be Happy

While washing bottles this morning, I leaned against the sink and somehow managed to soak the bottom of my shirt with water. As I patted my stomach dry, I realized how much my body has changed in two months. Most notably, I am not pregnant with two babies anymore and burdened with a huge, cumbersome belly.  And, for a (very) brief moment, I missed the feeling of knowing I was carrying two little ones--not actual pregnancy, just that feeling.

My life is chaotic these days, and I typically don't have time to muse anything other than, "Who's been nursed?," "Have I eaten today?," and "What's Eliza doing?" But this morning, despite the hectic schedule and babies crying, I had a moment to feel overwhelmingly grateful for my children. I mean, down on my knees thanking my Heavenly Father for such wonderful blessings, kind of grateful.

For nearly 8 months, I fought for Ezra and Elliott. I worried about them every day, prayed for their safety constantly, and laid in bed for months, thinking of them and loving them. From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I desperately wanted that baby. When I found out we were having twins, I was elated and prayed even harder that everything would be okay. I remember those feelings of nauseating worry and all the moments I told myself to focus on a positive outcome.

Everything ended up being alright. Better than alright, actually.

Looking at the situation now, things haven't been ideal lately. I am tired of the boys being in pain. I am tired of pumping breast milk and bottle feeding while we treat the thrush. I am tired of boiling everything 4 times a day. I am tired.

When looking at the big picture, though, things couldn't be better. I focused on all of the answered prayers, and I felt immensely lighter. I could feel some psychological burden lift, and I couldn't wait to hold both of my babies--crying or not. The anxiety of pregnancy and the trauma of delivery didn't matter.

Everything was worth it. Everthing is worth it.
 (Disclaimer: In my defense, hormonal, post-partum women are allowed to write cliche, emotional posts...especially when they are sleep-deprived).

After All of This Time?!

MAM pacifiers were the answer!

If you want to save yourself 24 dollars worth of unused pacifiers (we bought every kind that we could find), go ahead and go straight to MAM's. I know every baby is different, but Ezra and Elliott love these pacifiers. Nathan and I tried Nuks, Soothies, Avent, and Dr. Brown's pacifiers and none of them did the trick. Eliza never took a pacifier, so I am delighted the boys decided MAM's were good enough for them!
Thanks for the recommendation, Caitlin! And thank you Suzanne (her mother) for buying them for Theodore!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Small Town Woes

Living in a small town, options for just about everything are limited.

Hungry? You can go to McDonald's or a handful of local restaurants.

Need groceries (or anything, really)? Walmart.

Need a pediatrician? Oh. We have one.

Over three weeks ago, I knew Ezra and Elliott had thrush because I had been diagnosed with a case of it. I've mentioned thrush several times, but just to recap, it is a fungal infection due to candida yeast. Nursing mothers and their babies are affected and both parties require treatment in order for the yeast to go away. After I received medication to help clear my infection, I immediately scheduled an appointment with the pediatrician.

However, because the babies did not have the obvious symptom of white sores in their mouths, the pediatrician did not want to write a prescription for anything (regardless of the other symptoms). I was frustrated, but didn't know what to do other than treat myself and go on our way.

Once we eliminated formula and my thrush went away, it seemed as though everything would be fine. But then, my thrush returned last week, which meant the boys still had the infection as well. It also meant they had most likely reinfected me; it didn't matter that I had taken medicine if they weren't also treated.

My frustration grew. Could I get a second opinion? No. Because I'm in Othello.

I mentioned that I demanded Nystatin when I went to my doctor on Monday. This was supposed to effectively treat all three of us. Last night, though, when I was reading the box the medicine came in, the words: "Not safe for nursing mothers" were clearly stated on the package. Hmmm....Apparently, there are several forms of Nystatin and the one I was prescribed is only safe for the mother. Wonderful.

And to top it off, the boys are increasingly miserable. Ezra is in such obvious pain that he just cries soft sobs all day and looks up at us with the saddest eyes. Elliott is doing a bit better, but he also requires constant patting and bouncing in order to sleep.

After another long (and sleepless) night, I called the pediatrician and scheduled another appointment. I explained the situation and the receptionist explained there was only one opening, so only one baby could be seen today. Okay? How much longer does it take to look into two babies' mouths? We decided to take Ezra because he was awake and still fussing, while Elliott had finally fallen asleep.

Nathan left with Ezra, and I told him not to leave the office without medicine for the babies. I was serious, too! For weeks, we have tried to get rid of this thrush. Nathan returned a short while later with the medicine and said the pediatrician had seen sores in Ezra's mouth and was convinced he had thrush. So, in order to be treated, he had to have full-blown thrush and suffer for weeks.

Like any mother, I felt furious. I wanted to drive over to the office and say: "Are you happy now?! Now that he is in obvious pain?" Hours later, I am still upset (obviously). Additionally, because Ezra only went in, we only received a prescription for one baby. Also ridiculous. We'll be taking Elliott in as soon as possible, so it shouldn't be that big of a deal. It's mostly just annoying.

Point of the story: Driving to a different city to see another doctor would have been worth it. Just because you are a stay-at-home mother and a self professed worrier, doesn't mean you can't properly diagnose your children. You know your kids! You are smart!

I just hate knowing the current scene in our house could be different. Nathan is bouncing an inconsolable Ezra, and Elliott refuses to sleep despite being ridiculously tired. They are still hurting, but at least we can actually do something for them now. That is an immense relief.

End Mama Bear rant.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

At Least It Isn't Colic, Right?

The past couple of days, Ezra and Elliott have been incredibly fussy. It's not just at night now--it's all day long. Eliminating supplemental formula fixed everything for a few days, but now their fussiness is back with a vengeance. They constantly need to be held in order to calm down and cannot sleep for more than an hour or two at a time. We are still combatting thrush, so I can only assume their stomachs are upset because of that.

When I went to the doctor on Monday, I somewhat forcefully asked for a prescription of Nystatin. This is the medicine that is usually recommended for treating thrush and is safe for both the babies and me. For some reason, I was initially prescribed a medicine that cannot be ingested by the boys, which means it was a pain to use. More importantly, though, because Ezra and Elliott were not treated directly for thrush, we can constantly pass the infection back and forth. Not fun. Hopefully, this new medicine will do the trick.

The discomfort Ezra and Elliott are experiencing is different than anything Eliza ever had; Eliza was in constant pain. She screamed for hours rather than moving around with gas and softly crying. Being held and bounced did nothing for Eliza, but it does wonders for Ezra and Elliott. Additionally, the boys were wonderful sleepers in the beginning, while Eliza never slept a decent stretch of time once she came from the hospital.

So, I have hope. Things are going to get better, right?

The sleep deprivation is out of control, so the number of hours spent awake can only decrease at this point. Looking back at earlier posts, I can almost laugh as I think, "Wait. I was tired then? And I was sleeping 6 hours!?" Recently, Nathan and I are down to 2-4 hours a day/night. After sleeping two hours on Sunday night and four hours on Monday, I had vertigo so badly this morning that I couldn't open my eyes, I couldn't stand up, and I threw up when I finally got out of bed. Thankfully, my husband again sacrificed his own sleep and sent me back to bed this morning when my shift was supposed to start. And again, my amazing mother-in-law saves the day. She scheduled a play date for Eliza, watched the children so Nathan and I could both rest, and made sure we had lunch and dinner.

I have waves of feeling overwhelmed and completely hopeless, but somehow, Nathan and I have been able to remain optimistic (overall). We lived through colic and nothing can hold a candle to that. We make jokes about the situation and try to keep things in perspective, as we remind ourselves that this phase will eventually pass. We're just glad Ezra and Elliott can be soothed most of the time and that they aren't in great pain.

More and more, we see it was a blessing in disguise to have a first child who thoroughly prepared us for twins and sleeplessness. Ezra and Elliott haven't got anything on Eliza!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Is This Real Life?

Nathan and I frequently find ourselves asking, "What day is it?" Nathan seems to have a more difficult time keeping things straight, though.

Case in point:

This Friday, the following conversation occurred:

"While we feed the babies, do you want to watch Grimm?"

"Wait. It's on again?"**

"Yeah. There's a new episode. It's Friday."

"It feels like we just saw an episode. Are you sure it's Friday?"

"Yep. Pretty sure."

"Well, that week was a blur!"

Thank goodness for DVR and semi-decent television shows (Grimm, Face Off and 30 Rock). Otherwise, I really would have no frame of reference for knowing the days of the week (aside from Sunday when Cheryl and Rex take Eliza to church).

**Correction: Upon reading this post, Nathan reminded me that he actually said, "Wait. It's Grimm day?" Apparently, it was worse than I thought.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

And the Heavens Opened...

And gave us snow! Lots of it.
Even though we have been unable to leave the house the past two days, I consider this snowfall to be a godsend.

Like I have said in earlier posts, Nathan and I are exhausted. We've been exhausted for weeks, but the past few days have been particularly trying. We have said countless prayers that we would be able to sleep more and because of the inclement weather, our prayers were indirectly answered.

Cheryl is a schoolteacher and there is no school when the weather is this bad. Therefore, the last two days, Nathan and I have been able to sleep and focus on recovery while Cheryl takes care of the children and a million other things around the house (i.e. laundry, dinner, etc). She is truly amazing, and I am so lucky to have her as a mother-in-law.

Thankfully, Ezra and Elliott are wonderful sleepers during the day; they just refuse to sleep at night. Because we have Eliza to love and entertain, it hasn't been possible for Nathan and I to "sleep when the babies sleep" (which is the advice so many caring individuals have given us). Today, though, I managed to sleep between every feeding until 4 PM! After I woke up, Nathan was also able to nap; I am sure he appreciated sleeping without having to constantly worry if I needed help. 

Tonight, my constant dizziness has almost completely disappeared and I even had time to take a shower! We are feeling very fortunate and well-rested this evening (well, it's 2 AM, but time is irrelevant here).

After sleeping all day, it's funny how much I missed my little ones. I was so anxious to hold Ezra and Elliott and snuggle with Eliza. I love being a mother, and I love these children. The lack of sleep is totally worth it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

You Know You're Tired When...

You fall asleep while eating a Wheat Thin.

You wake up from a brief nap because you are finishing some random sentence. (I never talked in my sleep before this!)

You're too tired to walk up the stairs, so you do the mature thing and crawl.

Sipping water from a straw requires too much effort.

You try to read in an effort to calm your mind and the page turns into a blur.

You make the shocking realization that you have been wearing the same pajamas for 4 days. It's time to shower. Gross.

In all seriousness, though, this sleep deprivation stuff is real. I started reading Happy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins last night and learned so much in just a few pages. The first chapter essentially validated my feelings of exhaustion and focuses on the importance of sleep for the whole family.

Dr. Weissbluth has worked with twin parents for over 35 years and stated, " Regardless of how old you are or what you went through to conceive your twins, or whether you have fraternal or identical twins, when they do not sleep well, the primary caregiver--usually Mom--suffers. Sleep deprivation undermines all aspects of her life and interferes with her ability to discover and execute solutions to help the twins sleep better."

Admittedly, I have lost my ability to problem solve. Otherwise, I would probably be wearing clean clothes. That being said, I welcome any and all advice. Hopefully, my book and fellow mothers (and friends in general) will have some good advice for me!

(p.s. Thank you for all of the suggestions so far. And thank you, Amber, for the comment! I started reading the book yesterday and then was encouraged to continue reading when I read your advice. Thank you, thank you!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Dear Crying Babies

I've got your number.

Nathan and I know a little about upset babies. By that, I mean we are experts.

When Eliza was born, her stomach issues and colic began immediately. I remember Nathan rushing to Walgreens for Mylicon drops at 3 AM the first night we had her home because she was screaming and obviously in pain. We didn't realize we were at the beginning of nearly 7 months of sleepless days and nights. Poor baby. Poor parents.

We spent weeks trying to help our daughter. I did an elimination diet, I expressed milk before nursing thinking she could have a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance, we gave her Zantac, and then tried formula that contained no milk or soy. We even took her to an infant chiropractor, which provided some relief and a partial diagnosis of a hiatal hernia.

After working for months with a lactation consultant and our pediatrician, we finally concluded she had an inability to break down the protein in human breast milk and all forms of milk in formula. Crazy, right? The lactation consultant said she had only seen one other case of this in 15 years and it very rarely occurred in premature babies with immature digestive systems. The solution for Eliza ended up being goat's milk. Two of Nathan's brothers had colic as babies and Cheryl recommended it as an alternative. It was our miracle milk. As soon as she had the goat's milk, she was a normal and happy baby. It may sound weird to some, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

During these dark days (I seriously associate that time with darkness because it was the middle of winter and I often sat in the dark, hoping it would help Eliza sleep), Nathan would jokingly say, "Twins would be easy compared to this!"

What prophetic words. And you know what? He was absolutely right.

Ezra and Elliott have had stomach issues for the last couple of weeks, but the situation has been entirely different. While they do not scream for hours every day, they do whimper and need constant patting and bouncing in order to sleep. I was feeling a bit depressed to have fussy babies again (although appreciative they weren't crying nonstop) and tried to remember when their discomfort began.
If I could find a correlation to something, then I would have my answer. The obviously correlation was to mastitis and thrush. I am still battling thrush, so I just assumed yeast was the culprit. However, the boys no longer have any obvious symptoms, and I remembered Eliza and how her stomach pain caused her to want to nurse ALL DAY LONG. The boys' ravenous appetites started a week before the thrush, and I just attributed everything to that one problem. Wrong.

Cheryl was able to make the correlation. This was the same time that I told myself: Formula won't hurt the babies--especially if they only have one scoop at night. That is less than half of a feeding. Less than HALF! Nathan had given the babies the hospital samples of formula a few nights when he didn't want to wake me up to nurse. And although he had good intentions, I was very upset with him for a couple of reasons: I felt like a failure for not being able to nurse my babies fully, and I thought the formula would mess with their digestive systems.

Well, I got over my "I'm a failure if I give my baby ANY formula" thinking after mastitis landed me in the emergency room. I also realized I needed to sleep and if that meant that the babies needed a scoop of formula, so be it. We assured ourselves it would be okay when we did the math and realized the boys drink nearly 30 ounces a day, so 2 ounces of formula wouldn't affect them too much. Right?

Wrong again. Apparently, our children have very sensitive digestive systems. On Friday, the day after things fell apart and everyone was miserable with sleep deprivation, we decided to withhold the formula. Even though Ezra and Elliott only received it some nights (when I had not pumped enough before sleeping my 3-4 hours),  we thought it could still be the culprit. I received a maximum of 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep and nursed and pumped constantly despite pain.

Nathan and I were exhausted (still are exhausted), but apparently our efforts were not in vain. Four days later, they are completely different babies. Starting yesterday, they began sleeping 2-3 hours at a time and eating dramatically less. Because they are eating less, I don't have to worry as much about not having enough milk pumped at night. Babies with upset stomachs often overeat in an effort to feel better, so obviously, things are improving.

I feel relieved and a tad overwhelmed at the same time. While I am happy that my children are feeling better, I again feel the pressure that I have to breastfeed or else! (Or else my children are miserable and we never sleep and things are no fun at all).  I have been battling some health problems (in addition to the continuing cases of thrush, blood clots, and fatigue, and vertigo this morning), so it would be nice to know Ezra and Elliott would be okay if I missed one night feeding. I'm crossing my fingers that they start sleeping at least 4 hours in the evening, as that would solve most of the problem!

In the meantime, I am happy to see these peaceful faces again.
 p.s. Any and all suggestions are welcome!
p.p.s. Because my blog is my journal, some posts are ridiculously long. Hurray if you made it through this! And sorry!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Reunited and It Feels So Good

Oh, hey. It's you again!
 Yes. This is Eliza's old Amby bed.

Last night, when Ezra and Elliott were both fussing and crying, Nathan suddenly remembered we had our most amazing Amby bed outside in the garage. Less than 10 minutes later, Ezra was happily bouncing in the swing.
Thanks to this lovely contraption, Elliott slept for three hours straight! This hasn't happened since the first week of their lives, so we were pretty ecstatic!

If you have an unhappy baby, Amby beds are the answer; our bed is three for three in the Robbins home!

Operation Maintain Sanity

Nathan and I are still holding on. And today, I can say we are even more thankful for Cheryl and Rex and the help they provide.

Yesterday, Nathan was exhausted after staying up with Ezra all night. Elliott was also fussy, but Ezra has had some serious stomach issues and couldn't sleep at all. I woke up around 7 AM (after sleeping 4 hours) to feed the babies and sent Nathan to bed a little while later.  While he was sleeping, all mayhem broke loose.

Cheryl had arranged a playdate for Eliza, and I needed to get her ready for the outing. Ezra needed to be constantly held and fed in order to be somewhat happy, so I tried dressing Eliza while carrying a baby. She became frustrated that Nathan was asleep and unable to play, so she decided to throw every piece of her Mr. Potato Head at me. She then screamed for a taco (which we had eaten the previous night for dinner), but didn't really understand what she was asking for. It was ridiculous and would have been a laughable scene if I wasn't so tired.

Finally, I calmed her down and realized she just wanted some attention, which was understandable. I was still holding a sleeping Ezra, but managed to play with Eliza while we waited for our friend to pick her up. Suddenly, Elliott was crying and hungry. Ezra then woke up and was wanting to eat. Eliza was looking at me, asking me to finish the puzzle, and I was overwhelmed. The doorbell rang and Eliza refused to go up the basement stairs with me. I couldn't carry her, and I panicked. So, of course, I woke up Nathan.

Nathan made sure she made it off on her playdate, and I fed Ezra and Elliott. He then went back to sleep, and I tried to regroup and relax for a moment. The two hours Eliza was gone went by in a blur of nursing and burping, but I was thankful she had something fun to do. Cheryl came home from work and immediately could tell I was in panic mode.

Like I've said before, something I really need to work on is asking for help. It's so easy to write that I'll do better about vocalizing my thoughts and feelings, but I find myself nearly incapable of saying, "I can't do this. I have to sleep." I've said this before, but my reasoning is: my babies, my responsibility; I should be able to take care of my own children, right?

Cheryl constantly offers her assistance and I repeatedly let her know "I'm fine." Well yesterday, she wasn't buying the "I'm fine" story. She always helps with the babies when she gets home, but she went a step further and offered to fully take over baby responsibility for the night. When Nathan woke up, she insisted that we go to dinner. We decided to take Eliza out with us and had a wonderful time.

Eliza enjoyed drinking out of straws and eating rice.
 I enjoyed being out of my pajamas and spending time with two of my favorite people. (I also enjoyed some Coke. DELICIOUS).
I love having two more children, but going out, just the three of us, reminded me of our old, comfortable life. I remembered what it was like to just focus on Eliza and make sure she had all the love and attention she could stand. By the time dinner was over, though, I was more than anxious to get home to Ezra and Elliott.

When we arrived him, I looked in the mirror and realized why Cheryl was so worried about me. My eyes were bloodshot, my skin was noticeably paler than normal, and I looked dreadfully tired.  I decided it was time to take Cheryl up on her offer.

Nathan and I managed to let Cheryl sleep until 2 AM before calling for help. She came and sent us straight to bed. For the first time in weeks, we slept at the same time. It felt so weird not having the whole bed to myself! Although I still had to wake up to pump, it was amazing to not have to worry about actually feeding, burping, and changing the boys.

Today, I have taken naps whenever I wanted and have only focused on eating and pumping. Cheryl and Nathan have taken care of everything else. I also think we have solved Ezra's stomach issues, which makes me so happy for him! (and me).

After a day of recovery, I am still looking a little rough. I figure I'm entitled to look worn out for the next few years or so.  I'm back to multitasking and staying in my pajamas!

Despite appearances, it's been another good day for me. I sometimes can't believe I feel so positive considering the circumstances. Chinese food, sleep, and a ton of prayers. I guess that's all it takes to make a stressed mother feel better.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hold On For One More Day

I'm not ashamed to admit this chorus line from the Wilson Phillips song has been my mantra the last few days.

A few people warned me that my body would eventually give out after weeks of sleep deprivation and neglect. Of course, these people were right. Although I certainly have not had a major breakdown, my stride has slowed, and I know I need to take better care of myself.

Ezra and Elliott continue to eat every 2 hours (sometimes less than that), and I find myself living on the couch in my pajamas, holding a baby while Nathan holds the other. Eliza runs around us, and we take turns making sure she is fed, entertained, and not neglected. She is our little helper and has been much happier the last week or so.

While her mood has improved, Nathan and I are running on empty. Ezra and Elliott are not very fussy throughout the day, but around 8 PM, they suddenly wake up for the night. For the past few days, they have been awake and constantly eating from 8 PM to 2 AM. I nursed Ezra for two hours last night and gave him 6 ounces of milk. Nothing. He was still acting like he was hungry. Tonight, Elliott has joined in on the extreme eating. I've tried pacifiers, swaddling, rocking, anything. They are really just hungry, but the extent of their hunger is mind blowing (they usually eat 4 ounces a feeding).

Because I am constantly feeding someone, I forget to eat. Yesterday, it was 3 PM and I realized I hadn't had a bite to eat all day. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the babies were so ravenous. I felt incredibly guilty for the self-neglect, but eating was really the last thing on my mind. I had been unable to wake up that morning and found myself lying on the couch, completely useless as Nathan took care of the children. Cheryl came home from work and took the babies so we could take a quick nap. Three hours later, I awoke completely disoriented.  I couldn't open my eyes fully. I couldn't find the energy to walk up the stairs to the kitchen. I had finally reached a physical breaking point.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who can help. Nathan is an amazing husband and father. He and I are a team, and by that, I mean he does way more than I do. He realizes I need rest in order to nurse Ezra and Elliott, so he has sacrificed his own sleep for us. He gets up with the babies, he bathes them, he puts them to sleep after I feed them, he washes bottles, and makes sure Eliza has all the love in the world. Did I also mention that he somehow finds time to work from home as well? It really is amazing. Some days I think about how tired I am and then I look over at Nathan and realize I have absolutely nothing to complain about. Really, I have to brag about him because I am so lucky and grateful
The resemblance is frightening.
So, so tired.
Additionally, we are lucky enough to be living with Cheryl and Rex right now. Cheryl has made countless meals and always makes sure we have clean laundry. She takes Eliza out on trips and to preschool and church. As soon as she gets home from work, she immediately takes a baby. Some days, I know I can make it just because she will be home shortly to help. I don't know how other moms with multiple children handle it all! I am beyond impressed.

Back to Nathan, though. Last night, he suggested (and then strongly suggested after I protested) that I take the early shift, rather than the later one. He thought I might feel better if I slept during normal hours. He also planned on staying up as late as possible so I could sleep longer. Wonderful man. I woke up feeling immensely better. I remembered to eat and I actually had energy to play with Eliza for a couple of hours rather than five minutes here and there.

Now that I have a new plan for resting, my primary focus is eating. I am making a firm commitment to eat several well-balanced meals throughout the day. I am feeding two other people, so foregoing food is not an option.  I made sure to eat more often today, and I could obviously tell a difference in how I felt.

So, as it turns out, Wilson Phillips was right. Things are really going my way today. I just had to wait a little while.

Monday, January 9, 2012

6 Weeks

We've survived another week of twin and toddler parenthood! Nathan and I have somehow managed to keep up with Ezra and Elliott's constant need to eat, while finding a way to keep Eliza entertained. Success!
These babies continue to drink an obscene amount of breast milk. According to our feeding chart for suggested milk intake, Ezra and Elliott eat nearly double the recommended amount of milk, but I'm not worried about the possibility of them eating too much. I consider the suggested amount just that--a suggestion.

With all of that milk, it is no wonder they are growing at such a rapid pace. They are so much bigger today compared to the photos taken just two weeks ago. I'm hoping they'll soon gain enough weight to reach the milestone where they sleep more than two hours at a time; 12 feedings a day is really wearing us out! They are wonderful babies, though, so Nathan and I really have nothing to complain about.

 Now that they are both fuller in the face, it is difficult to tell them apart! We have found one foolproof way to differentiate between them: Ezra's left ear is different! It's a subtle difference, but it has come in handy during moments of confusion. When their eyes are open, there is no doubt as to who is who. A sleeping baby is another story though....
(Elliott on the left; Ezra on the right)

It's Hard Being Two

Eliza went to church this morning a happy little girl. She was wearing a beautiful new dress from my mother and enjoyed twirling around the house in it. The dress is red and is covered in glitter, so it definitely met Eliza's fashion criteria. 

When she came home with Cheryl, the first words out of her mouth were: "I got bonked!" She ran to Nathan and showed her nursery battle wound. Apparently, a little boy was chasing his sister and ran into her. Their heads collided, which caused a massive goose egg to appear on her forehead.

So that was this morning. And then there was tonight.

The past week has been particularly difficult for Eliza (and Nathan and me). For a few days, she did wonderfully in her big girl bed. Then, on Wednesday or so, she decided she could open the door and walk out of her room whenever she wanted. She wants to open the door every time she goes into the room, so it has caused some definite problems. I thought about ordering a crib tent, but then realized Eliza's crib is broken (which helped facilitate her sleeping in a big bed).

The past two nights, she has been awake past 1 AM. Because I am "on shift" with the babies, this means Nathan has to stay awake and take care of the Eliza situation. Obviously, this has ruined our plan for shifts because Nathan isn't able to sleep when he is supposed to. 

After a traumatic last night, I decided I would be the enforcer of the bedtime routine (Eliza continually got out of her bed for hours and screamed for Nathan. I thought removing Nathan from the equation would solve the problem). Each time she got out of bed, I put her back in the room. I talked to her the first time, but after the first offense, I said nothing and placed her back in the bed. I've seen Supernanny recommend this trick a dozen times and always hoped I would never have to try it. Thankfully, I had Cheryl to help provide moral support and encouragement.

After an hour of placing her back in the room and two hours of listening to her sob for "daddy not to be mean," she finally fell asleep. I went to check on her and found this heartbreaking scene when I opened the door:
Our little angel, curled up on her blanket, holding her Foofa. I wanted to sob. Instead, I scooped her up and placed her into bed. I wanted to stay with her and just hold her all night. I wanted to tell her that despite having twins, she is still our baby. I wanted to wake her up and tell her sorry for making her cry and just kiss her little face and sing all of her favorite songs. 

I was strong, though, and let her sleep. But tomorrow morning, I'll make sure she know she's still our little princess. Hopefully, she won't remember the trauma of tonight. And hopefully, we won't have to go through it again.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ezra and Elliott at 4 Weeks

(Thanks again to Megan! Check out her photography blog here)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Suggestions, Please?

480 diapers. That's when we stopped counting.

In a little over a month, Ezra and Elliott have gone through over 500 diapers. With Eliza still in diapers as well, Nathan and I find them to be one of our biggest monthly expenses.  After doing the math and calculating the future costs of keeping all three of our children in diapers, Nathan has decided it is time to do something drastic.

Cloth diapering.

I have been impressed by the dedication of many fellow mothers when it comes to cloth diapering, and I must admit I never saw myself joining their ranks.  It seemed so difficult, especially when Nathan and I were both working. I tried cloth on Eliza and quit after a day when she developed a pretty bad diaper rash. Recently though,  I have read multiple posts on the subject and have gained some confidence that it is possible to cloth diaper twins. However,  it always seems like each mom has different suggestions. Because of this, I would like firsthand advice on what cloth diapering system is the best. My biggest fear is spending money on cloth diapers and then failing to use them because they don't work for some reason. We don't really have the money (who does, really?) to try out several different types of cloth diapers, so it would be nice to start in the right direction.

Maybe it's asking a lot to find the ideal cloth diapering system in one try, but I think with your help, it's definitely a possibility!

Hopefully, I won't give up so easily this time. Nathan is determined to save our bank account and the environment, so I feel like between the two of us, we have a good chance of succeeding!

(Brittany- I have been reading your posts for the last hour or so!  What's the final recommendation on your end?)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Wherein We Leave the Pediatrician Speechless

Yesterday, we took Ezra and Elliott to the pediatrician to be seen for thrush. Nathan and I were fairly excited for the appointment because it meant the babies would be weighed again for the first time in three weeks. We can definitely tell the boys are bigger, so we each made guesses as to how much Ezra and Elliott weighed on the way to the office.

Nathan thought Ezra was about 7 pounds and Elliott was 7 1/2  pounds. I added half of a pound to those amounts, guessing that Ezra weighed 7 1/2 pounds and Elliott weighed 8 pounds.

We were both way off.

Ezra weighs an impressive 8 pounds 8 ounces, while Elliott weighs a staggering 9 pounds 6 ounces!

Let me tell you about their furious pace of growing and remind you of their weight history. Less than three weeks ago, Ezra weighed 5 pounds 9 ounces and Elliott at 6 pounds 6 ounces. They weighed 4 pounds 10 ounces and 5 pounds 5 ounces at birth, but Ezra lost down to 4 pounds 1 ounce, and Elliott went down to 4 pounds 11 ounces before coming home. That's a lot of numbers, but essentially, they have nearly DOUBLED their birth weight! Most babies do not double their birth weight until 6 months, so this is a big deal.

We were shocked. The pediatrician also couldn't believe it.

She walked into the examination room and gasped when she saw the boys. She kept saying, "These aren't the same babies! These are Michelin babies!" (referencing the Michelin man). She then looked at the boys' measurements and was nearly speechless. She kept trying to find a way to convey her shock, but mostly said: "I can't believe it!" and "How!?"

I'll tell you how....endless feedings! That's how!

I let her know we had been feeding them pure, unfortified breast milk (despite her suggestion). I explained that we had used formula one day (while I was on Lortab) and had supplemented their night feedings with formula for several days while I tried to recover. Other than that, though, we did not rely on formula. I also informed her that we were no longer charting their feedings due to the fact that at last count, each boy was eating over 40 ounces a day. There was no question in my mind that 40 ounces of milk a day for a 4 week old was enough nutrition, so I stopped tallying everything.

The pediatrician said no one would ever believe our babies were born prematurely. She then said the words I was dying to hear: "Well, you certainly don't need to use formula at all. Your breast milk should be fine." (And added I was essentially feeding four babies, instead of two.)

Validation! Yes! And yesterday, I really needed it.

While we probably will continue to intermittently use formula, I really needed some sort of morale boost when it came to nursing. I have been in agony for nearly a week now. And yesterday (and particularly the last two nights), I was in unbearable pain throughout the day. Mastitis, thrush, and a clogged milk duct had kept me awake all night. n.

My routine was hot compresses, hot showers, pump, nurse, try to rest, repeat. It was so bad I could not sleep at all on Tuesday night and by the time my shift was over, I was in tears. I told Nathan I wanted to give up nursing and that it wasn't worth the pain and frustration. He has repeatedly told me (and so have several other people) that breastfeeding doesn't equal mothering; I can still be an amazing mom without nursing.

I have had a hard time accepting that, though. I know it is true, but I have put a ridiculous amount of pressure on myself unnecessarily. By yesterday, I had reached my obvious breaking point and was willing to concede defeat. Hearing the pediatrician say the boys were now in the 75th percentile and above the 95th percentile snapped me out of my depression and helped ease feelings of doubt and hopelessness.

So, I'm not giving up yet. Feeling positive about the situation has made me feel like a new person today.  I've also let go of the self-pressure to make every single feeding breast milk. If they have to have formula for some reason, it isn't the end of the world. They are big, and they are healthy. Look at these chubby cheeks!

And sorry my blog is only about breastfeeding these days. When you are feeding twins every two hours, it is really the only thing on your mind. Everything in my day revolves around it. Maybe in a month or so, I will find other things to talk about :)

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Good News / Bad News

This evening, I went to the doctor for an emergency room follow-up visit. I received some good news and the expected bad news.

I'll start with the bad news first, so we end things on a positive note!

Bad News: I have mastitis and thrush. That means the babies have thrush, too.

I've been taking the antibiotics for mastitis since Saturday, but the ER doctor wasn't sure I had thrush and therefore didn't give me a prescription to treat it. I informed the physician that I had spoken to a lactation consultant (Caitlin) and had all the symptoms of thrush. So yes, I told him! I even told him what to prescribe me! The biggest downside to delaying the treatment of thrush is that Ezra and Elliott both have symptoms (it is transferred from mother to baby and vice versa) and have been fussy for days now. Poor babies. Poor me awake with babies at night.

Treatment is on the way, though, so hopefully things will get better quickly for all of us.

Good News: I have lost 35 pounds in 5 weeks! Ask me how!

Get pregnant with twins, gain tons of weight, have twins, breastfeed. You really didn't think I would say: working out and eating healthy foods, right?

And even though I can't squeeze myself into any of my old jeans, I am just fine with my current weight. I'm quite sure I will never fit into my old clothes (everything is wider), but I am coming to terms with it. When I got "dressed up" a couple of weeks ago, I felt like a million bucks.
It's good to know my vanity still exist somewhere beneath the spit-up covered t-shirts and baggy sweat pants! Good for Nathan that is-- maybe one day he'll get his old wife back!

Monday, January 2, 2012

"I Did It!"

Eliza is two going on ten. She refuses any form of help and continually insists that she "can do it." From putting peanut butter on bread to insisting on taking out the trash, Eliza wants to do everything with absolutely no assistance.

Independence is great and all, but moderation in all things is best. After the events of yesterday morning, I am an even stronger believer in this notion.

For a mid-morning snack, Nathan decided to heat up a cinnamon roll for Eliza. In the microwave. Innocent enough. (Please keep in mind that the microwave is built into the kitchen's island, which is eye level for Eliza.)

He gave Eliza the cinnamon roll and quickly went to the bathroom to finish shaving. The bathroom is adjacent to the kitchen and the door was open. Nathan has not had a waking moment to himself in weeks, so he has to find random windows of time in order to do anything other than tend to the babies and Eliza.  He thought Eliza was adequately distracted with her treat and considered it a "safe" moment to shave.

Well, he was right about the cinnamon roll distracting Eliza. Unfortunately, the microwave did as well.

Just a couple of minutes into shaving, Eliza ran into the bathroom and exclaimed: "I did it!" Nathan assumed she was referring to eating her cinnamon roll (and you know what they say about assuming) and continued to shave. However, he soon stopped after he heard the faint humming sound of the microwave. He walked out of the bathroom and discovered the kitchen engulfed in black smoke that was rapidly pouring out of the microwave.

Apparently, Eliza had decided to reheat the cinnamon roll on her own. She discovered how to start the microwave and just kept pressing buttons, so the roll would continue to cook. Clever girl.  The cinnamon roll resembled a hockey puck when Nathan pulled it out of the microwave.
 During all of the commotion, I was in the basement with Ty and Jenny tending to the babies. Nathan called down the stairs, "If the smoke alarm goes off and it smell like fire, don't worry! I know why!"


A few seconds later, the awful, overwhelming smell of charred toast filled the basement (and the entire house); it then transformed into the smell of a freshly doused campfire.  Over 24 hours later, the smell  remains. We have opened doors, cleaned with Clorox, put out baking soda, lit Scentsy candles, and sprayed air freshener. Tonight, we even removed the microwave and took it outside. None of this has done the trick.

Just another reminder to never leave a toddler unattended- even if it's for less than five minutes.  Looking at that cinnamon roll, though, I can't help but laugh. Eliza's excitement at successfully working the microwave (and nearly setting the house on fire) is somehow adorable. Oh, the inquisitive mind of a two year old!

The First Day of the New Year

Ty, Jenny, and I rang in the new year by watching Food Network and drinking sparkling apple cider. Nathan was exhausted after an incredibly long day and went to bed before 10. Regardless of how I felt, I had to take a shift so Nathan could finally sleep.

Luckily for me, Ty and Jenny did most of the work. I was not much help, as I was slightly delirious from a mixture of a fever and Lortab/Tylenol with Codeine. At 3:45, I finally woke Nathan up so I could go to sleep.

A couple of hours later, I woke up and knew something was wrong.  My entire body was burning hot, and I felt like I couldn't move. I reached for the thermometer on the bedside table and took my temperature in a daze. I heard the beep and looked at the results: 102. 8. 

I definitely had a fever. I needed water and some ibuprofen, but I couldn't move due to an overwhelming feeling of weakness and dizziness. Worst of all, my head was pounding so hard that my vision was blurry. I was a little worried about myself and hoped I wouldn't have to go back to the hospital again. 

I took a picture of myself to send to Nathan, so he would pity me and come to my rescue. I was too dizzy to actually send it, though, so I tried calling him. I began to feel a little desperate when I realized his phone was turned off. As a last ditch effort, I started calling his name, hoping he would hear me down in the basement. It didn't work.

Eventually, I rolled out of bed and crawled to the top of the staircase. I called down to him and heard him answer in an exhausted voice. Apparently, he had been sleeping. The following conversation then took place:

Celia: "Nathan, I have a 102.8 degree fever. I need help."
Nathan: "You'd be dead by now!"
Celia: "What?"
Nathan: "110 degree fever? You'd be dead!"
Celia: "I said 102."
Nathan: "Oh."

Nathan eventually made it up the stairs and was concerned when he saw me. He gave me water and my medicine and helped me back into bed. I said a prayer that the pain, fever, headache, and dizziness would subside and fell asleep.

Four hours later, I awoke and felt like a new woman! Amazingly, my headache was mostly gone and my fever went down to 100.7. I had decided to stop taking the stronger drugs around midnight and was even able to resume nursing. Apparently, all I needed was sleep. It cured almost everything.

And tonight, my fever is completely gone! I'm still dizzy, but I can handle it. Obviously, it isn't too horrible or I wouldn't be blogging!

I'm certainly glad I don't look or feel like this anymore:
The difference between a mild fever and high fever. I'm glad my skin is no longer sickly pale or dark red. And yes, now you have seen me at my finest!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Highlights from 2011

- Nathan was able to quit his job at Noodles and Company, and we finally had the opportunity to see each other on a daily basis.
- My dear friend, Katy, moved to Provo and began watching Eliza for a few hours every morning. This meant hours of good times, including fun watching "Yo Gabba Gabba," for our little girl.

- I miscarried for the second time in six months, and I found myself reevaluating my priorities and my crazy work schedule.
- We also had some good news that month. Nathan was offically accepted to Western States University in Portland for chiropractic school. We made plans to move in August and tried to mentally prepare for the graduate school life.

- Eliza turned 18 months old and began saying short sentences. She added a number of words to her vocabulary and seemingly transformed from baby to toddler overnight.
- I enjoyed an abundance of late nights with my girlfriends, watching shows like "Face Off" and playing hours of Dr. Mario while Nathan studied for organic chemistry and anatomy.

- We found out I was pregnant again!

- The hyperemesis began, and I turned into a walking zombie. We had our first ultrasound and were happy to see a heartbeat! We found out we were having twins at the end of the month. All of our plans slowly began to change.

- Our dear friend and roommate, Amalia, returned from New Zealand. It was great to have such a wonderful friend in our home, especially when I became so sick and felt miserable all the time.

- After weeks of constant vomiting, I found myself unable to work and had to quit my job at SirsiDynix. I could no longer make it to the office and remained on the couch the entirety of the day.
- Due to my sickness, my mother-in-law came to live with us for the month. Nathan and I decided to move to Othello and live with my in-laws in order to get the help we needed.
- I received IV therapy for over 30 days. Nathan was amazing and learned how to start the IV's so I could have the treatments at home.
- We got to hang out with Becky and Brittany and had a sneak peak of twin life.

 - We met with a perinatologist and found out we were having identical twin boys!

- June was the most trying month of my life. There were nights I would sob because I was just so hungry; I thought I would die of starvation. Thankfully, I have blocked out most of the worst memories, and all the suffering was completely worth it.

- My friend Julie came to visit all the way from Pennsylvania!
- I continued to receive IV therapy and had a feeding tube inserted; it lasted a day before I threw it up.
- Becca and Ashley surprised us with a going away party, and we said a final farewell to some of the most amazing people.

 - We left Provo and moved to Othello, right in time for our annual family reunion.
- By the end of the month, I was finally able to keep some foods down.

- I began gaining weight!!
- We found a doctor in Othello that we loved.
- Nathan and I celebrated our anniversary with a wonderful date.
- After much consideration, we decided to defer Nathan's schooling until January of 2012.

- We visited South Carolina, and Eliza was able to play in the ocean for the first time.

- I started modified bed rest and began watching tons of movies and shows on Netflix.
- Our perinatologist gave us a tentative due date of December 4, and we began thinking again about chiropractic school again. We weren't sure if the babies would need NICU time, and we didn't feel comfortable moving to a new state only a few weeks after their arrival. We decided to defer school again until the fall semester of 2012.

- I began strict bed rest and almost went crazy. I really love Nathan for maintaining such a positive attitude as he took care of a bedridden wife and a crazy toddler.
- Eliza was an adorable princess for Halloween.
 - I continued to gain weight and looked huge!

- We met with several doctors, who advised us to have the twins in the Tri-Cities. Nathan and I then met the doctor who would deliver the boys and anxiously awaited their arrival.
- Less than 48 hours after a supposed "false alarm," I delivered Ezra and Elliott in Othello. Everything went wonderfully!

- The month was a blur of feedings and sleepless nights. We enjoyed visits from Becca, Ashley, my mom, and family members.
- Nathan turned 30!
- The babies had their first Christmas, and Eliza was excited to receive presents this year.

January 1, 2012
And today is the actual due date for Ezra and Elliott. It's hard to believe they have been here for nearly five weeks already!