Wednesday, June 27, 2007


11:30 pm. 1:30 am. 3:30 am. 4:30 am. 5:30 am. 6:30 am. This is last night’s demand-for-feedings-please times. At least I had that two-hour stretch of sleep.

And though I complain (a lot about the whole lack of sleep thing), I really do have lots of help. Nicole’s mother stayed with us for a full week and pulled all-nighters (and all dayers) with me. My sister-in-law and friends come by to help. And we have a nanny starting on Friday. Actually, the nanny is my good friend Annie, who is a kindergarten teacher with the summer off. I was anti-nanny and help (surprise, surprise: To the bitter end I insist I can do it all myself) and I was especially anti having a nanny that I didn’t know. How could I leave my children with someone I just met? Not that I will be leaving the babies—maybe to run to the food store—but I really wanted someone who I was comfortable with, who I would enjoy driving around with and going places with and, most important, who I would feel safe with my babies. I just wouldn’t get that level of comfort from someone I found on craigsli*st. We toyed with getting a night nurse, but I vetoed that.

I am still not thrilled about accepting help. This is a life-long issue. I don’t like asking for help and I don’t like getting help. I just want to be able to do it all myself, and I find it frustrating that I can’t. I will love having Annie around, because that will be social and fun so it won’t seem like I am getting help. So it sorta eases me into this getting-help scenario, which might help me in the long run be more willing to accept help.

But there should be some sort of badge for being able to do it all yourself, at least some of the time. When I was alone with the babies on Monday and managed to survive (an they survived too) I really felt so proud of myself (and them). It was empowering. We went to the post office and one store. Maddie had a meltdown in the store and Avery saved hers for the long wait at the post office. And even during those tense moments, it was still a successful trip out of the apartment together.

But it is so much easier when there is a second set of hands/lap/shoulder around.

I am starting to get into more of a groove. One of these days I will catch up on everyone’s lives. I figured out a way to pump and read on the computer and type with one hand! Nature always finds a way!

Pictured above is us with Avery. My brother gave Maddie a Madeline book and Avery got some Avery paper products. Madeline was named after madeline cookies, which bears some significance in my relationship with Nicole (long story) and Avery, well, we just liked that name. No cute little story behind her name, which makes me sad, because she might get older and lament how Maddie has this whole story around her name and there is no story around hers. I feel guilty already! But Avery is such an Avery. She couldn’t have any other name.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Faustian Bargains

Thanks, everyone, for the advice/encouragement/tips/tricks/words of wisdom about breastfeeding. I am still struggling with it, but trying to be more relaxed about it because apparently my stress level can affect my milk production. So these babies won’t be 100 percent breast-feed. It is what it is. There really is no possible way for me to pump more than I already do. And they both are getting more breast milk than formula. The best I can hope for is to close in tighter on the formula-to-BM ratio. Smaller, achievable goals, one day at a time.

In other minor distressing updates, both babies are suffering from a little gas and constipation. They are both up all night straining and pained. And nothing is coming out (but gas). It is so hard to see them in pain—even something as trite as gas pain. Turns out the cure for constipation (according to some parents/websites/doctors) is to stick a thermometer in the baby’s, well, don’t make me spell to out. I had to have Nicole do this because it seems so wrong. It did the trick though, at least for Avery.

I know the formula is probably causing the gas and that makes me so upset. This is why I wanted 100 percent breast-feed babies. We switched to a sensitive formula with low iron but that doesn’t seem to do anything yet. They only get formula from 10 pm until the 7/8 am morning feeding. And my diet is pretty much gassy-food free. If anyone has any other good ideas, please let me know.

My energy levels fluctuate from higher than the highest caffeine high to tired beyond belief, Not run-of-the-mill tired, but that type of tired you get in say chemistry class when suddenly your head feels like 100 pounds and your mouth drops open and your eyelids feel stapled shut. I am averaging about four hours of sleep a day, which is not nearly enough. But once these babies sleep more at night I am sure we will too.

I made all sorts of Faustian bargain to get and stay pregnant. I swore to myself that if it (IVF) worked I would be the best mother in the universe, with tons of patience and an I-Can-Do-It Attitude. I would never complain. I would remember how badly I wanted this to happen whenever things felt difficult. I would have clean, happy babies and a clean, happy house. Ha.

And yet here I am, struggling, and it is hard to remember my bargain. I was with the babies alone today for most of the day. This was my first time. I think they sense when the baby-to-adult ration goes from 1:1 to 2:1 and they both kick into high-needs mode. Both need to be fed/changed/comforted/cuddled immediately and practice their newborn scream if it doesn’t happen. After almost no sleep last night, it has been a struggle today to keep up with them. I finally got them both calmed and they are asleep. That gave me an hour to eat for the first time (at 2:00 pm!) and load up the dishwasher and pump four ounces of milk and write this.

It is distressing to listen to a baby cry and realize you can’t do anything about it, unless you want to listen to the other baby cry. Mealtime is a very minor version of Sophie’s Choice. Who do I feed first? Who seems hungrier and fussier? Who will not cry for longer? It’s a guessing game, and the babies let me know if I made the wrong choice.

We are at a crossroads of sorts. Nicole can’t function on so little sleep and still go off to work every day. And I can’t function on so little sleep and be able to take care of the babies during the day. Nicole and I think we are going to start doing night shifts. I will go to bed from 8:00 pm until midnight and she will stay up with them and do their feedings. Then I will take over at midnight. That way, at least I will get 4 hours of solid sleep, plus cat naps from midnight on. And Nicole can get a solid 5 hours before she has to get up and get ready to go to work. When do babies start sleeping longer through the night?

Pictured above, the little angles sleeping like logs during the day. If only they could sleep like this at night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The 24 Hour Kitchen

So this whole breastfeeding thing is 1,000 times harder than I thought it would be. Everyone talks about how great it is and how bonding it is, but few people mention just how difficult it is. Is just like the Secrets of C Sections. Is there some sort of unspoken motherhood pact to keep the hard parts on the down low?

Miss Avery breastfeeds just fine and takes a bottle great. She breastfeeds all day and at night, she switches to formula. Madeline bottle feeds on pumped breast milk by day and has formula for night feedings. Duirng the night, I pump to get enough milk for Madeline for the next day. No matter how much I pump (every two hours or so), I can only keep one feeding ahead for Miss Maddie. It is so frustrating. I had dreams of a freezer full of expressed milk. My ego is wrapped up in all of this too, which means I feel like a failure when I can’t get Maddie latched on or when Avery makes this horrified face when I try to (dare to) feed her a bottle at night (when the breast is oh so close). I feel like I am betraying both of them, like I am a failure.

I know my hormones are playing a part in this. But still. I had it in my head that I would breast feed for a year. I can adjust this if I have to, and that is fine. In the mean time, I am just going to keep on doing what I am doing and hoping my milk supply magically doubles or my energy levels allow me to pump more than every two hours. I am also trying every tip and trick that anyone has recommended.

What I need to do is eat and drink more. Today’s meals were yogurt, some carrots and French bread. Oh, and a granola bar. And that’s it. I know, that is awful and not enough. It is hard to find time to eat when there are two babies that need your constant attention. I’ve lost 40 pounds already. And that’s even with drinking a half gallon of chocolate milk a day. I really drank a half gallon in less than 24 hours.

Pictured above is Miss Maddie, during sponge bath time, and me with Miss Avery, who, as usual, has her little mouth open just in case a nip.ple comes close to it.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Today I left the apartment for the second time alone. The first time was yesterday, when I went to get the sutures taken out of my hand. And today I went down to Union Square for a BabiesR*Us visit. That involved a subway ride, so it seemed much more serious than the doctor’s appointment. The world now moves at a faster pace than I am used to. Or maybe my pace has slowed down. But everything just seemed so loud and abrasive and high speed, moving at the speed of light. And I feel slower and calmer than all that. Not to mention sloppy: Picture me with dried breast milk (from pumping) on my skirt and food stains on my shirt from one-handed eating. Lovely image, isn’t it?

I guess I am going through some transitions. Everything/everyone just seems so different.

The pain from the C section is all gone and has now been replaced with some intense shoulder and tricep pain. Apparently, according to my doctor, this is common when women begin breastfeeding, especially twins. My posture isn’t helping matters: To see what I mean just look at the picture from my last post of me holding Maddie. I’m like a vulture. Shoulders scrunched up, all tense. The pain is awful. Once again, I have a hard time picking up and holding and feeding the babies. But I do it anyway, which is making everything worse. My doctor gave me some exercises to do and some codeine, which really helps to minimize the pain for a while. I hate taking all these medicines, but what good am I if I can’t move without pain?

Nicole goes back to work on Monday and I am not quite ready for that. I like having her around all the time. I’ve said this before, but I just am not the type that needs a lot of space away from her. That might be unhealthy for some, but it works for us. I forget that we have these new roles to step into: Nicole the Provider and me the Homemaker. I guess we practiced these roles during the pregnancy, since I wasn’t working, and even, to a lesser extent, during our entire relationship. But that all seemed so trail run. Now it’s the real deal, complete with two extra little lives to take care of. Another transition.

These babies must be going through a growth spurt because they want to eat all the time Every time I turn around, they have their little fists shoved in their mouths or they are rooting around. They still think that nighttime is daytime, and get up every hour and a half or so. But during the day, they can nap for 4 hours straight, if we let them. We just ordered a sleep book so hopefully we will get this sleeping behavior in check some time soon.

Pictured above are A&M. Forgive my proud parent moment, but aren’t they so cute? The funny thing is, you’d think that they would have some sort of special twin bond, but these two are going through a stage where they don’t exactly seem enamored with each other’s presence. Avery tries to BF off of any of Maddie’s parts and Maddie, in turns, kicks, punches and pushes Miss Avery away. It’s cute to watch now, but we hope they outgrow this stage.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Birth: The Final Installment

Both babies are on their little mat in the sun “napping” so I have a few minutes to wrap this tale up. Maybe.

So Nicole returns to the hospital in record time, which made me feel a lot better. Suddenly, the nurse who was sorta ignoring me was all over me, touching my knee, answering my questions and showing a good deal more concern than she did or me before. (I asked her for ice chips about three times and she never brought them. And I was her only patient at the time.) Then more doctors started coming in. They added up my symptoms and came up with a big fat We have No Idea what is going on. One doctor came in to report my blood work results. She said that all of my tests looked fine except one. That “bad” test showed that my platelet levels were low. And that my kidneys were only functioning at 75 percent. What? And that there was still a lot of blood I my urine. My blood pressure was rising high and my heart rate was still low. And an alarm kept going off because I wasn’t breathing enough.

At this point it is around 9:00 am and I still had not seem the babies. We asked them to be brought to us and we were informed that they can only come into recovery to feed. The doctors said I was not going to get out of recovery any time soon, which really unnerved me. I said that the babies hadn’t been fed since 2 in the morning so bring them now. I was so tired (I had now been up for more than 24 hours) and weak from the surgery that I barely remember it. But I do remember being VERY emotional and hormonal.

I meet with kidney specialists, my ob, other obs, urologists and residents. I was wheeled down to have a kidney sonogram performed by a woman with absolutely no sympathy for the fact that I just had surgery, so jerking my body around to get a better angle hurt a lot. The radiologist told me that my left kidney was dilated, but other than that all looked ok.

So the doctors were no closer to figuring out what is wrong with me. Kidney failure was bantered about, toxemia (a type of pre eclampsia) and something about a piece of my kidney dying off. To this day they still don’t know what was/is wrong. But my blood levels stabilized and my urine slowly become less bloody, so that was a good thing.

I had a full on break down sometime in the late afternoon while still in recovery. I had been there for over 12 hours and asked for the babies to come. They said yes, but a half hour went by and no babies. Then 45 minutes. We asked again and we were told they were too busy to bring us our babies. At that point I lost it. I just started crying and shaking and not making any sense. That snapped the nurse into a higher sense of urgency. She called the nursery again and arranged for an immediate delivery of babies, as long as Nicole would go and help them. So Nicole leaves and two minutes later, people come in to take me to a sonogram. I flipped again. I couldn’t believe that I was not going to see them. Meanwhile, who was feeding them? I told them NO BOTTLES.

Nicole wheeled them in just as I was about to be wheeled out. Given that I was I hysterics, they let me stay with the babies for a few minutes. How nice of them. It seemed unnatural that I wasn’t allowed to spend time with them. Especially since when they were with me, all of my vital signs started to even out.

I was moved to a regular room (finally) around 6 pm. I was so grateful to be down the hall from my babies, who were in the nursery. We put our names on the list for a private room, but we were told that there wouldn’t be one available. So we settled into a very cramped shared room, and no sooner than I started to breastfeed the babies, a nurse came in and said a private room just became available. Nicole literally ran down the hall with all of our stuff and within a half hour, we settled into our new giant room, complete with a hospital bed for Nicole to sleep in and our very own bathroom.

To this day, the doctors still aren’t sure what happened that day. My doctor said she would probably call it toxemia, but she wasn’t happy with that because it isn’t a neat fit with the symptoms. I chalked it up to the trauma of surgery (hand surgery too) and the epidural and all the top offs and all of the other meds pumped into my body. How could that not affect me? It was just bizarre, because I had for the most part a pregnancy free of traumas and bed rest and issues. To get pre-eclampsia or toxemia after the babies are born just seems weird. Also, I don’t discount the theory that my bladder was traumatized accidentally in the surgery. But the doctor said nothing happened to it during the C Section. So I guess we may never know. Once again, I am a medical mystery (the lovely pyogenic granuloma was Mystery No. 1).

I am still blown away that we were allowed to check out of the hospital on Sunday. But in the end I was happy to recover at home, even with still having blood in my urine and a not quite functioning kidney. I am happy to say that the pain of the C Section is long gone at this point, but now I am dealing with some seriously painful shoulder/arm pain.

Pictured above is Madeline with me after (after her first bath) and Avery with Nicole (after her first bath). In fun news, Avery lost her belly button stub last night and proudly joins her sister in the outtie club. Maybe that changes over time and becomes an innie.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Birth: Part 2

The saga continues….

On a side note, I was on the phone with my friend Jen today and fell asleep. So that pretty much sums up my current state!

After the decision to do the C Section, things moved really quickly. Someone started taking all the monitors off of me and removing my IV drip. Someone else showed up with scrubs for Nicole and when I saw her covered head-to-toe in that blue outfit, it really hit home to me that this was happening. My SIL took pictures of her and then I was wheeled off while Nicole was told to wait in some staging area.

The room was so bright. I know this is necessary for an operation, but still. I had to be moved from the hospital bed I was on to the operating table. Somehow I managed to do this, with the help of like ix people, but I felt like a beached whale. Adrenalin kept me moving: I was so excited that we would finally be meeting these babies soon.

But I felt like a piece of meat: The nurses and doctors arranged me Just So, laying me flat with my legs together, completely naked from the chest down. There were so many people in the room: My doctor and several residents, a nurse for each baby, a pediatrician for each baby, two anesthesiologists, and some other random people whose role I couldn’t figure out. It just felt like a circus. Not the warm and fizzy I pictured. Nicole was ushered in and positioned next to my head.

The anesthesiologist kept testing me: Pricking me and asking if I still felt sharp pain. I was horrified to suddenly realize that I wouldn’t be completely painless from the neck down as I though but rather just numb. I wouldn’t feel the slicing and dicing, but I would feel “pressure,” which I still contend is doctor-speak for pain.

There was no narration. I knew the doctor had begun when I smelled my own flesh burning. Because of all of the equipment, Nicole was slightly behind the side of my head, so I kept telling her to lean over really close and get close to my face. I wanted her right up in my face. All I could see were her eyes, but that was enough. I started to shake uncontrollably. It might have been the medicines and also the fear.

I started to feel all the pulling and tugging that everyone talks about and the aforementioned pressure. I’m not going to lie: It hurt like a MF. I developed some bizarre personal coping mechanisms: I counted backwards from 5 to 1 for most of the surgery. I kept thinking “I can handle this for five seconds” and then I would count. And then I told myself I could do another five seconds. In between I chanted “1-2-3-4 Pressure,” and ode to the Billy Joel song, until Nicole reminded me there was also “Under Pressure,” the Queen song. So those were my mantras.

The anesthesiologist was very nice, and answered all of my questions as we went long. She would warn me whenever when were about to have a “pressure event.” It was nerve-wracking being behind the curtain, unable to see, only hearing hushed voices.

Then someone told Nicole to stand up to see our first baby (Madeline) being born. At then, at 12:33, we heard that little cry. One minute later, Baby B (Avery) entered the world. It hurt so much when the doctors were removing the babies from me, but hearing their cries was the best pain medicine.

Nicole went over to the bassinets to meet and photograph the babies (just seconds old and already we are snapping their pictures!) while the doctors went about the business of putting my internal organs back and sewing me up. This is when things got a bit tense. Of course, no one was really telling me what was happening, but I know something was not quite right when I asked the anesthesiologist how much longer and she would say about 15 minutes. 15 minutes later, she said the same thing. The doctor kept ordering new medicines and new drips were put in me. People were moving quickly but I still had no idea what was going on. After, I found out that my uterus wasn’t contracting and therefore wasn’t going back into my body. I also lost a lot of blood. And then there was something about blood in my bladder and blue dye being put in my bladder to figure out if it was damaged in the surgery or not.

The anesthesiologist warned me that another “pressure event” was about to happen and I could expect to throw up. Within seconds I started dry heaving, and almost laughed when a tiny little vomit basin was tucked under my chin. If I vomited it would be all over, not in a dainty little cup! Luckily it was all dry heaves. But still. No one told me these sort of things would happen.

Eventually someone said they were putting my uterus back in and that is the moment someone else brought over Maddie. Her eyes locked with mine and it was again like the best medicine in the world.

The babies left to go to the nursery (no NICU for them! Yay! Go babies!) and Nicole went with them. I was pieced back together and taken to the recovery room. Nicole met me there and within moments the babies were brought in to eat. Already! I was the only patient in there, so my mother and SIL came in to spend a few minutes with the babies. By then it was almost 2:30 a.m. They stayed for another 20 minutes or so and then took a cab home. The babies were whisked away again for routine maintenance and Nicole and I were left alone.

At this point, the pain was creeping up on my but I was given some strong medicine. Nicole was exhausted and I finally convinced her to go home and sleep for a few hours and come back (we are a ten-minute walk from the hospital). There was only an office chair in the recovery room for her and I knew she would get no sleep in that. And how would she get through the next day with zero sleep? How can she bond with her babies if she was falling asleep? The medicine was making me drowsy but I knew I wouldn’t sleep if she didn’t. So she left and I closed my eyes.

But then there was a lot of action around my bed again. Doctors were coming in and nurses and checking my vitals. My blood pressure was rising quickly and my heart rate was lowering. And then there was the problem of all of the blood in my urine. Doctors came in and did weird things, like check my reflexes. My reflexes weren’t working and I asked if that was ok. They wouldn’t say. They asked me all sorts of questions that seemed so random. Something was wrong but no one would tell me. It was pissing me off. Then the nurse returned to take blood for blood work. I started to really panic. The drama of the days events plus the pain plus Nicole not there made me feel really vulnerable. A doctor came in and said they got my blood work back but she didn’t want to tell me what they found because they didn’t not to worry me. That pissed me off SO much. I told her to tell me now (I’m an adult, for the love of g-d. I just gave birth to two babies. And they were treating me like a child?)

OK, so this is a three-parter. I will finish this saga up tomorrow I hope!

Pictured above: Meeting Maddie for the first time. Below are both babies, hungry out of the womb!

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Birth Story Part I

So this is the start of the story of the birth of Madeline and Avery. It is too long to be written in an interesting way. But I wanted to get it out because the details were already getting fuzzy.

I woke up on Thursday May 31st in major pain. I had hand surgery the day before, and after the anesthesia finally wore off, my hand was throbbing like it never had before. The doctor prescribed me codeine and assured me that I could take it without harming the babies, but I was skeptical, as usual.

I pictured a day of convalescing on the couch. With the hand pain and my in general lethargic self, I couldn’t imagine doing anything. So imagine my horror when I lay down on the couch only to find that the cable was out, as well as the Internet. This is enough to push me over the edge on a regular day. And to make things worse, I couldn’t even search online for codeine/pregnancy horror stories.

So I called Nicole at work and asked her to do a search for me. We were on the phone for barely a minute when I felt a gush. I momentarily thought maybe I just lost control of my bladder. Fun. But when I got up and waddled to the bathroom more and more and more came out. I told Nicole my water just broke. Then I went about packing my bag again and waited for her to get home. I tried to call some people as I scurried around and get the phone tree working. I remember my SIL screaming.

We took a cab to the hospital (Nicole had one waiting downstairs) and checked in. I was put into a room and examined by the attending physician, who proclaimed me 4 cm dilated. Turns out, I was contracting but not feeling it. I was hooked up to all the monitors and had to lay on my back; not the most comfortable position for someone carrying all that extra weight. In addition, I had to keep my left hand elevated above my heart. For the entire labor. Good times.

My ob came in and said unless I deliver before 4 pm, she would not be delivering me. It was very disappointing, especially since we never did get around to the “end game” talk. It felt like being engaged to the same person for nine months and showing up on your wedding day to find a while new person.

Of course I wasn’t allowed to eat or drink, which was quite a challenge because I skipped dinner the night before and I didn’t eat breakfast yet that day. I was starving and SO thirsty but couldn’t have anything but ice chips. I asked what the difference was between eating ice chips and getting them to melt and just drinking the water. No dice. I also bribed everyone who came into the room to bring me chocolate milk. Also no luck.

Around noonish, I started feeling a lot more pain and pressure and got the epidural. Immediately I felt better…this weird sense of calmness kind of floats over you as your legs become heavy. I could sleep for hours. I never did quite fall asleep, but I was so relaxed. My mother and sister-in-law went out to get food and I tried to rest.

Despite the pain, I hadn’t made any progress. So by 3:30 the doctors added a pit drip to move things along. Immediately my contractions started coming faster and harder and even the epidural wasn’t masking the pain. I asked for a top off, which meant another internal exam, which concluded that I had gone from 4 cm to 9 cm in a short period of time. So things were moving.

During this entire day, I had to keep my hand elevated. I kept a biohazard bag filled with ice in it to alleviate the pain a little. The ice would melt and someone would go to the pantry and refill it. I still can’t believe I had hand surgery and then went into labor the next day.

By around 9:00 pm I was fully dilated, but Baby A was in the zero station. They wanted to see the baby in +2 before I started pushing. So we waited. And the pain got worse. And I got another top off. But after another internal, Baby A still wasn’t moving at all. In fact, she was still in the very same spot. So we waited some more. More internals. And still no progress.

At this point, there was all sorts of talk about C sections and pushing. My sister-in-law, who was with us, reminded me how awful her recovery was. My mother told me I should try for a vaginal delivery. Even a nurse came in and rubbed my hand and told me not to give up my dream of a vag. delivery. Everyone was pushing for what they thought was best, but I still had no idea what to wish for.

The thing is, after no food or drink all day (and most of the day before) and after all of the pain I was feeling and the pressure that kept coming in waves and the pain in my throbbing hand, I had no “dreams of delivery” anymore. I just wanted the babies to come out, and whatever was safest and best is what I would do. Nicole agreed, and countered I should at least try to push for a little while to rule out a vaginal delivery. What scared me about that was that during my last internal, the doctor asked me to push, and sensing this is my moment to show Just How Strong I could be, I pushed with all my might. I asked how that was and the doctor was not as generous with the compliments as I wanted. I wanted to hear; “You’ll push these babies out in record time.” Instead I heard “It was okay.” This panicked me, because I was giving it the old college try. If that wasn’t good enough, how would I possibly get through pushing?

Well, the decision was made for us, in a way. The doctor came in around 11:30 pm and determined that after being fully dilated for at least 2 hours, Baby A didn’t move at all. She has been in the same spot since I started labor, in fact. Since both babies were head down, he surmised that they were locking each other out of the birth canal. In addition, both were beginning to shows signs of distress (high heart rates) and I started getting a fever. The doctor asked for my permission to do a C Section and we agreed….

And then the drama starts. But I will have to continue with Part 2 later.

Pictured above is Nicole with Miss Avery and Avery and Madeline discovering the others’ presence.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

A Tale Of Two Mommies

I didn’t expect to have tons of free time, but I was hopeful to be able to keep up with this blog little more than I am.

Nicole just left to pick up a few things that we need. There is a sleeping baby (Avery) laying next to me and another with hiccups (Madeline, who hiccupped her way through gestation in my uterus) by my feet. I still look at them in wonder that they are actually here.

Recovery from the C section has been tough. I always heard two things in regards to this procedure: It wasn’t so bad or it was the worst experience of my life. I am in the latter category, I’m afraid. I spent the first few days walking (barely) hunched over, in nothing but a tank top and those lovely mesh hospital underwear. My posture and gait is a bit reminiscent of Smeigel from Lord of the Rings. Each day I get better, but recovery is very slow. I resent how it interferes with these precious beginning weeks and how it makes me so helpless and dependent.

It’s awful how this recovery interferes with bonding with the babies. When I was in the hospital, Nicole was picking some things up from home and I was alone with the babies for the first time. I had one on my lap and the other in a cart next to the bed. Avery (in the cart) started to fuss and pushed her mini nose against the plastic. It took me 15 minutes to get out of bed and pick her up and get back into bed. Very humbling.

It takes some getting used to, this helpless thing. A baby cries in the night and I can’t physically get out of bed to get her. Which brings me to Nicole. Of course I knew she would be a great mom, but I am overwhelmed at just how quickly she snapped into maternal mode. A whole new side of her was born the minutes the babies arrived. It is amazing to watch. She is a natural, gracefully handling all of the ups and downs of new parenthood while I clumsily still try to figure out how to get a burp out of them or try to get myself off of the couch without using any stomach muscles.

A baby cries at 2:00 a.m. and Nicole is at their crib next to our bed before the baby can get a second intake of breath. She is practically single-handedly taking care of both babies, our home, our lives and me. She has changed almost every diaper and prepared every bottle for feeding and even helps me latch on the babies for BF. She has discerned their cries already, and know when they are hungry or gassy or have to get a new diaper. And she is doing all of this while operating on almost no sleep. And this is a person who normally needs at least eight hours a night.

The babies in turn LOVE her. Madeline especially turns her head in that cute can’t-control-my-neck way when she hears Nicole’s voice. And Avery calms down immediately in her arms. Me, I leave bruises on Nicole from where I grip her to get out of bed or up from a sitting position.

The biggest priority on our agenda is getting the breastfeeding flowing. I started in the hospital and all went well for a day or so. Then the pain came: When the babies latched on, the pain was so excruciating that one night I literally screamed and burst into tears. I have never been so affected by pain. I didn’t quite expect that.

My nipple.s are red a cracked and bleeding. The babies may or may not be latching on properly: We were shown in the hospital how to do it and we are doing the same thing now but still, that pain. Madeline started losing too much weight so we had to supplement with formula. Of course, this lead to copious tears about how I feel like I am starving my children. Avery also gets supplements but she takes to BF much more. We rented a hospital grade pump yesterday and have a lactation consultant coming here tomorrow. One hour I pump and get an ounce from each side. Next time I pump I get less than a coating on the bottom. Bizarrely, I have much more success with a hand pump and not the thousand-dollar electric one. Very disconcerting. In my spare moments (ha) I have been trying to read books about all this, but I can’t find anything that helps. It is so frustrating.

I still need to get out the whole birth story. Already details are getting fuzzy. But that will have to wait a little while longer.

Pictured above are some moments from the past few days….Nicole with the enchanted Madeline and Nicole with Avery.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Best Of Times

It’s Sunday night and there are two spikey-haired babies sleeping on my couch. I can’t believe they are ours.

For some reason, the doctors decided that it was ok for me to be discharged today, if I wanted. Nicole and I discussed it and agreed: Recuperation is going to be hard, but I am happier doing it at home. So here we are, back at home, with two beautiful baby girls.

Thank you all for your well wishes! I feel like so many have gone on this journey with me. There’s a bit more to it, with a few twists and turns at the end, which I will write about tomorrow. But before I get into the gory details, I wanted to touch base and post a few pictures. Much more to come tomorrow!

Pictured above are Madeline and Avery and Nicole and I with both. They look so much like Nicole and nothing like me!

They're Here!

This is, yet another, guest poster. I thought I'd continue the series about me that Jennifer had started and fill you in on Nicole fact #4. (Is that the fun Nicole fact number we were up to?)

Not only do I like to watch movies like "Frankenfish" I am now the proud mother of two beautiful baby girls, Madeline and Avery. Jennifer continues to amaze me with her superhuman strength - she's managing incredibly well after the c-section AND hand surgery. Jennifer and the girls should be home sometime on Monday so I'm sure Jennifer will post more details then. To tide you over...

Madeline was 6 pounds 6 ounces and 20 inches, born at 12:33am on 6/1
Avery was a whopping 7 pounds and 19 inches, born at 12:34am on 6/1

(Wow, Jennifer had a WHOLE lot of baby in there)

Of course, the birth could not be without drama but I'll let Jennifer fill you in (I really couldn't do it justice).

If I can get back tonight I will try to upload some pictures. Thanks to all for your well wishes and positive thoughts!