Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seeking Help

I really, really appreciate the outpouring of responses to my last post. Yes, I feel this bad quite frequently, but things overall are getting better. I feel even worse for admitting how bad I feel, because ultimately, the most important thing of all in my whole pregnancy/birthing experience DID go right... I have two very healthy babies, even if they do cry a lot and aren't sleeping through the night, unlike all the babies my friends have just delivered. (I think there is this conspiracy amongst some new mothers (especially the fertile ones who were so good at making you feel like shit during your fertility treatments) to make you feel like you and your baby are complete failures compared to them...will explain later.)

I thank God every day that it was me in the hospital and not the babies, and that it was my life on the line, not theirs. My heart goes out to those people who went through what I did and lost their baby on top of it...I am so, so sorry. Knowing how lucky I am to have my babies makes me feel even worse for struggling so much right now. It's time I sought some help, for real, because I don't want my memories of my boys' first year overshadowed by depression. I'm glad to hear about the preeclampsia site and will be heading that way...the problem always is finding the time. Somehow, I need to make the time to get the support I need.

Talking to other mothers in "real life" just isn't cutting it right now. Every time I talk to the neighbor of mine down the street who had twins three weeks before me, she makes me feel like slitting my wrists. You know, I thought I'd have the perfect friend in her--we're both raising twins the same age, we both had c-sections, and we both have to have our abdominal muscles repaired at some point this year. Well, I call her to commiserate on how rough some of the nights have been lately, and when she asks how I'm doing and I tell her how exhausted I am all the time, she says in a snooty voice..."Really? And you have help at home!" (Referring to our au pair) Yeah, well, the au pair isn't working the night shift and mainly right now her job is to be with the babies while I go to my upteen million doctor's appointments because in case you've forgotten I almost died, Be-otch!!! (This is all said in my head, of course). When I tell her how the au pair stays with the babies while I'm at the doctor's, she actually chastised me for not bringing them out with me!!!!! She told me I had to get used to bringing them out sooner or later. Hello? Why would I want to bring them to germy doctor offices? And no, I don't need to take them out if I don't want to. I think it's more important they have a good schedule at home with their naps, thank you. Compound this by how she expressed shock that I was planning to go back to work (her words--"do you think the au pair will really be able to give your babies the attention and care that you would give them?") and then her bragging about how her babies always nap perfectly in their crib twice a day and that I better make mine do it now or I'll be sorry, and you can see why I might feel a little down about myself. With friends like that, who needs enemies, right? Would you believe she actually ended the conversation by suggesting we get together for a play date soon? Ha! So, sometimes it seems that when I reach out to talk to people, I only end up feeling much, much worse. As far as the other twin mom, her husband tells me that things are not nearly as perfect at home with their twins as she likes to suggest. Go figure.

I applaud all you mothers out there in blgland, both fertile and infertile, who can be honest about how tough all this is. Thank you for being there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What's Wrong With Me?

I have to admit that I am really struggling to remain sane most days, especially when my sleep the night before has been bad or minimal. I think I'm still struggling with depression. I had another doctor appointment on Friday, this time with someone who hadn't seen me before, and I was again told how surprised this doctor was that I lived through what happened to me and am recovering. I keep getting told that the few other HELLP patients the doctors have treated have all died. No one seems to know what to tell me now because they never made it this far with their patients. It makes me extremely depressed, though I suppose I should be thrilled to be the one who lived. It's just hard to wrap your head around it. The fact that you should have died from how bad things were. The fact that you're recovering but no one really knows how long the full recovery will take and whether there will be any lasting impacts. The fact that every doctor who looks at your deformed abdomen with your intestines swirling around and says, no--I've never seen anything like that before, and I'm not sure how to fix it. It makes me want to cry alot.

I'm glad my body was tough enough to carry twins for as long as it did and tough enough to survive one of the worst cases of HELLP syndrome ever, but I am pretty pissed and depressed that EVERYTHING about my childbearing experience has been "unnatural." I couldn't get pregnant on my own. I couldn't deliver vaginally. I couldn't breatsfeed because of my condition. I couldn't come home with my babies from the hospital and spend their first month of life with them. Everything about the whole damn experience has SUCKED. I feel like a complete failure for not being able to breastfeed. I feel like a bad mother for not being able to say, "but despite everything bad that happened, it was so worth it." This is not the most gratifying thing I have ever done. The babies are very, very difficult to handle. Am I absolutely horrible for saying that??? Sadly, it feels true right now. The birth of my babies was not the best day of my life, and it should have been. Getting pregnant should have been a joyous experience, and thanks to IF, it wasn't. My maternity leave should be a wonderful bonding time with my boys, and really it's just been about my survival.

I love the babies, but I feel so overwhelmed and helpless that sometimes I think they'd be better off without me. Horrible thoughts, I know. But the thoughts are there, and I have to deal. All of this is compounded of course by the fact that my boys are not "easy" babies like every other baby my friends seem to have. They cry a lot. They aren't hitting a lot of the milestones as quickly as their younger cousin, which is of course constantly pointed out to me. "Oh, she is already reacting to this and doing that; your boys aren't????" It was bad enough having my IF pregnancy compared to my sister's natural pregnancy; it's worse having my boys compared to her girl. "Oh, she hardly ever cries; oh, she drinks 8 ounces every bottle; oh...oh...oh."

I. Hate. It.

Help please, I'm drowning here. Please tell me it gets easier?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sleep Makes Me a Better Person

Thanks for all your comments about the napping situation. Two weeks ago, I was spending my entire day trying to get the boys to nap in their cribs when they would start to drift off in their chairs, and it was making both them and me extremely frustrated. If I could get them to nap in a crib, it would only last 30 minutes tops. If I turned the swing/bouncy seats off and left them alone to nap there in a quiet room, they would take great 2 hours naps, morning and afternoon. I was driving our au pair crazy because the boys would be fast asleep in their seats and I would start "nap training" and create unbelievable chaos.

Since H and I were also working on improving the boys' night time sleep (trying to cut down from 2 night feedings to just 1), I decided to quit being the Nap Nazi and let them get their rest during the day so that feasibly they would be better prepared for night sleep. Sleep begets sleep is what the Sleep Lady book I have says--that's the system I've been working with since day one. By easing off the crib nap requirements, I had more will power to work with the boys at night. The plan was to feed them at 7, have them asleep by 8, and then feed them once, and only once, between then and 6 am. This was quite the power struggle, but I am most happy to report that after one week of enduring extreme sleep deprivation, H and I won the battle. On Thursday, the boys went to bed at 8 and did not awake until 1 am for their feeding, and then did not awake again until 6:30. On Friday, they lasted until 2 am and stayed in bed until 7:00. On Saturday night, they slept until 4 am before needing to be fed!!! Now, these much improved nights have not been completely perfect--one twin almost always awakes around 11 or 12 for a diaper change, but the improved sleep has made me a much, much happier person. I figure I'll resume nap training once we have a few more good nights. Really, I don't think it's a big deal if they nap in their chairs, as long as they are not relying on the motion to sleep, which they aren't. I've been moving one of them into the nursery in his chair and turning on the monitor while I sit with the one who sleeps less downstairs in a quiet room. So far, all of us are happy.

On that note, it's time for me to go to bed...:(
More later!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

In the Middle of the Night

Just sitting here listening to the twin formerly known as Baby A making raptor noises in his sleep. H can somehow sleep through the little chirps and squacks he makes but I can't. The boys are about to turn three months, and I have one month left of maternity leave. I know that I'll just be starting to find the babies really interesting when it's time for me to leave them all day for work, and that sucks. I'm feeling some guilt about going back to work, but it's not like it's a choice--we can't afford for me to stay home. Our au pair is working out nicely and I think she'll do very well with them. I hate the idea of her spending more time with them than me though. She's overly helpful in some ways, and so when the day is over and she should be officially off duty, I get a little peeved when she still runs to them when they make any little noises. I shouldn't feel this way...I mean, shouldn't I be relieved there is someone to help my one crying baby while I'm tending to his crying brother? I just feel like I should be doing it all.

I'm still trying to feel like a real mom. I just don't know what to do sometimes, especially as I'm trying to get the babies to learn to take their morning and afternoon naps in their cribs instead of their bouncy seats. I feel incompetent. They both with be sound alseep in their bouncy seats, but the moment I try to lay them in a crib they scream bloody murder. At least we have a good bedtime routine and they go to sleep fairly easily in their cribs at the same time every night. The nights are still rough with lots of awakenings (hence this post), but they are starting to go for longer stretches without feedings at night.

Any advice on getting twins to nap in their cribs is greatly appreciated. I'd be happy to show the twins firsthand how it can be done as I am sleep deprived and find their crib ensemble soft and appealing, but I don't think that would work.