Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Working Mom with Twins

I knew from the beginning that given my financial needs and my personality, I would be a working mom. Going back to work was hard for the first week, but it really has done wonders for my overall sanity. I miss the babies like crazy while I’m away and I worry about them, but I also feel like I’m a better mother to them after having some time for myself. I don’t regret the decision at all, but I also acknowledge that I might change my mind about it in a year or two when the boys are older. It has shocked me to see how many women (mostly relatives) are shocked that I went back to work, especially since most of them went back to work themselves after they had their own kids. It seems that they all expected me to stay home even though I was upfront about going back to work from the very beginning. For whatever reason, they seem to think that going back to work when you have one baby is fine, but going back to work with twins is unthinkable. Um, hi—do you know how much diapers and formula costs?

Luckily I work with a lot of moms around my age and they have been a wonderful support system for me. Watching them and talking to them about their kids shows me that being a working mom is not crazy or selfish.

As far as feedings and schedules, it does get easier around the 3 month mark. I saw real progress when the boys hit 4 months. We aren’t successful at feeding them at the same time in bouncy chairs (way too messy), so what we try to do is stagger their feedings by about 30 minutes. We feed one and then the other, and most days that works out just fine. Occasionally they will decide they are both starving at the same exact moment and that’s horrible if you are alone, but it rarely happens these days. So, when A wakes at 5 a.m. to eat, his brother is still asleep 90 percent of the time. H feeds him, puts him back to bed, then feeds B, who is sometimes still asleep or just starting to wake up. By feeding them one right after another, this sets up the 30 minute gap between their feedings for the day.

Here’s how our schedule has been lately:

5:00 am: A awakes and is fed

5:30 am: B awakes or is woken and is fed

6:00 am: I leave for work

Both babies go back to sleep until anywhere between 7:00 and 7:30.

H leaves for work at 7:30 and our au pair takes over.

Babies are awake and happy to play.

Baby A eats around 8:00

Baby B eats around 8:30

Naps are attempted around 9:30-10:00 and last until the next feeding if we’re lucky.

Babies eat again between 12:00 and 12:30

Afternoon naps are often taken around 1:30-2:00.

Babies eat again around 3:00-3:30.

I get home at 4:00 and play with the babies, who are usually very active and pleasant this time of day if naps were successful.

5:30: I make dinner while the babies watch.

6:00: H and I wolf down our food as the babies start to fuss.

6:15-6:30: H and I both take a baby to feed for the final feeding of the day. This feeding, the most important and predictable of our day, always consists of at least 6 ounces.

7:00-7:30: The babies get their baths—H and I each take care of a baby.

7:30 pm: Both babies are in their cribs with lights out. They are falling asleep faster and faster with less fussing each night.

8:00: The babies are asleep and H and I get our one hour together before we go to bed at 9:00.

Anywhere between 2:00 and 3:30 am: Baby B usually calls out for a pacifier or diaper change but quickly goes back to sleep

5:00 am: The process starts all over

Hope some of this helps. I found the best thing was setting their bedtime at 7:30 and having a predictable routine each night starting with the 6:15-6:30 bottle. No matter how bad the day has been, their bedtime routine has resulted in two sleeping babies by 8:00 for the last two months. This has been wonderful, because I know that no matter how bad things have been, everyone will be calm at 8:00 and stay that way for at least 5 or 6 hours.

Now that I’ve written out an actual schedule I’m just waiting for a sleep regression to come and mess it all up.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hit the Pause Button

I spend so much of my life waiting for "the next step" rather than living in the moment. When I was going through infertility treatments, all I wanted was to be pregnant. When I was pregnant, I looked forward to the babies actually being here. Now that the babies are here, I'm anticipating their first words and being able to actually go places with them, like the zoo.

I need to slow down. This morning, when H got up to feed the babies at 5 a.m., I got up to help him instead of getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep before work. He didn't need my help, but I wanted to feed one of my boys. They won't need these early morning feedings much longer. I want to treasure this time.

I didn't know that having twins would be this hard for me to handle. I didn't know how tough it would be to split my attention between the two of them. A laughed for the first time yesterday while H tickled him, and I couldn't really hear him because I was comforting a screaming B. There's rarely time to just sit and marvel at them. Would time please slow down for me?

Since these are my first and perhaps only babies (we haven't ruled out adoption one day), I'm trying to really live each moment with them. It's so hard. I want to scoop both of them up in my arms at the same time when I get home from work but I can't. I give myself permission to buy them super cute but expensive clothes from Gym.boree because this may be the only time I get to go through this. I cry when I look at the newborn pictures taken the first few weeks of their lives while I was still in the hospital because I wasn't there and I can't have that time with them back. I am finally coming out of the cloud that I think was a mixture of PPD and PTS. As hard as everything has been, it was all worth it. I finally feel again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sleep and Such

I had a wonderful weekend with the babies. As you may have noticed, I'm rather undecided on how to refer to the boys in my blog--I want to keep things anonymous--so I think I'll just refer to them as A and B. It seems too impersonal, but I think it's for the best as I still don't want people I know reading my blog.

Anyhow, A slept all night long both Saturday and Sunday without a single peep. B only woke about twice for some minor comforting. It was great. I've learned however that this could change at any moment, so I'm not going to expect this trend to continue. I'm still taking things one day at a time. I also spent a lot of the weekend on nap training and was able to get the boys to take all of their naps in their crib this weekend. Unfortunately their naps were much shorter than usual, but at least we're making progress. The secret so far has been putting the boys down earlier than I normally do, so that they're not already overtired when I start the nap process with them. At least, I think this is the secret. They could just be messing with me. A has mastered rolling over, and as a result I've spent a lot of time checking on him and pulling him back to his side when I find him on his stomach asleep. He awakes for a moment when I roll him back and grunts his annoyaance but falls back asleep. With this new development, I've been sleeping less as he's been sleeping more because I keep checking on him all night. I still can't see how my best friend lets her newborn sleep on his stomach and even puts him down that way. I certainly don't want anything bad to happen to him, so please understand that when I complain about how easy everything has been for her--from conception to childbirth to her baby sleeping through the night, albeit on his stomach--it's not that I wish she had a hard time like I did or anything. God, no, I wouldn't wish what happened to me on anybody. I just marvel at how she takes everything for granted, especially after the hell I've been through. But whatever. I'm moving on.

My good friend at work--one of the only people who knows that I did IVF- has started going through her own testing for IF. She's been trying for over a year now and finally gotten up the courage to talk to her doctor about it. Her initial ultrasound showed a lot of cysts, but the docs don't really know anything yet. My heart is breaking for her. She came out of her first appointment shell shocked, just as I did a year and a half ago. I'm glad she knows about what I went through so we can talk openly about it now. She was a major shoulder for me to lean on last year, and she now takes some comfort in the fact that I've been through this and can help her through it. H is afraid that I'll be reliving too much of everything by being there for her, but I don't think it will be a problem. One of the only good things to come out of my experience is that I can be there for other people who are struggling. My friend has commented that no one else listens to her the way I do--she now sees for herself that that only people who have been through this really get it. I wish this was something she never had to learn. I've directed her to the blogosphere, so you may be seeing her around in some form or another soon. I don't know what I would have done without my blog friends. Thank you all for being there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It'll Be Okay

I've spent so many posts complaining lately that I want to acknowledge that I really am starting to feel better emotionally overall. I have many, many more good moments than bad ones with the babies now, and even when things get tough, like when Baby B decides to pee on me while Baby A is screaming to be fed, I take it much more in stride. The babies are really cute, and I'm trying to enjoy this time as much as possible. They've started interacting a tiny bit with each other, which is so fun to watch. I'm happy I get to be their Mom.

Yesterday I tried to get them to nap in their cribs again thinking it might be easier now that their night sleep has improved, and that was just a big old excercise in futility. Not only were we all miserable, they didn't get any decent nap time and last night they awoke quite a few times in the 2:00-4:00 a.m. range. H and I are exhausted today. I love how easy the sleep books make their "programs" sound. I know I have to keep trying though, because soon they'll really be too big to nap in their bouncy chairs. Please keep the nap tips coming...especially you twin moms out there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One Year Later

A year ago I was in 2WW hell, about to find out that I was pregnant. Looking at my posts from that period, I was much more in control and on top of things than I feel now, even though I remember vividly what a difficult time it was. I was propelled with the hope of what could be even though I was scared. Now that I've faced almost losing my life and all chances at having a normal child-bearing experience, I find I'm a very different person. I'm tired. I am so very grateful for my two babies, but I am so tired emotionally.

Things are getting better with the babies every day, but in some ways I know I'll never heal from this experience. I called my uberfertile former best friend last week, who just had her second unplanned baby. She joyfully recounted how easy the birthing process was. Four pushes and he was out! She complained about all the little sleeping noises and grunts he makes and matter-of-factly stated that she puts him on his stomach to sleep because he gets more rest that way. The poor thing is only 2 weeks old and she's putting him on his stomach to sleep. Um, hello, you do know about SIDS, right? She answers that she did this with her first baby and she survived.

Now when people ask me if I plan on having more kids, I simply answer that I can't. The chance of HELLP recurring is too high so the doctors have forbidden it. You wouldn't believe the pity I see on people's faces. It surprises me. I'm an infertile with no hope of treatment now, and knowing there's nothing I can do about it does give me an odd sense of calm. Granted, I'm still pissed off that I can't get pregnant like most women I know, but that desperate longing I once felt is gone. I've had my experience, and while it wasn't a smooth ride at the end, I got to feel what it's like to grow two little people. Now I just need to accept that I have a body that failed its job in delivering and feeding those two little people, and that jackasses like my former best friend will always make me feel the sting of the injustice of it all.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


After a few very rough days before I went back to work last week, things started looking a little brighter. Now it seems that I am starting to have a few more good days than bad ones, so perhaps I am starting to turn the corner on this whole depression thing.

The boys were baptized this weekend, and it was absolutely beautiful. Everything went amazingly well, and for once our babies weren't the ones crying. My sister's newborn did the honors of squacking her head off during the party. That made me feel much, much better, since the past 2 weeks it's been my boys causing a commotion at family gatherings. The boys were attentive and pleasant during the ceremony, and then they slept like angels at the restaurant afterwards where we had the party. I am so glad we ignored my MIL's constant pestering to have the party at our house, because being able to just relax and enjoy the day out was so much better than trying to host something at our house. It was expensive but worth every penny. I have no idea how we would have cleaned and cooked for a party of that size with twins.

MIL, however, seemed sorely disappointed that she couldn't camp out at our house with all her side of the family who came from out of town. She still managed to come up with an excuse to get all of her relatives over to our house afterwards, but it was only for a few minutes luckily. She wanted everyone to have a tour of our house, and H obliged but made a point of saying that we weren't up to entertaining with twins (I mean, the whole reason we paid to have the party elsewhere is because we didn't have time to prepare the house for guests!). She was pouty all day, but I couldn't feel bad about it because it is just so hard to get anything done around the house with two babies, especially when one is still colicky and neither of them wanted to sleep through the night this week. I don't understand why she can't see how exhausted we are as it is. The weirdest thing--in the middle of the party, once both boys woke up from their naps, she asked H is he would do her a favor. Sure, he said...what is it? She asked if she could take the babies back to our house now that they were awake and have some time alone with them. Uhhh, no....H replied. Everybody here drove a long way to see the babies and this is their party...why would you take them from it??? Weird.

The thing is, she sees the babies a lot. It's not like she's getting less time with them than my parents. I think she misses the times when we had to rely on her to help take care of them by herself while I was sick, though I know she's genuinely glad I'm better. I think she got too much of a taste of playing "mom" instead of "grandmom." And the thing is, I'm not giving up my rights as Mom at these events, now that I'm finally in the picture. We let her feed one of the babies during the party, but H and I remained the babies' primary caregivers. Now that we're both back at work, the weekends are our main time to interact with the babies too, and we're not willing to just pass them off. We're making up for a lot of lost bonding time.

Anyhow, aside from MIL being MIL, everything was really nice and I think everyone had a really good time. H's brothers actually made it (his one brother has never visited us the entire time we have been married) and the weather couldn't have been better.

As far as me being back at work, I'm doing pretty well with it. I miss the babies a lot while I'm gone, but the separation also gives me a chance to recharge and be better with them once I get home. Also, my abdomen/hernia has been bothering me a lot more lately, so having a break from lifting them all day is probably good for my healing. Being at work has given me back a slice of my identity before this whole thing went down, and that's been good for me. My co-workers are so great, and my managers are being very understanding in letting me ease back into a full schedule while I continue to heal. So, really, right now I think things are as good as they could be. I'm concerned about my hernia, though, and will be making a few more doctor's appointments this week.

Are there any twin moms out there reading who had a hernia repaired after their delivery?