Monday, July 29, 2013

Exclusive Pumping is No Joke

(If you are tired of the breastfeeding posts, feel free to skip!) :)

Before the boys were born, I knew I wanted to give breastfeeding a better shot than I did with the girls.  Well, I gave it what I had and here we are.  Exclusively pumping.  I BF Elliott in the morning, and sometimes at night depending on who's crying but most of their breast milk comes out of a bottle, and not straight from the cow.

Today I realized that what I'm doing is almost harder than if I were just BFing.  I have to feed both of the boys, and then still pump, wash all the bottles, wash all the pump parts, all of which takes time. A lot of time.  It sucks when the boys are in the swing, bouncy, or pack n play out of reach crying and I'm sitting on my couch pumping.  I can get up and go get them, but can't bend at the waist with my pumps on because the milk will spill out.  Some days I have to put on a movie or a show that the girls like to watch while I'm pumping just so I can keep them from pulling the tubes out of the pump 100x.   I don't like to have them watch tv, but sometimes it has to be done.

It takes time and energy to feed your baby in whichever way you choose.  Breastfeeding takes time, bottle feeding, formula feeding, pumping..... Every mom has to choose what works best for the babies and best for the whole family.  Some days I wonder why I am attached to my pump for roughly 15-20 hours/week.  But then when I think about it, its like my job.  Right now I am a SAHM and my job is to take care of my babies.  I do have the time to pump, and right now its part of my routine and I don't hate it as much as I did when I was trying to work full time, pump, and take care of my girls after work.

I am proud of the fact that I am making at least 75% of the milk they need.  I wish it were 100%, but its not, and I have no idea how I can do anything else to increase my supply.  (Besides pumping 10x/day which I really don't have time for!!)  Its been hard to say the least, but I'm glad that I made this decision, and that I am going to keep on with it for as long as I can stand it.  Perhaps I am still holding out for some miracle in that both of the boys will breastfeed and we will live happily ever after, but I really know that's not going to happen.  It is what it is, and perhaps by keeping hope alive, I won't just up and decide to quit anytime soon.

And just so I remember how crazy things are, here's an example of what our daily schedule looks like with all of the crazy feeding/pumping.

6:00 a.m. Bottle Feed Oliver
6:30: Wake Elliott up, breastfeed Elliott
6:45: pump and go back to bed
8:00: Get breakfast started (Steel cut oats take 30 minutes!) Get girls out of bed and feed girls breakfast
9:30  bottle feed Oliver, bottle feed Elliott and pump
11:00: Put girls down for a nap
12:00-Pump & do mindless activity such as surf the internet or watch tv.  I find I get more ounces out of pumping if I can do it while I'm distracted!
1:00- bottle feed Oliver and Elliott
1:30: Take a nap or get something done around the house
2:00/2:30- Get the girls up from their nap, cook and feed lunch.
3:30: Pump again
4:00: Bottle feed Oliver and Elliott
6:00: Figure out what's for dinner!! Sometimes I cook and sometimes Brian cooks
6:30: Pump yet again!
7:00: Feed the girls dinner
7:30-8:00: put the girls to bed, bottle feed the boys and rock them (or nurse) to sleep.
9:30-10:00: Pump again!  Sometimes I try to pump for an hour so that I don't feel guilty sleeping for 8 hours!
3:00 a.m. I have an alarm set every day for 3:15 a.m. so that I can pump... most days I turn it off, but some nights I get up.

This is obviously a rough timeline for what goes on in our day.  I try to pump at least six times/day but sometimes that doesn't happen depending on what we have going on.  And there you have it!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

They Still Sting...

You would think that after having, four kids, pregnancy announcements wouldn't hurt anymore.  They still do.  Today while Brian and I were making breakfast he said "Guess who's pregnant?" and I just shuddered.  

I had no idea so he had to tell me.  He said that this girl posted a picture of the HPT yesterday and then wrote a post about how excited they were to be buying a house and having a baby.  The first thought through my mind was, "Don't you know that 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage?" and "A positive HPT does NOT mean a take home baby."  

I don't know why they bother me so much and I wish I could be happy for each and every person that becomes pregnant and gets to experience all of the joys of pregnancy and motherhood.  It is seriously one of the most amazing and miraculous things I have experienced in my life!  Just knowing that we will never have a "surprise" pregnancy and that we have to go to the doctor if/when we want another, do at least three betas and see that the numbers are growing properly.... wait out that dreaded two week wait, and then another two week wait to get to the 7 week ultrasound that may or may not be good news.  

Infertility has changed me.  Some ways are good and others are not.  Had I not suffered from infertility I wouldn't have have started a blog, met some amazing women, and definitely would not have two sets of twins.  It was rough along the way, but I wouldn't change my journey for anything.  

P.S.  If you are reading this and still struggling with infertility, please leave me the link to your blog, I would love to cheer you on!!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

5 Months for the Little Boys!

FIVE months have gone by already?  Everyone says it goes by in an instant and it really does!  It seems like yesterday I met these little guys.  My friend is almost 38 weeks pregnant and we chatted about the birth when she was over yesterday.  Immediately after I gave birth, I swore I would never do that again but just thinking about how amazing birth is kinda makes me want to do it again... but not anytime soon.
Elliott and Oliver- 5 Months

Everything is going just as well as it can be around here.  The boys are sleeping GREAT.  Oliver generally sleeps from 9pm-6am and Elliott sleeps from 8/9pm sometimes until 8 a.m. !  Oliver lets you know the moment he wakes up.  He wants food and he wants it NOW!  Elliott on the other hand, wakes up, looks around, makes some cute noises and waits for me to pick him up.  Its really fun seeing their little personalities coming out already.  They couldn't be more different either!

I would say that the breastfeeding is going as well as it can be.  I try and nurse Elliott first thing in the morning and then right before bed.  Sometimes it will be calm enough during the day for me to nurse him a couple more times, but if not then he gets bottles the rest of the time.  I haven't tried to latch Oliver for quite some time, but I think he's done with the breastfeeding unless something miraculous happens.  We are going to see an ENT in a couple weeks to see if he has reflux because he sounds raspy when he cries, and they will also check if he's tongue tied.  He sometimes even has a hard time drinking his bottles in a timely manner, but it might be because he is the wiggliest boy I've ever met!  Seriously, his legs never seem to stop.  I'm still producing about 40 ounces of breastmilk per day thanks to the dompe.ridone that I'm taking.  I'm still taking the max dose of 80mg/day.  I could try and drop 1 pill/day and see what happens but I really don't want my supply to go down if I lower my dose of the dom.

Elliott is somewhere over 18 pounds and Oliver is over 15.  They haven't been weighed since their 4 mo. appointment, but I'm sure they are gaining weight.  Oliver fits into either 6 or 9 month clothes and Elliott is in all 9 month clothes.  Some of those are getting a little hard to snap, so I may be moving him to the 12 month before too long.  I'm glad I didn't buy season specific clothes too far in advance because they would be totally wrong!!  I did get some Christmas 2-piece pjs when they went on sale in the 12 month size, so we will see if those fit when the time comes... otherwise they might be wearing them at the wrong time of year.

Oliver is in a size 2 diaper and Elliott is in a size 3.  I tried to stretch the 2s to fit Elliott a little longer but it just wasn't working out.  The funny thing is that Char can still fit into a size 3 diaper too!  I changed her in the boys' room because it was convenient and that was all I had in there.. and it fit just fine!  Seems crazy to have to buy THREE different sizes of diapers... yikes.  I guess that's what you get with 4 in diapers all at the same time!

The boys don't have any teeth yet.  They have been drooling and sucking/chewing on their own fingers a lot so my guess would be that teething will be coming sooner rather than later.

Elliott is a tummy sleeper all the way.  Ever since he could roll, he has slept on his tummy.  Now he can roll both ways and he still ends up like that in the morning.  Oliver just started rolling over from his tummy to his back!! He just did it like 2 days ago for the first (and only) time.  He's a little late on that, but I attribute it to the fact that I don't put them on the floor as much as I could.  The girls are great with the boys, but I just don't want them to accidentally fall on the boys and hurt them.  Oliver still sleeps in something called a "resting up napper."  Its basically a portable bed type thing for babies.  He will only sleep in the elevated position, which could be due to reflux if he does indeed have it.

Oliver found his feet a few days ago and just can't get enough of them!  He loves to lay down, put his feet in the air and play with them.  Its so cute I can't hardly stand it!!  He loves to hear mommy's voice and always responds to me.  Just today we had an entire "conversation."  Elliott is definitely a mama's boy.  The other day my friend Sherrie was over and she told me that this happened... Elliott was in the Jumperoo.... I walked towards him and he gave a huge smile!! I turned to walk down the hall and he made a sad face when he saw I wasn't going to go get him.  I felt so bad!  He smiles when I just even look at him... he is such a sweet boy.
Both of the boys are grabbing at their toys in the bouncy chair and from the floor gym.  I put the floor gym in a pack n play so that they could play safely away from the big girls.  They both also love to be rocked to sleep.  Oliver pretty much insists on being rocked to sleep these days, which I really don't mind (as long as Elliott is not crying!)  He drinks his bottle and falls into a deep sleep right there in my arms.... sometimes we just sit there after he's sleeping and cuddle because everyone else is already sleeping.  Elliott likes to be rocked to sleep as well if he isn't being nursed to sleep.  Many times though, he will self soothe and go to bed on his own.

When people found out I was pregnant again, everyone told me that I wouldn't get lucky again and have such amazingly happy babies.  But I did get lucky again!!  They are truly happy babies and I know we won't think twice about having more.  (If/when the time is right.)

Elliott and Oliver

The six of us- in one picture!  Brian, Evy, Oliver, Elliott, Char and Me.





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Feeling like a Mom Fail today

There are some days where I feel like a complete failure as a mom and today is one of those days.  I just can't figure out how to keep everything under control.

As much as I try to be okay with not fully breastfeeding my boys, I'm not.  I just can't get over it.  I try and try and try, but I just don't know how.

My house 90% o the time is a wreck.  Between the toys, dishes, and laundry I just can't keep up.  I think I literally need to go through my house and get rid of 90% of what we own.  But, that requires time and I just don't have it.  I don't want to be one of those moms that can't invite anyone over for a playdate because the house is a mess.  Even when my house is clean, its not nearly as nice as some of the others' I've been to.  I met a really nice group of ladies that I would love to spend more time with, but I just don't feel like I can have them over.  They live in a nice part of town, have nice houses, yards, and I feel like I would just be talked about because I'm not the same as them.

I feel very trapped in the house a lot of the time.  Sometimes I feel bad for the girls that we can't get out more because its just too tough.  I have been trying to take them out more when Brian is home, but he has a ton of school work to get done too so I feel bad asking him to watch the kids.  He says that staying home is my job now, so I should be able to handle it all  and most days I just feel like a big fail because I can't keep everything neat, organized and completely under control.  But still, why should I have to do everything?  He can't get downstairs to do laundry, so I get that, but why can't he fold laundry and put it away?  I asked him 3x to make two phone calls and he still hasn't done it yet.  I hate nagging, but what else am I supposed to do? Do everything myself? Lately he has been doing the dishes, sweeping, and cleaning up from dinner while I'm putting all the kids to bed but that's exhausting too.

And when am I supposed to get things done?  If this is my "job" then I should be done at 5pm, right?  I generally have 2-3 hours during nap time when I can do laundry or what not. I guess most days I would just rather nap/sit down/eat lunch or take some sort of a break... but perhaps I'm just being selfish and I should just suck it up and do stupid chores.  I don't know.

Today has just been hard.  I was trying to pump and Evy kept pulling the tubes out of the pump.  I told her "no" a bunch of times but she just kept doing it.  I know putting on the TV would solve that and she would just watch it, but I didn't turn it on because they have been watching way too much TV.  I tried to re direct her to go play with her toys, find the doggies, whatever but ultimately I just stopped pumping because I couldn't take it anymore.

Okay, enough with all of that.  I'm glad I got it out and now its time to get shit done because the kids are all napping.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Breastfeeding in Public

I think Elliott and I have finally figured out this whole breastfeeding thing.  He still gets mostly bottles, but I nurse him at least 2x/day (and in the middle of the night if he wakes up- but he usually doesn't.)

We went to a birthday party at a park on Saturday.  I feel like I have to plan so far in advance when I'm going to pump, when we are going to get ready, leave the house, etc.  Anyone with toddlers and/or infants knows how much "stuff" you have to get ready and how long it takes to actually get loaded into the car.  Well, add on pumping for 15 minutes right before you go to that.  Yeah, its not that fun to be all stressed while pumping and thinking about how you are going to leave sort of on time.

I try not to go more than 3-4 hours without pumping.  Some days I go longer if I am out of the house, but I really don't like to.

Saturday I pumped from 1:30-1:45 and then we were out the door. We were at a park at a birthday party and it was about 4:30pm and Elliott was hungry.  Do I give him a bottle? Do I nurse him in public?  I decided to nurse him in public.  I was nervous at first because I didn't want it to be awkward, but to my surprise, it wasn't at all.  I don't even think most of the people knew I was feeding him.  It gave me a sense of freedom that I hadn't felt before... because I just feel so attached to the stupid pump.  But, if we go out with the babies, I am going to try not to be afraid to do it again.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Things I love....

There are certain things that I just love about parenthood...

  • When the girls get up in the morning they have the sweetest voices.  They say "Mama" or "Mommy" in that half asleep raspy voice and I just love it
  • When Elliott just melts into me.... after he falls asleep nursing, I put him on my chest to give him a burp or get ready to put him to bed and he completely melts into my body.  
  • Breastfeeding in general.  Elliott loves to nurse.  I typically try and nurse him first thing in the morning and right before bed because those are the times when I can let him BF as long as he wants because the girls are in bed.  
  • Watching the girls give their brothers hugs and kisses.  If I do nurse Elliott during the day, Charlotte often comes up onto the couch and gives her brother the sweetest kisses on the head.  She's so gentle and does it so lovingly.  These boys are lucky to have such great big sisters!
  • Rocking my baby boys to sleep.  The day is so full of chaos and its so nice to have a few quiet moments after the girls go to sleep.  I never rocked them to sleep, but I often find myself rocking Oliver to sleep and then nursing Elliott to sleep.  I felt like I never had "time" to rock the girls to sleep, and they self soothed so they didn't really ever need it, but my little boys do.  
  • Spending time just with my big girls.  It has become apparent that they need some alone time with mommy.  This week I took them to the park, and took them to story time without their brothers.  I have the luxury of having Brian home during the week so its possible to just take the girls out.
  • People's reaction to us having two sets of twins.  It just doesn't get old seeing the look on peoples' faces when they find out we have four under two.  
  • To see my big girls smile.  There's nothing more rewarding to see your kids faces light up.  Sometimes its because you give them a treat, or when one of their big girl friends come over to visit and play with them.  I just love seeing them get so excited!!
  • Hearing the girls say a new word.  These girls surprise me every single day with the things they pick up. The way Evy says "sleeping" is just the cutest thing ever.  If Char is still sleeping, she sometimes says "Shashi seeping?" and its just adorable!!  They have both just started saying "Ollie" for Oliver.  Adorable.
  • Watching the boys smile and discover new things!  Oliver gives me the cutest smile when I talk to him or play with him.  Elliott gives me the happiest giggles I've ever heard!  They love the sound of mommy's voice.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Oh the Breastfeeding....

I was determined to give the breastfeeding one last shot.  So, Monday I believe it was, I gave it a good effort.  It always helps when Brian is home so he can entertain the girls or take care of a crying little boy while I nurse the other one.

Monday I nursed Elliott for all but one feeding.  It was awesome!!  His last feed before bed he was sooo hungry and ended up taking 10 oz from the bottle.  The mommy cow was dry and he was starving so that's what had to be done.  That day though, the boys only got 4oz of formula! So that was great. I haven't been doing as well since then because I've been taking the girls out and leaving the boys at home... but the girls need their mommy time too.

4 month old not so little boys!

My little boys turned 4 months old on the 22nd!  Where has the time gone? They are seriously not that "little" anymore! They are both more than double their birth weights.  We don't go for their 4 month visit until July 5th, so I will update their stats then. (Ok, I wrote this before the 5th, but am just now getting around to publish!!)  Today, 7/12 Elliott started rolling from his tummy to his back!! Rolling both ways now! :)

Elliott and Oliver- 4 months!

Elliott and Oliver


Head: 44cm 85%
Height: 25.5 inches 50%
Weight: 17lbs 10 oz 92%


Head: 42.4cm 50%
Height: 24.25 inches 20%
Weight: 15lbs 1oz 50%

The boys are seriously growing like weeds.  It seems like Elliott is going to be as big as his sisters like tomorrow!! His car seat only goes up to 22 pounds and I'm thinking he won't make it to a year in that seat.

The boys are wearing some 6 month clothes, but mostly 9 months!  Oliver fits comfortably in a size 2 diaper and I should probably move Elliott to the size 3 since he is pushing 18 pounds, but I have like 3 boxes left so we will try and squeeze him in until they are gone.  They eat 4-6 oz every 3-4 hours.  I'm making a little less than 40 oz of breastmilk per day so they get that and when its gone they get formula. Generally not more than 1-2 bottles per day.

They both just started consistently sleeping through the night!!! HOORAY!!! Its been about 2 solid weeks of no wake-ups!!  Oliver will sleep a max of 10 hours and Elliott an astonishing 12 hours.  I actually checked on him several times this morning when he slept until 8:30!  I am so lucky to have good sleepers.  It took them about 3 weeks longer than the girls to start sleeping all night, but now they do and that's all that matters! :)  Elliott will sleep pretty much anywhere... bouncy chair, swing, or the bassinet.  Oliver only likes to sleep inclined.  We recently bough a Summer brand "resting up napper" and he loves it.  It has a buckle so I know he can't roll out, it vibrates, and it folds up for travel.  I bought it for our trip to Minnesota so I knew he would have somewhere that he would actually sleep!  Elliott has also learned to roll from his back to his belly and prefers to sleep that way!  It was scary at first to see him sleeping on his tummy but its what he likes!

No teeth yet for my little guys!  But, they have been drooling so we will see if they start teething soon.  No solids yet for them either.  I think I'm going to hold out until at least 5 months.  New research I've read says that starting solids before 6 months can cause obesity later in life and that they don't really need solids before then anyways. The plan is to skip all cereals completely too.  The boys' first food will be pureed avocados!  After that I think I will go with the veggies and later add the fruit.  I made about 95% of the girls' baby food purees and will be doing the same for the boys!  There's no reason to use the processed pre-packaged stuff since I'm at home and will have the time to make it.  I have the Baby Breeza that steams and purees in the same container- so easy!

The boys are both smiling like crazy these days.  They both follow my voice when I say their names.  Elliott has started to laugh and that is the most amazing sound ever.  They will actually smile at the sound of my voice too!  Makes my heart melt.  Elliott loves to "talk"!  He's going to be a chatty boy for sure.  Oliver coos a lot and is trying to make laughing sounds.. but hasn't yet.  Soon though I'm sure!

Its fun to see their little personalities developing so early.  Elliott is such a relaxed little boy.  He only cries when something is truly wrong- wet/poopy diaper, hungry, tummy hurts, etc.  He doesn't even cry when he wakes up in the morning.  He just opens his eyes and starts "talking"  to let me know he's ready to eat.  I just can't get over how calm/chill and happy he is.  Oliver is a little bit more fussy than Elliott but definitely a happy baby too.  When he smiles he likes to stick out his tongue and its pretty funny.  He cries more often than Elliott and mostly because he just wants to snuggle with his mama.  He also likes his pacifier. Elliott will take one occasionally, but only when he's really upset or overly tired.

The girls are so cute with their baby brothers.  The newest thing they do is try to put a pacifier in their mouths when they are crying or try and feed them a bottle.  When one of them cries, the girls will pick up an empty bottle and actually get it in his mouth!  But, they just take it out right away only to tease him and make him more upset.  They love giving their brothers hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.  I still can't leave the girls alone with the boys though when  I take a shower, etc. because the girls also like to stick their fingers in the boys mouths which isn't great.  Sometimes they are jealous still and I can't say I blame them.  I'd be jealous too if I were them!  Their world was seriously turned upside down! At least when they are older they will have no memory of what it was like before the boys.  I'm hoping that since they are only 16.5 months apart they will be close friends too!

Elliott in his bouncy chair.  He loves this thing!!

Elliott in the bumbo



Oliver in the swing- he loves it!!


Oliver and Elliott- all ready to go to a playdate!


Elliott and Oliver

Oliver- taking a snooze in the bouncy chair

Me with my two cutie pies.  O and E

Big boys!! E and O.  All ready to go to Minnesota!!


Friday, July 5, 2013

One day at a time....

With all of my breastfeeding struggles, I've realized that I need to take it one day at a time.  Some days are terrible and I hardly get in my pumping sessions and some days are great.

Today the boys had zero formula.  Zero!  I breastfed Elliott three times, and still have 10 ounces of the liquid gold in the refrigerator.  How's that possible? Not sure.  All I know is that today's going down in the books as a win!

What it means to be a Mom

There's a blog that I recently started reading called "From Petri Dish to Pregnancy"  and the author recently wrote a post about what its like to be a mom.  I feel like I could have written the post, so instead of writing it, I thought I would share it.  You can find it here.  She also had infertility problems and now has a beautiful 7 week old baby girl named Faith.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Career after kids....

For now I am a stay at home mom.  I was a teacher and may or may not go back to that when its time for me to make money again.  I have no idea when that will be, but if I want to change careers when I need to work again I should probably know what that something is.

When I first started teaching I was very passionate about it.  I thought it was super awesome that I got to teach a second language to elementary school aged kids!  It was a rare opportunity and I was happy to be able to sing songs, play games, and teach kids all at the same time.

When I began TTC, things got more difficult.  There were teachers getting pregnant and having babies.  I was obviously around kids all day long and that was hard to see too.  After I had the girls, it broke my heart to have to leave them every day to go to work.  They were either with Brian or our friend Sherrie and were well taken care of but I was jealous that I wasn't there with them to watch them learn, grow, and discover their surroundings.  My biggest issue was that I was teaching other people's kids that often were disrespectful and didn't want to be in my class when I would rather be spending time with my own kids.  They cried for their mama when I went back to work in the fall and it just broke my heart every day.

After I had the boys, I knew in my heart that I was not going back.  I just couldn't leave them!  On top of that, the gal that had watched the girls would not be able to watch all four, so I would have to find someone else that I completely 100% trust.  That's a hard thing to find.

I'm not completely sure if my lack of passion for teaching is because of these issues I mentioned above or if I am just burnt out from teaching.  Its a hard job!!  There's a saying that goes something like, "If you love your job you never work a day in your life." and perhaps I will find that job when the time is right.

My life has revolved around infertility for so long and I really enjoy talking about it and helping others through their journey.  People I talk to say that my journey is inspiring and they like to read about it because it gives them hope.

I like talking about my kids (what mom doesn't??), being a twin mom, and what its like to parent twins.  I like to talk about my VBAC and how you have to trust yourself, your body, your decisions, and the doctor you see.  I like to talk about breastfeeding and how great I think it is (even though I totally failed at it!)  I like to write this blog too!  I also really like to watch baseball (the Minn.esota Twins!) but that doesn't really relate to the others.

Perhaps there will be some job out there for me in the future relating to some of the above, and for now I am going to stick to volunteering in my local mother of multiples group! :)