2 months in and exclusively breastfeeding twins!

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So far so good! They seem to be gaining weight, and they are definitely making enough wet/dirty diapers! And they definitely seem to be satisfied after every feeding (as long as they aren’t having a growth spurt!)

When I last left you, we were still supplementing each feed with expressed breast milk.

Since babies can prefer bottle feeds (who wouldn’t take the easy way out!) I knew I needed to push them! I had read through a book called Mothering Multiples: Breastfeeding & Caring for Twins and More, and developed my plan.

Once they hit their Due Date, I took them on a Babymoon (otherwise known as a “nursing vacation”). What this entails is taking the babies to your bed and feed them as much as they want. (Husband brings you food and takes care of the house, FUN!) So when they hit June 1st, I took them to bed, and stayed there for 3 days. By the end of the 3 days, they started to seem satisfied after every meal! It was amazing!

Since that time, we’ve gone through a couple of growth spurts which have been tough for me, more mentally than physically. During the growth spurts, they want to eat almost constantly, and never seem satisfied. Cue me feeling like I’m not making enough for them…come to find out, it’s completely normal to feel this way, even when you gave birth to your children!

Lo and behold…we got through the growth spurts (with a lot of nursing) and we’re feeding around every 2-3 hours (we started out at every 1.5 hours). And it’s been great! It’s pretty nice to not have to worry about packing food for outings…it’s already there! It’s also nice not to have to pump and clean bottles all the time; that got draining pretty quickly!

I still occasionally wonder if they could possibly be getting enough from me, but I just keep reminding myself that they are satisfied  and making plenty of diapers! (It also helps when others tell me the babies have gotten bigger since they last saw them; it’s hard to notice them getting bigger when you are looking at them constantly!)

I’m still taking the domperidone and herbs, but I have started to wean off the domperidone, and I’m hoping to get off completely (fingers crossed!)

1 month old

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and it’s good to be home!

We got to go home 1 week ago, after 3 weeks in the NICU. It was a slight adjustment taking them home, but we’re finally in the groove!

It’s not exactly easy taking care of twins, but it is such a joy!

The babies have been good, although there are still some struggles as they are not yet “full term babies”. They eat slower than a typical newborn, but luckily they are now motivated to eat!

Breastfeeding is going as well as can be expected at this point…they get pretty tired quickly (breastfeeding is harder than bottle feeding). It’s hard to know for certain, but I think they may be getting almost half their feeds via the breast, and supplementing with pumped breast milk (from myself, or my friend who collected a large supply for us to use). I’m hoping within the next few weeks they will be able to take at least some of their whole feeds from my breasts, or at least drain them completely. I think once they are able to drain the breasts completely, my supply can finally start to increase again (supply and demands), hopefully! Right now, I am making enough for 1 of the babies…and hopefully soon for both!

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I have had many moments when I just look at these 2 babies in disbelief that they are finally here…and then I look at them and think…”Of course these are the babies I’ve been waiting for; it couldn’t be anyone else!”

It’s been a long road to get to this point, all starting when I was 17, really.

I don’t know if I will blog here again…I’m keeping pretty busy these days. I might try to update with a review/my thoughts on the entire process now sitting on the final end, but I don’t want to put pressure on myself to do it right away.

Until then, signing off to motherhood! 🙂

18 Days Old

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and still in the NICU. We were initially given an estimate of a 1.5-2 week stay, which didn’t seem too bad at the time, but here we are >2 weeks in, and we’re still here. For over a week we’ve heard “another week”, and the doc even told J today that he estimates they will be ready “sometime next week”, but really, it just depends upon their eating!

Health-wise, they are doing really good! Finn is off the CPAP and the bili lights (which he was on for 3 days just after getting off the CPAP). All we’re waiting for now is for them to eat all their food without the feeding tubes!

They are eating a little over half their feeds right now.

Every other feed (when we’re here from 8am to 10pm) is begun on the breast, and finished on the bottle. They get about 20-22ml by breast (which we’re told is really good), and are sometimes able to finish the remainder of their feeds (25-30-ish ml) from the bottle. A lot of the time, though, they are exhausted after only finishing 20-ish ml from the bottle, and need to be given the remainder of the food via their feeding tubes.

Because they were born prematurely, their muscles and mouth structures are still too weak to do what a full-term newborn can do, but they are improving everyday.

But let me tell you, I AM READY TO GO HOME!

Sure, it’s probably nice to have someone do the night feedings, and “let you sleep through the night” for a few weeks, but frankly, I’m up every 3 hours at night to pump anyhow, so yeah, not really that much better.

Also, if we were home, I could take much needed naps in my own bed!

I also wouldn’t have a new nurse every 3 days contradict what the last nurse said about everything around my babies care. As it is, I have to learn what the new nurse’s preferences are for their care, and adapt before I get lectured on how I’m doing everything wrong. (They don’t actually tell me I’m doing everything wrong, but it sure does feel like it. And I do want to say that most all the nurses we’ve had have been great; a few were amazing, and one was…not my favorite.)

It would be nice to do my laundry, and clean my house during the day, instead of in the middle of the night.

Frankly, it would just be nice to be home! I am definitely looking forward to it!

Until then, we just keep working on the feedings…

Breastfeeding is going well. I’m making about 20oz/day, and it continues to increase everyday. I’m still pumping every 3 hours (after their feeds) to continue to increase my supply. It’s a lot of work, but so far it feels like it is really paying off! They are both great breastfeeders, considering, and it’s a lot of fun getting to snuggle with them!

I’m not quite making enough for the both of them. Luckily, we are still able to go through the supply I was able to collect before their birth (I had about 200oz at that time), but unfortunately, since most people don’t pump before the birth of their children, the nutrition staff don’t really know what to do with my frozen stash, and I think some of it has gone to waste…

When my extra supply has been depleted, we still have frozen breastmilk from 2 of our friends who have had babies in the last year (they have been saving up for me!) So we can use that, as needed when we get home, and I am still establishing my supply. I have high hopes that I will get there eventually!

I do notice that I make a lot more when they are able to feed from the breast; there’s just something about a baby’s suction that just beats a pump hands down!

All in all, everything is going well, and we eagerly anticipate our return to “normal” life at home…with babies!

Here’s a picture of the babies the other day when they temporarily had their tubes out:

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They’re just so cute, if I may be so biased!

They’re here!

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Our babies arrived yesterday, 4/20/13, at 34w0d gestation…They made it!

Aria Mae was born at 4:02pm weighing 4lbs 14oz and measuring 17.5″ long.

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She is doing great! Her stats are stable, and she has been breathing on her own since she was born. She has been nuzzling at the breast, but doesn’t yet know what to do with them besides the odd licking and suckling every once and awhile. Otherwise, she has been receiving my breast milk via tube feeding since her first feeding! We have got to hold her several times, but of course, not as much as we would like!

Finnegan David was born at 4:15pm weighing 5lbs 13oz and measuring 19.25″ long.

Finnegan

 

He has been doing well, minus needing the CPAP due to some lung immaturity (which is apparently more common in boys than girls). He has been fed via his IV, but received his first tube feeding (of my breast milk) this morning, and will continue throughout the day. We haven’t gotten to hold him yet, but I make sure to snuggle him as closely as I can from his bassinet.

The NICU has been great so far; all the personnel are so helpful, accommodating, and knowledgable.

They were very impressed with how much milk I was now able to produce, and encourage me to continue with my pumping to keep up/build my supply. So far, they haven’t received anything buy my breast milk (and IV) for sustenance in their first 24 hours of life.

We’re doing alright, although we wish Finn were doing a little better, I am just trying to cherish all our time together because I know how much work it took to get here, and that they won’t be this little forever!

Not sure how much blogging I’ll be doing, but I’ll try to bring my laptop to the cafeteria for lunch…depending upon how tired I am! 😉 Until then, it’s back to the NICU to see our babies! 🙂

“Your babies are coming today!”

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That was the phone call I received from our surro this morning.

Today is the day.

They made it to 34 weeks on the dot!

She is 7cm dilated at the moment, and the nurse said they will probably be giving her pitocin to speed things along soon.

The nurse also said that we will wait in the waiting room until our surro is moved into the delivery room/surgical suite. At that time, we will stand outside the NICU and wait for them. Then, once they are born, we will go into the NICU, and they will be brought to us.

They are also trying to get us a room so that we can be here a few days with them. I hope it is only a few days! But of course I worry…34 weeks is still early. Maybe she is just trying to be positive. We shall see.

Until then, we wait. Today is the day!

33 weeks 3 days Update

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We had another OB appointment, and another growth scan today. Both babies are looking great!

Baby A was measuring at 5lbs 2oz
Baby B was measuring at 5lbs 4oz

Holy smokes!!

I know these are just estimates that could be very wrong, but it is definitely encouraging.

Our surro texted me yesterday to tell me that things were feeling “close”. Well, at our OB appointment, the doc checked our surro’s cervix, and she was already 2cm dilated!

The doc said, “No way she makes it to May 1st,” and estimated that she could go into labor this week!! Yikes!

She didn’t seem too worried about it, but of course, we worry!

We’re hoping that she at least makes it to Saturday (which is 34 weeks exactly), but, we’ll see!

Our lawyer emailed today to say that she finally got the paperwork back from the fertility clinic, so that she can get a court date (now set for this Thursday) to acquire the Certified Judgement so that we can eventually get our permanent birth certificate (with our names on it!)

In lactation news, I keep producing more and more milk every day. I’m making at least 1.5oz every 3 hours (and more when I have to skip a session), and have already produced 11.9oz today, with one more pump to go!

So I just keep pumping, and keep waiting for anymore baby news!

32 Weeks Update

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A lot has gone on since I last wrote a blog post!

First of all, we moved from our 1 bedroom apartment into a 2 bedroom condo. It is still about the same square footage, but is laid out much better; and there is actually a room for the babies! We have managed to move-in almost completely (J still has some stuff to sort out…ehem ;), but the babies’ room is pretty complete! We decorated 1 wall with girly/lady bug decals, and 1 wall with cute boy/animal decals. We have borrowed a changing table from our friend, and have it stocked with our current cloth diaper stash. (Yeah, we’re crazy). We also have the armoire I used as a child. So cute!

We also met with our lawyer to sign our Parentage Contract! The babies’ (secret) names were on the paperwork, which made it very real! We also got a notarized copy of the Power of Attorney, putting us in control of the babies’ care when they are born! Our lawyer also said she would type up a “Birth Plan” to give to our hospital, so that we can formalize our expectations of our children’s births. At our last OB appointment, the doc was shocked that we hadn’t met with the hospital’s Social Worker yet! Um…we didn’t know to do that! So the Social Worker is supposed to meet with us at our next appointment, next week. The hospital is supposedly familiar with gestational carriers, so I’m hoping things will go relatively smoothly! *fingers crossed*

My last day at work was last Friday! That’s right, I’m going to be a stay at home mom, at least for the first few years. Then we will re-evaluate whether I should go back full time/part time/on call or whatever will fit best with our future lives. The cost of day care for twins at the start is crazy! Plus, I really want to be home with them, especially at the start, especially after all the work we put in to getting them here!

And while we wait for the babies, I am now functioning as a full time pumper! My supply has definitely been increasing, and I am now pumping every 3 hours around the clock. Talk about preparing for newborns! I’m just glad to be done with work so I can take naps during the day! (I was not pumping this much prior to quitting my job, by the way! But it was still exhausting!)

I am getting between 1-1.5oz at each session, and got 9.4oz yesterday. So far I have about 100oz in the freezer! Hopefully my supply keeps on increasing! So far, I haven’t had any “sprays” yet, just dripping/drops, and I definitely get more with massaging.

I think I might be using too big a flange (24mm). I researched it with Dr. Google, and it seems that most of the time, gals are using too small of a flange, but I also tried the next size up (that came with the rest of my parts: 27mm) and that was even worse. I have ordered to 21mm flange, so hopefully that will get here soon so I can try it!. I’m hoping it will more effectively drain my breasts, without me having to massage them throughout the pumping session; my arms get tired!

Our surrogate is doing well; feeling much better now that she has stopped working! Babies are doing well, apparently kicking away. At our last OB visit, Baby A was still head down, which is good. I don’t think they have much room in there anymore.

We’re anticipating that they will be waiting until at least 34-35 weeks (April 20/27) to make their appearance, but we’re more than ok if they wait a little while longer! Our surro feels like they will come right around May 1st; sounds good to me!

Until then, we have to install the carseats, get our hospital bag ready, and write in their baby books, i.e. all fun stuff!

We’re getting very excited!

Update and Initiating pumping

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Things have moved pretty quick this week!

Our appointment on Monday (29w3d) went pretty well. The babies are growing very well!  Baby A is estimated to weigh about 3lbs 3oz (56%), and Baby B about 3lbs 5oz (61%). Everything with the babies looks really good.

Our surro has been feeling more and more tired and had been having difficulty completing each day of work. It was decided that starting this week, she will be going off work completely. The doctor did another cervical exam, and said that the tissue is a little more softened and she could feel Baby A’s head! Yikes!

In all of this excitement, I decided now was the time to get started on the pumping!

We went to the closest hospital to our house and were able to rent a Medela Symphony hospital grade pump. They showed us how everything works, sold us our kit, and we took it home and I took it for a test spin.

It hurt, but definitely improved when I got myself some nipple butter to lubricate my skin from the plastic flanges. I was able to complete the first day pumping every 2 hours (as suggested on Ask Lenore, for the first 48 hours) and 3 hours at night. The night pumping was definitely the worst! I am exhausted! There’s a reason that most people don’t go back to work with a newborn!

The first day, I was able to pump ~1oz of yellow-ish fluid (which seemed to be colostrum?) The second day I only pumped drops at every pumping session, and didn’t have enough to save anything. Today, the third day, I have already collected over 2oz, and the fluid is definitely more white/milk-looking. I was able to pump 5 times over the course of today, and will pump one more time in the middle of the night. All the pumps were not evenly spaced out, but I do the best that I can with work!

Hopefully I keep increasing the flow!

Feeling like a brat!

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I feel that the following is a horribly bratty post, but I wouldn’t be honest with myself (or my readers!) if I didn’t write my true feelings throughout the process.

Throughout the actual “pregnant” part of this journey, I have to be honest: I have been jealous of our surro, and of all other pregnant women, for that matter. The following are some of the things I feel I have / am missing out on:

1. I am not the focus of our prenatal appointments.* We were at a prenatal appointment yesterday for 2 hours, but we were in the waiting room for all but 5 minutes of the appointment…I seriously wondered why we were even there, and I LOVE these appointments, since they are really the only time I get to spend with my babies.

*I completely understand that our surro’s well being (and life) are the main focus of these appointments, and that is understandable, but I still feel like I am missing out at being the focus of this amazing process…hopefully that make sense?

2. I don’t get comments out in public. No one even knows I’m expecting! In some ways this might be a blessing, but for someone in my shoes, I would give anything for a stranger to gush over my belly!

3. Whenever anyone asks me “How are the babies doing?”, all I have for a response is, “Ok, I think?” I miss the bonding I feel a pregnant mother has with her offspring, and the (maybe not always) knowing that everything is “feeling” right.

4. I don’t get to “feel” my babies. Not only from the inside, but I haven’t been able to feel them from the outside, either. I have never felt a baby kick (from the outside); I just don’t feel comfortable around pregnant people, even friends, so I’ve never really *wanted to*, until it came to my own babies. I have hinted to our surro that I would like to feel them, if possible, when we see her during our appointments, but maybe I need to be more clear? I just don’t feel comfortable asking for some reason.

I know that down the line, these things will become a distant memory, but at this point, I feel like I’m missing out.

The big thing out of yesterday’s appointment was that our surro’s cervical length has again shrunk (from 3.0 to 2.0, according to her…we weren’t in the room for that information). The doctor also did a pelvic exam, which showed that her cervix is “softened” which I guess is ok? as long as she “takes it easy”…hard to say, since we also weren’t in the room for that…

Yeah, it sucks.

26 weeks + Disability

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26 WEEKS!! Getting closer and closer!

I saw the babies last Tuesday, and will again next Tuesday (our appointments will likely continue to be 2 weeks apart for the remainder of the pregnancy). Both babies are looking great, and growing on schedule.

Unfortunately, that means our surrogate is VERY pregnant at this point…she has nearly 4 pounds in there!

This means that it is getting harder for her day to day life, and subsequently harder to work, even at a desk job.

So her doctor has had her reduce her work schedule to 6 hours/ day, which means we need to pay the difference…according to our agency.

Wait?! Isn’t this why we are paying for disability insurance?! We have an email in to our agency for an answer to that question.

Regardless, we will make sure her wages are paid, but hopefully through the insurance! *Fingers crossed* !!