The babes are already over three weeks old. I still can hardly believe it that we brought home real babies that breathe and move around and are packing on the pounds. Yesterday I weighed them on the scale that my friend Jane used for her cat, and they were 7.84 and 7.64 lbs. They are definitely gaining weight. Bunny is on a pretty regular schedule; she eats approximately every three hours and is usually pretty calm in between feedings. She does clear her throat constantly still and sometimes spits out her milk if I lay her down too quickly. But she usually eats quickly and becomes content quite fast. I have to burp her for an extended amount of time but she doesn’t fuss. Okra, on the other hand, changed from a mostly easygoing baby to Mr. Screamer this past week. His number one problem is hunger. He would be sleeping and all of a sudden would wake up screaming. His screams are loud and dramatic. We used to go heat up the refrigerated bottle that we pre-make with a Dr. Brown’s Pitcher and change the babies first before we feed them. I soon found that it isn’t working for Okra. The longer we wait, the angrier he gets, and the harder to feed him as he has a hard time regulating himself with sucking, breathing, and crying. Two nights ago, I tried this: at Okra’s first sign of crying, I quickly jump up from bed, heat up the bottle, scoop him up, and feed him. It works half of the time. The other times he still screams in the middle of a feed mostly because of air bubbles and he needs to be burped. He also eats slowly so it takes about 30 minutes to feed him at times. Okra is more unpredictable in the amount and the timing of his feeds. He sometimes eats the full meal of 90 to 100 ml. He sometimes eats a little bit and falls asleep. At times he still screams for more formula after being fed 90ml. And he screams even more when I have to warm up the cold milk. I sometimes just let him drink the cold milk. He sometimes takes it, and sometimes not. If he falls asleep after eating only a part of the bottle, he often wakes up screaming in 45 minutes or an hour wanting more. In terms of schedule, he gets hungry after 1.5 hours, 2 hours, or 3 hours. It’s really hard to gauge. So what does all of this mean to my sanity?
I was doing really well the first two weeks of their lives because of all the help that I had. Bob was home and my parents were around. And then mom got sick, and Bob went back to work. My dad helps a lot during the day so I can get some rest. However, in the middle of the night, I try to let Bob sleep through the night so he has enough energy for work the next day. I was doing well and going going going for four nights in a row doing all the feedings until 7am. Then last Thursday night, Friday morning, my body totally shut down at 3am. The babies woke up crying and I just needed to crash. Bob woke up and let me sleep for a good stretch of four, five hours. He was up from 3am until he had to leave for work, and my mom took over after that. That was much needed. Over the weekend, they let me sleep from 7am until 10:30 or 11am. That totally saved my sanity. Remember last week I told you all that I didn’t feel like I was surviving? This week at times I did feel like I was surviving. But, it doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy my life right now. I enjoy motherhood and these babies tremendously. Bob asked me if at any time I didn’t enjoy the life that I have right now, and he wanted me to be honest. Honestly, the one moment that I had the hardest time was that 3am when my body was screaming to me that this could not be sustained. But overall, I really love being home with my monkeys. They are such a joy to be with and I can’t imagine not having them around.
The topic of night doula came up over and over again. The FB group of my local multiples group talks about night doulas all the time. It feels like a dream that someone would come to your home in the evening, feed and take care of your baby, and let you sleep until the next morning. Well, this dream also comes with a hefty price tag. I asked a few parents of twins that we know and they all had night doulas. They all swore by them even though it was pricey. They told me that the night doulas did much more than just taking care of the babies at night. They put them on a schedule so that when you take over again, you will be able to follow the schedule. But, it is still a very large investment and I don’t think we are at that point yet. Maybe by the time we are at that point to spend the money, the babies will start to be on a similar schedule and we won’t need to spend that money anymore.
One thing that I really start to love is wearing my babies. I have learned to use the Boba wrap and started to wear one baby at a time. A few times last week I wore Bunny or Okra out and took a walk around the neighborhood. I would really like to try to wear both of them at the same time but that will take some practice. One thing I observe is that you will attract so much attention when you wear a newborn out. When they are so tiny, people stop you and ask questions.
Bob and I took the babies out to the mall for the first time yesterday. We made a goal to get out as a family at least once this weekend and we did it! It took a long time to feed and change everyone, and put everyone in the car seat. It felt like a lot of work but hey, we did it! It felt like such an accomplishment. The interesting part of it was that we walked through the mall with new eyes as parents of twins. First of all, we parked on the 3rd level of the parking structure thinking that there was a ramp there, but nope, my memory was wrong. We had to push the double frame stroller to another level. For the first time, we had to find the elevator of the mall that we have frequented in the last many years. It was located in the middle of the mall so the journey to the second floor took forever. Bob who was pushing the stroller got stopped numerous times by curious bystanders who inquired about the twins. He couldn’t go where I was going in H&M because of the size of the stroller. The list goes on and on. It was quite a brand new experience.
Sometimes I stare at my babies’ face and can’t believe that God entrusted these babies to us. It just feels so surreal still. When will it feel real? I don’t know, but I am for sure soaking in my joy of being the mother to these precious babies even in my state of sleep deprivation.