Monday, January 31, 2011

Preguntas Part Dos-Feeding Frenzy

Ok. So the second part of this installment is about feeding twins! I think I just lost about all my younger readers because they are probably going to be bored to death with this topic. Oh, and if you are a male, you won't hurt my feelings if you just skip this one too! Ha!

But, before I talk about nursing two babies, can I just say one thing? I would never want any woman to feel like us breastfeeding mommies think less of those who choose formula. Your love for your child is not determined by how you feed him/her. (And let me help you if you are still feeling guilty...Ella was breastfed for 9 months...and she is always sick and even has asthma. So, see? I could argue that it didn't really help her stay well! )It is hands down the most perfect food for them...but, if it wasn't your cup of tea, you're still an amazing mom!

Lauren asked: I'm curious how breastfeeding is going! I have a 10.5 month old and he's never had a bottle in his life, and I hope to be able to breastfeed exclusively with all my kids (another reason I don't want twins next time around). So I wonder how that whole thing is going. 

Ok. So, I hope you weren't looking for a simple answer, because feeding these babies has been very complicated. But, before you read into all this, just know that YES!!!! can certainly nurse two babies!

First, I have to remind everyone that our twins were born at 28 weeks. That's about 3 months early. So, feeding at that stage was simply a tube going down into their belly. Because they were small (obviously), their feedings had to be fortified with extra calories. Basically there is a ratio of "formula" to breast milk that makes it higher calorie...this is called fortified breast milk. Are you following me so far? So, for the first 7 weeks or so, they were fed through a feeding tube. (This will all make sense in a minute).

After that, I would nurse them once a day. Obviously this was extremely hard because: 
1) we never had that initial establishment of nursing immediately after birth 
2) they were on oxygen and that would get in the way some
3) they would constantly have to be pulled off because their oxygen would, you can imagine the frustration of trying to teach a preemie to latch and constantly pulling them off once they finally did latch.
4) I was trying to do all of the above with TWO babies
5) I was only getting to nurse them once a day...not exactly ideal for establishing good latching and nursing sessions

Ok, so when the babies were discharged, I was originally told that both babies would continue to have to have half of their feeding fortified (which meant I had to continue to pump and feed bottles...WEW! That's a lot of work).

When we got home, Jacob was doing terrible trying to nurse and shortly thereafter got sick, so I decided to just pump for all his feedings and do bottles. When Audrey came home, she was nursing some, but she was not gaining, we were then told ALL her feedings had to be fortified. This meant, I was pumping and feeding and adding calories to every bottle of breast milk. To keep it simple, we did all the bottles for both babies this way.

So, I continued this pumping insanity and still continue to pump a couple times a day. I have gone back to nursing Audrey twice a day, because I feel like she is gaining weight fine by me doing it that way. The rest of her feedings are fortified breast milk.

My original goal was to make it to 6 months with the breastfeeding. I am very pro breastfeeding for at least one year, but I also have been through a lot more than the average person this past I'm trying to feed two by pumping. So, let's be real. I just can't keep doing this. So, in one more month, I will probably be totally done with pumping. I will try and continue to nurse Audrey some (and Jacob some on the off chance that he decides he will...every once in a while he will). But, no more pumping. And if it is all completely over in another month, I'm ok with that.  I gave them 6 months of me and I feel happy about that.

So, if you have two healthy "normal" twins, yes you can nurse both. It's hard, but it can certainly be done. I hope this helps!

Lauren asked: ...And how much sleep you get. And how the twins are sleeping.

I usually get 6 straight hours of sleep a night. Ella goes to preschool in the mornings on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, so I can sometimes sneak in a nap then. But, honestly, there is just always other things that need to be done, so I don't. But, I get more on the weekends. I'm definitely always tired, but I get enough sleep to not feel too bad.

The twins are finally sleeping really well. They eat about every 3.5 hours during the day. They "go to bed"...whatever that means...around 7pm. I then go in and feed them around 11pm and go to sleep after I finish feeding them...usually after midnight. They wake up around 3:30 or 4am and are both fed at the same time this time. They then will sleep until about 7:30am. Andrew goes to bed early and feeds them their 4am feeding. I stay up late and do the 11pm feeding.

Otherwise, they both take 3 naps a day. Audrey is my dream napper. She is a GREAT sleeper. Jacob likes to wake up after 45 minutes and scream for 15 minutes and then sleep off and on for another 30 minutes after that. Here is what a typical day looks like:
7am: Ella and I are up
7:30: feed babies
8:30 babies nap
10: Jacob wakes up
10:30: Audrey wakes up and both babies are fed
2: Babies wake up and are fed
5:00-wake up and feed
7pm: nurse both babies-then they go to sleep for the night
11am-wake them up to eat, then immediately they go back to sleep
3:30/4-both babies eat, then go back to sleep
7am-wake it all over again...drink lots of coffee!!!

This is just sort of guide for the day. It certainly isn't a schedule. We just follow an eat, play, sleep routine. It is VERY hard to keep both babies on the same routine through the day b/c Jacob is 13 lbs. 5 ounces and Audrey is 10 pounds 10 ounces. That's an almost 3 pounds difference! That's huge in terms of sleeping and eating. 

So, that is life in a nutshell here. Breastfeeding is such an amazing thing. It hurts and is hard at first, but then it becomes really sweet. I will feel sad to be done with it. But, I've done the best I can do. So, when it does end, I will give myself a little pat on the back and say "Good where's my teeny-tiny bras again??" Sigh.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Preguntas Part Uno

You all asked some great questions. I'm breaking it down into a couple posts so that it isn't so overwhelming to read. I promise I'll answer every single question. So, if you don't see yours answered below, stayed tuned for part dos!  Let's start with the easier ones.

1. Lori asked: What's your favorite time of the day and what is your least favorite time of the day with your 3 babies?

Well, my least favorite time of day is definitely from 4:30-6:30pm. Naps are over, I'm trying to get dinner ready, and everyone is super crabby despite the fact that they took naps. Actually, just Ella and Jacob are crabby. Audrey is always pretty happy. Also, anytime I have to feed the babies is hard because of the amount of time it takes and Ella starts to get a little impatient after about 10 minutes. With your first baby, feeding time can be really special and bonding. For me, it is crazy because I have a 2 year old who also needs mommy. I do my best to give her an activity to do before I feed the babies; but, let's face it...she is 2 and she wants my attention just as much as they do. So, that is hard for me.

My favorite time of day is for sure 8pm. Everyone is bathed, fed, happy and Andrew is home to help! We all usually hang out in our bedroom and watch a little cartoon and just snuggle in bed. But really, anytime that isn't feeding time is pretty good. I love taking Ella outside (and taking the monitor with me!) to play when the twins nap. It puts both of us in a better mood when we can run around and get some sunshine!

2. Amy asked:  when do YOU sleep?

This has gotten SO much better! The first 6-8 weeks were really hard and I felt like I was a zombie. However, Andrew had a number of random days off because of the holidays, so we would catch up then. Plus, his family was in town from Florida a good bit during that time, so that helped. But those first 2 months are always hard because you are trying to establish a difference between day and night with your babies and they want to eat every 2 hours at first.
But, now, we have a great routine going. My husband goes to bed at 10:30pm and I stay up until midnight and feed the babies between 11:45-12:20 and go to bed after that. He gets up with the babies usually around 4 or 4:30am and feeds them both at the same time by sticking them on a boppy pillow. He can feed them within 30 minutes and goes back to bed until 6am (and leaves for work at 6:45am).  The kids and I are all usually up around 7:15ish. So, I actually get close to 7 hours of sleep a night and so does Andrew! By the way, Andrew like just going to bed early and getting up for 30 minutes. I am constantly asking him if this is working for him and he says it is perfect because he gets around 6 hours uninterrupted and then gets another 1.5 hours after feeding. I am a night owl, so I love staying up a little later and having some me/alone time to read. So, we DO get sleep. The babies are REALLY good about going back to sleep after being fed at night, so that is not an issue. I feed them every 3-3.5 hours during the day, then they can go about 4 hours at night.

3. Amy asked: how in the world do you look so good after having twins? :)

This made me giggle! Girl, you are crazy, because I really don't!! I still need to lose 15 pounds...which is only going to happen if I start exercising again. I did finally start exercising a couple days ago (15 minutes of yoga in the morning and 12-20 minute run/walk at night after the kids are in bed). Haven't you noticed I always have a coat on in every picture or that it is only from the waist up? There is a reason for that. And yes, I am so completely vain that I will never post a picture without makeup. I don't wear makeup much during the week, but I certainly won't post it to the world to see...pasty white skin, dark circles, isn't pretty! Ha!

4. Amy asked: do you think having twins would have been easier/harder if they were your first babies or do you think it made a difference having Ella first? (besides the obvious tough times of having to leave Ella when you were in the hospital)

This is a really good question. Overall I'd say it is much easier to have already had a baby already!!!! This is great news for those of you with one baby and expecting another! 
One of the hardest things about becoming a mom is that, no matter how many books you read, it just doesn't prepare you for how you are going to feel. You feel completely inadequate and unconfident as a new mom. Everyone gives you advice that is the opposite of the person the day before and it just leaves you feeling stressed. Plus, your body is not used to the lack of sleep. AND, you are in this phase of "giving up your old life." You are trying to figure out who you are and how to do the parenting thing.
When you have a another baby (or two more in my case), you are SO much more confident in yourself. The lack of sleep with a newborn(s) is ok because you know that it won't last long. Overall, with everything that is stressful, you know in your heart that it will get better and that makes your stress level so much less. 
For example, you know the first 6 weeks are going to suck. Let's just face it: THE FIRST COUPLE MONTHS are not fun. (And as a first time mom, I'd even venture to say the first 6 months are overrated.) But, I have really embraced the newborn phase this time around...because I know it will be over soon. I constantly find myself just breathing them in and just snuggling with them as much as I can. I don't mind holding them and carrying them around because I know in a few more months they are going to be crawling and not want me quite as much.
So, although it was a huge adjustment to figure out how to divide my time between Ella and the babies, it is so much easier because I know who I am as a mother and am confident in myself. I don't feel this need to compare them to what other babies their age are doing because I feel like I am doing what I feel is best for them. Some people swear by Babywise and other methods...and those are some good tips...but, I don't feel like if my babies aren't sleeping through the night at exactly 3 months, then I'm doing something wrong. They will sleep all night eventually. At some point, I may decide that it is time to start letting them cry a little bit. But, I don't feel like I need a book (like I did with Ella) to tell me when to do this. I'll start stretching them out more when I start to feel like they are only waking out of habit (which is going to be very soon for Jacob since he isn't eating well at night...see, I'm listening to my kids this time and not a book). SO MUCH EASIER!

Anyway, that's enough for now! I'll answer the others later today! I hope I didn't offend any of you who are first time parents or are doing Babywise, etc. I was TOTALLY that mom with Ella. But, I was also a lot more stressed (personally) because of it. So, this time, I'm doing Sarahwise...because I feel like I know best.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


So, I ventured out for the first time the other day with all three kids. Granted it was only to the doctors office to see Ella's pulmonologist, but nevertheless, it still required me to load up all three kids and get all three kids out. So, I got to test out my new double stroller!

Anyway, walking through the halls of this very big building got us a lot of stares, comments, and questions. Now, I understand this is going to be my new normal. I am sure I will get lots of questions and comments when we are out in public. It doesn't bother me because I understand people are naturally curious. It doesn't even bother me when they say things like "better you than me" because I know they just don't understand how wonderful this life is for me.

So, that being said. I am opening up the floor for questions!!! I know you all have questions about twin raising or raising three little ones under 3 in general, so here is your chance. You can ask anything. Leave a comment below and I'll answer them all in another post. What have you been dying to ask me?...

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

When I grow up...

Ella: "Mommy, when I grow up, I'm gonna marry Jacob."
Me: "I thought you were going to marry daddy?"
Ella: "No. I marry Jacob."
Ella talking to Jacob: "Jacob, hey buddy. You marry me? You marry princess Ella? You be prince Jacob."
Jacob: Big, huge grin...


love them. 

Princess Ella

I hope she always loves him this much. I hope all three of them will always look out for each other and take care of each other. She already looks out for them. She'll be a great mommy one day!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Snowed In

We had some unprecedented snow fall here in Hot Atlanta...ok, I'm sure it has snowed this much at some point in the past here, but not in the 30 years I've been alive and lived here (although technically I was a Floridian for 2 know, back in the day when we had money, no kids, and a house with a pool...and slept 10 hours every night...ok, that was entirely too many ellipses.)


So in true Southern style, we dumped out our rubbermaid that was holding our wrapping paper and TA DA!...we had a sled.

I sound like a complete redneck, don't I? Don't worry, I'm not. But I do sometimes like to use the word ya'll. It just kind of comes out. I can't help it. And sometimes I like to eat boiled peanuts. Don't hate 'em until you've tried them.

Anyway, enough babbling and onto some photos:

Some random lady walking down the street asked if we wanted our picture taken. It's a rare treat to have both Andrew and me in a picture together.

View from our dining room. You would have thought we lived at a ski resort. People were snowboarding and sledding down the hill in front of our house. It was so much fun to watch!

Ella loved the snow. This was her 465th snow angel. The girl would have slept out there if we had let her.

Yes, I totally threw a snowball in her face. She thought it was hysterical. Don't worry...she got me back!

And I'm working on my photography post. It's going to be simple and user friendly tricks that you can use no matter what type of camera you have. I am really still a beginner (maybe novice?), but I'll share some things I've learned that are easy and will make a HUGE difference in your pictures! I'll also link to some of my favorite locals so you can see where I draw some of my inspiration from!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Simplicity in 2011

I have one main resolution for 2011: simplicity. For about two years now, Andrew and I have been on a quest to find simplicity in our lives. We may only be in our 30's, but we already feel the need to just slow down and breathe. I don't mean this in a "let's get lazy" way, rather to find a way to embrace the amazing life that God has given us. We have been purging through our belongings and giving away and/or selling all our excess. Originally, I was getting rid of 5 things a day until our home only contained things we either loved or used daily. I try to take the following approach: I look at an object and say "would I buy this again?" If the answer is no, it has to go away.

Don't worry, I haven't sold Ella on ebay...yet. I kid...although she has been rather naughty lately. But I guess that is what happens when you stay up until 10pm singing "OH Christmas tree" to your Belle doll and still wake up at your usual 7am.

Speaking of simplicity, isn't this little girl just stunning? No flashy clothes or hats or big bows...just Audrey all swaddled up in a blanket. She had just woken up and Andrew was holding her and looking at the newly fallen snow out the window.

So in the coming months, we are going to brave this terrible economy and try to tell our house. We are going to try and move within a 15-10 minute radius of Andrew's work. No more one hour commute for him...hopefully. After all this purging of our things, we have decided to DOWNSIZE to a much smaller home. I know that sounds crazy since our family has grown from one child to three this past year. But, since we began on this journey a couple years ago, we have realized we don't need all this space or yard. We spend too much time keeping it clean and doing yard work...and I'm just talking basic yard work and cleaning. We know exactly how many rooms we need and exactly how it needs to be laid out. We have the backyard for our next home all figured out in our heads. It is all centered around simplicity and having more time together as a family. Instead of Andrew being gone from 6:30am-6:30pm 5 days a week, he could leave at 7:15 and be home at 5:20. Daddy being gone 12 hours a day is hard on this mama...and equally hard on him as well.

So that is our one simple resolution this year. If last year taught us anything, it was to embrace these three special gifts God has given us. And maybe I'll lose that baby weight...

just let me finish this chocolate doughnut first...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Winter Wonderland

I usually feel a little bluesy the day after Christmas. After special time with family, watching excited faces open gifts, and eating to my hearts delight, there is always this sort of feeling of let down the following day. The anticipation of decorating the tree is gone and talks of taking it down for another year come up. It seems silly to turn on the outdoors lights. And the leftovers...well, it just not the same as the day before when we are waiting around with hungry stomachs. BUT, this Christmas was an exceptional one. Something happened here on Christmas Day afternoon that hasn't happened since the 1800's in my neck of the woods...we had a white Christmas! So, instead of the blues, the next day we woke up to just enough snow to sled in, build a snowman, and make snowballs. Because of the icy roads, we had stayed at my sisters house on Christmas Ella got to enjoy the snow with her two girls! It was really special! Ella could not have had a better time in her little winter wonderland. She went down the hill on a sled like she's been doing it for years!

This makes me long for the day when we can take all three kids to Colorado and teach them to ski.

"Dance with me mommy?", she asked.

Walking in a winter wonderland with my little wonder

Just like Christmas, the snow did not stick around for very long. But, it made me think. What is it about a snow covered woods that is so appealing? I mean, its cold, wet, and messy when little boots track it back inside. But, something about snow just feels so peaceful, fresh...almost like a new beginning. I guess that is where the lyrics to a popular hymn come from that say (referring to our sin) "He washed them white as snow."

What a wonderful way to transition into 2011 after this very emotional and stressful year! Family, food, memories made...and if a sign from God that this is going to be a fresh start to an amazing year.