Sunday, April 20, 2014

An Easter Oops

Or more like a parenting oops that happened on Easter.  So here's the story...

We decided to surprise Tony's parents and Grandpa by joining them this morning at their church service.  It's a small church and I know that many of the members have said lots of prayers for us and our babies.  I knew that Tony's mom would LOVE the opportunity to show off her twin grandbabies, so we decided we'd go so everyone could meet Ayden and Rylee, and it would be a great Easter surprise for his parents and Grandpa.

Of course we were rushed trying to get ourselves and the babies ready this morning.  It's not easy trying to get yourself ready, in addition to making sure the babies are fed, diapers changed, and dressed.  Oh and let's not forget needing to get the diaper bag ready as well.  It needed to be packed for the day, as Tony would be taking the babies out to his parents for lunch after church.  (I came home to get some much needed stuff done and actually have some time to myself also)

I was so excited to put Rylee in her first dress ever.  I feel like dressing the kiddos is like playing dress up with dolls sometimes.  You just can't wait to see how cute they will be!  And let me just say that Miss Rylee looked absolutely adorable in her Easter dress!  Of course, Ayden looked pretty handsome as well in his button up western onsie.  There's just nothing like getting a little girl decked out in her first dress though.

We were rushing to get out the door and to church on time.  Tony put Ayden in the car and came back in to help me.  I already had Rylee in her carseat on our way out the door, with the diaper bag over my shoulder. I handed Tony the diaper bag, he opened the door for us, and I put Rylee in the car.  I watched Tony go around the back of the car to the other side, thinking he had the diaper bag.  I mean, I DID just hand it to him.

The kids were loaded up, we hopped in the car, and away we went.  We arrived right as church was starting.  We got out of the car, me getting Rylee and Tony getting Ayden out of their car seats.  I asked Tony to grab the diaper bag.


He said: "I gave you the diaper bag."
Me:  "No.  I handed you the diaper bag as we left the house."
Him:  "I set it down at the door."
Me:  "Noooooo, I gave you the diaper bag outside, not in the house."
Him:  "And I set it down at your feet by the car.  I thought you were going to put it in."
Me:  "Well then, it's still sitting in our driveway."

We made our grand entrance into church and of course everyone oooohed and awwwwed.  Tony handed Ayden off to his dad, and then he left to run home and grab the diaper bag.  Thankfully, it was still sitting in the driveway!  Ha!

I know that Tony's parents and Grandpa were proud to show off the twins.  You know what?  I really, really enjoy showing off the twins also.  I think they are pretty great.  And cute.  And adorable. We may have had a parenting oopsy this morning, but it was a pretty great morning anyway.  There were lots of comments about how prayers had been answered.

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I Have Babies

I realize that I've been a big slacker in the blogging world lately.  I am now 3 full weeks behind in my blog reading, and not doing very well in writing either.  Life with twins is busy.  That is an understatement!  I have just a few minutes before I have to start getting ready to go to a wedding this afternoon, so thought I would share an 'awe' moment I had this past week.

The babies had Physical Therapy on Wednesday, their second PT appointment.  I absolutely love the guy that works with them.  He is AMAZING with babies.  It is so fun to just watch him interact with them.  The difference it has made in the past two weeks is undeniable.  They both have torticollis, with Ayden mostly turning his head to the left and Rylee to the right.  Apparently this is a twin thing due to the cramped space they had in utero.  This has given them huge flat spots on the back of their heads.  After just two appointments and doing some stretching exercises with them throughout the week, they are now able to turn both ways.  We still have more work to do, but there is already such a marked improvement.

Driving home from their appointment this week, I looked in the backseat at both my babies.  I had a moment.  I was in awe of the fact that I ACTUALLY have babies.  And they are mine.  Okay, and Tony's too.  It's still just so surreal that WE have a family.  I can't help but be in awe of that.  It still hits me, even (almost) 4 months later.  Unbelievable.

We've been married over 16 years.  We have been together for more than half my life.  And now we have babies.  It's such a different life, but one that I am loving every single day.  I have babies.  Can you believe it?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Sleep Solution

The last few days have been much better.  So much so in fact, that I feel like the babies are sleeping the day away!  I actually had to wake them both up yesterday afternoon to go somewhere!  I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting for them to wake up.  I even went in their room and put laundry away and packed their diaper bag.  I wasn't trying to be quiet, and yet they just kept right on napping.

Two nights ago we put them down for bedtime, and Ayden got himself all sorts of worked up.  We tried comforting him and putting him back down a few times, but he wouldn't have it.  Finally Tony just held him till he fell asleep and then put him back in his crib for the night.

Rylee goes down pretty easy.  We swaddle her up and give her a pacifier and she is good to go. Sometimes the paci falls out of her mouth and we have to put it back in if she gets fussy, but it only takes 2 or 3 times and she is asleep and will stay that way even if the pacifier later falls out.  If we give Ayden a pacifier, it works temporarily, but he needs it CONSTANTLY put back in his mouth and he NEVER goes to sleep. He just gets pissed off every time it falls out.  We don't even bother with that for him anymore because it just doesn't work.

Back to two nights ago.... I went in to put Rylee back in her crib after a feeding, and saw that Ayden was on his belly!  Hmmm.... I turned him back over onto his back, only to watch him roll back to his belly within seconds.  Okaaayyyyy.  Well.  If he's going to roll over all on his own, then there is nothing I can do about it. Later that night after I fed him, he again rolled over onto his belly after I put him down.

The next day (yesterday) when I put him down for a nap, I laid him on his back like I'm supposed to.  He was perfectly content laying there talking to himself for a little while, but eventually got fussy.  I went in and comforted him, but he was getting more and more upset.  Soooooooo, I turned him over onto his stomach and Bam!  He went straight to sleep!

Same thing last night.  We put him to bed on his back but he didn't want to have anything to do with it.  We picked him up and comforted him and then laid him again on his back.  We tried this a few times to no avail. Sooooooo, we turned him over onto his stomach and Bam!  It was lights out.  He was asleep within seconds.

I guess our answer is to put him to sleep on his belly.  I know that is not at all what we are supposed to do, and there are probably a number of critics that disagree with our decision, but this boy was getting more and more miserable every day because he wasn't sleeping!  It was getting pretty miserable and sad for us all trying to get him to sleep at night.  Once he was asleep, he was fine, but it was getting him there that was the problem.  During the day, it had been impossible to get him to sleep.  I wouldn't have even promoted this before since it's such a big no-no, but since he turned himself over not once, but THREE times in one night I thought, well, if he's going to end up there anyway, might as well.  Although it does seem that he suddenly forgot how to roll over again.  I don't care.  He's so much happier now.

Now we just have to worry about him being such a wiggle worm!  He somehow manages to find his way to one side of the crib and to the top end.  I found his legs dangling out over the edge once two nights ago, and last night he worked his way up to the top corner!  I make it a point to start him out laying in the bottom far corner now.  It's amazing how much this boy moves in his sleep!

Rylee consistently sleeps for anywhere between a 4-6 hour stretch at night, then wakes up for a feeding. She then will sleep for another 2-3 hours, wake up and eat, and then sleep for another 1-3 hours.

Ayden consistently sleeps between 7-9 hours at night.  Like I said, once he's asleep, he is a champion sleeper!  He then does the same as Rylee.  He will wake for a feeding and then sleep for another 2-3 hours. Then wake for a feeding, then sleep for another 1-3 hours.

This was how I found him two nights ago.  I didn't get a video of him actually rolling over for the first time, but I did get the end result.  I was so impressed, I had to turn the light on so I could take a picture!

Yesterday's nap time

Rylee is content as can be in her swaddle.  Tony calls her his little burrito.
By the way, we DO lay Ayden down length wise in his crib!  He just somehow manages to turn himself sideways.

Also, even though we do have a video monitor, we do check on the babies frequently.  I had to be sure Ayden was doing okay on his belly before I felt comfortable putting him down that way.  The monitor only shows us if they are moving and it lets us hear them loud and clear.  It doesn't tell us if they are breathing or not, so of course we have to go in and check often, for our own peace of mind :)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

The Sleep War

There are so many things that I could write about:

  • An update on Rylee's hemangioma - the ulcers are actually healing and it is doing much better at the moment.  So much better!
  • Rylee had an orthopedic therapy appointment this past week in an attempt to try getting her to eat better.  She is not eating well, and what she does eat gets puked up sometimes.  I don't know at this point if the appointment has helped.
  • Both babies have torticollis.  This may be a contributing factor to Rylee's eating problems, although Ayden has torticollis worse than she does.  He has a pretty extreme flat spot on the left side of his head.  It's possible he may have to wear a helmet.  It's also possibly the reason he cannot hold a pacifier in his mouth for very long.  We have a physical therapy appointment for both babies on Thursday.
  • The babies seem to have switched places.  Rylee now is a fairly happy baby and Ayden is pretty fussy.
Like I said, I have a lot of things I could write about that really deserve their own post.  But I am going to vent about our sleeping struggles.  Sigh....

The babies have been sleeping in their Rock n' Plays (RNP) since the first day we brought them home.  I'm giving you a very brief update on our sleeping arrangement to this point.  Our original plan was for them to sleep in our room in the RNP's.  That lasted about half a night.  We then moved them to the living room, which is where they've been ever since, with me sleeping on the couch.  It's not that Tony isn't willing to help with the babies at night, because he is.  It's just that my life is sooooo much better if he is not sleep deprived.  He gets extremely grumpy, and I'm to emotional (hormonal) to take it.  He also works long days with an 1:20 minute commute.  I'd rather him get his sleep.  The other reason this arrangement originated was because neither one of us was comfortable going to sleep without watching, or at least being close to the babies.  We were so afraid of one of them, or both, stopping breathing.  That's what being in the NICU does to you, with all those stupid alarms!  Okay, we really appreciated the alarms.  They just went off often enough to scare us.

What we've been doing for the past three months is that Tony would come home and take over at about 7:00pm and I would go to bed and sleep till about 11:00 or midnight.  Then he would come wake me up and I would move to the couch.  On the weekends, he would wait until around 1:00am and I would go back to bed in the morning for a long nap.

In the past few weeks, I've been really feeling tied down to this schedule.  Instead of being able to go for a walk, or run, or have family time in the evening with all of us, I was going to bed.  Instead of enjoying my weekend, I was sleeping half the days away.

In addition to that, Ayden has really started fighting sleep during the day.  He's not sleeping and he is becoming more and more cranky.  He used to be our happy go lucky, smiley baby!!!  What happened to him?  Well, he is flat out exhausted because he only takes 20-30 minute cat naps at a time during the day. An hour if I'm lucky.  That just doesn't cut it for a 3 month old, who is only one and a half month old adjusted.

I've come to the conclusion that it's time to start sleep training and moving these babies into their nursery and into their cribs.  I've read a few books on sleep training and swallowed up any other bloggers experiences in this department.  You know, learn from those that go before me and all that.  When it comes down to it though, we have no frickin clue as to what we are doing.  I don't want to resort to the cry it out method, but I have fast learned that them crying is unavoidable.  They are going to cry.  It seems they are going to cry no matter what we do.  Ayden especially.  He is so over tired and it seems there is nothing we can do.  We HAVE to get this sleep training thing down for his sake, and for our sanity.

With that said, once Ayden does finally settle down, he has been sleeping for about a 7 hour stretch in his crib.  I feed him and am able to put him back down in his crib.  He then sleeps for another 2-3 hours.  I feed him, and then put him back again in his crib for another couple hours.  Yay!  That's not a bad night once we finally get him to calm down and actually sleep!

Rylee seems to go down okay and can sleep through her brother's crying for a little while, but he eventually wakes her up.  We are a little more hesitant to let her cry for very long because she makes herself sick and ends up puking.  She did this the other night.  Thankfully, we were going in to get her because Tony found her choking on her vomit.  That didn't scare us or anything.  Big sigh.  However, she does usually tend to do okay and can put herself to sleep.  She did sleep in there through one night (with a couple feedings in between) and has taken a few nice long naps in there as well.

If only her brother would get on the same page.

I could bore you with the details of what we've been doing to put them down, but I won't right now.  Just know that we have declared war on this sleep thing, and this is one battle that I really, really hope that the parents have the perseverance and strength to compete for the long haul and come out the victor.  It would be a win win situation for all involved.  Now, if we could just get Ayden to agree....

Rylee's very first time napping in the crib.  It lasted 41 minutes.
Another nap and a not quite successful escape!
Ayden's first time going down in a crib, but he hi-jacked his sister's crib.
We've managed ONE nap in his crib.  He was put down length wise, but managed to turn himself to lay sideways!
*In case you are wondering why we don't swaddle Ayden, there are a few reasons.  1. I'm afraid to swaddle him in a blanket because he always manages to escape and I don't want that blanket in there with him.  No SIDS for us!  2. This big boy doesn't fit in the swaddlers with the velcro!  3. He hates being swaddled.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Meeting the Cousins

This past weekend, the babies got to meet most of their cousins for the very first time!  Now that Ayden and Rylee have reached the 3 month mark, they will be meeting lots of family and friends.  No more quarantine for us!  We will still be careful letting them around anybody that is, or has been, sick.  We are just finally coming out of isolation.  Woo Hoo!

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited the nieces and nephews were to meet the babies.  They have been asking about them since they were in my belly.

First was the cousins from Tony's side of the family.  They came over to meet the babies on Friday.  They couldn't get enough of them!  They kept oohing and awwwwing over how small they were, until they held Ayden.  They thought he was pretty heavy!  Ha!  Welllll, he kind of is.  They couldn't stop touching the babies.  The 4 year old didn't really want to hold the babies, but she couldn't stop touching them.  It was really cute.  On Saturday, she did finally decide to hold Ayden, but thought he was really heavy so was ready to give him back!  She held out long enough for a few pictures!  The 6 year old was ALL about holding the babies.

My sister brought her family over on Sunday.  The two oldest have been asking to see the babies for a looonnnnggggg time.  In fact, Eliana (age 8) was ready to meet them way back in October!  Of course I told her she was going to have to wait.

Funny story.  About a month ago, Sis came by to drop something off for us, but all the kids stayed in the car with their dad.  Tony went out to say hi to them.  Steven, the oldest boy (he's 4), was mad that he couldn't come inside to see the babies.  He asked Tony why HE got to see the them.  Tony told him it was because he's their dad.  Steven said "no you're not!  You're Uncle Tony!"

So finally the cousins got to meet for the first time...
Eliana 8, Steven 4, Nathanial 2, Adilyn 6 months, Ayden and Rylee 3 months

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Good Days

The last few days, we've actually had a somewhat happy Rylee!  Yayyyyyyyy!!!!!!  She still has her moments of course, but she has been puke free two days in a ROW.  Eating has been a little better.  Not great, but better.  We've been able to have more play time than usual.  She is just all around in a much, much better mood.

Partly, I think it's because she has had a couple of good poops.  Haha!  No, but seriously.  I don't know if she is truly constipated, or if she just holds back because she's learned it hurts her poor little bottom.  It wouldn't be a surprise if she does have constipation issues.  My sister and my oldest niece have issues with it, and my little baby niece went daayyyysssss without pooping for her first several months, and usually needed a little help to get things moving.  Why would my sister and nieces have anything to do with my little Rylee you may ask?  Well, don't forget, my sister was our egg donor.  One of the advantages of having a known donor is that we are privy to these kinds of things.

So maybe that's two strikes against Rylee in the pooping department - maybe she is both constipated AND holds back for fear of it hurting.  Who knows?

Is this REALLY the reason for her rare good days, or is it just a coincidence?  I don't really care why.  I'm just happy that she is more happy.

Look at that adorable smile!

She loves to stick out her tongue :)

Are they trading places?  Rylee is happy and Ayden is....not?
Now that I post these pictures, I have to laugh at the fact that she is wearing a shirt saying "Auntie said I could."  It strikes me as funny that I was just talking about her Auntie (my sister) and their pooping problems, and Rylee happens to be wearing a onsie about her.  It's like Auntie J maybe gave her permission to just let it all out!

*When I started this post, I had no idea it was going to be all about poop!  HA!

Monday, March 24, 2014

3 Month Birthday!

We celebrated the babies' 3 month birthday yesterday!  It's a good thing we started off the day by taking their pictures, because the rest of the day was a battle of fussy babies vs. parents.  We think they probably weren't feeling very good.

Rylee has puked at least once per day 7 out of the last 8 days, sometimes 2 or 3 times per day.  Saturday was puke free, so we thought we were finally moving past the puke fest, but right as we were starting the pictures yesterday she emptied the contents of her stomach.  Lucky me, I even got some in the face!  I was trying to keep her upright, catching it all in a burp cloth, but also had some of it spit into my face.  My hands were full so I couldn't even wipe it off.  Good times.  Good times.  I got her changed into dry clothes and we went about the picture taking business.  Thankfully, she wasn't too fussy at this point.  That came later, and was probably due to her sore bottom.

Ayden spent the day with several spit up episodes, definitely more than normal.  He went through a record number of clothing changes yesterday himself.  He was also pretty lethargic throughout the day, very sleepy. He didn't have a temperature.  He just slept a lot.

We did manage to get these cute pictures though!  Our only camera is on our iPhones, so the quality isn't very good, but they are cute anyway!

Poor Rylee has had a rough start in life.  Her bottom is still ulcerated, but at her last dermatology appointment, they thought it was looking better.  We are now using Duo Derm bandages to cover the hemangioma.  The bandaging starts out okay, but it's difficult to keep it sticking on the inside part of her butt cheek, thus making it difficult to keep the poopy out.  It works great for about half a day, but then the bandage starts to peel up.  One might think, okay, just change the bandaging.  I did that once.  Never again. The bandage might not stick as well on the inside portion, but it sticks very well on the outer side of her bottom.  When I took it off before the recommended time, it also peeled off some of her skin and made the ulcer bleed more than it ever had before.  That was not a happy day for anyone.  Poor baby girl.

The next time, I timed the bandage change with her bath.  Made it so much easier to take off.  You might think, well why don't you do that every time?  Because this girl hates baths.  HATES them with a fiery passion.  Seriously.  She doesn't just scream bloody murder.  She screams as if she belongs in The Exorcist. It's a little scary.  So she only gets a bath about once per week.

So, little Miss Rylee hates diaper changes (who could blame her with her sore bottom), she hates baths, she has trouble eating without gagging, when she does eat you never know if she will keep it down, she dislikes tummy time, and she also hates having her clothes changed.  She used to scream her head off when you put a onsie on and off, but that is actually getting better.  Now she only screams when you put pants on her.

Sigh.  I really, really, super duper hope that she eventually becomes a happy baby.

There are some things she does like, despite all the other things that make her miserable.  She LOVES it when you talk to her (as long as she's in the mood to listen).  She will sit there and stare at you forever if you keep talking to her.  Talking to her is what makes her smile, and making her smile is like winning the lottery. Rylee loves the swing.  I think it's her most favorite place.  She can watch her little friends on the mobile for what seems like hours.  If her tummy is settled, Rylee also enjoys spending some time on the play mat.

Just this past week we had to move her up to size 1 diapers.  She had 8 newborn diapers left and I was trying hard to use them up, but I just couldn't squeeze her into them any more.  She has outgrown some of her newborn clothes, but still fits in most.  We have begun making the transition to 0-3 month size.  At her last weight check a week and a half ago, she was 9 lbs, 10 oz.  I'm sure she's probably hit about 10 lbs now.

The longest stretch Rylee has slept at night is 4 hours, 40 minutes.  They are both still sleeping in their Rock n' Plays, but Rylee has taken one 41 minute nap in her crib.  Yes, I timed it.  I use the handy dandy iBabyLog app on my iPhone to keep track of feedings, sleep, and diaper changes.

She has started cooing.  Not a lot, but she definitely is starting to talk to us.  She is great at making a smacking sound with her tongue.  Speaking of which, she does like to stick her tongue out, too.

Rylee may be small, but she is mighty.  She may have a temper, but we still think she is so amazingly cute and love her so much.

Now for Ayden.  He is a tank.  At his last weigh in he was 12 lbs, 6.5 oz.  That was almost a month ago, so I'm sure he's well over 13 lbs now.  He is wearing 0-3 month and 3 month clothing.  He's still in size 1 diapers.

Ayden is a pretty calm baby, except for when he thinks he's starving.  If you don't get to him fast enough, his world is coming to an end.  While Rylee is pure temper and flat out scream cries, Ayden breaks your heart when he cries.  He gets the most sad, pathetic look on his face.  He knows how to make us feel bad already!

Ayden smiles easily and is not stingy in sharing those smiles.  One of the cutest things I've ever seen and heard is listening to him literally laugh out loud in his sleep.  It makes me smile and laugh out loud myself.

He enjoys spending time in his little bouncer chair and talking to his friend the penguin.  He coos and talks to us quite a bit.  His little baby noises are adorable.  He is only entertained on the play mat for a few minutes at a time. Tummy time is not his favorite, but he doesn't mind it as much when he's on the Boppy.  He tolerates bath time, but doesn't really think too highly of it.  He will chew/suck on anything that gets near his mouth - his fist, his clothing, my finger, a teething toy...  But he has trouble keeping a pacifier in his mouth.  We've tried several different kinds, but he eventually loses it, which he finds very frustrating.

Ayden frequently sleeps for 5 hour stretches at night, but has gone as long as 7 hours!  Now if only Rylee and him would sync their sleeping schedules.... I did purchase a couple sleep training books last week so that maybe we can learn a few tricks.  I haven't put him down in his crib yet to try sleeping.  I don't think we would be successful at this point.  He startles himself easily and doesn't get even remotely tired when laying on the floor on his back.  I've tried swaddling him but that just makes him mad.

Yesterday he was down for tummy time without the Boppy and he was trying SOOOoooo hard to roll over.  He almost got it too!  Instead, he just kicked his way around so he was turning in a circle on the blanket.

It's only been 3 months, but yet these two are our entire world now.  3 months doesn't seem like very long, but yet it also feels like we've had them forever.  Wouldn't change a thing.  People ask me if I miss coaching softball.  Yes, I miss the girls.  I miss being on the field.  I miss the competitiveness of the games.  But I wouldn't change a thing.  I don't miss getting the field ready and dealing with the Oregon weather.  I don't miss the two hour bus rides.  I would much rather be watching the games on the sidelines now with my two little ones.  .

And now for more pictures...

She enjoys sleeping in her car seat when we go for walks
Looking cool in his shades
All bundled up to watch their first softball game
He slept through the entire game!

My little ducklings