Wednesday, May 28, 2014

5 Months

Okay, I'm a little late, but as the saying goes, better late than never!  The babies turned 5 months last Friday. They are almost half a year already!  Say WHAT?  How is that possible?  Weren't they just born?  Mind boggling.

This past week, the babies got hit with their first cold.  It started with Ayden and then traveled to Rylee, and then Tony and me.  I now proclaim myself a Professional Snot Sucker.  The old school bulb suckers don't really work all that well, so I took everyone's advice early on and invested in a NoseFrida.  It works great, but I have to tell you, it really, REALLY grosses me out.  I am NOT a fan of physically sucking the snot out of their noses, even if you DO have a filter!  Shudder.  But I have sucked it up (pun intended) and got the job done.  We purchased a Vaporizer and have been rubbing Vicks on their little feet and chests.  I'll be honest, I don't really feel like those things have made a difference.  I've kept it up though, since I know that's what good little parents are supposed to do.

We've enjoyed some nice spring sunshine by going to watch softball.  There are always lots of people wanting to help hold the babies.

Both babies are now eating rice cereal.  We started feeding Rylee cereal a few weeks ago, hoping that it might help with her reflux.  We tried putting rice cereal in her bottle to thicken it up and hopefully help with the spit up, but that didn't seem to be making much of a difference.  In an effort to make it even thicker and hopefully help the formula stick in her belly, we started spoon feeding her cereal.  She took to it right away! We were warned that it would take a little while for the babies to figure out how to use their tongues to pull the cereal back to swallow, but she had no problem!  We figure it's because she's been taking medicine by mouth for about a month already. Ayden got his first taste of cereal just this past weekend.  He made a little funny face at first taste, but then didn't mind it.  It took a little bit for him to figure out he needed to open his mouth for the spoon and he also spit more of it out than he swallowed for the first portion, but then he ate it right down once he learned what to do.  I gave them both more yesterday, and they most definitely weren't satisfied with the 2 teaspoons of cereal that I gave each of them!

Rylee has come leaps and bounds from her first couple months!  It's amazing the difference in this little baby from the one that spent the first 3 months of her life in so much pain!  I can't even begin to tell you how relieved we are that she is now a happy little baby.  She is not so easy to smile as her brother is, but the smiles are definitely coming more often now.  She absolutely melts our hearts when she smiles!  However, we are finding it difficult to actually capture it on camera.  She smiles, but then you pull out the camera and she goes stone faced or bug eyed.

Sleeping is a bit of a struggle with Rylee.  She will go to sleep in her crib, but only stays in there for about 3 hours before she starts to fuss.  Most of the time, this fussing is done in her sleep, but she will keep it up until she either wakes up or I pick her up and hold her.  Usually we end up finishing out the night sleeping together on the couch.  Even then she still seems to get pretty agitated in her sleep.  Sometimes she will scream out in her sleep, but it only lasts a few seconds and then she is conked out again.  Sometimes she smiles in her sleep, and the other night I actually heard her laugh a little bit in her sleep.  Those moments are a lot sweeter than her crying out!  We still swaddle Rylee.  If we don't, she won't go to sleep at all.  We've started trying to gradually fade out the swaddle by leaving one arm out.  We don't have air conditioning in our house, so it is going to eventually get too hot to swaddle her this summer.  We tried both arms out one night, but she just startled herself awake and wasn't getting any sleep. Rylee has slept as much as 10-12 hours a night, but only a few times, and it was also a combination of sleeping in her crib and with me on the couch. Most of the time she is up once per night for a feeding.  Not bad.

Rylee is officially ulcer free!  The medicine she is on is doing a fantastic job of shrinking the hemangiomas. They are still there, but are changing color, getting softer, and starting to shrink.  Now if we can just continue to keep her ulcer free.... The good news is that if she does get one, I am fairly confident that we can now treat it quickly and keep it from escalating to the degree it was before.  We are still dealing with the reflux issue though.  Some days are better than others.  She still spits up an insane amount, sometimes puking rather than just good ol' spit up.  She did a number on her Grandma C over the weekend, puking allllll down her back and on her neck.

Rylee is about 12 lbs now, hanging out in the 4th percentile, 50% if you look on the preemie scale.  For height she is 22 3/4 inches, which puts her at 1%.  Yep.  Gonna have short children I guess.  Rylee is still wearing 0-3 month and 3 month clothing.  The 3 month size is still a little big on her, so I think she'll be here for awhile.  She is wearing size 1 diapers.  She is getting so much stronger!  She does a decent job of sitting up in the Bumbo for short periods of time.  Just in the past week, she's been able to stand for a few seconds when we are holding her hands. She rolls from her tummy to her back almost every time we put her on her tummy.  No sign of rolling the other way from back to tummy yet.

Rylee now grabs the toys hanging overhead from her playmat.  She also loves to grab hold of anything you put in her lap - burp cloths, blankets, toys.  Her favorite is Minnie Mouse.

(Ignore the evil red eyes that wouldn't fix for this upload!)

She's been trying to hold her bottle for a few weeks now, but last night actually accomplished holding it for a few minutes!

Almost a smile!
The picture's blurry, but I did manage to actually catch a smile!
This picture absolutely cracks me up!
Ayden is SUCH a happy baby!  He is a major flirt.  All you have to do is look at him and he will smile.  He has also started to laugh.  I feel very honored because so far, I'm pretty much the funniest person he knows! The other night, I was feeding him his bottle (or attempting to anyway), but he couldn't seem to stop laughing at me.  He just looked at me and laughed and laughed and laughed.  It was so funny!  He just lights up everything when he smiles.  A person can't help but be happy around this little guy!

I know it's blurry, but I love this picture!
Ayden is our big boy!  As of last week, he now weighs 17 lbs, which is in the 58th percentile on the non adjusted chart.  He is 24 3/4 inches long, in the 20th percentile.  Sigh.  Hopefully they don't both take after me and end up being short.  I thought they at least had a fighting chance with my sister being their egg donor! His head measures at 89%!  Yep, he still has a big head!  Ayden is wearing 6 month clothing and moving into size 3 diapers.

Ayden is not much into rolling over yet, unless he's in his crib.  For some reason, he seems to be able to roll over all the time in his crib.  And yet, he's only done it twice on the floor.  Two times ever on the floor, but a million (okay, I'm exaggerating a bit) times in his crib.  Ayden is still sleeping on his belly.  If he's on his back, he will stay awake forever.  After a middle of the night feeding, when I see on the monitor that he's rolled himself over onto his back, it is cringe worthy.  I have to go back in and put him on his belly.  This kid MOVES in his sleep.  Seriously.  I don't get how he can move so much in his crib, but not at all on the floor. HOW is he NOT crawling?  We place him at the bottom of his crib, but he ends up in a top corner.  We had to break down and put bumpers in the top half of his crib.  I know you're not supposed to and all that, but he was hitting his head and getting himself stuck.  He'd eventually wake himself up and started getting bruises on his poor soft little head. MIL made him some bumpers.  He still works his way to the top of the crib, but he doesn't wake himself up.  He just turns himself around and heads back the other direction! Ayden has slept 11-12 hours a night quite a few times, but it is not a consistent thing.  When he does wake up, it is only once per night to eat.  Unfortunately, it takes him over an hour most times to go back to sleep though.

Isn't this the cutest little bottoms up you've ever seen?
Found his way to the top corner of his crib.
One of the reasons bumpers were necessary!
Ayden loves standing up and having you clap his hands together.  He gets very proud of himself and thinks it's pretty funny.  He's a strong little guy.  He's able to stand up for several minutes at a time, with help of course.  Ayden bats at the toys on his play mat and sometimes grabs them.  He will hold onto toys for maybe a minute if you put them in his hands, but soon lets them go.  He mostly still holds his hands in fists.  He sometimes puts his hands on the bottle while we feed him, but usually just clinches on to the burp cloth.  He's okay with us still doing the work for him.  He is infatuated with his hands.  When he is laying on his back, you can often see him holding his hand out in front of him and staring at it.

Rylee loves watching t.v. and will watch whatever happens to be on.  Ayden thinks it's just okay unless it's Sesame Street.  That keeps him entertained for awhile.  They both startle easily.  Sometimes all it takes is a sneeze or a cough from Tony or me, and they both jump and start to cry.

We are so in love with these babies of ours.  It is starting to be a lot of fun now that they are interacting with us.  5 months already.  Next month will mark their half birthday, and before we know it they are going to be ONE!  I am so excited to watch them as they discover new things and achieve more milestones.

Our little OSU Beaver fans!
Ready to watch some softball!  These onsies were a gift from one of our players.
Watching Sesame Street after their morning bottle.
Sometimes their expressions crack me up!
My little cuties.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Twin Play Dates

About a month ago, I posted some Newborn baby clothes to the local Facebook garage sale site that Ayden and Rylee had grown out of.  As it turned out, the gal who responded and wanted a few items also had boy/girl twins.  They were born in February, just shy of two months after mine were born.

When I logged into her Facebook page to send her a message giving her my address, I saw pictures of her twins.  Well, of course I was intrigued and then had to snoop and see more pictures of her babies!  As I was snooping, I learned that she had infertility issues and had her babies via surrogacy!  No way!  How ironic that we had this in common - me using an egg donor and her a surrogate.

When she came over to pick up the clothes, we talked for a few minutes about our babies and a little bit about our infertile history.  There was an instant connection.  She had heard about me around town - small town living and me being the high school softball coach and all.  When people found out she was having boy/girl twins, they would say to her "oh!  Do you know Amber, the softball coach?  She's having boy/girl twins too!"  Or something along those lines.  I guess I'm famous!  ha!

When she left, I told her I felt like I needed to give her a hug, so we hugged!

Later that evening, she sent me a FB message inviting the twins and me over for a play date.  We set it up for the following week.

Well, the babies are so little that it was more a play date for us Mommas, but it was so nice connecting with not only another twin mom, but someone who had a similar story.  We shared more about our infertility struggles and talked about our time in the NICU with our twins.  Rylee slept in one of their swings for the play date and Ayden had his very first blowout diaper.  Good times!  Her babies drank their bottles and fussed a bit.

Yesterday we had our second play date, but this time they came over to our house.  This time we put all the babies on the floor next to each other.  Her boy slept through the party, Ayden flirted (because that's what he does!), and the girls interacted with each other.  They tried to hold hands a bit and basically just reached out to touch and feel this other new baby that wasn't their brother.  It was fun to watch how they reacted to each other.

They only live about a mile from us, so we are planning to continue our play dates.  I think it will be so much fun to watch them continue to get to know each other.  Besides that, it also gives me a real life person to talk to that is going through the exact thing I am at the same time!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Life is Busy

I never wanted to be one of those bloggers that dropped off the face of the planet after having my babies, but I guess that's what's happened.  Life is busy with twins.

Here's what's been going on:

The babies have been going to physical therapy once a week.  That is going really well.  I absolutely love our PT guy.  He is so good with the babies and gets them to do all sorts of things.  Ayden is turning his head so much better both directions and doing it a lot more often.  Rylee still only has 70% range of motion to the left, but she is much further along developmentally as far as her motor skills are concerned.  We will continue doing PT until both babies can roll front to back and back to front at will.

We've been making the hour long trip to see the Pediatric Dermatologist once a week for Rylee.  She is now ulcer free!  Woo Hoo!  Happy Dance!  Happy Rylee!  She is now on to a new medicine called Propanolol. This is a med that is designed to shrink the hemangiomas, but she wasn't able to take it until she got a little older and bigger because it can have a negative effect on her heart.  They did an EKG to make sure she had a healthy heart.  Then the following week they started her out with a low dose and had us stay for a few hours to monitor her heart rate and blood pressure periodically.  For the next two weeks, they had us return, increasing the dosage each time, and monitoring her for any negative side effects.  Now we don't return for another month.  Whew!

I was also busy doing our softball taxes for last year.  Our summer tournament team was a non profit organization which required us to fill out forms and do taxes.  The deadline was yesterday.  I finished them the day before.

I got my hair cut.  Chopped it all off and FINALLY got the grey covered.  Who has time to actually brush their hair when you've got two infants?  All I ever did was put it in a messy bun anyway.  And my hair has been shedding like no other.  I swear, I might be bald next week at the rate it is falling out.

Annnndddddd...... we are also trying to figure out how to pay our bills.  We are so far in debt and really struggling to keep up with the bills.  I know some people don't agree with going into debt for fertility treatments, but honestly, as stressful as it is, we wouldn't change a thing.  We are beyond blessed with our family.  We WILL find a way for it to work out.  Why don't I go back to work you ask?  It's simple.  How can I, when we have so many doctor appointments?  Besides that, we've done the math and it doesn't pay off for us.  The cost of daycare for the both of them would be at least half my paycheck.  I would make enough to cover their formula for the month.  It just doesn't hardly seem worth it.

We are also needing to move.  Hubby has an hour 20 minute commute to work and back.  He absolutely hates commuting and hates it even more because he gets home so late that he barely gets to see the babies before they go down for the night. So we are going to try getting our house ready to sell and move closer. We'd love to buy another house, but we are about 2 years away from being able to do that.  We will probably end up renting for a bit instead. Not ideal, but whatever works so Hubby is happy and we can pay our bills.

Oh yeah, and in between all that, I've got two babies to take care of.  We are still struggling with sleep, but not nearly as much as we were.  Now our issue is that Rylee sleeps part of the night in her crib, but then will only sleep if I am holding her, so we tend to finish the night on the couch together.  They do take pretty good morning naps and I am lucky enough that it's even at the same time.  I could blog then, but when would I take a shower, brush my teeth, do laundry, pay bills, or actually EAT?  In addition, I am usually trying to throw dinner in the crockpot, which is now the ONLY way I cook because it's quick and easy.  Even on days we don't have to go anywhere, it seems that there is always so much to do!


I have had softball girls wishing me a happy Mother's Day for years.  In fact, last year my team even bought/made me a Mother's Day gift.  People have known for years that we wanted children.  Last year, I shared our infertility journey with my team during the infamous Prom Talk.  It always brought tears to my eyes, knowing that they considered me their "softball mom."  This year was no different, except for the fact that I really do have my own babies!  I am more than just a softball mom.

I still got a couple texts from a few of the girls wishing me happy Mother's Day.  I can't even begin to describe what it means to me that I got these texts first thing that morning.

From a girl that will be home soon from college: "Happy Mother's Day Amber!  I can't wait until I get to come snuggle those babies!"  

From a junior in high school that I have coached since she was 9 years old: "Happy Mother's Day!  Very thankful for you and your family.  Thank you for always being there for me.  You really are like my second mom!  I love you, Amber! :) " 

I received many other texts throughout the day as well, but these were the most special ones, because they were from my softball girls.

My sister hosted a Mother's Day brunch.  It was nice to be able to spend the day with her and the nieces and nephews.  Overall, it was a very nice day.

Extra special Mother's Day with these two loves of my life!
My sister with Ayden
Grandma NiNi (my mom) with Rylee

This Momma Duck had 17 (17!!) ducklings just two days before Mother's Day.  It was fun watching them follow her around my sister's yard.  She had a very special Mother's Day as well, chasing everyone away from her babies.  She was VERY protective!