5 days old and maturing into "full term" babies
The girls are five days old now and doing well. Unfortunately, they are still kickin’ it at the hospital, but we are hopeful that they will be able to come home in a week or so. It’s hard to say right now because there isn’t a firm date- we just have to wait and see when they mature a little bit more. The major thing we are working on is having enough energy for them to take all of their feedings either via nursing or via bottle. Right now, both Sofia and Audrey take about every other feeding via nursing or bottle and the other half are done via a gavage (feeding) tube. The feeding tube is not as scary as it sounds. When the nurse placed it- it was fed through their nose and down to their tummy. It was a little hard to watch, but really they didn’t mind it too much aside from some sneezing. The gavage feedings allow them to conserve their energy a little bit and rest longer between bottle/breast feeding. They are eating every 3 hours and that’s a lot of work for little babies! We expect that they will make big progress this week with their energy levels. This upcoming Thursday would have been their due date if they hadn’t been delivered early and they will be "36 weeks" (considered full term for twins) on the 28th. We hope that they will be going home around then. It all depends on how they feed and a few other things.
Without going into too much detail they’ve been doing a super job breast feeding and we are doing almost all of their feedings with breastmilk. This is really terrific and I feel fortunate to be doing so well in this department. Breastfeeding and pumping can be very tricky for a lot of new twins’ moms.
As for me- the c-section went well and by the time I was officially discharged from the hospital (Friday), I was feeling loads better and was not taking any more pain medication aside from some ibuprofen. The first couple days after surgery, I felt pretty nauseous and groggy and was unfortunately not as up for visitors as I would have liked to have been- pain medication always completely wipes me out. I have felt better each subsequent day and am trying to take it easy while enjoying my hard earned "freedom"- to do things like take short walks outside or shave my legs in the shower! Things I have been missing for the better part of 4 months!
The first few days
We’ve had so much happiness and love and joy packed into the first few days- it is hard to describe. Before the girls arrived, I was trying not to count on feeling this overwhelming "rush" of love- because I know that not everyone does and that it’s okay not to. Well, I shouldn’t have been worried- from the moment I heard Audrey’s cry (she was the first one delivered) when she was popped out of my belly- I was completely overwhelmed. Hearing them both crying vigorously 1 minute later was the best sound I have literally heard in my life. Hearing Tony read our wedding vows is the only thing that comes close. And it is very different- the babies’ cries are much more visceral and got me right in the heart of my chest. Their cries evoked an incredibly strong, deep reaction- smack in the center of my body. As soon as I heard them, I could feel the tears streaming down my face. I just can’t imagine a better moment.
And to think- we are so lucky as to have two of them! Today I was saying to Tony that I think it’s good that we have two, because otherwise we’d be fighting over who got to hold them and take care of them. Tony has been as smitten and in love as I have been. We both can’t get enough of just holding them close to you, watching their mobile, animated expressions, and listening to them breathe. I have heard so many other new parents say it, but I never "got it" before- every single thing they do just takes your breath away because it is so wonderful to watch.
Just today, they have become much more alert and animated during their feedings and they look around with these huge eyes- staring at you, the lights, or off at some indefinite point, and you still can’t help but be completely enthralled with them and every thing they do. It makes you realize how powerfully we are influenced by biology and millions of years of evolution.
Twins but Different
So- I don’t want to say too much about their personalities now- not because they don’t have them- they do! They are absolutely unique and different. At first blush, it seems that Audrey looks more like Tony but with the Logan hair, while Sofia looks a lot like me, but with lots more hair that is darker brown- definitely Locati hair. They look around differently, move differently, and sound different- but I don’t want to start assigning personality traits for at least a few days. Okay, maybe a couple things- both girls are going to be active, inquisitive observers of the world around them. And we, as parents, get to experience the world again- as they discover it. I suspect this will be one of the greatest joys of parenting.
The Nuts and Bolts
So, for the moment- I am spending about 14 hours a day at the hospital- from before the 7:30 am feeding until after the 7:30 feeding and bedtime. The girls eat every 3 hours and I am busy in the meantime doing other things- changing nappies, taking their temps, swaddling them, cuddling them, doing "Kangaroo Care" (having them lay skin to skin on your chest, which helps them mature faster and is very beneficial for pre-term babies), pumping breast milk, and trying to get this *ridiculous* swelling in my feet to go down. This weekend, Tony was right in the trenches and we did as much as we could at the hospital- sometimes to the point of aggravating the nurses. We’ve also been coming home to get some rest in the evenings- I’m recovering from surgery and we’ve still got to keep the trains running at home. We’re so lucky that we’ve had family and friends helping us out on that front- especially Stacey & Wayne, who are officially saints because of the way they have pitched in and been a huge help with Daisy and the kitties.
This week, I’ll be mostly solo at the hospital- Tony is going to wait to take his paternity leave for when they are home. Since we’ve got highly skilled childcare (might as well try to look on the bright side, right?) until they are discharged from the hospital- it just makes sense for Tony to preserve his leave for when the girls are home full time, so that we can all make the most of it. I, naturally, don’t have that luxury- "maternity" starts the day your babies arrive. Not that I’d want to be anywhere else in the world, but I’m suddently very jealous of every second that I have with them and want to make the most of all of my time off.
That’s about all the news their is to print for the moment. I’ve got some new pictures loaded and we have some short video clips that we will try and get loaded in the next couple days.