Tuesday, March 27, 2012

one month young.

Sunday was my due date.
I am very very happy I was not pregnant that long.

It also marked 1 month of life for Quinn and John.
Time flies when you're having fun.

At one month old, Quinn . . . 

* is very alert. She has longer periods of awake time, where she is very calm and her eyes are open and she just looks around.

* looks more like Chris's side of the family in general, especially the dimple in her chin. Her black hair is getting lighter, which  makes me a little sad. But it also has a tint of red in it, so it will be fun to see what it does.

* reminds me a LOT of Carly as a baby. Her face and how she acts. I can't really explain it, they just seem a lot alike already.

* makes really fabulous facial expressions. She also sticks out her tongue all sorts of different ways to show off how cool it is. She is hilarious.

* as you can see, she has a really awesome head of hair. It is so soft and fluffy, especially after a bath. It is impossible not to bury your nose in it. It is fun to have a baby with so much hair. It does make headbands hard, though. Not that I'm that into headbands anyway. My bad.

* is already very "baby" rather than newborn. Her face looks a little older and she is stronger. She's so mature.

* loves to do backbends. When you hold her or try to burp her, she bends backwards to try to look at you. She did it early on in the hospital, and it is so cute to see her lift her head and bend up to stare at you. She especially likes to stare at her daddy.

*nicknames include Quinny, Q, Q Baby, and Little Mouse. Little Mouse came in the hospital. She has these big pretty eyes, and she would (and still does) keep them wide open and peek out when you hold her against your chest. She looks like a little mouse with those big shiny eyes. Cutest thing.


At one month old, John . . .

* is still more "newborn" than Quinn. He sleeps a lot more, and just seems younger. But he has times where he'll wake up and look around and be very calm, and he is just about the cutest thing ever.

* looks like my side of the family. My mom said he gives her flashbacks to her own babies. He even has red hair, for the time being.

* is a little prince. He likes being held. Especially by Mimi.

* is fussier than his sister. We were wondering if the formula was bothering him, so we switched to sensitive and he seems to be doing better.

* is growing too fast. He had an appointment at 2 weeks old after he was released from the hospital, and weighed 5 lbs 12 oz. A week later at his weight check he weighed 6 lbs 7 oz. Eleven ounces in a week is not too shabby. Guess he is making up for lost time.

* has a stuffy nose that won't go away. It isn't really a cold, and the doctor said his lungs are fine. He just has gunk up his nose. It drives me crazy, and I'm sure it drives him crazy too since he has a hard time breathing at night. I've become an expert booger-sucker operator. But his sensitive formula actually seems to be helping the situation, so maybe it was being exacerbated by the dairy.

* is super sweet and snugly. The pediatrician and nurse practitioner in the hospital nursery said they liked to hold him just for fun, because he was so sweet. He has lots of ladies swooning over him.

* he doesn't seem to mind baths in general, but when I take him out he SCREAMS like a baby being born. It is too cute and funny to feel bad for him. Such a dramatic little prince.

* nicknames include John John, John Boy, Little Prince, and Baby Bear. Baby Bear also came from the hospital when he was brand new. Carly has this little animatronic bear that moans and squeals that she calls baby bear. John made sounds that sounded just like him.

We love these kids. 
A lot.

Happy 1 month, Q and J. 
We're glad you joined us.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

two truths.

Truth one:
This is hard.
So much harder than I thought it'd be.
And I thought it would be pretty hard.

Its the kind of hard where sometimes all you can do is sit at the kitchen table and cry, because you have no idea how to keep up, how to keep 3 little people fed and clean and happy. Its the kind of hard where you spend just about every waking hour wondering how you will survive when your mom leaves, and that is a lot of hours since you're getting two hours of sleep at a time. Its the kind of hard where it takes all your will power not to question God's wisdom in all of this, and then sometimes you do it anyway, because it isn't clear how this is all going to work.

It is also the kind of hard where sometimes all you can do is stand back and laugh, because somehow your life has become a crazy circus sideshow. My mom and I braved a trip to the mall the other day. We thought it would be fun to find some Easter outfits. In Old Navy, Carly had potty false alarms over and over, and I took her to the bathroom 4 times without her going. She was a little nervous about the weird bathroom. I didn't blame her. Near the end, both babies woke up screaming, ready to eat. Our crazy caravan headed to buy our stuff, and while in line, Carly starts grunting. She and I rush to the bathroom, but don't make it. I'll let you imagine how lovely that was. She gets upset when she has an accident, so she is crying. So we head out to some chairs with 3 screaming kids, two who want bottles and one who wants a juice box. I'm pretty sure the Hispanic ladies across from us said "loco" at least 3 times while watching us. Carly gets her juice box and me and my mom each start feeding a baby . . . and Carly starts grunting again. Serenity now. So I give Quinn to my mom, and Super Mimi manages to keep feeding them both. It actually made for a very sweet picture. Then Carly and I rush to the bathroom. And we don't make it again. Nasty. It was pure chaos. So much crying and feeding and . . . poop. I learned a very important lesson: don't ever go anywhere alone with all three kids. All we could do was laugh. Because the other option was to cry, and I at least held that in until we got home.

Truth two:
This is sweet.
So much sweeter than I though it'd be.
And I thought it would be pretty sweet.

Its the kind of sweet that involves snuggling with your newborn daughter in bed, because suddenly she is incapable of sleeping in the crib. Its the kind of sweet that involves going to the park with your firstborn and realizing she is the same, and you are the same, and not everything has been drastically and crazily changed. Its the kind of sweet that involves watching your boy down 4 ounces from a bottle, with memories of crying and begging him to take 30 mL fresh in your mind and heart. And its the kind of sweet that involves three kids  dressed up in St Patrick's Day green, lined up on a blanket for a photo op. They are beautiful, and every time you look at them you can't believe they are yours. All of them.

Things are hard.
And things are sweet.
I spend 50 percent of my time wondering how I will survive these kids, 
and the other 50 percent wondering how I'd survive without them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

a tale of two babies.

It was a Friday night. Sometimes on Friday nights, Chris and I stay up too late watching TV and hanging out and talking. It is nice to spend some time together after long weeks. This particular Friday we stayed up watching Restaurant Impossible. We talked about all we needed to get done the next day as final preparations for the babies. We talked about the possibility of induction if I got to 38 or 39 weeks. It was a nice night.

At 1 am I headed upstairs to get ready for bed. As I climbed the stairs, something wet trickled down my leg. I passed it off as discharge or some other pregnancy weirdness and continued. I got ready for bed and went to lay down. As I was laying there, I felt a small gush, and my undies were wet. Chris was saying his prayers, so I got up and went to the bathroom, where I had my first contraction. It was hard and fast. I told Chris, but tried to ignore it, and said “Let’s just go to sleep and see what happens.” But they kept coming. Chris decided to time them. They were three minutes apart. And they were hard. With Carly I eased into labor, having light contractions every 20 minutes all night. This time around I went from 0 to 60 in 3.5 seconds.

My hospital bag wasn’t packed. That was on the list of things to do the next day. I leaned against the wall, moaning through contractions, while Chris ran around trying to pack: “What pants do you want? Where do you keep your socks?!” We called our parents. We called our friends Cameron and Camilla, and Camilla headed over to sleep on our couch so we didn’t have to get Carly out of bed (Thank you, Cam and Cam!). We headed out to the car around 2:30 I think (all times are estimates, I wasn’t checking the clock). By then the contractions were so intense, I was screaming through them. Chris kept saying, “Don’t have the babies in the car!” We arrived and they wheeled me up to the labor and delivery floor.

When we arrived at the hospital, about 2 hours after my water broke, I was dilated to “between a 7 and 8”. Mind you, I was at a zero two days earlier at my doctor’s appointment. The on-call doctor asked me about the babies’ positioning. I told her how twin B was breach. They did an ultrasound to double check, and it took the resident FOREVER to find B’s position. It was weird. Finally she decided he was still breach. I told them that my doctor had planned to either turn him or deliver him breach, and I could tell the doctor wasn’t thrilled with the idea. She asked if I would prefer a c-section. So, here I had a dilemma: go through with the original plan and try to deliver B breach with a doctor who was not as confident with the idea as my doctor, or get a c-section. It was a big decision, and I was screaming through blinding contractions while trying to consider the options. Luckily, the doctor saw my predicament and suggested I get an epidural before I decide.

Oh, blessed epidurals. The anesthesiologist took his precious time doing his thing, which I suppose is good. He was trying to do it in between contractions but they were coming so fast, he kept saying “Oh, we’ll wait until after this one.” But it was heaven when it finally kicked in. Then the OB came in and decided to do another ultrasound herself, since the resident had had so much trouble. The OB had a lot of trouble too, and said the problem was they could not find B’s head. “He does have a head, right?” I asked. She assured me he did. Then she figured it out. The head they were seeing was B’s head. The missing head was A’s head, because it was so low and pretty much already on the way out, it wasn’t showing up on the ultrasound. But that meant B had somehow managed to flip, and both babies were head down. What a little miracle, and what a blessing (Way to go, John!). As soon as she figured it out, the OB checked me. I was at a 10 and both babies were head-down. “Let’s go have some babies!” she said, and we were off to the operating room.

Twins are typically delivered in the operating room, just in case an emergency c-section is required with Twin B. It was a drastically different experience than a cozy delivery room. Large and sterile with bright lights. And there were SO many people: The OB, 2 residents, a few nurses for me, and 3 people for each baby. With Carly it was just a nurse and the resident would wander in occasionally, and the doctor came in to catch. They obviously handle twin deliveries a little differently, as the OB did not leave the whole time. It was A’s water that broke, so by the time everything was set up, she was ready to come. I don’t remember how many pushes, probably 3 or 4. And there she was, our beautiful Quinn with a head of dark hair. She was born at 5:06 am, exactly 4 hours after my water broke, and weighed 5 lbs 4 oz. She was so TINY. That was the first thing that came out of my mouth “She’s so small!” I was worried about them, being a month early, and it startled me to see her. I know they were a good size, but since Carly was 2 lbs bigger, it was kind of a shock. But she started screaming right away, and pulled her hat down over her face the second they put it on. 

A word about my epidural. It was very different this time. With Carly, I couldn’t feel a thing, the epidural was so strong. They had to tell me when I was having a contraction and when to push, as I didn’t feel the “urge” to push at all. This time, I felt all the pressure. It was interesting, because I felt all the pressure, but no pain, but the pressure was so intense that it made me scream. The staff was probably wondering why I was screaming since I had an epidural. But I thought it was a really cool experience, to actually feel giving birth, just without the pain. I liked being able to feel what was going on. It was special, but it also convinced me I never ever want to do it without an epidural.

After Quinn entered the world, I asked, “I have to do that again?” The answer was yes. Twin B was still up pretty high, so I pushed through contractions, and he gradually moved down. The process took a while. During the wait, the nurses and doctors and I sat around chatting and laughing. Girl talk, you know. Nevermind that my legs were up in stirrups. I also erased pictures on our camera, since we were low on memory space. And I got to hold Quinn for the first time. It was a good half an hour. When B was down low enough, they broke his water. A few more contractions and pushes, some screaming through pressure, and John Thomas was born at 5:43 weighing 5 lbs 10 oz (bigger than his sister, after ultrasounds said he was smaller the whole time). He didn’t make a sound. They took him over to his little warmer, saying he was fine. They rubbed him, and after what felt like forever, but was surely just a few seconds, we heard his little scream. Music. 

I feel like the twins’ arrival was a series of little miracles and tender mercies. A quick labor. John managed to flip so we didn’t have to worry about him being breach. The miracle concerning John’s placenta. Chris had even been praying for my recovery to be much smoother after the fiasco that was my recovery with Carly; and it has been so good. I don’t know if it is because it is my second delivery, or because these babies are two pounds smaller than Carly, but I’m grateful the Lord answered Chris’s prayers.

These kids sure did catch us off guard by coming when they did. They came exactly one month early. I was mentally preparing for a few more weeks of pregnancy misery. And while they were both having a little bit of a hard time in the hospital, I battled a lot of guilt over the fact that I didn’t carry them a little longer. But they are on the Lord’s timetable, and while their coming was a big surprise, in hindsight it was good timing. As for me . . . I’m rather happy I have not been huge pregnant these past two and a half weeks. 

They are fabulous. I’m so glad they’re here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Newborns are hard.
But they are so delicious.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

about a boy.

What is it about little boys and their moms?
There is something about this boy.
He has a very special place in my heart.

I thought Carly was going to be a boy. I mean, I woke up one morning around 16 weeks and just had the "strongest impression". I had dreams about having a little boy with auburn/brown hair named John. So when we found out she was a girl, I was quite surprised. But she came, and she is amazing, and Chris and I both started to feel like, Well, girls sure are fun. We don't really need a boy.

When I heard Twin B was a boy, I half expected to be a little disappointed. Like I said, we like girls. But instead, I instantly fell in love with him. He caused all sorts of chaos while in the womb, made me feel like my tummy was going to split open, and gave me stretch marks that will be badges of honor for the rest of my life.

And then they came. My sweet John came half an hour after his sister. He didn't breath right away. They had to rub him a bit to get him going. And it took 10 days for him to be ready to come home. From the very beginning he is showing that he is going to do things his way, at his own pace.

John's extra days in the hospital were hard ones. I went to see him twice a day. It was long nights with a newborn at home, hectic days with a toddler and newborn, 15 minute commute to and from the hospital, and worries over progress. It was completely overwhelming, and more than one commute to and fro was spent in tears. But there was an hour to an hour and a half twice a day, the time I spent feeding and rocking and loving on John, that was peace. Those hours with John were therapy for me during a very emotionally challenging time. I was able to clear my mind, sit in calm silence, and remember what was most important. I will always cherish that time I had with John in the hospital.

Even though I worried about John, we always knew he would be ok. It was just a matter of how long it would take for his "light to turn on" as the doctors put it. Well, it is on now, and the boy eats like a champ for the most part. For that I am very grateful. I know our 10 days was nothing in the grand scheme of things. In the elevator on the way to pick him up to come home, another mother was headed to another floor . . . the NICU. She asked if I had just had a baby, and I said yes, he was coming home today after 10 days in the hospital. She said her baby was coming home today too. After 2 months. I told her how happy I was for her, and the elevator reached my floor. Our wait for John to be ready was small compared to mothers who spend months fighting for their babies to come home, and especially compared to mothers who's babies never come home. I am so grateful to Heavenly Father that everything turned out as it did. We are blessed.

After delivery, the doctor and resident were examining the babies' placentas. The doctor was showing the resident something, and Chris went to see what she was saying. It turns out, John's umbilical cord did not connect directly to his placenta. It was connected to blood vessels, which in turn were connected to the placenta. Chris asked if that was a problem. The doctor said that since the blood vessels stayed connected, it wasn't a problem. But the blood vessels could have torn easily. And if they had torn, John would have been cut off, and we wouldn't have known. "You dodged a bullet," the doctor said. John in our little miracle boy.

And now he is home.
And life is crazy.
I mean, things are really really crazy.

But it is a fabulous crazy.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

half home.

I've got a lot to say and remember. I've been waiting until I have some sort of clever way to put it or cute theme. Nope. Just a bunch of talking today.

We took our sweet Quinn home on Thursday, after 3 extra days in the hospital. They were long days. I was just about to go crazy. Quinn was ready to head home, so we decided to leave the hospital and go and come back to see and feed John as much as possible. It was a good decision. It is so nice to be home. Leaving was incredibly bittersweet. So wonderful Quinn was ready to come home, but so so hard to drive home with an empty car seat base. I cried on the way home.

The last few days have been some of the most exhausting of my life. We had Chris's mom here, and his sister is here for the weekend, but we're still balancing a toddler, a newborn at home, and going to the hospital. I go see John twice a day, trying to make it to his scheduled feedings in between nursing Quinn. It is busy, and sometimes I just feel like collapsing (which can sometimes be attributed to not enough food and breastfeeding/pumping enough for two babies). One huge blessing has been my recovery. It has been about 1000 times better than with Carly. I've still got to share the birth story (which sure is a fun story), but here we are a week later and I'm doing really well. The Lord has blessed me, as I would not be able to do what I need to for John if I was still unable to walk and was high on Vicadin like with Carly. I just need John home. I can't wait to get him here.

Speaking of John, things got a bit worse for him. He continued to drop weight while getting every other feeding through his tube. He had lost 8% of his birth weight, and they max they want is 10%. So they increased to two feedings in tube, then one with a bottle. They also increased the calories they were adding to his breastmilk. He responded really well and put on 2 ounces. Today he hasn't had to use the feeding tube once; all his feedings have been through the bottle (we no longer try nursing for the time being; we'll introduce it again when he's full-strength). It is such an emotional roller coaster, and it is easy to worry. But our doctors and nurses are really great. They assured me yesterday that it is all normal. The doctor said he is like a pan of brownies that looks done on the outside, but when you stick a fork in, its still gooey on the inside. John is some gooey brownies. He was taken out of the oven a little early and just needs to finish cooking. It was wonderful to get good news this morning; the doctor was happy to tell me he had gained weight. If he keeps gaining weight without using his tube, he can come home. I'm hoping by Monday. Fingers crossed. He is the sweetest boy, and my time with him at the hospital, while stressful, is so sweet. I just feed him (the stressful part; you want him to eat so bad) and then hold him and rock him as long as I want. I sing 'Nephi's Courage' and 'I Hope They Call Me on a Mission' and 'Called to Serve'. It is hard to leave him, but I believe he has angels watching over him. Heavenly Father doesn't leave him comfortless. Every time I leave, I whisper, "Say hi to the angels for me."

[look who has eyes! handsome boy.]

[sleep smiles.]

And then there is Quinn. Her head of fuzzy soft black hair is just about the cutest thing in the whole world. She has two grandpas with black hair, but since Carly and John look like Chris and I, it is funny to look at her and know she is ours. She is so incredibly beautiful, I can't get over it. She is a great nurser, and getting better to the point that she isn't very good at taking her supplement of calorie fortified breastmilk, which I suppose is fine as long as she has gained weight at her weight check next week. After nursing she stretches her hands up in fists over her head. We call it her "Victory!" pose. She sleeps well, of course waking to eat, but what newborn doesn't? That is a good sign that she isn't too tired to eat. She had her first well-child doctor's visit on Friday, and is up to a whopping 5 lbs 7 oz. She checks out perfectly. She even rolled all the way over to her side, and the doctor joked that rolling over at 6 days old after being born at "thirty-five and six sevenths" would be pretty impressive. It is so sweet to have her in our home.

[flashing the peace sign.]

[waiting for the doctor.]

[mommy and Q. no, there is not a third baby in there.]

Carly is adjusting slowly but surely. She is a little disinterested, but says hi and will talk about or to "Baby Quinn". She will also inform us that "Baby John is at the hospital". And today she and I went on a mommy/daughter date to Target and she pointed to the carseat bases and said "That one is for Baby Quinn, and that one is for Baby John." Tonight she also helped me wipe Quinn and played with her a little. I think she is shaping up to be a really wonderful big sister. She'll enjoy it even more when the babies react to her in some way.

[giving Quinn hugs. love those little legs sticking out.]

[helping supplement.]

We're doing well, and pulling it together, a little at a time.
We can't wait to have John home and get our life going as a family of 5 under one roof.