Ten days in, and I vacillate between feeling like things are chaotic-but-fine and feeling like I’m just not sure whether I’m going to survive all of this. It’s a fine line between feeling pretty much okay and being one step away from checking myself into an institution (this postpartum hormone crash is no joke). Complicating things is the fact that my amazing husband is pathologically incapable of letting anything slide, and the arrival of the twins has seemed to cause him to fall further down the neatnik rabbit hole, to the point that earlier today, he was complaining about being tired, and since both boys were snoozing, I encouraged him to go rest, but he refused because he had to pick lint out of the living room rug… I mean, it seems stupid to complain about it. He does all of the chores– washing dishes, taking out the trash, a good part of the laundry duties, etc., but he does so to his own detriment. I know how incredibly overwhelmed he is feeling, and I cannot seem to convince him to just let one or two things go, or to perhaps reschedule certain things that maybe don’t have to happen during the daylight hours.
It’s just been a real jolt to his system to not get a solid, undisturbed 8 hrs of sleep at night. I feel pretty okay (at least for now) because I seem to be able to get at least 2-3 hrs of undisturbed sleep, and last night, even managed a 4 hour stretch.
(Let me pause here and say that breast feeding twins is HARD. Like, really, really hard. Luckily, for now, the boys are still small enough that I can tandem breast feed them without too much trouble, but the bigger they get, the harder it will be to wrangle the little squirmers, which means it will take a long time to feed both of them. I’m handling it okay so far, but I fully recognize that at some point, I will very likely begin adding formula in to their diet. I’m pumping in an effort to build up supply, such that I can “supplement” with my own breast milk instead, but realistically, nursing newborn twins, and then pumping, and then storing the milk and then cleaning the pump parts, etc. is far more than I can handle most days, especially when right now the “reward” is just a couple of teaspoons of milk, at the most. Really, aside from whatever benefits breast milk offers, the reason I’m pushing so hard to stick with it is that formula is ridiculously expensive! I’m such a cheapskate sometimes!)
Anyhow, where was I? Oh, yeah. Four hour stretch… yeah. Actually, part of the reason I got four hours was because I was on death’s doorstep, and my mom stayed the night so that she and H could handle taking care of Jack and Henry. I had a 102 degree fever, but the on-call nurse from the doctor’s office seemed utterly unconcerned about it (actually, she was concerned, but she, like me, realistically knew that at 11:00 p.m., my only option for treatment/diagnosis was the emergency room, which is UNrealistic with infant twins to be cared for). So, the word was to take tylen.ol and watch the symptoms (didn’t work), and then, progress to Ale.ve (which I generally avoid taking since it tears up my stomach). But, eventually, around 2:00 a.m., the Ale.ve finally kicked in, and my fever broke, and I sweated through my pajamas, and sheets, and mattress topper, and pillows, etc., and I’ve felt fine since. I have no idea what caused the raging fever (only symptoms were chills and a headache/slight back ache), but regardless, it’s gone now, hopefully never to return.
Um, yeah. Sleeping… I never thought I would find it to be an attractive idea, but my GOSH, the boys sleep so. much. better. when they are in bed with H and I. I know all the pros and cons of co-sleeping, and honestly, I find the idea of the “family bed” to be, um, not right for me. BUT, dude. Everything changes with twins. We sleep better, they sleep better- I don’t know why exactly, but even with the bassinet at the foot of our bed, it’s too much of a pain to get up and deal with whatever slight thing is causing disruption to them. If the are in our bed, they don’t even so much as flinch for hours at a time, snoozing so peacefully. Of course, with two in the bed, I worry about rolling over on them, or squishing them in some other way, or about their little faces squishing into the soft bedding. So, I ordered an in-bed co-sleeper doodad that will hopefully work for the twins for at least another month or two, or until they can sleep better in the bassinet. I worry constantly about them spitting up and gagging (especially Henr.y, who had several scary episodes while in the hospital, due to the fact that he coughed up, swallowed, then vomited insane amounts of mucous which he would then choke on, turning purple, etc.), and I know that they need to sleep on their backs, but they won’t sleep on their backs in the bassinet, only in our bed. Oh, and it really does make a HUGE difference to put them to bed squished up next to each other, especially if we ever-so-slightly incline them to one side to face each other. That is truly the only way they will sleep in the bassinet (they snooze in their bouncers and definitely sleep fine in the arms of a grandmother, but we’d prefer at some point that they sleep somewhere normal!).
Er… I’m not sure why I just gave you a few hundred words on where my babies will or won’t sleep. I’m just going to chalk it up to my lack-of-sleep obsessiveness and move on.
So, any advice about co-sleeping and/or getting infants into a more regular sleep place and/or time?
Ah, my boys. Despite all of the insanity, I just adore them. They are so different, and not just in their appearance (though their appearance is markedly different). Hen.ry is all curves– round cheeks, a rosy complexion, wisps of cotton-fluff hair, squishable little melon-noggin (oh, man- conversations from the sleep deprived trenches… Kate (to Henry): “Hello, my little nugget!” H (groggily, after a solid ten second delay): “Why did you just call our son a maggot?” HAH. Fun, fun, fun.) He is impossibly difficult to latch on to the breast, fighting me every second, but eventually allowing me to lead him the right way. Stubborn, but so sweet. He fusses quite a bit, but is consoled fairly easily. And when he thinks about something, it’s like you can read it over his entire face. Eyes, lips, nose, etc.– everything works in concert to show what he’s feeling (his current adorable trick is nursing in his sleep, which seems to please him to no end).
Ja.ck is all angles to Hen.ry’s curves, and all darkness to Hen.ry’s fair coloring. I can feel every bit of the one pound weight difference between he and his brother (J.ack was 6 lb 9 oz when he was born to Henr.y’s 7 lb 13 oz). Weirdly, Ja.ck truly looks like the Fleu.ry side of the family from where he got his middle name. I missed getting the more angular eyes and the sharp upturned nose of my grandmother’s family, but here it is, popping up on Jac.k’s face. So weird, but so cool. He has my darker hair (so far), and the more olive complexion of that French-Cajun part of my family. He is an accomplished and eager nurser, almost never giving me any trouble latching on or eating long enough. He makes the most adorable face when he’s ready to nurse, wide open fish mouth with nose all scrunched up. Ja.ck’s expression is almost all in his eyes. When he is awake and calmly alert, he almost always looks like he’s running intense calculations in his head, like he’s got three hundred things to figure out before lunch (which I guess he kind of does, being new to this whole ex utero world…). He doesn’t fuss as much as his brother, but MAN, when he gets going, it can be a real task to slow him down. He wants to suckle almost constantly, which isn’t so bad, except that on occasion, I like to do things without having a baby attached to my breast! He is just precious, my little peanut.
So yes. There is so much more to say, but I should really try to sleep (I’m a little wired tonight for some reason. I just can’t seem to settle down. Not good when I know there’s a feeding on the way soon!).
If you’ve made it through the early days before, please tell me it gets better/easier (lie to me if you have to…), or at least share with me one or two things that made life better, or even in retrospect what you would have done differently, or what you would have appreciated more about these early days. Perspective is hard to come by sometimes! I know things will get better, but it’s just hard sometimes…