Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Weekly Weigh-In 18wPP

Oh my goodness my babies are 18 weeks old already!?! (wiping away tear...)

1. Reiterate my goal and where I stand in reference to this goal:

Starting Weight: 205# (since 2-3wks pp)
Last Week's Weight: 203.6# (was approximately 200# at time of BFP, before the hyperemesis kicked in, was up to 250# by 35 weeks pregnant)
Current Weight: 202.6#
Goal Weight: 180# (normal would be 144-189)

Starting BMI: 27 (I'm 6'1" by the way)
Last Week's BMI: 26.9
Current BMI: 26.7
Goal BMI: 23.7 ("normal" is 18.5-24.9)

2. Discuss what I am going to do to achieve my goals/progress:

- Drink 16oz of water every time I pump: Did much better about drinking this week.  I grab a bottle of water almost everytime I pump and plenty of times in between. Running is making me way thirstier, too, so I need to make sure to stay on top of it.

- Eat some form of protein four times per day, working up to eating protein with every snack and meal: Ugh, not my best eating-habits week.  I had a few more carb-loaded snacks than I'd like to admit...and a few more chocolates as well :(  There's always next week...

- Walk 1 mile 3x per week, working up to jogging 2-3x per week using the Couch-to-5k program: I finished week 5 yesterday with a 20 MINUTE STRAIGHT RUN!!!  Oh man, it feels great to be into the "straight running" portion of the program.  There are still some intervals over the next couple of weeks, but I'm getting closer to my 30 minutes of straight running goal again.  From there, I'll start a slow-progression half marathon training program.  When I did the PF's Half Marathon a couple years ago, I made it with under 10 minute miles, without stopping. I'm running on my treadmill at a 5.2-5.5 speed, so I've got a little ways to go before I'm at my same pace...but baby steps.  :)  I'll get there again!

- Limit to one "treat" per day!! : No no no, awful.  I bought a bunch of tasty granola bars...that are basically candy...and I treat them like granola bars.  No good.

Activities for this coming week:

-Couch to 5k beginning Week 6!!!

-Walk with the babies if not jogging -- Still haven't taken the babies for a walk again. What am I doing??? It's gonna get wicked hot here soon, it's perfect weather right now. I need to take advantage!  How do I handle the nap schedule with this though??? They rarely nap in the stroller anymore. 

3. Post a (reasonably healthy) recipe that I've tried, a cooking tip, a new idea for working out for people to try, a photo update of my weight loss, or anything else I feel like sharing.

Tip:  This happens to me everytime, and a lot of other beginning runners I know.  If you're just starting out running (or most forms of exercise really, ESPECIALLY swimming), you're probably not really burning that many additional calories. The C25k program feels like it's burning wicked calories if you're not used to running, but it sorta tricks you because it makes you WAY hungrier than normal.  This is a trap! Don't give in! You don't really need that many more calories of food to keep up with your new found exercise routine, even though your "hunger" is telling you otherwise.  Try to hold it off with a few nuts, some string cheese (if you're on dairy...whimper whimper) or a spoonful of PB with an apple. Once you get into it a little further and can run longer distances/times, that's when you'll need some extra calories to help fuel you.

Also (not weight related), I saw this blog post and it was just so lovely.  Thought I'd pass it along:

For those new moms- what one thing do you wish someone would have done for you right after your little(s) was born...or what one thing did someone do for you that was SO incredibly helpful/caring/warm/lovely post-partum?

Monday, February 27, 2012

Feeding Twins

Erin asked a great question after my last post- how do I feed our littles at the same time?? 

This was a MAJOR source of anxiety for me before the littles arrived...and for the first month or so that they were here. 

I had help, too, for their first few weeks, so I didn't need to feed them alone or really take care of them alone at all during that time.  This was an awesome blessing, but it also made me seriously nervous about what I would do when I was eventually flying solo. I spent a lot of time asking my helpers what I would possibly do without them...and not in the "it's so great that you're here" way.  More of a "seriously, what am I going to do when you're gone? Answer me! Please God don't LEAVE!"

So I spent the last few days of having full-time help trying out some different methods of doing it all alone, but still having the help as a back up in case the sh*t hit the fan if you know what I mean (and sometimes literally...with two newborns, that stuff lands pretty much everywhere).

B took a shot at feeding them alone the first time.  They were small enough to both fit on one throw pillow (!?!?! seriously ?!?!).  So he put his feet on our ottoman, his knees bent up, the pillow resting on his thighs, and the babies resting on the pillow.  This was, in all honesty, a hot mess.  It worked maybe 1.5 times before epic fail ensued.

omg they were SO tiny!

Then, I tried the bouncy chairs.  We have a massive ottoman that's more like a giant comfy table low to the ground, so the babies pretty much spent their entire first month residing there.  We had the two bouncy chairs on the ottoman, and I would pull them close to the edge (and me) and lean forward from the couch with bottles in each hand feeding them.  I had to roll up burp clothes to put around their heads because they didn't have control so they'd flop over if they didn't have support.  And in the end, my back was majorly hurting from leaning over like that for several newborn feedings (they take WAY too long with our tiny, sleepy babies).

Finally, I wised up and busted out the boppy pillows.  If I would have tried the boppies when they were 5lbs, they would have been eaten alive by those things.  So it wasn't until they were around 8lbs when it started working better.  I still threw a blanket over the top of each so their butts wouldn't sink down too far in the center section.  Their heads rested at the top and their feet were usually up on my legs or just hanging out inside the boppy (on the blanket). I had each boppy next to me on the couch so I could lean back and relax.  It was (and still is) a bit tricky to maneuver when they turn their heads.  I constantly am glancing from left to right to look at them, but now it's sort of second nature (well, until recently when they've started getting bored eating and just want to look around all the time...ugh, that's a bit frustrating). 

Here was my view:

Grace on the left making her "Grace Face"

Caleb on the right doing his perpetual smile :)

Here's what they looked like on the boppies around 6weeks old- you have to make sure you're right there if you put them on the couch, they can roll right out of these things...or squirm down so they can get trapped underneath.
I've heard of other women who sit on the floor up against the couch with the two boppies or bouncy chairs in front of them and their knees up or their legs spread around them.  We have a tile floor and I just wasn't feeling the whole getting up and down off the floor more than I already needed to.

So here are a few things to consider:

1. Possibly buy the newborn boppy loungers, those look pretty sweet (but you wouldn't use them for long, so might not be worth the money).

2. If your twins can handle it when they get a little bigger, would you be willing to bottle prop?  I know a lot of MoMs who do it...but our babies have always had a ton of feeding problems (choking, spitting up, reflux) so it has never really been an option.  There are plenty of props you can look into if that's something you're thinking about. That way you can continue feeding one while the other is burping.  You must ALWAYS be watching when you're using a bottle prop, especially for little ones, though.

3. I've heard of MoMs using the FP Rock n Plays for tandem bottle feeding.  We never bought these, I heard they can contribute to some serious flat head problems...but I'm sure if used sparingly it's not an issue...we just didn't go there.

4. You will learn your babies' burping needs, but this is one of the harder parts of tandem feeding.  My babies will need to burp "LIKE RIGHT NOW, MOM", so I have to stop feeding real quick so I can burp them in the middle when that happens to one of them. Sometimes, they won't have the need so I'll just stop when they start to slow down on the sucking (when they were little) and do a quick burp on each then pick it back up again (now I can wait until they are done for the most part to burp them). 

5. Put a burp cloth under their heads on the boppy pillow, or you'll have a lot more blanket/boppy cover laundry to do than you'd like. Oh, and please use bibs if you have spitters!  I don't know why we didn't for the longest time.  We were trying to keep burp cloths around Grace's chest and was a mess.

So, try the floor sitting bouncy/boppy thing if you're ok with the floor.  It prevents the having to look from left to right and not having them both in your line of sight issue.  But otherwise, I love that I can sit on my couch and feed them both. Once the bottles are in their mouths, it's not too bad.  You'll feel their heads moving and you can kind of follow them with your hand/bottle. 

Please let me know what other questions you have.  I seriously wish I would have asked more questions before hand/early on. I was an axious mess!!!  I'm here for you, ladies. I may not know all the answers, but I'll let you know my experiences thus far!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Ladies!!!

Oh, it's the inevitable post-partum BOOB post!

I've been wanting to write about my breastfeeding experience for a while, but it's just recently that I've been quite a bit more obessed/stressed about it and needed to get it out.

I exclusively pump. The twins got formula and collostrum for the first two days of their lives, but haven't had anything other than breastmilk since my milk came in on day 2. I feel so incredibly lucky that a) my milk came in that early, b) I ended up with an oversupply and could therefore keep up with two babies, one of whom went through two months of eating nearly 45oz every day, and c) I got a HANDS FREE PUMP!

Here's the story. Day 1, about five minutes after they rolled me into the recovery room I was in a wicked haze and shaking uncontrollably (c-section will do that to you) when a nurse came over and said they were about to give our babies some formula, "Would you like to feed them?" I was like, yeah, on the boob. They said no. No? No. Ok, I'm confused. I've read that I need to try and nurse can you let me have my babies? No. Um, ok. Let me go at this from a different angle...

Basically, I don't remember much of it, but I know that I tried to struggle for about two minutes and then they explained that if I want the babies to be sent to the NICU then sure, I could try to feed them. Otherwise, they need formula cuz their blood sugar was too low.

I think that's what happened. Like I said, I was in a haze. But I honestly don't care. I did for a few minutes right then, but I got over it pretty quick when I remembered that goal = healthy babies. Besides, I was seriously shaking and it would have been a HOT MESS trying to nurse them for the first time right then.

Fast forward to one quick trip to the NICU anyway for some testing and then we were all in our room. With twin births, they have LCs come by every day and just hang out for as long as you need them. It was really great to have the expertise, cuz it wasn't so easy. They had already started on the bottle, but I wanted to try.

So for the next two days I nursed one for ten minutes on each side, then gave them a bottle of formula/whatever I could pump, then nursed the other for ten minutes on each side then supplemented with bottle...and then pumped (tricked my body into thinking I had triplets basically)...then washed and dried pump parts. This took about two hours and the babies were eating every three. Starting on day three I stopped all of the formula because I was pumping enough for them, but still had to do a bottle of pumped milk after every attempt at nursing, cuz they weren't latching well. By day four, I was in full blown tears almost everytime I tried to get them to latch.

The babies were about 5lbs each by this point, had "late pre-term" sucking/latching problems, and fell asleep after about 30 seconds on the boob every.single.time. I can't tell you all of the different tricks we were trying to keep them awake, it was intense and took a LOT of time, especially with two. I finally decided that I was going to focus on pumping for them and I would try to get them to latch a couple times a day for practice, but I'd revisit when they got older/more mature. The LCs were in full agreement and recommended trying again later.

Eventually, Grace gave up. I went to see LCs, we tried and tried. She had enough and it was incredibly apparent by about three weeks PP that she was done nursing. She knew the bottle and liked it better. Caleb started getting better at latching and ended up nursing pretty well...but little man started into a two month growth spurt of EPIC proportions (he went from 5lbs on day 4 to 12lbs by 8 weeks). He would nurse for twenty minutes and then still need a 5oz bottle, which would take another 20-30 minutes to get down. So, with the prospect of feeding two babies and still making time to pump after every feed, it just wasn't in the cards for us.

I still nursed Caleb once a day for about 6 weeks or so which helped my supply (and any clogged ducts that came up), and gradually just gave up on it. I continued to pump 8x per day for about 9 weeks and by that time I was getting about 70oz per day. Serious oversupply, but it worked out.

I built up a pretty good freezer stash, even with my ginormo baby, and didn't need to dip into it at all until about a week and a half ago. After getting sick, I had to start pumping 7-8 times per day again (I dropped to about 6 around 11 weeks) and it was getting to be too much. I also started trying to get in shape again and eating less, which had an impact as well. The babies started sleeping longer stretches and I stopped waking up to pump without them. I had gone a long time without a stretch of sleep longer than two hours so that I could pump every feed (even if B took that feeding). I was tired and done.

Exclusively pumping is SO hard, but for us, it was incredibly worth it. Just the fact that I had the oversupply, I had to go ahead and use it. It's been a tough addition to my busy day of taking care of two babies, but after all of the difficulties I've had with my body over the years, including the pregnancy, I was so surprised that I actually had the supply that I needed.

So right now my supply is slowly dropping, and I'm not working too hard to get it back. I was for a few days, living in denial that we'd need to move to formula at this point (I had originally wanted to try for 3 months, but when I made it that far I decided to try for 6). I'm ok with them having formula, and I'll still be able to give them some breastmilk every day, but it's the cost that I'm bummed about really. It was pretty awesome to avoid any cost for feeding them, especially because we had such hefty eaters.

Here's the worst part. I could probably survive for quite some time on pumping what I've got left and using my freezer stash, but we found out about 3 weeks ago that dairy-free REALLY helps with Grace's spitting up/reflux and Caleb's fussiness. I had tried to go dairy free a while back, but did it sorta half-assed and not for long enough to see any effects, so I gave up. I tried it again for real a few weeks ago and it seemed to make a big difference. I wasn't fully convinced though until a) I gave them some milk from the freezer, from when I was eating dairy, and the spitting-up/fussiness returned and b) I went off the dairy free diet for a couple days and again, the spitting-up/fussiness came back. Crazy! I didn't want to believe it cuz, honestly, I like eating yogurt and ice cream from time to time...but it seriously makes a huge difference!

So now I'm a little torn. Do I waste all of that freezer stash? The pediatrician said it's a serious hassle to try and donate it because of all of the testing and red tape to go through for screenings. I don't really have a ton of time on my hands so that might be a bit difficult to take on right now. Or do I just give them a little bit at a time and hope that it doesn't affect them too much? I don't have enough supply now that I'm dairy free to keep up with them completely let alone freeze any.

We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I'm looking into the right formula to choose. What are your recommendations?

Also, our pediatrician said no solids at all until after 6 months.

Here are a few things I've learned about Exclusively Pumping (for twins) that might help those who have to go down that road (this is just my experience, it may be different for others!):

1. In the beginning, getting the babies to latch at all is a big win for your supply as well as the prospect of having them latch later on. Keep trying every now and then if you have help- just let someone else feed one baby a bottle while you try and nurse the other, then pass off that baby for a bottle while you pump. Saves time.

2. Don't try to get them to latch when you're alone if you're already having trouble. It will just cause meltdowns for mom and babies. Save the latching practice for when there is another set of hands to help out!

3. BUY A HANDS FREE PUMP! Oh my gosh, I started out using the hospital grade pump they supplied. I'm sure it was good for my supply, but oy having to hold it on there when pumping 8 times per day is just plain cruel. I bought the Med.ela Fre.estyle. Glorious. Worth the money, I promise (if you're EPing).

4. Drink a ton of water (goes for pumping and nursing).

5. Eat as much as you possibly can. Even if it's not the healthiest food, you need to get calories!

6. DO NOT WATCH THE BOTTLES as you pump. It will only stress you out. Seriously. Just pick up your phone, iPad, baby, remote...anything to keep your mind off of the amount that you're pumping. Stressing over your supply backfires, I guarantee it. And eat/drink while you're pumping, it makes the time go faster.

7. Some women have luck with looking at a picture of their babies or envisioning them latching to help with let-down. I find it always better to just think about something else. Get distracted. All of a sudden twenty minutes will have lapsed and you'll have a good amount pumped. Whatever you do, RELAX. You can't let-down if you're stressed or nervous/worried/busy! (one of the downfalls of the hands free pump is you can do things like clean up or wash bottles, just make sure you're not doing anything that will tense you up, you have to relax)

8. Read for tips on getting your supply up if you're worried. Things like fenugeek and mother's milk tea can help. I didn't have to go down this route, but I've heard great success.

9. Keep up the night time pumps until at least 8 or 9 weeks. I know, it's rough. But your supply will definitely take a hit if you quit those too soon. I've heard you need 12 weeks to really set your supply. I went a little less than that and it was fine. But not too much less.

10. Pump every time the babies eat. Yes. Every time. For at least 12 weeks if possible. Or until you're ok with a little dip in your supply...or you just can't anymore. This happened for me around 12 weeks, so I let it happen.  I started spreading the pumps out to about every four hours and my babies are eating every 3 hours.  I usually pump one less time than they eat.  This worked out fine and I still had the same supply for about 3 or 4 weeks after decreasing. Then I got sick and skipped a few more pumps and started eating less...well, you get the picture.

11. Wait until the babies are napping to pump if at all possible. This will make it hard for you to nap when your babies nap, but it's the only way to really get a good pump. Put the babies down and then wait until they're really asleep to get the machine going. Otherwise you'll be up and down trying to soothe them or you'll have to stop pumping so you can get them out of the crib, etc.

12. Even with a hands free pump, don't bend over while pumping! Easiest way to lose some of your milk on the floor :( haha

13. Always mark on your freezer bags how much you put in the bag and the date (there should be an appropriate place to mark, don't use pen that will smudge when wet!!!).

14. If you get a clogged duct, try pumping while leaning forward a bit. Try to turn up the pump a level higher than usual. Try to release the suction in the horn for a second and put it back on angled a little bit differently (usually try to angle the pump horn in the direction of the clog).

15. If you can get your baby to latch, it's the easiest way to clear a clogged duct! Caleb saved me from many painful nights! He would latch for just a few minutes and then have to pull off because he unclogged the duct and it was spraying too hard and choking him. Poor little man!

16. Do not try and wash your pump parts after every feed. Good lord I did this for like three weeks and it was just awful. Luckily a bloggy friend mentioned that it was ok to store them in the fridge for a day at a time! This saved my life. Just put them in a ziploc bag after you use them and put them in the fridge for the next time. But make sure to warm them up a bit before throwing them on your boobs! YIKES, good morning!

17. Buy more than one set of pump parts so you can throw the dirty ones in the sink and just pull out the others for the next pump. Then you don't have to be worried about washing them before your next session, etc.

18. Bottles, oh good lord bottles. Make sure you have enough pumping bottles so you don't have to wash those too often, either. I never used the same bottles to pump and to feed, although that's an option. It just didn't work for us and my oversupply. I pumped into medel.a bottles and stored in the fridge in those (or in the freezer in bags) and then poured into bottles as we went.

19. Please buy enough feeding bottles so you don't have to wash bottles more than once per day. Ugh, learned that one a little late, too!

20. Snuggle your babies. I wish I could have nursed my babies, but it wasn't in the cards for us. I mourned the loss of that bonding time for a bit, but really, I get to snuggle my babies chest to chest, on my knees, kiss their face and tummies, and look at their gummy grins! Plenty of bonding time without nursing, so don't fret. If pumping gets in the way of this bonding time too much, just remember that formula is not the enemy! Enjoy your babies, they are only little for a short time! (Believe me, my tiny 5lb Caleb is now an 18lb 4 month old!!!)

Good luck and please don't hesitate to ask if you have any questions!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Four Months!!! (and the wednesday weekly weigh in!)

Big post today...first, the Weigh In and then my babies are four months old (and there's plenty to write about, all kinds of growing and changing going on- what a fun age)!

1. Reiterate my goal and where I stand in reference to this goal:

Starting Weight: 205# (since 2-3wks pp)

Last Week's Weight: 205.8# (was approximately 200# at time of BFP, before the hyperemesis kicked in, was up to 250# by 35 weeks pregnant)
Current Weight: 203.6# (yay!)
Goal Weight: 180# (normal would be 144-189)

Starting BMI: 27 (I'm 6'1" by the way)
Last Week's BMI: 27.1
Current BMI: 26.9 (yay for breaking under 27!)
Goal BMI: 23.7 ("normal" is 18.5-24.9)

2. Discuss what I am going to do to achieve my goals/progress:

- Drink 16oz of water every time I pump: I did NOT do a good job with my water this week and I saw it in my milk supply :(  That or it's just on it's way out (and the fact that I'm not eating as much isn't helping either).  I'm kind of sad, but it needed to happen at some point and I'm proud of making it to 4 months at least...I'll probably get another month or so of mostly breastmilk, but I'll need to start supplementing at some point, which I really have no problem with other than the fact that it's gonna cost us a grip.  I have a huge stash that I think we might not be able to use, which is CRUSHING...I'm still coming to terms and thinking of other alternatives.  If we can't, I'm considering donating it. Anyway, that's a whole other post (hopefully in a few days...I have PLENTY to talk about with the whole BF thing...especially because I ended up exclusively pumping for twins...after a rocky start, but I'm proud of that because I wasn't sure it'd work out).

- Eat some form of protein four times per day, working up to eating protein with every snack and meal: I did a lot better at this and I'm very proud of that. It's not easy to think about trying to find some protein, especially since I cut out all dairy (brutal).  I also made sure to stop buying junk food so that it's not in the house (except for one treat, see below) and that helps me as well.

- Walk 1 mile 3x per week, working up to jogging 2-3x per week using the Couch-to-5k program: I finished week 4 today (5 min runs, yeah!) on our BRAND NEW TREADMILL!  I'm really happy that I've been able to keep up with the running, but I'm terrified of what will happen when I go back to work in about a month.  At least I'm doing it now.  The treadmill is awesome, especially because it get up well above 100 degrees here in the summer and I'm sure I won't be able to fit running in around the weather, so this gives me plenty more options!

- Limit to one "treat" per day!! : I decided that eating a butterfinger everyday isn't a good idea.  So I asked B to get me a bag of hershey's kisses instead and I tackle that when I need some chocolate rather than whole candy bar.  Much better.

Activities for this coming week:
-Couch to 5k beginning Week 5

-Walk with the babies if not jogging -- I really need to get back to taking the babies out. I've been keeping them indoors too much...I'm just scared of messing up their routine now that we've finally started working one out.  Ugh.  Not to mention the last time I went for a walk with them was an epic fail.

3. Post a (reasonably healthy) recipe that I've tried, a cooking tip, a new idea for working out for people to try, a photo update of my weight loss, or anything else I feel like sharing.

I've been using the C25K podcast for my runs because I hate having to watch a clock while I'm running.  They are fabulous (minus some questionable music choices especially around the 4 week mark) but I was missing some of my music. So today was great on my treadmill because I could easily see how much time had lapsed since I started my interval and I could listen to my own selection!

What do you do to pass the time while you're running on a treadmill?


OK- now on to the fun stuff! THE BABIES ARE FOUR MONTHS OLD! Holy cow, really?

My dear sweet, sweet Grace and Caleb,

You two are four months old and the time has slipped by me all too fast.  I look at you and see you discovering, learning, becoming your own little personalities and it fills me with pride and excitement, but at the same time tears at my heart.  I love this phase of your development, but I've loved every phase before and I miss those, too.  You're growing up, and you won't be my tiny babies for long.  I want to hold onto every snuggle and every gaze.  I know I won't have those forever.  I love you both so incredibly much, it hurts. Thank you for blessing me everyday.

Gracie, my princess!

You are 100% sweetness right now.  You're such an easy-going baby and I can't help but fall more and more in love with you every day. I didn't think that was possible with how very much I loved you the first time I saw you.  I can't get enough of you!

Your smile lights up the room, and especially your Mommy and Daddy's hearts.  You've learned to giggle and you're getting pretty good at it, but mostly for Daddy. I work all day to make you laugh but as soon as he comes in and swoops you up, you can't hold it in! You are such a Daddy's girl.  You will stare at him endlessly and give him the biggest smiles. You still don't mind lying in his arms, even though you're getting antsy most of the time to be moving and shaking!  You love it when he bats at your hands and tickles your tummy.  But your biggest smiles come when he catches you off guard by flashing a huge smile at you. You love it!

You're growing too, my love.  You're about 13lbs now, and finally fitting pretty well into your 0-3 month clothes.  The newborn stuff is pretty much shelved, which is sad but ok.  I love to dress you up in your cute outfits!  You tried on your first pair of jeans this month and while they were still way too big, they were adorable of course. Mostly I keep you in comfy sleepers but sometimes a onesie or an outfit.

You've been going through a growth spurt for a I'm starting to think this is your new norm.  You're eating a lot more than you used to which is great! You now take about 5oz of exclusively breastmilk at every feed, except for an occasional 4 or 6 oz bottle. You wake up hungry around 5am most of the time, and then sleep again until 10am.  Then we have bottles around 1, 4, and your bedtime bottle is at 7.  You, amazingly, figured out this whole bedtime thing and go down in your crib without a fight or a protest now right after that bottle.  You take a binky with you because you are absolutely obsessed with it! But you rarely cry at night for it, just during the day in your naps. We get you out of bed for a quick dreamfeed at 10 or 11pm and you usually sleep right through it!

You are starting to like bathtime more, now, since we realized you needed a binky right after you get out of the water.  You really love being in the big tub with one of us so you can splash around. I cannot WAIT to get you in a swimming pool!  You were having a really hard time afterward for a while, but that's all better now and you'll even let me lather you up with a lotion massage after you get out of the water.  Your poor skin is extremely dry and you have an eczema rash all over your tummy and arms, but you don't seem too bothered by it which is good! 

Your favorite place to hang out is probably the bumbo chair,  you just love sitting up! You really love for daddy and I to help you stand, you're so good at it and can hold up most of your weight if we help you! You still have a bit of a bobble head but not much.  Your favorite toy is probably this colorful rattle with lots of places to hang on.  You've started grabbing at things this month and pulling them to your mouth. It's so cute!

I started putting more bows on you this month cuz it's so cute. You don't mind them either, I think you know how lovely you look.  Your hair is still pretty thin and you've got a big bald spot on the back of your head from turning it in your crib all the time.  I wonder what your hair will look like!  You've got beautiful deep blue eyes that I could stare at all day, they're so big and wide! You're long and skinny and you still have kind of a smaller head, but it's proportionate and SO cute.

I can't believe how truly calm you are. You really never cry unless you're hungry or just really, really tired.  I remember when you were first born and you fussed all the time, we thought you were going to be a crier.  But you outgrew that along with your tummy problems and any sort of reflux! It's so great to know that you feel better now, and you're not spitting up all the time anymore.  You just needed time to get that tummy mature.

I never want to forget how wide your eyes get when I'm feeding you or talking to you or how happy you are to lay in your bouncy chair with your arms behind your head, sucking on your binky, and just staring at me washing bottles or making dinner. I love that you want to just take it in and watch us.  You're so curious and content!

Grace, I absolutely adore you. I can't even tell you how much you complete my world.  You have stolen my heart forever and I never want it back.  I'm the luckiest girl alive.

My sweet, happy Caleb!

My little boy.  Buddy, I can't tell you enough how unbelievably happy you make me. You're a mama's boy, just like your sister's a Daddy's girl.  You stare at me and wait for a smile all day, and I can't stop smiling at you, love!  As soon as you see my grin,  you flash one back twice as big and it melts my heart in an instant.  You're such a happy baby, smiling all the time with that huge gummy grin.  I find you just smiling at the wall or the window sometimes, I so wonder what you're thinking about.  But you save the biggest ones for me and Daddy.  And you gave us your very FIRST laugh just a couple of days ago; it was thrilling! All of the laughs you'll ever have, and that was your first one.  You were lying on the ottoman after I had held you up above my head for a while (you love that) and I tickled your neck and it just came out.  Short and sweet, and totally perfect!

You are starting to work out your colic and I can't wait for it to be gone forever- I hated when you cried for hours.  It broke my heart into a million pieces every time, and I couldn't help but cry along with you sometimes.  But this month you've started to outgrow it and we're gradually moving away from the night time sadness that once was! 

We're still learning your routine, especially at night, but for the most part you wake up hungry anywhere from 4:30-6:30am and then have another bottle around 10am.  Then bottles at 1, 4, and 7 and sometimes you'll let us put you down in your crib for the night at that point, but rarely. Usually you hang out in the living room with us as we replace your binky and try to avoid any meltdowns.  Like I said, you're starting to fall asleep during this time more often now instead of being up all the way until 10pm.  You usually need the dream feed at 10 or 11 to help you really fall asleep, but not always (you usually sleep all the way from 10 or 11 until about 5am, but recently you've been waking up to "yell" at me to replace your binky much earlier, like 3am). You're still eating a good amount and all breastmilk, but a lot less than before- you've started cutting back a bit from your continuous two month growth spurt!  Now you eat around 30oz every day, which is a big difference from the 45oz of the month before. I'm glad you're slowing down a bit.  You're about 18lbs of pure chub and it's just so delicious.

You've been outgrowing your clothes so quickly it's hard to keep up! You're now wearing 6 month clothes but sometimes even 9 months fit you better.  I try to change your outfits a lot so you get to wear all of the cute things I have for you, but sometimes I don't even get a chance you're growing so fast.  But I love that you're a big, strong, and healthy little man.
You had a pretty bad eye infection last month again that caused you some trouble and fussiness.  But it's doing better now and hopefully gone for good.  We had to go to an opthamologist and if your clogged tear duct isn't better by the time you are 6 months, they'll need to do surgery. I'm hoping this was the end of it and there won't be any need for that!!

Your favorite place to hang out is probably your jumperoo or your swing.  You just started getting the hang of batting at the toys on your jumperoo and you LOVE it.  Your swing is your best friend when you're fussy, though. 

Your favorite toy is probably the blue elephant on your playmat now that you can sort of grab it!

You are starting to splash around in the bath now instead of just relaxing in it, which makes me supremely happy. I think you're going to be so much fun in the pool! You love the lotion massage afterward, as well. As long as mommy and daddy are smiling at you, you're perfectly content.

I never want to forget those moments when you're staring at me as I feed you a bottle and you can't focus on eating because your smile gets in the way! I love that you want to smile at me that much, it's so adorable watching you smile around the bottle nipple. Don't stop doing that, ok? It makes my day!

Baby boy, you're such a happy dude and I love every single minute of being your mommy, even the tough times when you can't stop crying.  I love that I can usually help you to calm down and you like being in my arms more than anywhere else.  You're such a lover and I'm so lucky that I get to love on you all day every day.  You make my world go around and I look forward to every minute I get to stare at you, hold you, and watch you grow.  I love you so much, little man!

Babies, my little luckies.  These past four months have gone too fast.  You're both growing at warp speed it seems and you're learning new things all the time.  You've both found your hands and love to suck on them...even when they make you gag when you try to fit both in your mouth.  You've also found eachother and I catch you staring at one another from time to time.  I can't wait for the day that you laugh together and play together.  I hope that you're the best of friends!  I will cherish every giggle, every squeal, and even every tantrum.  I am so blessed to have you in my life, I love you more than you will ever know.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Wednesday Weekly Weigh-In (16 Wks PP)

1. Reiterate my goal and where I stand in reference to this goal:
Starting Weight: 205# (since 2-3wks pp)
Last Week's Weight: 207# (was approximately 200# at time of BFP, before the hyperemesis kicked in, was up to 250# by 35 weeks pregnant)
Current Weight: 205.8#
Goal Weight: 180# (normal would be 144-189)

Starting BMI: 27 (I'm 6'1" by the way)
Last Week's BMI: 27.4
Current BMI: 27.1
Goal BMI: 23.7 ("normal" is 18.5-24.9)

2. Discuss what I am going to do to achieve my goals/progress:
- Drink 16oz of water every time I pump: I started upping my water intake this past week and it makes ALL the difference when I'm having some serious cravings or just can't seem to get full.  When I stop to think about it, I'm usually thirsty at that moment.
- Eat some form of protein four times per day, working up to eating protein with every snack and meal: Lots of deli meat consumption.  I really need to get better at having meals outside of dinner.  Right now I'm just snacking all day and then having a big dinner.  So I'm ravenous by the end of the day usually, not good. I need to make time to eat breakfast and lunch...and then snack in between. I want to start eating more oatmeal at breakfast and then I'll build up to lunch preparation. :)

- Walk 1 mile 3x per week, working up to jogging 2-3x per week using the Couch-to-5k program:  I finished Week 3 of the C25k today! Starting Week 4 on Friday or Saturday, and I'm pretty stoked.  I haven't taken the babies out since our last walk a few days ago because Caleb ended up screaming when I was about a quarter mile from our house and I actually had to pick him up out of the stroller and push the stroller with Grace in it with one hand the rest of the way home.  Not fun.

- Limit to one "treat" per day!! : Yeah, not bad this week, but I'm craving treats ALL THE TIME right now.  I need to get over this hump.  All I want is chocolate.  I bought some carmel rice cakes that satisfy a bit of that sweet craving.  But I also bought some cinnamon sugar pita chips and ate almost the whole bag in one sitting.  Oy.

Activities for this coming week:
-Couch to 5k beginning Week 4
-Walk with the babies if not jogging

3. Post a (reasonably healthy) recipe that I've tried, a cooking tip, a new idea for working out for people to try, a photo update of my weight loss, or anything else I feel like sharing.

I did my first mini-circuit in our in home gym today after my run and it was fabulous.  Here's what I did:

1 straight minute of each exercise, 30 seconds rest in between stations:

Knee-Up Crunches (on our power tower, but any lower ab work will do)
Squat/Bicep Curl/Delt Raises Combo lift with 5# weights
Standing medicine ball twist (obliques)
Tricep Extensions with 5# weights
Plank on the physio ball (could only hold for 40 seconds then 10 seconds)
Round the World Lunges

I always like to do a full-body circuit with a core exercise in between each  body group (core, arms, core, legs, core, fulll body, etc) I'll work up to adding at least five more exercises and then build up to two rounds of the circuit, and then extending the stations to 1.5 minutes and then 2 minutes each as I continue to build on the program.  Circuit training is SO go for you, building in cardio to your strength training.  I loved our circuit days when I was training in college. They were WAY more intense than I'll ever get back to now (including bleachers, rope climbs, pull-ups, med ball throws, etc), but it feels good to be doing the same type of work.
Oh, and here's a fun comparison of our little luckies!  

16 weeks 2 days old

6 days old

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sleep Associations

Today, I made myself a PB & J (it was a bit over-zealous...there was pb and j everywhere, but I digress). It was delicious and filled me up just like I wanted it to, and then came the inevitable orange juice.  Every time I eat a pb and j, I want orange juice.  For some reason, they go together.  For as long as I can remember it's been this way. 

You notice how you have those associations?  When I'm sick, I want my mom's homemade vegetable soup, without fail.  When I have a nice steak, I crave a good, bold cab to go right along with it (that one's a more recent development, I assure you). And when I lay my head on a fluffy pillow and cover up with a sheet or blanket, I think sleep. I have some trouble sleeping else where without a good pillow and blanket unless I'm dead tired, and I know that about myself. 

For my twins, a nap and the swing or bouncy chair and a binky go hand in hand.  In order to nap, they need these things it appears.  Sometimes, they'll fall asleep in our arms, but honestly, a lot of the time there's too much excitement in that and/or the looking around at new sights when in said arms. 

Granted, there are the occasional sleepy car rides or stroller excursions but they need movement in order to fall asleep or stay asleep in these apparatus. 

So, I need some help. 

I've read five too many sleep and parenting books and now I'm just confused (ps, if you have multiples, please don't read the Dr. Sears "Baby Book"...I thought I had capped out my mommy-guilt capacity until I read this book.  It took me two weeks to stop feeling like I was permanently damaging my babies by not holding them enough or carrying them enough or letting them cry too much cuz their sibling is being tended to).  One thing I've surmised for certain is that we need to try and let go of the sleep associations of the swing or the bouncy chair.

Here's the caveat.  I feel INCREDIBLY lucky in that our twins are pretty stellar sleepers past 11pm and I hate to mess with that...but before 11pm, it's tricky.  Here's how things work (obviously this changes a bit from day to day, but it's usually something like this):

10am- first "awake" feed (I KNOW, wow am I lucky that I can do this right now since I'm not working...this is where one of my dilemma comes into play- read on)
10:45- play time
11:15- first nap (swing for Caleb, bouncy for Grace- sometimes with the vibration on- binkies in place, and replaced multiple times.  Caleb usually will sit in the swing for about 15 minutes checking out the sights before getting really tired and falling asleep- I usually put them down for this nap when I first notice sleep cues like eye rubbing or sometimes a yawn)
12:00- first nap wake-up (try to put them back to sleep for the next hour, sometimes successfully, sometimes not)
1pm- second feed
1:45- play time
2:00- second nap (swing/bouncy as before, same 45 minute intruder usually)
4:00-third feed (usually B is there to help)
4:30- play time
5:30-7:00- This "nap" is hit or miss...sometimes its catnapping, sometimes it's fussing, sometimes there is a long nap here, oy
7:00- bath if it's bath night then pj's and bottle, or immediate pj's then bottle
7:30- quiet time, placed in bouncy/swing to fall asleep (this is a big problem time in our household.  We usually will have screaming from about 8pm til 10pm or so, which is why we've resorted to the bouncy and swing at bedtime. When we've tried to swaddle them and put them in their cribs at this point, it's an epic fail meltdown).
11:00pm- dreamfeed then swaddle and placed in cribs without binkies- they usually wake up a bit, but go back to sleep fairly easily even when put in the crib awake
11pm-6am: I hear them waking up sporadically and sometimes fussing a bit, but they always put themselves back to sleep if I don't bother them
6am- middle of the night feed, re-swaddled and no binkies in cribs, usually put down awake

Then it starts all over. 

So, you see, I get awesome sleep from about 11pm until about 6am, and then another great stretch until somewhere around 9 or 10am!

I hate messing with that, but we've got a couple problems.

1) Mommy is dying for a little down time at night without screaming babies...although we're working with Caleb having colic, so hopefully that will resolve soon and things will be totally different
2) They need to be able to sleep where there isn't a swing and vibrating bouncy chair (i.e. Nana's house)
3) They will be starting daycare at a center in about a month and a half, and I'm terrified that they won't sleep AT ALL during the day and then epic meltdowns will ensue.  They need to be able to sleep in cribs, cuz that's what they'll have at daycare usually (there is a swing, but I'm sure Caleb won't be able to sleep in it all the time).
4) I can't for the life of me understand how this whole binky thing is supposed to work.  I've banned binkies from nighttime because oh my gosh they spit them out every five minutes and then wake up because of it.  I keep hearing of other babies who spit out their binkies when they are falling asleep.  Ours spit them out, then wake up like "OMG WHERE IS THAT SUCKY THING I JUST HAD?!?!".  WTF?

So, plan of action (now that everyone in the house is healthy, including me), is to try and get them in their cribs for naps...binky or no binky, I'm not sure.  Swaddle or no swaddle, I'm not sure (although we're going to have to wean off of the swaddle too soon, which is also scaring the bejeebus out of me).


How do I transition them from the swing/bouncy in the well-lit living room with me to the crib in their nursery?  Every time I've tried, they freak out.  They drop their binkies a billion more times than they do in the living room and just can't fall asleep. 

This was an incredibly long rambling post.  I know, I apologize.  I'm panicking.  I don't want to mess with a good thing, but I also don't want to totally traumatize them when they go to daycare and have to go cold turkey on their beloved sleep associations. :( Poor little luckies.

Any advice would be awesome!!!

ETA: They used to sleep in play pins when they were newborns and then in their cribs for a while after that, but when the 45 minute intruder hit, I found that the swing and bouncer helped them have longer I started that, and now I can't break it. If I do happen to get them to fall asleep in their cribs during the day, it is never for more than 30-45 minutes and then screaming ensues and they can't fall back asleep, even with lots of rocking...or being placed in the swing.  The nap is officially over. :(

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Weekly Wednesday Weigh-In (15 Wks PP)

I'm BACK! I've been sick for the last week and a half and HATING I jumped off the weigh-in bandwagon for a bit as I stuffed my face with comfort food and put a serious dent in my couch cushion. I'm cutting myself some slack on the past two weeks because of the death-like symptoms ;) but now that the snot has stopped spewing from my nose and my head isn't pounding nearly as much, I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things.  It's hard enough to take care of twin infants when you're sick...I'm not gonna go asking myself to do that WHILE being a healthy human being. ;)
1. Reiterate my goal and where I stand in reference to this goal:

Starting Weight: 205#  (since 2-3wks pp)
Last Week's Weight: 208# (was approximately 200# at time of BFP, before the hyperemesis kicked in, was up to 250# by 35 weeks pregnant)
Current Weight: 207#

Goal Weight: 180# (normal would be 144-189)
Starting BMI: 27 (I'm 6'1" by the way)

Last Week's BMI: 27.4
Current BMI: 27.3
Goal BMI: 23.7 ("normal" is 18.5-24.9)

2. Discuss what I am going to do to achieve my goals:
- Drink 16oz of water every time I pump
- Eat some form of protein four times per day, working up to eating protein with every snack and meal
- Walk 1 mile 3x per week, working up to jogging 2-3x per week using the Couch-to-5k program
- Limit to one "treat" per day!!

Progress on last week's activities/goals:
- You would think that I was hydrating more because I was sick, but you'd be wrong. My throat hurt and swallowing made it worse, so I wasn't so good about my water intake.  I'm seeing it in my milk supply, too. Gotta get on that!!!
- I've been purchasing deli meat every week to nibble on instead of things like pretzels.  I also was eating hard boiled eggs every day as a snack...but I ran out. Need to get on that, too.  I'm cutting out my dairy for a bit, so that removes some of my protein rich go-tos, so I'll need to find some more.  Peanut butter will be my friend.
- I finished week 2 of the C25k before I got sick, and haven't run since a week and a half ago.  I'm going to try out the first day of week 3 this week and see if I need to back track a bit. Hopefully not.

- The "one treat per day" mantra has helped a little.  I'm not following it so well right now, but I think I'll latch onto that mantra to help me now that I'm feeling better.

Activities for this coming week:
-Couch to 5k beginning Week 3
-Walk with the babies if not jogging

3. Post a (reasonably healthy) recipe that I've tried, a cooking tip, a new idea for working out for people to try, a photo update of my weight loss, or anything else I feel like sharing.
So this is ABSOLUTELY against anything "weigh in" appropriate, it's actually the opposite...but I just needed to get this out there- "Smash" is the  I loved the pilot.  Loved it.  I can't wait for next week!
Also, have you ever noticed that watching "The Biggest Loser" motivates you to workout? It's doing wonders for me! Watch it.