I decided that I'm not going to post their names or photos on this blog, so I will be referring to them by their first initials Baby R and Baby G. I wanted to share with you some of my experiences during the last three months, and hopefully, some of you can relate to what I have to share or it might help you in the future.
Seeing them in their isolettes with so many wires and the noise of the beeping monitors was a very traumatic experience. It felt like I did something wrong for them to have such a rough start at life.
My hospital stay was no walk in the park either. Normally, you are allowed 72 hours in the hospital after a c-section but I had to stay in the hospital for 7 days due to my blood pressure not stabilizing. I was in pain from the c-section and extremely uncomfortable, due to the horrible hospital bed and the medications I was on, and sleep deprived, due to the constant interruptions throughout the day and pumping milk around the clock.
One good thing was that I was close to the babies. Once I got out of the hospital, my days were spent pumping 8 times per day and visiting the babies twice a day. I was normally at the hospital for around 3 to 5 hours a day. There were times when I felt so guilty for not being at the hospital all day and night long, but I was still recovering from major surgery, and we were not done preparing for the babies' arrival.
The NICU experience was so hard but some (emphasis on some) of the nurses were so caring and helpful, plus the doctors were amazing. After 29 days, the babies were finally able to come home!
We have been so lucky to have family in town to help us since the babies were born. My mom was here for two months, followed by my sister-in-law for three weeks. While she was in town, my father-in-law and his wife and brother-in-law were here for five days. Currently, my mother-in-law is winding down her three week trip, after which, my mom will be coming back for another three weeks. My dad and husband's stepdad have also stopped by.
Twins are so much work, just feeding them takes around 12 to 16 hours a day. Having someone share the load in feeding them expressed milk, changing diapers, taking the dogs for walks, cooking and cleaning is such a blessing. I don't know how twin moms can do it without help!
The meals at home have been phenomenal.
|Lettuce cups and spare ribs from my mom|
|Chicken pot pie from husband|
|Beautiful salad from stepmom-in-law|
|Nicoise salad from stepmom-in-law|
|Tune steak from MIL|
I am also lucky to have a husband who is supportive. When he was on family leave, he took the middle of the night feedings. He has been preparing some meals, working and waking up at 4 AM to watch the twins before heading to work.
Breastfeeding is less natural than you think
While breastfeeding is now going quite well, we had a very rough start and I seriously considered exclusively pumping for the twins. I cannot imagine doing that now. I would have absolutely zero time if I did.
When I was pregnant, I thought breastfeeding would be so easy, but once the babies were born and I was not allowed to breastfeed them, we started off at a disadvantage. To begin with, they were feed via feeding tube and then were only allowed to feed by breast or bottle one or two times a day. By the end of their hospital stay, breastfeeding was still not well established, so when we got home, trying to teach them to breastfeed took so much of my time. I would try to breastfeed one for a few minutes and then switch to a bottle to make sure they were getting enough food. This took an hour at least and then I would have to do it again for the next baby.
Eventually, the combination of time, persistence and hiring a certified lactation consultant who came to our home for three hours to work with me and the twins allowed me to successfully breastfeed.
On top of that, producing enough milk to feed two babies has been stressful. I have so far had to give them about 4 bottles of formula each and use donor milk in order to keep up with them. I've also been making lactation cookies at home on a regular basis and taking supplements that are supposed to increase milk supply and pumping 7 to 8 times a day still.
Don't believe it when someone says breastfeeding is easy. It is such hard work and takes so much time, but it is extremely rewarding and has really helped me bond with my boys.
Netflix is your friend
Thank you, Netflix, for making this time go by a little bit faster. I really wish I could be more productive during these times besides just watching Netflix. If anyone knows how I can grow an additional pair of arms, please let me know.
In case you want some recommendations on Netflix, you should watch: Master of None, Chef's Table, Chef's Table France, the new season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Imitation Game, The Big Short. Right now, I'm watching The Keepers.
Hungrier than ever
Eating was very difficult for me during my pregnancy, but I am making up for it now! I am hungry all day long! I am needing to take in an extra 1,000 calories per day since I am breastfeeding my twins. After every feeding, I find myself sooo hungry and need to eat meals or snacks throughout the day. Needless to say, I have not been actively trying to lose weight at all, which leads me to my next topic....
Bye bye baby weight
The baby weight has been gone for many weeks now, and I consider myself very lucky on this front. I only gained 25 pounds during my pregnancy. After I got home from the hospital, I was only 4 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. Right now, I am 14 pounds below my pre-pregnancy weight despite all of the eating I have been doing. I haven't been able to work out at all, so the only reason why I have been losing weight is through all of the calories that I have been burning through breastfeeding.
Getting out of the house
We did make an outing to the Albuquerque Rose Garden though! I had no idea this place existed.
It was also the boys' first outing to somewhere besides the doctor's office!
These past three months have been so hard, but I have been getting so much help and I love these two babies so much! I'm looking forward to seeing them grow and see what the next three months have in store.