Monday, October 31, 2011

First Halloween

Ok, I admit, I really love the fall. I usually go all out decorating, and I love going to orchards to pick apples and pumpkins, eat caramel apples, and get apple cider. This year, being largely pregnant, I did not get my decorations down, and I had to settle on one caramel apple the day before the babies were born, and a quick trip to get a pumpkin when my parents were babysitting. But I did get the babies awesome pumpkin costumes!!! I was pretty excited about that. They had some other cute Halloween outfits, but I'm not sure we got pictures of all of them. The entire time I was pregnant, I was excited for dressing them up at Halloween. My husband was NOT into the idea and kept telling me not to torture the boys. Well, on Halloween night, my sister-in-law helped me get them in their costumes. They were basically warm, velvety sleepers; the babies fell right to sleep. I got some really cute pictures and let them enjoy their nap on the couch. And hey, what do you know, my husband saw the pictures and immediately asked, "When are you printing some so I can take them to work?" :) Yup, that's right. Score one for mommy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Month/Dr. Visits

I wanted to put up some pictures/stats from their first few dr. visits. Their discharge from the hospital weights were Henry 5.5 and Holden 5.3, and we went to the doctor's office for the first time the Thursday after we were discharged. They gained some weight, up to 5.10 and 5.8. At the next check, around 2 weeks, they were up to 6.1 and 5.15! And finally, we made it to the one month mark! It wasn't the most remarkable month, they weren't doing much of anything yet, but it was a good milestone for us anyway. Henry was 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and Holden was 7 pounds, 6 ounces! They were still in newborn size diapers, but we were finishing them up. They slept in swaddles and in the car seats to help with the reflux/spitting up. The boys got up still every 3 to 4 hours at night to eat. They loved to be held, were easy to console, didn't cry much, and were very sweet! Not much social interaction or smiles yet. Our pediatrician calls them "black holes," as in, you give and give and get nothing back yet! Although we wouldn't say nothing, they're pretty darn cute to look at and cuddle. 

And this is where I started my series of month birthday pictures! Henry gets the brown bear, and Holden gets the panda. (We try to keep Henry on the left in most pictures, but it doesn't work out all the time. At least in these we'll know for sure who's who. :) And month one was not my was hard to prop them up, and they didn't feel like modeling for long. Also, I did have the pictures cropped and edited a little better, but they didn't show up on the blog that way! I'll keep working on the picture quality. :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Newborn pictures

I was disappointed we couldn't get these done sooner, but we finally managed at three weeks old! My friend Christie took them, and my sister-in-law Erica knit the pumpkin hats! They turned out really cute, and I used the pictures in their birth announcements (which I'll have to scan in and put on here.) The boys didn't both want to sleep at the same time, so it was hard to get some of the shots we wanted. Holden stayed mostly asleep, but Henry kept fussing, even though he's usually pretty relaxed! So here they are for your viewing pleasure. :)




Thursday, October 13, 2011

First few weeks

Yeah, I'm going to be honest here...I don't remember much about the first few weeks!! :) It went by in a blur. We all got used to our new routine at home. Alex stayed home for three weeks, including that first week they were still in the hospital. It takes a long time to feed twins, even when I was trying to breastfeed them both at the same time. We also were still supplementing with the preemie formula, which is higher calorie than the regular infant formula. Our pediatrician is awesome though, so once we visited her and she saw they were gaining weight, she said we could just breastfeed! This was huge for me, since we were still doing the triple feeds, breastfeed, bottle feed and then pump. It is NOT the way you want to do things! But our lives were basically feed them, they'd nap, we'd try to eat/shower/nap in between, then two to three hours later, feed them again! The babies first started sleeping in the bassinets in our room, but when they started spitting up, the nurse at the pediatrician's recommended having them sleep in the carseats. So then we had them sleeping in the living room in the carseats, because it was easier for me to get up at night and breastfeed on the couch out in the living room. Fun times!

So I'll include a few random pictures from the first few weeks at home. It's already hard to believe they were that small...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The first week

I'm not going to lie, the first week of the boys' life was really hard. Even though they were healthy, the doctors wanted to keep them in the CCN and monitor them. So we knew right away that there was a good chance they wouldn't come home at the same time we did. The first few days are still a blur to me, probably because we were exhausted, I was recovering, and I was still on pain meds. We would visit the babies around their feeding times, every three hours. They would take bottles with just tiny amounts of formula, and I was allowed to try and breastfeed for just a few minutes each. They were all hooked up with wires and monitors and looked so fragile. The nurses were all really nice, but I remember being so nervous around the boys. The feeding was supposed to be just a half an hour, and then the boys needed to sleep. So Alex and I felt so much pressure to get them to finish their food within the "allotted time" and then let them get more rest. We always felt like we were just cramming food down their throat, which is not how you want to feel around your new babies.

After the first night, though, with everyone bugging us, we realized we really needed to give these boys names!! We finally decided that baby A was Henry Mitchell Amerman, and baby B was Holden David Amerman. So the birth certificate lady could finally leave us alone! :)

Alex and I both struggled with feeling like the boys weren't "ours" yet. All the other moms had their babies in their rooms, and our room was empty. We got to have the boys with us for an hour in the room one time, and at least we got some good pictures. But we just kept feeling like the boys were doing well, but we had no control over when the hospital would let them go.

I stayed in the hospital Monday night and Tuesday night, and then went back and forth from our house after that. The doctors were increasing the amounts of food the boys had to take each day. If they didn't finish on their own, then the doctors would start talking about giving them feeding tubes to finish what was left. We also had to worry about their heart rate or oxygen levels dropping, or if they were going to need treatment for jaundice. (They never needed the tubes or the jaundice light.) So that, along with going back and forth every few hours, really took a toll.  It was so hard to go breastfeed the babies, then give a bottle, then go home and pump to get my milk up. I also struggled with having nurses, doctors and the lactation consultants all talking to me and giving me information. Everyone was nice, and I know they all wanted the best for the boys, but it was overwhelming and confusing at times.

Luckily, all of our family and friends were so supportive. We had lots of visitors in the hospital, and lots of people bringing us food and offering to take care of Lanore. And the plus side of the boys staying in the hospital was that they had some time for their belly buttons to start healing, along with their circumcisions. We also benefited from lots of good advice from the nurses, and lots of free stuff! They all wanted to send us home with extra formula, bottles, diapers and anything we'd need.

First family picture! Looks pretty good!

Finally, on Monday, Sept. 26th, we got to take the babies home! It was really exciting to get to dress them in something besides the hospital gown. I had to learn how to strap them in the carseat and get that in the car. But we finally felt like the boys were ours. We'd taken some baby hats home to Lanore to sniff, but she finally got to meet them in person! She was very good around them, by the way. I'll leave you with a few more pictures of us heading home for the first time.

Henry on the left, Holden on the right

Leaving the CCN!

Looking tiny in their carseats, and finally making it home!
Lanore meeting "her" babies for the first time

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Birth Story!

Ok, this is a long one! Make sure you're committed to some heavy reading before you start. :)

On Saturday, Sept. 17th, Alex and I had a great day! We went down to the south side and went to Adrian's Orchard to get some apples and get me a caramel apple (which I devoured, it was great.) We returned some stuff to Buy Buy Baby, and test drove a Traverse, just for fun. (Knowing we'll need a bigger car, but who knows when that will happen!) We had dinner with Alex's parents, but I was starting to feel pretty tired and wasn't able to eat much. When we got home, I pretty much went right to bed. At 2:30 am, I was feeling bad and couldn't get back to sleep. I couldn't get comfortable laying down anymore, so Alex told me to go out to the couch. After a few minutes, he felt bad and came out to see me, and then had me start timing the pain I felt. It was about five minutes apart and lasting for 30 to 60 seconds. So we figured...I must be in labor!

Now, we were not at all ready for this! I was just 35 weeks, and had been feeling good so far. I figured it might be false labor, or that they might try to stop it once we went to the hospital. The house was a huge mess, and we didn't have a hospital bag packed, or anything! So Alex would rub my back and help me through contractions, then while I rested in between, he was cleaning dishes, doing laundry and trying to get our bags packed! It didn't seem real, that the babies were really coming. I tried to help him pack, and we got as much stuff straightened up as we could, and around 6 am, we headed to the hospital. It was all very undramatic, as I was not in that much pain yet, and the hospital is probably 5 minutes away. So no wild and crazy car ride or screaming or anything! :)

When we got to St. Vincents, they sent us to triage, where I was checked out and they did an ultrasound to check on the babies' positions (even though I told them that they'd both been head down for a while.) They gave me a shot to help with the pain, and after that I think I was out for a while. We called my mom to let her know where I was, and Alex left to get some breakfast for him. When I woke up, mom was there and Alex was back, and the doctors decided they weren't going to stop my labor, and sent me upstairs to my room. They pretty much gave me the epidural right away, and after that there wasn't much I could do. It was a pretty weird feeling, to not be able to feel or move the lower half of your body, but great to not have the pain from the contractions. I had been nervous to get the epidural shot, but it really wasn't a big deal. Mom and Alex hung out with me, and I tried to sleep and relax. It was hard to relax, since nurses kept coming to check my blood pressure, or put something in my IV. (I had to have antibiotics, which burned going in the IV, since I never made it to my 36 week appointment.) We had the TV on, but I wished I had brought more to do! It was a long 8 hours that I was just hanging out in the bed, trying to stay comfortable (it's weird not to be able to turn yourself over.) But like I said, I hadn't packed a bag or thought about being bored during labor, and I honestly thought they'd probably send me back home!

I didn't exactly have a birth plan or anything, since I knew I'd have to deliver in the operating room no matter what. I didn't really want to have too many interventions, but hey, they did them all anyway! I had to have pitocin to help speed the labor, and they had to break my water with both boys (since they had their own sacks.) But in general, things all went pretty well. The boys were never in distress; I had to wear three monitors the whole time. I felt pretty sick, and all I wanted was to drink water. Ice chips weren't doing it for me. I wish I had snuck in some snacks, but they probably would have made me sick (like the water did when I drank that!) It was hard not to focus on how hungry I was, since I'd barely eaten dinner the night before. But it was finally time to head to the operating room, around 8 Sunday night. Mom snapped one more picture of us as a couple before we left!

We headed into the operating room, and it still felt pretty surreal, that the babies were coming tonight. I'll spare you most of the details, but it was definitely hard. Alex snapped a picture of all the doctors in the room, which was pretty funny. The babies each had a nurse and people from the NICU just in case, and there were several doctors, nurses and residents there for me, so it was quite a crowd! I pushed for what felt like forever, it was probably about an hour. They had to let the epidural wear off a bit, so the whole crowd of people left for a while. I remember I was mainly feeling a ton of pain in my right hip, and I kept wanting Alex to massage it as the pain meds wore off. I was thinking other types of pain should be on my mind, but all that was bothering me was my hip! The nurse figured baby A was pressing on a nerve, so now I can tell him he was a pain in my hip! The doctor finally suggested using the suction to help get baby A out, and I was all for it! (I had already asked for a c-section at this point, feeling that I was over this whole thing, and the nurse told me no. :)

So with the suction and a few more pushes, baby A entered the world at 10:05 pm, September 18th. It was pretty amazing to watch Alex's face and then see my first baby! Apparently, he came out with his eyes open and looking around, which the doctors and nurses (and his dad) thought was pretty cool! One of the doctors suggested we name him "Scout" since he was wide-eyed and checking everyone out (since we hadn't decided on names yet.) They took him to the warmer and did all the "stuff" to him, no one really said much to me, so I don't know what all they did. He weighed 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and had a healthy cry. He didn't need help with breathing or anything. I know when I first saw him, I thought he looked like his dad! :) (Especially with that frowny, serious face!) They showed him to me after they cleaned him up, but then took him to the nursery. I'm still sad they didn't let me hold him on my chest or try to breastfeed him, since I don't think he needed much help. Someone from the nursery asked if they could give him formula, and I said yes. I don't think I was really given an option, since they didn't offer to let me breastfeed him.

The doctors let me rest for a while before starting again with baby B. They used the suction again, and at 10:34, baby B entered the world, weighing in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. He was also healthy and didn't need any help with breathing. Everyone was saying how great they looked and how big they were, especially for 35 weeks. After they swaddled him up, I did get to hold him for a few minutes while they finished everything up. So at least I have a picture with one of my babies!
And that was it! They whisked both boys up to the Continuing Care Nursery, which is a step lower than a NICU. I went back to my room to recover, and then we eventually moved to our room where we spent the night. It was a little depressing to not have the babies with me, or to be able to hold or breastfeed them the first night. I know we were both exhausted (and I was SO thirsty), and just happy to have two healthy boys. I think I drank like 3 cups of lemonade when I was finally allowed, and it was the most amazing thing ever! So in the end, I know there are a few things I would have done differently, or will for next time, but we all made it through safe and healthy.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A few last random pregnancy pictures

Here are a few last random pictures from pregnancy before the birth story!

Alex's 30th!
Glad Mere got to visit once and see me pregnant! :)

Uncle Evan getting the boys stuffed animals. Our Uncle Mark got us a brown bear and a panda bear when we were little, so he was carrying on the tradition!

 Yup, I'm looking large and in charge by this point.