Back to Work

Happy Labor Day! I hope all of you have the day off work and are relaxing. Even though summer doesn’t officially end until September 23rd this year, Labor Day always feels like the end of summer to me. Maybe it’s because I think back to the school days when school would start back up after the holiday weekend. Pencils sharpened, new school clothes in the closet, football games, anticipation of seeing all of your friends and seeing that school crush. This year Labor Day is bittersweet for me, tomorrow I return to work after a short seven-week maternity leave. I’m going to miss Jemma and Zoe so much after spending almost all day with them for seven weeks, but I am also looking forward to returning to work. I have an amazing team that makes each day great and I’m looking forward to seeing them and seeing all of my patients who I know are eager to hear all about the girls.

The girls are getting so big, we went to rent a second hospital-grade pump for me to take to work and were able to use the scale at the center to weigh the girls. Jemma is up to 9 pounds 9 ounces and Zoe is up to 9 pounds 1 ounce. Jemma is a very good eater and now has a half pound on her sister. Jemma also had a hip ultrasound at Children’s Hospital since she was breech and everything checked out completely normal. We were guessing her hips were okay because she kicks like crazy!

We also had our first PEMS (providing early multiples support) meeting, PEMS is modeled after PEPS (program for early parent support) and enjoyed meeting three other couples with twins. There will be another couple joining the group but they didn’t attend the first meeting, so will be a total of 5 couples. It will be 8 weeks of meetings rotating between homes covering topics such as arrival stories, sleeping, feeding, etc. The girls slept through the first meeting, but you can only imagine how some meetings will go with 10 infants all gathered in the same room!

Last night the four of us went out for sushi dinner, it was a success!
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I’m going to miss seeing these little faces tomorrow. Hubby will definitely have to send me pictures at work this week. I’m glad it’ll be a short week for my first week back.

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I’ll be posting soon, hoping everything goes smoothly tomorrow!

xoxo

One Month

So hard to believe that the girls are over a month old. Even though I see them every day, I can definitely see how much they’ve grown and changed.

Physically they are continuing to gain weight and length. We’ve started doing some tummy time and both Jemma and Zoe are lifting their heads and turning them from side to side. Both girls are much more alert and will look at you with bright and curious eyes. Their little inadvertent smiles are so adorable and just melt my heart.

Jemma has come a long way from being in the NICU. She is a great eater now and gives wide smiles. She loves to look at lights and we even catch her gazing at the TV.

Zoe is so sweet but can be our little drama queen. She likes to cry out when she’s eating, even though she is getting everything she needs. She loves to look at you when you are feeding her and gazes at your face, so adorable.

I’m focusing almost solely on pumping and decided not to take the Reglan. The side effects can be terrible, besides causing depression, it can also cause tardive dyskinesia. The tardive dyskinesia can be permanent. It is not worth a few more ounces of milk to me. I’m continuing to take 6000 mg of fenugreek daily and am drinking plenty of Mother’s Milk tea.

I’ll be back to work the Tuesday after Labor Day, I can’t believe how fast my time at home has gone by. I’m getting a little anxious thinking about leaving the girls, but I know they will be in wonderful hands. My Mom and Mother-in-Law will be sharing our child care duties. All of the little things the girls do will be what I’ll miss most during my time at work. But I feel lucky to be in a profession where I can work three and a half days and have long weekends with my family.

One Month Old! August 14, 2014 Zoe (left) and Jemma (right)

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Sister time Jemma (right) and Zoe (left)

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Happy Hump Day!

xoxo

Learning and growing as we go….

Jemma and Zoe were 4 weeks this past Monday…..wow, can’t believe how fast the first 4 weeks went by. Both girls are doing great, they are good eaters now and are gaining weight! We went in for a weight check yesterday at the pediatric office. Jemma is up to 7 pounds 13 ounces, she went from the 3rd to the 14th percentile. Zoe is up to 7 pounds 10 ounces and went from the 2nd to the 11th percentile. The girls now have chubby cheeks and a little pudge on their thighs, I love it!

Jemma
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Zoe

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Jemma and I went back to the lactation consultant this past Monday. Jemma did quite well at our first visit, but at this visit, she went into full tantrum mode. Loud crying, pushing, kicking and refusal to latch. The consultant said she understood why I was having trouble breastfeeding and why I found it to be stressful for both Jemma and myself. She asked what my goals were and I said that giving the girls breast milk was my main goal, she said that I can still do that with pumping and to do whatever made everyone happy. It was validating to hear this from a lactation consultant and helped me move on from my ongoing internal debate about whether or not to push the breastfeeding issue.

So, at this point, we are still trying to latch/breastfeed 1-2 times/day, but not spending more than 5 minutes trying to do so. Only breastfeeding for as long as the girls are actively swallowing and focusing on pumping and giving the girls pumped breast milk. The consultant said that if I really wanted to work with Jemma we could take her for an oral evaluation and then to try the catheters attached to my breast. With going back to work in 2-3 weeks I just didn’t feel like it was realistic to go through all of that. I really just want to enjoy the rest of my maternity leave to its fullest.

When I feed the girls alone (without the help of my Mom or Hubby, which I do at the 3 AM feeding), I utilize the Twin-Z Pillow and I feel accomplished and happy! Why not do what makes everyone happy!?

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Today was my postpartum visit, my doctor says I’m healing well and can resume normal activities. I’m very excited to get back into yoga. Also, the doctor prescribed Reglan per my request to help increase my milk supply. She did let me know that some people experience depression with it, so I’ll take it for a couple of weeks and will see how I feel. I would rather have a lower milk supply than be depressed. Sleep deprivation is enough! Anyone have experience with Reglan?

Tomorrow the girls will be 1 month, post and pictures coming soon!

Happy Hump Day!

Ups and Downs

Jemma and Zoe are almost three weeks and both are up to a little over six pounds. They are starting to show us their little personalities and are definitely more lively than they were even a week ago. People have told us that babies change up the routine at about two weeks and almost like clockwork, ours did. They are no longer sleeping the predictable three to three and a half hours and they are taking more and more breast milk and formula. We’ve almost graduated from the small two ounce bottles they had given us at the hospital.

So far the girls have had two doctors visits, had a newborn photo session, gone on their first walk in the stroller and have continued to melt our hearts.

This past Sunday we booked a photographer to come to our house to do a newborn photo session. Stephanie recommended feeding the girls before her arrival to ensure that the girls were full and sleepy. We finished feeding the girls about 10 minutes before her arrival, but didn’t have time to get them swaddled and back to sleep. Needless to say, Stephanie got some amazing images despite the girls being wide awake, flailing their little arms and legs and not being very “posable”.

Zoe (left) and Jemma (right)
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Jemma (left) and Zoe (right)

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Zoe (left) and Jemma (right)

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Having twins is so wonderful but is also much more challenging that I had anticipated. I love these girls beyond words, but I’ve had my moments of frustration and tears. I think sleep deprivation plus hormonal changes equals an emotional roller coaster. Much of my stress has come with breastfeeding. Right now we are doing a combination of giving the girls pumped breast milk (I make enough for one baby but not enough for two), formula and alternating breastfeeding with each baby during the day. Zoe was doing great with breastfeeding at the hospital, Jemma only had about a day or two of breastfeeding at the hospital since she was in the NICU and I wasn’t able to get out of bed for about four days but seemed to do pretty well also. Both girls were doing pretty well when we first got home but now both of them scream, cry, push off my breast and have a hard time latching. Jemma has had more difficulty, so earlier this week we saw another lactation consultant (we had been visited by about four different lactation consultants in the hospital) to get some help with her. We changed my position, pillow (goodbye Twin Brest Friend for now) and baby’s position. Jemma did well at the appointment and managed to take in about 20 ccs during a relatively short feeding. However, she is back to getting extremely upset when I try to latch her onto my breast and screams and pushes away. It just breaks my heart to see her so upset that I have to give her a bottle to settle her.

I have a follow-up appointment with the lactation consultant in about a week and a half but I’m going to try to move my appointment up to see her sooner. I’m having such a tough time deciding what is best for myself and the babies. I envisioned breastfeeding until I go back to work in September, but I’m not sure if my babies and I are doing what’s best when everyone gets so upset and stressed. We have to bottle feed, (I’m not making enough milk for both girls), I would be able to do little else with my day if I tried to breastfeed both girls as much as possible each day, and I want the girls to accept a bottle since I will be going back to work after Labor Day.

Here are my dilemmas:

-Do I continue to pump, giving the girls breast milk at every feeding via a bottle and feel content knowing that the are getting breast milk (my main goal)? I would love to give the girls breast milk for at least 6 months.

-Do I continue to try to breast feed and feel upset and sad when the girls are having such difficulty?

-Do I take away some of the bottle feeding, but then spend almost my whole day trying to breastfeed? And again, potentially feel stressed.

I would love to hear your thoughts, especially if you are the parent of multiples. Please do not write comments saying that “breast is best” and that it is the “easiest thing in the world”. For some of you this may be the case, but I know for myself and many other mothers, breastfeeding is very challenging. I want very badly to be able to breastfeed, but I also want to enjoy the bonding time I have with Jemma and Zoe and I don’t want anyone to dread feeding times.

Hubby goes back to work on Monday and that is something else that is weighing on me. We are a great team and have really worked well together to feed the girls, I’ll be taking on the second overnight feeding by myself so that he can get a good night of sleep, hoping and praying that it’ll go as smoothly as possible.

xoxo

Home Sweet Home

Jemma was finally discharged from the NICU on Sunday! We spent almost an entire week at the hospital and are so glad to finally be home. Jemma got the green light after Hubby persisted to have one of the nurse practitioners talk to the neonatologist in charge, she just had to have her car seat and hearing tests before they would discharge her.

Jemma buckled in and ready to head home!
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Sunday night was our first night at home, we were greeted by both sets of grandparents (my own parents are actually here staying with us for the time being). Everyone was very excited to see us home and especially to spend time with Jemma since she didn’t get to have many visitors. We had a nice dinner, but unfortunately the girls and us did not have a very restful evening. We had gotten into a pretty good routine at the hospital, but our first night home our routine got out of sync and the girls were fussy all night.

On Monday evening we asked if our Moms (Hubby’s Mom gladly drives over to our house around 10 PM) if they would do the first overnight feeding so that Hubby and I could get a chunk of sleep. Besides pumping we are able to get about four hours together, we then get up to do the second overnight feeding around 3:00-3:30 AM and then get another three hour block. We’ve been doing this since Monday night and it seems to be working well. The girls have also become a little more predictable in their feeding and sleeping routine.

A few other updates from this past week:

-Jemma and Zoe had their first doctors visit and both are doing great. We expressed to the pediatrician that Jemma seems a little more sleepy and doesn’t feed as well as Zoe and he said that she behaves a little more preemie-like and that if we didn’t have Zoe to compare against we probably wouldn’t think twice about her behavior.

-I had a follow-up doctors appointment to check my blood pressure. It is down to around 126/74, so the doctor was pleased to see it decreasing. I’m still taking the beta blocker and will have another exam this upcoming week to check in again. My carpal tunnel is worse that it had been my entire pregnancy, it’s really my only complaint right now. Anyone out there with severe carpal tunnel postpartum? If so, how long did it take to go away? Did anyone do physical therapy to help relieve it? I really would like to avoid any type of surgery at this point.

-Breast feeding really does help to shed pregnancy pounds. I’ve been amazed at how quickly I’ve lost weight. Although, I think much of the last 25 pounds I gained was water weight with all of my edema and swelling.

Jemma and Zoe loaded up in the stroller ready to head home. Jemma below and Zoe up top.

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The girls in their crib after a successful night. Zoe on the left, Jemma on the right.

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Hoping for more successful and semi-restful nights of sleep and hoping to see the girls thrive and grow! We are so in love with them!

Happy Saturday!
xoxo

Birth Story

Jemma and Zoe are here and are healthy and happy and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve been on the journey to parenthood for a long time and these two miracles are more than we could have ever imagined. Some of this post may be repetitive, but I wanted to give a little background on my pregnancy.

For the most part, I had a great pregnancy, I did start getting some carpal tunnel (which progressively has gotten worse from about 23 weeks on and I still have it quite bad postpartum) and then edema and swelling started around 28 weeks, my BP started to elevate around 33 weeks, my doctor had us scheduled for a C-section on July 25th but kept thinking I would go into labor sooner. As the hot weather settled in and I progressed in the pregnancy, I was getting more and more uncomfortable and my BP kept rising. At a routine NST/check on July 14th my BP was 160/94, the doctor made the call to admit me and planned to deliver the babies that afternoon. By the time I was close to being prepped for the C-section, I started having pretty intense contractions.

C-section went as planned and both girls came out crying their little lungs out. Once we were back in the room, I started to hemorrage and the other OB doctor who was assisting my regular OB on the C-section was taking over. I started to feel lightheaded and dizzy and was soon being wheeled to another OR for an emergency D&C (at this point I was under sedation). I lost about 2 liters of blood, so the doctor placed a balloon type apparatus in my uterus to control bleeding.

I was soon back in the room and seemed stable, but about an hour later I was shaking uncontrollably and could not stop. My BP dropped to 60/30 and my pulse was about 170. I was pretty out of it and Hubby was pretty freaked out. We had about 12 people back in the room and I soon received 2 1/2 bags of saline and 2 bags of blood. I finally stabilized, but we stayed in labor & delivery for the rest of the night. After we were in postpartum, I also started to develop HELLP syndrome and had to be infused with magnesium (terrible side effects, felt like I was hit with a truck!). Magnesium infusion is usually for 24 hours, but luckily I was able to come off of it by 20 hours.

Zoe has been doing great the whole time and was discharged Friday and was “boarding in” with us. I was finally discharged on Saturday. Jemma was admitted to the NICU early on Tues. AM because the pediatrician thought she was having a little trouble maintaining her glucose, she had been off her glucose IV since Wed afternoon, but they were wanting to see her maintain her temperature and not having any bradycardia episodes (she had 2 very slight ones). Hubby had been going up all the time to take care of her and feed her and it seems as though they weren’t helping to help her progression out of the NICU. On Saturday afternoon Jemma was finally moved to a lower level nursery and is going to be discharged today. She is being discharged earlier than they were telling us because Hubby was finally able to have the nurse practitioner in charge of Jemma’s care talk to the neonatologist in charge. Hubby and I stayed in a family room last night with Zoe in tow and are more than ready to head home, we’ve been in the hospital almost a full week!

With as much as we all went through, it is all worth it! These little girls are absolutely amazing and we love them so much! I’m sure I’ll be posting pictures soon!

xoxo

Happy Birthday Jemma and Zoe!!!

Jemma Taye (Baby A) 5 pounds 7 ounces and Zoe Mika (Baby B) 5 pounds 5 ounces were born at 5:45 PM on July 14, 2014.

I worked Monday morning and went in for a routine OB exam at 11:30 AM on July 14th (a few days early of my originally scheduled visit), I was hooked up to the NST monitors and babies were looking good. However, my blood pressure was 160/94, so my doctor says “it looks like we are going to have some babies today!”. I knew this was a possibility, but started sweating and feeling anxious that the baby girls were actually going to be born on that day! I quickly called Hubby and told him to leave work, stop and get our hospital bags that were packed by the door at home and come to the hospital. My close friend who has been down almost the same infertility road as me is also a labor and delivery nurse and was luckily working at the hospital, so she was there to meet me at labor triage as soon as I was wheeled from my OB office to the hospital. Since I was not NPO my C-section wasn’t going to be scheduled until later in the afternoon, my doctor was going home to arrange child care for her children and was going to make it back to the hospital to perform the C-section. My delivery was anything but smooth, so I will be posting a completely separate post and not take anything away from announcing the beautiful births of our two precious daughters!

We are still at the hospital, Jemma was taken up to the NICU early on Tuesday morning since she was unable to maintain her glucose levels. She has since come off her glucose IV and although she is maintaining her glucose now, she is having a little trouble with temperature regulation and has had a couple of episodes of bradycardia. We are hoping she will be let out by tomorrow at the latest. I’m still waiting to see if I will be discharged today as well.

The girls are absolutely beautiful! Jemma looks Asian like Mommy and Zoe looks just like her Daddy (not at all Asian!) Unfortunately, I don’t have an updated photo of Jemma but will post one soon. We are so in love and as everyone has said, feel a love for these girls like we have never felt before!!!

Waiting to be prepped for the C-section, already having contractions!

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Just after delivery, back in the room with Jemma on left and Zoe on right.

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Zoe, 4 days old after feeding, happy!

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Happy Friday and more to come on the birth story…..

xoxo

Nat JezzCrawford

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