Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nine months


February was a pretty crazy month, and I'm just now getting to their nine-month update! These babies make life fun, and they've grown a lot in the past month. Here's what they're up to now:


Henry:

  • Weighs 20.6 pounds and is 28.25 inches long. He actually hasn't gained weight since his six-month checkup but is much taller -- two inches taller than his sister.
  • Has four teeth (two on the bottom and two on the top) and loves to gnaw on things and grind them (to my chagrin). The bottom two poked through at eight months (around Jan. 23, when I was in Florida on a business trip), and the other two came through about a week ago.
  • Wears some 6-9 month clothes but mostly 9-month clothes (and a few 12-month pieces that run small)
  • Scoots around on his tummy and rolls and pulls himself around quickly, but still isn't quite crawling yet
  • Loves texture and is satisfied with a soft blanket and a Beanie Baby shark (to chew on) he got from a friend's birthday party a few weeks ago
  • Has stopped sucking from bottles for some reason, so we've had to cut holes in all of his nipples so he'll still drink his formula
  • Devours baby food, especially green beans, yogurt, carrots and apples and prunes
  • Takes 20-minute cat naps unless he's being held
  • Has started slapping his cheeks for no reason and nodding his head at everything
  • Is very ticklish under his ribs and in his armpits
  • Has quite a bit of brownish-blonde hair that's golden in the sun
  • Still smiles at everyone and giggles at Norah when she crawls toward him (or on top of him)
  • Loves to be snuggled and will sleep for hours in our arms
  • Sits up on his own now but still likes to topple over sometimes
  • Continues to love music and fall asleep quickly when I sing to him
  • Is obsessed with his socks and will pull them off and suck on them right after I put them on (and try to grab Norah's to chew on them, too)

Norah:
  • Weighs 17.8 pounds and is 27.5 inches long
  • Still doesn't have any teeth but chews on everything, so they must be coming soon
  • Fits into some 3-6 month clothes but is mainly wearing 6-month clothes
  • Is very curious and loves to climb around the piano, walker and bouncer
  • Just began pulling herself up and standing next to her walker and is SO proud of herself
  • Loves to crawl all over Henry and put her hands on his face and in his mouth and eyes (no matter how many times we pull her off of him)
  • Will only eat sweet potatoes and occasionally applesauce, so she still has formula most of the time
  • Giggles at Henry when she's playing with him on the floor and loves to have Dad blow raspberries on her tummy
  • Only takes her pacifier when she's really tired (and then spits it out when she falls asleep) but loves to play with and chew on it
  • Loves rings, keys, her Sophie the giraffe and a plastic monkey toy (that she steals away from Henry whenever she can)
  • Splashes as much as she can in the bathtub and is fascinated by the faucet
  • Still takes long naps and curls up in the corner of her crib on her tummy
  • Sits up well on her own and likes to play with her feet
  • Has soft brown hair that's finally beginning to grow and long eyelashes
  • Still has teeny feet that don't fit into any of her 6-12 month moccasins
  • Loves to be snuggled and rocked to sleep
Henry and Norah already entertain each other and share this incredible bond, and it's been fun to watch them grow. They make life crazy and satisfying.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Eight months


My babies are eight months old and growing so fast! I hold them and wonder how my tiny twins have grown into such tall, healthy little kids. Here's what they're doing this month.


Henry:
  • Weighs about 20 pounds and is probably 28 inches long
  • Has a ticklish tummy and giggles hysterically when his dad tickles him
  • Still loves music and listens intently when I sing to him or when his favorite Frozen music comes on
  • Is out of his six-month clothes and wearing 6-9 month and nine-month clothes now
  • Has begun scooting and half-crawling around but is still very content to just lie on his back and chew on and play with his blanket
  • Loves his mobile and could watch it spinning for hours (though it's most likely the music he loves)
  • Still isn't sitting on his own yet, but he's getting close
  • No longer takes long naps but takes 30-minute cat naps throughout the day
  • Generally sleeps through the night but lately has been waking up starving around 3 a.m.
  • Has long, spiky hair on the top of his head but still has a bald spot in the back
  • Is generally happy and coos and smiles at almost everyone who smiles at him
  • Really likes bath time and has started kicking his legs and playing in his bathtub
  • Gets very mad when he's tired and has to be rocked to sleep if he doesn't roll to his tummy and fall asleep on the floor
  • Loves to grab Norah's hand and try to suck on it (much to her annoyance)
  • Likes to pull his feet up to his face and play with them


Norah:
  • Weighs about 18 pounds and is about 27.5 inches long
  • Still wears some 3-6 month clothes but is wearing six-month clothes now
  • Is scooting/crawling all over now and getting into everything
  • Loves texture, including sucking on tags, scratching her fingers on pillows and the mesh walls of the pack 'n play, and running her hands over the vent on the floor
  • Gives big, gummy smiles, but she's more hesitant to laugh than Henry is
  • Is growing brown fuzzy hair on the top of her head
  • Loves to make gargling sounds and loud, happy noises
  • Doesn't really like bath time but is getting used to the bathtub and starting to kick her legs
  • Sometimes sleeps through the night but usually rolls around so much that she wakes herself up a few times
  • Still loves her pacifier when she's sleepy, and it generally puts her right to sleep
  • Steals toys from Henry and quickly grabs whatever she wants, even when it's across the room
  • Loves to pull her feet up and suck on them after pulling her socks off
  • Had bad eczema on her face and arms, so we switched both Henry and her to a soy formula that seems to be helping (though it smells awful)
  • Smiles at Henry and sometimes giggles at him for no reason
  • Loves to be snuggled and sleeps for hours when someone is holding her or lying next to her

I watch these babies grow every day and feel so blessed that they're happy and healthy. They make me so happy, and I love watching them discover new things and understand the world around them.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Seven months


Ack! My babies are seven (almost eight, actually) months old, and I can hardly believe it! Here's what they're up to this month.


Henry:
  • Makes himself giggle now, which is the funniest thing in the world
  • Still loves to smile at everyone, especially strangers in the grocery store
  • Thumps his legs really loudly in his crib or on his playmat when he's happy
  • Still likes to be sung to and snuggled to sleep
  • Weighs 19.5 pounds and is about 27 inches long
  • Absolutely loves his sister and will stare adoringly at her and coo at her
  • Still likes to stick his tongue out all the time
  • Rolls over and scoots around, but still isn't crawling or sitting on his own
  • Is growing fast and has outgrown his six-month clothes
  • Likes to babble and suck on his hands
  • Loves sleeping on his tummy and has started lying face-down in his crib after rolling from his back to his side and his tummy (which scares us)
  • Is a really happy, chill baby and is generally content unless he's hungry or very tired
  • Has started grabbing his toes
  • Is getting soft, spiky hair on the top of his head, but still has a big bald spot in the back
  • Really likes having baths and, lately, showers with Dad to clear out his sinuses


Norah:
  • Immediately rolls to her tummy when you put her on the floor and is scooting across the room to grab what she wants
  • Rolls in her sleep to the uppermost corner of her crib and sleeps contentedly (for a few minutes) on her tummy
  • Is obsessed with the silk tags on toys, blankets and pillows and makes a beeline for them so she can suck on them
  • Weighs almost 18 pounds and is about 26.5 inches long
  • Babbles to Henry and occasionally starts laughing hysterically when he looks at her
  • Still loves her pacifier and will go to sleep (or back to sleep) when she has it in her mouth
  • Gets stuck under the couch and the pack 'n play because she hasn't learned how to scoot forward yet (only backward)
  • Unfortunately still has a red rash on her neck we can't get rid of and sees an allergist with Henry at the end of the month
  • Gives us enormous gummy smiles when she's proud of herself (like when she's scooting around on her tummy)
  • Is easily distracted and difficult to feed when lots of things are going on around her
  • Still likes to take frequent naps during the day but not nearly as long as she used to
  • Loves to lie on her back and grab her toes and babble
  • Has soft, spiky hair on the top of her head and long eyelashes
  • Still wears 3-6 month clothes but is starting to fit into six-month clothes
  • Loves to snuggle against us with her pacifier and can sleep for hours that way

We love our little twins and still can't believe they're growing so fast!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Six months


It's hard to believe my babies are already six months old — and growing like weeds. Here's what they're up to now.


Henry:

  • Weighed 16 pounds 12 ounces and was 26.5 inches long at his six-month checkup
  • Has hit a major growth spurt (obviously) and wants to eat every two hours now
  • Is still a very happy baby, especially in the morning
  • Loves to suck on his thumbs and try to stuff both fists in his mouth
  • Still refuses a pacifier (not necessarily good, since it'll be harder to break the thumb-sucking)
  • Loves to be sung to and coos along when I sing
  • Is REALLY close to giggling and actually laughed at a grandma in the store on Saturday
  • Fits into six-month clothes but is still mainly wearing three-month clothes
  • Has become a serial roller and constantly rolls to his tummy when he's lying on his playmat
  • Loves to sleep on his tummy now and has started rolling in his crib (which scares me)
  • Grabs toys, especially rings, and plays with them
  • Is finally starting to grow some hair, and it looks like it will be brown
  • Has pretty greenish-brown eyes that also look blue when he wears blue
  • Likes to babble, especially when he's laying by Norah
  • Still can't sit up on his own but is already trying to army crawl


Norah:

  • Weighed 14 pounds 6 ounces and was 26 inches long at her six-month checkup
  • Is a chatterbox and babbles all the time, especially when we change her diaper or when she's lying on her playmat grabbing toys
  • Gives us huge gummy smiles when she wakes up (five minutes after we put her in her crib) and wants to be held
  • Loves to lay on her side now when she sleeps, which is adorable
  • Currently has no interest in rolling to her tummy and will roll to her back when I try to get her to support her weight on her stomach
  • Still wears three-month clothes and a few 0-3 month pants and has a skinny waist
  • Has tiny feet, and all her socks fall off because of it
  • Likes to be snuggled and lay on her dad's chest
  • Unfortunately has had a red rash on her face and neck for the past few weeks because of her drooling, but it's getting better
  • Has gorgeous green-brown eyes and really long eyelashes
  • Still loves her pacifier and will usually go back to sleep in the middle of the night if we give it to her
  • Sits really well in the Bumbo, but can't sit on her own
  • Is getting long, fuzzy brown hair
  • Likes to grab at faces, including mine, Henry's and Andrew's
  • Doesn't like to roll over, but she scoots around constantly (often ending up at the foot of her crib)
If you can't tell, this blog has morphed into my online scrapbook for Henry and Norah, because I simply don't have the time or energy to blog anymore. I have so many posts I want to write, and I'm hoping to have one day soon where I don't choose sleep over blogging. I update my Instagram much more frequently, so you can follow me there to see what's happening.

Just know that I haven't forgotten you, and I want to visit your blogs! I hope to get there soon. :)

Monday, October 20, 2014

Five months


It's been a busy few weeks, so I'm just getting to their five-month update. These babies have my whole heart and just keep getting more and more fun. I am so blessed to be their mom. Here's what they're doing now that they're five months old.


Henry:

  • Weighed 13.5 pounds and was 25 inches long at his appointment three weeks ago
  • Is smiling and babbling all the time now
  • Still loves music and will try to talk to me as I sing to him
  • Is SO close to rolling over but seems to get his arms stuck under him before he can roll to his tummy
  • Has what I call "baby narcolepsy" and falls asleep almost instantly when he's been playing or even sometimes just babbling
  • Loves to be snuggled and have his bottom patted (so funny)
  • Fits into three-month clothes, but they're getting tight
  • Still wakes up happy and just talks to himself in his crib until we pick him up
  • Has to have short cat naps after every feeding but will sometimes sleep for hours in the afternoon
  • Loves to sit up and see what's going on, whether in a bouncer or on someone's lap
  • Usually eats five ounces at every feeding now (though he's seemed less hungry this week)
  • Loves to suck on his fingers and has actually caused the skin to peel from the moisture
  • Tries to talk to Norah and likes to lay by her on their play mat
  • Has begun grabbing toys and loves to play with his blanket
  • Likes to sing himself to sleep (and keep singing when he's asleep)


Norah:

  • Weighed 12.5 pounds and was 24.5 inches long at her appointment three weeks ago
  • Still LOVES her pacifier and will open her mouth and reach for it when she spits it out
  • Has discovered her tongue and is always sticking it out
  • Loves to lie on the play mat and grab toys or just play with her hands
  • Rolled over Oct. 12 when we were at Andrew's family's cabin — and I was so excited that Andrew and I were both there to see her hit this milestone
  • Smiles at us all the time and babbles occasionally
  • Is trying really hard to start giggling but hasn't really done it yet
  • Fits into three-month clothes, but most are still a little big
  • Has teeny tiny feet and just barely grew out of the newborn shoes I bought to announce her arrival
  • Drools a lot and soaks through her onesies often
  • Grabs toys on the play mat and likes to pull her blanket over her head and play with it
  • Sleeps with her arms extended up above her head
  • Loves to snuggle by her dad and can sleep for hours like that
  • Takes long naps in the morning and afternoon, sleeping through wiggly Henry next to her on the play mat
  • Still isn't a big fan of her car seat but is staying awake longer in the car

We had such a fun weekend with my mom, my brother, sister-in-law and niece in town, and Henry and Norah loved having Grandma sing to them and make them smile and giggle. We feel so blessed to have these lively, beautiful babies in our lives.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The right formula


I've debated for a long time about sharing this, but I've decided that it might help people who are in my situation.

Like most moms, I had a plan for how I would feed my babies. I had always heard that breastfeeding was best for the baby and helped the mom lose the weight quicker. I knew how expensive formula was from my years working in a grocery store, and I figured I'd probably have to supplement with twins — but I planned to breastfeed them as long as possible.

And then life happened. Henry and Norah came more than two months early, way before we expected them, and my body was completely out of whack. Not only was I recovering from the HELLP syndrome and trying to keep food down, I was an emotional wreck. I felt guilty about not being able to carry my babies longer, I worried about them in the NICU, and I was terrified about going home from the hospital and not being right there to see them.

When the lactation nurse came in a couple days after they were born and explained how to use the breast pump and told me I needed to pump every three hours to get used to nursing (once it was safe for them to be out of their incubators long enough), I was overwhelmed.

I pumped every three hours except for a few hours a night and visited the NICU at least twice a day, taking the tiny bit of milk I was getting each time so the nurses could feed it to Henry and Norah via a tube. The nurses were reassuring at first, telling me that I'd be getting more milk soon, and it was fine because my babies were only eating about 10 ml every three hours.

Of course, they got bigger and needed much more than 10 ml each feeding, but my body simply wasn't producing that. I still pumped every three hours, juggling NICU visits and then work — and I got more and more anxious and depressed that I couldn't feed my babies and wasn't producing any more than before.

I tried holding Henry and Norah skin to skin and getting them to latch, but they were so tiny and still weren't developed enough to know how to suck. While I loved feeling them snuggled against me, they hardly got any milk and ended up frustrated and hungry — which made me frustrated and miserable.

We worried about them getting too agitated and spitting up their food. Fortunately, they were learning to suck formula from a bottle and growing quickly on that, and we were feeding them the tiny bit of breast milk I pumped from bottles as well.

Everyone has a solution when you mention that you're not able to breastfeed. Nurses recommended without recommending (because they're not allowed to recommend vitamins and supplements that are not regulated by the FDA) fenugreek, and I drank cups and cups of mother's milk herbal tea. I was trying to drink plenty of fluids and eat well. Nothing was working.

When we finally brought Henry and Norah home from the NICU, we were overwhelmed with taking care of two tiny babies and worried that they would stop breathing or have other problems now that the monitors were gone. Neither Andrew nor I was sleeping much, and when I did have a break when Henry and Norah were sleeping, the last thing I wanted to do was pump and get less than an ounce of milk.

A few days after they came home, I sat down with my mom (who was there to help) and Andrew, feeling horrible that I couldn't get any milk and that I'd basically given up on pumping. Instead of making me feel even more guilty or telling me to keep trying, they told me it was OK to feed Henry and Norah formula.

My mom reminded me that I'd given them breast milk, even a tiny amount, for five weeks, and that it was incredibly helpful to building their immune systems with antibodies. Andrew told me that I'd done the best I could and that there was nothing wrong with giving them formula — especially since they were healthy and were growing so well on it.

When I decided to stop pumping and trying to get them to latch, I felt like an anvil had been lifted off my chest. The stress of trying to feed my babies when I simply wasn't producing enough milk was crippling, and I felt so much relief.

Unfortunately, one of the first questions women seem to ask new mothers is how breastfeeding is going. When I told them I wasn't able to breastfeed, I felt like they instantly had tons of questions. Why not? Did you try fenugreek? Are you pumping?

When they weren't asking questions, I felt (and I know that some of this was in my head) like they were silently judging me. Women are constantly told that breastfeeding is best for the baby and the mom, since it helps you lose the baby weight faster and bond with your newborn. I had heard all of it, too, and I understood why they might look down on me for feeding my babies formula.

Except that it really hurt. I was finally feeling relief about not breastfeeding, and all the questions about it made me feel worse. I was doing what was best for my family and my kids, and I knew my babies were getting the nutrition they needed from the formula.

One of my neighbors came over a month or so after we brought Henry and Norah home, and I discovered that she had decided to exclusively feed her daughter formula and never even tried to breastfeed. She simply knew that it wasn't for her, and she was OK with it.

Talking to her made me realize that breastfeeding is absolutely a choice — and just like how I've decided to continue working full time, I can choose to feed my babies formula and shouldn't be judged harshly for that.

Do I think breastfeeding is a good thing? Absolutely. I think it's amazing that your body is supposed to produce milk that's customized for your baby and protects him.

Do I think formula is a good thing? Of course! Formula has been an incredible blessing in our lives. Though it's expensive and can be inconvenient to have to constantly run to the store, it allows Andrew and I both to feed them and makes it much easier to take Henry and Norah to daycare. It also allows us to see exactly how much they are eating and protects them from the daily medication I have to take that could be transferred through breast milk.

There is no reason to "mommy shame" or ask a new mother personal questions about breastfeeding, and there's definitely no reason to feel guilty about feeding your baby formula. Every situation is different, and you shouldn't have to defend yourself to anyone.

I am so glad to see how quickly Henry and Norah are growing, and I'm not going to let myself feel bad for doing things a bit differently. Don't let yourself feel that way, either.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Four months


Henry and Norah turned four months old on Sept. 6, and I feel like they're totally different babies than they were at three months! Life just keeps getting more fun with these cute kids.


Henry:




  • Very rarely takes his pacifier now (only when he's sleepy will he suck on it, and only for a short time)
  • Weighs 13 pounds and is probably close to 22 inches now
  • Still fits into a few 0-3 month clothes but fits pretty well in 3-month clothes now
  • Loves to coo and make lots of noises
  • Smiles at us all the time now, especially when we're holding him
  • Has hazel-blue eyes currently (probably on their way to brown)
  • Likes to kick his legs a lot, and we love hearing him kicking in his car seat
  • Takes short cat naps during the day now, but usually sleeps really well at night
  • Always seems thoughtful as he looks around
  • Likes to snuggle up to Norah on their play mat
  • Has started to grab things, especially his blanket
  • Loves to suck on his fists and still curls them by his face when he sleeps
  • Still loves music and smiles a lot when I sing to him
  • Likes sleeping on his dad's tummy but prefers to sit up when we hold him so he can see
  • Holds his head up really well and tries to army crawl already

Norah:
  • Loves her pacifier and chomps down on it hard when we give it to her — probably because she's starting to get teeth already
  • Gives us lots of gummy smiles and follows me with her eyes when I leave the room
  • Usually hates her car seat at first but calms down when the car starts going
  • Weighs 11 pounds 11 ounces and is probably around 22 inches as well
  • Is a little too small for 3-month clothes still, but I've put her in a few anyway :)
  • Has pretty bluish-brown eyes currently (probably on their way to brown as well)
  • Still loves to take long naps during the day and curls her fists by her head
  • Is very drooly and loves sucking on her blanket and her hands
  • Loves her brother and will talk to him when they're lying on their play mat
  • Makes lots of little noises just like Henry, sometimes giggling in her sleep
  • Holds her head up and won't usually lay on my shoulder anymore to burp
  • Is very alert and widens her eyes to take everything in
  • Loves when I sing to her, too, especially "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"
  • Will lay next to me on our bed and sleep for hours (or curled up in Andrew's arms as he sleeps)
  • Is as dramatic as ever and likes to scream at us when she's mad (or wakes up from nightmares occasionally) — but we love that she has a fiery personality :)
I'm planning to get back into the groove of blogging and reading blogs, but things have gotten even more hectic since I've gone back to work. Hopefully I'll have a bit more energy to blog soon!