Finn, the giant puppy, is already becoming protective of the girls. You can just tell by his behaviour (or maybe it's wishful thinking on my part!). This morning, while Teagan sat in the swing, Finn sat right in front of her. If the girls make a peep, Finn is there.
Here are a few shots of the giant puppy checking in on both girls:
The girls are pretty good nighttime sleepers. Since they are gaining weight well, we do not stick to the 3-hour nighttime feeds anymore. After their 9pm feed, they go to bed and typically sleep until 1-2am. Last night, Teagan slept until 3am!
Teagan is breastfeeding like a champ. Apart from one bottle per day, she is exclusively breastfeeding. Quinn is still a work in progress. I attempt to feed her a few times per day and top her up with pumped breast milk afterwards. We're getting there :)
The dogs are back from their extended vacation at my parents place. They love the babies and are very gentle with them. Anytime one of the girls cries, the boys go running to her side. Riley wants to shower them with kisses, so we're trying to limit that somewhat! Finn, the giant puppy, has been surprisingly good. We were slightly worried about him, only because he's still so young and energetic. For the last couple of days we've gone on family outings to the park so the boys can have their daily run.
Evenings are the witching "hour" for our girls. If you've never heard of the witching hour, ask parents of young babies. At some point around 7pm-ish, Teagan and Quinn both decide to test our patience by bringing out their fussiest behaviour. It usually happens around the time we're trying to quickly prepare and eat dinner. This results in one or both of us walking and bouncing a baby while our dinner sits on the table getting cold.
Enter the Baby K'Tan. This wrap can be put on with a baby tucked into it in a matter of seconds. Tonight, with two fussing babies and a kitchen that needed to be cleaned up, I decided to try carrying both of them. Yes, they're a little on the heavy side, but I'm not going to complain for a minute. The silence is golden and Jenn was able to clean up the kitchen in her usual record time!
It's on days like this that I feel like the luckiest person in the world to be married to someone like Jenn. The girls have been really fussy in the last few days. Teagan wants to be held constantly. She can rarely be put down in her crib or the pack n' play when she's awake. Even if she's eaten, been burped and had a diaper change, she'll still fuss. Quinn has also been more fussy that usual. Two fussy babies definitely tries your patience, especially when it's going on in the middle of the night. Last night, Teagan was impossible to get down after the feedings (and yes, she ate a ton!). Quinn was up every 1 1/2-2 hours. Neither Jenn nor I got much sleep.
Jenn has been absolutely amazing with the girls. Today she "shushed" Teagan to sleep while she lay in the pack n' play for 30 minutes straight. It was at that moment amidst two screaming babies that I couldn't help but smile and think about how lucky I am.
It's been a particularly rough couple of days as new parents but we have done a great job of cutting each other some slack and not taking our frustrations and sleep deprivation out on each other. Jenn is always looking out for me, whether it's by taking the fussy baby out of the room so I can sleep for an extra 45 minutes or by making sure my water glass is always full.
Parenting, from my almost four weeks of experience(!), is hard enough. If you're not in a loving and understanding relationship, I can see how having kids could easily tear two people apart. Even though I'm feeling exhausted and somewhat frustrated this evening, I'm doing okay and know that Jenn and I will be just fine because of the love that we have for each other.
The girls are 3 weeks old! Looking back to May 29th, it's amazing to see how far they've come and how much we have learned in the process. As my Dad says, "parenting is not for the weak." Ain't that the truth. I wish they had a quote for parenting twins.
A few quick updates and lessons learned:
As of yesterday, Teagan is weighing in at 7lbs 13oz and Quinn is 6lbs 4.5oz. My worries about them getting enough food have subsided!
Yesterday I "successfully" tandem breastfed the girls for the first time. I use the quotes because I used a nipple shield with Quinn. While it's only a band-aid solution, it was just what I needed to show me that I can and will feed them at the same time (saving me a ton of time feeding and pumping).
Everyone is different, this includes babies. At the end of the day, do what works for you and your baby. Everyone will give you their two cents but go with your gut.
"Two steps forward, one step back." After my first "successful" tandem feed, the following one was a disaster. Quinn screamed her head off. Such is life! I'm trying hard to not let the steps back discourage me. Today we had 2 successful tandem feeds!
The girls LOVE to be outside (although what baby doesn't?!). We've been getting out for walks, car trips and outings everyday.
At 3 weeks old, you can already see huge personality differences. Who knows if what we think will actually play out though. Teagan is definitely Miss Personality. She's a total ham with so many different facial expressions. She's super cuddly and loves to be held. Quinn, for the most part, is very calm. She's a quiet observer. Yesterday, we were eating dinner on the back deck. Quinn was in her swing, her huge eyes exploring the sky.
We are fortunate enough to have a night nurse take care of the babies for 3 nights per week (a very generous and priceless gift from my parents). She is here from 10pm-6am. I pump and she bottle feeds the twins. Jenn sleeps from about 11pm-6am straight and I get up once to pump around 2am. Regardless, this is what's kept our sanity for the last 3 weeks! To know that we'll be "off-call" and getting some good sleep is the greatest thing any new parent could ask for. Not only that, she is an expert with sleep training. While newborns can't be sleep trained, good habits can be developed at an early age. If this is something you're considering as a new parent, do it! You will not regret it!!
I definitely have more to say but my head isn't on straight these days, so I'll leave it at that for now.
This is a direct quote from a friend of ours who had a baby girl in February. She said this to me about two months ago while we were chatting online. She continued to say that despite it being difficult, stick with it because it will get easier. Now that I have babies of my own, I can say that breastfeeding is HARD and breastfeeding (or attempting to breastfeed) two babies is even harder.
I don't mean to sound negative, if that's how I'm coming across. Yes, I'm finding it difficult and overwhelming, but I'm more determined than ever to master it. I firmly believe that breast milk is best for babies. I have also seen tremendous progress in both babies in two weeks.
For the first few days, neither baby could suck very well, let alone latch. The hospital and our midwives preferred that we stay away from bottles. I would pump and we would feed them through a variety of methods; syringe, cup, finger/tube feeding. The method would change every 24 hours, as would their needs.
Teagan started latching towards the end of week 1 and is now breastfeeding almost exclusively. We are not without our issues though! I constantly worry about whether she is getting enough. In theory, I know that as long as the baby has dirty diapers, she's getting enough. The problem is that Teagan has quickly received the nickname "Hungry, Hungry Hippo" and wants to eat constantly. So now, my current worry is about how efficiently she is eating.
Quinn is the tougher case. She's about 1 1/2 pounds smaller than Teagan. She just started latching two days ago. Yesterday she successfully breastfed for 40 minutes. We had to supplement her afterwards though because her suck is still weak so she probably didn't get a ton. Quinn and I have been to one breastfeeding clinic and are going to another one on Wednesday....
...Enter Jack Newman. This man thinks that he is the god of breastfeeding apparently (I know, a man, weird). If he's able to help us, then I'll be the first to give him that title! He has a world-renowned breastfeeding clinic in Toronto.
I knew breastfeeding would be hard but I don't think I thought that it would be this difficult. Balancing feeding and pumping is challenging and time-consuming. I know that some people say that breastfeeding is supposed to be "natural" and "instinctual" but I certainly don't feel that way right now! If you look at Jack Newman's site and all of his info sheets and video demos, you can quickly see how much experience and technique is needed to truly master breastfeeding.
Teagan, Quinn and I will get it for sure and soon enough they'll be tandem feeding! Stay tuned for a future post that will make all of these worries a bit of history.
Let me preface this post by saying that it is going to be very random, indicative of how I feel these days! Bear with me.
Jenn and I have been parents for 12 days now. Personally, I've gone through every emotion/feeling imaginable! Love, happiness, fear, stress...the list goes on. Figuring out how to care for and feed two babies has definitely been overwhelming, especially for me. Jenn is my rock. She has been unbelievably supportive through it all. I've been extremely emotional (hormonal!). She's always there to give me a hug and tell me it'll be ok. She has this amazing way of calming me. And to add to this, she is a natural with the babies.
I sit here writing while rocking Teagan back and forth in her bouncy chair. Looking at her (and Quinn too, of course), is still quite surreal at times. It's still amazing to think that two weeks ago, I had 12 pounds of baby inside of me.
For the first week, the girls really stuck to a strict 3-hour feeding schedule. They'd eat the amount that they were supposed to, get changed and usually go back to sleep. We were told that the first week is the "babymoon"period, where babies pretty much just eat and sleep and are not awake for very long. This is 100% accurate. Our girls have "woken up" as we were told they would. Teagan is going through a growth spurt so her appetite has grown exponentially in the last four days or so. It seems as though she's always hungry! I end up feeding her every hour and a half sometimes. Quinn is the opposite - she eats like a bird! Getting food into her can be a frustrating process at times. Teagan is already up to 6lbs 13oz - 9oz more than her birth weight. Quinn is steady at her birth weight of 5lbs 6oz. Babies are human too. Sometimes they're hungry and sometimes they're not, just like us. I need to remember that!
We have the most amazing family and friends. I can't even begin to explain how incredible my parents, brothers, aunts and our friends have been. From the moment the girls were born, we have received non-stop love and support that has come in the form of a listening ear, fresh food, cooking meals, helping with laundry, cleaning the kitchen, running errands etc. Almost every single day, my Mom, Auntie Wendy or Auntie Mary have been by the house to help us in any way possible. My parents have come over many times with food for dinner. They cook, put the meal on the table and clean up for us. I feel so blessed and lucky to have the family that I do. My parents have taken Riley and Finn in for a couple of weeks while we settle into parenthood. I feel so relieved to know that they are receiving tons of love and walks. Honestly, I don't think they're going to want to come home!
That's all I'm going to write for now. Jenn has been awesome about taking a ton of pictures of the girls, so I'll definitely post more soon.
Teagan Claire and Quinn Ann! The twins were born on Sunday, May 29th. Teagan, formerly Baby A, arrived at 7:28am weighing 6lbs 4oz and Quinn, formerly Baby B, arrived at 7:41am weighing 5lbs 6oz. Both babies measured 18" long. The girls were completely healthy scoring 9s on their apgars. No hospital time was needed. We were all discharged together in under 48 hours!
Quinn (a rare "open eye" shot!)
And, the long birth story, for those who are interested...
As I mentioned in a previous posts, I was being induced if I hadn't gone into labour on my own by May 27th. In the late afternoon of Friday, May 27th, we went into the hospital so that I could be given the Cervidil injection. It is a gel-like substance that helps prepare the cervix for pitocin, the induction drug. Apparently, everyone decided to go into labour at the same time so the L&D ward was filled to capacity. After 5 hours of back and forth, the on-call OB decided that it would be best to not give me the cervidil because in the event that it sent me into labour overnight, they might not have a nurse for me. We were asked to come back at 6:00am on Saturday morning. By 6:50am on Saturday the cervidil had been injected. Unfortunately, my blood pressure, which had been perfect for the entire pregnancy, spiked to concerning levels. Had it stayed stable, we would have been allowed to go home for several hours while the cervidil worked its magic. Instead, we had to hang around the OB triage until my OB was able to get us into a labour room.
By 1:00pm, we were finally in a room. The cervidil had started working causing me to have some cramping, mild contractions and lower back pain. The initial plan was to take out the cervidil at 2:00pm. I was checked around 6:00pm but was only 2cm dilated. Due to a few emergencies and several people at the end of their labours, the cervidil stayed in until 9:00pm! Looking back, this ended up being for the better, even though I was in much more discomfort. Thankfully, our room was quite large with a long window seat that worked well as a bed for Jenn.
By the time the cervidil was being removed, I was feeling mentally and emotionally drained from a very long day and night before. After talking to my nurse, Elizabeth, it was decided that I'd get an epidural before the pitocin drip was started so that I could get a bit of sleep. Pitocin, the induction drug, sends the body into hard labour with very painful and intense contractions. My main concern with getting the epidural at this stage was whether it would slow down labour, but since I was being induced, I found out that it would not. Had I gone into spontaneous labour, my plan was to stay out of bed as much as possible and avoid the epidural until I was at least 5cm dilated. Like everything else on this crazy weekend, anesthesia was backed up too. By 11:30pm, I finally got my epidural. By midnight, the pitocin drip was started. I was also given some Gravol (like Dramamine) because I had been nauseous since the mid-afternoon. After being at the hospital for 18 hours, it was finally time for both Jenn and I to get some rest.
At around 2am, my OB came in to break my water and check on my progress. I was only 3-4cm by this point so they were anticipating that I wouldn't be ready to delivery until well into the next doctor/nurse shift that started at 7:30am. Typically, people dilate at a rate of 1cm/hour. Throughout the night, I was hooked up to the monitors to watch the babies' heart rates. Teagan's heart rate kept decelerating so I was taken off the pitocin drip not long after I was put onto it. At around 6am, Elizabeth, my nurse, was told to start the pitocin again. When she came in the room, she asked me if anyone had checked me in a while. I said, no. So, at 6am, she checks me, laughs and announces that I'm fully dilated! I went from 3 to 10cm in a matter of 4 hours! Hearing this, Jenn jumped off her of her "bed" on the window seat. Elizabeth goes down the hall to tell our second midwife, Christie, who was at the hospital with another client, that I'm ready. Christie, like everyone else, was shocked. She was told to call Sarah, who was off-call that weekend, but wanted to attend the birth (because she's awesome). Sarah arrived at around 6:30am, just as I was "learning" to push. I pushed with the help of Elizabeth and Sarah in the labour room for about 30-40 minutes before being wheeled into the OR. As I've mentioned in previous posts, because I was having twins, I had to deliver in the OR in the event an emergency c-section was needed. Shortly after arriving in the OR, the "crowd" arrived - midwives, students, nurses, a NICU team and our OB. After pushing for about another 20 minutes, Teagan arrived into the world! She cried immediately. She was wiped off after scoring 9 on her apgar and was then placed on Jenn's chest.
The initial plan was that Sarah would deliver Teagan and the OB would finish up her c-section in the other OR and then come in to deliver Quinn. She arrived in the OR, but instead of taking over, she let Sarah deliver her first set of twins! I was thrilled because this was the outcome I had been hoping for.
After a brief break after Teagan's arrival, I started pushing again. While Quinn's head was down, the back of her head was to my back (if that makes sense). The pressure of the back of her head on my back was intense. I was more determined than ever to get her out! She arrived a few minutes later and was placed on my stomach. Jenn was able to cut Teagan's cord and they actually offered to let me cut Quinn's, since Jenn's hands were tied up by that point! Quinn also cried right away. She was wiped off and also scored a 9, which resulted in the swift exit of the entire NICU staff. While the placentas were being delivered, Teagan was placed on my chest so that Jenn could be the first to hold Quinn. And like that, Jenn and I entered the world of parenthood! It was the most amazing and surreal thing that either of us had ever experienced.
If you're still reading, I'm impressed! I'm sorry for the length of this birth story. I didn't want to be one of "those" people, but apparently I am! I am going to try my best to update more regularly. I love blogging, but will be the first to admit that I'm quite overwhelmed right now! Once we figure things out a bit more, I'll get back on it :)