Thursday, May 31, 2012

1 Year Old!

I was delinquent on my post this month. Things have been busy since we returned from Vancouver on the weekend. On Sunday, we had a small party to celebrate the girls first birthday. They had a fabulous time, as did everyone else.

As everyone says when their child(ren) hit one, "I can't believe how fast the time went!" It seems like just yesterday that I held our itty bitty babies for the first time.

May 29, 2011: Holding my girls together for the first time
May 29, 2012: Look at them now!
  • Quinn has started walking unassisted. While she's not super stable just yet, she will usually take a few steps per day. She likes to get places quickly so she'll often drop down and crawl like the wind instead. Teagan hasn't shown any interest in walking on her own just yet. She walks a ton with the help of a walking toy or our hands. 
  • Both girls have 4 teeth (2 bottom, 2 top)! 
  • Teagan has proved to be quite the dancer! I will post a video soon because it's too good not to share. One of their toys in Vancouver played all sorts of songs. Teagan was fond of one in particular and would play it on repeat. She would gently sway until her favourite part came on. She would then break out into a full on bounce/dance. 
  • Another Teagan update...We joke that she has taken to speaking Russian. She will sometimes babble in this very throaty way. Hmm does that make sense? I've been sitting here trying to explain how she sounds. Perhaps another video is necessary...maybe she could dance speaking Russian. 
Here are a few pictures from their birthday party on the weekend:

My brother, Michael and Quinn
My brother, Rob and Teagan
A family shot before the girls try cake for the first time!
Typical Quinn...she grabbed a massive handful!
Teagan quite enjoyed it too!

Monday, May 28, 2012

It's hard not to reminisce

At this exact time last year, I was anxiously awaiting my pitocin induction. We had been at the hospital for almost 16 hours by this point. They had inserted cervadil at 6am so mild contractions had begun in the early afternoon. I was uncomfortable, exhausted, emotional and completely drained. Little did I know that in less than ten short (but very long) hours, I would be holding my little girls in my arms.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

T & Q do the West Coast

In September, when the girls were about 3 months old, I wrote a post about flying with twins. Let me begin this post by saying that flying with very young babies is a breeze! Flying with two almost 1-year olds...not so much!

We just got back from a week in Vancouver, BC. Fortunately for Jenn and I, my parents joined us. My Dad stayed for a long weekend and then headed back to Toronto but my Mom stayed for the week. The help on the plane and during the week was fantastic. The flight is about 5 hours long, which is a challenge with two restless, active, overstimulated and overtired babies. While they weren't badly behaved, it took a lot of work on our part to keep them entertained. We spent most of our time out of our seats walking the aisles. Quinn walked the aisles with my help, stopping occasionally to stare down other passengers.

The girls were fantastic travelers, apart from some of the challenges of the plane. We stayed in a great suites hotel. Jenn and I had a 2-bedroom suite, as did my parents. The girls had tons of room to roam around. I rented a BOB jogging stroller and some toys from Wee Travel. They were incredible. They picked out the most perfect toys for the girls - they were entertained all week. I highly recommend them if you're doing any Canadian travel to Vancouver or Toronto.

Jenn had to work from Tuesday-Friday, so my Mom and I explored the city with our two little travelers. We walked a ton all week long. The girls visited Granville Island, saw Stanley Park, took the Aquabus water taxi, hiked the Capilano Suspension bridge and even took the ferry over to Gibsons, BC to visit our friend's parents. While the weather was a bit cool and rainy (for us, not the Vancouverites!), it didn't stop us from getting out. Having the extra set of hands was such a nice "break" for me. I think I could get used to it! :)

A walk on the seawall in downtown Vancouver
You almost always have a view of the mountains when
walking in Vancouver
The whole family out for a walk before the rain started
Quinn, the bruiser hikes the Capilano
Suspension bridge.  
Teagan and I on the ferry over to
Gibsons, BC. The picture doesn't do it
justice - the ride is gorgeous.
My Mom and Quinn on the ferry
A picnic in the park on our last day in Van. She wanted
to make sure that every bit of fruit was licked clean from
the tray!
A mountain view.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

May 20, 2011.

On this day exactly one year ago, I woke up feeling exceptionally happy and extremely proud of myself. Shortly after finding out that I was carrying twins, a May 20th delivery date (or later) became my goal. May 20th represented 37 weeks pregnant (full-term for twins) and fully developed lungs.

On this day last year, I was enormous. This is totally unrelated to this post but I'll never forget going to see a movie in mid-May with Jenn and a friend of ours. I waited at the bottom of the movie theater escalator while they had run to grab coffees. A movie just got out and the crowds started down the escalator. People stared at me, most for far too long. Several people made comments - "she's huge!", "Oh my God!" I felt like a circus freak.

I wrote the girls an eviction notice. It continues to be one of Jenn's favourite blog entries. Here is the letter that I wrote to our babies:
Dear inhabitants of my uterus-condo,

I'm writing to inform you both that your time in your current dwellings is coming to an end. I will never forget the day that I you both moved in. It was one of the most memorable and happy days for your Mom and I. At the time, we didn't know that two of you would be sharing the luxury digs, but we found out a few weeks later. While that discovery came as quite a shock to us both, we couldn't have been happier! We hoped and prayed that you both would get cozy and enjoy the food and lodgings until you were strong enough to make it on your own in the outside world. I have greatly enjoyed seeing you both grow from the size of a poppy seed to your current size of an almost watermelon both on the "big screen"and via my expanding belly.

I can imagine that you're quite comfortable in there since your food supply is unlimited and your bedding is soft and waterbed-like, but I would also guess that space is coming at a premium at this point. Baby A, you seem to be growing at the speed of light, taking over some of your sister's space. While I love feeling you both move around the condo, the rib kicks (yes you, Baby A) can be kept at a minimum. The outside world offers much more space to grow, kick and stretch.

As we spoke about many months ago, my condo only offers a 9 month lease option. This is non-negotiable. While you may not remember because you didn't have eyes or ears at the time, you agreed many months ago to a May 20th move out date. I think you will both enjoy the outside world very much. It might be frightening at first but I assure you, there are many, many people who are anxiously awaiting your arrival. You are going to be showered with endless love and support.

Your Mom and I cannot wait to meet you both. We hope that you decide to join us out here soon.

Love always,

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

And we have a walker!

Yesterday afternoon Quinn took her first unassisted steps! Before you start looking for the video...I didn't get one yet. I desperately tried. I'll post one before you know it.

Here's how it went:
In the early afternoon at the park, I stood her up in front of me and unintentionally lured her with a blueberry. I took my hands off of her and she stood there without falling over. After about 5 seconds, she licked her lips and took two steps towards me!

Later that afternoon at home, she was holding into the couch and without warning, let go and took four steps to grab onto Riley! She adores her brothers so it's only appropriate that she walked to him.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

{this moment} Let us out!

A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Monday, May 14, 2012

When are you going to wean?

The simple answer...I'm not.

I'm getting asked this more and more now that the girls are approaching the one year mark. I see no reason to wean. With this being said, I will not be breastfeeding 5-year olds.

I really struggled with breastfeeding after the girls were born. I was overwhelmed and discouraged. If you're new to my blog, you can read about some of my struggles here.

Somehow I just knew that Teagan, Quinn and I would overcome our challenges and breastfeeding would work for us. Or, it may have been my intense desire to prove several people wrong who told me that most people can't breastfeed twins. Tell me that and I become more determined than ever.

I appreciate breastfeeding struggles even more after what we went through. I've talked to lots of new twin moms about it. I usually feel like I've gone back in time, talking to the 'me of last June'. I can see the frustration in their eyes. I try to encourage them with my story and tell them to give it just a little bit longer. I can also appreciate why mothers choose to stop breastfeeding. It is the most difficult thing I've ever done. It takes up so much of your time and doesn't allow you to be away from your baby for more than a few hours. If you are away from baby, you are most likely carting a pump around.

As I've continued to breastfeed the girls, I've read more and more about the amazing benefits of breast milk. It really is liquid gold, as we called it in the early days.

Here are just a few of the benefits of breast milk:
  • It is the baby's immune system before they have one -- it contains secretory IgA, an immunoglobulin, which helps fight viruses and bacteria that baby is exposed to. 
  • It is designed specifically for your baby(ies) - it contains the perfect balance of water, carbohydrates, protein, fat etc. and is all your baby needs for the first six months or more. 
  • When a baby breastfeeds, whatever he or she is exposed to gets absorbed into mom's skin from baby's saliva. Mom's body then makes antibodies which get passed through breast milk to protect the baby.
  • Numerous studies show that breastfeeding decreases a baby's likelihood of developing asthma, allergies, ear infections, diabetes and obesity later in life. 
  • It can be applied to baby's skin to heal eczema and diaper rash. Also, when Quinn had a blocked tear duct at 1-week old, we were told to put a few drops of breast milk in her eye. It cleared up in no time. 
  • Babies have fewer incidences of diarrhea and constipation because breast milk is so easily digested. 
  • It's free! (can't argue with that one!)
  • Selfishly, breastfeeding has helped get me back to my pre-baby weight (and now I'm actually weighing less).
This list could go on for ages. While breastfeeding has been a lot of work on my part over the last 11 months, it works for us. I can't help but smile when I sign "milk" at the girls and they come crawling over to me with big smiles on their faces. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tomato Sauce and Kiwis

"Oh Mommy, your homemade tomato sauce is soooo good!" I love this kid's appetite and willingness to eat everything. Last night they both couldn't get enough of my chicken curry! Good thing my counter tops are clean ;)

Apparently Teagan isn't eating her kiwi pieces fast enough. Quinn eats like her brother, Finn. She shovels another piece in her mouth before the two that are in there have even been chewed.

Monday, May 7, 2012

"Are you getting any sleep?!"

This question was often asked to me by strangers after the usual Are they twins? and How old are they? -type questions. It was usually asked in a very sympathetic way because people were expecting me to tell them how exhausted I was.

If you read my posts from the days of 4 or 5-month old Teagan and Quinn, you would be amazed. Teagan started sleeping from 7pm-7am at the age of 10 weeks. She was a dream. At that age, Quinn would sleep from 7pm-5am. I would feed her for about 10 minutes and she would go back to sleep until 7am. I was getting 7 consecutive hours of sleep! How many parents of 4-month olds can say that?!

We worked hard to get the girls sleeping that well though. We started establishing good sleep habits from day one. 

Don't fret sleep deprived parents, it is our turn now. Sleep regression is far worse. When your baby is 4 months old, you don't expect to get 8 consecutive hours of sleep. The bar was set high for us from early on so now I'm frequent disappointed...and sleep deprived. For the last several weeks, Teagan has been letting out screams/cries at around 10/11pm. Usually it's brief and she's back to sleep, but there have been quite a few days where it turns into full on crying. We've tried everything from letting her cry to nursing her to patting and shushing her. Throughout the night she will often let out several more screams. She usually wakes around 4:30/5am and cries. She's not sick. She's not in pain. If we do pick her up, she falls asleep on our shoulder almost instantly. I believe that she's dealing with separation anxiety from me, but honestly, who knows for sure. She also has a ton of trouble going down for naps. She almost always cries herself to sleep. We have tried standing with her patting her and shushing her but have found that it usually prolongs the issue. The crying is not hysterical and she'll alternate between crying and babbling to herself. I do not want to rock her or nurse her to sleep. I have two babies to deal but also want her to learn how to self-soothe...or I guess I should say RE-learn to self-soothe.

These bedtime sleep issues have caused me a lot of anxiety. I desperately need my sleep. I need my 8 hours. I'm a diva like that. I need the sleep in order to take care of them in the best possible way. After the girls go to bed, I find myself wondering and worrying about how the night is going to go. I spent a portion of my evening googling "sleep regression in 11 month olds," trying to find answers. I know that babies will be babies and unfortunately sleep issues come with the territory. While I know there is nothing I can do to control how the night is going to go, that doesn't make those few hours any easier.

Sleep regression is incredibly frustrating and discouraging when we have experienced amazing, self-soothing sleep-through-the-nighters. Jenn and I are constantly looking at each other asking, "what should we do?" We are at a loss.

This too shall pass. 

Feel free to pass on your encouraging stories of full nights' sleep after rough patches! 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

My Other Relationship

I have another relationship. Don't worry, Jenn knows. We have been together for almost one year. We meet every morning around 8am and every evening around 9pm. Last summer, we spent a lot of time together. We would rendez-vous up to 8 times per day. As the months rolled on, our meetings became less frequent but we would never go a day without seeing each other at least twice. I will admit that sometimes I would prefer to skip our dates but the guilt and the physical (yes, physical) pain that I would feel would be far too great. 

My other relationship's name is Medela Freestyle. Medela is a pump. 

For those of you who have found my blog in recent months, I'll give you a quick back story. Neither of the girls could latch when they were first born. Fortunately, Teagan figured it out after about one week. Quinn, on the other hand, would scream bloody murder at the sight of the boob. She was crying. I was crying. We were both frustrated and stressed. As a result, I pumped. I pumped a lot. Despite my stress, my desire to give the breastmilk was the strongest emotion of all. In between feeding Teagan and pumping, I continued to try to breastfeed Quinn. After many visits to several lactation consultants and weeks of perseverance on both of our parts, she got it!

I continued to pump for the girls' bedtime feed. Prior to Quinn mastering breastfeeding, Jenn and I had established a nice little bedtime routine. The girls would be in their pjs with the lights dimmed and relaxing music playing in the background. A baby lying across each of our laps drinking a bottle of warm, pumped milk. This routine has become a wonderful end to our day. 

While I love our routine, I am thinking about ending my relationship with my "other other-half." If you've pumped, especially if you do it regularly, you will understand why. It can be a pain. The pump is like a medication that I have to take. If we are out at night (a rarity these days!), I feel like Cinderella come 10pm-ish. My boobs start to get sore because I'm an hour past my evening date with Medela. 

My plan is to work on transitioning the girls to nursing at bedtime. Quite honestly though, I'm not sure how to make this transition. My body is also used to two pumps per day, as well as the four times I breastfeed the girls throughout the day. I know that it will adjust.

Anyways, part of me will miss my dates with Medela...ok, maybe it's a very small part. We've been faithfully committed for a long time now. Dear Medela, I think that sporadic dates will be better for our relationship. I will never forget the gift that you allowed me to give to my babies.