Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two and half weeks, an Update!

The girls are two and half weeks and doing great. I haven't had a chance to write a blog post lately, because as you can imagine I'm busy! And when I say busy I mean busy, the days and the nights blending together into a mess of time, so that I often find myself thinking, "what day is it today?" I am sure this is totally normal (and the girls have been amazing thus far), and I'm coping with the help of my mother who, yes, is still here... I'm able to get that extra set of helping hands while I'm still figuring out this whole "how to take care of a baby, excuse me, how to take care of TWO babies" thing.  I'll admit prior to having Samantha and Summer, I'd never even changed a diaper! Don't judge. Exactly what diaper should I have changed prior to this...? There weren't exactly a plethora of small infants around when I was growing up, so it just never happened.

I thought I would write a few thoughts down about what it's been like to be a mother for a little more than two weeks...

My first thought: I can't believe I'm a mother. I can't believe these two girls are mine....I am absolutely amazed I made these two human beings, and that these people were living inside of me two weeks ago. Absolute craziness!

Being a parent to twins is hard work, like seriously challenging. Twins mean twice the everything: two times the diapers, two times the amount of bottles, twice the feedings (if you're doing it alone, twice the time to feed them too), twice the holding and cuddling, twice the laundry, and sometimes this means crying in STEREO (this can actually be sorta funny at times, cause when you're waiting for a bottle to warm, there just isn't a lot you can do to soothe a hungry baby).

And then I think, "this is amazing." When you're holding them, you look into their eyes (when they are awake) and you catch them seeing something for the first time, or turning their head to find your voice, feeling the softness of their skin when they rest on your chest, the grip of their hand around one of your fingers, watching them involuntarily offer up a little smile and you catch a glimpse of the little people they are becoming and it's amazing... like out-of-this-world amazing. 

They are both such individuals already, and I can't wait to see who they will become as they grow and flourish.

Then there are the things no one really talks about: the hormones, oh holy heck the hormones. Fantastic highs and lowest lows. Then the insane swelling, post-delivery.... we're talking legs double their normal size. The challenge of recovering while you're giving 110% of yourself to your babies. And of course, the thing nobody talks about, breastfeeding.  Let me be clear folks, breastfeeding, this  "natural" thing, doesn't seem to come naturally for many new moms... so that leaves most of us frustrated and embarking on a very intimate relationship with a pump. In my case, feeding twins leaves me asking my body to make 40-50oz of pumped milk a everyday! This takes a lot of time AND a lot of effort..... about 20 minutes every 2-3 hours, day and night. It's pure insanity at times, and let's just say the boobs are not appreciating the love "Pumpy" (what I named my rental hospital pump) is bestowing upon them... but then I see Summer and Sam take a bottle that I made for them and know I'm doing what's best for them. It empowers me to keep forging ahead even though it's a huge time commitment in an already very full day.

Grandma posing with the girls
Finally, I have to mention my family. How wonderful they are, how much my mom and Jon have given to be there for me before and after the girls arrived..... This has been a crash course for all of us, and I seriously could not have done this first couple of weeks without all hands on deck. My mom stayed up till 4 in the morning for a week so both Jon and I could get some sleep and recover from the hospital. She's been doing laundry, cooking, going to the store, making bottles, washing bottles, feeding the girls, cuddling them, changing diapers....her help has been immeasurable and I am forever grateful to her. She leaves next week to go home after a very long stay in Portland (luckily during one of the nicest parts of the year) and we're sorry to see her go!! But I am sure she'll be thrilled to be amongst her things again and enjoying the dog days of summer in Flagstaff.

Dad showing off his tandem holding skills
Lastly, Jonathan... you know how you meet some people and just know they were meant to be a parent ? Like, paternal love just exudes from them, even towards children that aren't their own. This has always been Jon. Now, two weeks in and I look at him and I see that he is the person he was always meant to be, the father to Summer and Samantha. He loves on them, jumps in without hesitation, he sings made up songs, encourages at 2:00am them when they finish a bottle by saying "crushed it!" and does it with a kind heart full of eagerness and love. As corny as it might sound to write it and profess this to the world... Jonathan is the most incredible person I've ever known. Seeing him with the girls, I know they are profoundly lucky to have him as their dad.

One big happy family
So! What's next? Who knows?! The world is our oyster... I'll work to keep you updated as we move through milestones and check in from time to time, maybe even with some motherhood reality checks.

But for right now, I'm soaking it all in, living for today and not longing for tomorrow. In other words, I'm exactly where I want to be, falling in love all over again with all of the blessings life has given me.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Birth Story

I haven't had a chance to write out the birth story until now, As you might imagine I have had my hands quite full since last week and getting on the computer to compose a post was pretty much out of the question.  But I've carved a few moments to write....So here it goes; 

I went into early labor on Thursday July 31st, in the afternoon ... Mom and I, in effort to try to bring on labor for the two weeks prior had been completely unsuccessful and I'd come to terms with the idea that these girls might never leave the womb.... We set out to do a little slow waddle shopping at the mall, we visited some stores and then decided to stop in and grab a small bite to eat, about halfway through lunch I noticed my contractions were about every five minutes or so, as to not alarm my mom or to get my hopes up, I just continued to eat and on our way back to the car, I said, right so my contractions have been 5 minutes apart since lunch! We headed back home and waited another hour where the contractions stayed consistent  and ultimately Jonathan and I went to the hospital to get checked out.... they monitored me and confirmed I was in early labor, after the on call doctor for my office already happened to be at the hospital she stopped in and and decided to schedule an induction for the next morning at 5am. I was super thrilled to hear this news! After 37 weeks of carrying these girls in my tummy and being 4cm dilated for almost two weeks, I was READY... there just wasn't a lot of space for anything else.... uncomfortable had reached a new state of meaning for me on a daily basis.  

We were sent home to "rest" for the night... and come back in the morning. I didn't sleep a wink, but took the time to at least do my best to rest my body.... as I got up that morning  and was fixing some toast and smoothie before heading in, my water miraculously broke on it's own! All that waiting and here the day of my induction my water broke on its own anyways, it was meant to be! 

I resisted having this picture taken, but now I'll admit I'm glad I have it. Literally right before walking about the door to go to the hospital. 37 weeks and 1 day. 

We headed on in for our induction appointment feeling confident that things were going  to go perfectly and we'd be meeting our girls SOON.... Of course things rarely go as planned with labor, and twin babies... After 15 hours of laboring, my contractions were strong and closer together (with the help of pitocin), but completely unproductive & we were faced with a choice to continue trying for a natural birth or move forward with a c-section, since there was no medical reason that labor wasn't progressing. After many tears, and with a heavy heart I thought about it and truly believed that the signs were not promising, and the volume of monitoring and additional measures that were being taken because of my prolonged labor the image in my head of the birth story I'd hoped for just wasn't materializing. I just couldn't fathom having our girls stressed through another 14+ hours of labor.... so together Jon and I decided it was best to opt for the c-section.  

My doctor, the sweetest most amazing doctor, missed his camping trip and stayed to perform my c-section that night, I am so grateful for his gift of time and compassion for what was an extremely challenging decision to make, during my spinal I was scared and worried and he stood in front of me put his arms around my shoulders and let me put my head on his chest and he assured me all was going to be ok, and I was making a good decision. Ultimately, he was right, everything did go smoothly.. and while not the image of birth I had in my head, I wouldn't change anything about the moment I first heard their cries from behind the curtain and seeing how excited Jon was to show me the picture of Samantha on our camera till they could bring her and Summer around for me to see and touch them. It was the most amazing sound of my life, and some of the most solidifying moments of our marriage to me... feeling Jonathan sit next to me, and squeeze my hand through this time was an indescribable act of love. When I was finally able to see the girls, I just couldn't believe it, they were here, they were mine, and I made these magnificent human beings, TWO of them.  

Samantha Gale 8:16pm at 5lbs 5oz 18.5inches long (left)
Summer Ann  8:18pm at 6lbs 2oz 19.25inches long (right)

Samantha & Summer

My first time seeing and holding them, the single best moment of my life. 

Our first family photo.

We're all together, and elated!
I'm grateful for a body that sustained these lives, and I can't wait to share all the pictures, videos and joy along the way with you all.