Thursday, July 31, 2008

Infants are the Most Influential People in the Galaxy and They Won't Take No for an Answer and They Hurt My Ears Sometimes

Reporting live: 4:17a.m.

I have just debated with Lily for approximately 25 minutes on the topic of "eating off schedule."  A schedule is a schedule and countless moms I know have said to obey the schedule and not to get them off the feeding schedule and whatever you do don't feed one without feeding the other.
Wake the other one up to feed them too or you will NEVER sleep.  This has worked up until this point when 
a) 2 ounces isn't enough to last 3 hours
b) Lily is trying to break me down

Here is what happened:

She grunted at about 3:34 this morning that "now might be a good time to eat?"  
I said, "Pshhh, feeding time isn't until 5a.m.!"  
"Naaaaa, what about now?" she tried again.  
"Oh come on... now there is only like 54 minutes until 5.  How about this nice rubbery paci?" 
[the infant then projected the paci out of her mouth onto the bedroom floor in protest of ]
I made my final offer, "You want to get in bed with me?  Will that hold you over till 5a.m." [infant grins and lays by my side for about 7 seconds then]

So I thought that is what she wanted... the story goes on.
I pick up Lily and we walk into the kitchen.  She is screaming into my ear this piercing cry that makes me bounce her up and down and repeat a combination of "shhh, PLEASE" and "please stop please stop crying, seriously, I am pouring your milk as fast as I can, please stop screaming in my ear."  As the milk is heating up on the counter I go to the couch to change her diaper.  She screams through this process also so again I offer the paci; she accepts.  I go to get the milk and even though she is not scheduled to eat for another 45 minutes or so I say to myself "feed her now she is hungry forget the schedule OBVIOUSLY my child needs food I'll wake Harper too this just means I'll sleep till 7 instead of 8 then wake them up again to get back on the schedule yea this is the right thing to do ok the milk is hot let's see now where is the boppy oh here it is where is the baby?...."  I stumble back to the couch and there she is fast asleep.  
"Seriously?  All you needed was a diaper change?"
No wonder you wouldn't accept my bargains earlier.

So now it is 4:39a.m. I am pumping because it would be painful to go BACK to sleep only to have to get up again at 5 to actually feed except exactly 30 seconds ago she screamed bloody murder again to the point I had to say, "Nick I'm sorry please go feed her her milk is warm its on the couch."  And when someone has been screaming in your ear for almost an hour you feel that kind of desperate where you think and talk in run-on sentences....

It's 4:42 I am not asleep feeding has gone from every three hours to whenever my children scream bloody murder and I give them food but why don't they do this during the day why is it only at night that they throw these fits will we ever sleep i have heard of babies doing this up through the first year oh my sweet Lord give me the strength....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Likes and Dislikes

Lately there have been little things that make me happy and little things that annoy me very much.

I like:
being home and the t.v. being off
sugary cinnamon bun coffee creamer, i know its the definition of empty calories but I don't care
when my husband begs me not to clean the house today so he can do it when he gets home
freezable meals
clorox wipes
never using a blow dryer in the summer time
wearing flip flops in the house

I dislike:
NO I HATE - when people unload their shopping cart and leave the buggy when they are through OR WORSE just push it a few feet from where they should be deposited to make themselves feel better for not just leaving it in an empty car slot.  LAZY!!! 
getting calls on my cell phone whose numbers I don't recognize and them not leaving a message
wheat bread, along the same lines as coffee creamers, i should eat wheat bread but Sunbeam is just so much tastier
cheap facial moisturizers that ooze off of your face the nanosecond that you even think of humidity
blogs that have music on them... BECAUSE when I X out of that blog as I scroll through my blog tabs the music blogs shut down my internet... did you know that you do that?  I am not annoyed at you, music blogger, just the fact that any blog I read that has music on it (about 6) has to be grouped with the other music blogs in a different web server so that it doesn't shut my internet down - and one more thing... I can't hear your music anyway because when my blog tabs are all up in a row on the top of my screen waiting to be read that means like 6 songs are trying to play at once so I have to mute my computer anyway... but I am not complaining, I am still devoted to each and every blog on my list :)


(I never say ciao, where did that come from?)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Is There Really a Choice?

It is 12:50 a.m. and I am drinking coffee.  Weird.  Who does this?  I'll tell you who...
a mommy and/or nighttime security guard.  I am one of these.

Tonight, me and some friends gathered to watch a movie.  When the movie was over at 11:30p.m. and people went home, Nick got in bed, as would anyone who has to get up and go to work the next day.  But I am staying up.  The babies have to eat at 2a.m. and if I go to sleep now it will just be painful to wake up from one hour of sleep.  Plus, I have almost an entire wardrobe of laundry to do and a kitchen to be cleaned so I figured why even try to go to sleep between now and then?  I even volunteered to do the 5a.m. feeding as well.  Usually we do one or the other but I also took into account that 2-3 hours of slumber interrupted then followed by 2-3 more hours of sleep is just silly.  I would rather take the 2 and 5 feedings, let Nick do 8 a.m. which means I get to sleep from 5:30a.m. till 11:00a.m. then wake up and feel completely recharged right?  Wrong, but this is being a new parent.

There is also the fact that I am writing this post in the dark on the back porch.  Typically I would be afraid to be alone outside at such a late hour but with being a parent comes courage.  Courage to take on new life and responsibilities.  Courage to not refer to someone who might know better and just learn through trial and error.  Courage to put one's own wants and needs aside for the well being of another and courage to just accept the unknown.

Every day presents new challenges and new hopes.  Everyone asks me, "what will you do when it is time to go back to work?"  This is the question that I have to answer with a big FAT "I don't know."  My head says I have to find some way to bring in the money but my heart says my babies need me here with them.  If you are the praying type please continue to lift up my family regarding this matter.  I have never wanted something so badly as to be a stay at home mommy.  No one can love them like I can and no one can care for them like I do.  I am reminded of Moses' mother who put her baby in a basket and let him travel down the river to somewhere she trusted that God would take care of her son.  Can you imagine how painful and terrifying that would be?  How did she agree to do that?  We all know the story of Moses and how he became a great leader and messenger of God but only because His mother had the choice.  If only I had such faith to "let go and let God" - a common phrase taught to me by my own mother when I was a struggling teen.  

It doesn't seem that there are many options for the care taking of my babies at this time.  Daycare is too expensive and the thought of someone coming into my home to raise my children just breaks my heart.  I am not immediately faced with the difficult choice of returning to work or walking away but the time will come.  A close friend of mine told me, "watch Him work, leave all of the consequences to Him."  Do you in your own heart know that this amazing God we worship knows our desires and has a plan? It is a risk to say that I believe He will work this out because to actually say it is to also take the chance of having to admit that His plan may be opposite from my desires.  It makes me shudder to think of it... I mean really think of it.  But after all isn't this what "blind faith" is all about?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Did I Do It?

When I was in high school, during the summers and before I could drive, I would ride my bike from home to the school gymnasium to practice volleyball with the JV and Varsity teams. The day's schedule went something like this:
-7:00a.m. eat breakfast
-7:15a.m. ride my bike to school (if I had to guess I would say 5-8 miles)
-8:00a.m. to 10:00a.m. Volleyball practice
-10:00a.m. cycle back home for a quick lunch and to change clothes, maybe take a nap or maybe fake summer reading for an hour.
12:15p.m. cycle back to school for more practice
1:00p.m. to 3:00p.m. Volleyball practice
3:15p.m. cycle back home

Do the math. That is 20 miles of cycling per day, 5 days a week = 100 miles per week. 4 hours of volleyball drills and scrimages per day, 5 days per week, 20 hours of volleyball per week. That is a LOT of exercise. I have to say that I was in the best shape of my life... when I was a kid and didn't even appreciate it!

Yesterday I walked 2 miles, briskly, carrying 2 pound weights in each hand at 4:00p.m. After my walk I played with Ali in the yard. I threw the ball and ran with her to fetch it. In all I ran the length of my back yard 8 times. I felt so incredibley heavy and thought to myself when did running become so hard? For dinner I prepared 1 broiled salmon filet, a serving of asparagus tips and summer squash sauteed in olive oil and a blend of fresh spices, with one glass of white table wine. Of course I am fully aware that I just had two kids two months ago so there is that to be said but there is also an extra amount of pounds I'm just carrying around because of laziness and over indulgence on things like Mexican white cheese dip, way too many carbs, and lately... icecream.

My new t.v. fetish is BBC's "You Are What You Eat." The host, Gillian McKeith displays an individual's food consumption for an entire week and then creatively calculates that person's favorite foods into a mind blowing illustration such as "this is the amount of crisps you eat in a month (as she points to a dumpster full of chip bags)... often bringing her clients to tears. It is in essence their "wake up call." The show really puts in perspective the danger that processed, hormone packed, sugar loaded foods can put us in. In just 8 weeks of eating as much veggies, whole grains, and fruits, along with moderate exercise the participants undergo a complete transformation. It is very very inspiring to me.

But is it realistic? Who has the money, first of all, to afford these natural, whole, organic foods? Who has the time to prepare the meals? My counters are already crowded enough with a toaster, a coffee maker, and baby bottles; don't even think about adding a blender or steamer to the lot!

We aren't getting any younger. I am willing to bet that everyone reading this post is 25 or older. Have you noticed your body changing or shifting or exericse getting harder?

What is your favorite routine and what is one healthy choice you make daily in order to make/keep yourself motivated in staying or returning to health?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Small Tasks, Big Accomplishments

Saturday used to be the day that I would reserve to get all the "stuff" done that I needed to get done.  Clean the house, do all of the laundry, balance the checkbook, take a walk, cook a meal, blog, etc.  This is not the case lately because lately I have become a mother of infant twins.  I find myself saying things like:
"Ok, what is something I can eat that requires the least preparation and easiest clean up?"
"Now, I will wash these towels."
"I should go get the mail and bring the trash in."
"It's been two days since I washed my hair, what's one more half day?"
"Who has time to put on a bra?"

I was talking on the phone with a friend and was telling her some of these thoughts and we laughed when I explained the advantage of having babies that only weigh 4 pounds:  you can put one over your shoulder, hold onto their feet, and clean the kitchen while the other one sleeps on the couch barricaded by pillows.  And if moving room to room you can do this with both of them on opposite shoulders.  Also, you can achieve two handed tasks like spreading mayo on a sandwhich if you hold your 4 pound baby like a cell phone: pinned on your face between your cheek and your shoulder.  This also works to burp them.  I won't be able to "tote" them as easily the bigger they get.

Back to the point.  I have so many "small tasks" to get done but am finding that even the smallest of which, unloading the dishwasher, must be worked into a strict regime.

I am not complaining.  In fact, I have NEVER been happier and more appreciative of the small things in life.  There is something extremely liberating about going all day bra-less, un-showered, and having the ability to say that I took care of what mattered most, my family, the rest can wait.

And a pretty remarkable "by the way":

I forgot to post that the day before we brought the babies home from the hospital it had been storming outside and I looked out and saw two rainbows.  I am not kidding.  We all know what rainbows symbolize in the Christian faith, God's promise after the flood that He would never flood the Earth again... I believe that promise is open for interpretation and application.  Mine was that after our long storm in the NICU, the babies were coming home, and it would be a while, if ever, before a "storm" like that would happen again.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here We Are

Day 4. The babies are doing so GOOD and so are Nick and I as parents! Getting up every three hours still to feed but we are on our way to paving a pretty smoothe schedule.

Thursday we visited the eye doctor. Both girls are being checked for the development of their retinas. Dr. P. said that we are watching closely with the expectation that they do not development a disease called Threshold Disease that could lead to blindness. There is a laser surgical procedure in case they do but he said it is very dangerous. Neither baby is showing that they have this condition but we are just keeping a close watch with weekly appointments over the next couple of months. It is sort of uncomfortable to them because he has to use a metal eye speculum to hold their eyes open and view the retinas. They cry for a minute and then have dilated eyes the next fews hours. I had a talk with both babies and explained to them that God helps us see... from our hearts, and from our eyes, so let Him be in control. No worries.

Last night Nick came home from being out of town and brought me a dozen white roses and prepared my favorite comfort food: poppyseed chicken and white rice with green beans. He is so thoughtful and is always so helpful around the house. I am thankful that I have a husband who dives right into the responsibilities of being a father and a husband with no complaints.

The babies are stirring right now because it is time for their noon feedings. Here are some photos taken last night of them on the their Boppy Loungers while Nick and I watched "Last Comic Standing." We like Louis, Eliza, and that tattoo guy who does impressions; I can't remember his name...

P.S. Thanks for all of the comments on my last post... my record breaking 19 comments!!! I win!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The day finally arrived. We brought our baby girls home. Exactly two months from the day they were born Harper and Lily were strong enough to be brought home with us. So far, being a mother is every bit of the dream that I have always imagined. With every cry I get excited because I know they need something and I am the one to give it to them. Each time I feed them they stare at me the most intense stare I have ever been a part of. Watching them sleep I get tears in my eyes because they no longer have tubes and wires attached to them and I know that they are experiencing peace in a way that they have not been able to experience before... quietness, comfort, closeness, and hope.

Today I have had them all to myself with the exception of a visit from their "Moomps" (my mother) who stopped by to admire them and fancy me. I was so excited for my own mother to come and see me being a mother. I have never felt so proud to show off what I believe I am doing better and with more purpose than anything I have ever been assigned to do before.

Here are a few pictures of the girls at "home."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Great Weekend!

What a great weekend!

Friday night I cooked fried chicken nuggets, corn bread, and veggies for some of "the boys" -Jason, John, and Nick. Unfortunately the LJM was unable to be with us because she had prior commitments in Birmingham. Later that evening the Lucas' joined us for what we all do best, porch time! Isn't that what summer nights are for? What I love the most about my friends is that we can all sit around outside and talk about everything under the sun till the wee hours of the night. At 11:00p.m. the nurses called and said they were out of breastmilk so Jac and I got to go for a late visit and feed the babies - always a treat. It was fun to goof off with the nurses too. So when we got back to our house we still weren't done conversating which means...

Saturday, Nick and I slept in pretty late... so late I won't even tell you what time. But we couldn't sleep ALL day because we had a wedding to go to in Birmingham. My senior year at Alabama my roomate Leslie and I shared a teeny tiny room together and became really good friends- close for quirky little reasons like similar favorite/significant songs, a love for animals, both of us known for being a little too forward sometimes, and a spiritual connection as well. Anyway, her wedding was at 5p.m. on Saturday evening. Nick and I left Montgomery at 3:30. In Alabaster we crept down traffic jammed I-65 going 20 MPH for 1 hour. We finally pulled up to the church at 5:45pm just in time to see the bride and groom come out of the church doors to have their pictures taken. So sad!!! We were too late. We did follow everyone else to the reception and had a wonderful time. Here are some photos of me with my handsome husband, me and the bride, and me with some of my sorority sisters!

After the wedding we came to Montgomery and went out to Sinclair's and Bud's with the Lucas', always a good time.

Sunday morning we woke up and went to "The Court" to have breakfast prepared by Luke - crisp bacon, fried eggs, and pancakes with maple syrup, yum. After breakfast we went to the hospital to visit Harper and Lily. Here is a quick update:

The babies are back to feeding every three hours using a bottle. They both weigh a little over 4 pounds and are maintaining temperatures fantastically. We hope that they will be home this week! Today Nick and I visited them from 2p.m. till 6p.m. and had a really great time. The nurse took their feeding tubes out and cleaned the tape off of their faces so we took full advantage of being able to take beautiful photographs tape thought they were beautiful before? Just look now...

Harper is on the left, Lily is on the right.
Harper is on the left and Lily is on the right.
This time, Lily is on the left and Harper is on the right.


So tonight Nick and I are relaxing at home before the new work week begins! It was a great weekend!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Still waiting...

Well we thought that we might get to bring Harper and Lily home on Thursday.  Their feedings had been (quickly) ordered to be bottle fed every three hours.  This sounded a little soon and surprising but we didn't ask any questions because they have done so well up until now so we just figured this was them being the overachievers they seem to be!  Well on Thursday morning when I went to help bottle feed at 11a.m. their nurse told me that they really struggled to meet the demands of bottle feeding through the night and by morning were taking the milk through their tubes again which of course means no going home quite yet.  It isn't that they can't do the sucking the bottle and breathing thing.  They can do this quite well however, this activity takes a lot of energy for these little babies and what happens is they actually start burning more calories attempting to feed than they receive from the milk.  We know that they were working too hard and neutralizing the caloric intake because in the last 3 days their weights have stayed the same as opposed to gaining 1-2 ounces per day like they have been doing up until this point.  So we stopped the round the clock bottle feedings and switched to alternating bottle and tube feedings.  This is NOT a set back.  All this means is that Harper and Lily gave a firm answer to the question, "are you ready to feed all day like big babies do and go home?"  They answered, "not quite, we need more time Mommy."  And that is just fine with me.  They are still premature!  Yesterday was only the 36 week gestational age.  Even if they were 6 and 7 pounds born this early they may not be doing as well as they are now.  To be bottle feeding at all only weighing 4 pounds and less than 36 GA weeks old is very good.  We are so proud of them.  

We will continue to encourage these precious babies and hopefully be talking about bringing them home soon!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Eye Opener

Please read today's post by Pastor Jay Wolf, senior pastor of First Baptist, Montgomery, Alabama.  His daughter in law, who lives with her husband and baby in Los Angeles, is 26 years old and suffered from a massive brain stem stroke back in April.  She was not expected to have lived and if she did doctors said she would be paralyzed and never regain consciousness.  She has beat all of the odds and although she has a long way to go in regaining her strength, including such basic tasks as learning to swallow again, doctors, friends, and family have every hope that she will be restored and able to care for her 6 month old baby again.  She is whispering one word utterances and signing to communicate.  She has even shown signs of her own sense of humor.  Just last week she whispered and signed to her pastor/father in law, "what has happened to me?"  Her husband Jason was a friend of mine in high school and from what I hear has been so strong and supportive through all of this.  Anyway, if you have time and need some encouragement and inspiration read Pastor's post (click "pastor's post).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

New Digs!

Great News:  Harper and Lily are really big girls!  They are both 4 pounds! Both babies are still feeding from the bottle at 11am, 5pm, and 11pm and doing SO well at that.  Also, they moved out of their apartment (isolette) and into an open crib together!  We are so excited because this means that as long as they can maintain their own body temperatures in the open crib and continue to increase their bottle feedings the closer they are to coming home.  WOW.
Nick and I have also gotten to help with bath time at nights which is really fun.  Man how they throw fits when they are not all bundled up in their blankies!  Here are a few recent pictures taken Sunday night.  Harper is the baby with no tape on her face because she pulled her feeding tube out (for the one millionth time).

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Getting Closer!

We have reached the 35 week Gestational Age mark which means the babies are eligible to come home!  However, there are still just a few things that need to happen first.  Remember I mentioned a while back that they must be able to maintain temps and suck, swallow, and breathe on their own.
Their real age is 51 days.  Thursday they were 7 whole weeks!  Wow.

Lily weighs 4.0 pounds as of Friday night!  She is bottle feeding 3 times per day!  The other 5 feedings are still being tube fed.
Harper weighs 3 pounds 13 ounces and is bottle feeding 2 times per day!  The other 6 feedings are still being tube fed.
Once they both reach 4 pounds, which will probably be by tomorrow or Monday, the babies will be moved into an open crib and nurses will see how they maintain their own temperatures as they will have to do when they get home.  Also, feeding should move the the "ad lib"phase which means as often as the nurses see fit.  I filled out a set of discharge papers for both of them on Friday to have ready so that there is one less thing to worry about when the doctor says it is ok to take them home! 

Nick and I have changed diapers, fed, learned to successfully burp them ( which feels so rewarding) , given baths, and asked lots of questions we might need to know such as how often do they poop and how often do we take their temperatures once they come home.  While I was pregnant I was flipping through "What to Expect When Expecting" daily... I may need to go and pick up "What to Expect in the First Year."

What are some good baby books that you mommies have found helpful?  Are there any - or should I just let good parenting skills come naturally ;)

Here are a couple of good shots!
My parents, Moomps and Pa, holding the babies for the first time and one of them in their bed; look at Harper's bright eyes and how huge the pacifier looks compared to her tiny face!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008