Monday, November 30, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Friday night we decided that we would try to put the babies to sleep in their cribs in the nursery. Until now they've been sleeping in their bassinets in our room, but they never really sleep well. We thought maybe they'd be more comfortable in their nice cozy cribs, so we gave it a whirl. Let's just say that first night will go in the books as one of our worst nights on record. The babies just did NOT want to sleep! We were up with one of the every hour. Not fun. Still, nights like that are bound to happen so we didn't want to blame it on the cribs. We decided to try again last night (Saturday) and this time we got one of the BEST nights on record - both babies slept soundly from 12:00 am to almost 5:00 am in the cribs. They just love to keep us on our toes. We'll do it again tonight and see what we get!
Saturday night was exciting not only for the good night's sleep but for the fact that Joe and I went out together! This was the first time that the two of us have gone somewhere alone without the babies and the first time we've left both babies in the care of someone else. Joe's parents and my mom have each watched Charlie solo once, but no one had ever stayed alone with both babies. Still, after our rough night Joe and I realized we needed a break, so Joe's parents came over and Joe and I headed out for 2 hours on our own. We grabbed a quick dinner at China buffet, then headed to Wal-Mart where we did some Christmas shopping for Charlie and Lily. We hit up Cold Stone (mmmm, pumpkin pie ice cream) before heading home for the night. It was great to get out together for a bit and we hope to do it again soon!
Today Joe went out to run some errands and was unfortunately rear-ended in the parking lot of BJ's. There was no damage to the car and Joe is thankfully okay except for a sore neck. We're hoping his neck doesn't get any worse, but we're grateful that the accident was as minor as it was. It's always something!
And I almost forgot! Earlier this week we got some good news regarding the babies and their apnea monitors. The information download from the monitors from the past month showed that Lily had only one episode and Charlie had none! Thanks to their good behavior, Lily is now allowed to be free of the monitor when she is not sleeping or in her car seat and Charlie is allowed to stop taking his caffeine. After he has been off the caffeine for a week he can start using the monitor less as well. We're very excited to be making steps away from the monitors, and it's great to be able to unhook the babies and walk around the house with them. Lily loves going upstairs at night to pick out her pajamas and her outfit for the next day, and Charlie likes hanging out in the office with Daddy. Hopefully they will be completely wireless very soon!
We get a lot of questions about the monitors, so this picture shows how the leads are attached to the babies. They each wear a belt around their chest with the sensors attached, and the wires connect to the actual monitor. Whenever we take the babies anywhere we have to take the monitors (which are in handy little carrying cases) with us and keep the babies connected. (Charlie asks that you please overlook his sexy diaper/sock combo. He is usually much more stylish.)
Lily, always looking at something!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
- We are thankful for our amazing babies Charlie and Lily – true miracles and more than we ever could have wished for.
- We are thankful that we had the privilege of being mommy and daddy to our beautiful Annaleigh, if only for far too short a time.
- We are thankful to all the family, friends and total strangers who have given us so much love and support this past year. We never would have survived without you.
- We are thankful to the amazing staff at the St. Peter’s NICU for saving our babies lives.
- We are thankful for each other and that the love we have is strong enough to see us through anything.
So today we are thankful. This has been both the best and worst year of our lives. But as we sit down today to eat our turkey with Charlie and Lily snuggled in our laps, we will be thankful for every moment of it, because it led us here. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Monday, November 23, 2009
On Friday, we did get out of the house and it was lots of fun! Charlie, Lily and I met my friends Trish, and her twins Angela and Daniel, and Gretchen, and her twins Michael and Daphne, in the park for an afternoon walk. It was something that I could actually do with other babies, since everyone was in their own stroller and we were outside. We had a great time strolling through the park, and learned that three sets of multiples attract a lot of attention. We look forward to doing it again soon!
This morning I took Lily to the pediatrician in response to her strange behavior of the past week. We think it's her reflux bothering her, so her doctor prescribed Zantac for us to try. He said it should help relieve some of the discomfort she feels after eating. I had it flavored with cherry so she can enjoy it :)
Otherwise, things are good! I spent the last two nights trying to get a Christmas card photo of the babies and have failed so far. Charlie and Lily just don't seem to share my vision! We'll keep working on it though! Joe and I are really looking forward to the holidays! This time last year we were very depressed after coming off our second failed IVF. This year, we will be celebrating the season with our two little miracles and we couldn't be happier! We can't wait to hang stockings, sing the babies Christmas carols (okay, I may have already started that) and set up a tree. We plan to take the babies on a drive to look at Christmas lights and hopefully through one of those holiday light shows, and possibly take them with us to pick out a tree if it's not too cold. Thanksgiving will be great too! We're going to take the babies to Crackers house for dinner - the guest list consists of just my parents, sister and Nana, so we know we can enjoy ourselves in a nice, germ-free environment! Bring on the turkey!
Finally, I need to thank my awesome friend Lauren. On Saturday, Lauren stocked my freezer with delicious homecooked meals - ziti, meatloaf, soup, taco bake. Be sure to visit her blog for all the recipes! This is so wonderful because there is rarely time in the day right now for me to manage to make dinner. Joe and I are so thankful for her and all the nice things she and her husband Pat have done for us this past year. This was the same day that Joe's aunt Rhea and Uncle Larry stopped by with a full meal they'd made for us - meatloaf, pasta, bread, salad and cookies! And just last week, Joe's friends Paula and Josh sent us ziti, bread, salad and cookies too! We have the best friends and family!
Trish, Gretchen and I enjoy a nice fall day in the park with our little loves.
Friday, November 20, 2009
I have been thinking of that night for the past few days, after I looked at the calendar and realized that it has indeed been almost three months since we said goodbye. So it was ironic that yesterday I received in the mail a gift from my wonderful Multiple Mamas friends. A box arrived in the mail containing cards with sweet messages from my friends along with the beautiful necklace above. The necklace has three charms - one with an "L" one with a "C" and an angel charm with Annaleigh's name and birthdate engraved on the back. The women indicated that they chose the necklace so that I could always carry all my babies with me wherever I went. I LOVE the gift. I often worry that somehow Annaleigh will start to slip from my mind. I know that will never happen, but I love the idea of constantly having a reminder of her on me at all times.
Annaleigh herself though serves as a reminder to me each and every day. On those nights when Charlie or Lily are fusssing and whining at 2:00 am and I want to scream in frustration and exhaustion and abandon them to cry on their own, I think of Annaleigh. I think of how I would treat my beautiful girl if she was given back to me, and suddenly I find the energy and the patience to rock my babies, sing to them, cuddle them and help them get back to sleep. Annaleigh helps me be a better mommy each and every day, and for that I am beyond grateful. I think of her watching me and I want her to be proud of me. I hope she is. And I hope that wherever she is she has someone watching over her, taking care of her and giving her all the love that Joe and I would be giving her here on Earth.
In Charlie and Lily news, both are doing well. Lily has still been acting a bit off so I called the pediatrician and spoke to the phone nurse. She does not think that Lily is teething, rather that her reflux is acting up. She said that babies with reflux often want to eat even when they are not hungry because the food coats their stomachs for a short while and makes them feel better, which would explain Lily's desperation to have her bottle but then only eating a small amount. The doctor should call me back today and he may want to start her on some reflux meds. Hopefully he can do something to make her feel better!
Yesterday the babies and I got out of the house and took a drive. We headed to CVS to the drive-thru to pick up Charlie's caffeine prescription, but on the way we detoured to my mom's office so her co-workers could get a look at the babies. Of course, I could not bring them in the office or let anyone handle them because of RSV season, but her colleagues were happy to come outside and peek at Charlie and Lily as they lounged in their car seats in my CRV. At one point there had to be at least 12 people vying for a peek in the car doors - Charlie and Lily are two popular babies! Thanks, Besam! We'll come back in the spring when Charlie and Lily can give a proper visit.
This weekend is shaping up to be busy. I recently became a Pampered Chef consultant to help make ends meet and I have two shows scheduled - thanks Aunt Linda and Lauren! I enjoy doing the shows and love making some extra money, but I HATE leaving the babies, even for a few hours. While it is nice to have a break and adult conversation, by the end of the shows it's all I can do not to bolt out the door and race home to them. Luckily Joe will be right there with them the whole time and I know they will like the Daddy time! With Joe dealing with after-school meetings and parent/teacher conferences this week, the babies have been missing him! We're all looking forward to the Thanksgiving break next week so we can spend some quality family time together! Well, I may pop out on Black Friday for a little shopping, but I won't be long ;)
"Hmmm...those fishies on my swing are STILL swimming! Interesting..."
"Mommy!!!! I need my bottle NOW!"
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Head over to Multiples and More to check out our blog shout out! We're so excited to be recognized by such an awesome community. Thank you Lani, and everyone at Multiples and More!
(While you're there, be sure to check out some of the other multiples blogs - they are great reads!)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Click HERE to see the Fight for Preemies Band created in Charlie and Lily's honor and to donate to the March of Dimes in their name.
I don't get the feeling that she's sick - she has no fever, no cold symptoms, no signs of stomach upset, etc. Last night I had coffee with two friends who each have boy/girl twins (hi, Gretchen and Trish) and after describing Lily's behavior they both told me that it sounded like the beginning stages of teething. This could be possible, since biologically the babies are almost 5 months. The girls recommended that I give her Tylenol 30 minutes before a bottle to see if that helps. If she sucks better after the Tylenol then her gums may have been bothering her. I plan to give that a try and see how it goes.
On the contrary, Charlie has been Mr. Easy Going. I guess he's trying to balance out his sister. For the last few days all he's done is eat, play, sleep, repeat. Such a good boy - for now. I'm sure he'll take his turn once Lily perks back up.
As for the great search for a pacifier holder, we've reached a big fail. The Wubbanub is cute but still doesn't stay in their mouths well. So I ordered Paci Plushies, which are also cute but also do not stay in their mouths well. And Lily decided that there is nothing worse than the pacifier that comes with the Paci Plushie. The moment I put it in her mouth she started to gag. I immediately removed it, of course, but she continued to gag until she threw up all over herself and me. Ooops. Okay Lily, message received. No new binkys! I'm assuming these things will work better when the babies are a little older and can grasp better. We'll see. For now Joe and I are resigned to replacing binkies in mouths as often as needed.
On Sunday we took Charlie and Lily to the cemetery to visit their sister. We've been wanting to do this for some time but hadn't gotten around to it. But on Sunday the weather was so gorgeous that we decided we better do it then since it could be the last nice weekend we have for awhile. It was a sad thing to see, Charlie and Lily's little car seats in front of Annaleigh's headstone, but we thought it was important for them to "see" her again.
Afterwards, Uncle John and Aunt Rebecca came over with dinner for us - manicotti, salad, bread and pumpkin whoopie pies - which helped cheer us up. When it came time to eat both babies were asleep in the living room - Lily in her bouncy seat and Charlie in his swing - so we decided to go all out and eat in the dining room (with me leaping up every 5 minutes to peek in on them). When I heard Charlie wake up over the baby monitor I unplugged him from his apnea montior for a few minutes and brought him into the dining room with me. He was fascinated by these new surroundings - the babies rarely leave the living room since they are tethered to the monitors. He was staring around at everything all wide eyed. I guess we need to start taking field trips to other rooms in the house!
Every once in awhile Lily will stare at something over our shoulders and make this face. I can't say it's not a little unnerving. What is she looking at?!?! Although maybe she's just practicing her scared face for a career as a horror movie actress. Scream 10 anyone?
Sorry, Bug. Not the most flattering picture of you, but I love the look on Charlie's face!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
It seems to help that we've discovered that Lily loves the swing. Who knew? The first few times we put her in it she screamed, so we stopped trying. But last night, on a whim, Joe put her in it when she was super fussy and she quieted right down, then fell asleep. She slept for over three hours in it (the 8:30 pm - 12:00 am period - and don't worry, I was right there in the living room with her the whole time!) last night, so we have a winner! I put her in it late this morning when she was in a super bad mood and it calmed her right down and helped her doze off. Awesome! We also have high hopes for the Wubanubs that we ordered thanks to the recommendations of some of our readers. I put a rush on the order so I'm really hoping they come today!
We're also trying the tandem feedings again. The babies are bigger and better coordinated than they were the first time we tried it, so we're hoping we'll be successful this time. So far, so good! When we do this, we put Lily in our lap and Charlie propped in his boppy next to us and hold both bottles. The benefit of this, aside from saving loads of time, is that it will help get the babies on a more synchronized schedule which will help with napping and sleeping at night, we hope!
When they aren't sleeping or eating, Charlie and Lily have been playing! I try very hard during the day to keep them engaged when they are awake. Charlie really loves his play mat - he stayed on it happily for 45 minutes yesterday, waving his arms at the toys and watching the lights. Lily really likes the rain forest crib soother that I recently put in their pack n' play. It makes jungle sounds, flashes lights and the little animals move around. We also sing songs, read books and do tummy time. I'm excited that the holidays are coming so we can start reading Christmas stories and singing Christmas songs! My mom has a huge box of Christmas books at her house from when my sister and I were little, so I'm anxious to have her break it out and start reading all my old favorites to the babies.
Really, it is not as easy as it looks.
It's a Bug in a swing!
Monday, November 9, 2009
My mom came and took me to the ER and Joe's mom came to help him with the babies (who by some miracle I did NOT wake up with my screeching). After 5 hours at the hospital, I was given some painkillers and my leg was treated with ointment and wrapped. The burns are second degree, but since they are on such a large portion of my leg the hospital wants me to go to a burn center for further treatment. I have an appointment tomorrow afternoon. Luckily, I'm still able to function completely. My leg, although really, really gross looking, does not hurt too badly and it's not keeping me from taking care of the babies. I hope that they don't do anything tomorrow at the burn center to change that! The only bright side was the pain killers given to me in the hospital were super strong and knocked me out, leaving me no choice but to go home and sleep. 6 hours of consecutive sleep was pretty awesome, but I still think I would have preferred to skip the scalding!
Today Charlie and Lily had another visit to St. Peter's to have their eyes re-checked and an apnea clinic appointment with the wonderful Dr. Hiatt. The babies were measured and weighed -Charlie was 9 lbs 6 oz and Lily was 8 lbs 9 oz. Dr. Hiatt then checked the babies all out, testing their growth and development. He declared them to be excellent, which made us very happy! We then reviewed the information that had been downloaded from the babies' apnea monitors. The babies had each had between 8 and 10 brady episodes since being home. None of them were serious, but they will be remaining on the monitors for awhile longer. Charlie will also remain on his caffeine. As Dr. Hiatt said, we seem to have a winning combination that is helping the babies to thrive, so it's better not to make any changes. After they saw Dr. Hiatt, the babies moved on to visit with Dr. Wasserman, who checked the progress of their eyes. Both Charlie and Lily had improvement from their last visit, but both still had small spots on both their eyes that need to watched. Dr. Wasserman said he has no reason to think they will need any sort of treatment - in fact they are almost in the clear. They go back in four weeks and hopefully that will be the last eye appointment we have!
So I realized today that I have no concept of how big the babies are getting. The other day I finally relented and switched Charlie to 0-3 month clothes as opposed to the newborn sizes he was busting out of. But this afternoon Joe was feeding Lily and I looked over at her in his lap and realized that she could not straighten her legs because her little newborn sleeper was too tight. My little Bug is big! It's exciting that they are growing, but strange that they are no longer tiny. Still, growth is good - and it means a whole new wardrobe for them both!
Charlie has recovered from his shots and has returned to being our sweet boy.
Lily? Well...Lily might need another day or so.
Sleeping Charlie... so cute!
Saturday, November 7, 2009
When we got home, I received some unexpected news. A large round of layoffs at my company had left me without a job - I was officially laid off. I was pretty surprised, as I had just set my return-to-work date for December 8th and had intended to be going back three days a week. But my position had been eliminated with the layoffs and there would be nothing for me to return to. This news was bittersweet. It is sad because I truly loved my job. I worked for a wonderful company with some really incredible people. The work was interesting, I had fantastic bosses and I liked all my co-workers. I know I will never find another job that I enjoy as much as that one. The good news in all of this is that now I am able to stay home longer with the babies. While I know I would have enjoyed going back to work, I was very, very nervous about leaving Charlie and Lily and I know in my heart that I just wasn't ready to be apart from them yet. Between severance pay and unemployment I should be able to stay home with the babies for a while longer, which I think is best for everyone. So I've officially joined the ranks of stay-at-home moms, at least for the foreseeable future.
In other news, the babies are so fussy!! We are blaming Thursday's shots, as they have never been like this. They refuse to sleep, which is making them extremely irritable and disagreeable to just about everything and anything. It's made for two very tiring and stressful days, but we're hoping that they snap out of it soon. Joe has been incredible though. Last night, Charlie refused to settle down after his 11:30 pm bottle. I could barely keep my eyes open and finally started sobbing, "I just can't stay awake anymore!" Joe immediately ran over, took Charlie from me and sent me off to bed. He got Charlie settled and napped on the couch with him until the next round of bottles. Then in the morning, after I had conquered the 3:00 am feeding, Joe got up early with the babies and sat on the couch with them for hours, keeping them comfy as they napped, while I slept until 9:15 am. It was wonderful, and at 4 hours it was the longest stretch of consecutive sleep I've gotten in over a month. We're really hoping that there aren't too many more instances like that in our future.
Perhaps it was sleep deprivation that contributed to my first major screw up as a parent. The evening after their shots, Charlie and Lily were both extremely fussy. I decided to give them each a dose of infant's Tylenol as the pediatrician had suggested. I gave Charlie his dose (and he loved the cherry flavor) then gave Lily hers. After I shot the liquid into Lily's mouth, I turned to Joe and said "That didn't look like as much as I gave Charlie." Joe agreed and I looked closely at the dropper and realized that I had accidentally given Charlie DOUBLE the dose he should have gotten. I freaked, cried, paged the pediatrician and called poison control. Both the poison control woman and the pediatrician assured me that while I gave Charlie more Tylenol than he should have gotten, it was still within the "safe" range. Whew. I was so relieved, but still felt terrible :(
Finally, congratulations to my friend Colleen and her husband Chuck, who welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Abigail Claire, yesterday. Lily looks forward to meeting her new playmate!
In case you were wondering....
The men, hard at play.
Here is a scene that plays out again and again (and again and again) each and every day here. Binky falls out of baby's mouth. Baby screams.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I immediately called the pediatrician as I was worried about Charlie and Lily's risk of getting sick. She assured me that the babies should be fine. You can't catch pneumonia - it develops as a secondary effect of something else, like Joe's cough. She said the babies could have caught the cough, but Joe would have really had to be coughing in their faces for that to happen. He, of course, had NOT done that, plus we are nuts about hand washing and sanitizing. Even though Joe has been around the babies for 2 weeks with this illness, now that he is "officially" sick we were worried about him being around them. Plus, sleep was what the doctor ordered - literally. So Joe spent last night at his parents house. My mom, Charlie and Lily's Crackers, came over and spent the night with us. The babies enjoyed the sleepover with their Crackers and we got along fine, but we sure missed Daddy!! He's going to stay one more night at his parents' house just to be on the safe side and so he can get more rest, but then he'll be coming home to us!
So Daddy was down for the count, but Charlie and Lily are going strong! I thought it was time to bring out their Baby Einstein play mat, since they seem more interested recently in looking at things and following sound, and they really seem to like it. It has a cute little lights and sound soother on it that both babies really like looking at, and they'll also look up at the toys hanging above them. But Charlie and Lily aren't the only ones who like the mat! Roy and Roger seem to think that the toy is theirs - they've taken to napping on it every chance they get. Luckily the babies don't mind sharing! In other news, Charlie and Lily have graduated from newborn to size 1 diapers (well, Charlie graduated and Lily has gone along for the ride). After a few diaper leaks I decided to try the bigger size diapers on Charlie. They looked HUGE in comparison to the newborn size and I thought they'd never fit him, but they do! They are getting so big - it's great!
Tomorrow the babies go to the pediatrician for a check-up, their four month vaccines and their Synagis shot. The Synagis shot is designed to protect the lungs of preemies and other high-risk babies from RSV. The babies will get one shot a month beginning in November and ending in March. Synagis is not a vaccine and will not prevent the babies from contracting RSV, but rather a dose of antibodies that will strenghten the lungs and help them fight RSV should they become infected.
Before our photo shoot on Sunday, Joe and I tried to snap some pictures ourselves. As you can see, sometimes it is best left up to the professionals.