Before and After Baby Tips

What I’m glad I did before babies were born:

Joined the local twins’ club (the classified section was a huge help; we got to shop early at the club consignment sale; we got to meet other new and expectant twin families in town)

Took photos every week to document my belly growth (see them here!)

Shopped at the big consignment sales (got tons of stuff for a fraction of the price!)

Got a new car (originally we thought we’d wait til about a month after they were born. Thankfully we came to our senses!)

Prenatal chiropractor (I could hardly walk for weeks, with this weird back/hip thing causing me to limp like an elderly person. My OB referred me to a prenatal chiropractor–I had no idea that was a thing! But thank god it is! My chiro was so friendly and she FIXED me!)



What I wish I had done before babies were born:

Taken more time off (I only ended up with one real day off. There wasn’t much to do even when I was working, so I should have just let myself relax more.)

Gone swimming like everyone told me to (I didn’t have a swimsuit and I couldn’t shave anything. Dumb excuses that I should have worked through and figured out.)

Bought and worn more/better clothes (I had one nice pair of maternity jeans, plus maternity leggings, and a handful of maternity tops. But especially toward the end, I was in a maternity tshirt and sweats, and looking back, I looked so sloppy. I wish I’d enjoyed some more ‘real’ clothes a little more often.)

Prenatal massage (because duh.)

Did less stuff (I should have slept in more often.)

Done professional maternity photos (I couldn’t afford to do both maternity and newborn…but maybe I could have gotten a package deal. Above is one of my DIY maternity photos.)

Journaled more (Because I have the world’s worst memory, and blog posts don’t tell the whole story.)

Taken more regular photos (and videos!) of me and us, out and about with the belly (I wish I’d done more of my whole self, of the both of us. I did make sure to take a bunch on our cross-country road trip!)


What I’m glad I did after babies were born:

Had our first few days be just us (I didn’t want anyone else around while we got to know our new babies. I wanted us to be a family and focus on the four of us. No extra noise, no extra personalities, just us. Later on we had visitors and that was wonderful–made even better because of our just-family time at the beginning.)

Did professional studio photos of babies (They were so very tiny. We had no idea. I knew in theory they would change and grow a lot, but man, it happened so fast! We have a storyboard (three 8×10 images on one print) up in our room and we just treasure it. The babies themselves even like looking at it.)

Bought a new bra, undies, and jeans (This was probably my favorite thing I did. Two months post-partum, I went to Target and got some new, non-maternity jeans that actually fit properly. Same with a new bra and underwear. I knew that none of these would fit for very long, but I had been haaaaating wearing all the ill-fitting, loose and baggy everything. I seriously felt like a new person with clothes that fit my current body! Truly, it was amazing, and the cost wasn’t very prohibitive.)

Bought new socks (Just because all my socks are years old and I decided to just treat myself to brand new ones. Plain white ankle cut, 6 in a pack, nothing fancy at all. But soft new socks are such an inexpensive delight!)

Went out for groceries and Target by myself (I started doing this after the first month or so–I would go late at night, like 10 or 11pm. It was so nice to get in the car by myself, and be invisible, with nothing/nobody else to carry. It was a little melancholy, but it was such a relief too.)

Took a shower regularly (it felt great to be clean (and be off the couch), plus it was a good place to cry in private)


What I wish I had done after babies were born:

Eaten more (It probably would have helped take the edge off a bit–physically and emotionally. I wasn’t actively hungry until about a month post-partum. I knew that I should be eating, but with our ridiculous schedule, I just couldn’t work up the energy enough to care, let alone the energy to find something to eat and the time to eat it. I should have done it, or I should have prepared my husband to make me do it.)

Rested more (after the first week or so, I started moving/lifting more because I felt bad about my husband doing everything. I shouldn’t have, and should have stayed more sedentary when it mattered.)

Had a post-partum doula (It was expensive, my husband had paid paternity leave, my mom visited a few times, and my husband’s parents visited for a week. So I/we had help. But it might have been a little different/better to have a third-party helper come in and help us out too.)

Made a list of chores for visitors to help with (Although really, who cared. I certainly didn’t. I thought that I *should* care if the house was a mess. I’m a terrible grown-up that way.)

Called/emailed people who reached out (I didn’t know how; I didn’t know how to articulate what I was feeling. I couldn’t articulate much. I really appreciated the reaching out and I wish that I had just picked up the phone and done something.)

Had my husband take more photos of me and the babies (I have ONE good photo of me with the babies, when they’re about a week old. [Which I had to ask him to take for me.] None from the hospital. I have lots of phone shots, mostly selfies of low-quality shot in the horrible lighting in our living room. I hate asking people to take pictures of me, because it’s annoying. But I always love to have real-camera shots, and I should have just asked more. I would treasure them. There is no such thing as enough good quality photos of a mama and her baby/babies!)

What about you? What are the best things you did or wished you did before and after you had a baby/babies? Please share in the comments!

December Darkness

Hallelujah, we’ve made it to January–past the solstice! I am so relieved.

For months, I was dreading this December. Hoping it wouldn’t be anything like last December.

I should share that I have a mental image of the calendar year, as basically a single column of all the months (like this), so December is at the ‘bottom’ of the year. Kind of squished and desperate, trying to stay tacked on and relevant to the rest of the months. The dreary dregs. (The transition from December to January feels especially strange to me, as we suddenly move from the very bottom to the very top of a new year–it doesn’t feel very connected at all.) So when I think of ‘when’ we are, I also think of ‘where’ we are in the year column. My weird brain pictures are probably a factor in why Decembers in general can be odd for me, but last December specifically was really hard.

First, it took three weeks after my c-section to be pain-free, which was half of the entire month. (The babies were born on Nov 21.) Being unable to move freely, being physically unable to do much of the baby care, just being in pain was difficult. I didn’t like being so useless and helpless. I wanted to rest and to sleep, desperately, but I also hated the idea of being a burden, so I pushed myself a little and I shouldn’t have. I wanted to be stoic, and I did not want to be weak. But my body gave me no choice–the weakness was there whether I accepted it or not.

Second, I was definitely a little on edge and emotional. When I cried at my two-week OB appointment about why does everything still hurt (TWO WEEKS AFTER MAJOR ABDOMINAL SURGERY HELLO WHAT WAS I THINKING) she kindly said, manage your pain and take those painkillers. Once the pain was gone, it did help to have one less thing bothering my physical self. My emotional self was still not totally stable though. I didn’t and don’t have any words or description for it either–I don’t think it was “blues” really, though there were certainly a lot of hidden tears. I didn’t feel ‘down’ or ‘depressed’ though, just emotional and overwhelmed. And frustrated at my body.

Third, I spent literally 20 hours a day on the couch. For several weeks it was because again, physically, I was unable to move much otherwise. But also, I was pumping every three hours, and we were feeding babies every three hours. Usually that schedule didn’t overlap. And I did try to hold the babies sometimes, and of course they would fall asleep, so then I would be stuck on the couch some more. Many times I had to decide–should I hold babies, or eat, or sleep, or go to the bathroom?

Fourth, because I was on the couch all the time, I couldn’t go anywhere (duh) which meant I didn’t have a support system. The internet was there, and I read every word of it that month, for something to do and for companionship. I didn’t know any other new parents, I didn’t have any friends, it was just the four of us and the freaking couch. Our house was an island of exhaustion and the world could have ended outside our door and we wouldn’t have known. (Well, unless someone else posted about it on Facebook.) What’s terrible is that even if I did have someone to talk to, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t actually know what to say or have anything at all to say. Which sounds kind of ridiculous, but really, are there appropriate words for the complete upheaval of your life that newborn twins brings?

And almost worse than the isolation, it was really dark. It felt like it was always night time. Part of that is that with two newborns in the house, there was no separation of ‘daytime’ and ‘nighttime’ – really, there weren’t even ‘days’, just cycles of three-hour feeding blocks. But of course most of it was just the December days being so short. Both things we had to just wait out and get through.

Obviously we went on a few outings that month–a couple trips to the pediatrician, I went to my OB once, we got a Christmas tree. So I did go outside a few times. But in general, my memories of the first weeks of life with our babies are of darkness, of overwhelmed and numb exhaustion.

And then, finally, it was January. We’d emerged from the first six-week scramble into new parenthood and I didn’t quite feel so overwhelmed anymore. Plus, our nanny started working with us. My biggest distinct memory of the month is going out for my first walk–in the sunshine. Moving my body, pain-free, just me, free, in the daylight. It felt so good to be out of the darkness. It really felt like a re-awakening. What a relief.


Fortunately, this new January is not nearly such a new me–life is better, calmer, no longer so exhausting and strange. I am so glad that we all made it through the dark December days intact and ready for another year together.

Happy New Year, Happy Solstice, Happy New Beginnings, Happy Re-Awakening to you. 🙂


A few of our recent challenges, along with some semi-related photos/video.


I think last week we got through the six-week growth spurt! I didn’t know about growth spurts and what they involved until reading about it on my friend Ask Moxie’s knowledgeable site and facebook community. Our growth spurt–or what I assumed was the growth spurt–involved a little more late night fussing, but mostly increased eating. At the 1.30/2am feeding, they would just want more and more. (What does that mean? They kept crying and fussing until we fed them more.) One night M ate 7 ounces! (Their current ‘normal’ feeding amount is 3.5 to 4 ounces.) This meant that they wouldn’t want to sleep until around 4am. And that ‘fortunately’ coincided with Andy going back to work, so he got hardly any sleep for most of the week. He was miserable.

There were three bad nights of this, and then CUE ANGELS SINGING they had a night of sleeping like they did a couple weeks ago. (They’re so young yet that I wasn’t sure if we should count anything as ‘normal’, but I’m cautiously optimistic about this. It’s been about a week and they’ve been consistent again. Phew!)

The only thing I don’t have any clarity on is whether or not to count the babies as real six-week-olds. See, when babies are born early, one is supposed to adjust for that when anticipating or achieving milestones. Since these two were born at 36 weeks, technically they are four weeks younger gestationally. So that growth spurt could have been the three-week growth spurt. The issue is that they are twins, and aren’t expected to go to the full 40 weeks–biologically I believe they are considered full-term and developed at either 37 or 38 weeks. So do I count them as two weeks younger gestationally? I have a hunch, though, that they’re right on target. Their smiles started around 6 weeks, their digestion changed right at 6 weeks, etc. It really doesn’t matter at this stage because they have growth spurts every 2-3 weeks anyway, and of course actual occurrence and length varies for every baby.

When a baby is hungry, they do this. It’s called rooting (as in searching around for food) and it’s adorable and hilarious.



They are getting so big! But their feet are still tiny at least.


Wednesday was my first real day with the babies alone. We have a nanny that comes over Mondays and Fridays. Andy goes to an office space on those days, and has worked at home the other days. That means he’s been able to help with some of the midday feedings when he’s here. But I do want him to be able to be out of the house as much as he can. Three days a week is a fantastic compromise (on his part). Since last week was so sleep-deprived, this was the first week he actually will be gone for three days.

It actually wasn’t too bad. The morning feeding went like it always does, and the noon feeding went pretty smoothly too. In the early afternoon, I wanted to go to the mama’s group meetup so I had the additional challenge of getting both babies ready and out the door on my own.

ME: Ok guys, I’m going upstairs for a minute. Stay here.

BABIES: {pause.} WAHH!

ME, UPSTAIRS: Sigh. {continues getting dressed for a minute. go back downstairs and pick one up. he calms down. after a minute, put that one down and pick the other one up, who calms down.} I’m here! You’re okay!

I put them in their car seats, which usually makes at least one of them annoyed/upset. But this time they stayed calm and quiet. And they both slept the whole time I was at the meetup!


Yesterday we took the babies for their two month well-baby appointment. This involved the standard weight and height check, and a physical exam. They’ve both gained a good amount of weight and are within two ounces of each other–they’re both just over 10 pounds!

kicking up a storm in the exam room

Then of course came the shots. They’d gotten a couple shots before, so it wasn’t totally new for us. I think they got three pokes and then an oral vaccine too. I felt more emotional about their discomfort this time, which kind of surprised me. I think it’s that it seems like such a painful surprise for them–‘hey, what was that!?’ We held their little hands and shushed them, which helped calm them. They fell asleep in the car, of course, and slept for awhile longer.

In the evening, E started fussing. Soon it escalated to full-on screaming-crying. Louder and more pained than I’d ever heard–his little voice was sort of cracking at the top of his register. Holding and shushing and the pacifier–all which normally quiet him–didn’t work; he kept screaming. I put him in the sling I have (which I’ve started using occasionally lately because I’d forgotten about it until now), and he snuggled up and fell asleep. Poor baby!

After awhile, since he was still fast asleep, I figured I could take him out and take a nap myself. Approximately thirty seconds after I lay down on the couch, he woke up and started screaming again. Sigh. Back in the sling.

He fell back asleep and wasn’t disturbed by me making a smoothie. When it was time to pump, I had to take him out of the sling again. He woke up and started screaming again, but Andy managed to swaddle him and calm him down and he dozed off.




Serious hair. E dares you to start any funny business.

Feeding twins: Our daily grind. Schedule update v1: (6 weeks)

While in the hospital, the baby nurses made sure that the babies ate every three hours. However, since we depended on someone else coming in, the schedule was pretty fluid, changing times every day.

When we first came home, that continued–every feeding every day was different. We were still figuring out how we wanted to do things. We both got up for every feeding, and set up a station in our bedroom for the overnight ones. (The babies were sleeping in our room in a co-sleeper, because we didn’t want to go back and forth all the way to their room if they needed anything.) It was exhausting, but we didn’t have the energy to figure out another way.

Starting in their second week, we finally got on a consistent three-hour schedule: 8am, 11am, 2pm, 5pm, 8pm, 11pm, 1.30am, 4am, 8am. You’ve probably read that one of the biggest rules is never wake a sleeping baby….that idea is not applicable to twins. We often have to wake them to feed them. And that’s okay.

We also figured out a way to stagger the schedule a bit to get us some sleep and a bit more sanity. We usually go to bed after the 130 feeding (which ends up being 230-3am) and then Andy gets up for the 4am feeding on his own. I keep sleeping and then I do the 8am feeding by myself: babies on separate boppies and I sit between them, hooked up to the pump.


(my view this morning)

Usually I can get everything done by 9am, and then I watch tv and/or take a nap for 1-2 hours. (Note that breakfast is not part of this plan. Sleep trumps food.) Andy then gets up for the 11am feeding and we do that one and the rest together. This way we each get about five hours of sleep in a row. It’s nowhere near enough, but it’s miles better than only two at a time.

During the regular feedings, we work together to get ready. One of us usually does diapers while the other gets bottles. (We use formula for the 130am and 4am feedings, so that we can keep a couple feedings ahead with pumped milk.) Each of us feeds one baby, and we like to switch off so we get time with both. I try to pump during the feedings–the baby I’m feeding sits in a boppy or on my lap. I’m usually able to burp the baby without disturbing the pump.

All of this has worked pretty well. But one major reason is that we have two adults doing these feedings–my husband has been on paid paternity leave. With the holidays and a few vacation days, he’ll have had seven weeks off to be with the babies. That’s pretty rare and it’s also pretty fantastic. As I said in an earlier post, it seems to me to be a necessity to have a second pair of hands with twins. I am so grateful that he works at such a great company that values families.

This week, after one extended late night feeding, it seemed like a good time to try going to feeding every four hours. We tried it for two days but it didn’t quite work. The babies suddenly woke up crying from naps because they were hungry–believe it or not, they’d never done that before. They were not happy. Though they were able to go four hours overnight no problem, and we figured that could be kept. So the third day we went to every three and a half hours, with a four-ish hour stretch overnight. It’s been three days and seems to be working. We’re trying to let them wake up on their own around 4 or 5am and 8 or 830am. Having that extra half hour between feedings feels like so much extra time! I feel like I can mentally relax a little more.

Soon I think we will be able to try stretching to four hours again. I am really excited about that–only six feedings a day! Three-plus hours in between–what luxury!

First Christmas Time Capsule

Dear babies,

2012 was your first Christmas. You were five weeks old and you slept most of the day.

You’re still squishy, lovey babies. You weigh somewhere between 7-8 pounds and you’re both around 20 inches long. You’re still wearing newborn-size clothes, though you’ll be ready for 0-3 month pretty soon. We grab whatever onesie is in the drawer of your downstairs changing table when you need a fresh outfit. You have a nice little head of soft hair that is adorably spiky in the back. You sleep in Rock N Plays in our room at night and hang out in them for a lot of the day. You do some tummy time on a boppy or on one of your playmats, though you don’t like it for very long stretches of time. You don’t know how to communicate your needs to us. You’re not smiling for real yet, though you coo a lot. Mostly you grunt and squeak. You drink 3.5 ounces of milk or formula every three hours. That means you don’t sleep more than about 3 hours at a time. We bathe you twice a week in a plastic tub wedged in the kitchen sink.

Next year you’ll be 13 months old for Christmas. You’ll weigh…20 or 30 pounds I guess, and be a lot taller and probably leaner too. You’ll be mobile! You’ll know how to crawl and you will probably be walking or working on it. You will probably say a few words and be able to make your basic needs/wants known to us. You’ll smile at us and hug and kiss us back when we snuggle with you. You’ll probably have even more hair, and it will surely be messy. You might have opinions about the clothes that you wear, and you’ll wear actual clothes sometimes instead of just one-pieces. You’ll be sleeping in separate cribs in your own room–and I sure hope that we’ll have helped you learn to sleep for the entire night by then! You’ll be eating some real food, though maybe some formula/milk as well. You’ll have highchairs in our kitchen and will no doubt make a mess of each meal. You’ll eat regular meals three times a day, along with some snacks. You’ll be taking real baths in the bathtub, probably every day because you get dirty.

Your grandparents and aunts got you some gifts this year–some toys and clothes. We didn’t get you any presents ourselves, seeing as how we already got you the gift of life and continued feeding and unconditional love. 🙂 This year you are completely oblivious to holidays and presents. We picked out a Christmas tree with you dozing in your car seats/stroller, and you don’t seem to notice the pretty lights. We made a special ‘feast’ for Christmas dinner, and we built a gingerbread house while watching a movie, like we have for the last three years. But of course you didn’t know or care.

Next year you probably won’t understand the concept of Santa Claus or Christmas very well, but I bet you’ll know what presents are, though! We can have you help us pick out and then decorate our Christmas tree. We’ll have to be careful with the breakables of course, and strategically place the ornaments. We’ll hang our new stockings (one of your grandmas is making us a family set!). We will probably get you one or two things each, and hopefully the grandparents won’t go too crazy with presents. 🙂 I will probably take photos of you on Christmas morning if you can ‘unwrap’ any presents. We’ll dress you in a special Christmas outfit for at least part of the day (and then I’ll take more photos of you!). Maybe you’ll help us decorate the gingerbread house and we’ll make you something special so you can participate in our Christmas feast.

I can’t even imagine what this life next year will feel like, but I bet it will be fun (with plenty of hard times in there too). You two have been a pretty great gift for us this year. I am looking forward to next Christmas with you being even more special!



Merry Christmas!

2007 was the first year I got my own Christmas tree. It was a fake tree, twenty bucks at Target. It was a nice little tree, and I really enjoyed having a little Christmas cheer in my cozy studio apartment.


In 2010, we finally bought a real tree for Christmas, and haven’t looked back since. They look so much better, obviously, but oh, that heavenly aroma. That’s what I love!

Living in Brooklyn, it was super easy to buy and transport a tree. There were tree stands across two corners from us, so it was a very short and easy haul up to our apartment. Now that we live in a less walkable neighborhood, we had to drive to a tree place and transport it on our sweet new car.


Then, of course, we had to make some space for it in our living room.

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We added lights only the first night.DSC_8207-3 DSC_8217-5

(Taken with Photojojo’s sweet bokeh filter kit)

We didn’t get around to ornaments until the next night.


Ta-da! So pretty. DSC_8239-8

The day after, while admiring the tree, I was thinking about what an odd tradition it is, putting a tree inside your house and then putting stuff on it. Obviously it’s an old tradition that we’ve conscripted, but still, it’s kind of strange, you know?

For the past however many years, I’ve had a photo ornament made of us, and we’ve also started to collect ornaments on our adventures. I think the first one was on our road trip to Acadia. This was a busy and special year, with two big trips and now babies. Here are the ornaments we added to our collection in 2012:


(Commemorating our cross-country road trip this summer)


(Commemorating our Central Europe trip this spring, to Budapest, Prague (Praha in Czech), and Vienna)


(Duh, couldn’t resist a camera ornament! Although, come to think of it, it’s perfect because this was the year I incorporated my photography business)


(Hand-stitched by my cousin, and there are two of these, one for each twin)


(The photo of us for this year has two extra people! :D)


(I bought this at Salmon Days in October–the snowman hats are meant to have names written on them. I didn’t want to inscribe our chosen names before they were born, so I’ll get them written on there by next Christmas. This is to commemorate our first year with two babies!)

And some gratuitous baby photos as a bonus!


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One month

Dear E and M,

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you’re a month old. That you’ve been in our lives for a whole month. It’s been the longest month of my life for sure–but that’s probably the monotony and the sleep deprivation. But also, I can’t believe it’s been four weeks already. It’s kind of flown by in a blur of feedings and naps. Also, this week was my original due date, so gestationally, you are now full-term.


(on a boppy on our couch–I will take a photo every month here to keep track of your growth!)

E, your toenail is painted, but that’s just a fallback–we are pretty good at knowing who’s who. Your faces are still quite different, though each of you can make a face that looks like your brother.

DSC_8307-6 (E)



You both now weigh seven whole pounds! What?! You weighed just under six pounds a week and a half ago. Your little bellies have gotten big and round. I guess the rest of your little bodies are growing too–on Wednesday you fit into the newborn-size fleece outfits that were way too big for you two weeks ago! Happily your hands and feet are still pretty tiny and cute. I suppose that won’t stay, but I’ll enjoy it for as long as I can. At least you’re still in your very small newborn onesies. We have lots of 0-3 month clothes for you, but I’m not ready for you to be wearing them yet!

You’ve been eating more and more–in less than a week you went from 70ml to 90–three ounces! (And sometimes one of you wants even a little more!) You eat much faster too. We really noticed and appreciate that because the first week especially it was really a chore to get you to eat. But now you guzzle and gulp. Of course that means sometimes you spit up a bit, but usually that doesn’t bother you. Now that you’re taking in so much, this week you ‘graduated’ from the little doll-sized bottles from the hospital to ‘big boy’ four ounce bottles.


All of this kind of breaks my heart, because it means you’re growing and changing and soon you’ll be so big. These are good things, of course, but I am so loving your tininess and will be very sad to see this stage end.


(Baby hand next to a quarter for size comparison)

You’re awake and alert more and more. (Maybe a couple hours a day now, altogether?) You like to stare at us when we hold you–you’re very solemn and earnest. It’s really neat to stare back at you. We see lots of smiles too, but they’re from gas, because half the time you’re asleep. You do still sleep for most of the day. At night, sometimes you both sleep well, and sometimes one of you is up and making noise. Most often it’s a dropped pacifier. We are really looking forward to extending time between feedings, because that will mean more sleep for us! You’ve got us pretty darn tired.

When you’re both awake, we’ve been putting you in a boppy together, which you seem to really enjoy. Normally you’re both very grunty and noisy, but you quiet down when you’re so close like that. Sometimes one of you will look at the other one, and sometimes your limbs overlap. You seem pretty nonchalant about that, like oh hey, it’s just my brother there.



When we pick you up and hold you close, you snuggle right back. Oh my, do I love that. You burrow in to my shoulder and I can lean my cheek against your warm head. When you’re sleepy, you make these sweet cooing noises that kind of sound like “uh huh” or “mm hmm” and it’s adorable and I love that too.

Speaking of noises, you continue to be extremely grunty little dudes. Especially E. But both of you make noises that sound alternately like sheep, horses, or old-tymey movie villains laughing. And of course you both still squeak.

So far you still aren’t doing a lot of crying. Now that it’s been a month, I’m hoping that that trend will continue (as opposed to the first couple weeks, when apparently all babies are pretty quiet). E, you hate to get your outfit changed and will wail about it. Diaper changes aren’t much better, though we’ve found that occasionally a pacifier will help. M, you’re usually calmer about changes, and if you have a pacifier you’re quite happy about it.  In general, we can almost always quickly comfort you when you cry.

When one of you cries, the other one doesn’t wake up from the noise. In fact, you both peacefully snooze through television, normal talking volume, and other noises. This was accidental–you spend your whole day in the same room as us, and obviously we’re not going to spend every day in quiet. I am hopeful this will mean good things for your sleep down the road.

Both of you happily fall asleep any time we’re in the car. This week I drove with you on my own and you ‘met’ some other babies at my mama’s group. I’m excited for all of you to get older and interact with each other!

Your hair now spikes up in the back, and it can’t be tamped down. I can only imagine that for the next five to seven years we’ll see that messy hairdo. It is so cute.


You love to stretch when we put you on the changing table. It’s pretty cute to see your little arms reach up as far as they go (which isn’t far at all) and your little feet flex to stretch your legs out straight. Your limbs still flail around sometimes–especially when you are hungry or left alone. Your grip is definitely developing. You hold on tighter to things like shirt collars and burp cloths, even more than before. Occasionally one of you gets a handful of my hair (I thought I had more time before that started!). I can see both of you get better and more deliberate at “holding” your pacifier in or putting your little hands around your bottle. And this week, while Grandma was visiting, she caught this adorable scene! I’ve never seen you use your fingers purposefully before. The looks on both your faces are priceless!

(video quality is pretty poor, but you’ll get the gist)

Babies, you are pretty great. Your daddy and I think you are the cat’s pajamas. Sometimes I gaze at you and still can’t believe that you’re real and that I grew you. Holding you and snuggling with you is truly one of the best things in the world. You are so loved!



Holy Shitballs, We Have Babies: The birth day

On Tuesday, November 20, we went in for the weekly non-stress test and doctor appointment. I was 36 weeks pregnant. The previous Friday/Saturday, I had developed what I was pretty sure was PUPPS, and it had spread and worsened rapidly. The monitoring went well, but my blood pressure was still elevated. And when the doctor saw the rash and how bad it was, she was like, “Ohhh.” She said that she had scheduled the c-section for Friday so we could wait til after Thanksgiving, but now she didn’t want to wait that long. She went away for a few minutes and came back: “Okay, tomorrow at noon.”

Andy and I looked at each other wide-eyed. Holy shit. Go time.

She went over the risks and consent form with us, and then we left, reeling from the knowledge that the babies would be out in less than 24 hours.

We went out to dinner, to a popular pizza place on Hawthorne, as our ‘last night out’ as just us. We came home and did some last minute arranging and setting up of baby things, now that we were on such a tight deadline. I had been working on a blanket for them, and I’d wanted to do more on it, but I wanted to have it done when they arrived. So I spent some time weaving in a bunch of ends, while watching tv.

I continued to be somewhat in panicked denial about babies arriving so soon already. We called our families and told them the news. They were all very surprised, obviously.

In the morning, I finished getting my things together, and we left for the hospital. I took one last photo of my belly and of the two of us as just us.

We drove to the hospital. Andy dropped me off at the front door so he could go park the car. I (very slowly) walked the longest hallway of all time to the bank of elevators and went to the second floor.

IMG_6989(at the far end looking back. seriously it probably took me three minutes to walk this.)

Andy caught up to me on Floor 2 and we were greeted with another long hallway to the entrance to L&D. Turned the corner and saw yet another hallway! A nurse saw us and steered us to our room close by.

In the room they hooked me up to an IV and some monitors. We hung out for awhile and they got me all ready and soon enough it was time to go. I opted for a wheelchair to the OR, then they loaded me onto the table. Getting the shot before the spinal hurt like a bitch! I was draped and prepped. A few minutes went by and my doctor and everyone else assembled, and they got started. Andy was seated at my left shoulder.

The front drape was up high, so neither of us could see anything. They didn’t narrate the procedure, but I did hear the doctor ask several times, with maybe a measured, tiny note of uh-oh, for a clamp. Apparently a placenta came out first, instead of one of the babies, and a lot of blood with it. (This could have been really dangerous had we been attempting a vaginal birth.) I felt a lot of tugging and rustling around my insides. I don’t  think–or at least I don’t remember if–they announced when each baby was out. They were a mere minute apart. I think I heard some crying, and Andy says they both cried when they came out. I looked in their direction and said, “It’s a baby!” He took a picture or two, and then one of the nurses took the camera and snapped a bunch of photos. Someone handed Baby B to Andy, and he showed him to me. I couldn’t believe it. That they were real and that they were really here.



Baby A was still on the warming table being watched, because he wasn’t breathing exactly right. Both of their Apgars were great though–B was 9,9 and A was 8,9.



When A was a little more ready, Andy and B went over to see him. The drape was in the way of my view, so I couldn’t see anything. When he was gone, I let the tears come.

I think it was five or ten minutes before I saw Baby A. They put both of them at my shoulders and covered us with a heated blanket. Baby A looked me directly in the eyes. Again, I was in complete disbelief.


The doctors stitched me up. Parts of it felt like someone was roughly rummaging through my insides like a junk drawer. Very strange.

Soon enough we were all done and were wheeled back to the L&D room for two hours. The babies were placed on me and a baby nurse immediately started buzzing around me, (wo)manhandling me, my boobs, and the babies, trying to get them to latch. It wasn’t working and she was clearly frazzled. She actually called in a second nurse because she couldn’t handle twins. Meanwhile, I was just sitting there, itching all over my face. [Apparently that’s a normal reaction to some of the surgery stuff, which made me unhappy to hear, since I’d been scratching up a storm for days already. Thankfully the face itching didn’t last too long. (Unlike the PUPPS, which continued for days.)] This part really annoyed me. I wanted to be left alone and I didn’t want to be prodded at.


A bit later they took the babies off of me and they hung out on a warming table in the room. The baby nurses stayed in the room, along with another nurse. For a few minutes everyone stepped out and we were able to chat about names and confirm which baby would have which name. But it was almost two hours until we were actually left alone for good.


After it had been the set amount of time, they wheeled me to the maternity ward room. I don’t remember how Andy or the babies got there, but finally we were alone. Just the four of us, a new family.


I kept saying to myself that day, “Holy shitballs, we have babies.” I could not get the idea to sound real and attached to us. (Heck, it’s been four weeks and I still can’t!) I thought the babies were really cute though, and right away I loved holding them. We had worried that our babies wouldn’t be cute but we might not know, being biased, and that no one would be honest with us about their cuteness or lack thereof. But when we finally saw them, we were pretty well convinced of their objective cuteness, and we got confirmation from lots of the nurses too. 🙂 And you know, if for some reason they’re not objectively cute after all, who cares, I think they are. 🙂

I think I was pretty out of it for the rest of the evening; I dropped in and out of sleep. Andy emailed family with the news and the names. Later we made some phone calls, and I probably sounded drunk with fatigue and painkillers.

The nurses had me attempt to get out of bed that evening. They were super impressed because not only did I get up, but I was able to stand up straight. It actually wasn’t that painful. Later though, the pain started. Lying still wasn’t a problem, but getting in and out of bed was really difficult and painful.

They took my blood the morning after delivery, and my platelets were at 70,000. The low end of normal is 140,000. No wonder I was so out of it! (My platelets had been around 100,000 for the last few weeks, which was another thing the doctor was watching and one of the contributing factors to the early delivery.)

PUPPS is one of those pregnancy afflictions where the only cure is to have the baby. However, because my body is just so awesome like that, my case actually kept spreading and getting worse for a few days after the babies came out. Everyone who came in said mine was the worst they’d ever seen and they clucked over my poor itchy self. At one point my doctor went to find out if there was such a thing as an on-call dermatologist. (There isn’t.) She prescribed steroids early in my stay and then had to double the dosage!

For the next couple days, I was in and out of sleep and stupor. Half the time I felt like I was awake and asleep at the same time. I literally couldn’t tell. It was pretty disturbing and no one could really tell me why, other than pain drugs and sleep deprivation. I would get exhausted and barely be able to keep my eyes open when people were talking to me.

Andy did a lot of the work, since I was either asleep, out of it, or couldn’t get out of bed. He was a rock star and wasn’t getting much rest. I sent him home on Friday afternoon so he could take a nap in our silent house. (My mom had arrived at the hospital to keep me company, so I wasn’t alone.)

As I probably said elsewhere, the nurses were amazing. Several of them did feedings with/for us overnight, which helped us feel a little less overwhelmed and tired. Some of them spent an hour or more with us in our room during the day. They were so helpful and kind.

We were in the hospital for four nights, which is one more than standard for a c-section. I was really glad to get the extra day, because I so did not feel ready to go home after only three. Partly because I was so tired and in pain, but also partly because I was still having trouble accepting the fact that we now were parents and had two babies. Unreal.  I also felt like we needed a lot more information, which never really came. (Someone really needs to write a baby instruction manual!)

Finally it was time to go. I took my third shower of my stay and put on actual clothes as we tidied up all of our stuff. (I had brought a suitcase and used just about none of the stuff in it.) It was important to me to get a photo of all of us before we left–not just a going home photo, but the first photo of our newly expanded family.


I don’t have any wise or thoughtful words about the birth experience. It was an extremely surreal yet emotional day–I still can’t quite grasp that it happened, as weird as that sounds. It’s kind of miraculous when babies arrive, isn’t it?


These every-three-hour feedings never stop. I mean, duh, but the time between them feels so fleeting. And I feel chained to this stupid pump. I’m so tired of doing that all the time. I’m trying to multitask, but there are always so many things I want to do at the same time (like eat or go to the bathroom). I’m already antsy to be done with it altogether, but I want to delay full-time formula for as long as possible, mostly for financial reasons. These babies already go through so many diapers, it’s crazy (about 20 a day). So to have that expense plus formula every month…I would feel so guilty. But I’m already afraid to stop pumping or even reduce it, for money reasons but also because I don’t know what will happen to my supply. God, and they’re only going to eat more and more at each feeding. So far I’m keeping up, but who knows how long that will last. If I have to keep pumping at every feeding (I’m already skipping one overnight one to sleep), I’m going to go stir-crazy. But that’s so selfish and small-minded. So I keep telling myself to suck it up and just do it already. But I whine about it every time, either out loud or in my head.

The other day I hit the wall of tired–I can’t seem to feel rested. Even though I’m getting 5-6 hour stretches of sleep, thanks to our overnight shared feeding schedule. And I shouldn’t be complaining really, since our babies aren’t screaming all the time like I know some do. But they do get seriously grunty, so there isn’t a lot of long periods of actual quiet. Again, if I were someone else, I would kick me for saying anything at all.

I have all these keepsake-type projects I want to do. There’s Project Life, which is a long-term thing, but I also want to take handprints and footprints. In several different formats. There are two long-term series I want to do as well. Not to mention some more photos I want. I’m really unsatisfied with the photos I’ve been able to take so far–they aren’t up to par with what I would like. But taking the kind of posed photos I want and doing these projects all mean that I need cooperation from Andy, and the time to actually just freaking do it, when they’re quiet enough to. And I’m tired of asking for things and needing things done for me. Especially things like this that he doesn’t really seem to care much about. The thing is, though, is that these are all time-sensitive kinds of things, if you will. Their adorable, tiny little hands and feet will only get bigger. If I don’t do these things now, I will regret it and wish I had done it.

Speaking of photos and projects, I keep spending money on them. So far in the last month or so, I haven’t been spending much at all, since all I do is sit on the couch and feed or pump. But these projects that I’m excited about–some of them cost money. I’ve made a few trips to the nearby craft store and spent a decent amount. Not to mention the professional photo shoot we did–I will order some prints but not too many. It’s hard, because as a photographer I really dislike it when clients are too price-conscious and cheap. I am not cheap, but as a client, I honestly can’t afford much. But I won’t make that the photographer’s problem–I will just order a few things for now and maybe more later if I’m working again.

My back suddenly started aching from all the hunching I seem to do–at the sink, at the changing table, at my desk, even somehow sitting on the couch.

I’m at this weird in-between stage of body and wardrobe. I realized today (or was it yesterday?) that I’m no longer eating for three and I need to shape up. But then I remembered I’m pumping to feed two, and allegedly one is supposed to take in 3,000 calories a day when breastfeeding. Yikes. Does that mean I don’t need to feel bad about going to the Jack in the Box drive-thru for curly fries and mini churros? And my clothes…I guess I need to get a few items that aren’t maternity but that are bigger than my previous size. I’m currently apple-shaped (I have no waist and a chubby midsection) and I hate it. I’ve been still wearing maternity clothes for the past few weeks, but they don’t fit quite right (obviously), and I’m tired of my one pair of maternity jeans. So I should probably go spend yet a little more money for some in-between clothes. And then I’ll have to make time to go through the boxes of my regular clothes that have been sitting in the basement. (Hallelujah for basements.)

It hasn’t even been a month and I’m some kind of restless. I feel like I need something but I don’t know what.

More photos and video

I finally made the timelapse of my belly!

I added the video to the Belly Grows page, and added a second page to document my post-baby belly (appropriately titled The Belly Shrinks!). I hope this will be even more motivation to get active and back in shape (once I’m physically ready, of course–another three weeks at the least).

Baby B (M) still gets the hiccups. His whole tiny body trembles at each one.



We found these adorable Christmas fleece footies. They are newborn sized but our guys are still under 6 pounds, so they’re swimming in them a little. 🙂


Babies’ first time meeting Santa!