Well, I promised I would be around more now that I'm back to work, so I better follow through. One post I've been circling around in my head for quite some time, is how completely naive I was about different aspects of this whole parenthood thing.
I took a class offered through our hospital, I read all the books, I watched online videos of other twin mothers demonstrating how they tandem breastfed their twins, and I observed my sister-in-law breastfeeding my niece last Spring. And I thought it all sounded easy enough. Sure, learning how to tandem breastfeed them would be a little difficult at first, but everyone else made it look so simple. I was committed to doing this. I would have all the time in the world while on maternity leave to figure it all out and make it work, right?
Fast forward to the babies arriving five weeks early. I was still committed. While they were in the NICU for two weeks, I faithfully pumped to provide them with my milk. Since I still wasn't producing enough at that time for both of them to soley have my milk, we supplemented with donor milk. I was quickly seeing how tiring and grueling this pumping schedule was going to be in order to produce a decent amount. However, it was my only way at the time to feel like I was doing something for them - taking care of them in some way - and so I kept up with it. And then....the babies came home. Alexis came home two days before Chase, and I still continued my pumping schedule fairly well. But the day Chase came home was a whole other story. I just stopped, cold turkey. And not on purpose either. I was literally so busy taking care of two babies that I completely forgot to pump. An entire day went by before I realized it. To add to it, I was having issues getting my new pump to work (I had been using a loaner pump from the hospital until they were discharged). So basically a couple of days went by before I was able to figure it out. And by then I figured my supply was completely messed up - and it just wasn't in my heart to continue at that point anyway - and so I stopped. I could clearly see I simply wasn't going to have the time to do this, and bottle feeding with formula would be so much easier.
Do I still feel guilty for giving up so quickly? Sometimes, yes. But I can't say I fully regret my decision to stop. With formula feeding, Jeff has been able to help with feedings. And I honestly don't know where I would find the time during the day (and night) to pump anyway. Have I mentioned taking care of twins is a lot of work?! Which brings me to my next subject...
This s$!# is hard!
Oh my God....why doesn't anyone tell you it's going to be this hard?? Seriously. Those sleepless nights in the first weeks were absolutely grueling. GRUELING. I swear we were both zombies for the first month. I never knew sleep deprivation could feel that terrible. And I have to laugh at people when they say "just sleep when the babies sleep!" If I hear that one more time from someone, I'm literally going to punch them in the nose. Because, how in the heck do you nap when, inevitably, one of them always wakes up the second you even think about lying down to rest? Babies' nap time for me = time to clean bottles.
Not at all what I had always envisioned it to be like. I envisioned these calm, relaxing days of taking long stroller walks outside, sleeping in, napping all day, watching all kinds of good stuff on TV, visiting my coworkers often because I'd have all this free time, getting my house cleaned top to bottom while babies slept peacefully for hours at a time, going shopping several times a week and buying all kinds of cute baby outfits, going out to lunch at least once a week with Jeff. I could go on but I'll stop as I'm sure you are getting the idea. And if you are already a mother, I'm sure you are laughing right now. Why? Because you already know what I found out over the last 12 weeks. Taking care of babies is hard work! Wake up call Jenny: your maternity leave is not a vacation, it's time to bond with and take care of these little creatures that need constant attention. And as you can probably guess I was able to do zero of the above-mentioned items.
This is the one thing I was/am the most taken aback by. Jeff and I have always made a great team. Great team. When my parents work on project together, much yelling from my dad always ensues. But not us. Jeff is a super patient person, and I've always prided myself on how well we work together. I thought the awesome teamwork would only spill over once we had kids. Boy was I wrong. We have fought more with each other in these last 3 months than we have over the course of the last 7 years. I don't know how many times I said to people that we'll be lucky if we're still married by the time the twins turn one. And I meant it. I can't tell you how many times I have cried over that thought. How sad would it be, that the one thing we've been working so hard for over these last few years, would ultimately be the one thing that drives us apart? ;(
I would say the biggest thing we have fought over comes down to Jeff not realizing that they are our priority now. It's not about me, it's not about him, it's not about us as a couple. It's about these two little human beings that need all of our attention right now. He would still think it was okay to go spend his entire evening down in the basement on the computer, and leave me alone with two fussy babies after I had been alone with them all day. He would still get the luxury of taking two long hot showers every day, while I was lucky if I even got one quick one in. He would think that just because he had a stressful day at work and was up half the night the night before, that he was entitled to nap all evening while I took care of them. I know if we just had one baby I would be okay with a lot of this stuff and let it slide, but with two babies I need his help.
Just like everyone says, it DOES start to get easier. Jeff and I have been much nicer to each other over the last couple weeks. By now I think we have gotten use to the sleep deprivation. The babies are starting to sleep for longer stretches (Alexis is our rockstar and has been going ~6-7 hours for the first stretch at night. Chase is still only doing 3-4 hours stretches, but I suspect as he gains a little more weight he should follow in his sister's steps). I feel like we still have a ways to go before the good parts outweigh the tough ones, but those early days are already becoming a distant memory.
And...I now finally feel that if you check in with us on January 27, 2014 we will still be married and going strong :)