Saturday, May 31, 2008

4 Weeks Old!

I can't believe how fast time is going. Our little boys are growing fast and they are already 4 weeks old!

Last night was a good night. We fed them at 9pm, 1am, 5am and 8:15am. They settled well after the 9pm and 1am feeds and us mummies managed to get 6 hours sleep. They were a little unsettled after the 5am feed . . . poor Benji had a belly ache and screamed the house down. After a HUGE poop, he calmed down and Ethan began to scream - the joys of twins!

Lots of people ask us 'When one cires, does it start the other one and they both cry?' - and really the answer is no.... they take it in turns. I think that is worse, because then you have a crying baby for twice as long. If they cried at the same time it would be better!

After the 8:15am feed, they were WIDE AWAKE, and not keen to go back to sleep at all! It is now almost 11am, and they are only just falling asleep now, despite being in their cot for about an hour.

After a feed and change, we had a little play on the floor mat...
Then we got them changed, and because they were being so good, I got some great pics. Fisrt is little Ethan, then little Benji.

After playing a little longer, and lots of cuddles from their mummies, we wrapped them for bed and they looked tired to us . . . .

An hour later, they were still awake!!!

This is what our sleeping angels looked like yesterday - This is what you're supposed to be doing boys!!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fatty Babies!

We had the child and family health nurse visit today. She helped us with breastfeeding. Ethan is getting good and Tracie breastfed him twice today. The best effort so far. We saw 2 short videos on breastfeeding that helped our attachment techniques. Sal breastfed Benji twice with the supply line. It was his first breastfeed since hospital 2 weeks ago, he did really well in the end. It started with a lot of screaming and crying, and Sal's poor breast got scratched and clawed by is sharp little finger nails. It was a big effort to get him to attach, but with a lot of perseverence, we did it.
We would like to eventually get them both feeding at the same time, so we decided to buy a twin feeding pillow today. We are looking forward to trying it out tomorrow.

The nurse weighed the boys too.
Ethan weighs 3.95kg (8lb11oz) and Benji weighs 3.46kg (7lb10oz). They are both 51cm long. They have gained 480g and 430g respectivly in 10days! The nurse says they should gain 100-200g/week.... so we are doing great. She also said there is no issue with too much weight gain at this point.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

General Update

Things are going well. We are getting into a good routine these days. The boys feed every 3 hours during the day and every 3-4 hours at night. Breastfeeding is still not happening.... but the boys still get expressed breast milk through the day and formula combined with breast milk at night. They are now drinking about 700mls (7x100mls) a day each! We look at them now and can see how big they are getting.
Benji was so small at birth and when he came home we had to go shopping and buy him some smaller clothes..... we put a body suit on him yesterday and decided that would be the last time he wore it.... it's too small now. He's officially grown out of 2 body suits!!

Ethan is also getting bigger and heavier. Tracie was holding him yesterday across her body and Sal looked at them both and noticed how long he was getting... he stretched across her whole tummy! You can also notice when you pick him up that he feels heavier.
Tomorrow they will get weighed again.

Washing baby clothes, wraps, sheets, bibs and blankets has become a daily event. I can't believe how much washing we do! We sit on the couch and fold and sort the clean clothes. Because our boys are different sizes, they have their own clothes. We make an Ethan pile and a Benji pile... Benji's pile is usually about 3-4times bigger than Ethan's pile. He is a VERY messy baby. He manages to dribble, throw-up and wee on his clothes several times a day. 3-4 outfits in one day is normal for him. Ethan is much cleaner and can wear the same clothes for the whole day!

We have been managing to get out a little. Yesterday we went to the local shopping centre to do some chores. We decided to try carrying one baby in a sling/pouch each. Sal carried Benji in a sling and Tracie carried Ethan in a pouch. (We each bought the sling/pouch of our choice before the boys were born). It worked quite well. They both seemed comfortable and slept through most of it. They woke towards the end of the trip and we had to feed them in the car before we went home. We have been to the shops before. Last time we used the pram. Both ways work quite well, but Ethan prefers to be carried, he was more settled in the pouch.

At the shops we ordered a picture of the boys. Harvey Norman (an electrical store in Australia like Best Buy) can turn a digital prints into canvas pictures. They look so cool. We decided to get the following picture enlarged and made into a black and white canvas print. It takes 2 weeks... we're looking forward to getting it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Picture Time


Thought we'd add some more pics, just becuase we love showing off our boys!!

Ethan in his 'tough guy outfit'

Sal feeding both boys in the middle of the night

Tracie holding 2 screaming boys in hospital

The boys in their shirts.... They say "Hatched by two chicks"

Benjamin
Boys getting ready for a walk (or maybe rollercoaster ride?!?)
Benjamin (left) and Ethan (right)

Boys in their cute Bonds Easysuits

Ethan (left) and Benjamin (right)

Waking up after a nap

Benjamin (lower left) & Ethan (upper)

Tummy Time

The boys have about 10-20mins of tummy time per day at the moment. It is usually once a day after a feed some time in the morning/midday. Both boys usually lie there and have a little kick and wriggle. Most of the time they like it.... sometimes they cry.





" Thanks for the great tummy time mat Aunty Linda!"

video

Ethan Waking Up

Things I never knew about feeding babies

There are many challenges to feeding babies...... here's 2 things I never knew before.

I never realised before I became a mother that a baby can suck a bottle incorrectly (I knew you could suck a breast incorrectly, but a bottle?).... did you know??? Sometimes when they open their mouth their little tongue points upwards (without you noticing). If you stick a bottle in like that, he will take it in and suck on it.... but it will make funny slurpy sounds and 'lip smacking' as we call it and all the milk will come straight back out again! Very messy and a big waste of hard earned breastmilk. This usually happens several times per feed between the two of them. We have worked out that you just have to take the bottle out and try again until they get it right! If anyone has any tips on this please let us know.

I also never knew that huccups were contagious!!! Our twins seem to have contagious hiccups. If one baby gets the hiccups after a feed (which is about 50-70% of the time) the other will start hiccuping within about 30seconds (about 90% of the time). It is so funny. The hiccups dont bother them most of the time, but sometimes it makes them upset. Maybe it makes them have a belly ache at the same time? Poor little loves.

Looking after twins alone

Looking after twins without help is very challenging. We had another one of those nights where you dont get much sleep and the boys want food often..... We would like them to feed 4th hourly overnight. We fed them at 9:30pm and so we were hoping for feeds at 1:30am, 5:30am and 9:30am and we would probably get up some time just before the 9:30am feed and prepare their food and stuff..... well, this is what actually happened. . . . . . .
The night started well. We fed them at 9:30pm, then they woke at 1:15am for another feed (not too bad). Then again at 3:45 for another feed. Then again at 7:15 for another feed. Then again at 9:45 for another feed. They managed to squeeze an extra feed into our plan for that 12 hours!! I guess they're having a growth sprut or something.
Anyway, my point is that due to these extra feeds, we are very tired and were not impressed when Benji started screamin again for the 9:45 feed. Sal decided to take him out to the living room and feed him and leave Tracie and Ethan to sleep..... Well, Ethan wasn't a fan of that idea and started to scream too!!! Sal thought she'd attempt to feed and change and settle them by her self (as this is something we need to learn to do - when Sal goes back to work Tracie will need to look after them alone).

The mission started with stereo screaming; while Sal prepared the food both boys cried. Ethan cried in his usual hyperventilating panting sort of way when he is hungry and Benji cried in his LOUD high pitch, head-splitting way. Once the food was prepared (pour 90mls of previously expressed breast milk into each bottle and put them into a mug of hot water to heat them up) it was a matter of positioning them both on the couch to feed them both. We have got a system of feeding them in the bedroom that involves lots of pillows, but Tracie was asleep in there, so a new system had to be invented. . . . .

We own one vibrating rocker, so one baby sat in that, and the other on Sal's lap. It works well for about 3-5 mins..... then it is time to pull their bottles out of their mouth and burp them! That is where it gets more challenging as you already have a baby on your lap, so picking up the other one out of the rocker is tricky!! It is risky to take them off your lap and laying them on the couch as this makes them lay flat on their backs and much more likely to throw up!! Once you have juggled them and burped both of them (usually making at least one of them cry because he's not the one getting attention or being fed) you have to get them back into position and get bottles back into their mouth for round two! This pausing for burps thing happens about 3-4 times per 20-30min feed.

Next it's time to change the dirty bottoms. This also usually results in atleast one or both children crying.... either because you're stripping him half naked and making him cold, or because you're paying attention to one child and ignoring the other. We need a double wide change-table for twins (someone should invent that)!! - I must admit that this particular change both boys were very good and didn't cry much.

Next it's time to wrap them and put them to bed. This can be easy or very very challenging depending on how tired they are. It is only easy if they're just slightly tired. Too tired and they scream, and too awake and they scream. Both boys were pretty alert after this feed, and were not too keen to go to sleep. It is now 11:30am and Benji is asleep with his head turned towards his brother. Ethan is awake, with his head also turned towards his brother and he's looking at him..... so cute!! I have been playing them music to help them sleep (a CD called 'The Mozart Effect - Music for Babies') and the CD just ended. Within a minute Ethan started to cry.... I guess we have to listen to it again. . . . . I put it on, and now he's quiet. But still awake.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Due Day

The boys are now 3 weeks old, and as of today, have reached their official due date. They are no longer premature.
Yesterday we had a big day. We drove about 90mins to Sal's old work to visit her freinds and fill out some paperwork. The boys did really well and slept the whole time. Next we had a feed and went to Tracie's mum's place another 90mins drive away. The boys slept the whole trip too and ate again a little while after we got there. We stayed a while then drove home..... about a 2hour trip. They slept the whole way home and screamed for food within 2 mins of walking in the door! We didn't even have time to unpack the car. We were away for about 10 hours.... one of their longest outings so far. They were such good boys sleeping all day... but their mummies paid for it with them waking up every 2.5-3 hours overnight.

The boys are getting bigger and doing very well. They are good at settling after a feed and most of the time will go to sleep without too much screaming. We have discovered that putting hotwater bottles in their bed during their feed makes it nice and warm and helps to settle them to bed after a feed. Benji's stuffy nose is a little better today and he has been able to eat without too many issues.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

2weeks 5days old

The boys are getting fatter.... the little fellas eat so much!! We are feeding them 90mls, seven times a day. 4feeds are breastmilk (expressed and bottlefed) in the day and 3feeds are formula at night as there is not enough breastmilk for every feed and they sleep better on formula. We bottle feed them expressed milk at the moment. We would like to be breastfeeding both of them at the same time, but it is more difficult that we first thought. Benji does not attach very well. He cries and pulls away and will not open his mouth properly and it hurts his mummy. Ethan is better at it, but still does not always attach properly. He will not attach at all if he is hungry. He will cry in a hyperventalating way and arch his back away from the breast. It makes it all very difficult. At this point Tracie finds it easier to bottlefeed them and express inbetween feeds.

Sal is also trying to breastfeed the boys. It is possible to induce lactation when you have not given birth. Sal used a breastpump for 3 months before the boys were born and both of us take medication to increase our milk supply. Sal has a small milk supply but not enough for a hungry boy. Yesterday the supply line that we ordered online arrived. A supply line is like a small rubber tube that stis next to the nipple. It is attached to a container that is filled with milk and hung around the neck. The baby sucks on the breast and the line at the same time and milk comes down the line and the baby gets rewarded for his sucking. Sal used it for the fisrt time today with Ethan. Once he was attached it worked quite well. He sucked very well for about 40mins and managed to suck about 80mls out of the supply line. It was very encouraging and Sal will try again tommorrow.

Our child and family health nurse popped in for a quick visit again today. She gave us some info and support on breastfeeding and the use of a supply line. She didn't weigh the boys as it was only a quick visit but she saw them sleeping and said they looked fatter than they did 4 days ago!! What do you think??
Ethan(left) and Benji (right)



Ethan sitting on the couch

Benji stretching after a big sleep

Snuffly Babies

Poor little loves have very snotty noses :(
Both boys are very stuffed up and are finding it difficult to breathe when feeding. We have been spraying saline solution (Fess little noses) up their nose before each feed to help them clear their nose. Both boys HATE having this nasty stuff squirted up their nose.....
Benji gags on it and makes a growling/hissing sort of noise. As we do this before feeds, he is hungry at the same time, so he tries to chew his hands as a hunger reflex. The combination of him madly sucking on both fists and growling/hissing noises and the fact that we have him in a hat with a pointy bit on top make him look like a little gremlin.... it's so funny!! - Poor little baba.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bath Time

Before the boys were born we were browsing in toys r us and found a bathing/change table unit on sale. It was reduced from $200 to $50. We couldn't resist the bargin so we bought it. It has been one of the best purchases we've made. It came in about 50 pieces and took Sal about 3 hours to put together..... it was a huge mission!!! We use it several times a day as the changing table in the living room. We wheel it into the kitchen to bath the boys about 3 times a week. The whole bathing procedure takes us about an hour at this point. We hope to get more efficent at it soon!!They both love it in the bath. We bath one boy at a time, often while the other boy sits in the vibrating rocker and grizzles because he's not getting enough attention!

Benji hates to get dressed and undressed and cries most of the time until he is put into the warm water. He loves to float in the water and kicks his legs like a little frog.


Ethan is usually very patient about the whole situation. He lets you undress him and clean his head and eyes without too much fuss. He also loves to swim and kick in the warm water.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

At home - 2 weeks & 3 days old

Things are going well with our new life. The boys are great, and already developing their own personalities. The child and family health nurse came to visit us today and check up on the boys. They are both doing great.

Ethan now weighs 3.47kgs and is 50.5cm long. Ethan is our quiet, contented cuddly little baby. He will quite happily lie there and look around and take in the world. He only gets upset when he is hungry, and then his cry is almost like he is panting. Ethan enjoys his tummy time and bath time and LOVES to be cuddled. His favorite position is chest to chest so he can hear our heart beats. His favorite song is 'hush little baby' and will usually calm down and stop crying if you sing him that song and give him and cuddle. He gets called Ethan, Little E and Baba.

Benjamin now weighs 3.03kgs and is also 50.5cm long. Benjamin is the demanding child. He doesn't like to be kept waiting and will scream if he's ignored! He loves his food and eats more than his bigger brother, and then when he's done will often ask for more. Benjamin loves the song '10 little ducks' and usually singing him this song and bobbing him up and down will help settle him. He does not like 'hush little baby' and will cry if you sing it to him!!! Benjamin likes to be cuddled chest to chest but arches his back so he can look up and see your face. He loves it when you talk to him. He never gets called Benjamin..... we call him Benj, Benji, Benji-boy and Baba.

Tracie is getting over her birthing ordeal. She is able to move around and pick up the boys without too much pain. She still has some pain from the c-section that varies through the day. She is able to take pain killers that help. She still gets tired easily due to the low Hb from the blood loss. The broken sleep of newborn twins doesn't help the situation. Overall Tracie is doing very well considering everything that happened to her.

In general the mums are going well. We are trying to work out our sleeping and eating routines and settle into our new house. We are almost unpacked (thanks to all our family and friends that helped us unpack and clean the house and garden). Neither boy is very interested in breastfeeding, and prefers the laziness of bottle feeding. Tracie is putting in hours of effort on the breast pump to ensure these boys are getting the best start in life. We are getting into a routine of breast milk in the day and formula at night (as there is not enough milk for both babies for all feeds). The doctors said that due to the large bleed that Tracie had after their birth, her milk may not come in at all.... Tracie is managing to produce enough milk for about 70% of their feeds and we are both very happy with that. During the day we each pick a child and change, feed and settle that child (They feed every 3 hours during the day). Tracie expresses milk between feeds and Sal catches up on housework and unpacking. During the night one of us goes to the kitchen to prepare the food while the other gets the boys up and clean and ready to eat. Sal bottle feeds both boys at once while Tracie expresses milk. We are getting it down to a fine art, but it still takes us about an hour to feed them and then they sleep for about 2-3 hours and the routine repeats its self. We are getting used to this broken sleep, but we're still tired. Overall it's all worth it..... we love being parents and we love our little boys!

At the Hospital


We spent a total of 6 nights at the hospital. The boys were born on the Saturday morning, Tracie came out of the ICU on Sunday afternoon. She was still very sore and had not yet been out of bed. That night she got up and had a shower and went back to bed. We had some family and close friends visit that night. It was fun to show off our beautiful boys. The boys slept ok that night, and the next morning Sal had to leave very early as we were moving house. We had planned this move whilst Tracie and the boys were still in hospital as we thought it would be easier to do it then, rather than when they came home. Tracie's mum spent the day with her and the boys and helped a lot. Sal was away for almost 12 hours and it was an awful day for both of us. That night we were both very tired and exhausted and the boys were very unsettled. The boys (Benjamin in particular) only let us sleep for 2 hours...... we were exhausted to the point of tears.

The next few days were better.... The boys were upset because they were hungry and Tracie's milk had not yet come in due to the big bleed that she had. That next day (Tuesday) we started to feed them formula and they were much happier. We had a quiet day the next 2 days and had some more family and friends come visit. On the tuesday we gave the boys their first bath. It was fun!! Both boys enjoyed floating in the warm water, but hated getting undressed and redressed.



Sal bathing Benjamin


Ethan having his first bath.

The rest of the week went very quickly, we had many more visitors and went to visit Tracie's friends down stairs (she works one level below the maternity ward in the theatre complex of the same hospital). We took many photos of our beautiful boys and even had some professional photos taken.

BENJAMIN





ETHAN




Throughout the week we tried to breastfeed the boys, but for several days Tracie did not have any milk. Towards the end of the week the milk came in..... but breastfeeding is very difficult with twins! We want the boys to have breastmilk, so Tracie is now expressing and bottlefeeding both breastmilk and formula. We will keep trying with the breastfeeding when we get home.

OUR BOYS ARE HERE!!

Hi, and welcome to our page. Our family consists of Sally, Tracie, Ethan, Benjamin and 2 pussy cats. Sally and Tracie are the parents. We have been a couple for over 3 years and have wanting a family almost all of that time. This page will be about our boys Ethan and Benjamin, who are twins and were born on May 3rd, 2008.

BIRTH STORY:
After what seemed like the longest wait in the world (9months is too long) the day of our boys birth arrived. Our OB booked us in for a c-section at 8am on Saturday May 3rd, 2008. (37weeks gestation). We got to the hospital at 6:30am and check in. We were seen by the midwives and Tracie was prepared for theatre. We had about a half hour wait before the theatre porter came to get us. During that time Tracie went to the toilet and on the toilet her waters broke!! We thought this was great..... timing could not have been more perfect! When we arrived to the theatres, Tracie was having mild contractions, but the anaesthetist (a good friend of Tracie's) put in the spinal and epidural and the pain went away (replaced by the shakes and shivers). Tracie was then wheeled into the theatre (Sal was there too) and the operation began.

At 8:18am Ethan Stuart was born. He weighed 2330g (7lb1oz) and was 47cm long. He came out screaming and has done very well. He is a little chubby baby with brown hair. As soon as we saw him we both thought 'he looks so much like Tracie'. Ethan is a name that means strength, as he was the quiet one in the womb and still is. Stuart is Sal's father's name who died almost 20 years ago.


At 8:19am Benjamin Graham was born. He weighed 2690g (5lb15oz) and was 48cm long. He also came out screaming but required a little oxygen for the first 10mins of his life. He has also done very well. He is a skinny little baby with very fine blond hair. He was born covered in vernix.


Benjamin means 'son of my right hand' and coincidently sat on the right side of the uterus. Graham is Tracie's brother's name.Benjamin's name came to us one day when we were talking to him inutero..... it was like he told us what to call him. He was the dominant one inside, and still is!
We were able to hold both boys in the theatre and look at our beautiful sons. We were so happy and overwhelmed with the emotion of the birth. Tracie is a nurse who works in the theatres where our sons were born. She was able to choose some of the doctors and nurses that were in the operation. It was nice to have some friends at the birth.
As the operation was coming to a close, Sal and the babies were sent out to go back to the maternity ward and Tracie was sent to recovery (PACU). Back on the ward Sal watched the babies get weighed and measured and dressed for the first time. She waited and waited and after about an hour our OB came up to the ward to tell her that Tracie was still in recovery as she was having trouble stopping the bleeding. After another hour Tracie was still in recovery and still bleeding. Tracie does not remember too much about this day, except for being scared that she was bleeding and that she wanted to see her boys. Sal was allowed to go back down to recovery to see Tracie, but the boys had to stay on the ward with the midwives. Sal got the shock of her life to see Tracie lying there, white as a ghost, cold and having a blood transfusion. Our OB was still there keeping an eye on Tracie and pumping her full of fluids, blood, drugs for pain and drugs to help the uterus contract. The drugs to help the uterus contract were supposed to help the bleedng, but it was not working. It was at that point that they decided that it was time to take Tracie back to theater to stop the bleeding. They said they may have to do a hysterectomy. Sal was sent back to the ward to look after the babies and didn't hear anything for the next few hours.
After 2pm Sal was now extremly worried and could not sit there waiting any longer. The midwives rang recovery and found that Tracie was back there and Sal was allowed to go back and see her. The OB had not needed to do a hysterectomy, but had inserted a balloon into the uterus and gave Tracie lots of drugs to cause severe contractions. When Sal arrived in recovery Tracie was in EXTREME PAIN from the baloon and the contractions.....it was awful. After about 20mins Tracie was sent to intensive care for monitoring. Tracie spent the next 24hours in ICU and had minimal futher bleeding and the pain slowly became more managable. Overall, Tracie lost 3.5L of blood and had 6units of blood transfused. Her BP fell as low as 50/30 in recovery and her Hb dropped lower that 7. The next day the balloon was removed and Tracie was sent back to the post-natal ward. We were both very happy about that.
Over that first 24hours, Tracie saw the boys for about 6 hours in the ICU that night, but was too sore, and had too many lines attached to her to be able to breastfeed them or hold them properly. Sal stayed in the postnatal ward and looked after the boys that night and took them back down to see Tracie in ICU the next day.