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Six weeks old...

Posted by Anotherhopeful , 30 April 2010 · 1553 views

Six weeks has already passed on this next leg of our journey - and what a six weeks it has been!

We are so blessed to have healthy boys, despite the IUGR and their relatively low birth weights. Both boys are growing well, with Jacob doing his best to chase down his older brother, and at a medical appointment earlier this week both weighed in over 7 pounds.

Alex is proving to be a far mellower baby - he rarely fusses, sleeps well and is very "bright eyed" in his play time. He tends to eat slowly, like his dad, and to be very expressive as things move out the other end. There have definitely been a few comic moments on this front - both when well wishers are visiting and holding him and at the change table.

Our little Jake is a feisty one, and considerably more fussy. He runs from 0 - 60 in a matter of seconds and will go from sleeping peacefully to ear splitting screams when it is least expected. Jake embraces life - gulps his food, grabs and hangs on, studies everything around him.

We had the benefit of my mother coming to stay for the first 4 weeks of their life, and it was lovely being mothered. Although it wasn't all roses, her being with us was so important to us as we took our first steps in parenthood. I was sad to see her go and very sad that she lives on the other side of the continent. Thank goodness for Skype and air travel.

Feeding has been a very significant challenge. When they arrived, neither Alex or Jake were able to latch on, so we began syringe feeding them, first with donated breast milk and later with my expressed milk. After the first week, concerned about my supply, I began pumping every two hours in a bid to increase my supply, and between the pumping and the feeding was lucky to piece together two or three hours of sleep a day. We received frustratingly varied advice on how and when to transition the boys to the breast, with the community health nurse who was assigned to us advising against it entirely until the boys had gained more weight. By the end of the third week I was really unraveling - the combination of sleep deprivation, pain from the constant pumping, and frustration. I learned that week that I was damaging by nipples by using a flange on the pump collector that was too small - if there is one piece of advice I would love to pass on to any of you who will pump, please ensure that you are using a large enough flange. The substitute cost only $30 and literally kept me from jumping off a bridge as a result of the pain.

It was during that third weekend of the boys life at my twin prenatal class reunion that our instructor told me that the advice to date was nonsense and proceeded to get both boys to latch and have their first feed at the breast. She also recommended that we change to bottle feeding immediately for any expressed milk or supplement. We did, and I am relieved that neither boy has to date had any nipple confusion. So began the next chapter.

Breastfeeding has been a real struggle. It was hugely important to me that I do it; in some ways I had built it up too much - thinking that I hadn't had the conception I wanted, the pregnancy I wanted or the birth I wanted, but I was certainly going to feed the boys the way I wanted. Any of you who have followed my story know what comes next - another chance to learn the lesson of acceptance, patience and that sometimes trying harder doesn't help.

Although we are all continuing to learn, latching is an ongoing challenge. Jake in particular is a fighter and if he has already reached 60 mph, he will struggle, squirm, scratch and bite for several minutes before settling on to the breast for his dinner. Alex is less combative, but does squirm and scratch. We have all been in tears several times.

The experience of breastfeeding not coming easily has been so similar emotionally to my journey through infertility - it has brought up all of the same emotions and insecurities - the feeling that I am not somehow good enough, and that my body is betraying me. Adequate milk production is I believe the root of the problem - I have to work very hard to stay ahead of the curve with the pump (common with "older" women I am told) - as well as not putting the boys to breast sooner (these two issues are intimately related).

We have tapped into several of resources - and tried to find our way through all of the conflicting information. Several of you pointed me to the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic website (Google Toronto Breastfeeding Clinic) and I think it is perhaps the best resource of all with helpful video and written information. My own family doctor has referred me to the Vancouver Breastfeeding Clinic and they have prescribed medication to get my milk production up and hopefully by next week I will be one of those women who can squirt across the room (I tried the herbs recommended by Newman with little effect)! They also diagnosed a breast infection that was contributing to the significant breast pain I was experiencing, and at times making it impossible for me to even attempt putting the boys to breast. The Vancouver clinic seems a bit more traditionally medical and formal that the Toronto one, but at least we are making progress.

Adding attempts at putting each of Jake and Alex to breast with their (now) bottle feeding and pumping has been very tiring and I have wanted to give up 100 times; but each time my stubbornness comes through and slowly we are making progress. This week has been light years ahead of last week, and I am confident that moving forward it will get better. I am getting past my fear of the pain - thanks to the medication for the infection and my new affection for Advil (it is safe for the babies) - and of course the pain is decreasing as the infection clears.

I am staying focused on my goal - getting as much breast milk into these guys as I can, for as long as I can, in the easiest delivery method possible while accepting that my idealized dream of what it would be like to breastfeed was just a dream. It is so easy to get discouraged, and frankly I make the decision to keep going every single day. Cutting myself some slack sometimes means that I don't put the boys on the breast due to pain, and instead pump their meal and give it to them in a bottle; we have also resorted to formula a few times during their growth spurts when I haven't been able to keep up.

I hope that none of what I have written will discourage any of you - that is the opposite of my intention. I think that breastfeeding - particularly with twins - provides a number of wonderful benefits both to the babies and to mum. Even though I had read two books on breastfeeding and watched a few DVD's before the delivery, I think my biggest mistake was in failing to really trust my own instinct and opinion and being swayed by all the conflicting information. Breastfeeding really is an art and both baby and mum must learn the dance that works best for their coupling. Not all the advice you get - even from docs and nurses - is necessarily suitable for you and your baby (babies). Remember all that was learned on the IF road and be your own advocate.

Forgive this mama her preaching and her photos!

Our own lovely Saffy handcrafted the sweaters you see in one of the photos - they were passed on to me by Tabby, and dear Kat sent along the fun yellow sleeper! What a community!

Love to you all on your journey.

AH


Attached Image: Alex.JPG


Attached Image: Jake.JPG


Attached Image: alex and jake.jpg


Attached Image: alex and jake 2.jpg


Attached Image: alex and jake sweaters.jpg




Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this with us. It's nice to know what happens at the end of pregnancy too!
Awe, they are adorable! Congratulations!
Beautiful!! I'm sorry about the bumpy road of BF, I am glad that it's getting better! You are doing great my friend.
Sending you lots of love and hugs.
Kat
CONGRATULATIONS MOMMA! YOU DID IT!!! The first 6 weeks are the hardest and I also wanted to quit.... probably 200 times. I remember the boys were about 10 weeks when one pulled off my breast and smiled at me and I thought "this was ALL worth it!"You are right, it will get better and better and better until you are all old pro's! I am really really proud of you, your stubborness will pay off,I am sure you have been told about FenuGreek? It worked wonders for my supply. You are an amazing Mother and have two very gorgeous boys.Take care of each other and talk soon,XOXOXOXK
They look good and are gaining weight - that's what matters. Congratulations.

I love the photo where they are looking at each other.
Awww gawd AH...your story & pics bought me to tears! But I think i'm just a little emotional today. Your story doesnt discourage me at all...and i'm sure no one else, it's an open story of truth of how it can be...not always for everyone of course, but it certainly keeps me having an open mind. Thank you so much for sharing your story & pics, Alex and Jake are just too adorable for their own good! Love the outfits, clearly we have some very talented ladies on this website. You are doing just great honey...so lovely to read your blog! Thanks to GF (Good Fortune) for getting me addicted to reading blogs!Much love to you and yours Anahera/Susan xxxxxxxxxxx
They are beautiful!! Your doing a great job!
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mollygirl21
May 01 2010 07:37 AM
So happy to hear from you AH :pray: They are adorable!
Thanks for sharing your continuing story AH. You are doing great and the boys are beautiful- love the pics! :pray:
I have been thinking of you and waiting patiently for your update! I am incredibly happy for you. As Hugs said, the first 6 weeks with twins is by far the hardest, and you are now over that hump. Sounds like your boys are like mine...one very fiesty one, and one who is totally chilled out! Have fun in the coming weeks...smiles, giggles, baby babble, raspberries...it's all coming your way in twos! Best wishes, as always.
thanks for the update! they are beautiful and you are doing a wonderful job! keep up the great work, Mama!!
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Ever Hopeful
May 01 2010 09:13 AM
Thank you so much for another completely honest post AH.

Your boys look so happy and healthy ~ I think you are doing a great job :)
It's good to hear from you AH! B/F is definitely a mind over matter process in the first couple of weeks and i commend you for your perseverence!!! The boys are beautifil and growing good - keep up the great work!!!!
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Haligobabies
May 01 2010 11:56 AM
they are gorgeous babies! Thank you for sharing what your BF experience has been like so far! As a soon-to-be mom of twins, this is VERY scary territory indeed lol.
Your babies are absolutely gorgeous!
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vancouverwoman
May 01 2010 01:42 PM
They are so very adorable. Thank you for blogging. it is so great to hear that things are going well with the boys. Your story about breast feeding is exactly the same as mine. if I were to write about it, I would probably use the same exact words. It does get better and acceptance is really the way to go.
beautiful babies danielle. so cute! they look content and happy....do take care. jen
You are doing amazing job AH. I can totaly relate to what you wrote. I also wanted to breastfeed my boys (sort of the same reasons that you have :wavey:), but I did not have your persistance. My guys were born early, had to stay more than two weeks in ICN, had troubles with latching and sucking, and in the end I resorted to exclusive pumping. Do what you can and do not beat yourself if something doesn't work as expected. No matter how it turns, your boys have amazing and loving mother.
They are so adorable...you are doing such a great job...I remember when you got your BFP...

XOX
Congrats again AH. The boys are cute and you're doing the best you can. Thanks for sharing the pics.

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