Musings on Pink

So my new strategy for surviving twin-parenthood is divide and conquer. I had to take Miss M to a birthday party this weekend. I took one twin (B), and J stayed home with P and C. I remember when I thought taking out two children was tough… (I might have even impossible when M was a tiny tot). Now it seems like a breeze.

I have not updated much about my Miss M recently, despite the fact that she turned three recently. Unfortunately, her actual birthday was overshadowed by her two sisters still being in hospital and general chaos of life. We celebrated with pizza and a cupcake, and since she is three, she thought that was amazing.

Sense of Style

M, despite my efforts to transform her into a tomboy, has gravitated towards all things pink. I took her to her party today wearing a pink dress, with her (pink) dolly in hand, and her own bright pink purse. I swore up and down that my daughter wouldn’t be the “pink” child. In pictures of her before age one, she rarely wears the colour. When she started to show more girly tendencies, I tried to persuade her that purple was her favourite colour. Purple at least has some sort of ’70s nostalgia to it, unlike pink, a colour which never had much prominence during my childhood. I knew, just knew, that even though other mothers claimed it “just happened” that the “pink obsession” wouldn’t happen to us. As with many things in parenting, I am eating my words. Today she spent 15 minutes rooting through her underwear drawer because she wanted to wear pink skivvies and none of her cute boy briefs would do. I had a pedicure done recently and I wasn’t home for two minutes before she honed in on my pink toes: “Where you get dat colour? I want dat polish!” And Grandma tells me she had her trash packed away in a pink shopping bag – Miss M noticed right away: “I yike your garbage Grandma!”

Here she is choosing between the pink diaper bag and the pink doctor’s set in the pink section of Toys’R’Us. I encouraged her towards the cars section, but she wasn’t having any of it. So I pushed for the doctor’s set, which at least had some aspirational quality to it, and she can be seen making notes about Dolly’s various ailments on the pink notepad.

Pink Choices

At least the twins can still be persuaded to wear other colours:

Strawberry

Although Bea is showing an affinity for pink hats:

Sleepy Bea

P is very boyish, but he still defies gender stereotypes – what a super lovey dovey dude he is. He is so maternal, always kissing and wanting to hold the babies. “Does Bea want skin-to-skin?” he asked me today.

Big Brother Cuddles

Not much in twin news. For the first week since we’ve been home, we have no medical appointments for the twins (knock-on-wood!) this week. So far we’ve had numerous paediatrician visits, immunisations, a lengthy hearing test (for B), breastfeeding consults, appointments with early intervention and physiotherapy. Until next week, a bit of a break.

Due Date

Today is the girls’ due date. Of course, we all know due dates are fictional. I remember going out shopping on P’s due date, and as people often do, a woman asked me when I was due. “Today!” I said. She looked at me a bit confused and then smiled widely. “Oh, are you going to the hospital later?” she asked.

Being twins, their due date is even more fictional than most, but there’s still something symbolic about it. If they’d been P, they wouldn’t have even been born yet. If they’d been singletons, they might still be in my belly. If everything hadn’t gone so crazy with the pregnancy, they’d be just a few weeks old instead of more than two months old. They might even look different. They would have little round heads instead of long skinny “preemie head.” C wouldn’t have her two little chest tube scars… or other more invisible ones.

I’m trying not to dwell on what could have been. What could have been is not. And could have been worse. But today I’ll let myself dwell for a moment or two. But not for long because I have two sweet girls who tend to be quite demanding between the hours of 8 and 10.

Early Days

Both girls are doing great. Bea is still having trouble gaining weight a bit and she has a serious case of snuffles, but I hope she’ll be up over 6 lb at their next appointment.

snooze

Two babies are a game changer. With one baby, you have a few periods during the day where they’re asleep for an extended period – you know so you can shower or eat. With two, they never seem to coordinate.

With one, you can hold the baby and you still have a free hand for a coffee or a snack. With two, if they both fall asleep on you, you’re pretty much paralysed for the next hour.

With one, you can remember that you changed the diaper not-so-long ago. With two, you go to change the baby and realise she’s soaked right through. Then you realised you probably changed the other baby’s diaper three times when you thought you’d changed her.

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This summer will definitely be the season of doing nothing – if all I accomplish is a shower and picking up the kids on time without forgetting to eat, I’ll call it a win. My greatest accomplishment this week was nursing one girl while changing the other – big excitement!

P.S. In case you’re wondering about the picture, I don’t let them sleep on a pillow unless they’re on my lap… but so darn cute.

Bea is home

Negligent mama here – I keep meaning to do a whole “Bea is home!!!” post. However with two newborns (I persist in thinking of them that way even if they’re not technically new) I don’t have a lot of time to write, or knit, or read. TV watching is still possible!

But yay! B is home as of earlier this week, and we are all finally together again. And with that I must sleep!

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Light at the End of the Tunnel

After being separated so abruptly, and being apart for so long, neither C nor I want to be very far from each other.

snugs

In the hospital, she mostly only woke to feed and always settled quite easily with a soother.  But as the nurses say, “Babies are smart.”  It didn’t take C very long to figure out that if she fusses with a bit of consistency, I will pick her up and she gets to snooze in my lap instead of a pack and play.  Unlike my first two, so far she does not need to be rocked, or shushed, or bounced to quiet down.  She just needs a snuggle, and any position will do – lying on my chest while I watch 30 Rock, cradled in my arm as I unload the dishwasher, or sprawled on my lap as I sit at the computer table.

P and M love having her nearby too, and and I’m willing to bet that she is the most-kissed baby in the universe.

We are hoping to spring Bea later this week and I am so much looking forward to a time when the three of us are together again and the hospital is not a part of our daily routine.  We’ll still be there pretty often for follow-up, but at least it won’t be a daily thing.  There are some wonderful people there, but I never wanted to become an expert on newborn infections, or overhear conversations about babies who will never be able to swallow food on their own.

I also won’t miss watching the mountains of healthy twins come into the Intermediate Nursery.  There seems to be at least one set of 34-weekers that come through every day. What an enormous difference those few weeks make.  I can’t help but feel a little jealous when I know that they will be there for only a few days or a week and will likely suffer none of the interventions or health issues that my girls have as a result of being two and a half months early.

It is pretty interesting to hear what people name their children.  In the NICU, they have poignant names like “Precious” or “Angel” or “Hope”.  In the IN, I have learned that people like to name their twins with matching first letters, or better yet – with names that rhyme.

Bea: she’s thinking “Well, it sucks that I was born over 2 months early, but at least she didn’t name us Cora and Lora.”

 

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One Down, One to Go

Having one baby home has been such a wonderful relief.  She’s such a sweet little thing, giving her delicious sleepy smiles.  She’s also alert a lot more than in the hospital, listening to us chat or sing.

The homecoming was only marred by B having a rough patch in the hospital.  She was having numerous desats, including a significant “blue” episode where she needed to be revived with oxygen.  They were doing all kinds of tests to rule out infection and other issues, but so far nothing has turned up.  We think that it was just that she is quite anemic and tires too easily.  My own hunch is that she has very sensitive tummy.  She seemed horribly uncomfortable when they switched her fortifier, and as a result spent far too much time squirming and moaning and not enough time sleeping so she just kind of crashed after a few days.  Thankfully she has put on some weight in the last few days even with them taking her off the fortifier, so hopefully she is now strong enough to go back to exclusive oral feeds and then come home.

To think at the beginning of last month they weren’t eating at all and were still getting airway support… they’ve come a long way already!

C’s Homecoming

homecoming

For obvious reasons, today was all about C, who got to come home!  It’s so incredibly wonderful to enjoy her away from the files detailing her medical issues, the monitors and the constant buzz of people.  Just a snoozy little baby snuggling up in the crib (when the big brother and sister aren’t fighting over her, kissing her, or affectionately calling her “birthmark-y” – She does have quite a few, but I’m gently trying to discourage that moniker!)

But I also wanted to shout out to Bea, who had her NG tube removed yesterday.

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My gosh, how different her little face looks from a few weeks ago. Now if she would just start gaining and stop those darn bradys, she could come home too.

Sleepover Photos

So I had my night in the hospital and it went very well.   She did all the normal newborn stuff – waking to feed at reasonable intervals.  She went back down quite easily in her cot too.  I hope she does that at home!

The kids came for a pajama party before heading home for the night.  P & B had some great snuggles:

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Our FOUR children (!!!)

family

Wheeling C out of the nursery into the family room.

wheels

The kids wrestled over the baby quite a bit when we got back to the family room.  They each wanted to hold her little wobbly neck.  When they lay down (briefly! they didn’t sleep there!) there was a lot of negotiating of who got to be on the “face” side. It nearly gave J a heart attack.

I’m trying to imagine what C is thinking here… “Are you sure you should be letting him hold me? Is this what home is going to be like? Cause if so, I think I’ll stay with B.”

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But eventually they all settled down.

snuggles

 

Sleepover!

Cora and I are having a sleepover at the hospital! C has now been bottling and nursing for several days so she is more or less ready to come home. Little Miss B is still not quite ready, but she must have heard that her big sis was coming home because she has ramped up the eating a bit in the last few days.

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As eager as I am to get them home it is a little nerve wracking. It’s still a month before their due date, and I’m used to a monitor telling me if they’re okay, or a nurse nearby who can tell me when they were last changed or fed. To ease this transition, they are letting me room in at the parent room with Miss C. So we get a sleepover! Little girl is blissed out in my arms right now – no beeping, no one around – our first time ever with just the two of us.

If all goes well Miss C could be home by the weekend.

Not Quite Yet

I realised this morning after chatting with the paediatrician that the homecoming is not as imminent as I hoped.  Their feeding is not where it needs to be yet and even though C can do a couple of oral feeds a few in a row, she’ll have to prove herself over a few days.  Realistically, I think we’re at least two weeks away, and we still face the possibility of transfer.

Also, B had several “bradys” today where her heart slowed down and then her oxygen level drops.  It’s very common in prems, but she needs to be entirely free of those before homecoming.  The doctor heard a new murmur, so they ordered a whole slew of heart testing, including an ECG and an echocardiogram.  When the docs came by on rounds I said “I’m a bit worried, so please tell me what you hopefully didn’t find.”  The cardiologist said “All you need to worry about it is how little sleep you’re going to get when she comes home.”  Phew.  She put on some weight though – up over 2 kilos now.

Both girls are more awake and alert now too – and they get mad when they are not being held, which is lovely.

Please do send some good thoughts to all NICU babies tonight.  It was packed tonight – there are 61 babies right now for 60 beds, and lots of them are very ill.