Forgive me if this post makes no sense or has no linear rhyme or reason.... I'm trying to catch up on things I've missed writing about.
Maya decided last night that she was hungry. Really hungry. So hungry that she needed to eat constantly. From 11pm to 4am. And then, for good measure, at 6am. And I dont mean breastfeeding. I mean from a bottle. She took all the breastmilk that was pumped and then started on formula. I fed her freshly pumped breastmilk again an hour ago; we'll see how long that holds her over! Hungry girl! We may have a growth spurt going on here! (Bobby, cute as always, will eat whenever you put food in front of him. Hungry boy!)
Speaking of the mister, little Bobby has a nasty butt rash. (By the way, I started this post at 10:37... it is now 12:49 and I am able to come back to it. Where does the time go???) Anyway, butt rash... It started a few days after he came home. The pediatrician says that he, sadly, inherited my super sensitive skin and that we should get used to things like this with him. The rash is on the inside of his cheeks so it is very painful when he has gas or has to poop. (Yep, I just used the word "poop" in a post...) She recommended something called "Triple Paste" which I have affectionately named "Butt Paste". As of now, the rash is still there, but the paste has seemed to make him a little more comfortable.
(Time check? It's now 6:14 in the evening... I'm not making this up. Who would have thought it would take that long to write a post? Welcome to my new world...)
In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit: the twins got their first vaccine. I've posted previously that we picked the vaccines we were comfortable with and the ones we werent. As you may remember, we arent pro multiple shots at once. I'm not a huge fan of bundled shots either, although Peter is more okay with them. A lot of it depends on the fillers; if the babies get less of those via a bundle, then that is better than spacing out shots where they get more fillers. But I digress... The received Pentacel, which is a combo shot of DPT, HIB, and Polio. As you may remember, we had decided to give the kids DPT because of the fatal risk of pertussis, however, we had opted out of HIB and Polio. So why did we give them Pentacel? Our pediatrician is very pro parent knowledge and we discussed our issue with the HIB vaccine. She let us know that there has been an outbreak in our area, which played into our decision reversal. One of the reasons we had opted out is because it wasnt prolific in our area. But since this is an influenza that can lead to meningitis, which can be fatal, we decided not to risk it. We still wouldnt do Polio as a single shot, but the fillers in Pentacel were less than the DPT and HIB separately (we'd initially planned to do the two shots by themselves). We've also decided to give them Prevnar, which is for pneumonia. The decision to give this was primarily due to Maya; part of her lungs didnt completely inflate, which puts her at a much higher risk of pneumonia. (Preemies are at a higher risk anyway, but her risk is at the top of the chart). The situation will work itself out over time, but since they were born going into winter, we've looked into the pros and cons and have decided the benefits outweigh the risks. Of course, they will get this shot by itself.
They were troopers. When the needle went in, they both let out a quick cry, but then it was over. Less than 30 seconds of fussiness. Part of me thought "oh, my brave babies" but the other thought was "this is what happens when you spend the first 9 weeks of your life in the NICU". The poking, the prodding... They probably are pretty desensitized to the needle pricks. The nurse said that the kids were the best she's had with shots. I guess that is both a compliment and a bit sad.
Maya is starting to crawl. I know. That sounds nuts to even write. When she's being held on your chest, she will grab your shirt and start working her way up until her head is underneath your chin. Peter said it probably reminds her of being tiny, when we would reach in the isolette and put our hands on her head. When she is on one side of the pack-n-play and Bobby is on the other, she will make her way over to him. Giving her tummy time, she can get herself from one side to another. And she is learning to roll over. At this point, she can get about 2/3 of the way there. It's really insane. She's 9w2d old today (adjusted age is negative 2 weeks since their 40 week due date was 12/5); the earliest time a full termer crawls is usually about 24 weeks and rolling over from back to stomach is about 20 weeks. Given, she isnt crawling across the floor or rolling all the way over; but she is on her way and it seems so early. It seems like yesterday I could hold her in the palm of my hand. Now she is starting to fill out (she's still my chunky monkey no doubt!) and is getting more mobile. Bobby isnt doing so much crawling practice and he doesnt do much rolling over practice either (I think his head is probably too heavy!) but he is holding his head up and lifting his body up when he's being held and holding it on his own. A full term baby holds his head up for more than just a shaky little bit around 12 weeks. Again, it's crazy. As he gets bigger and moves out of his newborn wear into (gulp) his 0-3 month wear, it really is hitting me that they grow up so fast. So very fast.
On a funny note, I not only have "Milk Gibson" but now I have "Breast Michaels" as well (for those who dont get the reference, Bret Michaels is/was the lead singer of Poison, an 80s band). Sarah coined this phrase to name my new breast pump that my girlfriend (and twin godmother) Meg gave me. But perhaps her funniest new phrase is another nickname for Maya that Peter really hates (and he thought Chunky Monkey was bad!). We were joking about Maya having strawberry blonde hair and her being the "milk man's baby" (we also jokingly call Peter the milk man since he gives breastmilk in a bottle to the babies) when Sarah busts out with "She must be Daniel Craig's baby since you had so many dreams about him", to which I joked that, in my spare time from bedrest, I escaped to NYC when he was there and somehow ended up with one Peter baby and one DC baby. So, she coined the name, "Craiglette" for Maya. Boy, how I laughed. Peter- not so much. So, for the record, they are both Peter's. I swear. Pregnancy dreams aside... :)
Pain. It's something that I both expected and didnt expect. I knew it was going to hurt. I mean, how could it not. You cant have babies at home, watching them grow, and not be reminded of what you've lost after you'd lost a child. You simply cant. And it hurts. It hurts in a place that is so private you cant even express it to others. Sometimes I find myself just watching them in awe. They are here. In our house. In their bed. We bathe them and change them and feed them and hold them. They are here and our worlds have changed more than we ever could have imagined.
I have said it before: I love all my children. If the only way that I could have all of them in my life is to have said hello and goodbye to some of them way too early, then that is the price I pay to love them all. I cant imagine not having had each of those children touch my life. And I cannot imagine life now without Bobby and Maya. And for this, I feel both guilty and heartbroken. I know that had Nicholas and Sophia lived, there would have been no Alexander. Not because wouldnt have had another child, but because we wouldnt have conceived Alex in August. Which means that next baby wouldnt have been Alex. Having Nick and Sophie early gave us the gift of Alexander. Had he been born, even at 28 weeks, there would have been no Bobby and Maya. Again, not because we wouldnt have had another baby, but because we wouldnt have conceived babies in March. So that next child or children wouldnt have been Bobby and Maya. And how could I wish for a life without them? I couldnt. And that hurts. So damn much. It drives a huge lump in my throat and causes me to stop breathing. Because it is a choice. Do I long for a life with Nicholas and Sophia and Alexander when that means a life without Bobby and Maya? How can I? How can I not?
Many of these feelings are coming up as we discuss having another child. (Not today! Please, I'm not insane!) We had always planned to try to expand our family with more biological children as well as adopted children. We assumed we'd wait 2 years or so and then try again. That would put me at 32-ish when we started. Still young but with my biological clock ticking of course. (But then, dont we all feel that way?) But I'm not so sure. Not about the 2 years. Or even 5 years. My age doesnt scare me, although the longer we would wait, the harder getting pregnant could be. It's everything else.
We have been monumentally lucky. To have 27+ weekers- who really are 25+ gestational weeks- do so well and have so few interventions is almost unheard of. Babies at 28 weeks routinely pass away from hardships. We got the best hand in the deck of prematurity that we were given. A good friend of mine made in the NICU had twins at 27w4d- 1 day before ours in the pregnancy timeline- who are struggling. That is the norm. Bobby and Maya arent. The chance that I will give birth prematurely again? Practically 100%. The need for a cerclage? 100%. Bedrest? 100%. Hospital bedrest? Probable. Is that fair to Bobby and Maya? To Peter? To whatever new child or children chose us to be their parents? I cant say yes.
Oh, Michele, it's too early to even be thinking of this. Give yourself a few years and then think about it. I know. I know. I could wait to think about it. But that just isnt the way I roll. I need to think about it now. Even though it wouldnt be for a while. And my thoughts lead me to think that I just cant do it. I dont know that I could do another C-section with having kids to take care of home. I couldnt have severe bedrest and raise toddlers. I couldnt spend months in the hospital and have someone else raise my children. And I couldnt put a child at risk, which is what I feel another pregnancy would do.
If God gives us another biological child, we will welcome that child with open arms and do whatever it takes to get them here full term and safely. But I dont think we will explore reproductive technologies to help God out. We wont use birth control because it doesnt fall into our beliefs, nor will we use NFP because, with PCOS, it's not really a workable method. But I dont think we will put our insurance to work with Dr Lee. I have loved being pregnant. I cant compare feeling a child grow inside, moving, curling up, kicking. I cant find words to express seeing them moments after they came from my body.
But I also cant express the pain of watching my child stuck with needles or struggling to breathe. The fear of knowing that my children would come into this world 3 months early. Bobby and Maya will turn 3 months old 5 days after their EDD. And that was as pregnant as I have ever been. I cant put another child through that on purpose. And to me, getting pregnant, knowing that even with a TVC, I might not be able to go 40 weeks... It's too much of a risk. And I'm not a gambler. I think I will stop while I am ahead.
We've wanted to adopt since we got married. Money held us up. We finally have the start of an adoption fund and Peter's employer recently made a change to their adoption reimbursement policy which allows for $10,000 in reimbursement. I can only imagine that seeing your child for the first time in the adoption photo is like seeing your child on an ultrasound for the first time... That waiting to meet them is like waiting for delivery... That touching them for the first time, kissing them, holding them- that those feelings give you the same lump in your throat and tears in your eyes. Maybe even more. Because you know what they've gone through to get to this point too.
We want a large family. I have no doubts that we will have it. And hopefully we wont spend more time in a NICU to see it realized...
So, all over the place tonight. And I still have more in my head. But that is for another night... (oh and time check: it's 7:20pm)