Sunday, June 30, 2013

so many lessons to learn...

there were precisely three times today when i thought to myself for just a half a second, "i'm getting this thing down. i can totally take care of three kids. cake". and then all three times, within five minutes of my confident (cocky?) thought, reality slapped me in the face. ha.

episode one: after a couple hours of both girls sleeping and bug and i enjoying some one-on-one time (which was amazing), the ladies woke up, just in time for me to try and get nolan down for a nap. that wasn't the reality slap though. that i am getting used to. it comes in a minute.

so, i changed both girls' diapers, wrangled nolan with books and an "animal" into the room, got the girls set up on my gigantic fancy nursing pillow and we started reading books. that ended early as bug was acting out and was obviously very sleepy. he miraculously fell asleep within 5 minutes without a fuss. the girls and i then moved into the living room. they chilled out in their swing/bouncy seats as i showered (what!?) and we "played" for a bit and then they both nursed. alice conked out first, about 45 minutes after nolan. lilah followed within 20 minutes or so. here it comes...

"i'm amazing! all my babies are asleep. i'm clean! homemade chicken soup is essentially done for dinner. i'm going to get sooooo much packing done now!"

i managed to get one bathroom cleaned out, organized and boxed (really more of a cubby/storage thing, but's ready) and then alice woke up. literally two minutes later, lilah woke up (drenched in her own pee)...and exactly two minutes after that? yup, you guessed it, nolan too. everyone was still tired and a little grumpy and nolan has a cold, so he didn't feel good either. my packing ended and we landed on the couch nursing and watching "care bears". *sigh*

episode two: as we watch above mentioned "care bears," the girls eventually fall back asleep and i successfully transfer them to the bedroom. i finished cooking dinner and nolan and i played a rousing game of baseball with pillows as first, second and their base, a sock as homeplate, a piece of a rhythm stick (?) musical instrument as the bat and an imaginary ball (all balls and ball-like items have been banned from the house). it was awesome. then we managed to eat dinner, bathe him and get him ready for bed with the sisters stayin asleep the whole time. 

now...throughout the day, they had not managed to stay awake for any period if time longer than about an hour and a half or so before their next snooze. sooo...i let them sleep through all of the above because it is way easier to do all that with just nolan. 

by 6:15, i decided to call it. i got them both up and changed. i nursed them while bug played a little more and naively thought that maybe then, they would just hang out for a big while I read nolan books and laid with him for a minute. is where i'm thinking that i've planned it all out and it's gonna be great...and...nope.

instead it went like this: in the room by 7:00. set girls in their boppy pillows and they were mesmerized by the ceiling fan through the entire first book. they weren't super stoked about it, but they even hung on through the second one. but then they started chirping. Nolan was (again) not working with me so I moved from his bed (twin mattress on the floor between the queen and the wall) to the big one with my giant nursing pillow and the now relatively feisty girls. he looked like he was going to be cool with it. he even rolled over and out his arm/hand over his eyes (how he usually falls asleep). and then...

both girls melted. they were as over sitting in that room as i was (nearly an hour later). i tried to explain to nolan that he needed to go to sleep...i have him a count down...he kept pushing the limits and fighting sleep...and then the girls and  i left the room. he has never actually gone to sleep without someone laying with him (namely me and occasionally anthony since the girls arrived) and he is sick, so you can imagine how well that went over. he lasted about three minutes before walking into the living room and refusing to budge. i got him set up on the couch and sat back down to nurse the girls (yes, again). not more than 15 minutes earlier, i sent anthony a text message saying, "in the middle of an epic bedtime fail". and then just like that, all three were asleep once again.

episode three: "yes! i did it! success! sure nolan is alseep on the couch, but there were few tears, little fight once we left the room and he was instantly asleep. hurray. cake."

and then...i tried to transfer the girls. they both woke up. i was able to lull alice back to sleep by laying next to her, but lilah was less convinced. so we headed back out to the living room for more nursing while we rocked and rocked and i typed a good chunk of this blog on my stupid phone. and then...nearly three hours after the whole process began, they were finally all asleep...and transferred to the beds.

now it is 10:00pm. i'm tired, hungry and have packed a grand total of two boxes today. my hubs has been at work for 11 hours and isn't coming home anytime soon. feeling frustrated, i look at my sleeping babes and smile (and then feel bad for being impatient with my sick little man). everyday, they teach me something. i don't always like learning it, but they teach it anyway. :)

1) don't ever count on all three sleeping at once to accomplish a task.
2) at the most inconvenient time, lilah will wake up (this is our third night in a row of this).
3) don't ever feel too confident. it is just too much for the universe to let it be.
4) it isn't the end of the world if a baby falls asleep on the couch...but...
5) before losing my mind, figure out new bedtime routine for bug that does not include me sitting uncomfortably propped up trying to appease two infants for an hour.
6) don't blog...pack boxes. doh.

Monday, June 17, 2013

2 girls. 2 months.

it is amazing how when i think back to the birth of the girls, the details are already hazy and it seems like so long ago and yet at the same time, it seems like yesterday. i am baffled at how fast time has passed, how much they have changed in the last two months and how big they are already!

our journey had a bit of a rough start. physically the girls were great. i made it all the way to 38 weeks, 4 days and they were born strong and full of life. my all natural labor and delivery plans were a success so physically i was great too. emotions were another thing. oy. i was all over the place.

by the time my amazing momma came to help at two weeks (anthony had to go back to work at that point), i was crying day and night and 100% convinced i was dealing with postpartum depression. she stayed for two and a half weeks and so many of those 17 nights were spent with us both walking the floor with crying babies. bouncing. patting. singing. walking. nursing again...and again. sleep was rare. she was incredible. i was a puddle. we pushed through. about half way through her stay, i started to feel ever-so-slightly stronger, but then the reality of her leaving hit me hard and i was right back where i was before she got here. all i could think of was, "how in the world am i going to do this solo (anthony works at night)?

there were so many nights (and days to be honest) when i felt totally numb. like i couldn't make anyone happy. not the girls, not nolan, not myself. we would all be crying at nap and bed times because there just wasn't enough of me to go around and then i felt guilty. how could i have done this to nolan? how could i have taken away his place as the sole recipient of my love and made him share me? having siblings is awesome, right? i guess just not at bedtime, when you are three, your siblings are two newborns and you're used to mommy laying with you until you fall asleep (damn my sick/sleepy/sore pregnancy thwarting my plans to get him to sleep on his own). i started, and this is totally awful but true, regretting our decision to grow our family. and then i would feel guilty about that. how could i regret the two amazing little miracles that i had just brought into the world?

i had to figure a way out of what seemed like a quickly growing black hole that i was terrified i was going to fall deeper into at any moment. when the girls were three weeks, i loaded them up and headed out to a mom's group. it was a moderately crazy idea and a fairly huge undertaking, but i survived. thank you, kimberly d. for holding one of my babies throughout most of our group and for propping my elbow up with one million pillows as i tried for the first time to tandem nurse them while sitting cross legged on the floor sans boppy or brestfriend pillow. oy...that was a tricky one. all the madness was totally worth it. i experienced so much love and strength in that room with those 20ish other mommas. there is seriously something incredible about the energy of a room full of loving mommas and babes. i felt renewed and experienced a (slight) boost in my confidence. it definitely wasn't the end of my dark tunnel, but i was beginning to see a tiny glimmer of light at the end.

the trouble is/was that typically i'm not a person who accepts the idea of a learning curve for myself. i want to be awesome at whatever i'm doing right from the start. ahem...let me tell you...twin newborns come with a steep learning curb for mom. ha! over the next few...who am i kidding...MANY weeks, i had highs and lows. in my lows i would weep and turn to my amazing, amazing, amazing group of momma friends surrounding me. each time they would build me back up. without the out pouring of support that our family received during this time, i'm quite certain i would have completely broke. food deliveries. visitors. play dates. goodies. donated doula hours. you name it, my "village" came through. blew my mind. still blows it, quite frankly. with all their love, i scraped by...little by little, one hour at a time.

i would say that the real turning point for me came at one week ago after a particular crappy night with very, very little sleep. i started a blog that night at 3:30am while i was up nursing. it took me the next day, the next night and the beginning of another day to finish it as i have little time to sit at a computer and type (right now i'm stupidly forgoing sleep to type and will probably regret it tomorrow...luckily i'm going back to moms group! ha!) so i typed it on my phone. i titled it "this too shall pass". when i started writing it, i didn't much like that phrase. by the end of the post and after a little more reflection, i somehow warmed up to it a bit, saw the value in it a bit and even found comfort in it a bit. something happened as i hashed everything all out on "paper". i came to terms with my current reality. shit (pardon me) is going to be hard right now. i'm not going to sleep. i'm going to be exhausted. babies are going to cry. nolan is going to have moments that he struggles. but as long as i remain loving and give it all i've got... as long as i keep breathing... as long as i keep (figuratively) putting one foot in front of the other... as long as i do all that, time will pass. we will make it through.

someday i will sleep again. someday i will miss them needing me at all at the same time. someday they will be grown and gone. and hopefully someday my babes will sit around the dinner table after eating some delicious holiday meal and they will laugh and play games. they will remember growing up together and how much fun it was. and if we can get there, i will have succeeded at this wonderful, rewarding and often times incredibly difficult job of motherhood.

here's hoping.

happy two month birthday (yesterday), my sweet little girls. i love you with all that i am. thank you for teaching me so much in such a short period of time. i can't wait to watch you grow. xoxo

meeting brother - one day old
snuggles - 5 days old
first mom's group - 3 weeks

lilah's first bath with bro

nolan and alice lovies
lilah confiding in big bro

girl talk
my babes - lilah, nolan, alice - 2 months & 3 years 3.5 months

Monday, June 10, 2013

"this too shall pass"

the four little words that most every mother lives by during the rough patches... "this too shall pass"...

to be honest, i've never taken great solace in them. now and again they have helped pick me up when i was down but me a negative nelly, if you must...mostly i find myself thinking, "well it is great that at some point said situation will pass, but what the hell do i do right now to get through it without losing my mind??"

i've heard and thought a whole lot of "this too shall pass" since the twins have been born. this saddens my heart a bit as i really don't want to be wishing time away, but sleep has been hard to come by around here and that, my friends, can put an ugly spin on most anything.

anyway...why write about this now? why at 3:30am (update: though i started this at 3:30am, it took me the rest of the night, day, and part if the next night to finish it...damn blogging via iphone) as i sit here on the couch with two nursing babes? it is not because i hate doing this, i actually love nursing them and i don't even mind doing it through the night. hell, i nursed nolan through the night until he was two and a half. granted he was just one baby and i didn't have to actually get out of bed...or be fully conscious (side lying nursing is a gift from god) as he had no reflux issues, but it still kept me from sleeping through the night. so it is isn't any of that. it is just that when there are you may expect...they don't always live on the same schedule. the whole process of getting up, changing diapers, latching on, nursing, burping, holding them upright (thank you, reflux) for 30ish minutes and then making the transfer to bed (which inevitably fails the first try) takes bare minimum an hour...each time. what does all that mean? it means that in the nearly eight weeks of their lives,  i've been averaging...averaging meaning often times less...four non-consecutive hours of sleep each night. four is not enough to then wake up and make it positively and successfully through a day with a toddler and two infants. definitely not enough. enter: "this too shall pass"...

two nights ago, we had an exceptionally difficult one. the girls barely slept all day and woke up as soon as i laid them down every. single. time. all. day. long. so needless to say we were all tired and cranky. this also meant that nolan got preeeeetttyyy much zero solo attention, which makes for a very sad, needy, grouchy bug. combined with the fact that suddenly he is having a rather difficult time with the transition. it is like the newness has worn off a bit and now he wants his mama back. :(

anyway...back to that night. the girls were awake and angry through dinner, what should have been bath time and bedtime. it was a total nightmare. daddy was at work and i had been solo with them all day and toddler testing had been in full effect. by bedtime, everyone was in tears. i couldn't seem to help anyone to happiness...i couldn't even figure out how to get there myself. nolan melted down multiple times and didn't fall asleep until 9:00. the girls held out until 11:00 (and the were up  multiple times in the night) and cried a good chunk of that time. i nearly lost it. i just wanted to give up. all my insecurities about mothering three came flooding back full force and i was right back where i was when they were two weeks old.

then something happened. the night ended and the next day began. we made it through. i didn't sleep more than three hours total, but we made it through anyway. we had planned on going on an adventure to the batting cages with nolan for that following morning, but i cancelled it. no energy and no patience for the circus it is to get us out the door and then home in time for lunch and naps. that was the best decision i've made in a while. we didn't leave the house at all! we colored and played with toys an just hung out. there was no nap for mama, but still overall good. the girls slept quite literally all day long, which terrified me for what was to come at night, but allowed me some one on one time with bug and i even packed three small boxes (getting ready to move in a month).

that night (last night) went surprisingly well after their all day sleeps. they stayed asleep each time I laid them down. alice slept for a six and a half hour chunk of time (what!?). lilah missed that memo, so i didn't get to enjoy that same chunk of sleep, but i did manage to get five hours in during the night! i felt like a new woman today! haha. and it reminded me of what "this too shall pass" really means to me. it means, don't fear when the girls don't sleep or nolan doesn't listen or eat or is acting a mess on one day. it doesn't mean they will never sleep or that nolan is going to grow up to never listen to anyone or follow any rules in his life. it is just that hour...that day...maybe that week or month, but it doesn't make who they are. it doesn't make who they are any more than my bad days make who i least i hope they don't. ;) it means, just take it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. breathe. and trust that we will make it through and improve later. this too shall freaking pass. to attempt a baby transfer and hopefully get some sleep.

ps. i wrote this post on my phone. please pardon typos. :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

a much needed visit from grandma

just after my grandma passed away, my mom sent me a crystal angel figurine from grandma's collection. sadly upon arrival, it was broken in half.

yesterday afternoon, i finally got around to super-gluing it back together and put it on top of our bookshelf in the corner of our living room (we lack shelf space and have a crazy toddler running about the house at all times).

then last night, during one of my short-lived chunks of sleep, grandma visited me in my dreams. we sat together on my couch and she hugged me and rubbed my back while i cried and cried about how exhausted i am, how hard things are right now and how i often doubt my ability to handle my new role of mother of three. she then looked at me and reassured me. she told me i was doing a great job and reminded me that i need to be gentle wih myself. it was incredible. thanks for the visit, grandma. i really needed it. miss you. xoxo