Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Perspective

I should make a list of all the idiotic things I thought before the twins were born.

For example: "I'll have so much more time when I'm not working 40 hours a week! Yes, motherhood is a lot of work, but I'll be at home, so I can multitask."

Heh.

I'm multitasking right now. I'm blogging with one hand while I hold my son's pacifier in his mouth with the other. I'm also holding my daughter's pacifier. Yes, two pacifiers with one hand. My pacifier hand is also being used to massage my son's tummy, because he's in process of having his first poop in 3 days, and he's not happy about how his intestines feel.

And now they're both fussing and I can no longer blog with one hand.

...

...later...

You want to know what else is multitasking? Rocking a car seat in the bathroom because you only have one baby swing and it's occupied by the other baby, who is also watching you do your business on the toilet, because you had to put them somewhere while you go to the bathroom, and since all 3 of you are pooping right now, you might as well make it a party.

...later...

Okay, my husband is home, holding one baby, while the other one has finally managed to get to sleep without dropping his pacifier. These moments are sacred. I got the laundry folded and now I can (hopefully) finish this blog post.

Anyway, what I'd like to do is go back about 5 weeks, & give my younger self a quick reality check.

I'd tell her that feeding a baby is not a quick, 15 minute deal, especially when there are 2 of them. Feeding times take a minimum of an hour every time (frequently longer), and there are 6-8 of them each day. Add to that an hour or two worth of time spent changing diapers each day, and you end up spending more time than your full time job just on their digestive systems. Also, you're doing this at 3:00 AM. And on weekends.

Add to that bonding time, comforting sore tummies, replacing dropped pacifiers, washing endless amounts of spit up covered clothes, blankets, and burp rags, washing bottles, bathing babies every few days, and babies that just plain don't want to be put down, and you're lucky to get some toast made here and there.

Another feeding time is coming soon... but not yet! I'm going to take a quick shower!

Oh wait... baby girl is threatening to go hysterical, & if she's hungry, there's not much Daddy can do about that. Looks like the shower will need to wait.

(Note: I'd also tell my 5 weeks ago self that she'll love this crazy job WAY more than the day-in, day-out of 40 hours a week at a desk. Little to no breaks is worth the payoff.)

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Baby Haikus

Caring for newborn twins is fun. Never before have I requested divine intervention for defecation and flatulence.

Last night, around 5:00 AM, whilst lost to the throes of exhaustion, my brain suddenly turned on creative mode, & I found myself composing haikus, of all things. 

Now, infant haikus to my children are my new thing. Here is a sampling of my work. (The 2nd one to my son, Anders, is the result of my 5:00 AM creative session.)

For Anders: 
A storm is coming. 
You haven't pooped in five days. 
I will make you poop!

For Annalaé Rose:
It's just a diaper. 
You are not being murdered. 
Did you just turn blue?

For Anders:
Sleep sleep sleep sleep sleep. 
Don't drop your pacifier. 
Omg please sleep. 

For Annalaé Rose, 3 haikus in succession:
That wasn't a burp. 
Your grunts don't fool me. 
Burp, or no more food. 

Oh, now you're fussing. 
Meh, that could have been a burp. 
K, but you owe me. 

Now you are sleeping. 
I never got a good burp. 
Please don't puke on me. 

Edit: I've been doing a lot of these and posting them on Facebook. I'd like them all in the same spot, so I'm adding them here until I can make a file.

For Annalaé Rose:

There's this thing I do.
I sleep during burping time.
Mommy just loves it!

A conversation with my daughter (in haikus, of course):

O hysteria!
"Life after birth is so hard!
How will I survive?"

"Why the tears, my love?"
"I farted myself awake!"
Oh. Of course you did.

Now a haiku about myself:

I need healthy food. 
Oh look. Babies are awake. 
Pop Tarts it is, then.

Anders's haikus to his pacifier:

O pacifier!
You were made to be spit out.
Now I cry for you. 

Daddy puts you back,
So I spit you out again.
Now I cry for you.

Daddy puts you back,
Roughly seven hundred times,
Since I cry for you.

O pacifier!
None of us will ever sleep,
When I cry for you.

Meanwhile, with Annalaé Rose...

Oh, I'm so hungry!
Latch onto Daddy's bicep. 
That's not a nipple. 

Oh, I'm so hungry!
Latch onto Mommy's armpit.
SO not a nipple. 

Oh, I'm so hungry!
Yummy! Mommy's collar bone!
Nope, not a nipple. 

Oh, I'm so hungry!
Daddy's nose looks so tasty!
Was that a nipple?

Finaly, I burp. 
Hey look, the bottle is back!
At last, a nipple.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Pronounce Annalaé Rose


Annalaé is pronounced Anna-lay. Not Anna-lee. And, as Carl said, that's Anna like banana, and not like the little sister on Frozen.

People have a hard time with the Annalaé part of my child's name, even when I say it out loud. I can't tell you how many times people have asked, "Oh, what are you naming your babies?" and when I say, "The boy is Anders, and the girl is Annalaé Rose," they respond with, "Annalee Rose! That's so pretty!"

**facepalm**

I. Just. Said. It. Out. Loud.

Now, if you're reading it, and not hearing it said out loud, I can see the confusion. Like, you can see that it includes the word "Anna," but what the heck is that laé business? Accent over the e? How do you even pronounce that? Are you absolutely sure you want to name your child that? Because school teachers are never going to figure out how to say it and your daughter will be correcting roll call pretty much her entire life.

Yeah, I've heard it all, and I'm still naming my daughter Annalaé Rose. And yes, 2 first names to boot. (Her middle name is Ilana, in case you were wondering.) Originally, when I came up with the name at the age of 16, I had it spelled Annalé Rose, which I still think looks much cleaner and prettier, but it also looks like A-nail, which is a terrible way to have your name mispronounced. So, I threw in an "a" to confuse everyone.

Now, I'm well aware Annalaé Rose is a really big mouthful, and no, I don't expect people to use it every time they address or talk about her. Here are some acceptable nicknames:

Anna Rose: 1 less syllable, and the title of a Vienna Teng lullaby to boot.

Aria: It's her initials. Carl didn't want to name our child Aria, even though I loved the name, so we compromised and made it Annalaé Rose's initials, and agreed it can be used as a nickname. (Spoiler, it probably won't actually be used, but it is available if anyone wants to.)

Rosie: Short, simple, cute.

And I'm sure more nicknames will present themselves as time goes on.

So, yes. I'm giving my child a name that has withstood the test of time. Of all the names I've come up with over the years, Annalaé Rose is the one that has lasted. Elizabeth stayed a couple years. Chloe came and went. But this one? I've loved it for nearly 14 years, and I'm sticking with it.

This pronunciation lesson brought to you by someone who has been called "Samantha" her whole life, but is not actually named Samantha, and therefore doesn't care what people think.

4 days old

My twins, Anders and Annalaé Rose, are now 4 days old. I've learned a lot about motherhood in the last 4 days.

Chief among the lessons I have learned is that no matter how much warning you've been given, there is nothing that truly prepares you for it. 

I mean seriously. My understanding of what motherhood entails seems very clinical compared to what I've experienced in a piddly half week. 

When most people talk about motherhood, they'll tell you about the irrational and unconditional love, but until I went 4 hours without holding either of them, I didn't realize that translated to a desperate need, & a total craving to feel them against my chest and look at their little faces. I imagine it will wear off to a degree, but I love peeking in on them as they sleep to fill that need. 

I was also told about the exhaustion, but again, while I understood what it felt like to be exhausted, I didn't understand being awake at 4:30 AM, having not slept the entire night after averaging 2-4 hours of sleep all week (also after a major abdominal surgery), comfort nursing my son while my husband - who also hasn't slept more than 2-4 hours a night and has to get up for work and school in 2 hours - paces with our daughter, neither of us having any clue what's making our babies cry. I went through the list. Hungry? No, they just ate. Poopy? No, we just changed them. Too hot? Maybe, but taking off one of the blankets wrapped around them like a burrito didn't help a thing. Too cold? Impossible. Our bedroom is at least 5 degrees warmer than the hospital room. Sick, then? Possible. Neither of them were able to muster very effective burps after their last meal, & my girl has a rocket case of the hiccups. Maybe their tummies have too many bubbles. 

As our daughter settled into a fitful sleep and our son began to fuss because my still-developing milk supply ran out, my husband looked at me with heavy bags under his eyes, and a slight smile quirked at the corner of his mouth, which then quickly fell back into the neutral expression that takes so many fewer muscles to pull off. 

"This is what we signed up for," he whispered, stroking our little girl's head. 

And I nodded, because it's exactly what we signed up for, & we knew very well that babies meant sleep deprivation, even if we had no clue what that actually felt like. 

And even then, pacing around and burping my son while the incision in my stomach ached and begged me to just lay down, as I was coming to understand what "sleep deprivation" really felt like, that craving was still there. I needed Anders and Annalaé Rose so badly, and I needed to know what was bothering them so I could make it stop. 

Then there are hormones and emotion that everyone warns you about. The emotion started on Day 2, when the lactation consultant came to help me breastfeed. I had very little milk/colostrum at all and had to supplement with formula while using otherwise pointless breastfeeding to stimulate production. It's a fairly normal scenario, & I knew it was irrational to feel like a failure, but between the breastfeeding class where they tell you not to give your child a pacifier for 3 weeks to avoid nipple confusion, & that breastfed babies are smarter than formula fed babies, I definitely felt like a second rate mom for not only using formula, but giving in to the pacifier in the very first night. 

Yeah, for the record, my head knows better than that, & I'm a first rate mom for sacrificing my exclusive breastfeeding goal to insure my babies got the nutrition they needed. 

Even though the intense emotion started 2 days ago, this morning there were more tears. Not for any reason. Just because I'm so tired, and my babies slept too long after we finally got them down and woke up hungry, and I just love them so much, and my mom made me French toast and rubbed my legs, and my pain pills wore off while I slept, and basically feelings. 

They're napping now, and Annalaé Rose is squeaking in her sleep. I'm lying in bed, trying to nap while I process all these thoughts and emotions. There's so much to get done - I'm still recording the birth in my journal, and am only to the part where they whisked Annalaé Rose away without letting me see her, because she wasn't breathing. I wanted to do a birth announcement too, with a creative theme, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to just scratch that. "Hey, I had twins and here are some pics from my phone" on Facebook is really effective enough. It's survival mode now. 

So, to sum things up, motherhood is wonderful, but there's nothing to really prepare you for it besides jumping in. And if any of my non-parent friends are wondering, the joy of motherhood doesn't look anything like this:


It looks much more like this:



And it's worth it.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

It's a sign!

It's funny how, apart from mommy forums, people don't really talk about the signs of impending labor. I suppose that's probably because most of them have to do with body parts that are taboo to talk openly about and/or things that look like they were drooled by Jabba the Hutt. 

Of course, once you get pregnant and start reading those mommy forums, people are all like, "Yeah, here's a picture of a glob of bloody mucous I found in my underwear this morning. I think I'm about to go into labor," and you're sitting there just going, "Um.... Ew?"

We talk about contractions, though. The problem with contractions is that they start MONTHS before you give birth, & not a week or two like the other symptoms. I first noticed contractions on September 12, when my mom pointed them out to me after my baby shower. I'd apparently been having them for a while, but since I didn't know what to look for, I didn't know they were happening. 

That was almost 2 months ago. Obviously not proof I'd be birthing babies anytime in the immediate future. And yet, it's the only symptom I knew to expect up front. I'm only just learning about some of the other, more pain-centered symptoms, and I'm learning as I experience them. 

Now, at 37 weeks (1 week after the doctors told me to expect to go into labor on my own... those jerks), I'm getting the unmentionable signs. I've had them for a week now, so we know it's soon. Very soon. Within the next 7 days, for sure. 

Know what the biggest sign is? The absolute proof that I'll go into labor within a week? 

I have a C-section scheduled in a week. 

Yeah. 

Both my twins are breech, meaning C-section, and I'm not going a day past 38 weeks. 

That makes for a pretty good sign of labor, don't you think? 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Priorities

Last Sunday I posted a very historic photo. It was the Super Blood Moon, a phenomenon that is really only once in a generation. Not only is it rare, but it is loaded with significance. Even today, in our modern and secular society, there are people who believe it's an omen of impending destruction.

I spent close to 2 hours fighting a tripod that was in a slight breeze, waiting for just the right moment, & I finally got a perfect picture of the event.

It was a tad grainy, but overall it captured the phenomenon better than anyone else in my news feed, apart from NASA. 


It did pretty well, as far as Facebook recognition goes. 19 likes, which is a good sized number for the crowd my posts usually draw. 

Then, three days later, I posted another picture. It garnered twice the number of likes, showing that it was clearly more important to people than this historic astronomical event. 

What could people possibly love so much more than a once in a generation event that is loaded with historical and religious significance? 


Cake. 

Obviously.