Sunday, July 22, 2007

Big Boys

The boys have changed so much over the past 4 weeks at home. They are getting so big that they no longer really look like slender preemies. Instead they are filling out with pudgie faces and tummies. Their arms and legs look less like chicken wings and more like baby limbs! Even their cries have changed from kitten mews to baby shrieks! It is exciting and distressing to watch them grow up so fast! Kathy is almost sad that her babies will never be that tiny again. Pretty soon they will be asking to borrow the car and going away to college. *sigh*

On the plus side, both boys have started having more "active alert" time where they are interested in interacting with the world around them and we have been having fun watching them discover new things. Below are some fun photos from the past 2 weeks of discovery.

Gabe with Mirror

Elias sitting up! (He is tucked between folds of the couch.)

Gabe sitting up.
(we love his expression here!)

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Daddy Fun

Chris goes back to work next week, so he has been spending lots of quality time with the boys. It doesn't even matter if he is awake or asleep! Here are some favorites:

Cuddling with Dad in the Morning

No, It's not a new fashion statement, It's Chris wearing the Maya Sling!

...And who could be in there?

It's Elias!

Friday, July 20, 2007

what a week!

We've been so busy since our last post. The boys are getting bigger each day and their crowded social schedule has kept us from updating! Lots of firsts this week -- including our first visit back to the hospital for a follow-up Ultrasound for Elias. Everything came back normal and it was good to be able to leave the hospital with our babies within an hour of arriving!

We also started taking the boys out for fun more this week. We went to our first restaurant together (Buffalo Hill Cafe for breakfast.) We are slowly learning that taking preemie twins out in public means attracting a lot of attention! We hear many twin and preemie stories from strangers each time we venture out.

Some other firsts this week:

First Walk around the Neighborhood

First Picnic Adventure to Stumpy Meadows Lake

Mom and Gabe; Ninah and E at Stumpy Meadows

Kathy & Gabe - tired, but happy to be out

Saturday, July 14, 2007

One more thing...

Just a quick addition -- I got really ambitious this morning after being so productive and decided to nurse both boys solo before my mom arrived. It went surprisingly well and this was what Ninah arrived to see:

Gabe is burping and E is still eating
Kathy is a little tired though... :-)

Miracles Do Happen

It is 5:30am and they boys are asleep. They slept from about 11:15 - 3:30 last night. We fed them and put them back down and they are still asleep! BOTH OF THEM are still asleep. Hallelujah! We're not counting on this to last, but it is fabulous for this morning. I (Kathy) actually got *drumroll*please* dishes into the dishwasher and have pumped twice since getting up for my shift. Please pray for repeat performances!

On a different note, we seem to be twin-central in more ways than one. Recently we've had some regular twin visitors in the yard each day. Chris was able to capture them yesterday:
Bambi Twins!
Snacktime in the yard

Just wanted to show off Chris' photography skills :-)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Look out Pomeranians!

What an exciting week for Elias and Gabriel. This week we had two big outtings. Yesterday we drove into Sacramento to see retinal specialists. Because they were premature, the boys needed to be screened for Retinopathy of Prematurity (RoP). In essence, this means having and expert look in your eye. Sounds easy, right? That's what we thought! Instead, the boys had to have a series of 4 eyedrops over 30 minutes. Three sets of drops to dilate their eyes and one anesthetic in their eyes. Then the doctor arrived, put on an Inspector Gadget mask complete with miner's light and magnifying glasses and proceeded to examine the boys' eyes by propping them open with metal inserts that held their eyelids all the way back (like that scene in A Clockwork Orange!). As he looked in each eye, the doctor ran another metal stick around and in the edges -- presumably so he could see better. We're not sure who was more traumatized, the boys or the parents who had to hold them down. Gabriel screamed so loud during the process that he actually got hoarse.

Today we had a much more innocuous visit to the pediatrician. Both boys are over 5 lbs, and thus outweigh the many killer Pomeranians of the world! In a few more weeks, Gabe will have doubled his body weight. WOW! We really like our pediatriian. He takes time to sit down and talk with us in detail -- even when we go in for weight checks. He is very pleased with the boys' progress and gives us confidence that we are all doing okay. The boys are doing so well, that we will not be returning for 3 weeks! Our next appt will be the boys' "newborn" appointment.

It is hard to believe that the Elias & Gabe have been here for 6 weeks! The family calendar we use at home still has the weeks of pregnancy leading up to their due date marked on it. It is very odd to note pediatrician appointments right next to the note that says we are in week 37 of the pregnancy! :-) As the boys approach their due date, we are seeing lots of changes in them. They are slowly leaving behind the groans and twitches of prematurity behind and embracing their newfound skills -- stretching, tracking objects with their eyes, making goofy baby faces, sucking more effectively, and playing/lifting their heads during tummy time. It is exciting and unnerving to watch them grow up so fast!

Finally, we are working their schedule to push for more sleep at night. We are back to waking them up every 2.5 - 3 hours to eat during the day. At night, we are still taking separate shifts to care for them, but we keep the lights off, perform very business-like feedings, co-bed them, etc. We also feed them heavily at 10pm and wait for them to wait before doing another heavy feeding. We are hoping to switch them back to being awake in the day and asleep at night... Wish us luck!!!

And now for the much-anticipated photo part of our program:

Sure, they look sweet...but don't be fooled!

Elias watching Gabriel -- "What 'we gonna do tonight Gabe?"

Gabe watching Elias -- "The same thing we do every night E, Try to take over the world!"

Womb Teddy watching Gabe & E -- "It's gonna be another long night!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

...And the winner is...

Aunt Mary Lou reminded us this week that we had a pool for the babies' birth date and terrific names. We are pleased to announce that Aunt Kathy Duggan is the winner of the birthdate pool with June 24th! Congratulations Aunt Kathy -- you have won bragging rights! Also cousin Jill Lezama suggested Gabriella for a girl's name. Definitely the closest name proposed. Great minds think alike -- let's see if Kathy can guess the name of little Lezama-to-be!

So what is new in the world of Elias and Gabriel? The last two days we have been trying to watch and learn the boys' natural schedule so we can better adapt to it. In an effort to reinforce day vs night, we have started truely cobedding the boys at night. After feedings, they are swaddled together in the same blankets. Both boys seem to sleep better this way and will often immediately drift off while holding hands, or sucking each other's ears, elbows, etc. It is really amazing to see.

Both Chris and Kathy have had "twin moments" this week. Chris takes the first evening shift from around 11 pm - 3 am. On at least two occasions, the boys have awakened at the same time during his shift and he has been forced to feed and burp them at once -- no small feat with infants! Yesterday morning, Kathy was able to get both boys onto the breast at the same time without assistance! Again, a logistical challenge overcome! Many more to come in the future, but we are proud of the small ones day-to-day!

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Week 2 - Boobs & Photos

Well, we've survived the second week at home - barely! This week we stopped running on adrenaline and and started running on...well... exhaustion. E and Gabe are doing well. The pediatrician proclaimed they are doing so well, we can abandon their rigid schedule and let them sleep until they wake up. This sounds like a great idea when you've been going from one feeding to the next breaks no longer than an hour or so. But then you actually try it and each child has their own schedule and now, even though they sleep for 4-5 hours, your breaks have become more like 30 minutes long.

Kathy has abandoned wearing anything more than a nursing bra or nursing gown as additional clothing (such as a shirt or robe) is pointless. (Truth be told, even the bra is pointless, but you gotta have some standards.) Essentially, she just breastfeeds and pumps. Chris and Ninah take turns bringing her new pumping equipment and food.

So with all this "top-heavy" focus, you would expect the breastfeeding to be going swimmingly, wouldn't you? Instead it has been an up and down process. Overall there is improvement (both boys are breastfeeding 6-10 times per day with and without sheilds, milk supply remains strong, etc.) - but when you are 2/3 asleep it is hard to balance against the challenges (phyisical discomfort not to be described here, trying to keep a sleeping baby awake and sucking at 2am so you won't have to start again at 2:15am, feeding for 30 minutes only to find out the baby has only taken 8mls, etc.) And their consumption still isn't quite enough at the breast, so we are doing bottle top-offs which add significant time to each feeding. We called a lactation consultant in to our home this week -- she was very encouraging, but it looks like we just need to keep slogging along. Our big accomplishment in the last 48 hours was that the boys both fed in the sidelying position. For the unintiated, this means Kathy gets to lay on her side in bed with a baby facing her and feeding and *drumroll*please* she can doze while the baby feeds! It is a phenominal skill that we are hoping will help keep our sanity.

But...who really cares about all that? What we care about is PHOTOS! So here are some classics from week 2:

Chris & Gabriel

Kathy & Elias -- Like Mother, Like Son

Gabriel is soooo silly. (Elias sleeping in background)

Obligatory Tiny Feet Photo

Still Enjoying Babies

(You can't tell, but Kathy is actually pumping in this photo as well... Now that's multitasking!)

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Twin Challenge

Do you think you know the twins well? Take the twin challenge and test your knowledge. be honest and give an answer before you look at the answer after each question!

What weighs more: a Gila monster or Gabriel?

The correct answer is: Gabriel. A gila monster's average weight is 3.2 pounds. Gabriel currently weighs in at 4 pounds, 5 ounces. In a fight, I'd put my money on Gabe.

What weighs more: a Pomeranian or Elias?

The correct answer is: a Pomeranian. These little balls of fury weigh in at an average of 5 pounds. Elias currently weighs in at 4 pounds, 15 ounces. In a fight, I'd still put my money on Elias - he's scrappy.

What's longer head to toe: Gabriel or a large-mouthed bass?

The correct answer is: Gabriel. As of the last doctors visit, Gabe measures in at 17 inches while a large mouthed bass averages 16.8 inches.

What's more: the numbers of diapers we've changed in the last week or the number of Psalms in the Bible?

The correct answer is: the number of Psalms in the Bible. While we've changed a wopping 140 diapers in the last week, there are actaully 150 Psalms in the Bible.

What weighs more: the combined birth weight of Gabriel and Elias and a 1-Liter bottle of Coke or the birth weight of thier new cousin Sarah?

The correct answer is: Gabriel, Elias, and the bottle of Coke. The three of them weighed at birth 3 lbs 3 oz, 4 lbs, and the coke weighs 2.2 pounds for a combined weight of 9 pounds 6 oz. While their new cousin Sarah only weighed a paltry 9 lbs 2 oz at birth.

What's more: the amount of breastmilk one of the twins eats in a day (breast and bottle feeding) or an English pint of beer?

The correct answer is the breastmilk. We've that just one of the twins drinks approximately a huge 22 ounces of breastmilk everyday (now do you understand the number of diapers?) compared to a English pint of 20 ounces (not the English pint of 16 ounces).

How many did you get correct? If you got more than four correct, consider your self a twin expert!

We survived

Well it's been one week since we've been home from the hospital and we survived!! It was touch and go there a few times but all five of us pulled through. Here's some more pics from the first week for your enjoyment:

On the way to the Dr.'s office

In the car:
Check out our matching outfits

Dad feeding Gabe - he's looks so small!
A close-up of mini-Gabe

Boys on Dad's chest. E's smiling.

Tub Time!

Well it was time for the first bath at home yesterday. Both boys really enjoyed it - they like to be clean. Here's some pictures from the bath:

Dad Bathing Gabe
Gabe and his Rubber Ducky
Gabe and his robe
Mom and E