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Monday, April 29, 2013

Big week ahead

Shockingly, I received zero guilt trips for not blogging one single time last week. That means that you all are either more gracious than I anticipated, or my lack of blogging didn't create as big of a void in your lives as I anticipated ;)

My mother-in-law was actually in town helping out last week so in between feeding, changing diapers, eating, and napping, I was typically chatting or forcing her to watch old episodes of Full House, which unfortunately left no time for blogging. But have no fear, I'm back (for now, anyway)!

I feel especially lame for being MIA last week because it was National Infertility Awareness Week. And while the two babies that have recently made their debut in our lives are proof that we "overcame" infertility, that most certainly does not mean (a) that our struggle to get pregnant didn't exist or (b) that we have forgotten about it.

I'm fairly certain that anyone reading this blog is aware of the journey that we went through to get Colby and Clara (unless you have very poor reading comprehension skills and/or just started reading in the last 3 weeks), but in case you haven't read the backstory, please be sure to check out the "Our Infertility Journey" tab at the top of the page. And more importantly, please be sure to be conscious of the people in your lives that might be or might have once been in the same boat. Even though NIAW has passed, any time is a good time to pass on a word of encouragement (or chocolate) to those that are fighting an uphill battle in their quests to become parents!

Anyway, enough about last week, let's talk about the week ahead, because it's going to be a big one:

1. This will be our first full week without having either of our moms in town. That means that when Brian leaves the house at 7 am, I am on my own with the twins until he gets home at 6 pm. I'm excited to spend some alone time with them and get into our own routine, but I would be lying if I didn't also admit to feeling overwhelmed and mildly terrified. Wish me luck!

2. Brian turns 30 on Friday! We had originally hoped to have a party or plan some kind of celebration, but apparently having newborn twins requires a little more energy than we anticipated, so we have toned down our expectations a little. I am, however, planning to take the babies up to his office to meet some of his co-workers and then out for a quick lunch, which means this week will also include my first attempt at getting out of the house alone with them in tow. I am planning to add on an extra half hour to whatever time I need to leave because it very well may take that long to get out of the door with them!

3. Davis turns 2 today! We are bummed not to be able to be in Austin to celebrate with him, but Colby, Clara, and I look forward to FaceTiming with him to wish him a happy birthday frequently :)

4. And speaking of big milestones, Colby and Clara will be one month old on Sunday (yep, Cinco de Mayo)! I don't know how it's possible either, so don't ask me. There will be a photo shoot, of course, and an update on all of the fun and exciting things they have been up to, so stay tuned.

We should be getting the rest of the pictures from their newborn photo shoot any day now, by the way, so hopefully I'll get to share some of those this week as well. And speaking of pictures, there are very few that have been taken that have not already been posted on facebook and/or Instagram, so I feel kind of silly repeating them here. I picked out a few that you may not have seen yet, so enjoy:

Colby has an affinity for hanging out in the nap nanny, and specifically in this slumped over position, preferably with his blanket kicked off as much as possible. Funny baby.

Clara is (a) tan and (b) very expressive. Thought this was a cute little face she was making.

The babies snoozed with their daddy on Saturday morning (while Mommy pumped... it's a glamorous life I lead). And no, they do not co-sleep in our bed with us- just a short supervised nap!

This picture was taken on Colby's & Clara's first walk in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago, but there have been many (ok 3 or 4) walks since then! They seem to enjoy it, as do the dogs, who suffered greatly as a result of the fact that I didn't exercise for the second half of my pregnancy. 

So that's the latest! I'll be sure to update again soon, but if anyone has any burning questions about how life is going with 3-week-old twins at home, feel free to ask :)

Friday, April 19, 2013

Post-pregnancy update: Baby edition

Somehow Colby and Clara are already two weeks old! I'd like to blame the fact that time has gone by so quickly on sleep deprivation, but I have a feeling time will continue to fly by with these babies long after the sleepless nights are over.

This picture was taken the day we brought them home from the hospital but I feel like they already look different than this. You'll be seeing these owl onesies on a monthly basis for their monthly updates, by the way, so I hope you like them:

As of yesterday, Colby was weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces, and Clara was not far behind him at 5 pounds, 8 ounces- they are definitely growing! The pediatrician said that we can stop waking them up for the middle of the night feeding in about a week- hooray!

Right now, pretty much all they do is sleep, get woken up to eat, and then go back to sleep. They are slowly but surely spending a little more time awake each day, however, so I imagine we'll be incorporating a little more "play" time in to their routines before too long.

Even though we all anticipated that Clara would be a little diva, she is really very mellow. We have only heard her cry once (yesterday when she got her heel pricked, which made me cry too!). She is very patient, which is good, because being a twin means you have to wait your turn a lot. I think she looks like (a) a little old woman and (b) a baby duck. Nicknames she has so far: "little lady, "little bit," and "baby girl." Her favorites so far: eating, smiling, sticking her legs out like a mummy, and scoping out her surroundings.

Colby, on the other hand, is a little more fickle. He goes from mellow to angry/upset very quickly (not sure where he got that...), and isn't afraid to let us know when he's not happy. Even though it's pretty easy to figure out what he wants (food, pacifier, or to be burped- homeboy is very gassy), he gets so worked up that he gets in his own way. For example, he will flail his arms and turn his head the opposite direction of the pacifier, making it almost impossible to give it to him, but once he actually gets it, acts like, "Hey, that's all I wanted- why didn't you just give it to me sooner?"

Nicknames he has so far: "little fella," "mister," and "baby guy." His favorites so far: being propped upright, his bear pacifier, and

having his hands in his face/mouth/nose/eyes.

I know it goes without saying, but we really do love these little ones so much already. And even though the thought of them not always being this little admittedly makes me kind of sad, I can't wait to watch them grow and see their personalities develop!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Post-pregnancy update: Mommy edition

Happy Wednesday, friends! On Friday I'm going to give you an update on my favorite two-week-old twins, but today, you get to read about me- congrats! This is sort of a follow-up to the monthly updates I used to do when I was pregnant, and I got the idea from my blogger/twin mom friend, Amber, who had her twins back in December- thanks, Amber!

How Far Along? Colby and Clara were delivered at 36 weeks and 5 days. While I wonder if things would have gone differently if we had gone another week (ie: Clara not having to go to the NICU), I am trusting that the doctor delivered them at the right time and they came right when they were supposed to!

Size of Baby(ies)?  Colby weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and Clara weighed 5 pounds, 1 ounce. When we left the hospital, Colby was down to 5 pounds, 5 ounces, and Clara was at 5 pounds even (I'm thinking she didn't lose as much because they were pumping her full of formula in the NICU). As of last week, Clara was back up to her birth weight and Colby was weighing 5 pounds, 7 ounces.

Maternity Clothes? Considering I spend most days in my pajamas or nursing tank tops, I don't know that I can really answer this question yet. I have worn a couple of non-maternity dresses (like the one in our newborn photo shoot), but haven't tried on any of my pants yet. Now that Allison is pregnant (woo hoo!), I am anxious to get all of the maternity clothes packed up for her, so hopefully I'm done with most of them.

Weight Loss? I haven't weighed in at the OB's office yet, but according to my scale at home, I gained 39 pounds during the pregnancy, and as of today, I have lost 33 of those pounds. Apparently birthing and then nursing twins is a pretty great weight loss plan- ha!

Breastfeeding? Yes, yes, and yes. Seemingly all day, every day. It is going fairly well so far, minus a few hiccups last weekend when Colby was not being very cooperative. There were many tears (from me, not him), but thankfully we got back on track, and I am actually able to feed them both at the same time now. I can do it by myself, but it is usually helpful to have an extra set of hands to assist.

I am also trying to get into a pumping routine but haven't quite gotten there yet. Regardless, the moral of the story is that I spend most of my day either feeding them, or feeding myself so that I can keep up with the calories required to feed them. Fun times.

Sleep? Sigh. The babies sleep just fine, and I'm fairly certain that they would sleep a good 5+ hours if we let them. However, because they are little bitty, we have to make sure to feed them every 2-3 hours, which basically means that we are waking them up every 2-3 hours. When you consider that it takes 30-45 minutes to feed them both, that means we are really only getting 2 hours of sleep in between feedings.

Brian has been a big help and gets up with me to help change diapers, burp them, and put them back to bed. He is back at work this week, so I know that's getting harder on him :o/

Our pediatrician said that once they make it to 6 pounds, we can let them sleep as long as they want at night and hopefully skip out on that 2:30 am feeding. That means we will be able to sleep hopefully from 11:30 pm-5:30 am which sadly sounds like the most amazing and glorious thing ever right now.
Food Cravings? No cravings, and I am really not much hungrier than I was pre-pregnancy (or during pregnancy for that matter) but because people keep telling me how much I need to eat, I am constantly eating something. I have eaten a LOT of cookies in the past 2 weeks (including one after my second breakfast each day). And I've also eaten some ice cream, just for good measure.

What I Miss? I did miss feeling them move around inside at first, but they're so incredibly cute and fun to watch from the outside that I haven't missed it as much as I thought. I do miss being able to take baths and spend hours worthlessly lounging on the couch, however... but they're worth it :)

Symptoms? Not sure what this question is asking, but yes, I have experienced some of the normal post-partum "symptoms." My c-section incision is still a little sore, but I have weaned myself off of the pain meds and am up and moving around pretty easily for the most part. There have been a few semi-irrational crying sessions, but I think that's as much due to sleep deprivation as it is to hormones.

Belly Button? I'm proud to report that my innie is back! My stomach is still not going to be on the cover of any magazines any time soon (ever) but at least my belly button doesn't look like a nose anymore.

Best Moment of the Week? Even though I really wish we could let them sleep as much as they want, I do enjoy getting to wake them up and spend a little bit of awake time with them since they spend most of the day passed out in their rock 'n plays. I was also pretty excited to get to see a few of the proofs from our newborn photo shoot- can't wait to see the rest!

And there you have it. I know people are a lot more interested in how the twins are doing than how I'm doing, so I promise not to post any more of these :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Newborn Photos

Last Friday, on Colby's and Clara's one-week birthday, my blog-turned-real-life friend and wonderful photographer, Kim, did a newborn photo shoot with the babies. Kim has boy/girl twins herself that are 5 months old, so I knew she would do an extra great job photographing ours :)

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to see that she put up a sneak peek of some of the pictures on her blog, so I wanted to be sure and share them with you all:

Those babies are pretty cute, if I do say myself :) Thanks, Kim, for doing such a great job!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Colby's and Clara's debut

I totally thought I was going to be one of those people who had it together immediately after giving birth. I had no doubt in my mind that I would have a cute blog post ready to go for Monday morning announcing the babies' arrival. As you probably noticed, that did not happen. I am officially eating my words, because it takes me about 300 times longer to do pretty much everything these days!

Nonetheless, I wanted to make sure to share the story of Colby's and Clara's debut with you, both for your benefit and mine in having it written down.

On Friday, April 5th, Brian and I checked into the hospital at 9 am, and within 2 hours, we were checked in, I was given an IV and epidural, and the c-section had been started! At 11:25 am, Brian's and my lives were forever changed when Colby Wayne Joiner and Clara Lane Joiner made their entrance into the world.

The doctor showed each of them to us for what I'm certain was less than a second, and then whisked them away to be weighed, checked out, etc. It was at that point that Brian was told he could go join the babies and I was left on my own (minus the room full of doctors and nurses). I thought I would be sad for him to leave me, but thanks to my friend, the epidural, I was fairly out of it, so I could honestly not have cared less!

After sewing me up, they wheeled me back to our room to recover and I remember that even though I wanted to see the babies, Brian, and our families, what I wanted to do most was take a nap. Ha! And that was honestly how I spent most of the rest of the day- we had visitors up until it was time to go to sleep that night, but I would be lying if I said that I remembered a single conversation that I had with any of them. Apparently I was repeating myself and slurring my words a little here and there (when I wasn't falling asleep mid-conversation), so that's special.

Anyway, when Brian came back to the recovery room, he let me know that Colby was doing fine and would be brought back to us shortly, but that Clara was having a little trouble breathing and would need to spend some time being monitored in the NICU. I was worried and upset, but again, the drugs prevented me from being coherent enough to really sense the weight of it.

Brian tells me now how worried he was about our little girl, but thankfully he put on a brave face for me when we were actually in the hospital and didn't let on. Clara ended up staying in the NICU for the longest 48 hours of our lives, initially for breathing issues and then later for eating issues (and they had the nerve to call my sweet baby "floppy"... rude). We were able to go visit her and help feed her, but that was the extent of it.

I will say in hindsight that it was probably nice for us to just have Colby to tend to for the first couple of days, as it sort of felt like we were able to "warm up" to the whole parenting thing with one baby before throwing the second into the mix. But nonetheless, it is pretty darn depressing to not get to hold your own daughter for the first 9 hours of her life and to have to be separated from her for 2 whole days.

The whole hospital stay (Friday-Monday) is really still a blur. What I do remember is that we had a lot of wonderful visitors and that we got very little sleep at night since nurses and doctors were coming in seemingly at every hour to torture monitor me or the babies.

I will also always remember just how quickly and naturally Brian went into "dad" mode. He took such good care of all 3 of us even though I know he was completely and utterly exhausted. He was swaddling, changing diapers, making regular visits to the NICU, fetching things for me, and tolerating my 3 am hormonal breakdowns about not being able to change my own socks, all without a single complaint. Colby and Clara, I hope you know just how lucky you are to have him as your daddy!

Clara "graduated" from the NICU on Sunday (thankfully before our families had left so they were all able to hold her), and less than 24 hours later, we were discharged from the hospital and headed home with both of our sweet babies in tow. I'll try to put together a separate post about our first week at home (spoiler alert: lots of eating, lots of crying (from me, not the babies), and very little sleeping).

For now, enjoy this video that we put together with pictures and video footage from our first couple of days as a family of 4 (sorry it's a little long... your reward is some very cute video footage of hiccups from both babies at the end):

PS- If you want to see more regular updates/pictures of the babies, feel free to add me as a friend on facebook or follow me on Instagram (@amandajoiner)! 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The babies are here!

Yes, it's true- Colby and Clara made their debut on Friday, April 5th, at 11:25 am! As you can imagine, doubling our family size overnight has required a bit of adjusting, and I haven't quite gotten back into a new groove yet (shocking after just 4 days, right?), so I haven't had the chance to sit down and put together a quality blog post announcing their arrival.

BUT I didn't want to leave you hanging either, so I at least want to share with you my favorite picture taken of the two of them so far:

Clara is on the left, looking wide-eyed and a little surprised. Colby is on the right, smirking and looking pretty pleased with himself.

We are biased, of course, but we think they are pretty much perfect :) Anyway, will post more details soon. In the meantime, thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How is it possible...

...that this Friday, April 5th (as in, TWO days from now), these little babies will be making their debut?

Yes, you read that right, we have a delivery date, and Friday it is! I went to my last perinatologist appointment yesterday and was thankful to receive another good report for both babies from their non-stress tests and biophysical profiles. In the final few minutes of the BPP, the ultrasound technician (Gloria- she's the best!) and I both got a surprise when we realized that Clara had, in fact, flipped over into the head down position.

I was certain that she didn't have room to do so at this point, and it seemed to me that she was more comfortable in a breech position where she didn't have to fight Colby for head space in my pelvis... but apparently I was wrong! I'm sure this will not be the last time that little girl surprises us :)

So the perinatologist came in and asked me when I would be seeing my OB next. I told her I had an appointment scheduled for today (Wednesday), but that his office was in the process of scheduling my delivery date and that I should be hearing back within a few hours. "Oh," she said, "I better go give him a call then!"

A few minutes later, she came back to the exam room and told me that she had my OB on the phone and that he wanted to talk to me. I got on the phone and he said, "So she's head down now, huh? Did you feel her turn?" Funny thing is, I didn't. You would think that in a space that limited, a 5-pound baby doing a 180-degree turn would be noticeable, but I hadn't noticed anything other than the normal wiggling. (Although in hindsight, I did notice a lot more pressure on my bladder/abdomen yesterday morning, but I was blaming her big brother for that one.)

Anyway, he basically left the decision up to me at that point as to whether or not I wanted to move forward with a c-section or attempt to give it a try "the old-fashioned way." As I've told him before, I am not the "birth plan" type and I am not dead set on delivering them any which way, just as long as they came out safely and healthily. In the end, we both agreed that with the concern about her size and the fact that she would be in there the longest of the two waiting to be delivered, a c-section was still probably in everyone's best interest. So that's the route we are planning to go!

Brian and I have instructions to report to the hospital on Friday morning at 9 am, and Colby and Clara should be making their arrival some time before lunch! Thank you for the millionth time for your prayers and support up to this point, and thank you in advance for your prayers as we count down the hours until delivery... stay tuned!

"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds." - Psalm 9:1

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Why spend money on professional maternity pictures when we have these gems?

What I don't have:
A delivery date. Hoping and praying that we'll hear from the scheduler at my OB's office today!

What I do have: 
A very special collage of pictures Brian and I took in the bathroom mirror on Easter Sunday:

You're welcome.

Monday, April 1, 2013

36 weeks

How far along? 36 weeks and 1 day

Total weight gain: 38 pounds... which means I gained 8 pounds in 4 weeks- how special! Looks like I'll be wrapping the pregnancy up with right around 40 pounds gained.

Maternity clothes: I should have probably just taken this question out long ago... but the answer is still yes, obviously. I am surprisingly not as tired of my wardrobe options as I thought I would be by this point!

Stretch marks: Believe it or not, no. Not sure how I lucked out in this department but I hear it's all genetics, so thanks, Mom!
Sleep: I know there are a lot of things about pregnancy that I will probably miss, but I can guarantee you that I will not miss sleeping with a body pillow, lying almost exclusively on my left side, and waking up in the middle of the night to pee. I am certain Brian will not miss these things either.
Best moment this week: Our perinatologist appointment/growth scan on Friday- see below for details
Miss Anything: Ease of movement and being generally self-sufficient... I really do feel like a bit of an invalid.

Movement: Please refer to this post from last week. The babies also get hiccups a couple of times a day- usually Clara. Colby always seems to get them in the middle of the night... makes me wonder if he's going to be a little night owl like his daddy?
Food cravings: I think that I have reached that point where food is more of a necessary evil. Most everything makes me feel uncomfortably full or gives me indigestion. I made the big mistake of ordering a spicy dish from Pei Wei on Thursday and it took me a good 48+ hours to recover. 
Symptoms: As I mentioned, I think I have had a couple of contractions, but nothing serious. I still get short of breath pretty easily and feel like I'm sweating more than normal, which is fun. My hands are swollen and tingly in the mornings (?!) and my ankles swell some if I am up and moving around a lot during the day, but I'm usually able to remedy that by spending the evening on the couch with my feet propped up... it's a tough life.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy... I really and truly expected myself to be a hormonal mess, but thankfully that has not been the case. Let's hope that continues to be true as my hormones readjust after the babies are born!

Have you started to show yet: Eh, I guess ;)

Looking forward to: Meeting Colby and Clara this week (hopefully)!!!

General updates:
So the growth scan on Friday went well. Clara has apparently been busy packing on the pounds because she was estimated to be weighing 5 pounds, 1 ounce- she finally broke out of the 5th percentile and has moved up to the 8th percentile! Colby is still the beefier of the two, estimated to weigh 5 pounds, 12 ounces and hanging out in the 29th percentile.

So at this point, we are basically cleared to deliver! My OB was out of town on Friday, so I'll be giving him a call today to schedule a date. Eek! Depending on what he says, I may go in to the perinatologist for one more appointment on Tuesday just to make sure the cord flow/fluid levels are still good. We are still hoping for a delivery date of this Friday, April 5th, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, we are doing last minute house preparations, finishing packing our hospital bags, and spending a surprising amount of time twiddling our thumbs (when we're not working, that is). Nonetheless, we are trying to make the most of our last few days as a family of two, and of course making sure Noah and Buster get plenty of attention before their little brother and sister arrive.

If you have any suggestions for how to make the most of these last few days or about how to best prepare the house for bringing home the babies, please feel free to share.

Will be sure to update you all once we get official word from the OB!