In some ways, parenting has not been as difficult as I anticipated. The pee/poop/spit up/snot/miscellaneous bodily fluids don't gross me out as much as I thought they would, changing diapers isn't as big of a pain as I anticipated, and general baby maintenance comes more naturally than I thought it would.
In more ways, however, parenting is about a million times harder than I thought. Figuring out what a newborn wants (or doesn't want) is not as easy as I figured it would be, even though there is a pretty finite list at this point of what would be making them happy/unhappy. It's the whole part about making judgement calls that seems to cause me the most anxiety. And the second guessing. And the not allowing one or two rookie mistakes (there have been many) to ruin my day or overwhelm me to the point of not functioning. And the sleep deprivation. And the trying to maintain a relationship with my spouse that exists outside of asking him if he gave the baby the gas drops after the diaper change. And the list goes on.
Some of my new mommy low points over the past 5 weeks:
- I caused Colby to pee all over his face during a diaper change. I looked over and saw drops of liquid on his face and was horrified to see that I had caused him to cry so many real tears... so realizing it was just pee was actually a little bit of a relief (for me, anyway).
- Colby had his first blow-out diaper (up his back) and Brian suggested we change him before getting back on the road. Mom of the year over here figured another half hour of sitting in his own poop wouldn't hurt him, but Brian convinced me otherwise.
- I over-fed Clara her first full bottle of pumped milk at Brian's birthday lunch (never stopped to burp her), causing her to spit up out of her mouth and nose. When we got home a couple of hours later, she seemed hungry, so I attempted to feed her again. She started to spit up again, so I put her down next to Colby while I grabbed a burp cloth. Meanwhile, she projectile vomited all over herself and her brother's face. In my attempt to pick her up and grab my cell phone at the same time (to call the pediatrician), I dropped the phone on her face, at which point she started crying. And so did I.
- I got the appointment times wrong on my follow-up OB appointment (something I have never done before!) and had 30 minutes less than I thought to get ready, which meant a very shortened meal for the twins and a hectic drive to the doctor's office for me.
- When I realized there was a wet spot on the blanket at the end of our bed (for the third time in 48 hours), I told Brian that if it wasn't spit up, then I didn't want to bother washing it again.
As a task-driven perfectionist, it is easy to let these "failures" define me and leave me feeling defeated and overwhelmed. Thankfully, however, God has allowed me to show myself more grace than I would have in the pre-baby days. And I have even been able to laugh about most of these rookie mistakes (except dropping the phone on Clara's face after she barfed... still feeling bad about that one) after the fact.
A twin mom friend commented on one of my facebook statuses to tell me that the saying at their house is "every day is a victory with twin-fants," and I am trying to embrace that same perspective. So allow me to share a few "victories" with you thus far:
- Brian and I have managed to keep two human beings alive for 4 weeks and 6 days.
- I have been able to successfully nurse both babies (at the same times!) so far... which feels like a small eternity at the moment.
- I have figured out pumping and been able to stock up a supply in the freezer! (By the way, anyone who has ever said "not to cry over spilled milk" has not pumped.)
- Colby and Clara are healthy, gaining weight (we think), and happy (most of the time).
- The night before last, the twins went 5 hours between feedings, which meant Brian and I got FOUR CONSECUTIVE HOURS OF SLEEP. I literally felt like we won the lottery.
- I have not dropped a baby or otherwise injured them.
So there you have it. Allison left today, so Colby, Clara, and I are on our own again during the day. I am going to try to keep up with blogging, but no promises, because sometimes it's all I can do to finish a load of laundry during the 11 hours that Brian is away :)