Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some Ups. Some Downs. Some Really Cute Pics.

The snowflakes will be six weeks old tomorrow. It is so crazy how quickly they are growing. K is now a whopping ten pound bruiser, and H is holding her own coming in around seven pounds.

Our days are spent cuddling, getting to know each other, looking for some sort of "routine", and eating - eating - eating!

K's latest milestones are putting weight on his legs, looking into our eyes, grasping my necklaces and hair, and smiling. H is starting to look into our eyes. She is a bit behind him only because of her small size. The pediatrician says she is actually working harder than he is, putting all of her energy into gaining weight, so she does more of an eat sleep eat sleep cycle, whereas K spends more time in the day being awake and taking in his surroundings. They have recently started crying in stereo -  as in one cries, the other joins in - and it can get a little loud at times, but for the most part it means they are hungry, so we all get together with a bunch of pillows, and they get latched, and things quiet down quickly.

They both do tummy time, but H is not quite as big a fan of it as K is. K over the last week also started to be colicky, so we are hoping that this phase of discomfort between 7pm and midnight each day passes quickly for him. It is sad to see him so uncomfortable, though the rest of the day he is quite a happy boy.

Both babies are losing their hair in the funniest male pattern baldness style, no hair left on top, just on the sides. I always thought babies lost their hair on the back and sides first, but not my little ones. Our theory on this is that all the close cuddles under daddy's bearded chin has rubbed the hair away.

This last month and a half has also proved a little challenging.

I am ashamed to admit how much difficulty physically AND emotionally has come with the demands of exclusively breastfeeding twins. Of all the challenges of parenthood, I never could have anticipated that breastfeeding would be the greatest. I LOVED breastfeeding Peyton. It offered beautiful bonding moments between us, calm among the chaos of the hospital. With Peyton there was a lot of time spent just watching her hold my finger, or doing skin to skin time and listening to her breathe.

Nursing the twins is altogether different. I primarily tandem breastfeed them (both at once), so there are no free hands for finger holding, and most of my attention is focused on keeping them latched and balanced. It can be quite draining at times (read 5-6-7-8 hour cluster feeds) and feel like a marathon.

The reason I say I feel ashamed to admit how difficult it has been for me is because it feels like I am admitting failure. This privilege of parenthood is one that I have waited and wanted and prayed for. Just to have the opportunity at the sleepless nights, and the diaper changes, and the marathon breast feeds is a gift, and after losing a child, finding myself complaining at all feels contrite. I no longer feel entitled to it.

But then there is the human part of me. The part that feels the exhaustion set in after spending hours on end hunched over two feeding babies, or nursing sore nipples because K likes to clamp down and turn his head really fast, and those are the days where breastfeeding wears on me.

At three weeks or so in, I was sure that I was going to throw the towel in on breastfeeding altogether. I was so exhausted and just done to the point that it was depressing me, but things have (thankfully!) gotten so much better in that department and I now have no intentions of giving up. At six weeks it is still a challenge, but one that I am getting a firmer grasp on. I feel the skies lifting and I am grateful for it. I keep telling myself, "maybe I actually CAN do this."

To be honest, I had contemplated not mentioning any of this in this post, because of how vulnerable it makes me feel to complain. For some reason as a BLM I feel judged differently. I feel like I have to qualify each new parent issue or challenge that I run into with "but I am just so happy they are here and healthy," (which OBVIOUSLY I am) whereas non BLM's don't. They can say, "this is tough," and it is taken at face value. I feel like saying that breastfeeding is very challenging for me makes me sound like an ingrate.

Do any of you other rainbow mommas or rainbow mommas to be out there feel that your parenting chops are judged by a different standard, either by yourself or others, because of the fact that you had suffered a loss?

Anyway, that's what's been going on here. To those who actually read through this post, I am proud of you for your willpower when I know what you really came here to do was to see some cute babies... so... without further ado...

 K After Bath Time

 K and Mommy Snuggle Time

 H and K Celebrating Their First St. Patty's Day

K Donning His Yoda Hat

H Showing Off Her Princess Leia Hat



 Twin Snuggle Time!

 Big Blue Eyes

Nap Time!


  1. So precious! Hang in there, it sounds like things are going well and you are doing a great job!

  2. they are so cute! just adorable.

    I do feel like I need to just suck it up, when things aren't going smoothly, and remind myself to be grateful that he's here. I get to chase him around (he's a year old now) telling him no, when he does something he shouldn't, and I shouldn't take that for granted.

    but as you said, we are human. it's ok to feel overwhelmed, and just because we have children who are no longer here, doesn't mean we should have to ignore when we feel like we just can't handle it.

    I am thinking of you, and so glad that things are getting a little easier. You are an amazing mommy, to all of your children!!

  3. They are so so so cute!!! And while I'm not to mommyland yet, I do feel that being a BLM and pg, you are judged much more harshly if you complain at all. It is uncomfortable and things hurt, not that it isn't worth every bit of it to get our babies here safely, but it does seem different! I'm glad the nursing is getting better, I think you a a champ for hanging in there with two, I can't begin to imagine the exhaustion, but you're my hero for keeping it up!! They are seriously cute--keep the pics coming! Loving celebrating these miracles with you! :)

  4. Oh my goodness! Those pictures are so precious! I LOVE the star wars hats! They are so beautiful! You are a good mama. Hang in there!

  5. Hugs to you on the breastfeeding. It can be challenging when they cluster feed especially, I imagine, with two. Give yourself time!

    In answer to your question about feeling the need to qualify your difficulties/challenges, maybe those of us who are not babylost mamas should be qualifying ourselves. Maybe we should all appreciate the small miracles.... Most importantly, give yourself some slack. These are the trials you want/prayed for.

  6. I know that I idealized what having a living child would be like, and overlooked that there would be difficult moments in learning and helping another human being grow. I do preface any difficult mothering moments I have with a statement about how lucky I am to have Simon. And I am terribly lucky. But it was also unrealistic of me to believe that the journey after having a live baby is not full of it's own difficulties. Each rainbow mama is still in need of support in regards to that live baby journey, as well as the dead baby one. And I really only understood that after having Simon...another instance of "until it happens to you, you don't fully understand".
    I know the clusterfeeding wore me out, and I just have one baby, so I send you many strength vibes as you continue with your beautiful two. Remembering Peyton too. xo

  7. It is funny that you say that about "complaining". You have twins!!! You have been through Hell and Back and you are allowed to say whatever you need to to make it through the day! Of course you appreciate the things you missed with Peyton differently than moms who haven't had a loss, but you are so right when you say you are human!! You can only appreciate sleep deprivation and sore nipples so much, before you need a release of emotions! I think it is awesome you put your feelings out there! As you should....my rainbow baby came as a toddler and sometimes I feel the same way! I think I am going to pull my hair out, but of course I am eternally grateful for him! The thing about being a Mother is that we were all made as WOMAN....and woman need to let it out sometimes! I think it sounds like you are doing exactly what you should!

  8. I can totally see where you are coming from on your feelings about breast feeding. I have to say thank you for sharing. I love the realness of your posts and I love that you put yourself out there. I am nervous as heck to do the breastfeeding thing but I am determined to give it my all. I didn't get the chance with my daughter so I'm going for it this time. I can't even imagine feeding 2 at the same time, wowsers! That deserves an award in my book! I am glad to hear it's getting easier though, that's incouraging.

    They are so sweet - I love the nap time picture, that is priceless!!!

  9. They are gorgeous!!!! I think of you often!


  10. Congrats on the breastfeeding! It was a struggle for me, but once we got it, it felt great. I can't imagine with twins, so bravo!

    I do feel judged/watched more closely for my responses to motherhood. But if I'm completely honest, I got frustrated sometimes when my friends who didn't lose a child complained excessively about their kids. I wanted to have a living child so badly and it hurt my feelings (I'm not saying it was right, just how I felt).I think there is a difference between being honest about things and coming across as ungrateful for the blessing that having children is. I don't read your post and hear ungratefulness, I hear honesty.

  11. You are doing a wonderful job breastfeeding both of your babies, it is not failure to say it is draining. You know why? Because it IS draining. Your body is drawing on your own energy to make nutritious food for your babies. I have never had to feed two at once but just feeding one child at a time is draining. The growth spurt they have around this age can help with that, they become more effective feeders.

    Do what you need to do. IF someone is judging you, they shouldn't be. Look after yourself as well as your twins, they need you to be well for them. So if you need to have another look at how you feed, it isn't wrong. You can mix things up by adding bottles or taking turns. Or you can keep going. It is YOUR choice. No one else's. Don't let anyone pressure you. They don't have that right.

  12. First - they are absolutely adorable! Keep the pictures coming! (when you have time of course!)

    Second - Hang in there! Nursing one baby is hard, and I had a lot of friends tell me that it would take six weeks just to get the hang of it. I know that helped me realize it wasn't necessarily going to be perfect right away. But nursing two, I can't even imagine!! Sounds like it is getting easier,and you are getting into a rhythm! You should be very proud of yourself for nursing twins. That isn't an easy task.

  13. I know it feels like you can't complain, but just because Peyton died, doesn't mean life now is not difficult sometimes! I honestly can't imagine how you tandem feed, I can barely handle one. Please know you can speak honestly (even with complaints and struggles) and we won't judge. My daughter died. But life here is sometimes still hard, even with my new baby. It is authentic and real, which is what draws us to your blog to begin with, your vulnerability with us!

  14. GORGEOUS!!! Love those pics!

    Yes, I totally feel judged by a different (higher) standard. I think many of us do.

    And twins are hard work! Eventually you get into the flow, but it's hard!

    Stereo crying... Ours do "sympathy" whining- it's cute (and nerve wracking!)

  15. Parenting babies can be tough no matter if you've lost a baby or not. I find myself sometimes making small complaints about pregnancy when in fact it is a blessing to be pregnant again and nothing thrills me more. I feel guilty about my complaints only because of others who don't have this blessing in our lives. Before our rainbow babies arrive, we find it hard to listen to other mothers complain when we are screaming inside "AT LEAST YOUR BABY IS ALIVE!!!!" We have a right to vent just like everyone else, the difference with BLMs is that the complaints, or rather vents, don't encompass our ENTIRE view of motherhood, just an expression any other human can make without guilt or remorse. Be gentle on yourself and allow yourself to be human. You appreciate your snowflakes and Peyton a million times more than SOME parents cherish their children. For that you are a very strong woman and mother. Kiss your snowflakes for me! HUGS! Sharon

  16. My twins were our rainbows as well. They were 7 weeks early and spent time in the NICU, and I was pumping because they really weren't great with latching. I just let them have bottles to get them home faster, and figured I'd work out the nursing once they were home.

    Well what I found was I was spending several hours a day pumping while everyone else held and snuggled my babies. I decided to throw in the towel. I just didn't want to do it any more. I hated it.

    I thought I'd be more upset about quitting, breastfeeding is important to me, and I nursed my others- some as long as two years. But once I made the decision, I was so less stressed and really felt more peaceful. It was the right choice for us.

    Congratulations for nursing them successfully so far, I'm sure just as it did with one baby, with two it will get easier over time.

  17. Kristen, here's my advice to BLM:

    "Give yourself permission to have bad days. Not my baby is in the hospital or my baby isn't breathing capital B capital D kinds of Bad Days, but regular old, run-of-the-mill bad days. It's okay to not like it that your baby has cried for five, seven, fifteen hours straight. You can be grateful that they are able to cry without actually enjoying the crying. You get to be exhausted and overwhelmed like everyone else. And it's okay to want a break. . . . I am endlessly thankful to have my girls here with me, living, breathing, healthy. I feel lucky to have time with them and accept the tantrums and the colic and the sleepless nights as part of parenting, but somedays are hard. Some days I feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and inadequate. Some days I have cried right along with the baby. Yeah, I've had worse, but I still have (little b, little d) bad days."

    Beautiful pictures!

  18. I'm right there with you. You already know that from our email exchange.
    You're not alone, mama.

  19. The twins are adorable!

    I'm not a mommy of any description, but I feel you have as much right as anyone else to feel frustrated or tired or ready to give up when things are tough. You're only human, hun! And you have as much right to "normal" (or as normal as you can find it) motherhood as anyone else does. I hope things continue getting easier for you and please do not feel like you can't post whatever you're feeling here!

  20. OMG, they are beautiful and I LOVE that they have Yoda and Leia hats. Too awesomely geeky!

    And, I think we tend to be way to tough on ourselves regarding parenting after a loss. Just remember that this is a TOUGH job and definitely isn't for wimps. You wouldn't be normal if you didn't feel a little overwhelmed at times.

  21. I follow every complaint with "I am so grateful, blessed, happy he is here safe and sound..." I defnitely feel insecure about sounding the smallest bit overwhelmed, tired. I think people will think I am ungrateful considering all we have been through.

    Loving the pics of the babes!

  22. Oh my goodness... Dare I show my husband these cute hats!? (I married a scifi nerd extraordinaire and he'd not bat an eye about buying/having hats made like these!) ;)

    Love the twin snuggle time, so cute!

  23. Your babies are SO cute!
    I can't imagine breastfeeding twins. I assume it's hard because one or the other must always be hungry, and if they have big appetites (like my one does) then I'd be sitting in a chair rocking all the time. And even with my one, I fed did both formula and breast milk. I give you LOTS of kudos for sticking it out and exclusively breastfeeding.

    In response to your question- I don't think others judge me for feeling the weight of parenting a live baby. But I judge myself. I feel the same as you- I shouldn't be complaining, I should be grateful that I even get to experience the exhaustion of raising a live child. Working through grief itself is tiring, as I'm sure you know. Add all that mental and emotional exhaustion, on top of the hormone changes after having a baby, and the physical exhaustion from raising your rainbow, yeah you're gonna be tired. But, I am working on telling myself that just because I feel tired, or feeling like I need a break, does not negate the joy and gratitude that my rainbow is here.

    Hope that helps.

  24. Oh. My. Word. Ridiculously cute.

    I remember one of the very first times I visited your blog, I commented on how gorgeous Peyton was in all of your pictures. I'm sure I said it then and will say it again, I don't normally comment on babies. However, all three of your babies are beautiful!! I know you are so proud.

    Now...don't beat yourself up over complaining a bit. That's what we do. Even before I had any IF issues, I always felt like I was being judged with any whining/complaining/venting that came flying out of my mouth. There was always someone in the crowd that went on and on about how much she loved her babies and felt full of patience and energy and joy at all hours of the night and day. Well...good for her, but that's just not normal LOL.

    You are doing a wonderful job. You don't have preface every sentence with you wouldn't change/trade/etc those babies. We know you are thrilled with how things turned out with those two, but it's still okay to vent to your "friends" about the frustrations that come along with being a Mommy (I can't even imagine how you are doing it with two!!).

  25. I'm a mother through the miracle of adoption after a very long battle with infertility that included 7 first trimester miscarriages. So while our circumstances are completley different, I so hear what you're saying about feeling as if you're judged differently.
    The first 12 weeks of my daughters life were very hard for me, I was so overwhelmed by how suddenly she was placed with us, whilst I was still in the midst of grieving my 7th miscarriage, and I really struggle with parenting intially, to the point where I became depressed. But like you, for a long time I felt I had not right to complain, lest I be judged harshly by others, after everything we'd been through to get to this point, I felt everyone expected me to be all glowing and just lapping up motherhood and while I tried to present that on the outside I was a total mess on the inside.
    Hang in there, just know that there are many of us rooting for you and that with each week that passes and each milestone achieved, caring for our miracles gets easier and easier.

  26. They are so sweet! And I just wanted to mention, the very fact that you are trying to nurse both of your babies is nothing short of amazing...I cannot imagine how difficult and tiring that must be.

  27. They are so precious! I love the names too!

  28. I feel judged.. everyday.. Like I need to be "perfect" and not complain.. well I have a 18 hour a day colicky baby.. Oh man my nerves.. shot I feel helpless.. and then not to mention that I had to ask for suggestions on day care.. Yes I have to go back to work.. now I feel like I'm beeing watched by all.. like How could she go back to work after losing one child? Anyway - I too want to toss in the breasfeeding towel if only to settle his tummy.. I hope in 2 weeks I'll have a much better outlook - thinking of you and wishing we were close so I could snuggle the cute babies you have..

  29. They are so gorgeous, and growing so fast Wow, 6 wks already? I love their twin snuggle time pictures. They are all so cute:)

  30. Hugs to you. Breastfeeding was a difficult road for me too (with one baby). I imagine it is very exhausting. I'm sure you feel over-stimulated some days and just need a long shower without someone touching you. I say that in acknowledge of our painful losses. It's still hard.

    I do feel judged differently than no-bereaved moms. I also judge non-bereaved moms differently than my bereaved friends. It's like - it's okay for my loss friends to have a hard time and complain a little, but NOT okay for non loss moms to complain to me AT ALL.

    It's complicated. I do sympathize with non loss moms that it's hard to parent a living child. But they don't understand (how could they) what it's like to parent a living child, get frustrated or tired or overwhelmed but then feel the myriad of complex emotions about those feelings b/c you're just so freaking happy that your child is ALIVE. Oh, the guilt will eat you alive. But then, non loss moms feel guilt too...

    Oh, dear. Now I've rambled.

    I say, feel and write what you need to feel and write.


  31. BFing is hard work and BFing twins is even tougher! You are an amazing momma to continue to do it!

  32. Maybe sometimes you can feed just one at a time. Enjoy the finger holding and extra one-on-one bonding. It may take longer overall to feed both, but I found I got quite adept at doing many things one-handed while carrying a nursing baby around. Just something for you to consider.

    Your snowflakes are adorable and I love to see the pictures when you post them. So thankful with you for healthy babies.

  33. What an adorable duo!!! Congrats again!!

    And now, don't beat yourself up over anything, please. You have been through enough. I can't imagine the work involved with mothering twins, let alone the breastfeeding issues. You are doing a great job by the sounds of things! And we all complain from time to time... I am not a BLM but after my friend lost her baby I beat myself up about complaining about my baby problems, and it's just part of life.

    Hang on there, around 2-3 months the feeds should drop to being much shorter - around 10 mins if memory hasn't failed me.

    Take care! Anna

  34. Parenting is a gift, but it is also a demanding and often frustrating job from which there are few vacation days for Mom! I think we all deserve to feel this way, regardless of our respective journeys in getting here. You are AMAZING; I am so happy for you that you pushed through the first six weeks of breastfeeding and have stuck with it. That, in itself, is a full-time job (speaking as one who has only nursed singletons). Take care of yourself and know that you are doing wonders for your babies by being so present and in tune with yourself both physically and emotionally. Your body (and mind) have just done something amazing; all in good time.

  35. This is my first visit to your blog but I must say that your writing is wonderful. I am sorry that you feel like you are held to a different standand, judged and that you must qualify your complaints. No matter how desired they are, newborns are exhausting. I would hope that any parent can understand that and not judge your need to state that it is exhausting.
    I applaud you for breastfeeding your two sweet babes because I know how exhausting it was just breastfeeding one.

  36. OMG they are SO CUTE! Love those Star Wars hats!! :)

    Give yourself a break, being a new mom to ONE has tough moments. And everyone who knows you or has read your blog should know that you don't take any moments of parenthood for granted. But that doesn't mean it's always easy.

    Enjoy those precious snowflakes :)

  37. Wonderful photos! They are so cute! I can see how your son looks like Peyton- especially in the sixth photo. All three of your children are beautiful :)

  38. One of my triplets was stillborn, so I experienced the joys of motherhood and the grief of loss all at the same time. And I complain about how tired I am (my girls are 2, and one still doesn't consistently sleep through the night), and their throwing their food, and ganging up on me. And I feel no qualms about it. And anybody who thinks that I should not be complaining is an idiot. Of course we are grateful for our survivors. Do I wish I had a third 2 year old right now throwing food on the floor with her sisters? Yes. But it doesn't mean we turned into saints who still can't get exhausted and wish for 2 private moments to take a pee.

  39. I want a Yoda and a Leia hat - they are AWESOME!!!

    You are breastfeeding twins - you are utterly, utterly amazing and you are absolutely, absolutely allowed to say that is hard because it is - rainbows or not. It took me a very long time to feel comfortable saying any part of parenting Toby was difficult - I judged me. I still, as we deal with ongoing sleep issues, feel guilty sometimes for wanting finding the lack of sleep tough.

  40. Wow - they totally rock!! I came here to read about you though - and the breast feeding.... I am not a BLM, but I did "lose" the bf with my first son because of his cleft. I do know the emotional spade-work involved (aside from the physical - and yes, I could fully testify to that too) involved in BF. Oh my goodness - I send you more medals and cups of tea (can you tell I'm English??) than you could shake a stick at! xxx

  41. Two words - "yes" and "adorable".

    The "adorable" is for your snowflake photos! They are really coming into themselves now aren't they? Where does the time go?

    The "yes" is for your question about judgement. I haven't even reached the two week mark yet, but already I recognise a constant need for myself to be reassured with markers - by that I mean I need to be reminded that my LO is putting on weight, very settled, sleeping long stretches (4 hours or more most of the time), and having contented "awake times". But other people's opinions that I'm letting his sleep too long, doing the "wrong thing" by giving him one top up feed of formula per day, and things like that really get to me. Even my own mother, who I'm close to, doesn't understand how much she cuts me to the bone saying these things. I find it so hard to keep everything in check and real.


  42. Your babies are darling! I love these pics. I think you are brave to breastfeed two, and now you have gotten through 6 weeks. Hooray! The Yoda & Princess Leia hats are adorable! I see now where Kellan looks like Peyton - I couldn't see the resemblance before.

  43. Your babies are sooo cute and sweet, God bless them!!!
    You are a very good mother to your babies, and you can complain, regardless. You are a human being that sometimes gets tired, feels pain, needs help, and all other things. These babies are here healthy and gogeous because of you(of course your hubby too) and God. so, do complain. I guess it's part of being a mom. Nobody is perfect, nobody can do everything without pain, tiredness, etc.
    You are my hero, for how tough you are and still standing. Take care and God bless you and your family!!!

  44. Every time I have a small complaint, I censor myself and think "I should be so glad just to have her". And I am, but that doesn't take away from the range of experiences and frustrations that a mother can have.
    Exclusively breastfeeding twins! Hooray for you - I am amazed and impressed.

  45. God's gift! They're all super duper cutie babies. I wanna hug them all:)