Feeding Frenzy

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Week 4 arrived!  Again, these babies are getting bigger and bigger by the day!  We are still going strong on our schedule and keeping close to it best we can.  This allows me several hours a day to get things done around the house, nap, work on the blog and even send out birth announcements!  Each day is getting easier and I'm learning so much about E & B's personalities.  I feel so blessed to have this time with them.

My Grandma came to KC this weekend and it was SO GREAT to have her meet Em and B.  We also took the babies on their first walk! They slept the whole time... but it was great to get out!

All styled out by their Auntie... ready for a walk!
We LOVE our double stroller.  The City Jogger Select.  Their car-seats snap right in and we were off!

Now for the meat of this post...

This post is about f e e d i n g.  For those of you who aren't parents yet, this is not a post to sway opinions or take sides, breastfeeding versus formula, it's a post to share the struggle I had and another mom with finding what works for our families.  Let's dive in...

B r e a s t f e e d i n g...
My plan was always to breastfeed my children for at least 3-6 months.  I had heard from other mom's that it hurts when you first start but after you get the hang of it, it feels fine.  And the benefits are great and your baby needs the antibodies and such.  I think nursing is such a cool thing and the benefits are amazing for your babies.

I didn't realize how difficult it would be with twins.  This post is here for a realistic view of our journey with feeding.  I didn't know really anything about the feeding process of newborns and I'm still learning every day!  Here's a glimpse of the first 4 weeks with the babes and their growth so far.

In the hospital, I started breastfeeding them right away, individually.  Once my milk started coming in more, we started tandem feeding to try and get the hang of it there while I had help and a lactation consultant right down the hall.  For those of you that are unfamiliar, tandem feeding looks like this:

There are tons of different ways to go about it feeding twins at the same time.  It saves time, especially when you are in the "feeding every 3 hours" stage.  We were getting the hang of things while at the hospital but we still supplemented with donor milk while in the NICU because my milk had not fully come in and we needed the babies to gain weight so we could go home.  They had dropped down close to 5 lbs each in the NICU.  Before we left, the plan was to breastfeed the babies, pump after feedings to save milk and supplement with formula is needed.  That lasted a week.

I was feeding them for upwards of an hour and 45 minutes and once they were "done" they would still show hunger signs (biting their hands, rooting, etc...).  With the 3 hour feed stage, I would finish feeding them and then turn around and have to begin again less than an hour later.  My emotions were running wild.  My nipples were incredibly raw and sore because they were not latching correctly.  I was supporting their heads and trying to help them latch but once I would work with one baby and help him latch, she would unlatch and pull away and the pain would start up.  This ESPECIALLY became hard for the nighttime feedings.  Alex would wake up and help me latch them but it was my job to stay awake and alert enough to coach both babies through an incredibly long feeding, only to know that they will still need formula even after the feeding.  I was incredibly frustrated, tired and sad I wasn't able to feed them fully from my breast.

We still had formula (Enfamil) from the hospital, so that first week we supplemented after feedings. But I was waiting for the magical milk supply that would feed both babies fully to come in and I felt like it never did.   Like I said before, I would try and pump after breastfeeding but I would never get ahead.  I never felt like I was giving my babies enough, and it was heartbreaking.  It was utterly unbearable to feel like I couldn't feed them with just my breast milk and I thought to myself, WHY IS THAT?  Why do I feel this guilt?  So I decided to make a change.

E x c l u s i v e l y   P u m p i n g...
Alex and I knew that something had to change, for our babies sake and for my sanity.  I think the baby blues I was feeling were blown up more with the feeding issues.  We decided that I would pump and then use that milk for the next feeding.  This seemed to work for awhile.  I was producing enough at the time to feed both babies from one pump.  This didn't last long.  The babies are 4 weeks old now and they have about DOUBLED the amount they were eating 2 weeks ago.  I still felt very uncomfortable but felt better knowing the amount I was feeding them.  The babies took to the bottles really well.  The slow flow Tommy Tippee bottles have been awesome!  I would highly recommend.

It wasn't long before I was falling behind in supply again.  The frustrations returned and the pumping got harder to stay on top of.  It's hard being tied to a pump with a baby, let alone two.  Once I get all hooked up to the pump, if one baby needs me, well hopefully you can imagine the back and forth and how hard it got.

Alex and I made more decisions towards the end of that week.  Since I was feeling tired and was hurting and wasn't even pumping enough to feed them both fully, we decided I would pump when I could and we would supplement again with formula.  This was our life for about another week.  We recently switched over to formula only and it has been G R E A T.  I know just how much both babies are getting fed and can prepare mass amounts of formula for the multiple night feedings for both babies.  It's also great that other people can help feed the babies too!  Alex has so enjoyed being able to have that intimate time with both babes too.  Night feedings go twice as fast, leaving more time for sleep for all 4 of us!

Multitasking is a MUST for feeding twins... Learning hands free!
Emmy, very focused on her dinner.
The aftermath... Milk Drunk!
T h o u g h t s   f r o m   A n o t h e r   M o m m a...

I asked my dear friend and fellow recent momma for her input on feeding and she has been a great resource for me!  I asked her to share because her support and advice have helped me immensely.  It's so great to have someone that understands where you're coming from and who offers her opinions free of judgment.

She lives in New York with her husband and baby boy Jack.  Alex and I went to High School with her husband and we have gotten close over the past few years.  I wanted to show how different everyone's experience with feeding babies can be and so with that, here is Theresa Rzeszut.

Firstly, thanks Lauren for asking me to share! I am thrilled to be a part of this blog. Here is my feeding story:

It seems all you hear about as a newly pregnant mom is the importance of breastfeeding. It’s pushed in birth classes, on every phone app, and even in the hospital after you give birth. Nursing has become a new measure of motherhood – the longer you do it, the better you are. When I got to the hospital to be induced at 40 weeks 4 days, one of the first things they asked was, “will you be breastfeeding?” I eagerly said yes and it was marked with a big “X” on my card. My mom nursed each of her 8 children for approximately 3 months and by the 8th kid, my mom was a serious pro at it. This was the extent of my nursing knowledge. It looked so easy and natural. What I didn’t realize was that nursing does not always come so naturally! A few minutes after my son Jack was born, he was placed on my chest and quickly latched. This was a breeze! My baby is a champ! He latches like no other!

Fast forward 12 hours and Jack was sleepy and uninterested in eating. A lactation consultant came by and manhandled my boobs which were already so achy from all the hormones. My milk had not yet come in. That second night in the hospital, Jack was STARVING. He attempted to nurse for what must have been three hours. He was crying and hungry. I was crying, tired, and beyond frustrated. Not one nurse at the hospital came by that night to ask if I needed help or to suggest possibly using formula. My milk had still not come in when I left the hospital less than 48 hours after giving birth. We took Jack to the pediatrician for his first check-up and he was not wetting many diapers. The doctor looked me in the eye and told me that my son was hungry and needed formula. We gave him formula and he was finally content. Five days after giving birth my milk came in and we switched to full time nursing. The first month alone with Jack every day was exhausting – constant nursing throughout the day and night. I felt like a milk machine and began to resent my husband for not being able to help out with feedings. Mentally and emotionally the responsibility of being Jack’s only source of food was terrifying.

Fast forward two months and I was scheduled to go back to work. I had been pumping to get a supply going for Jack while he was at daycare – I was still exclusively nursing. Luckily Jack took a bottle easily, so that was not a worry. I am also lucky that my office has a special lactation room and hospital grade pump that allows for easy pumping and storage. Even with all of these things going for me, pumping was a struggle. I was waking up early in the morning to pump before work and then pumping three times during the day. I was already leaving work earlier than I had before Jack came along, and I was panicked and struggling to keep up. I tried to talk to women at work about it and one of the responses I got was “yeah, I just don’t believe in formula”. Woof. Then one day I read this article http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/04/the-case-against-breast-feeding/307311/ that explained how the differences between breastfed and formula fed infants are hardly apparent. I immediately began to taper off feedings and had fully weaned within two weeks. The pressure I felt from being Jack’s sole supplier of food was gone. The final feelings of resentment that were left were erased. I truly feel like a new person.

Jack Rzeszut
This is not a post bashing breastfeeding. Nursing is a beautiful thing, and I’m glad to have done it for four months. But next time, I won’t freak out about formula. We have enough to freak out about as parents, and feeding our children is one of them. But how we do it doesn’t and shouldn’t matter. You would be hard pressed to look at a group of four year olds and point out which were breastfed and which were formula fed. We need to focus on the important things – keeping our children safe, happy and healthy, and giving them lots of love. The societal pressure to nurse is insane! Unfortunately a message that once came from a great place has been misconstrued and is used by women to keep one another down. News flash – you don’t get a medal for nursing for twelve months! My favorite part of the article is this:when people say that breast-feeding is “free,” I want to hit them with a two-by-four. It’s only free if a woman’s time is worth nothing.” In a world that is obsessed with women’s equality, breastfeeding somehow slips through the cracks. Jack is still thriving – I have noticed no change in him since he began formula. But I have definitely noticed a change in myself. I am less stressed and truly feel as though I am able to be a better mother. The three of us have become an even happier family J

To end this post, there are SO many different ways to feed your baby and once you find something that works for you and your family, then stick with it!  Own it!  Like Theresa said, NURSING IS BEAUTIFUL and if you can do it, especially for multiples, then I am nothing but happy for you.  If you're struggling with feeding, know that formula is great too.  

Also, CHIEFS had a great season... the babies loved getting to know their NFL home team :)

Thanks to Olivia Morgan for the awesome onesies...
Until next week...

Lauren, E & B

Model Behavior... Times Two!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

W E E K    3

It's unreal these two are 3 weeks old.  I will probably almost always start a blog post like this.  The days seem to go by slow but the weeks are F L Y I N G.

We got some of our newborn pics back and wanted to share with you all!  Here are some highlights.  We feel so lucky to have such healthy and happy little babes.  

Bennett- for the TOUCHDOWN
Emmy Lou
Emmy- that headband said one size fits all... annnnnd not sure about that.  But we made it work.
Mother // Son
Father // Son

First Family Photos

Father // Daughter
Mother // Daughter

U p d a t e s...
We are still feeding them every 2-3 hours in what seems like endless feeding frenzies but the growth that has happened, even just in the past few days, is enough to show us our efforts are paying off.  Our next appointment for weights is February 1st and we can't wait to see what they weigh in at.

We are spending most of our days the same way we always do.  This week I'm trying to have more independence and watch them for longer periods by myself.  It's challenging.  But they sometimes manage to make feedings bearable for me to do alone.  Typically one of them will wake up first.  I'll feed, change and snuggle them back up and wake the other to repeat the process.  It takes longer BUT the fact that I can do it by myself if needed makes me feel really accomplished.

B a b y   B l u e s...
It's true what they say about the baby blues and I will admit to feeling them- like I've said before... I want this blog to be incredibly raw and real.  I don't want to paint you a picture that says, "This is EASY!  Our lives are PERFECT."  Because in no way, shape or form is that true.  We are incredibly blessed but the struggle is there.

When we got home from the hospital, I felt overwhelmed with the help and support of people coming over and being around to hold the babies.  It felt like we had someone coming over every night for the first few weeks!  I realized I was going through motions but not living in them, if that makes any sense.  I was still hurting and recovering from the surgery, and the trauma of it all, and so anyone coming over to help change, feed and hold babies was not turned down.  I would just cry sometimes.  For no specific reason and I would feel like I was nothing but a milk machine (pumping).  The routine got to me.  I felt like every 2-3 hours I would feed, change and pump for 30 minutes, unable to cuddle with Emmy or Bennett because if I got off the routine I would fall behind.  I felt really lost and felt like I wasn't connecting with them as well as I could.  So I changed the feedings to exclusively pumped breast milk and formula.  Next week's post will be primarily on feeding--- can't wait to share.

Each day gets better.  I feel stronger and I feel more like myself again but its a slow process.  I feel that since I've been cutting back on pumping, I've been able to spend more time with them after feedings.  The most important thing that's helped me is knowing I'm not alone and having a great husband and family that supports me.  My advice to others is to talk to someone- don't hold it in!  It doesn't help you or your baby to not talk about your blues... even if you can't pin point why you're sad, it helps to talk.  Those hormones are a b****.

***Charlie Hustle shoutout***
KC Proud

Can't wait to share more... 
Sorry this post is shorter.

See ya in a week!

Lauren, E & B

Surviving the First Two Weeks...

Thursday, January 14, 2016

It's so crazy to me that the babes are already 2 weeks old!  They say that times goes fast- and while I do agree with this- I also think the days go by pretty slow... and I'm okay with that.  They will only be newborns once and I am always reminding myself to not wish this time of sleep deprivation and exhaustion away.  Before I know it, Alex and I will be moving those little cribs out of their room and finding toddler beds.  I just know it'll happen in the blink of an eye.

This past weekend was a blast, both exhausting and exciting.  Alex and I got the chance to break away for a few hours and head down to the plaza for some Christmas return shopping and some apps at the Classic Cup.  It. Was. Devine.  Being out with Alex after everything that happened was such a treat.  We loved every minute of it.  My mom babysat but as all new parents do, we had to check in at least once in the 2 hours we were gone.  It was the longest time away from them and we were obviously nervous.  Grandma did great and we were back home into our routine before we knew it.  The babies eat every 3 hours (midnight, 3am, 6am, 9am and so on) and we can already see their growth!  More on feeding below...

Bailey's and coffee with my best friend!  It was so cold out but we still wanted to walk around the plaza and enjoy being outside, as crazy as that sounds.
We took newborn pictures last weekend and once I get them back we will definitely share but it was one of our first big outings with the babes.  We LOVE our photographer, Rachel Moore.  She shot our wedding and so it's even more special that she will see these two grow up and watch our family get bigger and bigger.  Since we are such KC people, we obviously had to get a Charlie Hustle picture.

Our first family portrait! #KCProud
After pictures, we went to lunch at the new QDoba in Mission and had planned on going through the drive thru but when they didn't have one, we decided to take the babies out for their first restaurant experience.  They were amazing.  Slept the whole time and we got to enjoy.  It was a good reminder to us that we can still do normal things with them!  We are obviously on a schedule but still it's nice knowing we do have some flexibility to break and have lunch.  After, we went home, had another feeding and geared up for the babies first trip to Church!  They were studs.

Church goers!  We sat in the very back row, just in case.
Alex went back to work this week.  THAT was a hard morning.  He told me it was the hardest thing driving away from the house, and it wasn't any easier for me to see him leave.  I definitely had some rough moments that first morning.  I realized I hadn't been apart from him for more than an hour since he left for winter break!  Almost a month!  He knew everything I needed, the babies routine and schedule, where everything was in the house and knew how to comfort me in the ways I needed in these crucial first few weeks.  But I'm glad that he's back working and around such a great community at St. James Academy.  I know we have so much support there and I can't tell you how great it feels.

I've had help every day this week, as my incision site continues to heal.  Becky, Alex's mom, came Monday.  My two friends Olivia and Kristin came Tuesday.  My mom Wednesday, sister today and Alex's grandma Joan will come tomorrow.  It's been great to have such support, especially this first week Alex is gone.  Kristin had an interesting experience with Emmy and some explosive poop with one of her diaper changes.  Oh the life of newborns.  Eating, pooping and sleeping.  HUGE thank you to everyone who came by to help and for the beginning of the meal train!  It's been amazing to not have to worry about cooking for ourselves- we've been able to spend what little time we do have in between feedings to cuddle with the babes.

S e e i n g   P e r s o n a l i t i e s...
Even though it's only been their first couple weeks in this big world, Emmy and Bennett have already shown us their very different personalities.


My little man, always making faces...
Bennett is, as I thought from the womb, a very calm little man... unless he's hungry.  But even then, he remains pretty composed until we can get the bottle to him.  Again, just like in the womb, he always has his hands by his face.  It comforts him I guess!  He's a very messy eater but knows when it's time to eat and often reminds us for the both of them.  He makes the best facial expressions, especially when he's concentrating.  Just like his dad, he furrows his brow and looks determined to finish whatever he's doing (which, most of the time, is finishing a bottle).

Hands on the face... always...
Bath Time!
Hanging with mom.. I love how much he looks like Alex.

My little fiesty girl.  She is famous for her poops, as her dad says.  We change her and less than a minute later, she dirties it again.  She loves those new diapers.  She loves having her arms and hands on Bennett's face and nestling as close to him as she can get.  Just like in utero, she loves to stretch out and take up space, and Bennett seems to not mind.  She's my noisy eater, making it known that she's in the room.  She is a great sleeper and has to almost always be woken up to eat after Bennett cries and alerts us it's time.

Cuddle Bugs

Tutu from France courtesy of Auntie Sarah! It's a little big but she loved it. She looks pretty tough in pink!
Little gas smiles...
S l e e p   D e p r i v a t i o n &   F e e d i n g s....
Our first night home was... interesting.  Alex and I quickly realized that if we didn't have some sort of game plan and schedule that we would be in trouble.  We were still sleep deprived from our hospital stay and so it just carried over to home.  Except we didn't have the NICU nurses to back us up when we needed a break.  I'll be honest... the feeding every 3 hours is absolutely exhausting.  I was tandem breastfeeding them in the beginning but it got frustrating.  It was so hard to make sure they were both latching correctly and it was hurting me when they didn't fully latch.  If this was the case, they would not get full and after breastfeeding for more than an hour, they would still be hungry.  So Alex and I knew something needed to change.  I started pumping more and we have been bottle-feeding my breast milk exclusively.  I pump every three hours and that supplements the next feed.  I now know how much they are getting and that they are full after a feeding, rather than wondering.  We also have Enfamil formula to supplement, just in case.  We're pretty lucky that they aren't picky between breast milk, formula, bottle or breast.  It's good because I think our kids are going to have to be pretty flexible in life, especially with our schedules.

A   T y p i c a l   D a y...
For those future mommies of twins out there, I thought I would jot down a normal day for us now, in the early days of being home.  Routine is everything and I think having someone else's routine to look at and try is always good.  But also remember, what works for us may not work for you.  I've read blog after blog trying to find ideas for routines.  Some have worked and some have failed.  It's all about trial and error, unfortunately.

6am:  Everyone up; Alex gets ready for work.  First feeding of the day!  I change them first to wake them up and get their bottles warmed up.  Once they are fed and clean, I pump and all three of us nap until the next feeding at 9.

9am:  Feeding, change and try and lay them back down for sleep.  Then, I pump.  It does start to feel like I'm a milk machine.  I'll try and nap here after making sure I have clean bottles and breast pumping stuff.

Noon:  You guessed it.  Feed, change, bathe, if needed, and play time.  I try and keep them up for a little longer here.  If they seem sleepy still, I'll use this opportunity to nap, or possibly slip in a shower when I have someone here with me!

3pm:  Alex comes home between 3-4 and so by now the day already has flown by.  I change, feed and wrap them back up for another snooze.  That way when Alex gets home, he can sneak a nap in before the nighttime routine.

6pm:  In between this feeding and the last, we sometimes eat dinner but normally Alex naps and I use the time to get some things around the house!  Normally I just leave the housework and don't worry about it but some things just have to be done.  We feed, change and then they sleep.  That's pretty much a staple- I can't believe how much newborns sleep!

9pm:  Feed, change and get ready for bed!  Alex and I try and get in bed by 10pm if we can.  That way we can try and get a few hours of sleep before the midnight feeding.

Midnight:  Alex has been taking this feeding and change.  I get up around 2 to pump and get ready for the 3 am feeding.

3am:  Feed, change and pump for 6 am feeding.  Normally in bed by 4:30 or so.  This is the time of night when they are sometimes little hooligans and want to stay up.  Of course when it's hardest for mom.

6am:  Alex and I both get up.  I start the change, feed routine and he showers after getting me started.  He leaves the house around 7:15 and we start all over again.

This works for us right now.  We are still tired and still trying to get this whole parenting thing down but our babies seem to be growing!  I can feel them getting heavier and they go through more diapers that I thought- which is a great sign they are eating well!  I hope you all can meet these two soon if you haven't already!  They are pretty fun, but I'm biased.

Until next week...

Lauren, B & E

Birth Story...

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Our babies are finally here!  They were born December 30th at 1:08 and 1:09 AM.  I was 36 wks and 4 days pregnant!  I want to tell you their entire story so I apologize for the length of this post in advance.  It's quite the adventure.

T o   T h e   H o s p i t a l...
My itching got pretty bad Sunday, December 27th, so Monday morning we called in to the office and were told to go to labor and delivery triage at once.  We geared up and packed our bags into the car, not knowing we wouldn't be home for about a week, and with 2 bundles of joy in tow.  When we got there, they checked me in and started a series of exams.  I wasn't having any huge contractions so I thought, "they're going to check me out, and send me home."  The nurse came in next, started an IV and said, "I don't think they're going to send you home."  Alex was still in the waiting room at this point.  I was elated! I was going to meet them finally!  Once they brought Alex back we were giddy with excitement and prepared to get admitted to a room in labor and delivery.

A d m i t t e d...
Not much happened Monday.  They checked my cervix.  It was only dilated to a 1+ and was not "ripe" yet, meaning thin enough.  So, they gave me a medication vaginally called Cytotec to induce labor.  This started working but was incredibly slow.  All the while contractions were picking up in intensity.  Monday was a long day.
Since my cervix was not dilating as fast as they wanted, the decision was made to place a cook catheter inside to help manually open it.  See below...
Since this is a very painful process, the resident recommended I get my epidural first.  So that's what we did.
My epidural was placed at 1 AM on Tuesday by a resident I knew from working at KU, and he did an absolutely phenomenal job.  I didn't even blink and it was in.  This totally helped my pain but was one of the most bizarre feelings ever.  My legs got really warm and then lost feeling... we knew it was working.  Next, they placed a foley catheter for urine drainage followed by the cook catheter at 1:30 AM.  Even with the epidural, the entire process was incredibly uncomfortable.  By this time, I was done having people touching me in the most painful area of my body- it was currently feeling like it was splitting in half.
Pitocin was started at 3:50 AM and then the long, painful day began.  After that, it was contraction after contraction, some only 1 minute apart and longer than a minute in intensity.  I felt awful.  Nothing happened all day Tuesday except very slow dilation and contractions.  It was the longest day of my life.  But Alex was AMAZING.  I cannot emphasize that enough.  He was there through every contraction, every procedure and every cervical check.  I am in awe of how selfless this man is.   Except all the pictures being taken, although now... I'm glad he did.
They decided to check the babies positions again with ultasound.  Bennett was still head down, way down and ready to go.  Emmy was breech but since their weights were so similar, the plan was still to deliver vaginally.
G o   T i m e...
At 7 pm, the resident came in and was going to check me.  I was a 4+ and so she broke my water.  It happened so fast!  I wasn't prepared for it.  It felt like I was a deflated balloon.  Immediately I felt the pressure of Bennett's head.  Thirty minutes later, I was checked again and I was already a 5.  The pitocin was then stopped because of how fast and intense the contractions were getting.  I remember shaking and crying and being terrified.  I began having feelings of a strong bowel movement but not being able to move.  I was told over and over this was normal.  Normal or not, it felt awful.  They kept checking me and I kept contracting.  7+, 8+, 9... It seemed slow to me but I know this all happened so fast.  After an initial push in the room, I was transported to the Operating Room around 11:40.  At KU, all multiples are delivered in the OR just incase they need to do a c-section.  Alex and my mom were dressed in scrubs and hats and ready to meet the babes!  I just kept breathing as best I could.  I moved over to the bed with what little strength I could muster and started pushing right away.  

I pushed for an hour and a half.  I felt like I was splitting in half.  I felt that with every push I was gong to pass out.  Being told to bear down but relax all other areas of your body was like being told to run as fast as you can but don't move your legs.  IMPOSSIBLE.  After that hour and a half, I noticed the people in the operating room getting nervous.  I was completely outside my body and exhausted beyond belief.  I couldn't hold my legs up at all and had nurses on either side of me supporting my body.  Emmy's heart rate was dropping.  Bennett was so difficult to push out because he was "sunnyside up".  See picture below.

The left picture is how a baby is supposed to be born.  Bennett was the right, poor little guy was just not fitting.  The doctor kept me pushing.  With every push I felt all my energy leaving and not returning.  I felt like I was going no where fast.  Emmy's heart rate continued to drop.  It was as low as 60 at one point for more than 6 minutes.  A fetal heartbeat is supposed to be  110-180.  I could see my doctor getting nervous.  I started crying more and my body started shaking uncontrollably.  A nurse held my hand the entire time and stayed with me, talking to me and trying to calm me down.
Before I knew it, they yelled prep for emergent c-section.  My mom and Alex were rushed out of the room just before 1 AM and I could feel myself being positioned for surgery.  I was screaming for them to put me under... it seemed to be taking forever.  Everyone was rushing around.  All I remember thinking was "Oh my God, I could lose a baby."  

Three more anesthesiologists came in.  Since I work in surgery, I've been around emergent cases and have done them myself.  Being the patient was a whole different story.  I was awake the entire time and could feel my legs almost falling off the table.  I remember yelling that they were about to fall and the doctor was trying to get someone to position my legs.  I knew the long term consequences of poor positioning.  The most terrifying thing for me was the splash prep.  It happened so fast.  Down went the drape and up stepped the doctor and resident.  I was still crying hysterically and prayed they had taken my mom and Alex out of the room.  The resident looked down at me and asked if I could feel the knife.  I said no, and she began.  Then I felt a huge push on my stomach and minutes later I heard them say both babies were out.  
I didn't hear any crying at first, a scare I hope no mother has to endure.  Then I heard Emmy.  As they were sewing me up, I remember someone bringing her to me so I could kiss her and then she was whisked away.  I never saw Bennett.  Both were taken to the NICU immediately.  I heard later they were brought right by the waiting room so our family could see them for a moment.  

Sharing an isolette on their first trip in this world.  I love them so much.

Alex went with them straight into the NICU.  Someone later told me I was pretty funny after all the meds I as given.  I asked the doctor what they were doing now and when she replied sewing up your uterus I responded "Thank you so much."  I guess my manners have no effects by medications.  Makes me laugh.

P A C U ...
I was wheeled to recovery and my mom came back after I was stabilized.  Alex then returned from the NICU with video of the babies so I could see them for the first time!  I was in so much pain but seeing them cry and alive was the most amazing experience, even if it was on his phone.  

Here is Bennett, all hooked up and getting checked out.

 Bennett was born first at 1:08 AM weighing 6lb 3 oz followed by Emmy Lou at 1:09 AM weighing 6lb 5 oz.  Both babies were 20 inches long.  It's a twin thing.

Alex told me there were about 8-10 nurses/ medical staff in their NICU room.  These people were life savers.  I am speechless at the care they took of our babies.  Incredible.
When Alex came to recovery, I could see fear in his eyes.  I'm sure I was as pale as a ghost, having lost a liter of blood.  A PCA of morphine (pain pump) was started and I was given ice chips.  After two hours of recovery, I was ready to go to my room in Mother Baby.  The pain was still intense throughout my abdomen.  First we stopped off at the NICU so I could see a glimpse of the babes.  I wasn't able to hold them, or even get out of the bed but I finally got to see them.  I felt sick and we headed to the room to try and get some sleep.  At this point it's about 5:30 AM and we are EXHAUSTED.

R o a d  T o  R e c o v e r y...
The next day, I woke up in so much pain but was too eager to meet and hold the babies I didn't seem to mind.  Alex helped me get over to the NICU and we finally got to hold them, even though they were hooked up to what seemed to be hundreds of monitors.  I looked rough but I didn't care- I was meeting the babies!!!

PROUD parents of these strong babes.

Holding the babies for the first time... absolutely breathtaking.
Like Father Like Son- takes my breath away.

          Bennett Matthew Keith            Emily (Emmy) Lou Keith

I didn't want to leave them ever.  But I had to make my way back and forth from Mother/ Baby to the NICU because I needed to get my pain under control.  The nurses on both units were BEYOND amazing and catered to our every need.  They supported us, taught us, and stayed with us 24/7.  I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of the medical staff that helped us through the stay.  We began the feeding regimen of every 3 hours, which was rigorous... especially with my incision site burning, pulling and reminding me of the terrifying delivery just days before.  Lactation visited with us many times and eventually I was tandem feeding them, which means breast feeding them at the same time.  This seemed to save us 45 minutes each time.  Alex and I were exhausted but we could see improvements in the babies almost every hour which made it all worth it.

G r o w i n g   A l r e a d y...
The babies lost weight in the NICU as most babies do.  They got down to 5 lb 14 oz and 5 lb 15 oz so we were told weight gain and blood sugar control were the most important, as well as keeping them warm so they didn't loose any more weight.

Dad/ Son bonding time
Me and my Emmy Lou

They were weaned off their IV fluids, they learned how to feed, graduated from isolettes to open cribs.  They were the ideal patients in the NICU.  They met all their grandparents, one side's great grandparents, aunts and uncles and snuggled with anyone that would visit.  

I was discharged from Mother/ Baby on Saturday January 2nd around noon and the babies were on track to go home the next day.  Alex and I spent one night in the NICU and immediately realized how lucky we were that our babies spent less than a week in the NICU.  We met a woman who's son was born at 24 weeks and she had been there since October.  We ate lunch with her and all I could do was hope and pray she gets to leave with her baby sooner rather than later.  We were discharged with the babes the next day around noon and have LOVED being home with them.  They add such light to our lives.
Our help to our car- we are home FREE! 
Love from Dad...

Two peas in a pod

Sir Bennett, catching some Zzzz's... Newborns sleep upwards of 20 hours a DAY!
Little Emmy, loving her swing... Thanks CVOR fam!

R e a l i z a t i o n s...
I realize now that wishing my babies to come sooner than the time they came, was foolish of me.  I was miserable being pregnant but seeing them now, I couldn't have imagined them being any smaller or less developed.  I feel irresponsible and can't tell you how thankful I am my body did hold out until 36 weeks.  Thank you all for the prayers and thoughts, texts and calls.  You have made this journey easier on my family and I.

Until next week...
Lauren, E & B

M e s s a g e   f r o m   D a d...
Most parents say that the greatest days of their lives are the days their children were born. Mine sure did not start off that way. To be completely honest I have never been more scared in my entire life. I wasn't scared of having kids, or bringing them home, or raising them, or the crazy amount of responsibility that comes with starting a family. I was ready for all that. I have been ready for all that for some time now.

The night of the twins birth did not go as planned at all.

After watching Lauren labor away for what seamed like an eternity, I was relieved when I finally got to throw on the scrubs and we went into the operating room. After Lauren had pushed to the point of exhaustion I started to hear the doctors and nurses talk about Emmy's heart rate. I was splitting my time cheering on Lauren and watching the fetal monitor to see if Emmy's heart rate would improve. Five minutes went by with Emmy's heart rate dipping down below half of what it should be and the doctors were getting nervous. This obviously only escalated my fears and anxieties. The doctor made her decision and with it came the time that the nurses asked Lauren's mom (Heidi) and I to leave the room. Through my mask I gave lauren one last kiss on the forehead before leaving. Heidi and I waited outside the operating room.

The doctor rushed outside to scrub and get ready for emergency surgery. As the door closed behind her I could only hear the screams of Lauren as she went through pain I can't even imagine. I froze. Every bit of me froze. I couldn't think, I couldn't move, I couldn't pray. Finally my mind went only to the worst. What if something happened to Lauren? What if something happened to the babies? Next Heidi grabbed me through my tears, and did for me something I could probably never repay her for. She prayed. She prayed for me because I couldn't find the words to say. She calmed me down, this got my mind thinking right. She snapped me back into reality.

Not 10 minutes went by before a nurse came to find us. She started by saying that the twins were born but there were some complications with Bennett's breathing. She also said Emmy was fine but didn't specify on Lauren before she quickly returned to the room. I had a knot in my stomach for Bennett but also for Lauren's well being. Lauren and I had previously made a deal that I would go with the babies if they had to go to the NICU.

So I went to the NICU.

I was there in daze. I was suppose to be overjoyed with heart more full that it has ever been. But to be honest I was there with only half of my heart. The other half was left back in the operation room, worried about Lauren. In that little NICU room I watched as 8 nurses work on our tiny babies. I asked about 1,000 questions and they were all answered by some of the most caring, professional people I have met in health care. I spent about an hour there then needed to go back and be with Lauren.

I met her in Recovery. There she was. The strongest woman I have ever met on her throne of victory. Sure it was an uncomfortable hospital bed, and Lauren was completely exhausted but she met me with a smile and only one question, "How are the babies?" I told her and I showed her pictures and videos. We sat in that bright room and cried together and this was the moment. This was the moment my heart was bigger than it had ever been before. This was the moment that December 30th became the best day of my life.

I know I have gone on too long and I want to thank Lauren for letting me write on her blog. And a personal note, thanks for reading Lauren's blog. She works so hard on it and I love seeing her as she receives feedback and support.

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