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Friday, May 23, 2008

The First Three Weeks - Life Has Changed!

Tomorrow will mark the third week since our sons were born, and it’s been quite a wild time! The boys have gained weight, although one is still smaller than the other and requires more frequent feedings. It’s almost frightening how fast life changed on the evening of May 5th when we first walked into our home with the newborns.

We were both off work for two full weeks and I had part of this week off. We hired a nanny who started last Monday, but I wanted to spend some time with her in the house to help her adjust and learn where things were located, as well as to evaluate her and how she interacted with the twins. She seems very attentive with the boys and keeps the house in decent shape, so we’re feeling comfortable with her.

The biggest change in our lives seems to be that neither of us can just do what we want, whenever we want. Simply going for a walk requires a conversation to make sure one of us is on baby duty. Then there is the intense exhaustion from both lack of sleep and from being so busy all day. We live in a two-story house and I think I run up and down the stairs at least 25 times per day! There’s always something to be doing – loads of laundry, cleaning out the diaper pail, cleaning bottles, preparing bottles, feeding, changing, bathing, rocking babies, cleaning the house, maintaining the yard, and if everything is done and the babies are happy, the house is reasonably clean, and the dog is walked, then I need to be sleeping!

Lucky for me, I’m not much of a “sit still” type of person. Neighbors have already commented that our yard looks too nice and the house is too clean for having newborn twins, but I guess I’m just good at keeping things up. It’s amazing what I can accomplish in a half hour while the boys are asleep. I’m making it to the gym three days per week, not as often as before, but still pretty good, considering my schedule. But the absolute hardest part of parenting newborn twins is nighttime. I find it very difficult to get up and feed/burp/change a baby. Mostly the second time is most difficult, so once they’re down to one feeding per night, life will seem much easier. We started out with both babies in bed with us, and soon found out that didn’t work well. We were up most of the night! Other twin parents suggested what worked for them – each parent takes a baby to a different bedroom and is responsible for only one of them all night. I’ve found that if I’m in bed by 9 p.m., I can get in about six and a half hours sleep by 5 a.m. when I need to get up. People with one baby have it easy – you could simply trade nights taking care of the baby and get a full night’s sleep every other night. But with twins, it’s too much work for one person to take them both all night. Everyone keeps telling us, things get easier and the time passes quickly and soon they’ll be sleeping through the night - although I’ve heard a few horror stories about children who didn’t sleep through the night until age two.

I think I’m still in the bonding stage with the twins this week. Women who carry their child seem to be bonded by the time birth occurs, but in my case, it seem to be happening post birth. One thing I’ve felt is that there is no feedback from the twins at this age, and other parents have confirmed they had the same feeling. Not that it’s expected by any means, but you put so much work and effort into nurturing the little guys and they just look back at you like they don’t know you. I’m looking forward to that first grin or smile, the first little hug, or any sign that I’m recognized and loved. I know it’ll happen soon enough and be worth every ounce of effort!

This morning I hated to leave them at home when I left for work, even though work seems like a break at this point. But I can tell I’m falling in love with the little guys and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Their eyes are open more now and I get lost in those beautiful little pools of brown. I keep wondering what it’ll be like to play ball with them in the park, to read to them, or help them explore and learn. Everyone says to appreciate them when they’re so young and tiny, because it goes by fast and you can never go back to that innocent stage. I’m trying to focus on living in the present and being where I need to be right now for the babies. Every new day brings so much work and challenge, worrying about next week, next month or next year is overwhelming, so I’m finding living in the present to be easier than ever.

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