Homecoming - December 26, 2006
~ Postpartum Week 3: Will and Ruth Come Home
It turns out we made a pair of pretty robust babies: Will came home a week ago Sunday night and Ruth the following day! In the end, they were in the NICU only nine and ten days respectively. Now we are contending as best we can with keeping them fed, warm and dry while keeping ourselves as alert and optimistic as possible.
Despite the fact that they sleep more than anything else, this hasn't been easy. Dan had his final exams on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after the twins came home, so his sister, Kate (who arrived the same Sunday night that Will came home), and I took all the night duty until his last exam was done. Also making things difficult, the babies still can't breastfeed exclusively. Their doctors want to see consistent weight gain and so we have to feed them enriched breast milk via bottle. This means mixing pumped milk with a special powder, breastfeeding them only 15 minutes each at each feeding to keep them in practice (they're pretty good at it!) and pumping after each feeding session (every three hours during the day, every four hours if we're lucky at night). I'd say about half my time each 24-hour period now revolves around feeding and pumping and cleaning up for the next round of feeding and pumping.
It's a grind but it's paying off. Today we went to the pediatrician (we were supposed to go last Thursday but the giant blizzard out here caused the office to close) and learned that Will is now up to 5 pounds 3 oz. and Ruth to 4 pounds 8 oz. The pediatrician thinks we need to continue the enriched bottles for now, so I'm not yet free from the tyranny of the pump and probably won't be for a while. I haven't tried breastfeeding them at the same time yet because the process is exhausting enough without that on top of everything else.
Having Dan on board as Dad full-time has been great, as was having Kate. I don't know what we would have done without her, frankly. Even with both of them helping full-time, I've had several overwhelmed bouts of postpartum teariness, which I attribute as much to lack of sleep as I do to hormonal changes. Having twins at home isn't easy, and everyone says this brutal schedule will continue in some form for at least three months and possibly longer because they are preemies. That's been pretty hard for me to accept. I sometimes feel like I'm in a tunnel with no clear light at the end. I'm hoping this doesn't turn into real postpartum depression, that daily naps and walks (or runs when my C-section recovery allows) will help me avert that. I can see why the Victorians called this period "confinement."
Of course there have been moments of real joy, too, and lots of laughs already at the funny faces they make eating, the funny noises they make sleeping and the frequency with which we have to change their clothes. Watching our parents turn into doting grandparents has been wonderful. My mom arrived for a three-week stay tonight, and she can't stop looking at and holding her two grandchildren (her first). And it's been awesome to sleep in my own bed again with my husband (even if it is for short periods of time!), with no need for giant body pillows between us. We have acquired an instant family. We are looking forward to the smiles, the times when Will and Ruth become aware of who we are and who they are and the years and milestones to come after that.