Back to a New Normal

I’ve been back to work, part-time, for just about a month. Yesterday, I was talking to a coworker who’s a week away from her due date. I asked how she was doing – and nodded sympathetically when she said her body is aching and sleep evades her. I remember that – it wasn’t that long ago for me, after all – and then she said, “I just can’t wait for my life to get back to normal.”

My jaw dropped. I couldn’t help but chuckle that all-knowing chuckle that drove me crazy when I was pregnant.

There is no “back to normal” anymore – now or from here on out.

There is only a new normal.

My new normal life is a shaky one. It involves waking up multiple times a night because one baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet. It’s packing the diaper bag the next morning and then – while I’m still in pajamas –  running into the street to catch my husband’s attention because I didn’t pack the boppy pillows. It’s getting dressed, hair done, and makeup applied in less than 10 minutes before running out the door myself. It’s working and compulsively checking my phone to make sure the girls are okay, my mom’s okay, everything is okay. It’s working through lunch so I can not feel guilty if I sneak out just a few minutes early. It’s feeling terribly guilty when I have to stay late.

My new normal is ordering thousands of dollars worth of clothes online because 20 weeks postpartum, I still don’t really have anything to wear (maternity clothes long since donated and passed on to friends and pre-pregnancy clothes light years away from buttoning) and there’s no way I am taking twin babies clothes shopping with me.  So I order everything that may, possibly fit and then stack the no-go’s back in their boxes until I have time to run to the UPS store.

My new normal is eating dinner at 8:30 or 9, when our party animal daughter is finally asleep – or passing on dinner all together because I filled up on pretzels and cheese while trying to fill her up so maybe, just maybe, tonight will be the night she sleeps through.

My new normal is thinking I’m doing a good job keeping up with friends, until I realize it’s been a month between visits. It’s forgetting to return texts, phone calls, emails. It’s watching tv shows in 15 minute bites and taking months to read one novel. It’s getting to magazines months after they’re published and immediately tossing my formerly inspiring women’s health magazines because they’re just too depressing. It’s seeing ads for upcoming movies and thinking, “I should write that one down so maybe we can Netflix it in a few months.”

Could I tell all this to my doe-eyed coworker? There’s no way. I wouldn’t have believed it myself – everyone says it’s so hard and a part of you wonders, “Is it really?”

It is.

Caring for a little, brand-new human is hard work. Caring for two little, brand-new humans is extra hard work. It’s hard to let go of your old life and swing yourself, unabashedly, into this new, uncharted adventure. It’s bittersweet to say goodbye to impromptu happy hours, unplanned nights out, or weekend getaways.

Of course I wouldn’t change it for the world. As I rocked my girls to sleep tonight, there is no where else I would rather be. And that’s what everyone says, too, and before you have kids, you wonder, “Really? You wouldn’t rather be in Tahiti?”

But the truth is, you wouldn’t.

I appreciate the joys more now – finishing an entire cup of coffee before it goes cold. Enjoying a dinner out while the babies are behaving is pretty great. Enjoying a dinner out when the babies are with their grandparents is even better. I see things in a new light, as my girls are experiencing them – Chloe’s fur seems softer, afternoon breezes feels cooler, bubble baths seem magical. When I look for the little joys, they’re there.

But it’s hard, this new normal. It’s exhausting. It’s challenging down to your core. And it’s not going away. Yes, parts get easier as the babies get older. And in the same breath, parts get harder.

I get it now. That’s why people chuckle. It’s so much more polite than laughing outright.

 

Our Twins at Four Months

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Our twins at four months!

And, in the blink of an eye, another month went by.

My babies are officially four months old today. Older than one trimester. Older than a season (though it still feels like summer!).  Old enough to no longer be considered newborns. And old enough to be a lot more fun.

I am absolutely loving this age. The girls are cute and smiley and (for the most part) they stay put when I put them down. They want cuddles and (for the most part) they sleep through the night. They recognize me and get excited when they see me.

This month has been a busy one, for sure. My parents went on a few small vacations, which meant I took care of the girls alone every day for a few days in a row. (Big confidence booster for me!) I returned to work part-time, which has been a huge life adjustment for all of us – my mom, who is the twins’ main caregiver when Bryan and I aren’t around, included. I’m incredibly fortunate that my manager is letting me return to work slowly, but it is still a bit of a change – wrapping my head around schedules and deadlines and projects and being responsible (for something other than two tiny humans, naturally).

But returning to work part-time means that I’m still able to do fun things with the girls. And we certainly have done that this month!

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We went for morning walks at local parks. Naps for the girls, peanut butter acai bowl for me. (It’s my latest addiction. I would eat it every. single. day. if I could!)

 

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We played school in our infant seats, with the twins’ current favorite toys: Marina the Mermaid and Captain Calamari.

 

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We took long (and short) naps on the couch. (Sidenote – look how much bigger they look!!)

 

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We met up with my friend Julie and the twins’ future friend Owen at the zoo and made all the other kids jealous with our awesome sun hats and super cute sunglasses.

 

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We did physical therapy. Admittedly, this was not my favorite thing we did, but it helped me learn what stretches we need to do to strengthen lazy neck muscles. (Future Ava – I’m so sorry, sweetie!)

 

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“We” learned to wiggle down, away from our rice socks and disappear on the baby monitor’s video screen – scaring the &^%$ out of Mommy when she couldn’t see us. (Ahem, Future Madelyn. This means you.)

 

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We went camping (again!) at San Elijo and scored BOGO onesies from the camp store owner because she thought the twins were oh-so-cute.

 

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We got better at tummy time – sometimes actually enjoying it! It’s so much more fun with two.

 

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We went swimming in my parents’ lukewarm hot tub. (Those swimsuits!)

 

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And we were bathing beauties once again over Labor Day weekend at La Jolla Shores!

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At four months, both girls are wearing 3-6 month clothing and in size 2 diapers. At their 4-month check-in, Ava weighed 16.0 lbs (82nd percentile) and was 25″ long (71st percentile). Her head circumference was 17 in – 98th percentile! Madelyn weighed 15 lbs, 8 oz (75th percentile) and was 24″ long (27th percentile). Her head circumference was also 17″ long. What blew me away was that the girls are only 1/2 lb different in weight – they feel so different to me – and that the one inch difference in length equals  a nearly 45%ile difference!)

 

Ava

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Ava is our smiley, happy girl. She plays with her voice and will often squeal and cackle with delight. At four months, she is starting to reach for things – especially faces of anyone who holds her. She loves playing airplane. Hobbies include drooling over all fingers and falling asleep with both hands in her mouth. She still wakes up  few times  night – half the time, she just wants her pacifier and the other half, she wants to be fed. But she’s so cute that I almost don’t mind it. Almost.

Madelyn

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Madelyn is shy and cautious – but not afraid to bust out into a giggle if you’ve done something to delight her. She loves when I play “earthquake” and wiggle her changing pad while she’s on it. She also loves playing airplane, but has to be in the right mood. At four months, she’s reaching for books during story time and feeling the textures of anything she can reach – blinds, books, pillows, blankets. She remains our champion sleeper – people nearly fall over when I say she sleeps 10 or 11 hours a night – and wakes up as the most mellow, happy baby ever. People are quick to tell me about the 4-month sleep regression – but (knock on wood) – Maddy hasn’t heard that she needs to do anything differently!

Six Friends Every Twin Mom Should Have

 

6 friends

From my admittedly short tenure as a twin mom (read: 3.5 months to date), I’ve identified six friends that I believe every twin mom should have.

  • The Fellow Twin Mom Friend – Whether her twins are a few years older than yours or just about the same age, she deeply and personally understands everything you’re going through – because she’s been there. She can wax poetic about the unfairness of how few double strollers there are, how challenging it is to run errands alone with the babes, and how Boppy pillows for feeding newborns are your best friends. She gets it like no one else.
  • The Newly Pregnant Friend – Woo-hoo! Having a newly pregnant friend when you have twin newborns means that you’ve found someone who can take some of the baby gear off your hands! Because while it was oh-so-important for you to get everything brand spankin’ new – you now realize how short of a timeframe the babies actually use the swings, rock-n-plays, and the bouncer seat – and you’re sure that your friend wants your gently used gear. Bonus if she’s expecting the same gender as your littles – someone to give the babies’ clothes to! (Plus, it’s cute to watch someone else’s belly get bigger.)
  • The No Kids, Not-Pregnant Friend – Free from the challenges of arranging child care and untainted by the fatigue pregnancy brings, she can meet up with you for impromptu hang-outs when the stars align. And after she listens to you talk (for just a little bit, of course) about the babies’ latest sleeping/eating/pooing habits, she’ll bring you back into your former world of music, friends, movies, tv shows, books, restaurants, and you’ll love her for it.
  • The Singleton Mom Friend – She will look at you like you’re a goddess and Wonder Woman all in one. She’ll boost your self-esteem in all sorts of wonderful ways as she marvels at how you do things with two.
  • The Triplet Mom Friend – Think life with twins is hard? A triplet mom will sober you up real fast.
  • The Grandma Friend – When you’re stressing about whether you should do baby-led weaning or what floor seat is best, she’ll take you down memory lane and fondly recall the terrifying car seats of yesteryear and how babies were given brandy while teething. And you’ll realize that with pretty much any decision you make,  your twins will be just fine.

Do you agree? What other friends would you include?

Our Twins at Three Months!

We're how old?

We’re how old?

And as always… adventures!
This month’s biggest adventure, for all of us, was a trip to Point Reyes Station for my cousin’s wedding. Since we had so much baby loot, we opted to road-trip-it, which made it an experience to remember, for sure.  We made many stops along the way, but we couldn’t have asked for the girls to be any better. I was a proud mama. An exhausted and road-weary mama, but a proud one, for sure.

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Playing with Nana and Pop-Pop at the hotel

Playing with Nana and Pop-Pop at the hotel

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First night in a hotel and sleeping away!

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Enjoying our little stretch break on day 2 – baby girls are so happy to be out of their carseats!

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A/C and smiles with Daddy.

 

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Ava at 3 months

Ava at 3 months

No doctor’s appointment this month means no height measurement and only a guess on weight – but according to our scale, Miss Ava weighs 15.0 lbs. I’m so proud of all that chub, considering where we started! She has adorable dimples on her knees and still has tons of hair. She is so quick to smile and flashes her gummy grin at anyone. It’s impossible not to smile back… even when she wakes up at 3 am and refuses to go back to sleep. She’s a stubborn little girl – like her namesake – and it’s hard to make her do anything she doesn’t want to do (read: physical therapy stretches, sleeping at 3am).

 

Madelyn

Madelyn at 3 months

Madelyn at 3 months

At our home weigh-in, Madelyn weighed 13 lbs, 12 oz – but no matter how much she gains, she feels so light! Maddy is our champion sleeper! Earlier this month, I made the realization that while Ava was hungry when she woke up, Madelyn was only mildly interested in food at best. So I made the daring move to not wake Maddy when Ava woke up… a few times it backfired on me and I’d get up with Madelyn just as soon as my head hit the pillow after putting Ava down – but after a short time, she started sleeping through the night more and more. She is our pensive thinker – Bryan sees CEO potential in her. While it’s harder to earn a smile from her, my heart fills with joy when she grins because I know I’ve done something to make her happy.

 

Pictures from the Month

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When I Knew I Was Hopelessly in Love with My Twins

Today was one of those rare afternoons that I used to take for granted – I was driving my car with the windows down, backseat empty, and the radio blaring. Life was good.

And all of a sudden, a lyric came roaring at my subconscious:

Of all the things my eyes have seen,
The best by far is you.*

… and, clear as day, my beautiful babies’ faces appeared in my mind. And I couldn’t get home fast enough to kiss their sweet, cherubic faces and stare into their beautiful, trusting eyes. I wanted to snuggle and stroke their smooth, newborn skin. I wanted to feel their hot breaths against my chest as they fell asleep. I wanted to feel their bodies rise and fall with each miraculous breath. I wanted to be home with them.

And that’s how I knew.

Song lyrics have always spoken to me louder than musical notes. I know I’m really listening to a song when I connect with the lyrics. And song lyrics take me deeper into the music, take me deeper into myself.

So it’s fitting in a way that I knew I was hopelessly, undeniably, and completely in love with my girls while listening to a song.

When I first learned that I was pregnant, so many people told me, “Just wait for the ultrasound. I fell in love with my baby when I heard her heat beat for the first time!” But, for me – while that moment was unforgettable – it was overshadowed by the fact that the first heartbeat would be followed by a second heartbeat. I guess I was in too much of a shock after hearing, “it’s twins!”

For all the places I have been,
I’m no place without you

When I expressed concern that I didn’t feel overpowered with emotion during the first ultrasound, many other friends reassured me. “The heart beat sounded like any other heart beat – but feeling them move inside you – it’s incredible. There’s no way to explain it, and you realize that you are making this baby and you’re just overcome. Wait until you feel them move.” But feeling them move was weird for me – I felt like I was digesting my lunch or hoping they wouldn’t kick me in the ribs. Cool and private and weird, yes… Hopelessly in love? No.

For all the things my hands have held,
The best by far is you

Still again, my friends comforted me. “Hearing the heart beat was cool and feeling them move was a trip, but it wasn’t real until I heard their cry.” That made sense to me – love at first sight. But, during the c-section, they didn’t cry right away.  Both girls were in shock of being born and didn’t make noise for a while, and then, when they did cry, it was utter chaos for the first moments hours days weeks of their lives as we raced around to adjust to them.

I’m the satellite
And you’re the sky

No one told me I would realize that I was head over heels in love when I was running to Target for more formula. Driving alone in my car, it was these lyrics that gave voice to the beautiful truth that has snuck up on me and flattened me with its power.

I’ve been told this is fairly common for twin parents. Yes you love them. Yes they’re cute. Yes it’s incredible that you made them. Yes your life is forever changed. Bryan and I talked about it a lot in the first few weeks – yes we loved them. Of course they were the cutest babies that ever lived. We were delighted they were here —

But the complete life change, the stress of adjusting to providing round-the-clock care for two itty-bitty humans, the lack of sleep, the physical exhaustion of new parenthood, the crazy hormones – it was intense, and I couldn’t help but wonder when I would fall in love. When I would not be able to imagine my life without these two little bundles.

I’m not sure when it happened – it crept up on me, for sure. But those lyrics helped me realize it. My life is forever changed.

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These two little ones are truly the joys of my life, and I am truly, hopelessly, helplessly in love with my twins.

*  Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, “Cecilia and the Satellite” – I should have known it was written for his daughter

Our Twins at Two Months!

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Why hello! We are two months old!

Our twins are two months old! So much has happened in the last month, and I can’t believe time has flown so quickly!

The last month has been filled with many changes. Bryan is officially back at work and my mom is helping out every week day. I realize that she hasn’t so much retired as had a career change – and I couldn’t be more grateful. I know some people care for newborn twins single-handedly day in and day out, and I give them so much credit. I would not be sane person if I didn’t have help, and I say that with all seriousness. I have never been so grateful for the kindness and support of others as I have been these last few months. It’s humbling, to say the least.

 

A Semblance of a Routine…
For the most part, we’ve settled into a bit of a routine these past few weeks. With the twins at two months old, it’s nice to be able to have some routine!

Bryan wakes with the girls in the mornings and does the twins’ first feeding of the day and then wakes me up a bit before he leaves. My mom comes over around 8:30 – sometimes bringing coffee or breakfast for me, many times bringing presents for the girls. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, our dog walker comes by to take Chloe for a walk (poor thing – she’s been booted down the priority ladder, so it’s nice to be able to do this little thing for her so regularly!). I pump while my mom snuggles with the babies, and then we’ll figure out something to do that day – whether it’s hanging out at home, taking a walk, going to the library for baby story time, or running errands. And then, before we know it – countless feedings, diaper changes, and pumping sessions later – it’s quittin’ time for my mom as she heads home around 4:30 or 5. I’m then alone with the girls for a few hours before Bryan gets home. We then have dinner together, feed and snuggle with the girls before taking a walk around our neighborhood or doing bath time, story time and bed time. Right now, the twins are still sleeping in their bassinets in our room, though that may change soon. I then do any feedings between midnight and 4:30 am so Bryan can get a solid block of uninterrupted sleep… and then the day repeats. It’s astonishing to me just how fast the days go – many times, I’m in shock when I see the clock, day or night.

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With friends at library story time!

 

… with a Few Adventures
We’ve interrupted this routine a few times – when the twins were 6 weeks old, we took them camping. Yes, camping. Granted – our camping is car camping at San Elijo State Beach, with many amenities and family members abound to help care for the girls – but, I was still darn proud of us for braving it – and for the girls for being such troopers! We took our pop-up trailer and bassinets for the girls – and it was the best night of sleep we’d had to-date. In fact, Ava and Maddy were so good that we ended up staying a second night. Good on them! We think the steady crashing of the ocean waves helped lull them – and keep them – asleep. Guess we need to move to the coast! Until then, we’ll keep using our Sleep Sheep.

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Sleeping peacefully in our pop-up trailer – using a portable bassinet and a not-so-portable bassinet!

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Despite Maddy’s face in this picture, the girls did a great job during their first camping trip!

As for other adventures, we became members of the San Diego Zoo – such a good deal, as going twice more than pays for the cost of the membership. We’ve only gone once so far, but it’s such a good place for walks that I think we’ll be going more, especially as the girls grow and become even more aware of their surroundings.

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At the World Famous San Diego Zoo… and Bryan modeling our very own diaper backpack!

 

Changes this Month
I think that’s  been the biggest change in the last month – both Ava and Madelyn are so much more alert. Both are smiling and engaging much more frequently. While they were pretty good with their neck control since day one, they’re demonstrating it much, much more. While they’re not sleeping through the night, they have settled into a bit of a sleep routine – feeding around 10 pm, then 2:30, then 4:30, and then up for good around 6 am.

At the end of month two, both girls have outgrown their newborn diapers and are officially in size 0-3 month clothing. It’s beyond incredible to me that I’m already needing to pack away their newborn outfits -which just the other day were too big for them. It’s an exciting thing to watch these babies grow, but surreal, also.

 

Ava

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Ava at two months

At their two month check-up, Ava weighed 12 lbs, 10 ounces and was 23 inches long.

She adores bath time. Bathing her is one of my favorite parts of the day – she stares at me with her big blue eyes, filled with wonder. She loves hanging out on her rainforest activity mat – she is absolutely delighted by the sights and sounds it makes.

She fights falling asleep – I think she’s afraid she’s going to miss out on the most exciting thing.

 

Madelyn

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Madelyn at two months

Madelyn weighed 11 lbs, 5 ounces and was 21.75 inches long.

She coos so much, I actually think she thinks she’s talking. She’s definitely more pensive, and often purses her lips together when she disapproves of something. She also knows how to make my heart melt with her pouty lower lip – that little lip comes out and sometimes wobbles when she’s upset by something and it makes me want to do everything I can to fix it immediately. Of all places, Maddy seems most content when she’s on her changing pad – I think she likes the softness of it and loves the contrast of the white horizontal blinds of the window.

Madelyn likes to wiggle down on you when you’re holding her; at first, you’ll be holding her straight up and down, and she’ll start making these little adjustments until she’s wiggled all the way down into your lap and is laying transverse across your belly. It’s the funniest thing!

 

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Twin time!

 

Health Things
While they were champs for their immunizations at their appointment and they passed their ultrasounds to check for hip dysplasia, both girls were referred to physical therapy as they have some head flattening – aka plagiocephaly. It’s pretty common these days with the “back to sleep” anti-SIDS campaign and even more common with multiples – but I couldn’t help but feel less than a good mom when the doctor made the referral. Still, I’m trying to view the physical therapy as a good thing – acting now will give me the knowledge and resources I need to help make tummy time easier for them and more of a habit for me – and I am hopeful it will correct the damage that’s been done and {hopefully} avoid the dreaded baby helmet. So… fingers crossed.

On my end, I’m doing the best I can with breastfeeding, but have resigned myself that rather than supplementing with formula as I originally thought I would, I’m really supplementing with breastmilk – I’m just not producing enough to keep these growing girls satiated. When I nurse, they will often fall asleep or they will take forever to eat – and then be screaming for a bottle 20 minutes later. So for the most part, I’m pumping a few times a day so they get some breastmilk, even if it’s not directly from the source. And I know that the more I nurse/pump, the more milk I’ll produce, but I can only do so much. My biggest goal is that my girls are healthy and gaining weight, and as evidenced by their weigh-in numbers above, I’m accomplishing that.

Our Twins Newborn Photo Shoot

Yes… another photoblog post!

Just a few days after we’d arrived home, Kay visited us and once again beautifully documented our littles with a newborn lifestyle photo shoot.

When I was deciding on newborn photography options, I loved the idea of a lifestyle photo shoot – while pictures of babies all dolled up and posed so perfectly are truly works of art, I loved the idea of pausing time – of seeing the little details – and big picture backdrops – that lifestyle photography records. Bryan and I have lived in our house for just over three years – and seeing our house in these pictures makes me feel like it really is a home.


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Thanks for looking at all the pictures from our twins newborn photo shoot! I think they’re pretty amazing.. and if you got to this point of the post, you probably agree!

Our Twins’ Fresh 48 Photoshoot

Ava and Madelyn will be 8 weeks old tomorrow – so it seems apropos to reflect back and remember the first 48 hours of their lives.

(… aka this is the first time I’ve had a chance to download, sync and upload the photos to the blog and compose some sort of entry. Such is the life of a new twin mom!!)

Kay {from Kaori Devine Photography} asked me just about a week or so before the girls were born if I would be interested in being her guinea pig for a “fresh 48” session. I had no idea what that was, but learned it’s a lifestyle photo shoot meant to document those precious days in the hospital and capture the first amazing, blurry moments of baby’s first days. It sounded amazing, so I (sitting there, fully clothed, hair-brushed, fairly well-rested with babies still inside me) immediately agreed.

Flash forward a few days. Kay came to the hospital on Sunday – Mother’s Day – just 48 hours after the girls were born. I was so proud of myself that I had the foresight to shower the night before, as I had no time to prep for her arrival that morning. You know… twin newborn babies. My catheter had been removed the day before, I’d hobbled around the hospital room a few times. I’d brushed my teeth once or twice and found my hairbrush in my hospital bag. Just a little different prep than my maternity photo shoot.

But, unlike my maternity photos, I was not the star of the show. This was all about my little bundles of joy.

So although I was a little nervous and self-conscious about these photos, I am in awe and so happy to share them. And looking back, 8 weeks later, I’m amazed at how teeny tiny my little ones were. I’m so grateful for these photos.

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Our Twins at One Month

Madelyn and Ava - 1 month young

Madelyn and Ava – 1 month young

I’m writing this just before the clock strikes midnight exactly one month after our girls were born. I’m in the nursery, hooked up to the breast pump, listening to its rhythmic pulsing. Bryan is with the girls in our room, which is actually where Ava and Maddy have slept since we brought them home. Hopefully they’re asleep – or will be soon – but since I can still hear a few small cries, it may be a while.

The last month has been the most surreal experience yet. Being pregnant with our girls was incredible. Seeing them, holding them, smelling them, cleaning them, feeding them, soothing them… that’s another thing entirely. Everyone said my world would turn upside down, and everyone was right. I feel like I’m living in an alternate universe. It feels weird not going to work every day. At some times (between midnight and 7 am), time slows down when I’m awake, and at all other times, it proceeds at warp speed.

Bryan and I are still finding our groove. And we appreciate that some days are better than others. Early on, I realized how important it was for me and my sanity to get out of the house sometimes. – with or without the girls in tow. And since Bryan has taken off 6 weeks for paternity leave, we’ve been able to do some awesome things in just a few weeks:

  • We went to San Elijo and enjoyed quesadillas from Bull Taco and watched the sunset.
  • We went to Balboa Park – with Chloe! – and walked around the park before enjoying beers and a little lunch at Panama 66.
  • We walked around Lake Murray.
  • We ran to Walter Anderson nursery, with the girls in tow, for a little Saturday morning garden shopping.
  • Bryan took the girls – both of them! – to his coworker’s going away luncheon, while I was able to run some errands and try (desperately!) to find some clothes to patch together a small post-babies/pre-clothes-fitting-again wardrobe.
  • We’ve gone on a few date nights – just us – thanks to our amazing support system. (Margaritas are just as good as I remember!)
  • And, tonight – which is actually the girls’ 5th week [the stars need to align to have the time and energy to update the blog!], we’re planning on going to the drive-in to see Jurassic World. Wish us luck!!

Our Twins are Here!

Against the predictions of many, I made it to my scheduled C-section on May 8. Bryan and I woke early (as if either of us had slept the night before!) and headed to the hospital. It was raining lightly – a quintessential spring drizzle. Bryan made a comment that the rain was perfect – a sign of new life.

We took one last belly picture before I donned my patient gown –

38 weeks pregnant with twins

38 weeks pregnant with twins

… and then it started feeling really, really real. Caregivers came in and out of the room, checking vital signs for me and the babies, introducing themselves, prepping me for surgery. My doctor came in and was beaming; he was so excited for me to make it as far as I did. I had a few signs of pre-eclampsia, but the treatment for that is delivery, so everything was on track to go well.

We left the pre-op room and headed to the OR. With a kiss, I left Bryan in the tiniest waiting room I’d ever seen, and then walked with my nurse to the OR itself. It was the oddest feeling to walk into the Operating Room and sit down on the operating table. People were buzzing all over the place, getting the final details in order. My spinal block was administered – by a resident, so sadly it wasn’t the simple “pinch” that everyone claimed it was and I was lowered onto the table. Bryan came in and sat on one side of me – and then, almost immediately, I heard our doctor say, “Dad, get your camera ready!”

And then a little human appeared over the drape. She was gray-tinged and not crying, but very much a healthy, little girl. She was whisked away by a special team that assessed her and then one minute later, her sister appeared. Bryan was able to accompany her to the table and gave me updates – “She’s turning pink already!”

Fortunately, both girls were able to stay with us in the OR for a while, which was incredible. Bryan took them to get weighed and measured while the team continued putting me back together, and then we all reunited in the recovery room.

We were in the recovery room for quite a while – lots of monitoring for me and also waiting for one of the larger, twin-friendly rooms. We finally got into our room close to 4 pm – and introduced the girls to their grandparents.

Ava Isabel was born at 9:46 am. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 18 inches long.

Ava Isabel

Madelyn Ruth was born at 9:47 am. She weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces and was 18.5 inches long.

Madelyn Ruth

It was incredible to introduce the girls to their grandparents. While Ava and Madelyn were simply names Bryan and I both really liked, their middle names have significance – both are named after our maternal grandmas. So when we shared the names – which, amazingly – we’d kept secret this whole time – it was a magical moment. I will always remember the looks on my mom’s and my mother-in-law’s faces as they realized the tribute.

And the best part of any newborn post… pictures!

Our first family photo

Our first family photo

Grandparents

Grandparents!

Families

The whole family came to visit! Such an abundance of love in the room.

Ava Isabel & Madelyn Ruth

Ava Isabel & Madelyn Ruth

Me and my girls

Me and my girls

Our family

Our family