Managing Twins: 3-6 months

Okay, this is where the fun begins. Everyone is home from NICU, family is here ready to help, and we’ve got two demanding babies that need constant care. This was definitely the most difficult time during the first year due to the fact that both twins were home and still relatively young–meaning, lots of feedings and diaper changes.

Daddy holding his peanuts together

Daddy holding his peanuts

Our first walk as a family

Our first walk as a family

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All that said, I can honestly say, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected. I expected to be doing nothing but nursing and sleeping. At least that is what I was warned of by other multiple moms. And yes, that is what I was mostly doing but it wasn’t ALL that I was doing. The twins nursed tandem most of the time, so it wasn’t too different from having a singleton. And sleep: well, I slept all night with the twins, 2+ hours at a time for a total of 6+ hours most nights. 6+ hours ain’t so bad considering.

Sitting with the peanuts after nursing

Sitting with the peanuts after nursing

Here’s how a typical day went with both twins home:

9:00AM: Diaper change and nurse Hudson–I liked doing them individually in the morning so I could lay down with them in bed.
9:30: Diaper change and nurse Ellisa
It was usually around this time that my help–family–came. Family was great: feeding me, keeping the house clean and together, doing laundry, running to the grocery store, diaper changes (the babies not me), and helping me juggle the twins while I nursed them. If it wasn’t for my family, I probably wouldn’t have eaten. There just isn’t time to cook and for the first time in my life I stopped thinking about my needs. On the days when I didn’t have help, I usually would grab a wheat tortilla and slap on some peanut butter and jelly. Honestly, it’s a slice of heaven to me.
10:00: Breakfast
10:30-12: Play with babies, put them down for a nap
12:00PM: Diaper change both babies and tandem nurse
12:30-3: Play with babies, put them down for a nap
2:00: Lunch
2:30: Chores
3:00: Diaper change and nurse Hudson
3:30: Diaper change and bottle feed Ellisa–It was recommended that I bottle feed Ellisa two bottles a day in order to make sure she was getting enough calories to gain weight.
3:30-6: Play with babies, put them down for a nap, chores
Sometimes I would nap too although it was very rare.

Peanuts napping together

Peanuts napping together

6:00: Diaper change both babies and tandem nurse
6:30: Play with babies, put them down for a nap
8:00: Dinner
9:00: Diaper change, nurse and put Hudson to sleep for the night
9:30: Diaper change, bottle feed and put Ellisa to sleep for the night–second bottle for the day.
10:00: Watch a movie with Charles–we both usually fell asleep in the middle.
12:00AM: Diaper change both babies and tandem nurse
12:30: Bed
3:00: Diaper change and nurse Hudson
When we first brought Ellisa home I tandem feed them in the middle of the night so that I could get back to sleep sooner. Plus, it was recommended to always tandem nurse twins. After a few weeks I switched to nursing them individually. Tandem was too uncomfortable in bed, hard to do, and woke everyone up too much. I liked grabbing each one when they were hungry and letting them nurse in bed with me while we both feel back to sleep. I simply slept with whichever twin fell asleep with me last until the next one woke me up. I only did tandem in the middle of the night when they woke up at the same time.
3:30: Diaper change and nurse Ellisa
6:00: Diaper change and nurse Hudson
6:30: Diaper change and nurse Ellisa

Blackpaw trying to get some lovin' too

Blackpaw trying to get some lovin' too

This is when I became obsessed with tracking their food intake and diapers. Because they were preemies I was bound and determined to get them caught up with the “normal” babies as soon as possible. I knew Hudson was well on his way by this time as he was already weighing in at over 12.5 lbs* at 3 months (almost 3 times his birth weight), but Ellisa was going to need to gain a lot in order to catch up. Ellisa weighed 7 lbs when she came home from NICU. Unfortunately she’s still behind and I’ve stopped recording every meal and BM for my own sanity. I’m doing all I can and I figure she’s growing as best as SHE can.

The Purma Men: Three generations

The Purma Men: Three generations

The most annoying thing about these months was dealing with the apnea monitor that Ellisa had. Boy was that thing stupid. It had two nodes that attached to her chest (rubber squares that stayed in place by a velcro strap) and plugged into a machine that monitored her breathing and heart rate. We had to carry it with us where ever she went. From her crib to the changing table, to the changing table to the nursing chair. Everywhere. We did this for about two weeks and then loosely stopped. Once the doctor told me that you don’t need to worry about apnea happening when she is awake, we completely stopped using the monitor except for a night. Wish they would have told me that two weeks earlier.

The first time it went off was scary. The sound is so piercing and high-pitched I used to joke about dogs finding their way to our condo. I was terrified that I would have to give her CPR. I immediately looked at Ellisa and grabbed her to wake her, forcing her to breathe. She was breathing just fine. I’m still not sure how long she wasn’t breathing for but it couldn’t have been more than 5 seconds from when the monitor alerted us. I think it begins to alert you once you have not breathed for 20 seconds. Very freaky.

We couldn’t get rid of the monitor until she went two weeks straight without having an episode. Of course they only checked it monthly so that didn’t make any sense. I bet we had it close to 3 weeks more than we needed to. It went off legitimately 2-3 times total and that was within the first two weeks. The rest of the time was false alarms. I would guess we had on average one false alarm a day when the attachments became loose. I think we had that monitor for close to 2 months. Gosh, we hated that thing. It felt more like 6 months. Poor Ellisa. She just couldn’t get away from cords and beeping machines.

Hanging out at Uncle Billy's

Hanging out at Uncle Billy's

What was wonderful about these months is we finally got to go out as a family. It wasn’t easy to do things but because the weather was gorgeous we could at least get out of the house and go for walks. I loved doing this on weekends and evenings with Charles. It was especially nice on weekends when we could spend quality time out at the park eventually letting the twins drift off into baby land while we kept them safe in their cozy stroller. We even found time to go out to eat–we only went to out-door venues for short amounts of time–and to visit family in Sun City. We loved going to Georgetown to visit the grandparents and playing some pickleball.

Pickleball in December

Pickleball in December

All and all, these months went really well. Yeah, I forgot to take care of myself daily. Yeah, I worried about Ellisa constantly. Yeah, managing twins these months was hard hard work.  But it’s worth it. I promise you, it’s worth it.

*25% on a regular chart/80% on a preemie chart (adjusting age)

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