Friday, June 24, 2011

This Is Hard

This is a sleep-deprived woman.
I'm tired. I'm exhausted, really. Mentally, emotionally, physically. I'm not sure how the care of two infants who can't talk, can't move on their own, and have no ability to interact is mentally exhausting, but it is. Emotionally, I'm all over the map. I love them so much, but I'm also so frustrated when they're crying and I can't comfort both of them immediately. I feel like they each deserve 100% of my attention--and if they weren't twins that's what they would get--but since there are two of them, neither can have 100% of me 100% of the time. Physically, my body is always at "alert"--ready to pull me out of sleep when they cry and ready to feed them whenever they demand it. I'm happy that the baby weight is practically gone (not that my pre-pregnancy clothes fit quite the same, but the number on the scale is pleasant) but breastfeeding is a lot harder on my body than I expected or that I was led to anticipate. I am eating all.the.time and I am still hungry. I could probably eat an entire chocolate cake by myself every day and still not gain weight. These babies are sucking out of me everything I can put in, and then some. I'm still taking my prenatal vitamins and an iron supplement, and I'm having my protein smoothie and tons of other protein and calcium-rich foods, as well as lots and lots of fruits and whole grains, plus dessert with lunch and dad remarked that my appetite was definitely healthy!
It is nice seeing the results of all the food I'm making for the babies though--these cheeks are getting rounder and rounder!

My mother-in-law's departure on Saturday morning was depressing. She was simply amazing--boundless energy and patience, tons of useful and welcome advice, and fantastic cooking and housecleaning. The woman even changed the sheets on her bed before she left. We both cried when we hugged goodbye.

David and I survived the 30 hours before my dad arrived on Sunday evening--the first time we were "on our own" with the babies. Some neighbors had a BBQ on Saturday afternoon as a pre-father's day event, so we walked the babies over for their first party. They were of course much admired.

My dad is a very proud grandfather. He's not as spry as my mother-in-law, but he's been a tremendous help this week. He's learned how to fold diapers, how to cloth diaper, how to work the car seats and stroller, and how to clean and assemble my pump. He's done very well being up close and personal with his daughter's breasts, and I'm proud of him for that. A nursing mother cannot have a household helper who is shy!

(Theo had spit up on his shirt.)

I think his favorite thing is taking the babies' for a walk and receiving compliments on them. Today we drove to a different neighborhood for a change of scenery on our walk and to pick up a pizza to bake for dinner later. That was a lot of fun--the streets there were flatter and there were lots of passerby who had nice things to say about my growing babies.

But as it gets on toward evening and then night and bedtime, I feel myself gearing up for war. Last night Ingrid went right to sleep at 9:30, but Theo was awake until 11:45. And then of course Ingrid wanted to wake up to eat at 12:45, so we had to get Theo up then too. Fortunately they both have done a good job of going back down after the night feedings, but I thought I was going to lose my mind trying to get Theo to fall asleep last night. He just was staring--not crying, but his big eyes were going everywhere. Ingrid had done the same trick a few nights before.

Part of why it's so hard I think is because I know how lucky I am to have two healthy babies and how little right I have to complain when there are lots of families that are much worse off than we are. But this is still hard for me and I wish I didn't have guilt in saying so. I don't think this is something you can anticipate or prepare for--you've either been the parent of a newborn or you haven't. And you've either been the parent of newborn twins or you haven't.

The babies are starting to wake up, so that's my cue. I know this will get easier, and I will never get to have this experience again, but I am anxious for when they can at least smile and appreciate being hugged!


  1. I only breastfed one LO, but from experience, I was starving for the first several weeks. Once my supply was established, etc., I wasn't starving all the time and I wasn't as exhausted. It does take time and it will come. Keep up the great work, mama! Those cheeks are definitely chubby and sweet! :)

    (Found you on TB.)

  2. oh honey, you are SO ALLOWED to complain and struggle with this until the cows come home. of course you have 2 healthy babies AND its hard AND you're tired AND you're experiencing the single most radical and instantaneous change in your life ever. its so overwhelming to the mind, spirit and body. (and i say this having only had one). so bring it on. i can totally handle it :). and then some.