Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Surviving Double Little Persons

We officially survived the first week as a family of four and Matt returned to work yesterday. By day it's been absolutely wonderful, by night it's been exhausting and terrible. Even though we just did this 14 months ago, I think I blocked out how awful the first few weeks are at night time. However, the moments that all four of us are snuggled up asleep together in our shrinking king sized bed, my mama heart could burst and the hard times are trumped a thousand times over with happiness. My life has never felt more full.
The best part:
Now that Thomas has officially joined our family outside of my uterus we have been in euphoria (combined with delirium) to have the whole family together after a long 9 months. I wasn't sure I could love another baby as much as I love Caroline but the second Thomas was placed in my arms at the hospital we were immediately fused at the heart. It wasn't until that moment that I realized my love is exponential and cannot be contained. In an instant I learned my heart was made to expand over and over and over.

We returned home from the hospital Sunday afternoon, kept Caroline home from daycare on Monday so she could spend time with her new brother and resumed her normal schedule on Tuesday. So most of last week it was just Thomas, Matt and me...and it was amazing. We would take turns letting Thomas nap on our chests and overall he is super easy to care for - eat, sleep, diaper change, repeat. We also took full advantage of having one sleepy babe and patio hopped at our favorite lunch spots (Bad Daddy's, Room 112, Pizza Peel and Tupelo Honey), binge watched Parenthood and enjoyed many uninterrupted conversations. Thomas is a totally different baby than Caroline. Or maybe I'm just less stressed this time around? Regardless, he is a great baby, rarely cries, rides peacefully in his car seat, doesn't mind all of the pink hand-me-downs and is super laid back. He takes head pats, sloppy kisses, eye pokes and aggressive hugs from his big sis like a champ too.
The worst part - night time: 
The absolute worst part. And I am a huge baby when it comes to sleep deprivation. Nights straight up suck right now and I am counting down the days to begin sleep training. Since bringing Thomas home from the hospital, I have learned that his most peaceful 16-18 hours of sleep are during my waking hours of course. By 10 pm he's wide-eyed, staring at me like the cutest little stalker and the second I even consider dozing off he holds my sweet dreams hostage...grunting, squirming and filling his diaper. Oh, and I cannot even begin to describe my SIDS paranoia this time around. Until his umbilical cord falls off we've had a hard time using the Snuza correctly and so we've had several false alarms. If he wasn't up every 1.5 hours to feed we would have already transitioned him to the crib. But we certainly cannot risk that grenade going off in the nursery and having two babies up all night at this point. So in the meantime, with every noise he makes I blast the light on and practically dislodge our mattress from sprinting out of bed to the rock n' play to make sure he's breathing, only to wake him up and start the cycle all over again.
And for the record, yes, we've gone through our extensive collection of swaddles, pacifiers, white noise machines and every other baby sleep aid on the market. We just have to suck it up...or fork over our savings for a night nurse (in my wildest dreams). I keep telling myself over and over again that this is temporary and will eventually pass but damn, it's hard.

Side note - hubby shout out: I am so very lucky that Matt is a huge help and shares the load very evenly so I can get short bursts of precious, partially restorative sleep. He rocks. Seriously. I don't know what I'd do without him. After his night shift he rolls out of bed, washes bottles, gets Caroline dressed, fed and drops her off at daycare. And just like last maternity leave, on his way in to the office he stops by the house to drop off a cup of piping hot coffee to me. I know, I won the husband lottery.
The second worst part - feeding: 
Like last time, I'm not excelling in the milk factory department of motherhood. From day one our feeding schedule looks a little like this -  every 1.5 to 2 hours around the clock, breastfeed each side 20-25 minutes each, then pump (with a hospital grade rental pump) for 20 minutes, feed back the .25 - 1 ounce of pumped milk, top off with formula if Thomas is still not full. Did you do that math? That's about an HOUR worth of feeding work only to do it all over again about 30 minutes later. So yes, I hate feeding. Absolutely hate it. Dread it actually. I keep saying I'm going to throw in the towel and know that this part of motherhood will become so much more enjoyable once I actually do, but instead I find myself at reoccurring lactation consultations every other day out of mom guilt...
Caroline:   
Navigating life with two babies is a huge adjustment. Our hands are now twice as full and we are in 100% survival mode at this point. Hats off to SAHM's with two minis. Seriously. How do you do it, super mamas? How do you chase a toddler, tackle the pile of dirty dishes, grocery shop, fold baskets of laundry, change diapers (x2), prep toddler meals, wash bottles and spend time with your new baby? We've only had a handful of days with both kids at home together and Thomas spent most of that time either in swing or in the sling while we tended to our sassy toddler. Whoever cries the loudest gets priority.
That being said, we decided to resume Caroline's normal daycare routine pretty quickly. She loves her friends, teachers and routine at school and I really want to give Thomas the same one-on-one time and undivided attention that she got to have during those first 12 weeks of life. However, the second she comes barreling through the front door she is on a mission to find her baby brother, waving and screaming "hiiiiiiii baaabyyyyyy!" over and over again until they are reunited. I love watching her give him a hug and kiss. There really is nothing more heartwarming than watching Caroline fall in love with Thomas and, though she's still in diapers herself, take on the role of big sister and protector.
The second Thomas starts crying Caroline freaks out and comes running for us.
 
Charlie: 
Who? Kidding. Kind of. He's hanging in there. Still hating life although he's getting better about letting Caroline wrestle him with hugs and pats. Soon enough we'll get into a routine for daily walks again and hopefully he'll perk back up. 
Time to go pump...
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47 comments:

  1. Hang in there mama! I had my little girl last June and think you're amazing for starting this journey all over again so soon. I also had MUCH trouble with breastfeeding and pumped miserably for 5 weeks before we threw in the towel. Pumping along with her having bad reaction to something I was eating was too much. I honestly don't know how I feel about even attempting it next time, but the mommy guilt is definitely going to be full force. Just remember how much happier and enjoyable it was once you go to what worked for you (definitely the formula switch for us!). And also see how happy and healthy our babies are no matter what way we fed them. Good luck lady! :)

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  2. You are a champ! I cannot imagine that feeding schedule. Of course you know what's best, but don't beat yourself up! I did and just like you with Caroline I think- was SO MUCH happier when I gave up the losing battle and just got my baby fed. Either way good luck to you and your adorable babies make it so worth it!

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  3. You guys seem to be doing an amazing job in a difficult, yet magical time! Makes me smile to see such sweet pictures of the two of them. Also, it's nice to hear you guys are such a great team! That is such an important thing. Keep doing what you're doing because it seems to be working great. And, hope the sleep schedule shows you some peace soon!

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  4. My heart goes out to you. Our little guy was born the first. Your feeding schedule sounds very similar to mine. I have a very limited supply as well, despite constant feeding and pumping. To make matters worse, he now refuses to nurse! I can't get him to do it so that means I'm now exclusively pumping, which is no fun. These last 3 nights though he's slept for about 3 hours at a time and I'm feeling like we may survive lol. Hang in there.

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  5. Girl, I don't know how you do it. The memories of sleep deprivation are still WAY to clear in my mind. And he was a relatively good sleeper. I'm nervous to risk it. I love that Caroline loves him so fiercely already! Such a good big sister! (And fresh hot coffee? Definitely husband of the year, hands down!)

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  6. Bless. I think I just had a mini anxiety attack, haha! I don't have any babes yet but I already dread the day when I get less than 8 hours of sleep. Hang in there momma, you are doing amazing! And DO NOT feel guilty if you switch to formula. He will be just fine and you will gain some sanity back! ;)

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  7. Hang in there! The beginning is always the hardest. I'm awful with sleep deprivation too, I just can't do it. Thank god for good husbands, sounds like you guys are an amazing team!

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  8. I think you had mentioned before that you were using the AngleCare monitor? Have you switched to the Snuza and do you prefer it? Thank you!!!

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  9. Hang in there mama. And seriously, do NOT feel guilty if you end up throwing in the towel on nursing. Seriously. I always had a supply issue with Abbie and I think if I would've let go a little I wouldn't have been as stressed out and been overall happier. Do what's best for YOU and your family, no matter what it is, and do not feel guilty! It sounds like that feeding routine is stressing you out more than anything. Good luck!

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  10. Don't feel guilty if the breastfeeding thing isn't working out. The goal should be to feed the baby. You can do that with formula and a bottle. You got this! Your family is adorable!!

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  11. You're doing great, mama! The sleepless nights will get easier and it sounds like you and Matt both have a really positive attitude about being in survival mode! I only hope that when our baby boy come sin December that I will be able to juggle two kids just as well!

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  12. The first two weeks with our little guy were terrible at night too, sleep deprivation doesn't help with the milk production or baby blues either. But you're right.. it will pass and you just have to keep reminding yourself that. And don't feel bad for one second about going to formula! Stressing about nursing won't help either of you. Being a mama is the best feeling in the world but it can be so overwhelming, and I only have one! It will get easier every day though! Hang in there, you're doing great even if it doesn't feel like it some days

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  13. Started reading your blog a few weeks back...congrats on your new baby! I know the first few weeks are rough, hang in there! I am 33 weeks with my 6th child...my oldest is 7 and my youngest 11 months (her name is Caroline too!). I too seem to forget the sleep deprivation...it always seems to go by quickly though it doesn't seem like it when you are in the midst of it! I remember my first born fed like that, I was exhausted! I too supplemented formula with all of mine...with all the kids, school, and house work...I can't be feeding all day like you say, you know lol! beautiful family, take care :)

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  14. Oh my. The pictures of them together...so precious. And when he cries she cries? Also hello, bathtub princess!

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  15. OMG my heart just broke at that last picture!! Hopefully your nights will get better soon, and your days aren't completely revolving around feeding soon too! I will keep your family in my prayers.

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  16. Sweet momma - I have always loved your honesty and your positivity... You are rocking this and like you say, this is a small sea on of hardships and before you know it - he won't be a little babe anymore. But it is still so so hard! I can clearly remember how hard it was having a newborn again and the lack of sleep, the crazy feeding and the adjusting with two kiddies - it isn't easy! But it does get easier with each day that comes and goes... Remember to do what works for you and what is best for you and baby - I fed SJ for 5 months but could handle 8 weeks with EN - it was too demanding and she wasn't getting enough... It didn't work for either of us so I pumped as much as I could and then supplemented with formula, and that is okay!
    Sending you lots of love and light xx

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  17. Thanks for the update!! I'm glad things are going well (for the most part ;)) and that Caroline loves her new brother! The pictures are so cute and the ones with Caroline and Thomas on the bed are just too much! Hopefully things get better/easier soon!

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  18. first, that picture of Matt with both babies in his arms? PRESH!!!! And I love reading this and your honesty. I keep thinking about wanting another baby ASAP and then I read this, ha! But remember it passes and it passes quickly. The days feel so long and the nights even longer but next thing you know he will be 6 months and it will be like it never happened. Hang in there!!!

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  19. Yes! Hang in there momma!! These sleepless nights will pass!! I can't imagine life with 2 but, I tell myself now, 6 months later that if I knew then what I know now - sleeping gets better that I would of been much better off! Good for y'all to get caribe back to her routine & soak up that time with you, Matt & Thomas!!

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  20. Oh bless!! Your feeding schedule sounds just like mine did with Kinslee & it was enough to nearly send me to the looney bin! It's so maddening to pump & get a measly 8ml!! Thankfully, a LC friend of mine help me figure out I have Insufficient Glandular Tissue (a very real thing that some LCs don't even recognize). Maybe research it and see if you fit any of the descriptors? With IGT, your supply will not be better with another baby. Anyways, I went to exclusive pumping so I know how much I get out & she gets 1 to 2 BM bottles a day and the rest formula. So much better for the time being!! I know every baby and case is different so by all means, do what works for you! Just thought I'd share my experience since IGT wasn't something I had ever heard of! Love the pics, Caroline & Thomas are precious!!

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  21. Oh man, those first nights are AWFUL! My little is 13 weeks and the day she came home, my toddler got a 104 fever for five days. Misery (for us all). We were up from 2-6am every night with the baby and a screaming, crying toddler and I thought it would never end!! Thank God it did. Three weeks was the magic number. Get to week three and the impossible becomes possible again. You'll get your footing, get your mommy of two confidence and realize that you can do anything!! You're doing wonderfully and know that these sleep deprived, crazy few days are only temporary. I've already forgotten...(almost).

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  22. Aw, hang in there, Momma!! I remember those days and to be honest, I actually MISS them now! Our youngest is now 16 months and I miss having a newborn so much... even ALL the nursing and lack of sleep. Before you know it y'all will be in a comfortable routine and you will be back to sleeping at night again!

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  23. Congratulations on the new addition to your family. That picture at the top, with Caroline feeding Thomas is adorable.

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  24. Hang in there, you are doing great! As for the snuza, the company recommends that you place it to the side of the cord and place a snug onesie on in order to keep it in place. It worked very well for us doing it that way

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  25. Beautiful babes. Here's a suggestion, invest in a nightlight or use your phone flashlight in the middle of the night to check on him instead of turning on a bright light. Will help to let him know it's nighttime and he will eventually get it. Take this from someone who had a young lady that didn't sleep through the night for 12 months. It was brutal but she's 12 now and sleeps 10-11 hours! Haha it'll pass! Hang in there and never feel guilty on how you feed your baby, as long as he gets nourishment and is growing, doesn't matter.

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  26. Congrats! Hang in there.. I'm sure it's rough right now. That last picture is priceless! Caroline's face is just priceless.. I think I would frame it!

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  27. hang in there mama! im sure you are doing a great job and the babies are ADORABLE together! congrats again! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  28. you make me laugh mama...thanks for keeping it real and showing it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the life of a mama of two under two... i promise it will get easier as the days pass, but keep them little forever!!!! OXOX

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  29. Congrats! They are both so beautiful! I could have written this myself. Lack of sleep is no joke. We are on month three of two kids over here, and the sleep does get better! (So far at least. I'm waiting for it to hit the fan). Also, Parenthood is the BEST middle of the night feeding show to pass the time :).

    http://littlekingsnest.blogspot.com

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  30. HI!
    Total blog stalker here.. always reading but never commenting. I just sent you an email, but forgot to mention looking into this book (as if you have time to read).. Gentle Babies by Debra Raybern. Here is the link:
    http://www.amazon.com/Essential-Remedies-Pregnancy-Childbirth-Children/dp/0981695485

    I also agree that Parenthood is the BEST show for middle of the day OR night! ;)

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  31. You are definitely busy these days! I hope the sleep gets better asap. They are both so adorable!

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  32. Having two little ones at the same time is tough! Mine are 15 months apart and it's been quite the adventure! They are now 3.5 and almost 2.5 so it has gotten a little easier!! hang in there mama!!

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  33. Girl, love this. My minis are 14 mo apart, newly 2 and 11 months. I threw in the breastfeeding towel at 5 weeks with my second. Best decision ever for me....Why do we give ourselves the guilt? I did it too....no matter what you do you are doing awesome and it will get easier. I blinked and it's been 11 months since I was where you are. xo

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  34. Hang in there girl!! Mine are 16 months apart and the first 6 months were tough but now that I have them on the exact same nap and nighttime schedule life is glorious!! One piece of advice a lot of people gave me was if they're both crying at the same time tend to the toddler first (as long as newborn/infant is safe obviously) because the toddler will remember being ignored and act out. This isn't always the easiest thing to do but I've found placating my toddler first gets me more time to deal with the infant and get him calmed down.

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  35. You go, mama!!! As a fellow sleep deprived baby, you deserve some majorrrr kudos :) :)

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  36. I love how honest you are! You're a super mama as well :)

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  37. The pics are so adorable! Congrats again!

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  38. Oh man... I feel for ya. Especially with that feeding schedule! I didn't produce much milk and my little one would get so riled up and impatient that we could never get a good latch and feeding going on so I would just pump and supplement with formula. It was so disheartening when I would barely get anything. I made it to 6 weeks and threw in the towel. Now at 9 months, he's built like a linebacker lol ;) Hang in there! Although I only have one so I say that with a sincere "you go girl!".

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  39. ohhh girl. I cringed several times while reading this because like you said, I think I've blocked out some of the misery of newborn things and I hate to think about doing them again haha. I remember the feeling of dread when evening rolled around, knowing the the sleeplessness was on it's way. Also, you've reminded me that I have no idea what I'm doing the next go round regarding nursing. Life was great after we switched to formula with Lawter and I have the experience of knowing that, but I can already feel the mama guilt with which I'll struggle when faced with it all over again! Love getting the update on life with two and way to keep it real! ha I know you and Matt are doing great - keep it up!

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  40. So I'm not a mama - so take me with a grain of salt - but you're doing a great job! You know how I know that? Because you're making sure that Thomas feels all the same love and attention that made Caroline into that sweet big sister that she already is...!!! That is deliberate and intentional - and despite how tired I'm sure you must be - you're committed to it... and that's going to be more than enough. You're doing great! (Also.... as to the breastfeeding thing - don't let it get you down. Plenty of mommies struggle with it. It doesn't make you less of a mommy. Don't make yourself crazy about it. Not saying you are... just that I know plenty of my friends have tried to force it because they felt like they should... and I want you to know that breastmilk, formula, or any combination thereof doesn't dictate who your kids will be... or who you are as a mama.)

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  41. congrats on being a mama times two! you are tackling this with gusto and in such a way that is to be admired. i loved meeting your beautiful family!! you rock!

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  42. BRAVO, Mama!! You are so AWESOME, I can't even put it into words!
    Okay, I cannot say AMEN enough about the sleep deprivation. That was the ABSOLUTE WORST for me, too. I WANT and NEED and desperately COVET my sleep. So that was the biggest shock and anger-inducing part of newborn-hood for me, too!!! And C just recently started sleeping through the night around 4 months (with the help of cereal in his night-night bottle), so I'm FINALLY getting around 7 hours of (mostly uninterrupted) sleep. BLISS! Hang in there. You're right! It's temporary. But DANGIT if it doesn't feel like it's lasting forever, and it's just WRETCHED in the thick of it. But you've got this!

    And like you told me - a happy mom is a happy baby - so do NOT feel the mom guilt about breastfeeding / pumping! C had his 4 month checkup today, and he's a whopping, healthy 17 pounds, and the doctor said he couldn't be better. So...do what's best for Y'ALL!

    XO!

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  43. You're doing great! I would love for you to do a post on sleep training and what you've found to work for your little ones.

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  44. You go Mama!! (this post oddly enough gets me so excited for baby #2!) That picture of C crying is absolutely adorable! Praying for some good ZZZ's for you girl! xo

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  45. Oh bless your heart {and those sweet babies}! I totally know how your feeling about the feeding department. I've wanted to give up so many times and for some reason I kept feeling guilty. So here I am, 4 months later and still holding on yet still talking in the back of my head about giving up. Such a vicious cycle! Keep up the hardwork! Sounds like your doing great and that's all that matters! Don't beat yourself up if you decide to stop BF! :)

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