Friday, February 13, 2009

Helmet Heads

Yesterday we had our appointment at Children's Hospital in Boston with Dr. Rogers a pediatric plastic surgeon. Our pediatrician had referred us to Dr. Rogers when we started to notice that the girls heads were still a little "off". The doctor measured both girls heads, and examined them thoroughly before offering us two options.
Emma's head is 39 cm in circumference (not a big head), but it is not the correct shape - she has Plagiocephaly...basically there is an indentation on one side of her head. This is due to her being premature and her positioning inside of me.
Robin's head is 38 cm in circumference (even smaller than Emma's), and is flat in the back - she has Brachycephaly. Again this is due to her prematurity and positioning in the womb. Her head is more square, and it is starting to cause some disfiguration of her features (eyes and ears).
The options are:
  1. Do nothing and they will have funny shaped heads - not that big of a deal, but there is the possibility of bulging in the front for would not be pretty.
  2. Correct both girls malformations by having them wear helmets. They will probably have to wear them for 4-8 weeks (21 hours/day)

The doctor mentioned that they probably look less and less alike due to their differing malformations if left untreated. With correction, they will start to look more like the identical twins they are. He's pretty confident that both the Brachycephaly and Plagiocephaly will be corrected and they will have nicely shaped heads after the repositioning. So we start the Helmet Heads in a few weeks (he wants to wait until they get to 3 months adjusted age (they were 5 weeks 1 day premature). So we're going to get measured in 2 weeks and they will start the treatment in 3-4 weeks.

I'm giving everyone 1 opportunity to make a joke or make fun of Robin and Emma...but only 1 use yours wisely. Any jokes or jabs after that will not be taken well...we don't want to give them a complex...though this blog will probably do that. I'll try not to take too many pictures during their helmet period.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Day In The Life

Some of my friends that have singleton's (that's 1 baby) and some of my non-parent friends have asked what it's like to take care of twins. Well, I have to say that I don't have experience being a parent of only 1 baby, so I only know how to take care of my girls. There are many happy times, but it's quite stressful and honestly the toughest thing I've ever had to do. One thing that works on my behalf is that I'm pretty organized and have a system in place. If I was disorganized I think I would have lost my mind a long time ago!
A Day In The Life of The Tater Tots
We start the day pretty early - Jeremy gets up at 5:45 am and gets ready for work. He also grabs 2 big bottles (6.5 oz) from the fridge and warms them up. At around 6 am he wakes me up and we wake up the girls for a big bottle. We change them before they eat, and then Jeremy usually feeds Robin and I'll feed Emma in the morning, because Robin eats much faster than Emma. He'll then swaddle her back up and put her back to bed. I'll finish feeding Emma and then put her back to sleep. They'll usually fall back to sleep and stay that way until I wake them later in the morning. Jeremy walks Pitcha and heads off to work in Boston, while I go back to bed for a little extra sleep.
I'll wake up again at 8:00am and take a quick shower, get dressed (usually in sweats or stretch mom uniform) and then come downstairs to get everything ready for the day. I'll feed Pitcha, wash all of the bottles in the sink, and make a pitcher of formula. I'll fill the bottle warmer (aka the Crock Pot) with water and then make a pot of coffee. I'll usually put in the first load of laundry, and pick up the living room. Around 9:00am I'll go upstairs and wake up the girls. I always put on some fun music (I have an iPod dock and speaker in the nursery) and I'll unswaddle them so they can kick around in the crib. Robin is usually all smiles when she wakes up, but Emma takes a few minutes to stop being Robin usually gets changed first. I give each of them a sponge bath and lotion them up before changing their diapers and getting them dressed. I then put them back in the crib so I can put away their clean laundry and pick up the nursery. Then it's time to come downstairs for the day.
I'll bring them down and either put them in the bouncy seats to watch a Baby Einstein video or put them under the activity gym. I then go into the kitchen to make their bottles for the next feeding at 10am (5.5 oz). I've started putting a little cereal into most of their bottles (shhh don't tell the doctor) because I want them to gain a little more weight (since they're still so tiny). I also will pour a cup of coffee and make myself something quick to eat. Once 10am rolls around I get the girls ready for chow time. I set up the feeding with a boppy pillow to my side and put Robin on it and then put Emma in my lap. Once they're in position I put bibs on them, and give Robin her first dose of medicine for reflux (she usually spits it out, but at least I try), and then feed them (see photo to see how this is done). Most people would find it difficult to feed two babies at a time, but it takes so much less time than feeding them separately. Each baby gets burped multiple times, and I can guarantee that one of them will poop during each feeding I do on my own...not sure why they can't wait for Daddy to get home.
After they eat they'll play for a bit (lay on a blanket...lay under the activity gym...chill in their bouncy) and try to take a nap. I let them sleep where ever they fall asleep, since they usually won't nap for a long time. I'll usually check my email and catch up on some recorded TV shows during this time. When they wake up we'll change diapers (I change them both at the same time), and do some sort of activity...swinging, bumbo, activity gym, or tummy time. Then it's time for lunch at 2pm. They'll take another 5.5 oz. bottle with cereal, and then we'll relax after wards. We'll talk to each other, make smiles and do some snuggles. They'll usually be ready for their afternoon nap around 3 or 4 pm. While they sleep I'll finish folding the laundry, figure out what to make for dinner and pick up the living room (again). At 5:30 pm I'll feed them dinner (yet another bottle) and then they'll watch Sesame Street. I'll try to wash their bottles and make another pitcher of formula, and maybe start dinner.
Daddy usually arrives home at 7pm...which is just in the middle of fussy time for Robin. He'll change is clothes and play with the girls (or comfort them) while I make dinner. We'll then eat quickly on tray tables with babes in either our laps or bouncy seats...then it's time for the pre-bed bottles at 8:30 pm. After their final feeding Daddy gets them ready for bed and puts them to sleep (usually around 9:15 pm). He then walks Pitcha and off to bed we go.
To spice up this "fun" schedule, we have visits with Grandma on Mondays and Fridays, visits with Aunt Sue a few afternoons each week; and Twins Playgroup on Friday mornings. There are usually a few appointments scattered throughout the week, and we try to do at least another outing (it's hard to do when the weather is SO cold). Wednesdays and Sundays are bath days...Mommy takes Wednesdays and Daddy flies solo on Sunday!
This is what it's like around our house each day, but it will change starting next week when Kristy the Nanny starts. I'll be counting down the days until it's off to work for me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's Off To Work I Go...

I'm heading back to work in less than 3-weeks (2/23) and while I'm excited to get back to the grindstone, I'm sad to leave my Peanut & Nugget at home. I have to say that the past 3+ months have been the hardest of my life (no one can ever tell you that raising twins is easy), no work that I've done before has been this difficult AND rewarding. I still can't believe that I carried and gave birth to two little perfect babies, and now I can't believe how fast the time is going and how big their getting (even though they're still the size of a large newborn). When I head back on the 23rd I'm going to be working only 4-days each week and will keep early hours (7-3), so it will give me more time at home with Emma & Robin. We hired a nanny named Kristy, who is amazing and is really good (and calm) with the girls. I feel very good leaving them at home with her while I'm working hard for the money! Jeremy will be making some changes to his schedule, going in about 1/2-hour later than normal (leaving at 7:30 am), so he'll see the Tater Tots off every morning! I'm a little nervous about heading back to Shawmut, due to the economy the company has been forced to make a number of changes and has laid off a good portion of the workforce since I left on October 17th. I know it will be a totally different company to come back to, and I look forward to the new challenges that lay will definitely keep me on my toes! Here's the daily report on Emma & Robin - Last night Mommy went out for dinner with Auntie Rozzie and Suzanne, while Daddy stayed home and held down the fort. It was so fun for me, and Aunt Jana & Uncle Keith made a surprise visit and helped Daddy out with the bedtime feeding. I made it back in time for bedtime kisses! The girls went to bed around 8:45 pm and slept until 6am (woke them up for a big bottle) and then slept again until 8:45 am. They are getting to be good sleepers and I'm very impressed with this (and thankful)! I do not miss the middle of the night feedings, but do wish the girls would nap better during the day. I'm trying to get them on a nap schedule, but it's been a little difficult. They don't wan to sleep at the same time every day, so sometimes it's a struggle and they only get in some catnaps. Hopefully Kristy can help us with a better schedule!