Wednesday, March 31, 2010
About 3:30 am, Mike woke me up with Amanda in his arms telling me that "pretty much everyone" was awake. Amanda woke up needing to go potty and when Mike went in to get her, Christiana woke up. Apparently, Tali had been squawking for a little while already. Since we hadn't discussed whether we were prepared to deal with the consequences of trying to get Amanda and Christiana back to sleep together under these circumstances, I just took Christiana out and put her back to sleep in the crib in our closet when I went to pick up Talitha.
Amanda and Christiana went right back to sleep and Talitha nursed and then went back to sleep in the bassinet in the living room. She slept until 7 am and the other girls got about at 8 am. All and all a good start to the process of having two little girls sleeping in the same room.
Just for reference, we have two bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs. The sleeping arrangements have been: Tyler and Tony each have a room downstairs, Amanda sleeps in a crib in her room, Christiana was in a crib in our closet and Talitha was in a bassinet in our room or the living room. There is a single bed in Amanda's room but is doesn't have a guard rail yet and Amanda is very content in her crib so that's why we set up the pack-n-play for Christiana.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Talitha stayed in bed on Sunday night from 8 pm until 5:30 am. However, since she's still in our room, I was awake from about 1 am when I first heard stir. I had get up to pump and then I was sure she would be waking up soon so every time she began to whine or grunt, I would start to prepare to get out of bed. Last night things were back to normal, but there's hope.
I've lost 38 of the 43 pounds I gained with Talitha's pregnancy and can wear my regular jeans again.
Tonight, I put Christiana in a pack-n-play in Amanda's room. Christiana no longer needs to be super swaddled. She's in the socked p.j.'s and a sleeping bag. I put them together at naptime the other day and neither one slept as expected. I'll let you know how the night goes.
Here they are reading books from their trip to the library.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I completely missed Talitha's one month photos last week because all three little girls decided to catch colds. It always starts with Amanda. They aren't real sick; the are just whiny, clingy and not sleeping well. Everybody is on the mend but illnesses certainly throws our precarious balancing act off kilter.
Monday, March 22, 2010
First of all, I knew the new baby would need colostrum. I thought I would pump after each feeding the hospital to simulate having twins, but the nurse said Tali would provide enough stimulation and frankly, I was tired. I didn't start doing any pumping until my milk started to come in on the Friday night after she was born.
The second concern was getting Tali on a good schedule. My doctor and the hospital nurse were worried that I would pump and then Tali would need to eat. However, since I use the principles from Baby Wise* and wake my babies to feed them every three hours, Tali was on a good schedule from the first day. I also used the techniques I learned from the Newman Breastfeeding Clinic to make sure Tali was taking a full feeding each time I nursed her. I made sure she nursed for 20-30 minutes with a good suck/swallow pattern and could be confident that she was getting enough to eat. Then, I would pump after nursing Talitha and used massage and pressure to help bring my milk down when I became engorged.
Finally, I was concerned about a fore milk/hind milk imbalance. As my supply increased, I was concerned that if I always nursed Talitha first on both sides, she would only get the fore milk. So, I began to vary whether I nursed her first or pumped first. Or I would only nurse her on one breast and then pump both breasts after the feeding.
My strategy seemed to work and I was pleasantly surprised to be able to pump enough milk by the fourth day for all of Christiana's feedings. That made all the nausea worthwhile. Obviously, holding Talitha for the first time and welcoming her into our family made all the nausea worthwhile, but I was able to welcome two babies without the eight months of nausea. My only disappointment in adoption was not being able to provide a full supply of breast milk for my girls.
My milk supply continued to increase and I began to think about donating to a sick little boy I had "met" in blog land. The post his mother wrote about his rash helped us identify Christiana's rash. However, her little boy was still suffering from allergies and rashes. She had tried to find dairy-free breast milk for him, but hadn't found a donor. I had planned to go dairy-free for Christiana because she showed signs of being intolerant to dairy, too. Even though Christiana seemed to be tolerating breast milk with dairy, when this little guy's mom said she would gladly accept the milk, I decided to cut out the cheddar cheese which was the only dairy I had been eating. My heart goes out to this family because of what I went through with my food allergies and because I know how much work she put in trying to induce lactation for him.
I think it is wonderful and amazing that I have been able to produce 50-60 ounces in addition to what Talitha drinks. I knew it was possible based on the success of some of the moms who have posted on Milkshare but I'm thankful that I have been so productive and can provide milk for two adopted babies. I'm not sure how long I can keep up at this level, but I'm happily eating lots of extra calories, drinking lots of fluids and taking good supplements. I'd like to tell you I'm getting plenty of rest, too, but you know better than that! :) Right now, I am pumping every three to fours hours. I'd like to reduce the number of times I need to pump but I try to pump before nursing Tali these days because otherwise my let down is overwhelming for her. As her schedule changes, mine will change too.
*As a disclaimer, I don't agree with everything in Babywise. I prefer to balance our approach with the advice found in Healthy Sleep Habits, Healthy Child. While Babywise suggests that you should always put your baby down awake, Healthy Sleep Habits just encourages you to make sure everyone is getting as much quality sleep as possible. Depending on the baby, the parent and the household situation, sometimes that means co-sleeping and sometimes that means letting the baby cry it out. We have used principles from all three of the resources I've linked to in this post to help us have well-fed, well-rested babies and avoid the crazy nighttime problems that lingered well into the school years with our boys.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
A good time was had by all. It even looks like Grandma was having fun, too!
Monday, March 15, 2010
Yesterday we headed out for our first family trip with our full house. Not that we are saying we're done having kids because our house is full, but that the hand we have been dealt is a Full House: Three queens and two jacks!
It was only an 1 1/2 hr drive. Amanda and Christiana chattered and Talitha slept. Tony and Tyler listened to their music in the back. We arrived a little late, but not as late as my mom who forgot about Day-Light Savings!We had a great day visiting with family including some special out of town relatives. It was a divine appointment that we all visited my grandma on the same day. It was wonderful to have so many hands to hold the babies.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Sleep training is a really hard process. I'd rather be potty training. It's difficult to listen to the crying and to know when it's better to let her fuss or just pick her up. It's crazy to be going through the process again so soon but we know the rewards. Christiana has been sleeping great for months now. Things are different with Tali because I am nursing and can just bring her in bed with me and nurse her when she fusses during the night. However, in the long run, we are aiming for better quality sleep for both of us. If she's in bed with me, she wakes up every two hours.
Every day and week that passes I know we are getting closer to more sleep but that would mean she's growing up and no longer a newborn. It's too bad all the sweetness of newborns comes with so much sleeplessness.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Baby Ana looked at Baby Tali the same way she looked at the dog we had over last week, "What is that creature and what is it going to do to me?" By the next, morning every one was feeling better and Baby Tali was welcomed more enthusiastically by the girls. They don't pay a lot of attention to Baby Tali, but Amanda has enjoyed mothering and playing with Baby Ana. She's so good getting her toys to play with, pushing her in the swing, pushing her in the stroller or sitting in the laundry basket with her.
Helping feed Ana her bottle is a new novelty and she's pretty serious about it being her job. Ana is very tolerant of Amanda frequently removing the bottle from her mouth. I try to put it back in and Amanda says, "No, I do it!"
Even though it doesn't seem like Amanda's paying much attention to Tali, she is watching me. When I was nursing Tali, Amanda went and got her baby to nurse. She even says, "Ouch, ouch, ouch," just like her mama.
In my family, ice fishing means dark house spearing where you are sitting in complete darkness leaning over a gaping 1 ft by 2 ft hole in the ice watching huge northerns come into your hole and go after the poor bait fish dangling from the ceiling or your wooden decoy. When you see the northern come into your hole, you quietly grab your spear and prepare to throw it into the water and hit the fish just behind the gills. It can be very boring for a long time and then extremely exciting. I went spearing many times as a kid but have only partly speared one fish. I didn't hit it well enough so my mom had to retrieve the spear and hit it again in order to bring it home.
My mom took Tyler and Tony to her house for the weekend for one last winter hoorah. Ice fishing, downhill skiing, and ice skating were all part of the weekend plans. Tyler speared 3 northerns and really enjoyed it.
Through out the year, Friday Fish Frys are a tradition at my mom's house. When my grandpa was alive, he always did the frying. Northerns are very bony fish, so it is always a process to pick through and get out all the bones. Even while eating fillets, we would hear the warning, "Watch for bones!" However there is one "part" of the fish that has no bones; the eggs! Many of the fish are females who are getting ready to lay their eggs in the spring so they are plump full of delicate fish eggs. The eggs are definitely my favorite!
I can't eat the traditional batter fried eggs, but enjoy them pan fried in a little bit of olive oil with sea salt and black pepper. Mmmm! A special breakfast treat!
Friday, March 5, 2010
I knew I wanted a good adjustable chair for when I started teaching Amanda because proper posture at the table is so important for writing comfortably. We used boat cushions and boxes on the floor for the boys. We bought this one and Mike is planning to make us a couple more.
Thursday, March 4, 2010
She sent three of these little dresses for the girls. She did an awesome job on guessing the sizes that the girls will fit into this summer. We have three adorable little girls so putting them in adorable matching dresses is really more a requirement than an option! Amanda liked the box, too. :)
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Something beautiful, something timeless,
About seeing your baby's name,
Written in thread!
These burp towels were gifts from Amanda's foster family in Texas. We received the first one on the day the family who had loved her, cared for her and called her by a different name, placed her in our arms for the first time. Adoption was such an uncertain experience for us and seeing the name we had chosen for this little girl was very memorable.
We were very sweetly surprised this week to receive a very large box from Amanda's foster grandma that included Talitha's burp towel and these wonderful hooded bath towels. They are thick and beautiful and the girls will love to be snuggled up in them after baths.
How did she know I really needed some color in my bathroom?
Thank you, Mary Sue!