Evelyn & Olivia, Week Six

 

What’s in a name?

I realize that the girls have been here for six weeks and I have yet to do a name post. Coming up with their names wasn’t the easiest for us, but I am very happy with where we landed.

When we found out it was twins I knew we were going to need a way to narrow down the field quickly or we would never come to a consensus. Rob and I are very opinionated and we were at the opposite end of the spectrum when it came to names. Now that we needed to come up with four names, it was going to be an uphill battle.

I have always liked names that started with vowels so we decided that we would only look at names that fit the bill. This automatically made it a lot easier. We have no family names that we feel strongly about so our vowel plan was all we had.

We were on a walk one day, discussing names, when Rob suggested Evie. I have always loved Evie and was ok with it but Rob wanted it to be short for something. He suggested Evelyn. And that was it. We had Evelyn.

Olivia was harder. I wanted Eleanor but Rob was 100% against the girls having the same initials. Have I mentioned that my family is Jessica, Jenifer, Jacob, and Jillian? Though I loved Eleanor, I do admit that Evie and Ellie is a bit too close together. I also suggested Avery but he wasn’t a fan of that. And Evie and Avie is a bit ridiculous. So, one night as I was falling asleep Olivia popped into my head. And as much as I love Olivia, I love Liv even more. So there it was, Liv and Evie. I felt so strongly about Olivia that I told Rob, it is Olivia and Evelyn. The End.

Middle names. Uuuuugh. It wasn’t until I realized that it was totally legit for the girls to have the same middle name that we were able to come up with D’Ann. I suggested Grace and Hope, or Faith and Grace. Rob said that was ridiculous. Well, okay then. Then, I found out that some families give children the same middle name. Yes!

My middle name is D’Ann. My mom chose this because D is my one grandma’s first initial and Ann is my other grandma’s middle name. Don’t have a family name you like? Make one! So, I know it is a bit of a weird name but I like it. And, given that I dropped my maiden name the second I could, it would be nice to pass something on to Evelyn and Olivia. Then, after we had pretty much decided on D’Ann I realized that it is my mom’s first initial with Rob’s mum’s name. Win! We have some sort of weird family connection in there, even if it isn’t in the traditional sense. And I like Jenifer D’Ann, Olivia D’Ann, and Evelyn D’Ann. It makes me feel connected to them.

Two weeks ago we had professional photos taken. I found the photographer through my network of bloggers and I couldn’t be happier with her. I wanted photos that felt very natural and focused on my family. I wasn’t interested in anything super posed. Jamie showed up, cleaned up my room, made my bed, and told us to do what we would be doing. Here’s what she ended up with…

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (35 of 81)Because everyone is always curious, that is Evelyn on the left, Olivia on the right.

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (42 of 81)

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (15 of 81)

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (47 of 81)Olivia was wide awake for most of our session. I love this one.

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (78 of 81)

Evie took a little bit longer to wake up, but that is the case most of the time. These photos definitely reflect their personalities.

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (52 of 81)Evelyn | Olivia

jamiestreetphotography_jenfamily (68 of 81)Olivia | Evelyn

All photos are by Jamie Street.

Evelyn & Olivia, Week Five

The good, the bad, and the anxious..

I have never shied away from sharing the harder parts of my life, so why start now?

This week has been rough. The girls are growing and thriving and getting chunky. I am on the edge. Olivia is going through a phase where if you don’t feed her exactly when she is hungry she screams bloody murder and is then inconsolable for the entire rest of the night. No pressure. Sometimes she decides she is hungry when I am in the middle of pumping (MAKING THE FOOD) and I am trying to hold her while she kicks the suction cups off my boobs. Then I am covered in milk and no one is happy.

Speaking of pumping. Talk about pressure. I went into this hoping that I could nurse both girls. Ha. That went out the window before the girls came home from the NICU. For one, I can’t be the only one who feeds them. I would die. Every feed with both babies? Nope. I value my sleep and my sanity too much for that. Further, the girls being preemies, I really need to be able to see how much the girls are eating at every feed. Sure, there are ways to estimate when they nurse, but with pumping I can say Evelyn took 2.5 ounces at the last feed and Olivia took 3 ounces. Done. So, I pump. And it is not fun. I don’t like it. It is boring and uncomfortable and sticky. I don’t like that it is extremely difficult for me to help with the girls while I am hooked up to the machine (hello, kicky babies). I don’t like that it is taking a ton of work and perseverance on my part to continue to make a reasonable amount of milk. I hate that if I am away from the house for too long my boobs start to kill. In short, I am doing everything I can to make sure the girls get breastmilk and it is exhausting. Yay, motherhood!

The girls are both having two main struggles right now: constipation and colds. They are both struggling to breathe out of their noses which makes eating fun for both of them. Lots of snuffling. We use the NoseFrida which I find pretty gross, but Rob is a champ at. I will say, it does work better than a standard aspirator. The constipation seems to be under control as best as it can be. My pediatrician recommended mixing prune juice with milk/formula and it has ended a lot of their discomfort. Changing pruney diapers is delightful.

I mentioned, when the girls came home, that a lot of my anxiety revolves around sleep. That hasn’t changed. I have come up with ways to cope. Instead of going to bed after the girls 9:oo p.m. feed, I stay up through their next feed. I would rather just be awake than be awoken by screaming babies. I nap during the day to account for this. Then between the midnight feed and the 3:00 a.m. feed Rob is in charge of any fussing. I feel like I can sleep deeply without worrying. Then I am in charge of fussing from 3:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. I like this shift because at the end of it, the girls are transferred to my parents. Even if I don’t sleep at all, I know that when it is time for the next feed I am off duty for the next several hours. I am sure this is all terribly boring for you, but it is how I manage. Of course this regularly goes to hell and we are just in survival mode.

Rob went back to work this week and whoa nelly. We are doing everything we can to make sure he gets a decent amount of sleep but our system regularly falls apart. We have not figured out how we can have one person feed both babies, so every single feed takes two people. Yesterday I watched Rob apologize to the fridge when he ran into it. The Brits are just so polite.

This weekend we bit off more than we could chew and had newborn photos taken, got the girls baptized, and had a baby shower. My church wanted to host a baby shower while I was still pregnant but with bed rest it never happened. So, we did a baptism shower combo and it worked great. The girls were champs. Very few tears and only a little puke. I, however, was a hot mess by the end and somehow managed to throw my back out. But the baptism was amazing and so special. I grew up in this church, with this pastor. He’s known me since I was in 10th grade. My church family threw a beautiful shower. Rob and I are very lucky.

IMG_3052We waited two minutes too long to feed Liv.

IMG_3081Liv says hello!

IMG_3101I would tell you which baby this is, but I honestly don’t know. She looks like she is pretty comfy on Aunt Jilli though.

IMG_3103Evie, at her first attempt at tummy time.

IMG_3108Liv is pretty pumped about Grandpa.

IMG_3109Aunt Jilli, baby sitter extraordinaire. 

IMG_3119This is a Wubbanub. We love it. It is especially helpful when Liv loses her mind. 

IMG_3142I had to order emergency baptism outfits since the girls are still pretty tiny. Also, maybe I didn’t know the difference between newborn size and 0-3 month size until last week. I don’t want to talk about it.

IMG_3147

IMG_3175

IMG_3176

IMG_3177Evie being shy.

IMG_3153Our pastor has all the kids come up to the front for baptisms. They will be the girls’ first friends and first to welcome them. Awwwww.

IMG_3125

IMG_3126 IMG_3130 IMG_3134Pastor Bob wanted to talk to both girls. We practiced this last week. No one was dropped. Go Pastor Bob!

Until next week… If you need me, I will be flat on my back, attempting to pump.

Evelyn & Olivia, Week Four

Then, in a blink of an eye, the girls were a month old. They have both now had multiple appointments to the pediatrician and hit some important milestones. They celebrated being home together by getting their first cold. As colds go, they were relatively minor, but worrying about teeny tiny lungs and stuffed up noses is enough to give a new mom a panic attack. Evelyn is also having some pretty run of the mill tummy problems, but let’s not underestimate new parent neuroses. Evelyn, as of Friday, is 5 lbs 2 oz. Olivia is 5 lbs 7 oz. They both are in this irritating space where newborn clothes are too big and preemie clothes are too small. Naked babies it is!

Last night Evelyn she got super irritated with me while I was talking to my mom. She kept fidgeting and I realized it was because she couldn’t turn her head and she wanted to see me! She could hear my voice but she couldn’t see my face. When I finally turned her and she just stared at me.. I nearly died. They are both starting to be able to focus their eyes on faces and.. gahh.. it is enough to melt you into a puddle of tears.

They are both starting to eat more and it is stressful to try to keep up. They both take about 3 oz at a feed and I pump about 5 oz every feed. Womp womp. I am trying to eat and stay hydrated since both of those are crucial to making enough milk, I just have very little appetite. I have definitely seen a shift in how much I want to eat now that I am no longer pregnant. As for hydration, I wish coffee counted.

Though I wish I was making more milk, I am truly amazed at my body’s ability to bounce back. I am no longer in pain from my c-section. That disappeared pretty much completely after the second week. My incision is just a thin line and my stitches dissolved. I feel fine. Tired, but that is hard to tell if that is from recovery from surgery or twin babies. I am going to go ahead and say it is mostly from twin babies. Between Rob, my parents, and I we are managing to feed the babies and each get about 6 hours of sleep a night. I am more of a 9 hour type of girl, but that is definitely not bad for a new parent.

I am hovering around my pre-pregnancy weight, depending on the day. 30 pounds gone in a month? I’ll take it. I am almost fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but everything has kind of shifted around. I think I still have a little bit to go. I had my check up with my OB and he said everything looks good. I don’t see him again for two months which feels so weird. And sad. I am going to miss him.

The girls are getting more and more alert, I just wish it was more during the day and less at night. They are so damn cute when they just stare at you, but when it is 2 a.m. you are like, can you be cute in the morning?

IMG_2990

IMG_3008

IMG_2998

IMG_3011

IMG_3029

IMG_3037Rob is struggling. I wake him up for the next feed and he spends five minutes trying to get the baby off his chest. That isn’t actually there.

IMG_3043E & O’s first Halloween!! Note the giant clothes. Side rant. Preemie clothes that aren’t just pajamas are a pain in the ass to find. The girls are getting baptized on Sunday and I needed something just a little bit nicer than the regular preemie stuff. I had to do an emergency Etsy order. Baby clothes makers.. make some proper preemie clothes. Please and thank you.

IMG_3042Halloween is exhausting.

IMG_3047Super cute, but this was taken in the middle of the night.

IMG_0456

IMG_0445Peace out, peeps!

 

Evelyn & Olivia, Week Three

Is motherhood kicking my ass? Well, this post should have been written on Friday and posted on Saturday. It’s 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. So, in a word, yes. Evelyn and Olivia have both been home for a little over a week and it is rough. Rob and I are both a mess. We went to Target together.. two days ago? It’s hard to tell anymore, the days are blurring together. Anyway, we couldn’t even coherently walk around the store. I seem to remember spending quite a long time looking at batteries and then deciding not to purchase any. I don’t even know what we came home with.

Our life takes place in three hour increments. Midnight to 3:00 a.m. are currently the hardest for me, but that is only because my parents take the 6:00 a.m. feed right now (praise God). Today my parents actually had to leave the house and attend to.. you know.. other life things.. as adults sometimes have to do. Rob and I barely made it. I am so thankful that they don’t have anywhere to be tomorrow morning.

Though I may feel like a zombie, Evelyn and Olivia are thriving. They are both gaining weight and getting chunky. They are well on their way to losing their teeny preemie legs and arms. Both of them have cheeks! I love them to pieces and just stare at them on a pretty regular basis. However, let’s not sugar coat things. Sometimes I am staring at them and thinking, why are you awake?! 

I love seeing them start to be able to interact with each other and us.  They are both very alert and love to stare at you with their enormous eyes. I am excited for when they can make eye contact on a more regular basis. I can’t believe that they will be a month old on Saturday.  How did that happen?

IMG_2834Evelyn says peace out to the NICU. And, hey mom, why is it so bright?

IMG_2849

IMG_2855My babies are home.

IMG_2872

IMG_2932Standard sized bib. Not so standard sized baby.

IMG_2937Do not attempt this. I was squatting at the time. My legs fell asleep.

IMG_2942I was so, so worried about telling the girls apart. Olivia saved the day! See that little dot right above her ear? The only birth mark either of the girls have. But it’s enough. 

IMG_2951Long Legs McGee is a baller.

IMG_2954

IMG_2964

IMG_2966

 

notes from a new frontier

I’ll let everyone in on a secret. The writing part of my blog is a breeze, compared to the other aspects. Twenty minutes tops. It’s the pictures that take up a big chunk of time. Rob would call it a faff. Because he is British and can pull things like that off. Importing, editing, cropping, compressing.. etc. However, I hate posting without pictures. Boooring. But, for right now, I want to write and don’t have the time to do the pictures multiple times a week. So, here goes a post with no pictures. Or maybe just one..

Both Evelyn and Olivia have been home since Sunday afternoon. It started about the way it has continued. The NICU woke me up Sunday morning to ask if I would like to take Evelyn home, two days earlier than we had anticipated. Yes, we would!! This lead to an insane dash trying to get everything together. No, her going home outfit wasn’t clean. No, I hadn’t written the thank you cards to the nurses. No, we hadn’t showered. So we scrambled around like mad people and maybe Evelyn came home in an outfit that was only 90% dry, but whatever. She is here now.

And that is a little how life has felt since then – especially the nights. If any of you have read about my anxiety, you know that a lot of it stems from my struggles with sleeping. Going to bed at night knowing that I am going to be woken up dozens of times does little for my anxiety, but there really is no other option right now. I don’t even want to think about what life will be like when Rob has to go back to work and the feedings are no longer a team effort. Right now, Rob and I take the midnight feed and the 3:00 a.m. feed. My mom and dad, praise Jesus, take the 6:00 a.m. feed. Someone tell me they start sleeping for 4 hour stretches soon. Last night both girls decided that sleep was for the weak and partied all night long. Thank you, ladies.

In this, there are things I am thankful for. I am thankful for Top Gear, for getting us through the evening feeds. I am thankful for Ellen, making it possible for me to pump for an extended period of time without losing my mind. I am thankful for Vitamin water, peanut butter M&Ms, and yogurt. I am thankful for my family for making this physically possible. I am thankful for Rob, for not making me feel guilty for needing way more sleep than he does. Sometimes after pumping for a long time I am just so physically exhausted I feel like my legs might come out from under me.

I know I am still healing. I had my two week check up and I get to drive now! I snuck out to the grocery store last weekend. It was my first time doing something on my own since my 26th week. Who knew buying bacon could be so exhilarating. Emotionally, aside from the lack of sleep, I know I have a ways to go until my hormones settle back in. The other day I found myself missing pregnancy. And then I was like, wait, what? Pregnancy was awful. Hormones. 

'