Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Belated Birthday to my Baby Daddy

I feel like a crappy wife. Sunday was Brian's 33rd birthday. I didn't get him a card or a cake or make his morning coffee or ANYTHING. I've been a little busy (with what? - LOL). Hell, I don't even think I got a shower that day. Anyhow, we usually throw parties for birthdays. Like the kind we have to warn the neighbors about (thank God we've got GREAT neighbors). And then Brian maybe gets to go do something fun, like go fishing - his absolute FAVORITE thing to do.
LOOK how cute my fisherman hubby is:




Isn't he super cute??!!??
Anyway. What did Brian's birthday look like this year? He woke up to me saying "I HAVEN'T SLEPT ALL NIGHT AND I NEED TO SLEEP RIGHT NOW OR I WILL DIE." So he sent me to bed and took care of the babies mostly by himself (his dad came for a feeding and my parents came over after church) and let me sleep for HOURS. HAPPY FRICKIN' BIRTHDAY HONEY! HERE'S YOUR PARTY! A steaming pile of crappy of diapers! Reflux fun! Inconsolable screaming babies! WOO HOO!!! You will never have a day this fun and exciting on the water!!!
My sweet hubby is a PRO with these babies and I am so grateful that for HIS birthday he gave ME the gift of sleep. In all seriousness I know its OK because these babies really ARE the best gifts ever. We wanted them for so long that even though this is so hard, he was happy to spend the day with them, chaos and all. These babies are so loved and have the best daddy ever!!!

In other news, I decided to use this past long weekend with Brian at home to start practicing bottle propping. I could no longer feed each baby one at a time because I was LOSING MY MIND and not getting any sleep. Yes, I have some help with feeding but there are long stretches where I am alone in caring for these babies (e.g in the middle of the night) and feeding them one at a time was too much. The whole process took MINIMUM an hour and a half and they eat every 3 hours. You do the math. ONE, because of Zachary's feeding issues (he is outgrowing these as each day passes) and TWO because of Alexis's screaming 'push out a poop while I eat' eating technique. This is a techniques where an already refluxy baby pukes all of her food everywhere because she bears down so hard to poop and screams at the top of her lungs for the entire feeding. She's got some serious digestive issues (reflux and intestinal motility, etc.) associated with being a 31.5 week preemie, but that's for another post. Anyway, this made feeding a BLAST in my house. So I decided I can't do this anymore because I want to enjoy this. I want to enjoy my babies and NOT cry during feedings due to total frustration and exhaustion. At the rate I was going I was getting literally NO SLEEP at all even with Brian and my sister helping every minute they are not at work/school. Not that I expected to get tons of sleep, but an hour here and there is NOT too much to ask. I NEED it. The whole "sleep while your baby sleeps" did not apply to me because by the time I was done feeding everyone, It was time to get ready for the next feeding again. I was DESPERATE. So we started propping on Friday since Brian had the day off work and I knew I'd have him all day. I needed help to try this new thing. I was afraid that everyone would freak out and that my reflux pukers would puke everywhere and that it would be chaotic and stressful and that I would not have bonding with my babies while they feed. But surprisingly it was WONDERFUL. The babies were happy and I rubbed and talked to each of them as they contently sucked down all of their milk and formula. We held each of them up for the 20-30 minutes after their feeding so they wouldn't puke and it was all over in much less than an hour. More time to play and interact and cuddle and nap. It was calm and I wasn't stressfully trying to quickly feed a baby because I had 2 others crying from hunger. Everyone was happy. We are making minor adjustments as the days go by but overall it has been LIFE CHANGING for me. I will still do one on one feeding when I've got help and breastfeed when I can (otherwise pump when I can), but overall this is a good change for us. I no longer feel I might lose my mind. And that is better for the babies.
So the next thing was their sleeping schedules. They all came home from the NICU on a loose 3 hour feeding schedule, which is great. But their sleep schedules have been enough to drive me insane. For one, NO ONE has been sleeping at the same time (another reason the whole "sleep while your baby sleeps" thing has not worked for me). If they are, it is for only about fifteen minutes or so. Needless to say, this does not work for me. Secondly, their longer sleep periods (their 'nights') are at the wrong time of day. I think we have figured out why. Their periods of highest stimulation (their "days") have been in the evenings as that is the time I have the most help and more people are around. The mornings and early afternoons have been less stimulating since I am usually alone and the house is pretty quiet, with the exception of our playtime activity noises. So Brian and I took the end of the long weekend to also try and adjust their clocks. As if we weren't stressed enough. We 'turn down the house' (lights off or low, everything quiet) - no matter who is here - no later than 9PM and do not open it back up again until morning (Open windows, turn on lights, play music, etc). Brian did most of the dirty work yesterday of keeping them awake for longer periods during the day (since he let me get some more sleep yesterday - God bless him). This seems to have made some impact as they basically slept between their middle of the night feedings last night. SO FAR. I am hopeful. Keep your fingers crossed!
Next on the list is getting them to go so sleep awake, but sleepy. They are already so used to falling asleep while being held that they do not want to be put down in their crib while they are still awake. Especially Jackson who has been home the longest and has had more time sleeping on people. He stubbornly refuses to sleep unless someone is holding him. This item on the list may be the most challenging but I am hopeful. I'll let you know how this goes. Once I get this one down, maybe I'll tackle cleaning my house and getting organized again! This has really gone by the wayside since having babies. Oh well, one day at a time.
I may have chosen to do things differently if I had one baby but with three I need to create all of this structure. I've got my help and my feeders scheduled in 3 hour increments on a 3/6/9/12 AM and PM schedule. I lay the babies in ABC order (birth order) left to right in their crib and when I am feeding them. I know, I know. There are many other examples but you get my drift. I have to do it this way. Its the only way I can manage to keep my sanity. Maybe later I can be a little more flexible as things settle. But for now this is it!

This may be the first week I don't cry when Brian leaves me to go to work. I have really difficult moments with these babies, but overall I see the trend improving. I love these babies!!! We have a great family that helps out with shopping, picking up prescriptions, dinners, laundry, washing bottles, ect. We are truly blessed.


So I will end as I started...

HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, BRIAN!!!



Much love,
Cindy