29 Dec 2008

All I want from Christmas are......

... my two front teeth.

Well someone obviously read Ciara's christmas list as she is now getting her two top front teeth as well as one of her bottom lateral incisors! Thankfully she is being really good about her teething again, I only noticed when a friend who came to dinner on Boxing Day pointed them out to me- they had all already broken through so the worst was already over.

We won't be able to call her "our little vampire" for much longer, at present she only has a lateral incisor on each side on top so when she smiles she looks like a vampire. I would post a picture but she doesn't smile for the camera at present-she's too busy trying to get hold of it.

28 Dec 2008

Enya's anniversary


Under the Christmas Tree, Enya on the right.


A year ago today we (finally) got Enya home. The docs were not actually happy about sending her home as she was still taking Caffeine to stimulate her respiratory centre and had a NG tube. Z told them we wanted her home and they finally agreed on condition that they tried one more wean off the caffeine pre discharge. As usual after 5 days they had to restart and increase the dose again (the weans were too abrupt) as her monitor was alarming continuously with desats into the 60's (normal is 95%+).The nurses were shocked that she was being discharged on the caffeine as they had never had that before. We on the other hand after 4 and a half months just wanted OUT!

The delay was good from one point though however as they did manage in that final week to get rid of her feeding tube. Enya came home with only a Sats, pulse and breathing monitor and caffeine, not even oxygen which I found astounding and fantastic.

Enya on the left, in newborn size clothing.

When I think of everything that we went through this year, with all the feeding problems and stresses, it wasn't an easy year but I know other people who have had it a lot harder, so we have much to be grateful for. After all I still have my 2 precious gorgeous girls and they've come a long way in their first year at home. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next year brings us!

25 Dec 2008

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas

We've had a fantastic day today, our first Christmas as a whole family at home (last year Enya was still in hospital and Z and I took it in turns to visit her on Christmas day).

We've been filming with our new camcorder and once I ,OK once Z, works out how to edit, expect video clips.

19 Dec 2008

Well that was fun

We had our Krabbelgruppe this morning, or so I thought. We hadn't gone last week as C and E had the runs, I'd tried to get in contact with the other mom that I know to confirm today was still happening but I couldn't reach her. Anyway so when we arrived this morning (late as usual) no one was there. Now this wouldn't be too bad if the place the group is held, wasn't on the second floor with a lift too narrow for our pram. I landed up having to accost a stranger to help me get the girls down to the exit. I won't even describe how I got the pram up the 3 flights of stairs, let's just say if the steps were any deeper or the girls any heavier it wouldn't work.

On the plus side we met another set of twins that we knew from the PNZ (NICU) while we were wandering round the shops. They are identical twins born at 34 weeks, named Marla and Merle. We (the moms, our kids are not that advanced yet) have exchanged numbers and will arrange to meet up and chat about life with twins next year. M and M are about a month younger than C and E, so all adjusted are only a month older than our girls.

18 Dec 2008

Mobility

Ciara is now setting off without having arms to aim for, she is also able to hold her balance for the 3-4 steps she manages. Z nearly burst into tears when she (finally) showed him what she can do this evening. She walked away from him to the wall (3 steps) and then turned around and walked another 4 steps along the wall without holding on.

Enya is definitely holding her balance for a couple of seconds in free standing and is walking short distances holding with only one hand.

We were at the doctors today for yet more vaccinations (and have another due in February, sigh) and he was asking how we were doing on the milestones. When I mentioned that Enya had taken 2 steps yesterday, he immediately started typing in the computer that she is walking, I corrected him but he said 2 free steps counts as walking. By that logic then we are still within normal limits of the walking milestone- I nearly started crying. Each milestone met is such a relief.

Of course the doc then had to mention we have to start watching for the verbal milestones now, both Ciara and Enya say "Enya" but not in context, Enya can also say "heiss" (hot) but also out of context. As previously mentioned they both call "mama" as a cry for attention but that is the sum total of what we could consider words, and none of them in context. At least Enya has started waving at us in the last few days, she also started clapping before Ciara way back when.

17 Dec 2008

Enya took 2 steps....

And she did it twice!!!

She took two steps from the couch to me, admittedly falling into my arms but she is trying to walk. I then put her back holding onto the couch and she did it again. As our physio would say she is reaching beyond her capability to follow through but she is determined.

Ciara is slowly getting more confident but the operative word here is slowly. She no longer falls in to my arms, but can keep her balance for a couple of steps, although she still doesn't trust herself enough to try more.

On completely tack, can anyone tell me how much a stick of butter weighs in the US? I bought Ben and Jerry's ice cream and dessert book and several of the recipes call for a stick of butter (1/2 cup). I tried to weigh how much a half a cup of butter weighed but when I made the brownies the batter was very dry so I think I miscalculated!!

16 Dec 2008

No more Physio

Enya has been discharged from physio!!

We landed up getting to physio late as I only realised late last night that we had our appointment today at 10am (I had to buy a thank you card and gift for the physio, do you also do that?). Thankfully Mrs W. is used to ditzy mothers and forgave our tardiness.

The session was harsh as ever, with Enya just lying there crying hopelessly by the end, but watching her feet positioning pre and post treatment it definitely helps. Usually her feet are pointing sideways when she stands but after the session both feet were pointing forwards and she was more stable when walking with support. Nonetheless we are now taking a break from physio, although Mrs W. will join us for our next Neurodevelopmental/Preemie followup in March just to check how things are progressing. YIPPEEEEE!! For the first time in 15 months, no physio! (The girls started physio when they were just 4 weeks old)

Mrs W. also said she doubts Ciara will need any further physio although Enya might at some future date. I can live with that!

Z is away for tonight which means I have my Precious girls all to myself. Poor Z hates being away from them but someone has to bring in the bucks;0). Thankfully it is only 2 days away and then 2 days working and then he has 2 weeks holiday again. There is a bit of a 2 theme going here, isn't there.

14 Dec 2008

Picture tag

Suz, a mom of quads whose blog helped keep me sane when things got scary at the beginning of my pregnancy, has tagged all her readers.

The object of the picture tag is to:

1) Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer

2) Select the 4th picture in the folder

3) Explain the picture

4) Tag 4 people to do the same

NO CHEATING! (cropping, editing, etc!)

I'm afraid my pictures aren't really that well organised but as best as I could follow the instructions this is it.

It's from May this year, I was obviously trying to get a photo of the girls together again, and considering that it was taken with my mobile phone I think it turned out pretty good!

Since no one ever comments here ;0) (except Iamza and Cathy) and I therefore don't know who reads what I write, I tag you all. Isn't that a nice way to introduce yourself!! Just leave a link in the comments section

13 Dec 2008

Ciara's anniversary

A year ago today we brought Ciara home after 120 days in hospital, we were finally "proper" parents and could care for our daughter as we wished to, without having to ask permission from the nurses before we did anything.


Ciara all packed up and ready to go



Arriving home, the decoration is courtesy of friends. In german it is tradition to decorate the house front when a baby is born to the house, our friends waited until a baby came home, 4 months later. What you can't see is that the line is being held up by a stork on a pole, it was wonderful, completely unexpected and underlined that we were really parents.



First meal at home, I was unbelievable nervous as this was the first time we'd ever made a bottle of formula and were responsible for serving it at the right temperature etc.

12 Dec 2008

Swimming pictures

sorry for the delay in getting the photos posted, we landed up going on Wednesday instead of Tuesday and since then we've had a double dose of diarrhea which has only finally begun to ease this afternoon. That will teach me to let them put the wet toys in their mouths when we're in a public pool! Another twins mom that was there got around it by sticking a dummy in her twins' mouths when they went into the water. I may have to consider that next time!

We started off in the baby paddling pool at the new place but as the girls were literally paddling (it was so shallow Enya could crawl around with out getting her face wet)we only spent 20 mins there before we moved on to the kids/playing pool (as opposed to the serious swimmers/divers pool). The Swim.trainers were a huge success this time with no meltdowns when it came time to put them on and the girls were even happy for us to let go of them completely while they tried to "swim" forwards. It was great fun and will be repeated again, just not at that venue! We definitely need an adult per child though, I would not try to do this by myself.


The girls with Z




beautiful shot of Enya, unfortunately Ciara was to busy chewing on her vest for us to get a good shot....
so instead here is a shot of her eating mom's muffin!

9 Dec 2008

Peek a boo

This is the latest sensation in our house, it gets played everywhere! When the girls are sitting in their highchairs they play it with their bibs, When we're in the lounge they play it with the blanket on the sofa, in the bathroom around the corner formed by the glass shower doors (go figure!). Z and I don't even have to be involved, we will often here them giggling in another room and when we creep in to see what they are up to, they will be playing peek a boo. At last they are playing together and we start to reap the side benefit of multiples!

C and E have finally recovered from the marathon shopping expedition last Friday, today being the first day they woke before 8:30 am since Friday. Both Z and I have enjoyed the lie ins, but we need to get back to normal scheduling for next week anyway, as Z has to go back to work.

We've decided to go swimming today again as it was such a great success last week although we're going to try another indoor pool. This time I will take the camera so expect pictures soon ;0)

6 Dec 2008

Happy St Niklaus

Our girls gave us a wonderful gift this morning, A lie in. We finally had to wake them at 9 am this morning as they just weren't waking by themselves. We had put them down at about 6pm last night and we didn't hear another peep out of them all night.

The day today has continued along the same lines,they went back to bed after breakfast (at 9:30), awoke at 12 for lunch and then back to bed at 13:30 for their "midday nap" until 15:15, and down for the night at 18:00. Of course it would be too good to be true for that to be the end of the tale. Ciara is now wide awake and protesting loudly as she doesn't want to sleep anymore (20:17).

I think what exhausted them was our 5 hour shopping marathon yesterday ;0). I've been saving all my shopping chores up and yesterday hit the stores big time with Z and the girls. We've blitzed most of our Christmas shopping (I'm getting a new iron for Christmas), got Enya her swimtrainer for next week when we hit the pool again and replenished the adults clothing (somehow this year only the kids have got new clothing, we've been too busy to shop for us).

5 Dec 2008

De-baby-fying

I know there isn't such a word but there should be! Even the physio has remarked that the girls have lost their baby look and now look like little children (usually when we are out we get asked if they are little boys). So in the spirit of things I've started getting rid of the little baby stuff. I'm still hoping that Z caves in on another sprog so I'm not selling anything yet but it's all getting packed away.

In the kitchen we now only have 6 bottles and umpteen sippy cups lying around where previously we had over 13 bottles, with their associated tops and nipples, bowls and spoons drying on tea towels. The sterilizer has also been packed away and we are now down to only 2 boxes of formula on the kitchen tops where previously we had 3. Yes, Ciara is now drinking normal milk and we need to just finish the one box of formula before we change Enya to her AR formula mixed with whole milk too. I've packed half the bibs away too as now that we only give them 2 bottles a day, we really don't go through many at all. Unfortunately our usage of the bib with sleeves has increased with the recent vomit fest we had. But with 14 of those bibs, I have enough ;0)

We've also moved Enya into the front facing car seat so no more baby carry car seats for us. The baby seats used to always clutter up our entrance hall which now seems so much more open with out them. We've even got rid of one of our prams that we borrowed from our next door neighbour. From feeling a bit cluttered with all the baby stuff, our flat now feels bigger and more ours again. Unfortunately toys remain strewn all over and I think that's not going to change for at least the next 10 years though!

Talking about car seats, I had a first yesterday on the way to physio. Enya puked up in the car. Neither girl has ever been sick in the car before so this was very surprising but on discussing this with Z later we came to the conclusion she had been too hot. I had put her in her snowsuit in the car and the journey had been extra long due to traffic jams and the horrible weather conditions. She got overheated and puked all over her snowsuit, car seat and even hit a towel lying in the foot well. Thankfully she didn't hit the car upholstery so once we got the car seat etc. out, the car didn't stink. Physio was fun with her being so odorous though. Good news in physio was that we should finish up by the end of the year. Mrs W was very pleased with how Enya has progressed in the last 2 weeks (of which one week we didn't do any therapy at all due to illness), her feet positioning is much better and there is just the last remnants of the blasted abdominal control to achieve before we are discharged.

Gotta go, a little monkey has just crawled past me and from the odour that followed her, a nappy change is urgently required ;0)

4 Dec 2008

Wet and white

Yesterday we went for our first visit to a swimming pool with the girls. It had been snowing all day and we wanted to get out the house ( I'm getting cabin fever already!).

Surprisingly Ciara really enjoyed herself (I wanted to get some photos but unfortunately left the camera at home), she really enjoyed the warm water and being able to walk around the paddling pool with her swim aid holding her semi upright (a swimtrainer). Enya on the other hand freaked out! We only had one swim trainer as I wanted to try it out before buying two as it was quite expensive, instead we put water wings on Enya which she DID NOT LIKE! After taking them off she did quite enjoy the water with her daddy, especially the body surfing which they practiced together. After a tea break we tried the swim trainer on Enya, this time she didn't freak out quite as much. After 5 minutes she was also trying to walk/swim around the pool as long as we stayed close to her.

All in all the day was a big success, so much so that we are going to repeat it next week. Needless to say we had 2 exhausted babies last night, Ciara didn't even finish her meal last night and we only got woken up at 8am this morning!

2 Dec 2008

family duvet day

We celebrated the start of the last of Z's 2 week blocks of paternity leave by having a duvet day. Everybody stayed in their pj's, we slept when the girls went down for their naps and generally had a really lazy day. Of course this means today will be busy, what with cooking, cleaning and ironing but I enjoyed yesterday.

No real exciting news otherwise, Ciara continues to try a couple of steps when we can convince her to trust herself. Enya hasn't tried to balance unassisted again but is now cruising everywhere, swopping between pieces of furniture and generally improving her confidence. We had them in their snowsuits again on the weekend as we did a brief round through our local christmas market and it was bitterly cold and yes, a few flakes of snow fell too. We've had more snow this winter already than we had the whole of last winter!

Feeding fighting continues but Enya is putting on weight so I'm fairly relaxed about that right now. I've even turned her car seat around as she is too long for it to be rear facing and I felt sorry for her, it is so boring to always be looking at the seat, she used to cry whenever we went anywhere in the car.

29 Nov 2008

My preciouses


nothing new with us, just enjoying the peace.

27 Nov 2008

2 steps

To celebrate her "would have been" birthday Ciara took 2 steps yesterday! The day before I'd seen her take one step a couple of times but thought they didn't really count as she stepped and fell immediately. It kind of looked like she was stepping more to try hold her balance. Yesterday though, I held out my hands and she made 2 purposeful steps towards me before she fell. Enya is also more stable in standing and yesterday stood holding on to my leg and then let go, standing alone for a couple of seconds before she fell, progress I tell you.

Unfortunately our music class has fallen through, we went last week for a taster session and it was OK, lots of singing and clapping etc. Unfortunately with twins it is difficult to keep both interested in what's going on but for 60 euros a quarter it was good fun. Yesterday we went again and this time Ciara wouldn't leave my lap, while Enya was crawling all over the other moms and the teacher. There were 2 three month old babies and I could picture her hitting them in the face as she does Ciara, stress pure! Anyhow as I was filling out the forms after the lesson I realised the monthly course fee was 60 euros, GULP! We could afford it but I just couldn't justify it. That is 15 euros for a 45 minute lesson where the instructor doesn't even know his material well enough to sing it without cards and the girls don't really pay attention. I guess music lessons will have to wait until I go back to work and the girls will get more out of it. Oh well back to lullaby CDs, now I need to find a german CD as we have english, irish and african ones already!

25 Nov 2008

happy corrected first birthday

If all had gone well with my pregnancy this is when the girls would have been due (well a year ago today anyway), so happy 1st birthday-corrcted Ciara and Enya.

I thought I would share a poem written by another preemie mom, it expresses a lot of what we've been through and felt.

The Preemie Experience
By Sandra D Moore

The preemie experience is the shattering of all your dreams
For a normal, healthy delivery,
Of the ability to carry home a beautiful squirming bundle
After a short stay in the hospital.

It is lying there in your hospital room listening to
The happy sounds of whole families joined
Together by the birth of a grandchild, cousin, niece,
Or nephew, and knowing that your
Child is miles away and may not survive long enough
For you to see or simply touch.

It is that first glimpse of a skinny, scrawny, not much bigger
Than a Barbie doll child
And feeling, fear, awe, and joy for such a fragile soul.

It is sitting by your baby’s “bedside” day after day,
Week after week, month after month,
Alternating between the emotional high of “Look, her eyes are open,” or “She’s crying!”
And the lows of “I’m sorry, Mrs. Moore. Something has
Shown up in Lauren’s ultrasound,”
Or even “There is nothing we can do…”

It is hearing the alarms go off for the twentieth time in less
Than fifteen minutes because your
Child’s heart rate keeps hitting zero.

It is watching children dying around you, wondering if
Your child will be next.It is hearing your child’s cry of distress as the nurses
Insert yet another IV and do another
Round of daily blood tests.It is meeting other parents of children who are doing far better
And wondering, “Why me?”
And meeting parents of children who have just died,
And praising God for His mercy
To your child and feeling guilty because your child is alive
And someone else is grieving for theirs.
It is days of nightmarish testing and coping with less
Than positive results to the tests.
It is days of joy at seeing the first eyelash appear,
The child gain a whole ounce in one day,
And two bright shiny eyes look at you and into your soul,
And knowing that your child now recognizes you as Mama or Dada;
Or perhaps looks at you and does not see you at all…

It is that final hurdle before coming home!
It is the sorrow of waiting for the monitor company
Representative to show you what to do
If the alarm sounds when your child is choking,
Gasping for breath, or simply dying.
It is the joy of just being away from all those nurses
And tubes and wires and beeps, and
Walking into the nursery you hastily prepared because, after all,
The child wasn’t due for another three months!

It is thinking the nightmare is over…only to realize it still
Continues in the form of
Such acronyms as PVL, RSV, BPD, CP and numerous others.

It is the final realization that those developmental delays
Have to be dealt with,
That reflux is a normal and unfortunate occurrence in most preemies,
That the constant fight to gain weight is in direct proportion
To a preemie’s ability to do so.

It is watching a child struggle to pick up his or her head, sit,
Crawl, or walk.
It is witnessing only silence when the child should be babbling,
Because the child cannot hear.

It is the mental images of a child running and playing
And communicating with others in a
Perfectly normal manner that are marred when you face years of therapy
In order to simply get the child to eat by himself or herself,
To talk or walk and then run.

The preemie experience is a journey…
A journey through your soul in order to find the faith and strength to cope,
A journey of the mind when you face the emotional weariness,
A journey of the heart…to accept that, no matter what,
This child is yours,And you will love this child no matter what.

24 Nov 2008

Wintereinbruch



BRRRRR!
I had to shovel my first snow of the season already this morning, time to get the snow suits out.

23 Nov 2008

Pictures

Z downloaded some pictures from our camera at work so I thought I'd share them with you all. Most are from the summer so don't be fooled by the semi nak.ed babies, we've had our first snowfall this week.


Enya waiting for her bath


Sultaness(?) Ciara in the bath


What do you mean snails are not to be eaten


Rocking in the sun


Before they started crawling when we could still keep them semi on the blankets

21 Nov 2008

A little better

Today so far is going better. Enya hasn't vomited again since I gave her an anti-emetic yesterday. She could barely keep her eyes open for lunch yesterday, in fact I think for the last spoon her head was on her shoulder and eyes were closed (side effect of the meds). Although she is not very interested in food, she has at least eaten 100g per meal. I've tried to avoid milk as far as possible, but after 140ml of the rehydration solution she fought so violently I had to give it up, so we're back on milk.

In the last 24 hours both girls have developed very runny noses and Enya has also got a matching wet cough, so now I'm thinking the vomiting maybe has something to do with that. Babies can't spit out their secretions so they swallow them and the secretions can make them nauseous and vomit. At least they are both cheerful and are right now playing together on the kitchen floor.

Now I just need to make them something bland for lunch.

20 Nov 2008

My little vomit comet

Yup, it's that again. Enya has vomited at least once a day this whole week. Initially I thought it was food texture but this morning and last night she vomited on perfectly smooth purees. It's also not that she is too full because she has done it a couple of times on the 2nd or 3rd spoon (at least that means not too much to clean up).

The epitome of timing was on Tuesday night when our water was turned off (our upstairs neighbours are renovating their bathroom after getting a gable put in). Of course this would be at dinner time. Dinner went great until as a treat I gave Enya a bit of mashed baked potato- everything and I do mean the whole 200ml bottle and 100g of Courgette gratin came up and landed everywhere. Needless to say cleaning that up without running water was fun!

She will have meals where she eats the whole meal (160g) without a problem although as the week progresses they seem to be coming less frequently. I can honestly find no rhyme or reason for her spews, she is not even doing her usual retching beforehand. If she is not better by tomorrow then we are off to the paediatrician again! At least she now drinks the oral.paedon (paedi.alyte), previously she wouldn't touch the stuff.

I really hate the smell of vomit and the way it lingers even after washing the floor and chair umpteen times!

18 Nov 2008

SPZ neonatal follow up appointment

It is only in the last few weeks when we've had medical appointments that the doctors/therapists have mentioned how concerned they had been about our girls. Up to now they have avoided the issue and when pressed we got the "wait and see" response.

I hasten to add the general vibe has always been positive and at no time, not even after Enya's grade 3+ IVH (brain bleed), was there ever a mention of NOT doing everything medically possible for the girls. I say this as I've heard of cases when after the diagnosis of a major bleed, the parents have been advised to stop all treatment due to the extremely high risk of disability.

Anyway this appointment at the SPZ we again heard how lucky our girls are and how worried B had been (the doc, B, is an acquaintance from pre baby days when Z and I used to do ballroom dancing). She said Ciara shows no abnormal reflexes anymore and is on schedule for her adjusted age. Enya still shows some shoulder retraction in some of the positional reflex tests, so we have to continue Vojta probably until she is walking :0(. However on the plus side she also could see no abnormal tone in the legs so that is just a further confirmation the neurologist was full of s%$t! We are also finally at the top of the list for Fruhforderung (early intervention) which is as I understand it play therapy to encourage normal development. We were put on this list after our appointment in April. B says she actually sees no need for this but because I said I'd noticed a deficit in Enya's fine coordination we will be assessed for services when they bother to call to arrange it.

In physio Mrs W also said the asymmetry that was the big deal last time was not at all obvious so it must have just been a blip. I find it once again underlines how inaccurate an impression the doctors/therapists can get if they only have a single visit to assess a child in an unfamiliar environment. Six months ago the docs were very concerned about Ciara, where Z and I were much more relaxed (until they made me paranoid), because the child we saw at home was not the child they (and we) saw during the examinations/treatment.

17 Nov 2008

Our bobby car


I didn't try for a photo with the girls on it as I just don't have enough hands and my mobile phones camera isn't quick enough!

Toy bazaar

I think I'm getting addicted to bazaar bargain hunting. This weekend there was a toy bazaar in a nearby town so off I went. This time I dragged Z with (and naturally the girls too). All I wanted was a bobby car, I've been looking for a secondhand one for ages and I finally found it. Usually they are red but the one we got is a yellow ADAC (german version of the RAC/AA), it looks like it's seen a few crashes but is still in good working order and will hopefully see our two through the next 2 years. Enya enjoys being pushed around on it but is still too short to balance properly on it (her feet don't touch the ground), Ciara trys to push herself on it unfortunately she has still to get out of the reverse gear ;0).

We also got a child's rocking chair (I just need to make a seat cushion for it), some wooden cars and a couple of books. All of this for less than the bobby car would cost new! Of course the way things are going now with C and E we will probably need a second one as they are not into sharing!

Ciara has decided that Enya is her walking aid and will hold onto Enya clothing while Enya is trying to crawl away. Important is that Enya is trying to get away as that means she can walk using Enya as her support. Enya objects strenuously to this past time and that just makes it more fun for Ciara. As Ciara outweighs Enya by about 2 kg, she can hold Enya down as long as she wants and Enya can't free herself. I foresee judo in Enya's future! Along the same lines and provoking the same response Ciara has also taken to hugging her little sister. She's not to fussy what she hugs: head; chest or bottom, important again is the response it provokes.

I make it sound like Enya is an angel and Ciara is a bully (which she is) but I've also seen Enya hitting out at her sister and because she is so quick, steal toys from Ciara and then run away (crawl away) with them. I've also seen both girls give their sister an open mouthed mouth press which is their version of a kiss which is adorable.

Apart from the 2 nights when Enya was in Essen for her eye surgery and the 15 days between Ciara and Enya's release from hospital, the girls have always shared a room and so are used to having the other there when they go to sleep. I have noticed when I put one in to bed alone while I finish getting the other ready, she'll scream and perform until the other is also put into bed, then instant silence. I hope we never have to have one in hospital overnight again!!

14 Nov 2008

resuming normal programming

Warning: if you have a problem with bodily products especially poo don't read any further!!

I'm slowly (too slowly) learning that quiet=bad with almost toddlers in the house. This morning after changing Enya's dirty nappy (this child is like clockwork), I put the nappy in the bowl on the floor so I could do her physio with her. We don't have another raised surface near our changing table where I could put it and I need the entire changing table for physio. You can see where this story is going, I'm sure. Anyway after physio I was just getting ready to put Enya's nappy on when I realised Ciara was astonishingly quiet and looked down to my feet to see her sitting happily playing with her sisters faeces. She'd taken it all out the nappy and was sitting, hands covered in poo, smearing it all over the floor. What to do first? Enya down on the floor sans nappy, clean up the floor all the while trying to keep Ciara's hands away from everything, most especially her mouth! Run through to the bathroom with Ciara, strip her, wash her hands and then fetch Enya to put a nappy on her. I nearly threw up, dirty nappies do not bother me at all, but Ciara playing with poo made me sick!

Needless to say things are going to be rearranged so we can put the nappy bowl on a raised surface on the rare occasions when we change nappies in the girls room!! We usually change them in the bathroom so we're close to running water.

To finish off ...the danger of female drivers as demonstrated by Ciara Ryanne and Enya Niamh




Enya hit her head on the drawer handle. Sorry for the shoddy photos, Z's computer is being upgraded so I can't download photos from a proper camera.

13 Nov 2008

So what do I say?

Perspectives revisited.

Yesterday after I posted a friend asked me how did I cope with the disappointment every month when I wasn't pregnant. She thought she could be pregnant but unfortunately her AF arrived yesterday. This friend (lets call her JS) has a daughter exactly 8 months older than C and E, her daughter was not planned and when JS first found out she was pregnant she was not overjoyed. Now nearly 2 years later again JS and her husband were a bit frisky at the right (wrong) time, this time it didn't work and JS was fairly devastated. Although again this would not have been the ideal time she was really looking forward to another pregnancy/child. For the first time I think she has begun to grasp what the 3 and a half years prior to C and E's arrival was like for me.

I told her it is considered normal to try up to a year before getting pregnant when there are no fertility issues, the thought of which she finds unbearable. I'm finding it difficult to be suitably sympathetic to her situation, as this is the first month and they are not even trying yet. They knew about our struggles in real time and she never mentioned it to me ever, not even during her pregnancy.

I honestly don't know what to say to her.

11 Nov 2008

Perspectives

The news right now is full of a trial happening right now in my city. A woman is being tried for the murder of 3 of her daughters. She managed to hide the pregnancies and after giving birth, killed them and hid their bodies in the freezer. She was only found out when her 18 year old son went looking for a frozen pizza in the freezer and instead found the frozen remains. The first little girl was killed in 1986 and the last in 2004. We've had a spate of such sick things in the news in the last few years but this time it happened in our neck of the woods! The news reports state by the last pregnancy this woman had alcohol problems but she does have 2-3 other kids that did live through the perinatal period. I have to wonder what would drive a woman and mother to do such a dreadful thing, not once but 3 times!!

Another bit of news is my ex-sister in law is pregnant again. She had a baby a couple of months before C and E arrived with her new fellow and is now apparently expecting their 2nd child together. She had 3 kids with my brother in law and is generally described as a dreadful mother. The kids used to do all the housework (cooking, cleaning, ironing, washing) while she sat in front of the TV vegetating. Her oldest child (20 years old) refuses to have anything to do with her and while the younger two do live with her they are not happy. The only reason the youngest is still living with her is she told him if he goes back to his dad not to bother coming back to visit!

I think about how hard it was for me to get pregnant and how I tried to be so careful during my pregnancy and despite this it was cut short and yet some other people who are "fertile Myrtles" with trouble free pregnancies don't appreciate their good fortune. I suppose that might be the difference, for them it isn't good fortune, it is their normality. My normality means pregnancy is an unattainable goal without doctors, drugs and loads of visits to the fertility clinic, followed 6 months later by a 4 month hospital stay for the babies. For them it is just the result of a good night in bed at the right (wrong) time, followed 9 months later by a healthy baby. I guess for those who have struggled in someway to get/stay pregnant, pregnancy gains an extra lustre and the baby at the end is that little bit more precious. Please note I'm not saying that we(infertile Myrtles) are better mothers, just that we know this baby probably wouldn't be here without lots of help from modern science and the chances of another child are poor without the same help again.

Any how I think I'm going to go hug my precious little bundles now as they are waking up from their morning nap.

10 Nov 2008

Sitting proud

We'll do this post chronologically, shall we:

Date night on Friday night was great, Babysitter arrived shortly after 6pm, our film started at 8pm. I even had time to look around the new bookstore that opened last week, although we unfortunately didn't have time for a sit down meal as the restaurants in our city are renowned for their slow service. Ben and Jerrys has finally arrived in Germany, at least in the cinema tuck shop so dessert was choc fudge brownie (diet starts today I promise). The film I found initially a bit confusing as we never saw Casino Royale so didn't really get the "Vespa" references (assume she was the previous bond girl who died/committed suicide). I find DC very cold and humourless as James Bond but the film was certainly action laden as always. All in all Z and I enjoyed the night.

Saturday morning was spent cooking in preparation for our guests who descended on us in the afternoon. Four children under four in a 112 sq meter flat and rotten weather outside. Needless to say it was as action packed as the Bond film if not quite as thrill laden. Last time these friends came to visit us is when Ciara started crawling, this time Enya started sitting "normally", up to now she has only sat in M-sitting (bum between her thighs). We'll have to have them around more often, me thinks. Their oldest boy thinks the girls are great and wants to "look after" them and cuddle with them the whole time, just as well as the friends are trying for their 3rd child. Saturday night ended late or early Sunday morning for the guys after another marathon whiskey tasting session.

Z was not happy when I got him up to help feed the girls Sunday morning at 8am, as a non drinker I'm afraid I'm not very sympathetic about the mornings after ;0). Sunday was more relaxed, the kids were calmer and after breakfast our friends left for their relatives. The girls took a 3 hour (!!) nap at midday as did Z and I crawled into bed with a good book too. Last night we took our first (and probably last) family bath, our bathtub is huge but even then is was a little crowded and the girls keep wanting to stand or crawl around the bath so that it feels even more full.

This morning we could all have slept in an hour longer but Z needed to go to work for 8am, and since we're just getting over a difficult spell* with Enya and feeding, we're trying to have 2 sets of hands for feeds as much as possible. Enya is eating really well for the last few days, of course life would be too easy if that was the end of the story, that's why we have twins....Ciara is now spitting out any fruit bits we give her eg bananas or fruit in yogurt. Needless to say she didn't enjoy her lunch of avo and banana. Oh well, Enya ate her share too, so at least I didn't have to throw it away.

*she has gone back on to anti reflux formula again and she immediately settled down with drinking and eating. The doc still doesn't want to know about her "reflux" and refuses to offer us any investigations/meds. We'd really hoped she had outgrown this, if it is even reflux, but no luck. Now we have to stick with the clumpy expensive formula :-P

7 Nov 2008

Shock

Yesterday I went grocery shopping with the girls by myself, NEVER AGAIN! Or at least not until they can walk by themselves. Our local store doesn't have twin carts and I needed to buy too much to take my buggy and a basket. So I had Ciara in the shopping cart and Enya tied to my front in a sling, you should have seen me trying to get Ciara into the cart while wearing Enya!! Of course there was no harness to help keep Ciara sitting, her latest trick is to try and stand/kneel/escape from any seat be it high chair or bath seat. She wanted my car keys to play with, but haha clever mom, I'd bought her keys with me for her to chew on. Unfortunately not a good twins mom as I'd only brought one toy with me so I landed up letting Enya have my shopping list to chew on. That worked well in the first shop, unfortunately by the time I reached the second shop the list was no longer legible, so a couple of items were forgotten (dispatched Z to get them, I wasn't going near a shop again). One question I have is why don't they make any babyfoods with the flavour of paper, my girls think books are for eating and Enya will bite, chew and swallow paper without choking or gagging.

By this time the girls were about an hour overdue for lunch, overdue for a nap and generally NOT happy, and my back was letting me know about the extra 8 kilos I was carrying, and wouldn't you know there was also a looooong queue at the till in the second shop. I think the other customers and the employees were as glad to see us leave as we were to go.

On the up side I'd bought a glass of baby food while shopping so I could feed the girls as soon as we got home. Sea fish and tagliatelle in broccoli cream sauce- tasted as disgusting as all jars of baby food do, but the girls ate all 200+g of it. Admittedly Enya refused at first (threw a temper tantrum), got put into bed to calm down and then got offered it again thinned with grain porridge. In the end she ate all of it without gagging once and at one stage was opening her mouth before I even brought the spoon near her face, progress! I hasten to add here there were loads of lumps in the food so can someone please explain this child to me! I will now be buying some jars of babyfood so I don't have to cook quite as much.

We have guests again this weekend so I'll have to do a cleaning blitz and make some treats for the kids, as well as that Z and I have date night tonight. We've agreed that we will go out once a month as a couple and spend a bit of time on us, as we as a couple are feeling the effects of parenthood. Tonight we are going to see the new 007 film IN ENGLISH so I'm really looking forward to it.

6 Nov 2008

Cuddles

Every morning when I go to get the Enya out of bed she leans in to me and gives me a big cuddle. During the day at odd intervals Enya will come crawling up to me, pull on my trouser legs until I lift her up and give me another cuddle. If I sit down on the floor she crawls onto my lap and pulls herself up into standing and gives me.. you got it another cuddle. I love this constant stream of affection, I used to always bug my family for hugs as a kid and it looks like Enya takes after me in this regard. Ciara on the other hand until recently expressed her affection with open mouthed kisses or by biting our noses, however in the last week she is also starting to lean in and rest her head on my shoulder for a quick cuddle. Double joy!!

Z has taught Enya a new trick: he asks "how big is Enya?", then she lifts both hands above her head and starts to laugh.It doesn't make a difference who asks the question she always responds with the same action. Too cute! We've tried it with Ciara as well, but she just doesn't get it yet.

For all that Ciara has always been the more vocal of the two, I have the feeling Enya will talk first. She is trying so hard to communicate, she will earnestly babble for minutes at a time pausing every so often to wait for a response from us. Ciara on the other hand started calling mama last week and appears to be slowly realising that when she says those syllables, she gets a quicker response.

I forgot to say we took part in another physio course this week, the good news is when I spoke to the physio she agreed that the neurologist had been talking out of her hat with regards to Enya's "tone issues". During the assessment the usual points were noted (poor abdominal muscle coordination leading to thoracolumbar lordosis and reduced pelvic stability) but a new point was asymmetry of the legs in standing and crawling. I had noticed the asymmetry myself (she stands with her left leg out to the side) but I'd thought that was just Enya's quirk, I guess not. Once again it was stated that Enya would not qualify for physio if she were not already in treatment as her gross motor skills are within 2 months of her actual age (12 and a half months to 13 and a half months). However as she has been in physio all her life pretty much, they would like to continue until the asymmetry is gone i.e. until she is walking at least. I know I've complained often enough about physio and I'm still not convinced that Bobath wouldn't offer extra stimulus but I will continue Vojta with Enya as long as necessary and by that I mean as long as I can see a need for it. A good thing during the assessment though was I saw Enya cruising on furniture for the first time ever. She has been standing for a while but doesn't walk along the furniture, she prefers to crawl the 2 steps to change position.

And lastly for today, Enya has finally got her vaccination after being cancelled twice. Unfortunately they said we've got to come back in 4-6 weeks for another set for both girls!

5 Nov 2008

Doing fine

Well we all survived yesterday in one piece although I'm taking a break from feeding Enya her bottle and meals when Z is home for the next few days. After the rant yesterday she did eat 200g!! of yoghurt at teatime so maybe I should flip out more often.

I ended up relieving my frustration by doing a major cook up, double batches of lentils and cauliflower cheese for the girls. I actually desperately need to stock up the freezer so I will be continuing the cook up this evening.

I have also made my own christmas mince for pies this year. One of the things I miss most about England is the traditional holiday treats, be it christmas pies, pudding or hot cross buns at Easter. We are going to be staying at home this festive season therefore to get the true holiday feeling I have to make my own, wish me luck!! I have now accepted Operation christmas dinner will probably only happen with Ciara but so what, Enya will still be at the table with the rest of us. Even if she can't eat everything she should be able to try some of the food and we can enjoy being a family and that, in the end, is what counts.

Lunch is fast approaching so let me go prepare for the next battle, wish me luck!

4 Nov 2008

frustration levels

We're going through another patch where Enya is being very difficult to feed. She threw up on Z last night and me this morning. Almost every meal now she is retching such that we clear the area around her "just in case". Initially we thought it was due to the texture but she retches even if it is completely smooth, then the thickness but again even if we make it very thin she will retch, size of the spoonful is also not the cause, SO WTF is it ?!? She also is taking longer and longer to swallow the spoonfuls she does accept in her mouth. I mean come on we have now been trying to introduce textures for almost 6 months, she has been eating solids for 8 months. When does this get easier? We're lucky to get her to eat 300g in a day, which I know in comparison to some is a lot but it is such a fight to get her to eat these 300g that I sometimes just skip a meal to avoid the stress and aggravation. Ciara continues to eat everything we give her and look for seconds which underlines how little Enya eats even more.

I'm still preparing all their meals myself but I'm thinking of stopping and going to jar foods as at least if I then throw away a half full bowl,it's not something I've spent hours preparing for her.

In case you're thinking well at least she is still drinking her milk, she isn't! I'm lucky to get 350ml of liquids in total down her in a day. She is back to being very difficult to bottle feed and sippy cups just don't do it for Enya. She will take max 3-4 sips from a normal beaker and then she refuses that too.

Z once said if I wanted to take a week away he'd happily look after the girls by himself, it's getting to the stage where I'm going to take him up on that offer. My frustration levels are rising with every meal and I've just put the girls to bed because to be honest I don't trust myself around Enya right now. I know intellectually that Enya is not doing this deliberately but that doesn't help in the middle of one of our feeding fights.

Unfortunately the chances of getting any competent help or advice is remote, the SLT at our local hospital was incompetent and beyond useless when we went to him for bottle feeding trouble, the ESKB (behavioural team) were not much better and our paediatrician doesn't see that we have a problem, " she'll eat when she is hungry" (she doesn't) and "in 2 years time she'll be as big as her sister" (ha die ha ha)are his idea of help.

I need a break from this!!

31 Oct 2008

Progress and setbacks

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The girls helping me with the ironing

Both girls are doing fantastically on the mobility front. Ciara is now constantly standing up alone and maintaining her balance for anywhere up to 30 seconds before she falls/lowers herself down to the ground. She also thinks its a great game to stand up and then fall onto mommy when mommy is on the floor- we can play that for 10minutes before I start to get sore from having 10 kilos landing on me! Enya usually comes to cuddle when we play this game which makes the game even more complicated for me! Enya is walking up and down the passage with either the lion or a chair and she is now managing it with mostly flat feet although we still notice that she is going up onto her left toes occasionally, usually when she is feeling off balance.

Enya walking with her lion, she gets really cross when she hits an obstacle which with her poor steering is often! Blast wouldn't you know, she's on her toes in this photo!

On that note I must say we had our appointment with the neurologist yesterday, the EEGs of both girls came back normal but then the doctor started going on about how could we stop Ciara's physio as she wasn't walking yet. Although Ciara is showing no abnormal reflexes and development is on target, she should still be getting physio until she walks!?! It got even better when she looked at Enya, suddenly she had high extensor tone in the legs and as she was standing on her toes (on an unstable surface I hasten to add) she required urgent physio and under no circumstances was I to think of stopping physio until she walked, probably longer. I had just told this doctor she stood on her toes when she was uncertain and when she was on the floor playing in standing a few seconds previously she'd had both feet flat on the ground but no, now she has to try make me panic. Needless to say I'm taking her words with a pinch (large handful) of salt and will continue to follow the advice of my paediatrician who is specialized in the development of children especially preemies. The EEGs were normal and that is all that counts.

Now I have to go make a pumpkin pie for the Halloween party a friend is throwing tonight and decide what I'm going to make out of the second half of the pumpkin -bread, soup or baby food. Before I go though I promised to post a picture of Enya's weird way of sucking her dummy so here it is:


Enya sucking her dummy her way, yes her lower lip is hooked over the dummy otherwise it doesn't stay in!

27 Oct 2008

Still sick

As the only healthy member of this family I think this is unfair.

Z didn't land up going to his dads after all. He did the grocery shopping for us on Saturday morning and just from that bit of exertion was pale, shaky and sweaty. For once he was sensible and agreed the 2 hour drive and then umpteen hours on his feet would be too much for him. I'm even more relieved that he didn't go as he has spent the last 2 days lying around, really not up for much at all, even putting a jacket on Ciara made him sweaty and shaky again. Anyway, he has 2 days leave now and hopefully will be fit for work on Wednesday.

Ciara has also gotten a very snotty nose, thank goodness we got her vaccinated last week as I doubt she'll be well by Enya's next tentative appointment next week, I'm just hoping Enya will be!

Enya has been practicing her walking and yesterday walked four laps of our entrance hall with her trusty lion, she even managed to keep her trunk fairly vertical which is a first. We go back to the neurologist for a EEG this week and she always is (brutally) honest about where C and E are developmentally so I'm interested to see what she says. We also have a preemie follow up in a couple of weeks to look forward to, you know how I enjoy reading the reports from those!!

24 Oct 2008

Roof work

Our landlords daughter lives on the floor above us and they are putting in a gable to increase the usable space in that flat. It all started on Tuesday when the scaffolding went up and now 3 days later they are nearly finished with the construction and are hoping to put the tiles on the roof today. I'm very surprised how quickly this has all happened and how relatively quiet it has all been. The only disturbance to us has been that we have to keep moving or cars out the way (Z is still on sick leave). Usually I don't mind but when they came knocking at 8:30 this morning while I was trying to feed Enya I was a bit abrupt and told them it would take 15 minutes before I could move the car. Not 5 minutes later, someone else came to the door to ask that we move the car again. I'd been trying to let Z sleep in this morning as he's not been sleeping well but I'd just got Enya sucking well on the bottle so I had to yell to Z to get the door, I was fuming! As I've mentioned before once Enya is sucking/accepting the bottle we try not to take it out her mouth otherwise she will refuse it.

I've been polite and done what ever they've asked up to now, when I say I need a bit of time before I can move my car can they not give me 15 minutes! I would have left my car on the street side last night if they hadn't blocked the space.

I know in the scheme of things this is a minor problem but I wanted to vent and having unloaded, I'm feeling much better :0). The renovations will be continuing until next month I've been told so I'd better get used to this.

Z is off this weekend to help his dad out for another festival (Kermis- to celebrate the completion of the village church) so I'm home alone with the girls this weekend again. This time I'm looking forward to the time with them as having managed once I know I can cope. Fear of the unknown and all that. Before anyone points out if Z is well enough to help his dad, shouldn't he be at work. It wouldn't matter if Z was desperately ill, he said he'd help his dad so he'll follow through on that. Family is very important to Z, if only his family was as supportive of us, but that is another story and wil be told another time.

23 Oct 2008

who needs walkers

Who needs walkers when there are chairs around. C and E have been taking our kitchen chairs for a walk for the last few weeks. I get up to go do something and then have to chase after my chair before I can sit down again. Unfortunately can't get any good photos of this as the monsters abandon whatever they were doing and crawl towards me every time they see the camera.

Enya got out of having her vaccinations again yesterday as she has caught Z's cold. Although Ciara will probably get it too, yesterday she was healthy so I grabbed the opportunity and took her to the doc. As Z is at home on sick leave anyway I only took Ciara out for the doc visit and it was SO much easier only having one baby to look after. I had her in the baby sling and it was so nice to be able to cuddle with her during our outing and not be wheeling a huge pram around. She was really good about getting stuck too, thankfully this time she only got one injection. After that we quickly did some food shopping and then it was home to the sickies.

To give Z some peace and quiet I met up with a friend in the city for coffee (or hot chocolate) in the afternoon. This time I brought both girls with and it was so funny to see all the attention we got. In the morning with just one baby no one gave us a second look, but with both girls suddenly we were getting pointed out and cooed at from all sides. If the statistics are right and 1 in 35 births are twins then surely people should be used to seeing them! The attention isn't mean and I don't object to people admiring my (if I say so myself) gorgeous daughters, I just find it astonishing how much attention something so commonplace arouses. I shudder to think what it must be like for parents of triplets (or for the quintuplets that were born here 2 years ago!!).

Today Z is feeling better so I'll try get the girls out again this afternoon to give him more quiet time but in the meantime it's lunch time here and I have 2 very hungry babies to feed.

20 Oct 2008

Computer trouble

sorry I've not posted in so long but my computer is in the process of dying. It refuses to recharge on occasion or when I plug it in the mouse goes wild! Today it is however cooperating so I can update;0).

Both girls have got a third tooth now, Ciara is proving to be a bit of an exception and has got a top lateral incisor instead of a central one (at least I hope so or she is going to need lots of expensive orthodontic treatment). She is also starting to let go of support in standing and can maintain her balance for a few seconds before falling over. On Friday I even saw her stand up completely unaided in the middle of the bathroom mat, she immediately fell over but she is trying!!

Enya continues to be unsteady in standing, and is not attempting to cruise on the furniture. The physio remarked to me last week that we're going to have trouble with her as she is "hyperactive" i.e. unable to be still for a minute. Both Z and I have noticed this already, even when she is eating her feet are drumming on the stool. She loves music and I was wondering if I should register her for music classes in the hope that this will help soothe her down. She only has three teeth but has started grinding them none the less, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I can't stand that sound or the sound of people chewing food. as you may have guessed the radio is on during mealtimes in my house ;-).

I have started researching Kindergartens in our area, we're hoping to start them when they turn 3 but as the places are hard to come by you have to register early. For at least one of the local KG we are already too late to get places to start in 2 years time! I had briefly thought about registering them to start next year but none of the Kindergartens in our area take children from 2 years. In a way I'm glad about that as it gives me a good reason for staying home and spending time with them!

Other than that we had a couple of firsts last week. First time on a train and let me tell you german punctuality is not a myth but they need to think about disabled access a bit more. We landed lifting our twin buggy about half a meter down to the platform on the way home. They also only have one coach where you have room for a pram. Unfortunately on our way home from Cologne we were late so we had to jump into the first coach and the wheelchair/pram coach was the last coach in the train. There was no way to go through the train with our pram without taking the girls out and collapsing it and there was no way I was going to let my girls crawl on the filthy floor while I carried the pram through. We didn't want to get off and swap at the stations as they didn't stop long and as I mentioned lifting the prams in and out was difficult. In the end my mom landed up with spectacular bruises on her arms from manhandling the pram in and out the train and I spent the next 2 days with a nasty headache from stress! Another first is the girls had their first go in a swing, I took them for a walk yesterday to get them out the house so Z could finish doing our overdue tax return in peace and we went past a park. I saw the swing and thought we could try it, the girls LOVED it. I'll have to start taking them out for more walks along that route, maybe it'll help with my weight loss as well ;0). We have also gone back to our original pram where they sit next to each other as our home pram as the borrowed pram where they are one behind the other does not work for us. Whoever sits behind always kicks the back of the seat in front and leans over the side of the pram so she can see what is ahead. I'm glad we borrowed this pram and didn't buy it!!

I said I would publish a few pictures of Enya in her new shoes but given the computer problems I'll just post a link to where I bought them.

If I don't post in the next few days please forgive me, my computer will have completely given up the ghost (or I'll have chucked it against the wall in which case it will be beyond resurrection).

PS Enya has nearly cracked 8kg :0)

15 Oct 2008

AWOL

My mom is here to visit and we're having a great time. Cologne yesterday, multiple walks today, a trusted babysitter (after all if she raised my sisters and me she must know what she is doing, right!?!), I'm loving it.

11 Oct 2008

Double Darth Vader

Okay I take back what I said about the preemie jackets not selling, all four of them are gone! If you just make them enough of a bargain somebody will buy!! About half my stuff is gone and the rest I will put away in the hopes that I manage to convince a certain husband that a third child would be nice;o).

C and E have taken to doing Darth Vader impressions, don't ask me how this started but they think this is great fun. Last night while chatting to my sister on the phone Enya started and before long Ciara was breathing hoarsely back. Usually by the end of the conversation we are all three taking turns at it while the others laugh.

As I mentioned before Enya delights in pushing objects around the house, up to now it's been our bar stools or folded up mattress, but now she has a lion toy to push around. J, my very good friend, gave us this toy from her daughter and the girls seem to love it. Ciara can walk really well pushing the lion except she doesn't steer too well. Enya keeps falling to her knees as it runs away with her but she doesn't give up, she gets up and tries again. Now if only Ciara wouldn't keep bouncing her and stealing the lion away, Enya might soon be walking better.

10 Oct 2008

Hanging my head

I was so adamant that Enya's drinking was not due to teeth...until she bit my finger this morning and there was a sharp edge where her top right incisors would be!! In my defence she doesn't let us examine her mouth/gums/teeth, it's more a kind of quick peek when she laughs.

Anyhoo we now have 3 teeth for Enya and 2 teeth for Ciara (and before you ask, yes I did feel Ciara's gum line, she doesn't mind fingers in her mouth).

climbing step

So while I was fighting with my computer yesterday, things got suspiciously quiet around the house. When I went to check on what the little rugrats had gotten up to, I found Ciara standing on our folded travelling cot mattress at the window sill eating the gravel from one of our pot plants!

We knew that Ciara could climb a single step in standing, if she had something to hold on to (in this case a radiator) but until today she only has climbed proper steps. The mattress is soft and hard to balance on, so I really didn't expect her to manage it. Enya has also taken to pushing objects around the house in standing and I expect she pushed the mattress to the wall where Ciara could climb on it.

Thank goodness our next security gate has arrived so we can now block the girls out of the lounge, it seems despite my best efforts they still can get up to too much mischief in that room.

I'm in the middle of sorting out babys clothes to be sold at a bazaar on the weekend. I've discovered the preemie box and can't get over how tiny the clothes are. I can remember when these outfits drowned the girls and now they seem so minute. I'll probably take the preemie stuff to our local hospital as I can't see it selling. We've 4 preemie jackets which we were given, that the girls never even wore as by the time they were discharged they were too big for the jackets.

Looking at the newborn clothing is making me very broody though.

9 Oct 2008

Enya's new shoes

Poor little Enya has sweaty feet just like her dad. Before anyone thinks I'm an judgemental mom, I'm not the only one who has noticed this, the physio has also commented on it.

Anyhoo, up to now we've had Enya in a pair of Addidas trainers to help stop her from slipping on our tile floors but this resulted in VERY smelly feet. Almost as foul smelling as when we still had the sats probed stuck on her feet! So I grabbed the chance to order a pair of Krabbelschuhe (crawling shoes-soft leather slip ons with a rough leather non slip sole) and they finally arrived this morning. Most important they fit and Enya really seems to like them. When I first put them on she had to inspect them thoroughly but now she is crawling around and pulling up to standing as usual, although they offer less support than the trainers did. They are probably better for her feet too asnow it's just as though she was barefoot ;0).

Staying with Enya, we've recently noted she has her own way of sucking her dummy. We put it in right way up and she immediately turns it upside down and hooks the concave side under her bottom lip. I have no idea why she does this but every time she has a dummy this is how she is sucking it.

I had some photos but they got lost somewhere between my phone and the laptop and right now I'm too irritated to try again. I've spent the last half an hour trying to find the blasted things! I'm going to make the girls lunch and will try again later.

8 Oct 2008

Busy little bees

Weren't we busy little bees?




On another note, I've just cancelled physio and the doctors appointment for today as both girls are running a temperature (38 C). The doctors appointment was for a couple of vaccinations but they are not urgent, we have a new appointment in a couple of weeks. The girls have not reacted too dramatically to any vaccination to date and we want to keep it that way so we'll wait.

I'm dropping another bottle from our schedule as Enya is fighting hard during bottle feeds. We're hoping to increase the amounts of the 2 remaining bottle feeds to make up some of the difference and we'll try yogurts to make up the rest. I'm also offering her a sippy cup with water during the day which she is drinking from. Today at midday they had bran muffins with homemade jam, which were a little dry so both girls drank really well with lunch. Operation Christmas Dinner is progressing!!

7 Oct 2008

Woodpile

Good news first, Z made it home late Sunday night and we had 3 out of 3 good nights with the girls sleeping through, on Monday morning they only woke up at 8am. They've been sleeping 13 hours at night since we dropped a nap during the day. I know it won't last, but it is allowing me to catch up on uninterrupted sleep so I'll enjoy it while I can.

Not so good news, Enyas drinking strike continues and she is getting picky about her solids again. It's been a while since she has had a full out strike so I suppose we are due, I can only hope it won't last long. Ciara in the meantime is making great strides forward with solids, she manages everything we've given her recently and our next attempt will be some very tender meat.

Z's dad came to visit yesterday to deliver our wood and pick up our old sofa, he was supposed to be here around midday but only arrived about 4pm. The bad thing about this whole business is that the wood was ordered on the condition that it was ready to be burnt (cut, chopped and dried) which it wasn't. We spent 3 hours last night and then another 5 hours today unloading, chopping and then stacking wood. Thank goodness Lee, Z's dad's girlfriend came with yesterday or we would never unloaded all the wood yesterday (she babysat while I worked). Z landed up having to take an extra day leave to get all the wood chopped.

For some reason Z doesn't trust me with an axe, but then that's not surprising given that he often will take a knife out my hand when I'm cooking. He says I hold the knife awkwardly, and given that he has an apprenticeship as butcher behind him, he is very quick with slicing and dicing. Sorry I digress. The girls slept very well for their naps today again which meant I could help Z with the stacking and by 3pm it was all done. Just in time as at 4pm we had visitors coming;-). I only got a photo of the trailer, tomorrow I will get a photo of our wood supply for the winter. We've got about 5 cubic meters to see us through, hopefully we'll have a mild winter so that we have enough. In the meantime our wood burner is lit and we are comfortably baking in the lounge.

5 Oct 2008

Home alone day 3

Well my 3 days alone has turned into 4. Z phoned to say he will probably be coming home tomorrow instaed of tonight as he wants to be there for the evening rush. He thinks he will be driving early tomorrow morning but I don't expect him before midday at the earliest. We are supposed to be getting a load of wood delivered to his dad's place which his dad will bring down to us when he comes to collect our old sofa. As the wood is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, I know Z will stay to help unload and reload it;-).

On the home front things are going really well. For the first time in ages I have had 2 consecutive nights of uninterrupted sleep. Not only that the girls are 2 hours into their morning nap and still asleep!! Feeding has gone well, Ciara is drinking her bottle without me having to do more than hand it to her and is eating textured foods happily now. With Enya I'm back to walking while she drinks her bottle as if I sit she refuses her bottle (never thought I'd say it but thank goodness she doesn't weigh more!!).

Yesterday was great fun as they played beautifully with one another (except when they were hitting each other or trying to steal the others toy). They both love to play with their reflection in the mirror. THeir latest trick is they try and lick their reflection! I've seen Ciara licking the floor as well (note to self: need to start cleaning more often!). The joys of tiled flooring! Enya also found a slug to terrorize- it had obviously found it's way inside through our front door and I only noticed after a couple of minutes that Enya was very absorbed in something by the front door and when I went to check she was playing with a slug. It must have taken me about 5 minutes to get the slug slime off her hands and I don't know if she had the slug in her mouth as well. To be honest I don't even want to think about that *shudder*. I thought it was only boys that played with slugs and insects and ate dirt etc. ;o)

On that note I'm off to go and wash my floors down, hope eveyone has a great Sunday.

3 Oct 2008

Home alone day 1

So far so good. We three had a pj day- I haven't had one of those for ages and it is another first for Ciara and Enya. Z left around nine this morning so it hasn't even been a complete day by myself yet.

Ciara landed up going to bed after only about 3 spoons of dinner, so I'm expecting her to wake up in the early hour of the morning for an extra bottle. At least Enya ate well, bottling remains difficult!

2 Oct 2008

I want a new law past:

Babies that refuse to sleep during the day don't get to be all crabby come dinner time.

With effect immediately!!

The tale of two sitters

You know for non indentical twins C and E are on very much the same schedule! On Monday we caught Enya up on her knees (M-sitting), not holding onto anything. Not quite the classical sitting position but she had none the less got herself in this position without any help and was using both her hands to play, so I'll take it as independent sitting. Ciara took the classical route, we've known for the last few weeks it was coming as she was propping herself up in sitting but her hand was getting ever nearer her bottom. Surprise surprise on Monday evening she managed to sit without her hands as well.

Both girls have been able to sit if placed for a while already but I was waiting for them to be able to get in this position by themselves (in Germany we are discouraged from placing children in sitting, when the back muscles and balance are strong/good enough they will do it themselves).

I'm dreading this weekend. I'm going to be all by myself with the girls for the long weekend. Z has to go help his father in his home town about 2 hours drive away. Z's dad is having an Oktoberfest at his restuarant this weekend and as Z will be pulling beer the whole day (and night) and won't be able to help with the girls, I've opted to stay home where everything is set up for us. This is the first time I'm going to be alone with the girls overnight without any possibility of help (the old no family near by, and friends all working or with their own families), I know it'll all be fine the girls are not difficult but I still dread the mealtimes where they get both bottle and solids!

30 Sep 2008

300mls!!

I think we may be on the verge of another growing spell x2. Ciara drank 300ml (10oz!!) a couple of days ago for her afternoon bottle and a few hours later another 170ml. I've bumped her afternoon feeds consistently up to 240ml (8oz). Enya on the other hand is verging on a bottle strike. Once again we are battling to get her to drink her whole bottle but at least she is usually drinking half of it without complaining (90ml-3oz). So what with the overeating/under eating on one side and the sleep strike on the other side, I'm thinking we may have a growth spurt on the horizon. It can't be teeth as I can't feel any bumps on the gum lines.

The down side to Ciara drinking so much in the afternoons is that she keeps soaking through her nappy overnight. In the mornings her babygro, vest and sleeping bag were all soaking. When I weighed her nappy (yes I am that weird, I wanted to see how much she could produce overnight;-)) it weighed well over 340g, that meant her nappy weighed almost half as much as she did when she was born!! That made me feel very odd. A little aside here, our girls are some of the thankfully few people in the world who will someday weigh around 100 times their birth weight- that makes me feel odder! Anyway the solution to our soaking problem has been that we have changed our evening routine around. We used to put the girls straight to bed after dinner i.e. nappy change and pyjamas used to happen before dinner as Ciara was so tired during dinner that she could barely keep her eyes open to eat. Now that she is needing (a lot!!) less sleep, we do everything after dinner and so far this has remedied the leakage.

The plus side to the new evening routine is the girls get to stay at the table while we eat, our plan is still to have them eating christmas dinner with us this year! They seem to really enjoy this time as they love screeching at each other across the table and very often one or the other will start laughing which sets the other one off. I love the feeling of being a family together at the dinner table, now we just got to work on getting the girls self feeding so we can all eat together.

29 Sep 2008

Sleep strike

We have 2 little girls who have suddenly decided that 3 naps a day are just too much. Right now I'm lucky if I get them to nap once a day for an hour. What happened to my daughters who went to sleep as soon as I laid them in their cots? To make it even worse they are also waking multiple times a night. We try to leave them and let them settles themselves but I usually land up having to go in at least once a night to give someone a dummy.

On the dummy front we have always restricted dummies to sleeping times, or if we are out and the girls are very restless we also try appease them with a dummy. Lately though the girls have taken to filching them out their cots when they are playing in their room. The result is I'm now very careful when I get them up to position their dummies out of reach. The next step is to take the dummies completely away but as we are having high jinks during the night I'm not yet ready to take this step. The dummy removal is further delayed as Enya has taken to sucking her thumb when awake, I can't count the number of times in the last week where I've removed her thumb from her mouth. She has been sucking her thumb off and on for a while but suddenly in the last 2 weeks it is always in her mouth. My worry is when we remove the dummy she will suck her thumb at night as well. At least a dummy I can remove, a thumb though??

A friend sent me the Jericho DVDs for my birthday so I'm going to be very diligent and watch them while doing all the ironing that has piled up in the last week. I think I need a dryer so I don't have to do so much ironing. Either that or find someone to do the ironing for me ;-)

24 Sep 2008

Car seat update

We tried the new car seat and I love it!! It doesn't even take a minute to get Ciara strapped in and she really enjoyed being able to see more than in her old infant seat. The new car seat lifts her up enough that she can see out the window and for once she didn't complain everytime we slowed down or stopped. At this age distraction is the name of the game!

If anyone is interested, we bought the Romer King TS plus in red.

*Sigh* my little babies are growing up so fast

23 Sep 2008

graduating to a "big girls" carseat

Today I went out and bought Ciara a front facing car seat. She is over 9kg (20lb 5.5oz to be exact) and I'm sick of lugging the baby seats everywhere. Unfortunately it will be a while before Enya graduates to the "big girls" car seats as she is still around 7.6kg (16.7lb). We haven't tried out the new car seat yet but it seems so much easier to get in and out of than the infant car seats. With only one infant car seat lying around the house now we are going to have fights, both girls love to play around with the straps and clasp on it ;-).

We also attended the Vojta course today with Enya being used yet again as a model/practice object. I like to participate in these training courses as:
1) I know as a physio how important hands on practice is, preferably on real patients, as it is only through experience that you learn to do the techniques properly. I'd rather they practiced under the eagle eye of Mrs W.(our physio and the instructor) than on some hapless kid out in the community.
2) By watching I pick up quite a few tips on correct techniques and tricks to use when Enya tries to weasel her way out of a position.
3) They always do a very thorough assessment and discuss all the problems identified in just as much detail.

Unfortunately today it hit me hard. We were hoping that Enya would be finishing up with PT soon, but the problems identified today make that unlikely. On a gross motor level she has some patterns of movement equivalent to her ACTUAL age i.e. 13 months, BUT she is being held back by her poor abdominal tone which means that her rotation is limited and she has an extreme lumbar lordosis (hollow back) in standing and crawling. This is impacting on her crawling, stability in standing and even on the shape and positioning of her feet (narrow feet always pointing outwards). We have been working on her abdominals for what seems like forever now and it seems to me that it is extremely unlikely we will fix this problem in 3-5 weeks like was originally suggested.

I know I have lots to be thankful for considering where we started from, at the beginning of treatment both girls were considered very high risk for CP, but after a year of daily Vojta torture sessions I'm more than ready for a break!

This is exactly like just before the discharge from hospital: when people started talking about discharge, what was routine became unbearable and torturous. The final weeks dragged depressingly slowly by. I'm filled with the same kind of impatience and frustration now. I just want it to be finally over so I can enjoy my daughters without having to dread the daily torture sessions.

22 Sep 2008

Weekend work

Z finished building the frame for our woodshed this weekend, which kept him out of mischief but also meant I had the girls all to myself while he was busy. I love weekends when there are 2 people for feeds, which means no temper tantrums because someone is having to wait.

You'd think after all this time they would be used to waiting their turn but no, not in our case. Ciara can hold her own bottle but she gets bored near the end and trys to roll over so I land up having to corral her and reposition the bottle, Enya still needs assistance with her drinking. I'm contemplating doing another trial of unthickened milk with her as she is now drinking water from a beaker with lunch without any ill effects. I'd love to get her off the Anti reflux formula as it is very expensive and difficult to mix.

In other news our new couch has just arrived and looks fantastic in our lounge, my only worry is that it is much paler than I remember:
2 small children + 1 pale couch = lots of work for mom
Our last room is now finished, not bad considering we moved here nearly 2 years ago (and spent the month before we moved in renovating). I love our flat, it lacks just one extra room to be perfect- a guest room/study.

19 Sep 2008

Do we, don't we...

..try for a third child?

Z and I have been having some long discussions about this lately. I adore my girls and now that they are no longer babies and are demanding in a different way that is somehow also loads of fun, I would love another baby. I want a normal pregnancy resulting in a normal birth and hopefully a healthy full term baby. Z on the other hand is still in shock after all we've been through this past year and is hesitating/resisting.

He is terrified that we would have another preemie not least because the chance that we'd have multiples again remains. In order to stimulate my ovaries enough to ovulate I require injectible hormones and its impossible to control the dose so that only one egg is produced. Both times we got a response to the drugs I had 3 "mature" follicles (>18mm) and multiple smaller ones. If I'd had more than 3 big'uns they would have had to cancel the cycle, as in Germany they are not allowed to proceed with the IUI if there are more than 3 mature follicles (likewise they are not allowed to put back more than 3 embryos with IVF, to reduce the chances of high order multiples). The cycle which resulted in C and E started off as triplets, but one of the embryos didn't develop past a sac. So when they speak about a 2% chance of triplets I get a bit antsy! I'm not comfortable with the idea of embryo reductions. Our other option would be IVF and single embryo transfer but that is a lot more invasive, expensive, has a very uncertain outcome and I'm not sure if our medical insurance would allow it, given that we got pregnant with an IUI last time.

I was also on modified bedrest from week 7 of my pregnancy and if the next pregnancy was as difficult I would not be able to go onto bedrest with 2 toddlers at home, we have no family that lives close and could give me a hand. The doctors at the hospital have already said if I get pregnant again I would get a cerclage at week 16 especially if I had another twin pregnancy (of course if they'd listened to my obstetrician I would have got that with C and E as well). So that is another con to consider.

We are also not getting any younger which adds time pressure to the whole decision. Z asks if would I cope with 3 babies under 3, but at the same time he doesn't want to be looking after a newborn baby when he's over 40 (he doesn't want to be the dad that's mistaken always for the grandpa!). So ideally it needs to happen in the next 2 years, if we're going to try again.

I think I dealt with the events of this last year a bit differently to Z. I found support on the internet with a preemie moms group and many of the moms there have had another child since their preemie. Most of their pregnancys were very strictly monitored but have ended happily in full term or near full term births. This gives me courage that we could also be lucky next time. Isn't it strange, for most people a normal pregnancy is taken for granted or even in some cases an unwanted burden, while for others it is the most precious gift one could ever receive.

Decisions decisions...we need to think more about this one.

18 Sep 2008

what a year!

Can you believe we've come from this....



...to this in about one year!


Sorry about the shoddy shot but I only had my mobile phone within reach last night ;-)

life goes on

Z has gone back to work today and the girls have decided they don't need naps anymore. I am writing this in the kitchen while listening to C and E jabbering to each other from their respective cots. I've been in 2-3 times already to rescue Enya who keeps pulling up to standing and then is too frightened to get back down. I'll give them another 10 minutes and then give it up as a lost cause, hopefully they'll take a VERY long midday nap instead!

C and E are pulling up on everything right now, Ciara even manages single steps. We have a podest around our bath tub and last night while I was bathing Enya, Ciara stood up and then holding onto the wall (she couldn't quite reach the bath tub rim) she stepped up onto the podest. I can't remember the last time I jumped so quickly to the rescue. I think I'll have to buy a second bath ring so they can be in one place. I am usually concentrating so hard on the baby in the bath that the other munchkin always manages to get in to mischief- unpack drawers, eat soil, denude plants, whatever.

OK the terrors have been sprung from baby jail and are presently playing in their room together. That is one of our latest developments, they now play together. Usually this involves someone doing something and the other copying or stealing the toy, but they do look for each other and play side by side. I've just had to go rescue Enya again as she'd pulled up on the outside of the cot this time and couldn't get down. Ciara, thank goodness, has mastered getting herself down and she doesn't even always plomps to get down!

On the feeding front Enya finally seems to be tolerating a bit of texture in her food, we tried butternut risotto which went down a treat and she only gagged once right at the end (no vomit!!). We've also tried a slice of bread with a smear of homemade jam which also was a success. Enya's chewing has definitely improved so maybe my dietician friend is right and they will be joining us for christmas dinner! I'm now contemplaring buying some placemats with suckers for them to eat from as our highchairs don't have trays. Bowls or plates are a waste of time as our normal placemats ;-).

Last but not least how long do runny noses last, it's been over a week and we all have it. No coughing or sore throats just runny noses and sneezing. Enough already!