31 Aug 2008

Birthday photos

Ciara sucking her fingers

Enya sucking her killer whale

Ciara crawling

a reminder where we were 9 short months ago (Enya on the left, newborn clothing)

blogging hiatus over again

Sorry that it's been so long since I've updated. I've been enjoying the first few weeks of the girls' second year. Z has paternity leave for the next while (gotta love the German social system!!) so I've got help at home and things are finally getting done.

We've changed the girls to only 3 bottle feeds a day (170ml ~8oz a feed) which seems to be agreeing with Enya. She is not fighting the feeds at all right now and has put on a grand 280g this week. Ciara as always gobbles down her feeds both solids and liquid and is heading for the 75th percentile weight wise (Enya is heading away from the 3rd percentile towards the 9th!!!). I should add the percentiles are for their adjusted age.

We had our one year assessment with the paediatrician last week and he was astonished by Ciara. She is crawling and climbing everything. She even demonstrated bear walking (walking on hands and feet) over a meter for the doctor. He said she has no abnormal reactions anymore and has given us the all clear to quit physio with her. I think he was quite shocked when I told him she was crawling everywhere, I had to put her on the ground so he could see for himself- she is in the normal range for crawling for her corrected age which he said given her extreme prematurity was surprising.

Enya is also doing well, she is army crawling around. Today for the first time she army crawled the whole way down our passage to find us. OK, I admit I was sitting at the end egging her on, but she still covered the whole distance (~5m) by herself. We have caught her a couple of times making the motions of crawling properly, however the most she has managed to crawl up to now has been about a meter. The important bit though is: she is trying to crawl and I doubt it will be the 2 months the doctor suggested before she is crawling all over. I have to admit as much as I've bitched about the Vojta therapy it has been worth it (but I still can't wait to quit with Enya too!!)

Both girls are pulling up on everything, Enya onto her knees, Ciara all the way onto her feet. Their favourite pull up objects are my legs or the musical table they got for their birthday. Unfortunately with our tiled floors they can only pull up when supervised but they don't seem to understand that ;-). The toy therefore spends most of the time turned on it's side and we can no longer leave them in a room unsupervised (so much for my babyproofing- who knew they could pull up on pot plants!) even for a minute.

Now you are all generally up to date with the happenings in the House of Z so I wish you all a good nigh and I'll continue tomorrow.

Next installment includes a 14 hour sleep story.....

22 Aug 2008

still alive

We're all still alive and well, just been a busy week (good busy thank goodness). My other sister is here to visit until next week so I won't be posting until after she goes. I'm going to use the opportunity of free entertainment for the girls and try and get some more meals in the freezer.

We obviously have been very neglectful parents here as Z had both girls on a blanket on the grass (normally we stay on the terrace with the girls) and it took over an hour for the girls to move off the blanket onto the grass. Usually it takes them less than a minute to leave the blanket when on concrete. Of course they then whinge and complain because the concrete is so rough but it doesn't scare them, unlike grass. Z spent about 5 minutes trying to get Ciara to touch a daisy growing in the grass, of course when she finally realised that the daisy wouldn't hurt her she yanked off the head and tried to eat it. I fear her philosophy is going to be..what can't hurt me must be edible. Now I just need to convince them to leave my house plants alone, that is the only problem with the increased mobility right now, they both keep attacking the pot plants.

We also had a big dinner party with all Z's work colleagues last night. Once again we were really lucky with the weather as we had it out on our terrace. Thank goodness that now concludes all the obligatory celebrations for the girls' first year. Hard to believe that a year ago we weren't even sure if we would have a baby to bring home from the hospital and now we have 2 beautiful baby girls who, as my sister said today, bring a smile to everyones faces when they see them.

17 Aug 2008

quick birthday update

We had a fantastic birthday day, the weather was fantastic and the house was full. The girls were spoiled although they were more interested in eating the wrapping paper than playing with the new toys. They still haven't received a present from us but Z and I couldn't agree on a gift, so now I get to choose it all by myself. My little sister is here to visit so at least I get her advice/help.

Enya has recovered from her bug although we nearly landed up back in the Kinderklinik with her on Saturday as she developed a rash on her trunk. It wasn't an emergency but I couldn't get hold of the after hours paediatrician and I was worried. Thankfully it faded a lot by the time she woke from her midday nap so we managed to avoid that visit. Now I'm just waiting for Ciara to start showing the symptoms!

14 Aug 2008

A year ago today continuation continued.....

After suffering 48 hours of unrelenting heat with the stupid AE stockings on(our hospitals have no air conditioning and it was a stinking hot August) and not been allowed out of bed or to wash my hair, I finished the last bottle of the super duper expense tocolytic med on the Tuesday midday. At about 2pm I noticed a slight pulling in my abdomen and after it happened for the third time in less than 20 minutes I called a nurse and told her. Hey ho next thing I knew I was being wheeled for the umpteenth time down the corridor to the labour unit to be hooked up to the monitors. This time I stayed on the unit. By the time Z came from work at 5pm I was back on the terbutaline and having full on contractions. By 6pm the neonatologist had been in to see us, 60% chance of survival with high risk of disability/brain damage, as had the anaesthetist to prep for an emergency c-section.

The consultant obstetrician who I liked and trusted was not in, instead the chief of Gynaecology was on call and would have done the c-section that night. After discussing it with him and between ourselves we decided to wait until morning as
a) then the doctor we liked and trusted doing the operation
b) perhaps the drugs would kick in and the labour could be stopped
c) the girls were monitored and according to the monitors were stable (most important) we wanted to give them as much time in situ as possible.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, it was a horrendous night as I bled heavily the whole night, the contractions were unrelenting (I know it was probably only a taste of what real childbirth is like, but believe me it was enough!) and if we'd let him operate on the Tuesday night Enya may have had an easier start. On the other hand they had warning that there were micropreemie twins on the list for the next morning which meant they could prepare and get two experienced neonatologists there for the delivery.

In any even this was the worst night of my life and lead to a period of my life that, looking back, I don't know how I got through it. It changed me and still is changing me. I don't think anyone can understand what it is like to live through NICU with a micropreemie/critically ill baby unless they have been there. I would not wish it on my worst enemy, no one should have to live through that. Even writing about it has got my heart racing and my fingers trembling.

Enough of the past now, looking forward. The birthday cake is baked, the decorations are hung, now we just have to hope for good weather so we can enjoy the party outside. We're supposed to be having a BBQ and the forecast is not good!

Ok sick then

Z took her off to the ER last night after she spent the evening just lying on her tummy, not even lifting her head when we called her name. Despite paraCetamol her temperature was consistently over 39C. Diagnosis was viral infection, ?site and only symptomatic treatment ie to keep the fever down and try keep her drinking (ha ha Enya drinking!) On the plus side she is doing much better today, she only developed a fever this afternoon and didn't rise above 38.7 C. She was also almost back to her usual cheery playful self, thank goodness! Although she still wants lots of cuddles and carrying which is not normal.

Ciara has started crawling, yesterday she only managed 1-2 movements before collapsing back on to her stomach today 4-6. Up to now she has only moved forward by going up on her hands and then pulling both knees together towards her hands before collapsing down on to her tummy again, so it's great that she is now co ordinating hand/opposite knee movements. Hopefully she keeps going and doesn't let it slide like she has in the past i.e. a milestone achieved and then forgets it for a few weeks before achieving it again.

13 Aug 2008

Sick or teeth

Temperature of 39 C, vomited back her lunch after one spoon of veg (ie about half the bottle she'd just drunk) and as miserable as sin. Every time I put Enya down and try to get started on the huge list of jobs for today she's started to cry. She will only let herself be comforted by me picking her up and rocking and stroking her. The sling is not good enough, she cried when I tried that to free up my hands for the aforementioned chores.

What do you think teeth or sick?

PS temperature down to 37.7 C after giving her infant paraCetamol.

12 Aug 2008

A year ago today continued.....

It was weird. This morning at 6am Ciara started screaming although she still had her dummy in her mouth. She wanted out her bed, she quietened as soon as I entered but everytime I tried to leave she started screaming again.

A year ago at 6am I was being wheeled into the OT for an emergency cerclage as during the night I'd had heavy bleeding and the the news from the US exam was not good (bulging of the membranes into the upper cervix). I don't remember much of the day as I was on tocolytics and didn't react well to them, they landed up putting me on the super expensive reserve meds as they thought I had an allergic reaction to the terbutaline. I think I reacted to them flushing through a megadose of terbutaline when they put the antibiotics through the same IV line!

Enya's tooth is finally through although she doesn't allow us to inspect her pride and joy, unlike Ciara. We started playing with toothbrushes yesterday, Enya allows us to brush her gums, Ciara grabs the brush and then puts it backwards in her mouth. As I was at the dentist anyway yesterday I had a chat about when and how we go about intro to teeth cleaning. Her recommendaton was let them play with the toothbrush, chewing on the brush is also going to have a cleaning effect. When the teeth are properly through the gum start with a drop of toothpaste on the brush as the floride in the toothpaste will help their teeth but they will swallow it (babies can't spit out) so restrict the amount on the toothbrush.

11 Aug 2008

Relaxation corner

Well it's finally finished, my relaxation corner. My bookcases are in order and my rocking chair with footstool is also in situ. Now we just need our new couch and our woodburner to come and the final room in our flat is complete.

I also had my birthday a couple of weeks ago and my darling Z bought me a "Siegerlanderhoehen" ring, Siegerland being the district we live in and the outline of the ring forms the borders of the district. I was really surprised as we'd seen it months ago and I'd liked it but then not thought anymore about it. Z tracked the jeweller down and bought the ring for me, isn't he a sweety ;-)

A while ago I posted that I still didn't feel like the girls were really mine, I'm happy to say that has changed although I still have to pinch myself that these 2 beautiful beings are really there and that I'm not dreaming. I find they are also a lot more "fun" now. They interact with us and each other and we can really see how the personalities are continuing to develop. Ciara is no longer as irritable as she was, she no longer reacts negatively to strange surroundings, rather she is very curious. Enya is becoming very chatty, her latest syllable is dada, which pleases Z. I keep repeating mama, but no joy yet :-(. What I find adorable is when they wake up after their naps, I very often hear them babbling to each other across the room. They also do watch each other when playing and try imitate each other.

10 Aug 2008

A year ago today.....

I was 24 weeks pregnant and lying in hospital, hoping beyond all hope that we would get at least another 4 weeks before the girls came.

We'd had a ultrasound 3 days before and everything had looked fine, although the girls were small the doctors were pleased with the placental function and confirmed we were having 2 girls. They didn't check my cervix as they didn't want to risk introducing an infection, and I wonder now if they had if maybe they could have done something. When I was admitted to hospital that Thursday night, I was 2cm dilated and they ascribed the bleeding due to the dilation.

Right now I'm gearing up for the girls birthday and it will be a happy day but I'm finding the lead up difficult. All the what ifs and what could have beens...

We got the reports from the last neurodevelopmental follow up and for once they were IMO relatively accurate. I was criticized for putting too much pressure on myself to ensure Enya drank enough, but I knew that was coming. Ciara now is described as only having mild tone and coordination problems although Enya is astonishingly still classed as at risk of cerebral palsy! I think if we had the appointment tomorrow we would get a completely different description as Enya is now doing everything Ciara was at that time and more!

I'm off to go and organise my new bookcases now and enjoy the Olympic Games so I wish you all a restful Sunday

7 Aug 2008


Remember how I said that Enya was getting a tooth? Well it looks like Ciara beat her to it. Ciara tried to give me a kiss this morning, you know the one where she bites me on the nose, and it hurt! Sure enough when I stuck my finger in her mouth she has TWO teeth coming in at the bottom, they are already through her gums as I could feel the sharp edges.

Enya still has a very prominent bump but the tooth hasn't cut through yet.

I can't believe how relieved and excited I am about my babies finally getting teeth.

Now I need to go and clean out our teeny tiny yellow paddling pool as the weather is glorious today and when I finish smothering the babies in sunscreen we are going to go and enjoy the good weather. We are in desperate need of nappy free time as it looks like they could be getting their first nappy rash to go with the teeth.

6 Aug 2008


We attended our first baby play group today. We had to get up extra early (6am *groan*) and wake the girls so they could get a very early morning nap after breakfast. We had to leave at 8:30am to get to the community centre for 9am. Everything went according to plan except the play group wasn't meeting at the community centre today! Instead they met at the playground about 250m from our house. Thankfully someone came down to the CC to tell the uninformed.

I'd walked down to the CC and had to jog back to the playground with our 17kg pram and 16kg of baby in it (mostly uphill pant pant).

The play meet was OK but all the other babies there this time were mobile which meant we didn't have much to do with the others. They were all running around, mommys chasing toddlers. We will go again next week, hopefully there will be other babies who are also not walking yet.

On a positive note Enya drank 30ml from a beaker this afternoon. She was grabbing the beaker and wanting more, usually after 1-2 sips she is pushing it away. Again I'm not holding my breath but today at least she wanted to drink from a beaker! I offered it to Ciara as well, she liked sticking her toungue into the beaker but battled to take a sip.

5 Aug 2008

A few other facts about Ciara

A couple of things I forgot to put in Ciara's post were:

1) She trys to give a kiss by biting us on the nose. Don't ask me where she gets it from. Either that or by pressing her open mouth to our cheek- yum, lovely and wet!!
2)she is so close to getting into the sitting position by herself it's not even funny, and she has been for about 3 weeks. She obviously enjoys drawing out the suspense.
3) she may not go forwards well, but she is the world champion going backwards.

cleaning teeth

oh B*&^%$!! I've just realised, if they get teeth that means we have to start cleaning them.....
..back back go away teeth, we don't want you just yet!!

Ciara's post

I often write about Enya and some peple may get the feeling that I ignore Ciara. This is not the case!

Ciara just seemed to have the easier ride right from the get go. She was extubated within hours of being born, never had a brain bleed and although she also used to swing with her oxygen saturations on CPAP they never suggested reintubating her. She was also always very vocal and remains so. I remember the nurses saying that they could hear her from 2 rooms away while she was still in her incubator, giving them notice that she was hungry.

Anyway on to the present, Ciara remains our chatty baby who is almost always smiling. She is however a bit of a scardy cat. Where E loves to be thrown around Ciara doesn't like to go too fast or too high. Gently and slowly is the key with her. She will often join in laughing however when we are throwing E around, spectator sport so to say.

Ciara is also able to move forwards but she does it her own way. She goes up on her hands and knees brings her knees together forward and then collapses down. A very strenuous way to cover maximum 5 cm, which is why she doesn't travel very far. She prefers to stay in one spot and make her own fun with whatis avaliable there.

Ciara drinks whatever we put in her bottle and very often eats her bowl and Enya's leftovers before looking for more. Even though she is a guzzle monster she remains slender and is not particularly large for her (adjusted) age. Lucky child has inherited her fathers metabolism! She is also starting to drink other drinks, now we just have to get her drinking from a cup.

She doesn't often want to cuddle but every so often she will just snuggle in when we are carrying her to bed and those moments are golden. She tucks her head into my neck and bring her arms in close and wriggles in. My only regret is when she does it
and I'm alone at home. If I haven't put E in bed already I can't cuddle with her for long, that is the one disadvantage of twins- there never seems to be enough time to cuddle with each as much as one would like to.

To round off this Ciara's post here is a photo of her giving herself her bottle

Breaking news

It looks like our girls may enter their second year with at least one tooth apiece. Enya definitely has a white spot on the lower left hand side and when she lets my finger in her mouth there is a definite bump there. Ciara has a small bump on the lower right hand side but it is not as prominent as Enyas.

Soon to be no more toothless wonders here ;-)

4 Aug 2008

stormy weather

I'm not going to have to worry about the girls getting sunburnt again under the sunsail as we had a terrific storm during the night and it ripped. In fact not only did it get ripped but one of the metal poles bent in half! There we were at 3 am this morning trying to cover our garden furniture and pull the rest of the sunsail down so it didn't do anymore damage. Needless to say we didn't have a very good night sleep after.

On to other news! Enya has started pulling herself forward in leopard crawl, I'd joked about this with Mrs W last week saying Enya would be crawling before Ciara and it looks like I may be proved right. Now if only this child would drink, I would be a very happy mom.

I know recently most of my posts have been about Enya so a little post on Ciara will be coming shortly (when I'm more awake) ;-)

2 Aug 2008

Better than expected

We had a really good physio session yesterday, Mrs W was really pleased with Enya's progress. Enya is coming up onto her hands and knees more and more often and she can already bring her knees forward. Mrs W said she even saw her bring her hands forward once (I didn't). I hasten to add the reason Enya (and Ciara for that matter) are so good about bringing their knees forward is that, in the treatment rooms and here at home the floor is not carpeted so they can slide their knees forward. That being said Ciara is lifting one hand in the air and bringing it forward. I am so ready for them to be crawling so they no longer cry everytime I pop out of sight!

We now don't have an appointment for physio until next month. Yes, I mean SEPTEMBER. Mrs W is on holiday and is quite happy for us to continue to muddle along until then. She has given me a contact number for one of the other therapists if I feel in need of checking but said the girls are doing fine and it is not neccessary to see them before then if I'm happy with how things are going. Hopefully by September I will have 2 crawling babies and then it's goodbye Vojta!!

I have to add Enya discovered herself in the mirror yesterday at therapy. We placed her down in front of the full length mirror like we always do and for the first time she looked at her reflection and started laughing and trying to play with the "other baby". She was up on her hands and knees, rocking wildly and trying to pat hands with her reflection. She must have continued for about 10 min, Mrs W and I couldn't stop laughing. I tried with a mirror at home and she started to do the same again, but when I tried with Ciara she just ignored her reflection.

Oops munchkin is awake again, gotta go...

1 Aug 2008

Ooops, bad mommy

Yup, bad mommy has struck again. I had the girls outside yesterday afternoon for a couple of hours as it was just so hot and there was a bit of a breeze outside. I promise they were under the sunshade the whole time but they still got a bit sun pink. I have been trying to avoid putting sunscreen on them unless absolutely neccessary, what's the use of feeding them organic foods if I'm going to lather them in chemicals and their skin feels yucky when I've used it too! Oh well, lesson learnt, even with the sun sail we need sunscreen;-(.

I also noticed that both my daughters have more of a tan than I do (before the sunburn), I don't know how as we are not out in the sun much. I mean, come on, I live in one of the wettest spots in Germany. Hopefully they've inherited Z's skin as he goes brown at the drop of a hat and stays brown (and doesn't freckle), where as I burn and go white again within a few days. What can I say my gran was redhead.

C and E have also started clapping, not terribly coordinated and we have to show Ciara how to do it to start her clapping but it's really cute. Ciara claps the palm against the back of her other hand while Enya claps properly but only 2-3 times then loses interest.

Oh well off to physio this afternoon, wish me luck!