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!

15 Sep 2008

spit out

Yup I mean spit out not spit up! Ciara has taken to spitting out whatever we try to feed her, be it old favourites like lentils or new favourites like waffles. I can only assume it has something to do with her blocked nose affecting her taste as it began about the same time as her runny nose. Last night she barely ate anything after she finished her bottle so we put her to bed hungry. She got her revenge by making me get up to give her a bottle at 4am this morning though. How did I ever survive getting up multiple times at night doing night feeds? Today she is eating better so hopefully we are on the mend.

Other than that C and E continue to pull up on everything and have taken to racing each other down the corridor. It kind of reminds me of that men's sprint cycling event at the Olympics: they start really slow and the one in front keeps looking back at the one behind trying to psych her out, before suddenly there is a charge for the finish line. They are interacting a lot more with each other, they will often crawl towards each other and then head butt each other, laughing as though this is the greatest game possible. This is much better than the situation a few weeks ago where Enya would start screaming every time Ciara came anywhere near her! I love hearing them laughing and when they are laughing with each other that makes my day.

14 Sep 2008

Survived

It was great to get out and practice my skills last week but I really missed the girls when I was at work, since they've been home from the hospital I haven't spent so much time without them. Once again it has brought home to me how lucky I am that we can afford for me not to work, rather to stay home and enjoy our childrens babyhood. Although they aren't really babies anymore, sob sob!!

I can remember seeing newborn babies just after C and E were born and thinking full termers were enormous (Hell, I thought the 32 weekers were pretty damn big!), now I see newborns and I find them tiny, it is hard to believe C and E were once (much) smaller than they are. I'm also slowly relaxing about Enya's weight. She is now about 2kg lighter than Ciara but as she is developmentally on track, I've sort of accepted it and am even contemplating getting rid of the scales and not checking her weight religiously every week (yah for me!). It'll probably take me another few months to do it but we're heading in the right direction.

Ciara has taken to waking up multiple times during the night and entertaining us with a screaming concert, we've tried going in and giving her a dummy, comforting her in bed, picking her up but as soon as we put her down or try leave the room she starts screaming again so we are now trying CIO (cry it out). There is nothing wrong she quiets as soon as she hears someone coming. We think that due to her blocked nose (both girls have runny noses), she is waking up during the night and then gets bored so screams until someone comes to entertain her. The knock on effect is that both girls are sleeping longer during the day to try make up for the lost sleep at night. Hopefully this will stop once the noses clear up as I've mentioned before I don't do well on less than 8 hours sleep a night and given how grumpy C and E have been this week, neither do they.

9 Sep 2008

Working

Not got a lot of free time right now as after the visit to Muenster over the weekend, we had (german) family over for an overnight stay on Monday night and then I went back to work today for the first time in a year and a half. I'm only going in for 3 days this week and maybe a day or two next week but I really enjoyed m first day back. They are so short of staff that they are desperate and while Z is home, I can help out. I get to practice my skills and earn a little something and Z gets some time with the girls without me looking over his shoulder and nagging him about everything.

Start work at 7:30 tomorrow so it should be fun to get the girls finished before I leave at 6:45 (who cares about the girls it should be fun getting me out of bed before 7am- I haven't done this except to feed the girls in over a year and a half!)

5 Sep 2008

pros and cons


Remember how I said I couldn't wait for C and E to crawl, well they are both now managing it. Enya still needs to drop onto her tummy every so often but Ciara is on her hands and knees (or feet) the whole time. And fast, they both get across the room in 3 seconds flat. And yes, I am loving it!!
However there are some negatives to the whole mobility scene (I'm not complaining, this is also my journal and in x years time I'll want to remember this all)

Pros : I love that
- I can put somebody down and she will independently get herself to her toys/the next room etc.
- they always crawl towards me when I sit on the floor and want to climb onto my lap
- they are pulling up on everything, practicing their standing. They look so proud of themselves.
- they are in the normal limits for achieving these milestones, given their prematurity this is not necessarily expected.
- I don't always have to carry 2 babies everywhere, they are getting heavy enough that this was very difficult to do and carrying only 1 meant the other would cry piteously until I returned.

Cons: I dislike that
- when I've put somebody down, I often need to search to find them
- our pot plants are looking very bare, having had most of their leaves pulled off. They also have a fascination with electric cables and now that they are mobile every cable is fair game.
- we have no carpeting as I worry about them hitting their heads when they fall over as they are now so quick to pull up, I can't always get there in time.

Ciara manged to pull herself up in to standing in her cot and then was too scared to get herself down again, so instead of napping she stood and screamed until we came to rescue her. Needless to say Enya didn't have a good afternoon nap either. This has been a reoccuring happening today, I think I'll rejoice when Ciara learns how to get from standing to sitting alone!

I must also add naps are not going well at present, we're lucky if they nap for an hour in the mornings and at midday, although the afternoon naps seem to go a bit better. With one thing and another this week the schedule has been completely messed up so next week I have to make sure we get back on track (won't happen this weekend as we are off gallivanting in Muenster again ;-))

Last but not least the appointment by the opthamologist on Thursday was as stressful as expected. Entertaining two tired babies for 2 hours in a hot crowded waiting room with no space to put them down is not fun. The retinas look good ie no more ROP and he also did a rough assessment (by measuring refractions) if they need glasses-they don't yet, they are both slightly long sighted but this is normal in children. Worryingly however neither are showing any interest in 3d pictures (abstract pattern where if you squint your eyes and concentrate you see a 3 d image) which apparently they should both have been doing for ages. We don't need to go back for another 6 months but I know it'll niggle until our next appointment.

3 Sep 2008

Krabbelgruppe

Today we went to the Krabbelgruppe (play group)again, we haven't managed for the past 3-4 weeks as something else always coincided with it. There were a few more kids there this time but they were all older (walking) and unfortunately my kids screamed everytime another child approached them. I really need to get them socialising!

On the plus side the room where the playgroup is held is carpeted, this meant that Enya crawled properly as it was too strenuous for her to pull herself everywhere on her belly. I don't miss carpets usually but this is one time when at least some carpeting in our home would be good. Well to make Enya crawl and to offer Ciara some padding when she falls over while trying to stand;-)

Another first today: Ciara has learnt to stand up in her cot. I saw her manage it for the first time this morning and when I walked in after her midday nap this afternoon she was already vertical and laughing at my surprise. We can only drop the mattress about 4 cm lower but hopefully it will stop her trying to climb out of bed any time soon!

Eye doctor tomorrow morning early and then no more doctors appointments scheduled this month. I'm still waiting for our physio to give Enya an appointment for this week- I hate not having a set time and day for what is in essence a weekly appointment.

2 Sep 2008

Not so rosy

The past 3 weeks have been fantastic especially when compared with the same time last year but as always it couldn't last forever.

Enya has vomitted (projectile vomitting) at least once a day for the last 3 days. It seems to be associated with eating finger foods although tonight it was with puree. She has also spewed what seemed like the entire contents of her bottle over me, 3 hours after she was given it. This evening after her spew she happily drank another 100ml of formula and ate the rest of her puree, so it is obviously not upsetting her. Me on the other hand, I am getting upset. I know other moms have to deal with this on a regular basis but up to now we have been very lucky. Being covered in vomit is NOT my favourite part of motherhood!

Both girls also have a slight temperature so perhaps its just another viral infection. They are also both very clingy and whiny so lets hope it doesn't last long!

1 Sep 2008

Rocking snail



For the 2nd morning in a row the girls woke up at 9am. As Z has leave, we are allowing them to sleep as late as they want instead of waking them up at 7am. Needless to say I am enjoying the lazy mornings, babies and lay ins, what more can I ask for!

On Saturday I went to my first children's second hand Bazaar, a friend invited me as she has got most of her daughters clothing from bazaars and said they also had lots of toys/books etc. Now I have to back the story up here a little and say for C and E's birthday, I'd wanted to get them a rocking horse but the only one I found that I semi liked was almost 100 euros for a few bits of wood and really quite ugly. Anyway fast forward to Saturday and I found the perfect rocking animal for them- a rocking snail. It is brightly coloured and almost completely stuffed/material covered, only the hand grips (antennae) are wood. The shell is a large bean bag and the seat is wide enough that even Enya doesn't lose her balance when she is sitting on it. They do need to be supervised on it but all in all I'm delighted with it and the girls enjoy rocking on it- if only so they can eat the daises on the snail's hat ;-)


I also got some dungerees for the girls, I find dungerees so practical now that C and E are pulling themselves everywhere, they both have small waists for their size and this means their trousers spend most of the time at half mast. I wish I had the same problem!