Saturday, June 4, 2011

"...Eyes, Ears, Mouth and Nose."

I can't believe it's been over 15 weeks.  I don't know where the time went.

Well, that's not true.  I do know where the time has gone:  it's been a haze of feeding, bottling, diaper changing, dishes, laundry and doctor's appointments.  It's really the amount of time that has passed that is a bit staggering.  Another astonishing fact is that in the space of just under four months they have almost tripled their weight and gone from swimming in the preemie clothes to filling out 0-3 mos sizes nicely.  Amazing.

They've had a little help along the way tho'.  My enormous appetite and unquenchable thirst has guaranteed that they continue to get pints of Mommy's Finest at mealtime.  I'm still pumping afterwards for the "top up";  after they feed, they get a bottle of EBM with a bit of formula powder added in for extra calories.  The recipe is supposed to be 5ml of the powder in 90ml of EBM which gives them an extra 20kCal.  The top up bottles are currently 60ml, so you can see that the math does not easily line up.  Having a "mixed" bottle of extra in the fridge is just another step in the "kitchen chemistry" that takes up time and energy that can be spent somewhere else.   That's another mixer bottle to wash and sterilize and keep track of (as the mixture is only good for 24 hours, ergo, so is the bottle, no matter how young the leftovers in it are).  Instead, when I'm pouring each of the 60ml bottles, I throw in 2.5ml (or less) of the powder.  They are getting less formula than prescribed, but as you can see, they are not missing anything.

Dozing Babies 2.0
My little chubsters. Thanks to Penny for zapping out that annoying tag and making my babies even more beautiful.  Love, love, love it!


The top up is an annoying practice that my pediatrician has insisted that I keep up.  I realized the other day that (another) one of the reasons that I felt so remote from the babies is the lack of snuggle time after a feed.  Normally it's the perfect time to cuddle and yes, even doze off.  Not this Mama... I have to finish up with them and then put them down to have a Medela Moment.  It's one of those million little things that contribute to a big thing.  I'll be glad when I no longer have to force feed my little Strasbourg geese.

Wyatt is still holding on strong.  Other than chilly feet and hands (his feet are usually mottled to blueish) he remains mainly asymptomatic from his AVSD.  He's usually a bit mottled all over as well, so I just make sure that he is a little more warmly dressed than his sister.  We've added two new doctors to his roster as well;  last week we saw the ENT and Friday we met his Opthomologist.

Now, the ENT has been described to me as "gorgeous" (and by that alone, I fear I have given his identity away), and he is man-pretty... if you are into thin metrosexuals, which I am not.  He did however use an iPad the entire time, which I thought was pretty cool and very forward thinking of him.  Among the countless little differences that Trisomy 21 offers up are tiny ear canals.  Even with the smallest pediatric head on the otoscope, he couldn't visualize the ear drums to see if Wyatt has any fluid built up (DS kids commonly end up with tubes in their ears due to this).  All that flaky skin on the outside of Wyatt's head lives inside his canals too;  even with his fancy extraction machine and thrilling headgear, the ENT couldn't clear the canals enough to get down there. We have to go back in two weeks after I goop Wy's ears with mineral oil every day.  He doesn't totally hate it, which I guess is a good thing.

I had no idea what was in store for Wyatt at the opthomologists.  Many DS kids have eye problems including (but not totalling) strabismus, hypermetropia, myopia, astigmatism, weak accommodation, nystagmus, cataracts, glaucoma, keratoconus, blepharitis, presbyopia, watering eyes and frequent eye infections.  Since I am myopic with a bad astigmatism and have been such since childhood, I'm not too worried about him wearing glasses in this family.  However, I had no idea how they were going to test a baby.  First they dilated his eyes with Cyclopentolate (I asked as I wanted to make sure they were not giving him atropine with his heart issues).  The orthoptist first used a series of blinking lights, toys and cards to check for muscular abnormalities.  I was happy to hear that at this point there are none, but he should be frequently monitored.  The opthomologist used her own brand of thrilling head gear and saw that he did not have cataracts (my pediatrician seemed to think he did, although she did not voice this to us) and that he did not have retinoblastoma.  The latter not being prevanlent in the DS community; the babies in our family are routinely tested as our 2-D Cousin was diagnosed at a young age.  Hers probably wasn't the genetic type, but you can never be too cautious. Happy results all around, we'll be back in 6 months to follow up.  Since the pediatrician only referred ONE of my twins, I have to ask to have Zoe checked. Poor Zoe, always the bridesmaid...


Beautiful Wyatt
My Baby blues are good to go!

I shouldn't really say that as Zoe ends up getting more face time than Wyatt.  As the puker and screamer of the duo, she spends a great deal of not-so-quality time with dear old Mom and Dad.  It still astounds me a) how much she can throw up and still gain weight and b) how LOUD she is.  Recently, she's managed to connect her hand to her mouth and we thought "oh good, now she can calm herself that way".  No, sorry.  She's managed to find a way to put her hand in her mouth and make herself EVEN LOUDER.  Apparently that was what she was missing;  amplification.  I guess to offset that (and to ensure we didn't leave her in a basket on the neighbour's doorstep) she learned how to giggle this morning.  A cute little "hee hee hee" that goes with her face-splitting grin.  She is cute, I'll give her that.


Is That a Smile?
Is that a smile? Not the full one, but one nevertheless...
Developmentally, they both seem to be right in the "six weeks adjustment" area.  There are certain things that she is better at, and certain things that he is better at.  He babbles and coos more often while she is better with the eye contact and specific noises.  I'm trying to get them both to grasp at toys and I'm encouraging them to spend more "tummy time" and lift themselves up.  Wyatt seems to be the one closest to rolling over at present and is spending more and more time awake, which is fantastic.  I can't tell you how encouraging it is to have his sweet little eyes locked on me for minutes at a time as we interact with one another. 

I'm doing much better these days as well.  We're getting a little more sleep on the whole as they can push that 1am feed to 2 or 3am on average and to 5am on a good day (they generally eat around 9 or 10 before bed).  The days that they sleep through the night are few and far between, but they are there, which means there is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us.  Well, until they start teething... (shudder).  The hormones are still horrendous, but I think I've figured out how to ride them out for the most part.  Thankfully, caffeine has been put back on the menu (along with the occasional beer) in small, yet well timed doses.  I'm not sure if it's a side effect of the hormones or what but I can enjoy a little treat without the fear of PVC's.  Even the tiniest bit of caffeine, chocolate or alcohol would get my heart tripping up, but for now it seems ok.  I'd like to think my organs got together and lifted the sanctions on the holy trinity.  "Dood!  We have to give her something!"  I kind of overdid it on the chocolate a few weeks ago... my weight started to creep up again as I was self-medicating with the lovely stuff.  I am happy to report with the advent of more sleep (and getting out to Mother Goose), we are back on track and down to our pre-pregnancy weight again.  Yay!  It's nice to hear things like "I think you've lost weight since this morning".  :)

Now the trick becomes getting as much time and effort into them before I have to go back to work.  I would love to take the full year off with them but unfortunately I have to disagree with Jessie J here... it is all about the money.  Hubby will thankfully take the second half as I return in September.  At least I get to start them on some cereal and get Quinn back to school first.  Should be interesting as I will have to take a Medela break every four hours...

"Head and shoulders,  knees and toes..."   Right now I think we have all these things under control.  (Until the next crisis, that is.)  For now tho', I'll just keep plugging on.  Even the bad days have their good points; a little smile here, a little development there.  The laundry will always be there, the dishes will always need doing and the floor will always need to be swept. Our time together is flowing past at an alarming rate... You'll forgive me then, if I choose instead to gaze into two little sets of eyes; one blue and one brown, and listen to two little sweet voices babble and coo.  Eyes, ears, mouth and nose.

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