Loss. One Year Later.

We are a year out from the day last year that changed our life. January 31st 2012, we learned that our three in-utero babies were to be two future babies. Our baby A, Zach, & our baby C, Lucy. The dream of triplets, our dreams of life with three, died that day when we learned about baby B.

Baby B was our chill inside baby. The one we could count on. Lucy girl went MIA during one of our first ultrasounds & Zach was always moving all over the place. Baby B was always there hanging out between her two siblings.

I would love to have known her personality. Would she be wild like Lucy & all over the place or more content to chill & cuddle Mommy like our Zach? While Zach is Jason’s baby clone & Lucy & I’s baby photos are exchangeable, would baby B have looked like a combination of her parents? I’ll never know the answers to these questions. And that breaks my heart.

Lucy & Zach don’t know life any other way then having each other. Do they remember being inside & having one more sibling close by? I don’t think so. But I like to wish that they somehow feel that they’re watched over by the tiny baby we didn’t get the opportunity to know. One day I think we’ll tell them about baby B. I don’t think we’d want to hide our & their family history.

The last photo we have of all three together with hearts beating away was taken at our 15 week ultrasound appointment. That picture is still on our fridge. It’s started to become buried under daycare artwork which symbolizes that life really has moved on around us.

Life with two has kept us on our toes. Kept the days & weeks flying by. But still. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about baby B. Whether it’s seeing triplets on TV {this last season of Private Practice was hard} or hearing someone remark about my “twins”.

If/when people ask about our life with twins, I answer & I don’t correct them. I’ve told very few people who weren’t there through my pregnancy that L & Z had a sister. I mentioned it to a few of their daycare teachers when they remarked at how hard a twin pregnancy must have been. But that might be it.

I still don’t call Zach & Lucy my twins. I call them my babies. My duo. My two. The babes. Z & L. But not my twins. My husband says he’ll now tell people he has twins. He’s okay going there. I’m not & I’m not sure that I’ll ever be. And I think that’s okay.

Thirty Four Weeks Two Days

Thirty four weeks & two days. That’s how long the babies have been out in this world as of today. That also means they’ve now been out longer than they were inside me.

That seems crazy to me. I cherished my pregnancy; almost all 34w1d of it.

Likewise, I’ve loved these past 34 weeks & 2 days of wildness & joy I couldn’t have fathom before.

As I sit wrangling snuggling sick Zach & Lucy post nursing right now, I’m so grateful for them. For them being my precious inside & outside babies.

I found my last belly photo today on my husband’s twitter account.

One I’d never seen since. 34 w1d pregnant.1358378472653

And compare it to now. 34w2d postpartum Mommy, Zach & Lucy. IMG_20130116_182649

 

Lactation Cookies

Alena from Charmingly Chandler emailed me this recipe right before I went on bed rest. I forwarded it along to my mom who had these cookies made for me & brought to the hospital right when the babies arrived. She remade them a couple weeks later.

Did they help create my {over}supply? Who knows, but they are delicious. So if you’re a breastfeeding mom-to-be or know someone who is, it can’t hurt to try right?

Bonus tip, recipe calls for brewer’s yeast which isn’t regular yeast. The first time Mom made them she couldn’t find brewer’s but it’s an important lactation ingredient. They did taste a little different the second time once they were done right.

Extra bonus tip, other family members & nurses enjoyed my cookies too. No one else started lactating. 🙂

Ingredients
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
1 3/4 c whole oats {not quick oats}
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 c peanut butter {almond butter works here too}
1/2 c butter, softened
1 c milled flax seed {typically in grocery stores}
4 tbsp brewer’s yeast {found at oraganic grocery or beer stores}
1/3 c water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 c {or 12 oz} chocolate chips
1 c chopped nuts of your choice

Directions

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt in small bowl.

In a large bowl or mixer, beat peanut/almond butter, butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, brewer’s yeast, flax seen & water until creamy. Add the eggs.

Gradually beat in the flour mixture.

Mix in the chocolate chips & nuts. Then slowly add the oats, mixing as you go along.

Scoop out dough onto greased baking sheets or stones. Press down lightly on each dough ball with a fork.

Bake for 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Medela Symphony vs Freestyle

I’ve been holding off writing this post until I’d used both pumps for a while. I purchased my Freestyle at the end of July. I began using it exclusively a couple weeks ago.

After speaking with other moms of multiples who had successfully & unsuccessfully breastfed, I decided to rent the Symphony for three months {at the cost of $180 by the way}. I spoke with a couple LCs before I delivered, & they too strongly recommended that pump to establish milk supply for NICU babies. I’ll never know otherwise, but I feel that the Symphony, & my consistent contact with it, helped get my supply in order for feeding two.

Five day old baby Zach in Jason’s arms with the-thankfully–ever-present-in-NICU Symphony in the background.

The Symphony is big & heavy. The hospital had it on it’s own rolly cart which worked well to move it around the NICU {seen above}. It’s quiet though for the size – the motor barely hums & there’s pretty much no vibration. The sucking timing with the Symphony seemed in line with what my babies do.

The parts used on the Symphony are the exact same ones as all the other Medela pumps, except for the tubing. I was fortunate that the NICU LC gave me parts & my hospital room nurse did too. Be sure to ask for parts in the hospital – it’ll save you $50. It was nice too that I then had back up parts, so we didn’t have to wash constantly. I do go by the rule of thumb that it’s okay to place the pump parts in the fridge during the day or night & just wash them every 12 hours or so.

I started out pumping every 3 hours around the clock with the Symphony for 15 minutes at a time. The NICU LC told me it was okay to go a 4 hour stretch at night, so I could sleep a little more {this was before they were home}. Once the babies were breastfeeding, I jumped my pumping scheduled onto their NICU feeding schedule. I’d feed them every 4 hours then pump afterwards. My output was typically about an oz on each side after feeding both. If I pumped without feeding them, I would typically pump 5 oz on the right & 6 or more oz on the left.

Now let’s chat about the Freestyle. It’s the most expensive of the portable Medela pumps {was $299 at Target}. I did my research again though & felt like for my life~ work schedule, travel plans, two babies~ the Freestyle would be better than the more well known Pump in Styles.

For one, the entire pump fits in my palm & is fairly light weight. It’s a double pump, but the tubing is made so that you can change the connection and pump one at a time if needed. It can clip onto your pants aka you’re not tied to a big heavy pump. I would be unable to cart the Symphony back & forth with me to work while carrying the Freestyle up from the parking lot, up & down flights of stairs & holding it while pumping is a breeze.

The Freestyle has a rechargeable battery which makes the pump portable. This has been great for over-night pumping. I can pump in the nursery while putting the paci back in Zach’s mouth. Or pump in the kitchen under the light when the rest of the house is sleeping in the dark. Or like this morning, pump in the kitchen before work while eating cereal & packing up bottles for daycare.

The Freestyle is fairly loud in a white noise kind of way. The pumping motor is pretty noticeable. The sucking seems to be a little longer & slower than my two do.

The Freestyle requires it’s own pump parts. The tubing is different, the connectors are very different & comprised of 3 parts {you can buy extras of them though & I did}. You can use the flanges from other Medela models even though the Freestyle comes with different {softer plastic} flanges.

And you’re wondering about my output… That’s the main thing, right? I was worried too. So much so that my husband offered for us to continue to pay for us to rent the Symphony. But I’ve been happy to say that I don’t see much of a difference there. Now that I’m back to work, the day pumping has been on the lower end of my normal ~ about 3-4 oz on the right & 6 oz on the left. Overnight, I get the same as I had with the Symphony.

But the time it takes to produce the same amount is longer. Instead of 15 minute sessions with the last 3-5 minutes being empty pumping, I now pump mostly between 18-22 minutes before I get empty pumping. That’s the biggest difference I’ve noticed.

I think the Symphony did great to get my supply established, but that’s not to say that the Freestyle couldn’t have done that. I don’t know since that’s not my experience. But I will say that I’ve been happy with my decisions & have no real complaints so far with my switch.

{Make Ahead Meals} Bean Burritos

Another great meal thanks to my sister in law. She found the recipe on allrecipes. These have been fabulous as a quickly microwaved lunch or dinner.

Ingredients
2 c uncooked brown rice
4 c water
4 cans black beans
2 cans pinto beans
1 can whole kernel corn
1 can diced tomatoes & green chiles
16 flour tortillas
1 lb shredded pepperjack cheese

Combine rice & water in saucepan & bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover & allow to simmer for 35-40 mins. When tender, remove from heat & allow rice to cool.

Strain & rinse the beans in colander; add the corn & diced tomatoes with green chiles. Toss to mix. Pour into bowl & mix with rice & cheese.

Divide mixture evenly among the tortillas & toll up. Wrap individually in plastic wrap & place in freezers safe bag. Freeze & reheat in microwave.

I topped with salsa & found pineapple salsa was my favorite.

Postpartum Body Issues

So, I mentioned weeks ago that I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy at my two week postpartum appointment. I thought I’d do a quick update on what elset my body has been through in the last seven weeks since the babies were born.

As you can imagine, & see thanks to me keeping up with belly photos, my uterus was very stretched. That means that my postpartum bleeding has lingered too. I kept meaning to purchase pads before the babies arrived. Instead I’ve been buying them at each Target run. {Remember friends to stock up before.}oo. At my six week check though, my MFM said the Ute was back to prepregnancy size. My stitches from my second degree tear have also all healed. I have to say, thank goodness for that spray bottle from the hospital!

My body & belly. Not what it used to be. I gained about 50 pounds in 34 weeks. As of last Monday, I’d lost 35 of those pounds really without trying. I eat every four hours or so {usually right before, during or after pumping}. I’m hoping the remaining pounds are helping me produce the necessary breast milk, so I’m not trying to lose. I would like the sagging belly to get tighter eventually but no rush for now. I’m still a bit in awe that my body made two babies & I’m not going to fight it to go back so soon. I’m also coming to terms with my stretch marks. It took them awhile to show up, but they’ve definitely left their mark- on both hips & my lower belly which I didn’t see until the day before delivery. I haven’t tried any trick to make them less noticeable. Yall have any ones that work?

The last body issue is the craziest. Well maybe tied with bells palsy as craziest. Starting a little bit after the babies got home {& I was done taking the steroids}, I started getting boils on various parts of my body. Painful, infected ones that I didn’t have time, energy or knowledge to handle. So I dealt with them by doing warm compresses & taking ibuprofen. The worst one popped up on my left shoulder/back & got bad enough that it hurt to lift my arm & I was running a mild fever. Yes, I know I should’ve gone to Dr that week, but I waited few days until my 6 week appt to show my Dr. I ended up having ‘surgery’ as he called it to lance open the boil. He prescribed me antibiotics & a antimicrobial body wash to hopefully keep new ones from forming {its been a week & so far so good}. What are the boils from? Nurse said probably staff infection picked up at hospital, Dr said could also be postpartum hormones &/or a reaction to the steroids. Either way, they were painful & not something I wanted to deal with on top of everything else.

The heartburn & swelling that plagued me at the end of the pregnancy are thankfully gone. I’m back to wearing my normal shoes {yay for my summer staple Jacks!}. Although I did have swelling the first week or so in my feet after the babies were born. This feet swelling was almost worse than while I was pregnant & I was kinda shocked by that.

It appears my biggest postpartum body issues are almost over. I’m sure as time goes on & breastfeeding comes to an end, I’ll focus & discuss work out & toning plans too. But hopefully that’s months from now.