Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Closing of a Chapter

I can't believe my babes are 16 months old. They have been growing too fast! I feel like it was just days ago that I shared my twin nursing pillow with you and now that pillow is sitting in the corner of my room waiting to be brought up to the attic and put away. (Which I guess I should bring it to a consignment shop seeing as it is not likely I will have a 2nd set of identical twins).

On the weekend of the boys 15 month birthday I got up to go get them out of their cribs and bring them to the living room to nurse them. Normally on the weekends hubs sleeps in (since I have to get the first part of their feeding done on my own). I brought them to the living room and was situating them on the pillow. I would get one lying on there the right way and then move on to the other, then back to the other when I finally realized they had NO desire to nurse. M was trying to climb down and G was too busy laughing at M when he finally got down and started running around like a mad man. I went into the bedroom and told hubs I was done nursing. He said, already? That was fast. I said, NO... I mean I'm DONE!... They wouldn't even get on the pillow for me. I began crying.

I was heart broken. I wasn't shocked that they were done, just sad.

My nursing journey -
(Don't read it if you don't want to know about it) :)

My goal was to make it to 1 year. I went into this knowing that it was going to be very difficult. Especially since I was going to be nursing twins. I (we) were so lucky that M and G stayed inside the cooker for 37 1/2 weeks, were born at such great weights, and had no health problems. A lot of moms of twins have to go home from the hospital with out their babes. This is one of the main reasons why moms of twins do not nurse....for long.

I was lucky enough to be able to start nursing them right away. Well, 3 hours after they were born :( Mama had some complications and had to stay in recovery for a little extra time. While at the hospital I did give them some formula. The nurses kept telling me that they were loosing too much weight, especially M. I couldn't understand this because they were latching almost every other time, but bless their hearts the nurses know what to say to get you to question everything you are doing. :/

When the babes doc checked them out on our last day I will never forget what he told me. Kristin, nursing was meant to be done in the woods - nobody should be watching over you, they will get it when they get it. He then told me that they absolutely did NOT need that formula and that if I wanted to nurse to not give it to them again. If they don't eat, nothing will happen to them between now and the next time I see them.

So we brought them home and I continued to try and try and try again to nurse them. If they didn't have constant wet diapers I would have been freaking out even more than I was about them not latching or eating for more than 10 minutes at a time. At every appointment they showed proof that they were continuing to grow. With each try at nursing they (we) got better and better at it.

The first few weeks of nursing were 'easy' for me. I truly enjoyed it. There's something about looking your child in the eyes knowing that they need you and thrive from you.

Even though nursing was easy it was exhausting. I was constantly feeding a baby. I did not pump so that hubs could feed them. I was selfish and wanted to do it all on my own. I would nurse one babe, burp him, change his diaper, and pass him to hubs. Then I would nurse the other, burp him, change his diaper and pass him to hubs. Then I would get a little teeny break before doing it again. During the night I wouldn't even pass the babes to hubs. He didn't even notice when I got up to go to the babes. I didn't think it was fair for me to wake him when I knew he had to get up for work the next day and I did not.

After the first few weeks I had some friends come over to visit. Two of them were preggo and were asking me all different types of questions. Nursing was a big topic of interest. One of them asked me if I had any infections, blisters, sores, etc. I looked at her and said no. I was completely unaware that any of that was possible. I mean I knew it hurt but the things she was My mom had given me a nursing book for Christmas before the babes were born but I never opened it. Nursing was just something I was going to do no matter what.

Of course the next day I woke up with a fever and my right breast was on fire. It started to hurt during the night, but I just thought that I was super engorged and slept on it too hard. I know I knew nothing :)

I had mastitis - which I called massive titties. This was HORRIBLE. The worst part of it was the flu like symptoms. The next night Jon had to get up and hand me a baby every time one cried. I nursed through the pain. I massaged and cringed while feeding, but I did it. That night Jon handed me a babe and thank the Lord I was sitting on the bed. I dropped him. No more than an inch from the bed. He was placed in my hands and my arms just weren't strong enough that they flopped to my lap on the bed. The babe didn't even notice it but I can only imagine what would have happened if I didn't except hubs help this night.

As the massive titties cleared I then got blisters. Which later turned into open sores. And then another bout of massive titties. The next month - month and a half was horrible. I would fill bowls of as hot as I can handle water, place them on my floor and lean over to dip myself into them before feeding the boys - trying to loosen up any blockage.

I remember one Saturday hubs walked in to trade babes. He brought me the 2nd babe and took the first. He stayed while I was getting babe #2 latched. He was looking at me with these puppy dog eyes. All concerned, all thoughtful asking if I was ok. Are you kidding me, am I ok. PLEASE you cry like a girl if someone gives you a purple I OK?!? (I did not say this...just thought it...) along with if you don't get the *^&# out of my room and stop &!*%$ looking at me I am going to *^&^$ claw off your face!!!

Ugh it was SO bad. I remember the moment a babe would latch on I would scream on the top of my lungs. Poor babes had to listen to Mama scream and flail her legs during their feedings.

Once the month or so was over it was back to smooth sailing. I was nursing the boys every 3 hours. At this time I was still nursing one, burping, changing diaper and then switching baby.

When the babes were 3 months old I got my awesome pillow. This is when I started nursing them at the same time. This made my job SO much easier! I enjoyed it SO much more. I didn't feel like I was a milk cow anymore. I felt like I could enjoy the time I was having with my babes. Before I would nurse one while the other was crying. There was no way around it. Sometimes one of the babes would wait patiently, but most of the time he was crying until it was his turn. With the pillow there was no waiting time. I was able to cut out the crying.

When the babes were 6 months I went back to work. I was still nursing every 3 hours during the day. 7 o'clock, 10 o'clock, 1 o'clock, 4 o'clock, and 7 o'clock. During the 10 and 1 feeding I would pump at work. The only place I could do it was in the Kindergarten closet. When I was setting up my classroom at the end of the summer I went down to the Kindergarten teacher and asked her if I could take up some space in her closet. She so sweetly allowed it. I had a little folding chair in the corner. I was cramped in there terrified that someone would walk in on me. Which they did a few times. Thank goodness for my girlfriend that made me a nursing hider - which I never used nursing, only pumping. I was able to get a lot of milk, but not enough for them to be full after their feeding (at least that's what Baby School told me). So I decided to pump before bed at 10pm. This way I would absolutely have enough.

I would go in that closest for 10 minutes or so at 10 o'clock when my students were doing centers. I would then go back in there for 10-30 minutes when my students were at specials. If I wasn't going to be able to get home to them by 4 o'clock I would go back in there before I left (which was often). This lasted for about 4 months.

Around this time the babes started to give up their 4 o'clock feeding on their own. I was so happy about that. The 4 o'clock feeding was the hardest one to pump for. It was too big of a transition time in my day.

At 11 months (super close to 12) I went to Florida over night by myself for a jaw check. I brought my pump, but AHH forgot the tubes that connect the bottles to the pump. I don't know how! I totally messed up my supply. I extracted milk on my own into the bottles but was never able to completely empty myself like the pump or babes would. When I got back home it took me a few days to get back into the swing of things. OUCH!

A week or so after my trip the boys started to not take their cup of milk at 10 o'clock. They would have a sip or so and then throw the cup down and play. I decided that I would stop pumping at 10 o'clock. It was so hard to leave my students even just for the 10 minutes anyway. It was just a huge pain... I would get back and they would be out of control. It would be so much easier to stay in the room. I had a huge frozen supply of milk and they cut down on two feedings so I assumed it would be fine.

At 12 months I decided to stop pumping at their 1 o'clock feeding. It took me about 2 weeks to finally decide that I was going to stop. I still had a good supply in the freezer and they are now a year that if I run out they could just get organic whole milk and be good to go.

So at 12 months I was nursing at 7 o'clock, 1 o'clock (breast milk in sippy cup during lunch m-f, nursing sat. and sun.), and 7 o'clock.

I continued to do this until the boys were 14 months. At this time M would latch for about 10 seconds at the 7 pm feeding, roll away and go play. It didn't take long for him to not even latch on. He would just go play. G continued for maybe a week longer. When they stopped they just moved on to whole milk after dinner.

Now we have come to my heart break. At 15 months they decided to stop all together. Again M began to only latch for half a minute or so and then leave. G continued for a little longer. I am happy that they stopped for good on the same day. I think it made it easier for me.

I am so glad that they decided it was time to be done. I am so glad that I didn't have to go through any pain or ween them. What a perfect ending to this chapter.

Oh, I still have breastmilk in my freezer. I keep saying we need to thaw a bag a day and put it in their cups but keep forgetting to go downstairs to get a bag. I wonder if they would even drink it anymore, or if it would be completely foreign to them now.

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