Formula discrimination and reflux babies

I honestly never thought I would be discriminated against for NOT breastfeeding. For years, I have seen articles and signs supporting breastfeeding and heard of sit-ins at stores that weren’t breastfeeding friendly so I guess I figured those mothers were the ones being discriminated against. Well, it turns out it goes both ways.
In the beginning, I pumped like crazy and the twins were fed my milk and supplemented with donor milk while at the hospital. When they came home, I still wasn’t producing quite enough so we supplemented with a small amount of formula. I pumped for around 6 weeks when we switched them to all formula because I was crazy tired trying to bottle feed two preemies my pumped breast milk while also dealing with horrible reflux. Of course with reflux, they may spit up every single mL that they drink but could I produce enough on demand to replace it immediately? Hell no. It even got to the point with their projectile “spitting up” that their pediatrician thought either they had a milk protein allergy or pyloric stenosis (where the muscle at the bottom of the stomach blocks the transfer of food to the small intestines). After putting them on a hypoallergenic formula and monitoring them constantly it was discovered it really was *just* reflux. But if I try to explain all this to singleton wielding mothers who are stay-at-home moms and exclusively breast feed I get informed that their baby will be healthier and smarter than mine and that I’m not doing my duty as a mother by giving them that nasty formula that is soooo unnatural and what do I think I’m doing sending them off to daycare while I work a full-time job? I guess good mothers don’t work at all (and by work I mean leaving the house and having a job that is paid, yes I know being a stay-at-home mom is work too).
Since when is it okay to bash someone for formula feeding? You’d think since people have worked so hard to make breastfeeding in public less taboo that they would understand a woman’s CHOICE to use formula. Yes, I know breast milk is better for babies et cetera but how was I to continue giving breast milk when I had to pump it because my babies never got the hang of breastfeeding no matter who I had helping (friends, family, lactation consultant, doctor, nor nurses could accomplish it) and they just spit up most everything anyway. Not to mention the utter and complete lack of sleep. I was pumping, then feeding, then cleaning up spit up and changing outfits, and then feeding again, and maybe again. And then pumping, and feeding, and on and on. There were times I passed out as soon as DH got home from work and he would use our meager supply of frozen breast milk to feed the babies. I honestly would get dizzy and start to black out from being so exhausted which was dangerous for my babies with me being the only one home during the day with absolutely no help and no one useful to call for help. I did do one thing that helped ease my extreme guilt of switching to formula though. While I was weaning myself off of pumping/breastfeeding, I saved all that milk to use when they are holding down feedings better. I know it won’t be tailored to their specific needs at the time but at least it will be something.
As far as the reflux goes, it is being treated with Zantac, the use of Dr. Brown’s bottles (vacuum-free feeding), being elevated while feeding, no tight clothing or tight diapers, being elevated while sleeping (in rock ‘n plays), and constantly trying to burp them and not laying them down at all (even elevated) until at least 30 minutes after a feeding. All these measures do help but we still have incidents every day. And if they cough, get hiccoughs, fart, burp, or sneeze they are at risk of exploding. Or if they are moved around too much. People tend to think I’m joking when I compare them to a can of pop that could explode if you shake it too much but I am actually serious (as people have realized when they get covered in smelly formula). Reflux is a lot of work to control and we still don’t have a handle on it. I will be ever so glad when I can say they went a day spit-up free.

I’m back:)

DH and I don’t have internet at home so I haven’t been able to update my blog in a long time. To catch you up really quick, the twins are here! And are currently 9 weeks and 1 day old! THey were born July 8th–5 weeks and 1 day early. I did end up going into labor and was having pains starting a few days before hand. My doctors kept saying it was nothing though so I stayed home. I had a feeling on July 7th though that I did need checked out at least but the doctor on call that Sunday brushed me off so i waited and when my back pain got really bad and kept getting worse with contractions I called back knowing a different doctor was on duty. She told me to come straight in. By the time I got hooked up to the machines to be monitored, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and then quickly went to two minutes apart and were getting stronger. I was only dilated to a 3 and 50% effaced but with both babies breech the doctor wanted to do a c-section because she said with the contractions coming that close together and as strong as they were that there was no stopping them this time. So, I was prepped for surgery, had a spinal block with a kick (morphine was added in I was told later), and at 6:18a.m. on Monday the 8th, my little man was born and after a few scary seconds started crying. Then at 6:21 a.m. my little miss arrived crying even louder. The nurses and pediatricians made me wait to see the babies even though they were breathing. They showed me baby B first and then I had to beg to see Baby A too since for some reason they didn’t bother to show me him. Quickly after that they were whisked away to the special care nursery since they were preemies. I sent DH with them too. Not long after that I heard the doctor say “We’ve got some bleeders” and then the curtain in front of me got sprayed with blood (so did the doctor I saw later). I was hemorrhaging but it was controlled one of the nurses said. Soon after being stitched (or should I say glued?) closed, I was wheeled through the special care nursery where i was allowed to glimpse the babies and then I was brought to my postpartum recovery room. After a few minutes in recovery I started throwing up profusely and we discovered I have an intolerance to morphine. Not long after, my nurse was taking care of me and said I was bleeding “a lot” and went and got the doctor. By then, a different one was on duty and he had the nurses weighing the pads that were put under me to check my blood loss. There was also talk of doing some type of balloon surgery if the pills and shot I was given to help my blood clot didn’t go into effect soon. Luckily, after a few hours the bleeding slowed to a little heavier than normal but was within an acceptable range I guess. I was also given some phenegran pills and then a shot of phenegran to stop the vomiting. During all this, my mom visited for a few minutes and then my MIL, SIL, and grandmother in law did. Later that night my dad and little sister visited. They were all allowed to see the babies for a few minutes at a time. I’m still pissed that I wasn’t allowed to leave the room to see them and they weren’t allowed to be brought to me. It was like that until about 6 a.m. the next morning when my night nurse decided she would wheel my bed into the nursery. I got to hold the babies then! After about holding both of them for 5 minutes and being incredibly weak doing so, a nurse rushed in saying I needed a transfusion since the results of my hemoglobin test from a few hours before came in and evidently my numbers were really, really low. During the course of that day and night, I received 4 units of blood. After the last one, my hemoglobin levels were still really low but the doctor thought I would be able to recover the rest of the way on my own (and with the help of iron pills). I still think whoever donated that last bag of blood had had a lot of caffeine beforehand though. After I was unhooked it wasn’t very long after that I was able to stand and walk around without being too nauseous or dizzy. It was then that I was able to have the catheter out and was allowed to sit in a wheelchair. Even though it was 3 a.m. at the time, my nurse wheeled me into the nursery where I got to hold each of the babies for a while. I loved it! It was the longest visit I’d had with them! Eventually though, we had to leave and I was brought back to my room. I was able to talk the new nurse on duty to unhook my IVs and let me shower and take the bandage off of my abdomen. None of that was fun and it hurt a lot but I knew it would bring me another step closer to being more independent and able to see my babies more. From then on, I could come and go from the nursery whenever I wanted and I did go and see the babies very often along with helping to feed and change them. The nurses said me and DH weren’t letting them do their jobs! We were there for 9 days for baby B and 10 for baby A. Those days seemed to take forever until we got the okay to take them home. We stayed at the hospital the entire time (in a comp room after I was released). Well, I’ve went on and on so I’ll go for now; I started working again last week so I should get back to my job:)

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The Wall

Well, I have heard of this wall from many people but I have just really started experiencing what it’s like to smack into it. I am 31 weeks today and so tired and in so much pain. I can’t sleep more than 45 minutes to an hour at a time and only get a limited amount of sleep altogether since I’m still working. I thought I’d been in pain before with all the achiness but yesterday proved me wrong. Now, I’m having sharp and severe pains in my right hip whenever I move or lay down. I’m just glad that I no longer have to walk the two older dogs–we just had a fence installed and it was completed yesterday. The dogs are still inside dogs but have more outside priveleges than before. Maggie seems to do well with the fence and comes back soon after going out but Bram is a whole other story. He absolutely loves the freedom and has to be called in–even then I can tell he is thinking about whether to ignore me or not. To top it off, this morning he almost got sprayed by a skunk through the fence. I’m just glad the skunk decided to run from the barking dog rather than hike its tail.
In other news, I had my baby shower this weekend. The decorations, games, and food were great and I’m glad we went with the Dr. Seuss theme. It worked out really well. The not so great part was that many of the people who RSVPed didn’t show (so, wasted $ and hardwork to make sure everything was perfect for a certain number of guests). We did find out that they didn’t want to be involved in anything that might happen since DH’s step-mother and mother were both there and the tension between DH’s dad’s side of the family and his mom’s side since the divorce still hasn’t abated. It’s ridiculous really. Anyway, we still ended up getting a lot of clothes and some big items like the carseats, stroller, and changing table. We do still need to go shopping for a lot of things though. I’m just glad the stressful weekend is over and DH’s stepmom and brother headed back to Texas. I swear that woman doesn’t understand what modified bedrest means (even after it was expained to her). I was so so tired after this weekend and everything that had to be done that all I wanted to do was sleep for a week–of course I can’t do that though.
Also, I have only been working 24 hrs a week. I work 6 hour days now for 4 days a week. The 20th will be my last day at work and then I won’t be back until 8 weeks after the babies are born (or longer depending). My doctors have decided that working until 32 weeks is long enough and that that will be my cutoff point. I honestly am really excited about not having to come into work for a while. What I’m not so excited about is the cut in pay. I do have short-term disability benefits I can use but I will only be given 60% of my pay and that is taxed as well so I won’t be making very much at all. Hopefully, DH’s hours will pick up and he can at least work a few hours over every week.

28 Weeks (as of yesterday!)

Yesterday was my 28 week mark. I would absolutely love to say it has been uneventful and boring getting to this point but that would be a lie. The truth is, I’ve been very uncomfortable and I already measure 39 weeks so I’m basically as big as someone full-term with a singleton. Ahh..it’s kind of unbelievable I have at least 10 weeks left.
Lately, I’ve had quite a bit going on where the babies are concerned. It seems they are trying to make early escape attempts but we’re trying to keep them put for a while longer. On Sunday, I was in Labor and Delivery for hours because of regular contractions that caused my cervix to dilate to 1cm (it’s also 50% effaced). They hooked me up to the monitors and everything and decided I needed a shot of terbutaline. Well, that didn’t go as expected. About 5 minutes after receiving the shot I started having trouble breathing, I was extremely light-headed, my vison was swimming, and I was sure I was going to puke. It seems the medicine made my blood pressure drop very quickly–to 66/34. The nurse when she saw that kind of ran out of the room to get help and to retrieve a bag of fluids. After getting oxygen and some of the fluids in me, I felt a lot better. The other downside to the terbutaline was that it didn’t stop my contractions but did slow them down–but only a little. After that the doctor did a fetal fibronectin test which negative thankfully so we know I have less than a one percent chance of going into full labor within the next 10 to 14 days (from Sunday). It was after that that he did the cervical exam.
I was sent home shortly after the negative fFN test with no restrictions and no meds in case contractions started like that again. Then Monday rolled around. I was having a lot of contractions again but didn’t want to call in and be labeled as “the little boy who cried wolf” since the office I go to makes you feel stupid everytime you go in even if there is something wrong. For me, at the start of feeling like something isn’t right I call because it takes me an hour to get to the office and a little longer to get to the hospital. So, after not calling on Monday and getting the contractions under control by resting and upping my water intake, the same thing happened again on Tuesday.
Yesterday when I was contracting again, the contractions felt stronger and were more frequest so I called in. The work-in doctor immediately had me come in but I still had to wait for over an hour to be seen since the nurses forgot to let her know I had arrived. Of course by the time she did a cervical check (she came to the same conclusion the other doctor did (1cm and 50%)) and ordered a NST the contractions were slowing down. Since I was dilated though Dr. Z decided to start me on my first steroid shot and she ordered a growth scan and cervical check since I should have been scheduled for both this week but the last doctor I saw must have forgotton or something. The scan showed my cervical length to be 3.6cm and revealed that I’m only dilated on the outside layer, not the second one as well (which is good but I can’t remember what the two layers were called in order to tell you). As far as the growth scan went, the babies are doing very well. They are estimated to weigh 2lbs 12oz (A) and 2lbs 10 oz (B). After that I was able to leave with a prescription to get a months supply of Procardia to be taken 3 times a day. I’m just glad that this doctor decided to be proactive instead of saying “let’s wait and see” like the others do and like she has done before. Hopefully we can keep these babies cookin’ a while longer!
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Viability!

I have hit the 24 week mark today so the babies are officially “viable” even though I do not want them making an appearance for at least another 13 to 14 weeks. I did have an ultrasound yesterday and I would post pictures but the tech I had seems unable to give me any pictures that look like anything at all (I know it’s her because the other tech always has clear shots whereas this one never does; and this is with a new machine too).

I am happy with the results of the ultrasound though. My cervical length is 4 cm which I’ve been told is good and I pray it stays that way. The babies look great too! Baby A (our boy) is estimated to weigh 1 lb 10 oz and Baby B (our girl) is estimated at 1 lb 8 oz. They are both a little ahead as far as length and weight goes which is really good since the tech said soon they could start slowing down in growth because of restricted space. The funny thing about our ultrasound is that the twins both had long legs for their gestational age. I thought that was pretty funny since both my husband and I are short. Their legs actually meausured 8 days ahead (A) and 6 days ahead (B). Then again, I was “tall” until around everyone else around me hit puberty and I was still stuck at around the same height I’d been before…lol.

The twins seem to have settled into positions that they like. B has always been transverse and continues to stay that way (she goes right across my belly button) and A is low and is considered “oblique” because he’s at an angle with his head down and feet up right in the perfect position to kick his sister in the head (which he does do). Their faces are starting to fill out and they look a lot less like aliens 🙂 Hopefully at my appointment in two weeks I can talk the u/s tech into turning on the 3D. I’m not actually sure if I will be having an ultrasound though since I just had one yesterday and I will be seeing a doctor I never have before. Usually, it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get to my doctor’s office but it was decided that i can go see another doctor in their practice that is only 15 minutes away from me. And he has longer hours so I don’t have to miss work.

Let’s see, what are my current symptoms:
round ligament pain (defiinitely)
bloating is back
fatigue
difficulty breathing if I have to walk too long or take steps
lack of space in my stomach to actually eat much
feeling as though my belly could explode at any moment (especially when both babies are pushing
braxton hicks (probably 10 to 15 a day)
difficulty sleeping
back pain
and there’s probably more I’m not thinking of right now.
Oh, and my dogs have an obsession with my belly too. I think that stems from me constantly having my hand there and my husband being overly protective of that area in general so of course that’s what they want.

Maggie "listening" to the twins.

Maggie “listening” to the twins.

Halfway! Well, I’m calling it that anyway.

Since three out of four of my doctors say that they won’t let a twin pregnancy go beyond 38 weeks I’m calling 19 weeks the halfway point. I’m so glad and grateful to have made it here. The twins really have been growing at an amazing rate and the weeks sometimes seem slow but then they are gone before I know it. I mean, just back in November I was constantly stressing over if our IVF cycle would work and then when it did the worry intensified because, well, I’ve always been a worrier. I’ve got to give props to my husband though. He has been so amazing through everything. He tries his best to cater to me which makes me feel guilty because he tries to do too much. He is also responsible for me gaining weight now. It is still a slow gain but at least it’s there. Every morning he makes me a Boost High Protein shake with vitamin D milk (which, incidentally, I absolutely hate) and then at night he makes me a chocolate milk shake that has ice cream, Boost High Protein powder, and two oreos to cover up the taste of the Boost. I could make them myself but he says he wants to somehow be involved with the babies growing…lol. His justifications have always been so off-the-wall.
Oh, the baby shower planning has begun. My step-mother-in-law that absolutely loves me has been going crazy trying to make plans but she also wants my mom to be really involved but it does seem like she wants what she wants and wants everyone else to want it to–if you get what I mean? I know i probably just made that confusing. Well, the shower theme is Dr. Seuss and MIL has already ordered invites (and she lives in texas btw while I’m in Indiana). I did set up a location and I’ve got it rented for June 8th. Hopefully I’ll feel up to having the shower at almost 31 weeks. I would have preferred it to be earlier but MIL couldn’t take her vacation any earlier she said. I’m hoping that the planners will listen to my input as well. DH’s real mom will also be helping with the shower she claims but I’m not so sure if she actually will. Once her name was put on the invitations as being one of the hosts she pretty much stopped being involved. That’s the way she is though. Even a few years ago for our wedding she told everyone she could about how exhausted she was from planning and setting everything up for it….it made me so mad since from the very beginning she told us not to ask for help because she wouldn’t have the time to give us any.
I’ve now discovered that my back just isn’t going to stop hurting. And, oh, the round ligament pain. I have to switch sides all the time at night because of my back and hips hurting but when I do I get those sudden, sharp pains from it. Couple this with being constantly thirsty especially at night and you get me needing to pee every couple hours and needing to turn about every hour. I don’t get much sleep anymore. The dogs don’t seem to mind though. Almost everytime they get up they try to persuade me into taking them outside. I usually end up giving in about once a night since Bram can be very persistent…and he looks so cute when he begs too.
Ah well, it looks like it’s time for me to go. I’m at work and have other things I should be doing…and I’ve really got to pee.

And the babies are….

Yesterday we went in for the official anatomy scan. We didn’t have the normal u/s tech but had a woman much more experienced that was filling in for her. I’m glad we did. This tech explained everything and how incredibly perfect both babies look. Their little hearts, kidneys, heads, etc all measured and looked completely normal. I am so thankful for that. We were also officially told their genders. Well, Baby B is a Girl and it turns out that Baby A is a Boy!!! We are so excited! And I feel better knowing what they are officially (and there was no doubting it for either of them) and that my “instinct” was correct and I wasn’t just going crazy thinking there should really be a girl AND a boy in there. Last time we were told 100% that Baby B is a girl and 90% that Baby A was too. Imagine our surprise when we went in expecting two girls but ended up with one of each. It’s a good thing we told absolutely no one what we were told for genders. Also, we had went in with two girl names prepared and one boy name just in case and it was a good thing too.

Oh, and I can actually feel Baby B now! She kicks a lot so it’s no wonder. I haven’t been able to feel A at all and I found out that’s because his placenta is in front of him whereas B’s is behind her. It was so funny and cute yesterday though. A was just laying there sucking his thumb and occasionally moving and then we see Baby B who was trying her damndest to kick her brother. I’m glad the gestational sacs are really tough! It took about twenty minutes to do the complete anatomy scan on Baby A while Baby B kept moving and flipping so much that it took a full 40 minutes to do her anatomy scan. Both of them are right on par with each other now. They measured at 18 weeks and 4 days (I was actually 17 weeks 6 days) and they are both 8 ounces.

Baby A is a Boy!

Baby A is a Boy!

Baby B is a Girl!

Baby B is a Girl!