Monday, January 30, 2006


No time to write these days. My husband is out of the country for 2 weeks and despite the fact that both my mother and mother-in-law are here to help me out with the boys, I feel more stressed, exhausted, and put out than I normally do.

Still, I've managed to take a couple of photos of my guys.

They are smiling and laughing and talking like you wouldn't believe.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

three things: one bad, two good.

1. ALTE (all-tee) is medicalese for Apparent Life Threatening Episode. And one of the criteria is that the parent is scared that his or her their child might die.

I learned this little fact last week at the emergency room (of all places) where we ended up taking Henry after he experienced an ALTE of his very own.

Here's what happened: It was an unseasonably warm day here in NYC, and I took the babies out for a walk in the park across the street from my house. We got home about an hour and a
half before my baby and me yoga class was scheduled to begin and I put Henry in the crib so that I could feed Jack. The plan was to then feed Henry, pack a bag, change into exercise clothes, and head off to class with Henry. But while I was feeding Jack, I heard Henry crying in his crib. I went in to look at him and he was foaming at the mouth, making gagging noises, and had turned a frightening shade of blue. I yelled for my husband (who happened to be home) who ran in and scooped up Henry. By then, Henry had started breathing again, albeit irregularly. And he had gone from blue to pale. I called the visiting nurse service, not certain if this warranted a call to 911 (after all, he was breathing again) who told me to call my pediatrician. The pediatrician said to bring him right in and without restocking the diaper bag or putting jackets on the boys, we headed for the doctor's office.

Henry was seen right away by a doctor (not our usual doc who was off that day), but another woman who seemed prefectly nice and concerned, but not alarmed. She heard our story, examined Henry, and sent us off to the ER for a series of tests "just to be sure".

At the ER, Henry was examined by a million different doctors, we told the story of the episode at least 25 more times, and the attending on duty told us that he needed to be admitted. The most likely cause of the ALTE? Either RSV, reflux, or an unknown factor. Poor little Henry had to have blood drawn and a mucous culture to rule out a viral cause. He had to have an EKG to make sure the ALTE wasn't cardiac related. And finally he was admitted.

Henry and I spent the night in the hospital. He slept through the night ( a full eight hours!) in an institutional crib- the type you might find in an orphanage. I slept fitfully on a pull out sofa made up with surprising soft hospital linens. In the morning, Henry and I were wheeled to radiology for his head ultrasound. In the afternoon, a neuro tech came by to glue 100 little electrodes to his head to monitor for seizure activity. Henry was visited by med students, by residents, by carology fellows, and neurology specialists. And everysingle one of them asked to hear the story, listened to his heart and lungs, checked his reflexes and then pronounced him seemingly healthy and normal.

When we were discharged on Friday evening, the diagnosis was reflux and Henry was sent home with prescriptions for Zantac and Floven (a steroid for his lungs). My gut feeling tells me that even if Henry does have reflux (and he probably does), the reflux wasn't the cause of the ALTE. Still, I dutifully give him his meds twice a day, felling guilty as he gags and cries thru the whole routine. And I run at the mere hint of cry, praying that I will never ever find him blue in the face again.

2. I've started a playgroup. Well more like a new mommy group since the babies involved are too young to actually play. Our 1st meeting is tomorrow afternoon and I'll let you know how it goes.

3. Jack's first non-reflexive smile. He smiled for his dad yesterday while Henry and I were at the doctor for his follow-up appointment. And then for me this morning when I tickled his cheeks and cooed at him.

This picture isn't the best- my camera wasn't quick enough, but you get the idea.

Edited to add:

He just gets better with practice.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

grounds for divorce?

Over the past few nights, my husband has taken to kicking me in the middle of the night when one of the babies starts fussing to be fed. I called him on it this morning and he denied it. I graciously allowed that maybe he did it subconsciously in his sleep. And then? He said no, that wasn't possible because he was actually awake this morning and wanted to kick me, but didn't. Just lay there pretending to be asleep to see how long it would take me to attend to hungry little Jack.


Would it really kill him to feed a baby in the middle of the night? I mean, really. Isn't that why God invented bottles and formula?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

knock on wood

We've instituted a new bedtime ritual in the gringa household that goes a little something like this:

Massage (with lavender& vanilla baby lotion)
Lights out.

And all the while, lullabies play softly in the background.

From start to finish, the whole thing takes about a half hour. As soon as baby #1 gets out of the tub, my husband begins the massage and I bathe baby #2.

We've only done this for two nights so far and so while I'm terrified to jinx it, I also feel compelled to announce that Henry slept for 9 hours last night!! In a row!! And Jack only woke up once.

Please, God, let this continue.

Friday, January 06, 2006

confessions of a frazzled new twin mom

1. I gave up on trying to breastfeed Henry and Jack weeks ago. When they were in the NICU, I pumped every 3 hours on the dot and refused to allow a drop of formula to pass their lips. But after they were both home, there was not as much time to sit and pump and they weren't good enough at nursing to get all of their meals at the breast. So now? They're 99.9999999% formula fed. Except for Henry who gets to comfort nurse every once in a blue moon if he's really fussy. Like yesterday at Baby and Me yoga.

2. I've given up on keeping pacifiers and bottles separate. If one of the babies is hungry or needs a non-nutritive sucking device, I reach for the closest bottle or binky- I don't care whose mouth has been on it last, as long as it's not the dog's.

3. I forgot to pack clean diapers and spit-up cloths to take to Baby and Me yoga yesterday. The result? A sopping wet Henry fussing through the 2nd half of class (See #1). The worst part? I didn't even excuse myself to go home and change him. And I wouldn't let my yoga instructor hold him while I tackled a pose that needed both hands because I didn't want her to know that he was wet.

4. I let both boys hang out in the swing and vibrating chair for extended periods of time, so that I can cook or eat, or get dressed. They are always strapped in, but sometimes only semi-attended to. I mean, I'm close enough to see them, but not close enough to touch them.

5. I haven't given either of them a real bath in weeks. They get their faces, necks, and hands washed daily. And their diaper area, too. But it feels like too much work to strip them down entirely and put them in their little tub. They get so darn slippery!

6. In order to cut down on trips to do laundry, I've upped my threshold for clothes covered in spit-up (theirs and mine). If it's not soaked through and we're not going outside, it stays on.

My new year's resolutions? To be a more prepared, more attentive, and more hygenic mom in 2006. Really.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

three months old: a progress report.

Henry and Jack are three months old today. And they are about 56 times bigger than they were when I took that picture of them in their snowsuits. Okay, not quite. But they are growing.

Henry had a doctor's appointment this morning and his doctor was quite impressed with his size. He's now a whopping 10 pounds, 5 ounces and according to the little growth chart, that's right where a below-average baby should be at 3 months. He's finally on the charts! Prior to this visit, he didn't even make it to the below average line. And let's not even mention Jack's sub par performance in the growth department, except to say that it is sub par no longer.

Jack finally outgrew his preemie clothes a couple of weeks ago and both boys are
actually filling out their 0-3's. Henry will be ready to move on to 3-6's in a couple of weeks, I'm sure. But for now, I'm enjoying dressing them like twins for as long they're the same size.

Still no smiles other than the reflexive ones that make me crazy with anticipation for the days they'll grin on purpose. But they look around and fixate on stuff: my face, their mobile, stuffed animals, each other. And they grab on tight to things and don't want to let go: my face, stuffed animals, each other.

Henry has learned to sleep for 6 or 7 hours at a time during the night and I am anxiously awaiting the day that Jack decides to join him in the land of nod. Until then, I should be grateful that they both nap well and that Jack only wakes once at around 4 am during the nights.

I fall in love with these little guys a little more each day. Who knew I could love them this much?
The smell of their little heads gets me each time. I want to bottle that scent and carry it with me always.