Motherhood Diaries: I’m Gonna Miss This? Yes.

IMG_0406He made baby squeaks as he sucked down his bottle.  Tiny baby squeaks, and then he would sigh and catch his breath several times before continuing to suck.  As I listened to him, I thought to myself, I want whatever Action Jackson is having.

When he nods off, head resting on my chest, he smiles a big infectious smile.  It’s almost a laugh.  Sweet Baby James does it every time he falls asleep in my arms.  He smiles up at me, trying to reassure me that one day he will be able to sleep longer than three hours at a time.

Yes, I am gonna miss this.

Now every time I hear that song it brings tears to my eyes because the moments I am going to miss are passing before my eyes in the wee small hours of the morning.

My special alone time with the Dumplings.

They are moving rapidly to the next set of moments I’m gonna miss.

Through complete exhaustion I stare at my Dumplings.  Countless tidbits of advice from well-meaning friends and family swirl through my sleep deprived mind.  Most of it goes in one ear and out the other.

I read a “twin schedule” online last week in an attempt to see if I could put my twins on one.  I laughed out loud at the absurdity of it for the twins staring back at me.  My twins could not even stay on a schedule in the NICU.  By the time they left the hospital they were on what is called a baby-led schedule.

They get this from me.  I’ve been on a Terry-led schedule as long as I can remember.

No one put Baby in a corner or Terry on a schedule … until now, of course.  Now Terry is on the baby-led schedule, too!

It’s only fitting that I gave birth to twins subscribing to this philosophy.

There are all kinds of baby care books I have no time to read.  As each day passes by, I realize paying attention to the babies in front of me day in and day out, night in and night out is the only book I’ll ever really need.

They can tell me more in one day than any book — they are the authors of their instruction manual.  My instincts are the interpreters.  Instinct is slowly helping me tune into the Dumpling’s frequency; letting me know what to expect in the first year with Jackson and James.

As the days roll into weeks, I speak Jackson and James more fluently than I did the day before.

Last night — on the eve of their 6th week of life — I was up with James for the third time that night convinced he had a tape worm.  He grabbed my hair and he smiled a great big smile; he then startled himself with his other arm.  His eyes got as big as saucers and he looked at me, puckering his lips and making a face I cannot begin to describe.  He’s a natural comedian.  I’ve never seen a more expressive face on a baby.  Moments later he finished eating, his eyes got heavy and he fell asleep in my arms.

As I stared down at this little being depriving me of any sleep at all, I thought about the only advice I am trying to honor.

Enjoy every minute of it.

It goes by so fast.

Take a lot of pictures.

While trying not to nod off, I stared at the feet of his newborn footie pajamas and realized it was only a matter of weeks before it was in the give-a-way pile.  It seemed like just moments ago it was swallowing him whole; you could barely find his legs in there and now they are about to bust out the end.

I feel as though I waited an eternity to become a Mom and now that I am one, I’m on a speed train.  It’s all going so fast I can’t write, I can’t sleep, I can barely take a picture.

Last night I realized I need to just breathe and try to remember these seemingly insignificant moments that happen at 4:22am.  Come to the blog as often as I can.

But in reality, I know the most important thing is to be present for these little beings who have given me the greatest gift I have ever known by picking me to be their Mama.

In the words of Jackie Kennedy, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”

I couldn’t agree more.  That quote ran through my mind as the tiny hand clutching my hair finally let it go as he fell into a deep milk coma with his tush in the air and his other hand around my neck.

I put him back in his bed and began washing my pumping supplies and bottles and all the things I would need again in just a few short hours.  While standing at the sink I began humming Your Gonna Miss This.  Tonight the song had a whole new meaning.  Somehow I knew I would miss the smell of spit up and those tiny baby cries that tear at your heart every time they need you.  Even though many people can meet their needs, a mother knows the cry is mainly for her.  Ultimately, it’s her job — my job — to decode it.

This weekend I had dinner with my Mom and Dad — without any step-parents — for the first time since I was nine.  The original three.  Founded in Honolulu in 1969.  It was nice.  I’m glad they’re friends.

Watching my parents interact with the little J’s was pretty special.  I can’t wait until the next time.  I’m sure Jonathan feels the same way watching his Mom and Dad with them.

It’s a side of your parents you don’t see until you have children.

The last thing I remember last night was watching the time on my iPad change to 5:24 as I removed the pumping cones from my chest.  I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna miss that, but right now I sure do miss my Mom.

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Dear James and Jackson: One Week Home

Jackson (L) and James (R) on the Zebra

Jackson (L) and James (R) on the Zebra

Dear James and Jackson:

As of last night at around 6:30pm, you have been home for one week.

Oh, what a difference a week makes.  I fully admit, after the first night I was convinced we might be in over our heads, but both of you were incredibly patient with us.

“Honey, I’m a little nervous,” your Daddy said.

“Why?” I asked, sitting next to him in the NICU holding Jackson.

“Right now, it takes both of us to feed ONE baby.”

When I say there was a silver lining in the NICU stay, this was it.  Your Daddy and I got a full week of professional infant care training. Even though I would cry every night leaving you in that Giraffe incubator — looking back now — I realize what an incredible group of nurses and doctors helped you learn to suck, swallow and breathe all the way to your 36th week.  I am grateful for all of them.

Putting all we learned into practice at home was an entirely different story.  I thought I had systems in place, and things organized — but upon getting you home I began to realize I had not discussed any of it with you.  After some minor adjustments, we are now officially in sync for the most part.

The first night you were home I spent the entire night staring at both of you; making sure you were still breathing.  It was the first time since you were born that you were not attached to a monitor telling me your heart was beating and your lungs were working and your blood pressure was okay.

I know they would not have let you out of there if they did not believe you were ready, but we were nervous nonetheless.

I do not think your Daddy and I collectively got an hour of sleep that first night.

After one week of observing you, I can now spot so many things you were doing in the womb.

James, you are a very still, zen sleeper.  Sometimes when you sleep, you look like a little Buddha.  You hardly ever stir, but your face — oh, that face says everything.  You tend to smile a lot when you sleep, and sometimes I would swear you know exactly what I am saying.  You keep Daddy and me in stitches.

Jackson, you are still except when you are not still.  You tend to writhe your whole body and raise you head, your leg, your rear end.  It’s almost like you are trying to go up into down dog.  Now I know what you were doing up there under my rib cage.  You still do it — roughly once per hour or so.  You also pucker your lips as you raise your head.  You’re going to be the kid that starts out at the top of the bed and ends up with your head at the foot of the bed by morning.  Or possibly, on the floor.

This is how much you have moved towards your brother since I took the picture at the top of the post.

Jackson is moving closer ...

Jackson is moving closer …

I have to admit, after spending eight nights with you at home, I never imagined it could be this relaxed.  I’m not sure if it is because you’re amazingly mellow, or I am just ready for the task at hand.  I think it is a little bit of both.  I have waited a really long time for this moment, so I am trying to savor all of them.  Even the ones where I am half asleep.

Our living room looks like a showroom for the Fisher Price Snugabunny line. It makes us laugh as we alternate which contraption to put you into for your next rest.

I had a lactation consultant come over and help us out on Saturday.  Apparently if you can get this whole latching thing down I won’t have to pump so much.  You are both doing great.  I am happy to say I need no supplementation for you, as I am producing more than enough milk — but I have to give you bottles to measure your intake until you are a month old.

I wonder how Mamaw Wines managed to have two sets of twins within a five year span without Fisher Price or a lactation consultant?  I’m not sure they had much of anything in Clay County, Texas — but somehow she did it.

Regardless, I am grateful for every contraption and professional consultation we have available.  Sometimes I think we are so used to having gadgets help us, that we have to be taught that which is supposed to be instinctual.  All of our advancements have somehow rendered us not entirely ready, but with each practice session instinct begins to kick in more and more for both of us.

You’ve been to the pediatrician twice this week.  As of yesterday — your two week birthday — you have both surpassed your birth weights.  Jackson, you weigh 5 pounds and 13 ounces and James you weigh 5 pounds and 11 ounces.  Of course, the minute they got both of you off the scale you peed everywhere.

It was not my first, nor will it be my last run in with your stream.

Having you both in our lives is nothing short of a miracle.  I have to pinch myself every morning when I get up and realize you’re here.  You’re actually here.

I pray every day I don’t screw this up.  I suppose all parents do.

Love,

Mama

P.S. I hope you’re always this close.  It makes my heart happy.

Jackson has lifted his head and turned towards his brother.

Jackson has lifted his head and turned towards his brother.

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