Wednesday, September 30, 2009

It's giveaway time

I'm so excited for one of you e because I'm hosting a giveaway on this blog for the next week.

Someone will be winning a $45 gift card from CSN Baby to spend on some gorgeous nursery furniture.

My personal favourite is this beautiful cot mobile. The babies don't have a cot mobile yet and the ones I've seen in South Africa have not really impressed me much. I'm very fussy (no!) and would rather do without if I don't LOVE something. As you know, it's very difficult when you have a boy and a girl in the same room, so you're basically stuck decorating with neutral colours.

You, of course, could pick ANYTHING you like! How exciting is that :)

The rules

  1. You have to have a US or Canadian mailing address
  2. You don't have to be a blogger!
  3. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post telling me what you'd get with your gift card - lamp, changing pad, etc. Please make sure you also leave your email address so I can contact you - I don't have time with the twins to hunt around looking for your contact details. Thanks for understanding :)
  4. Entries close at 12pm EST on Wed 7 October.

Let the games begin!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Look at all this hair & other randomness

So Trina finally had her baby - the last one of all of us who were due around the same time.

And WOW, what a beauty. She has TONS OF HAIR - I am so jealous since I was completely bald until I was two years old :)

Some other random stuff

  • Thanks for all the advice on the fussy eaters post. Kendra was switched to lactose-free formula at their last paed appt on 11 Sept. I bought the small tin and she finished that in 4 days without any improvement. In fact, looking over my notes (yes, I'm keeping The Notebook again!), she actually got a bit fussier with her eating. I phoned the paed who said she can go back on normal Nan 1 again as I should have seen an improvement within a couple of feeds if she was allergic. So, back to square 1. I am going to google silent reflux and phone up again if it sounds like K.
  • I just did the budget this morning and paid the nanny and night nanny. My word - it's depressing seeing all your hard-earned cash go in one fell sweep. One minute thousands in bank account, 10 minutes later nothing :(
  • Have to focus on fact that I'm sleeping 8 - 9 nights every month!
  • Am seriously in awe of people (especially people in South Africa where help is reasonably priced) who do without nannies. My one friend with 11-month-old boy/girl TWINS sent me a text to say they did it all themselves. I was like "you are a ROCK STAR!" Cannot believe it!
  • D & I are both not well - scratchy throat, etc. I have been chugging down the orange juice and vitamin C and am better today, but still not 100%, so I skipped gym. He went to the doc and is now in bed, booked off for two days - poor thing.
  • Speaking of skipping gym, I stopped for 10 days and my old knees were much, much better. So have decided to take it easier and only go twice a week. Clearly too much exercise is not good for a 35-year-old mother of twins!
  • In response to this post on infertility support, we've decided to start a fertility babies group - I am the co-ordinator and all things are motoring along nicely.
  • Am very sad about the three negative results that I know of in the blogosphere. It just breaks my heart - seriously.
And let me end off with a funny!

This morning I was holding Kendra during suicide hour. She started fussing despite seeming like she was done eating. D says, "she looks hungry", so sure enough I put the bottle in her mouth and she starts sucking away. So I said, "how do you know when she's hungry?" and he tells me (she does something with her head and has a different cry - I was seriously impressed!). So then I ask, "and how do you know when Connor's hungry?" D says, "HE'S BREATHING"


Poor boy! Naughty Dad!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fussy eaters - need some advice

On the last post, Leah had a question for me in the comments:

BB is only taking about 2 ounces (if we are lucky) at a time...which happens to be every 2-2 1/2 hours. And it takes her 30 minutes to feed...even though she is shrieking for a bottle! I'm hoping she increases her intake soon cuz I'm one tired mama!

My question for can I get BB to eat more per session?!

here's my email to her - now there are two of us who would LOVE your advice.

Leah, I would LOVE to know the answer to that question too because Kendra is the same.

2 oz is about 60 ml and K takes 50 – 60 ml max so she also wakes up quicker, etc, etc. Has about 5 sips, stops, screams, I burp her, next few sips, more screaming so I burp again, then hug her for a bit, etc, etc. Very exhausting.

Especially when I compare to her brother who polishes off 125ml (4 oz) in 10 – 15 minutes flat. I know we're not supposed to compare children!

I do know that if she sleeps longer (we are deathly quiet in the house, put Connor far away from her, no going in the room) she wakes up hungrier and on occasion will even take her full bottle. But those times are few and far in-between. So that works and also lots of patience, which I don’t have, so my hubby sits with her if he's home.

Our current goal is to get her to finish her 75ml bottle every time, every 3 hours.

Dear internets

Please share your advice with Leah and me - how do we get our babies to eat (and sleep) better?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The good version of what mornings look like at our house

If they're particularly stroppy (K mainly), then I have to hold one squirming baby and somehow feed the other one.

Have you heard about suicide hour? We have double suicide hour from 5 to 7 pm, and another suicide hour just as a bonus between 7 and 8 am every day.

It's like they can sense that there's no other help but me, and then their father from 6 - 7 pm.

(One friend with boy/ girl twins told me they can sense your fear LOL)


A quick question about babies sleeping through the night...

When they start sleeping longer, do they

  • wake up starving?
  • wake more frequently during the day to make up for that extended stretch?

This is all Connor. Kendra can't be bothered with extending her sleep cycle yet!

He's had some nights where he sleeps 4,5 and 5 hours, but then when he wakes, he is absolutely starving (hence the feed in the pic above between 7 and 8 when he should sleep til at least 9) and also wakes up every 3 - 3,5 hours as if to make up for sleeping longer.

Is this normal?

I offer him more from after 5pm so that he can "stock up" on food and hopefully sleep longer. But he only eats until full which is usually not much more than his standard feed.

I thought I was being clever by taking all he normally eats in a day (8 X 100ml) and dividing it by 6 to get him into a 4 hour pattern.

He still does his own thing - stops when he's full. Sometimes he'll have more but not all the time.

My thinking is if my easy baby sleeps long or through the night, then we can easily cope with Kendra and at least one of us can sleep on the nights we don't have a night nanny.

What can I do to help him sleep longer?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sleep and nanny update

K in a sling at the audiologist

C on the nanny's lap

We are sleeping much better thanks to the night nanny. We are in our routine now with Mabel here Mondays and Thursdays, and then while I'm on maternity leave, the day nanny has Fridays off but comes Friday evening to night nanny.

This means D and I have been able to do some stuff as well as get some sleep.

Mondays we just totally sleep as after the entire weekend of looking after babes we are knackered. Also remember we are 35 and 39, not in the flushes of youth :)

Thursdays our intention is to go to gym as she arrives (just before 7pm) and then come home to sleep. So far D has managed this; I can't quite think what I've been doing - I think blogging and getting ready for the next day.

Fridays is our new date night. We go to a movie or out to supper at one of the many shopping centres near where we live (not more than 5 km away - we are very blessed to stay quite centrally) and then come home to sleep.

My goal is to be in bed by 10pm; asleep by 11pm. So far so good.

My only concern is that we're getting really used to the night nanny; how will I be able to give her up? Well, aside from the small matter of finances.........

I was in denial about all the money we've been spending and it is A LOT. I could pay for an IVF with ICSI every 3 months........

But I put on my big girl panties and Did The Budget. That means I figured out how much we can actually spend out of our normal salaries vs what has to come from savings.

So while it is not pleasant to look at (I twitch sometimes thinking about The Money - good thing D doesn't do the budget - he freaks out far more easily than I do) at least I can now deal with it.

I said to a work friend that my bonus this year (we got a bonus in August) is going on NANNIES!

Ridiculous - in years past we went travelling to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, UK, Ireland and then last year we used it for one IVF. She kindly reminded me that I have to do whatever it takes to survive this initial period. True!

And on my to-do list today is "Complete Income Tax Return" so we can get some money back from SARS and replenish that ever-dwindling savings account.

Best I get moving on that......

Friday, September 18, 2009

The reality of twins - part 2 - medical expenses

Getting ready for my egg retrieval on IVF cycle 2 - got 5 eggs - pic taken at 7:01am (we had to be there at 7am) on 8 Dec 2008.

First of all, thank you all SO VERY MUCH for the great comments on my previous post.

They have helped me tremendously and I've been referring all my friends to the post, just to read the comments :)


I've been threatening to do a post on money for some time so here goes. Maybe this will help me come out of denial because I've been procrastinating doing the budget (not normally me) because I'm so scared of seeing the numbers.

Right, so with twins there's always the added bonus of them arriving early. I didn't know this beforehand but prem babies have a whole other set of expenses.

Before I detail them, let me explain something. In South Africa you're either on a medical aid (medical insurance) or not.

If not, you go to a government hospital. Shocking facilities - you seriously don't want to ever be in the position of having to go to one of these. (Aside - I remember when we joined our medical aid years ago, they took forever to send us the stickers for the car saying in the event of an accident, we are members of such and such.... I almost screamed at the call centre agent saying "if I'm involved in an accident, I do not want them throwing me into the Joburg Gen" - it's that horrific) .

So I think this is correct (as my work involves a project to do with health care) but only about 4 - 5 million of the 43 million South Africans actually have medical insurance. Something like that. Which entitles you to go to a private hospital.

procedure room at hospital where I had horrible internal examinations
to check dilation and so forth *shudder*

We are on a plan that offers unlimited hospital cover but very minimal day to day cover.

Of course most medical aids in South Africa don't cover any fertility treatment so the R100 000 we spent last year was also out of pocket. I think there are two tiny medical schemes that pay something toward fertility treatments. Maybe someone who knows more will comment???

The way it works on my medical aid is a portion of your monthly premium (but not more than 25%) goes into a savings account which pays for the day to day expenses of doctors, pharmacy, etc. The rest of the premium goes toward risk (hospitalisation).

I'm in insurance (life and short-term) and I'm amazed at how people don't think about these things properly.

For example, if we had to go onto a better day to day plan, we'd pay over R2000 extra every month (it was R1800 just for D & M, pre-babies this year). Your savings portion doesn't increase by R2000 obviously, only about R400 - R500. So my thinking is why don't you just save that extra R1800 and take your chances?! See I know how these things are rated and I'm the type of person who likes the lowest monthly expenses but doesn't mind an occasional big expense.

You can see that there's really no point in us moving toward a better plan - it would pay for one paed appt and then we'd still have to pay the rest.

And thank the Lord for medical aids because my bill for the Caesar and 3 days was R23 000, Connor's bill for 16 days was R77 000 and Kendra's was R93 000. And that's besides the blood tests and specialist doctors - billed separately but all paid.

Because the babies were prem, they have to make sure that everything that should have developed until term (nerves, blood vessels and what not - I really don't listen very well these days - I'm too sleep deprived) has developed properly and was not damaged in some way.

Now these are God's kids so I know they're fine but you still have to go through the motions to get the official say-so. Oy!

Eye doctor
Fortunately Kendra was in NICU when he first saw her (covered by medical aid - everything in hospital is covered on our plan) but Connor had to go once discharged. R398 for all of 5 minutes.

They then had a follow-up appt at their actual due date (R398 X 2 = R796) and need to go again 4 weeks from then (another R398 X 2 = R796).

He said to me that "hopefully that will be the last".

Hopefully indeed!

Ear doctor
My hospital offers an initial screening at birth (R250 per baby) but mine were in NICU so we missed out. We were about to get Connor's done when we were out and my clever husband happened to ask if any additional tests were needed. Yes, because they're prem. Grrr.

So we decided to forgo the initial screening and get the whole bang shoot done together to save paying two sets of consultation fees.

I eventually took the babies on Tuesday. R900 X 2 = R1800

Normal paediatrician visits
They both went two weeks after discharge, and then four weeks after that.

R450 X 2 X 2 = R1800

Remember most of these specialists charge WAY above the rate legislated by the medical schemes act.

E.g. our paed's consultation fee is R450 - the medical aid rate is R350 so you're out of pocket R100.

Of course we pay for ALL these things out of pocket because our medical savings account ran out in Feb already.

At our hospital babies get the first vaccination for free as part of the mother's hospital booking fee.

I've just checked their cards and babies should get 6 in their first year.

So I phoned to make an appointment and I was horrified.

The cheapest vaccinations I could find was R1275 per baby. I made the appointment at the cheapest place and we (nanny and I) took the babies yesterday.

(Interesting - apparently 60% of kids in South Africa die from some form of pneumococcal virus, whatever that means, but it was scary enough for me to say "go ahead, jab them!")

It actually came to R2600 because they also charge a fee to administer the injection.

Next shots are in 4 weeks time - R970 each - and ones after that are in another 4 weeks time, again R1275 each.

So over the space of two months I'll have spent R7 140 just on vaccinations!

Add the other medical appts and by the beginning of November (4 months after their birth) the grand total of medical appointmens is a whopping R13 630.

That's besides

any medication I get at the pharmacies...




night nanny.....

My word, that's scary. But thank goodness, I am firmly out of denial now :) Although the only things budgeted for were formula, nappies and nanny.

I read on a blog this week that someone in the US had to pay $6 000 in hospital costs for a Caesar because her insurance only covered a bit. Now $6 000 is R45 000 which is nearly double what the hospital charged for me to have the babies. I paid an extra R7 500 for the doctor but still frightening!

So tell me, what is the situation with medical aids in your part of the world? Are you covered for your fertility treatments (if you underwent anything), hospital for births, NICU costs, etc.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Twins: romance vs reality

I have always wanted twins - I don't know quite where I got this notion from but I do remember always saying I wanted twins.

I even have twins on my vision board!

Then when Dr J told me we were having twins at my 7-week ultrasound, I was beyond excited. I literally couldn't stop smiling.

I suppose it's like those scenes in the movies where the two star-crossed lovers run toward each other across a field of flowers.

Slow motion, soft focus, lovely romantic music...

I had this romantic view of twins - having a lovely belly, giving birth according to plan, being discharged from the hospital WITH my two babies and then looking after them at home.

And of course, dressing them in cute clothes, taking lots of pics, etc.

I knew it would be a lot of work - it's obvious, everything is doubled - but I'm not that lazy (!) so I thought things would be okay.

Well, I had the lovely pregnancy even though the birth didn't go according to plan. And of course, the twins were in NICU which doesn't help matters much.

But bringing them home very quickly jerked that romantic view right out of my head.

When Connor came home the three of us had a lovely 11 days of feeling what it was like with just one baby.

We had some one-on-one bonding time with him despite being sleep deprived and me mourning the sudden end of my pregnancy.

"What are you doing with that camera?"
Well, Connor, since we're up anyway, might as well have some fun!

I really thought this whole thing was doable (despite it being hectic visiting the NICU all the time and the horrible pumping) and couldn't wait for Kendra to come home to complete our family unit.

People, I was crazy! Because I had not a clue of what was to come.

Kendra then came home and I'm like OH MY WORD.

Why on earth did no-one tell me it was THIS bad?


Why does no-one tell you?

Is it that they think they'll rain on your parade or don't want to be a downer?

I'm the type of person that really doesn't like to hear lots of bad things but I would much rather have the truth so I can deal with it than be strung along.

Even with the IVF thing, that's why I loved my Dr G so much - he's not much for the BS - tells it to you straight so you can deal with it.

Anyway, so I started thinking maybe everyone else is just more together than I am, or maybe I really am a freak who will never be a good mother.

I remember being so sleep-deprived I did things like putting dishes meant for the cupboard in the fridge, dropping and breaking medicine bottles, sleeping in my clothes because I was too tired to change into pajamas, not showering until 3pm in the afternoon, leaving crumbs on the counter (big no-no for me!), and the list goes on and on.

D holding Kendra - she would not settle so he had to eat one-handed while holding her

Until I sent a text to my friend Natalie one day saying something like "I'm exhausted, finished, blah blah. Can't do this. Babies driving me crazy, etc."

She'd also had a bad day so we commiserated with one another and that made me feel non-freakish about not loving this newborn stage.

Why do we all pretend that things are fine when they're not?! Or is it only me?

And then most people would say things like "I'm sure you can't imagine your life without them" and I'd just not answer because the truth is "oh yes, I sooooo can".

You see, I really didn't realise it was so relentless.

In addition to the work, there's the time it all takes.

Two babies on a 3-hour feeding schedule = maybe an hour of rest in between

And that's 24/7.

Yay, it's the early hours of the morning and time to play!

In those hours, there's laundry to be done, bottles to wash, sterilise, mix; I have to eat and shower, cook, etc.

I actually screamed at D once when he DARED suggest that I sleep when the babies sleep.

And then who will do the bottles and laundry???

I can't believe I actually considered having our day nanny only start when I go back to work in December. God was definitely guiding me to hire her from September because I think I would be crazy by now. No jokes!

I remembered all this stuff because my friend, R, brought her twin girls home on Tuesday and I think is going through some of what I did. Except she was clever and hired a full-time night nanny. I remember her asking a few months ago if I thought she'd need someone during the day too - um, YES! - so I said my piece but then left it. You also don't want to scare people senseless.

D asked me how she was doing and I said I think going through some of that twin romance thing. He now knows exactly what I mean!

I still think my babies are cute and I love when they do clever things, make their little noises and so on, but boy oh boy, the rose-coloured glasses are firmly off.

Do you like people to tell you the truth even if it's hard to hear?

P.S. I know I may be royally annoying a lot of you esp if you're not pregnant yet. I totally get that. I remember reading something on Tertia's blog once where she complained about her toddlers not sleeping and how she had to get up numerous times at night. I got irritated reading that post thinking I would KILL to have that problem because it'd mean I'd have children. And someone actually commented and said something like that.

So I get it. I'm very grateful to have the babies and when I'm rested and they're sleeping, I am VERY happy and feel rivers of love for them. I'm just really, REALLY looking forward to the days when I can sleep 6 - 8 hours consecutively again.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My first pedicure - yes, really!

When we first booked my hospital bed and found out that each patient gets a complimentary treatment, I decided that I'd have a pedicure.

My first, as it happens.

This was done the day after the babies were born and was lovely - I lay flat on my back and the therapist just lifted the blankets from the hospital bed and did my feet.

About a week later I jumped on the scale and saw this - I knew then that my scale wasn't working because I was actually about 4 - 5kg heavier.

But I can wish, can't I?

My pre-pregnancy weight is 59kg so I'm aiming for this!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Two steps forward, one step back

I've only been all alone with the babies for hours at a time twice:

Mon 31 Aug - normal working day and the day before my nanny started work
Sat 5 Sept - D had to work and left me alone for 8 whole hours

Don't let these faces fool you... they are not that sweet all the time.

I was seriously worried about how I'd cope but it was actually much better than I expected.

Yes, the babies sometimes both cried at the same time and then I simply went into survival mode. I only have two hands and one of you has to wait your turn.

I had to leave Kendra screaming for about 5 minutes once on the Monday but other than that, not too bad.

Does this mean I'm actually capable?
I don't really feel capable because as soon as I think I've got something under control, it seems to go worse the next time. It's the whole two steps forward, one back thing.
I just started thinking I had this night thing under control - change nappy, feed baby, burp, rock to sleep/ drowsy, put down - and then they had a horrible night where they would not sleep. Imagine 6 hours straight of baby activity?! With both babies niggly and crying, one at a high-pitched shriek and the other a normal baby cry. I find myself saying "stop that crying like a baby" and then realise they ARE babies. LOL - let's blame it on Sleep Deprivation.
Or I become an expert at soothing Kendra and then for half a day none of my tricks work. Or I finally figure out how to burp Connor in less than 10 minutes and it works but is not enough, because there are still more winds (gas) in his little body. On the bright side, he STILL has not managed to pee on me. We came close the other day but I'm still too fast for him :)
As an ESTJ, apparently I highly value competence in myself and in others. True. So this motherhood thing is kicking my butt. No wonder I find all the work of the washing, sterilising and making bottles waaaayyyy easier than the "trying to get milk from my defective boobs" thing.
My one friend told me to look at children as an investment. You can't see the change daily but one day SUDDENLY there's a huge return.
I've found that it's best to think back a week. If I think about the last 24 hours, things can look really bleak. But to consider a week, you get a more balanced perspective. In the beginning, "oh, I've only cried twice this week" :)
And typing that, I realise I haven't cried for about 2 - 3 weeks. Yayyy!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The babies' room

because as I said to a friend, "nursery" is far too grand a word to use to describe it.

view from the door

from the other corner

compactum - I know I need to get a smaller box so it all fits nicely but I love that one and it's priority number 99 on my list so for now, it'll have to do
the two bottom drawers are filled with....Pampers of course!

opposite the compactum

and of course, bog-standard white built-in wardrobe facing the cots

Friday, September 11, 2009

One year ago today...

we started our first IVF cycle.

I remember us going into the clinic to learn how to do the Lucrin shots and me not being able to do it.

I stood with that needle pointing towards my tummy for AGES until D took the needle from me and jabbed me. And that was the start of him doing ALL my shots.

It has not been easy. I remember many days of crying because I was so scared of the needles but I'd pray and get just enough courage/ strength to last me 5 minutes to get the shot. And I'd be fine for another day.

We've come a long, long way.

Things I can't do without & things that are a total waste of money

I started this post WEEKS ago and am only now getting around to finishing it. I hope this is not going to be what my life's like from here on...I'm a big Completer-Finisher on those Belbin work profile assessments.

Anyway.....without further ado

they look soooo tiny here

Parenting is such a subjective thing - everybody has his or her way of doing things and feels that their way is the ONLY way.

I'm under no such illusions but I will say this - when I love something I will tell you about it. Like if ANYONE tells me they're battling to fall pregnant, and they live in Jhb, I tell them to go straight to my clinic. Don't even waste time with the others.

Or Pampers :)

Anyway, I was thinking about some things we're using with the babies that I love love LOVE and thought I'd share...just in case they work for you too.

sleep wedges

You can see the babies lying on them in the pic. I love these things so much that they are now my new favourite baby shower gift. I don't worry about the babies twisting and turning in their cots. I even put these on the couches or on the bed when we want to give them a break from sleeping in the cots and I can happily go off and do something else knowing they're safe.

linen savers

I first heard about linen savers when I got the "what to bring to the hospital" list. In case you're like me and you've never heard of them before now, they put them under the sheet to protect the mattress from blood and other spillages. Like the night my waters broke, I had linen savers under me in the car on the way to the hospital, and on the hospital bed while I was having contractions and gushing water (I know, gross!).

Anyway, we had to bring a pack of 20 and I still had some left after I was discharged. So I fold one in half, and then again in half, and place on top of the sleep wedge to protect the mattress and sheets from the babies' pee. I mentioned before that they pee through everything - vest, babygrow and receiving blanket. Well, if that linen saver wasn't there, I'd also be washing sheets as well as all the clothes non-stop. Now I don't - bonus!

receiving blankets

I don't think you can have enough of these. When I read the baby magazines, they said 4 per baby. We had 4 per baby before they were born and then I went out and got another 2 each and my sister gave me some more too.

Also, another tip I got from a work colleague... use a receiving blanket as a sheet in the cot especially if you have winter babies like I do. They're cheaper than proper cot sheets and the flannel keeps them warm. At Baby City you pay about R70 for a cot sheet and R70 for a 3-pack of receiving blankets. I bought a pack and use two of them as sheets and one as a blanket.


When the babies have their bottles, they spill the milk because they either suck too fast (Connor) or too lazily (Kendra).

We tried using bibs but they get soaked so quickly so their babygrows (onesies) also get wet.

So I started using facecloths. They had about 3 each for bathing and an extra 10 to 12, so I use those instead of bibs. They're super absorbent and it's easy to throw them into the laundry.

electric blanket and camp cot (pack and play - see picture above)

It's winter here in Jhb and wouldn't you know it? For the first time in a couple of years we're having a proper cold winter. We've had a few years of really mild winters which I hate because I love the cold. So the weather - good for me, not so good for babies.

When you have babies in a cold house you get obsessed with temperature. When Connor came home, we put him in his cot for one night but were scared he'd freeze to death (literally) so he moved to our bed, on the sleep wedge, of course. Then when Kendra came home we bought a camp cot (which is in our room) and put an electric blanket in there to keep them nice and toasty warm.

So they have beautiful cots in their room, totally unused, except for the nights when the night nanny looks after them.

microwave steriliser

Not the cutest or sexiest baby shower gift but certainly the most useful, together with the baby bottle brush.

How did people do it before these were invented? I know - sterilising liquid. But where did they get the time?

4 minutes and the bottles are done in my 1000-watt microwave.

washing machine and tumble dryer

Literally my lifesavers for the first two months. After their morning feed, I pop a load in and forget about it while doing bottles, etc.

Then if the weather's good, hang on the line or else toss into the tumble dryer.

A friend told me that her washing machine broke in the first year after their baby was born because she did so much laundry! Hopefully that won't be happening because I don't have the energy or the money for another one.

The day nanny started on 1 Sept and I see that she likes to wash their laundry by hand. It does make sense since there's usually not enough (now that they're using Pampers - and Kendra is on newborn Pampers too now) laundry to run a load and I'm very very cheap so hate wasting all that electricity to do a half load.


Seriously, I don't know how you guys do it without nannies. I wrote about a nanny on Facebook and there were some comments that it really is only for the very rich in the US. My mum flew to Jhb and stayed with me for 4 weeks in August - her main job was Kendra since she's experienced at the children thing (we're 3 kids).

But it's very different when you have paid help, at least for me, because I can boss to my heart's content. I'm not that bad, but I do like things done just so, which is why they call me a slave driver at work.

When the nanny's here, I get to sleep a couple of hours, do our laundry, cook, clean, go to gym and run errands, etc.

All while the babies are being taken very good care of. Which is priceless!

She is already smitten with the babies which is such a relief - K is cute but high maintenance so I don't expect other people to find her as endearing as her father and I do. I find her whispering sweet nothings to them - so sweet.

If she ever decides to leave I will cry bucketloads of tears. If I were at work, I'd tell her how great she is but I'm scared to in case she hits me up for more money. So I do a bit here and a bit there.

They are still not 100% used to the night nanny - also she's a bit more rough with them than the 3 of us are (D, me and the day nanny). To be honest, I am tolerating it because we're so sleep deprived but I am being a lot more assertive with her. "C doesn't like to sleep like that; K just needs a cuddle" etc etc

Things I would never buy if I had more children
(I'll update this list as I think of things)
  1. mittens - believe me, I tried to get them to wear them. A total waste of time and huge frustration for the babies and for me
  2. newborn socks
  3. cute newborn clothes - the babies do nothing but eat and sleep, babygrows and vests are really all you need, and beanies for winter babes. Not to mention the fact that the cute clothes are often very impractical
  4. booties
  5. newborn leggings - again, they have no patience with leggings and it's a mission to get on and off when changing nappies
  6. baby bath - I don't have one and am glad. I bath the babes in the basin and the nannies prefer to use the bath seat in the big bath.
  7. lots of fancy expensive bottles (my kids like the cheap
  8. lots of cotton wool (in the NICU they use cotton wool and warm water to clean the bums when changing nappies. D was aghast when I stopped all that the MINUTE Connor came home. He very quickly had to get used to the cold baby wipes -who has the time to gather warm water when you have a screaming baby who wants that wet nappy off NOW)
On another note, a friend told me the babies don't even use duvets or quilts but it does help to "pull the room together". So true. Half the time the quilt is folded up somewhere and I only "do the room nicely" when people are coming.

So... back to you...

what can't you do without, and what has been a total waste of time/ money?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm sub-fertile and good to go

I had my 6-week check up on Tuesday at exactly 9 weeks because my doctor was on holiday and then when he was back I couldn't get an appointment.

Nevertheless, I prepared well and had my notebook ready with all my questions.

(I joke with D and say that I'm Dr C's favourite patient - who else is as prepared for consultations???!!! I'm a coach and LOVE the sessions where people are prepared so maybe that's why I do it - I don't know...)

I was 5 minutes late because I was reminded (thanks Mandy) to take a picture of the babies with me for his wall so had to pop past the shopping centre first to get it printed.

In a really strange way I was sad knowing that I won't be seeing him again soon because no more pregnancies. He does gynae as well as babies so I decided that he is now my new doctor, but that's only going to happen annually.

He asked me what I wanted to do about birth control and I'm like "Birth control????? (raised voice) I spent thousands and years to get pregnant. It certainly is never going to happen naturally!".

He agreed that it was improbable but did say that it's not impossible. Granted, 1% is not impossible but I don't fall on the good side of statistics when it comes to fertility. I do know that these things happen so agreed to go on a low-dosage birth control pill since I'm (in his words) sub-fertile.

I asked when I'd be getting my period and he said it differs... I'm not breastfeeding.... so should happen soon. Don't you hate the vagueness??? And maybe I'm pregnant.

Pregnant?! I said that would be a miracle since we haven't done the deed yet. He says "poor man" so I said "we are too tired. Bed is now for sleep".

And then my main question about my sore knees and joints (I noticed my ankles are also sore as well as my hips). He asked me if I had arthritis, or arthritis in the family. We don't. Apparently the body produces about 10 times the amount of cortisol while you're pregnant and when you give birth, it goes away so your condition can seem much worse.

He didn't think it was due to the size of The Bump (my theory) since I didn't have any extra weight and I only went to 32 weeks.

So I'm going to carry on exercising and evaluate in a month's time. I'm thinking it should get better with exercise (?) otherwise off to the orthopaedic specialist I go. I need to be in full working order with these two so can't afford to be unfit.

My friend, C, said to me that she had the same type of pain but in her feet and it went away after 3 months. Here's hoping...

Then he asks when I had my last Pap Smear. It was last year sometime so he says "can we do one now or do you need time to prepare?" Ha ha ha! Funny man - knows me so well. But I was ready so we did it and what do you know? He tells me my period's just starting.

He also did an internal - it was not horrible (girls, Dr G's are worse!) so the internal he did at the birth was not a once-off good one - and everything's back in place (except for the tummy flab) - and checked my BP. 100/60 which is low but is really good for me as my BP is only normal when I'm really stressed! Oh, and he checked my breasts - also normal, but also still a bit bigger.

We also checked my weight - I don't quite know what he was looking for....obviously a lot less than when he weighed me last time.

Then I gave him a card and the babies' photo which he loved. He read the card right there in front of me!!! So embarrassing because I gushed quite a bit......but he did say "it was a pleasure"

And that's it.

Next appointment in a year's time or when I'm pregnant. How these doctors like to joke!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Infertility support - what would you do?

A friend from the group, R, feeding Connor

I've said many times on this blog and to people in real life that my infertility support group has absolutely been a life saver.


Those girls have encouraged me, cheered me up, cried with me, challenged me to stretch myself and inspired me to keep going.

And through the group I've made some really good friends.

Which brings me to a dilemma.

I've been going to the group since it started over two years ago. I think I only missed three times - C and I only discovered it after the first meeting, and then twice when I was travelling. So I've been going before and during the IVFs, during my pregnancy and amazingly, even since the twins were born.

We met last week again and this is the first time I felt weird.

I think it's because I've now had the babies and they were actually at home as opposed to them being in NICU.

Also all the pregnant people were there last time and this time there was only one pregnant person.

I think the dynamic is changing. When we started hardly anyone was pregnant and through the months and years there have been just a couple of girls pregnant at any one time. This year there were more pregnant people than not! Until this last group meeting.

It's right that the dynamic change and that we get new girls in all the time so that we can help more people in those early stages, who have maybe just been diagnosed with infertility, are not sure what to do, and are just figuring all of this craziness out.

A friend said to me she’s not sure about going back because she's not sure what her purpose there would be; I’m getting to that stage.

And yet I love being with all the people there and I love seeing all my friends, so what to do?

Maybe we should have a pregnant after infertility group?

I just want to be sensitive to all the new girls because I know when I was at that stage it was SO HARD to even look at a pregnant person let alone sit with them and talk, even if I knew they'd had problems conceiving. I'd think things like "why you and not me?" and "will I ever have a happily ever after?" and so on.

So what do you think?

Is it time for me to move on and just meet separately with those friends?

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Questions for my 6-week follow up

Except this is actually a 9-week follow-up appointment because my doctor was on holiday and then last week when he was back I couldn't get an appointment. Grrr.
Anyway, it's happening on Tuesday - I can't believe the twins will be 9 weeks old.
So tell me - what happens at the 6-week follow-up and what questions do I need to ask him?

I asked my friend C if they do an internal and she said "yes, it's horrible. brace yourself". Oh dear!

These are the ones I have so far:
  1. why are my knees so messed up?
  2. when am I supposed to get my period?
And seeing as he's doing an internal anyway, I want him to do a Pap smear and get that out of the way for the year.

What else???

And in other news, look what I found under my bed! A Cyclogest pessary!
Must have rolled under the bed one evening and I was too lazy to look for it - not that I would have used it but still!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

A list of bloggy stuff

  • Did you see? I tidied up my header and my sidebar.
  • Finally took off the twin baby pic that said x days to go. Where can I get one of those tickers for babies?
  • Does anyone know why some blogger blogs have a button "follow this blog" on the top and some don't? Also, is following a blog the same as adding it to your Google Reader? Some of the blogs are both on my dashboard and in Google Reader and some not.
  • I discovered a cool thing. was always there but I finally figured out a cool use for it. When you comment, there's a section where you can subscribe to comments "email follow-up comments to ________________ ". This is so useful especially if another blogger wrote about something you're interested in, like breastfeeding, sleeping schedules, etc. All the comments will be emailed to you and you can follow the conversation without having to keep checking back on the blog.
  • If you have a blogger blog (I don't know how it works with other platforms), check in your blogger profile if the email box is ticked. If not, please tick. Then we'll be able to chat even more easily and I can reply to your comments :)
  • And finally, thanks to all who comment. Real Life Friends, don't be shy. Comment when you feel the need even if you don't have a blog - all you do is put your name.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Old bones & a jiggly belly

I belong to a gym where you have to go 24 times every year to keep your membership active. Well, you can go less but then you have to pay the normal gym fees and I'm on a special. I paid a once-off fee about 6 years ago and nothing ever since.

When I fell pregnant, the clinic advised no gym and then even the normal obgyn said no since twins are a high-risk pregnancy.

So I went to classes at Preggi Bellies (do NOT sign up for them unless you know beyond a shadow of doubt you'll be able to complete all the classes - no refunds, etc. long story - email me if you want more info) until the second bleed.

Now that the babies are born, my gym gives you 6 weeks after a Caesar and 4 weeks after a normal birth before you have to go back. Or they switch you to a normal membership again. I am cheap so that won't work for me.

So I'm back. Kind of.

I went on Wed and Thurs last week, and then on Wed this week. I have to do a schedule so that it becomes a non-negotiable in my day again like it used to be pre-pregnancy.

But I feel like an old woman. I'm 35 so I'm not a spring chicken but still. I think the pregnancy's messed up my knees and joints and it's so difficult to exercise.

You know how overweight people complain about their joints? I think that's me. The Bump must have put a lot of pressure on my knees. It is sore to get up from a chair, sore when I start walking, sore when going up and down stairs, etc.

I thought it would all go after I recovered from the op but no...

But I will persist.

The jiggly belly, although small, is not pleasant. Wednesday's class was a dance class - the cardio was great but my boobs (forgot to put on a sports bra) and belly were jiggly! I'm also doing knee stretches whenever I remember, which is about once or twice a day, just to strengthen the muscles around the knee cap.

And of course, it will all help with these last 2kg of baby weight. When that's off, I want to lose another 2kg from the fertility medication.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Date night

I decided that I need to take more control of my life because otherwise I feel like I'm just freewheeling and I hate that feeling.

So I said to D that when the nannies are here, in addition to getting some sleep, we should try and restore some order again.

We're going to both go to gym on Mondays and tonight, while M's here, we're going to a movie. From next week when C works Friday nights, I think we'll make Fridays date night once again.

We went out for supper on the Saturday before they were born so it's been nearly 9 weeks since we've had a date night. You'd think we'd have had time once I was discharged and when they were in the NICU, but no, because we were at the hospital every night.

I'm looking forward to being out with D since we've only ever been able to go out one at a time since they've both been home. I don't want all the people breathing their winter germs on the babies so one of us stays home to look after them. It's already hard enough doing their normal routine; I can't deal with sick babies on top of everything else.

I went to church alone this weekend and everyone wanted to know where the babies were. My friend C tells me that when you have twins, every Tom Dick and Harry stops you in the shopping centres, etc. She is very gracious with the hordes of people but I will have to work on my tact because my instinct will be to say "get away from my babies and NO, you can't touch them" :)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I don't know how you do it


I don't know how you do it without any help, that is.

I am slowly getting more sane and returning to a semblance of who I used to be, not the crazed, sleep-deprived maniac from a few weeks ago.

I'm still sleep-deprived but it's not that bad thanks to all the help.

We asked our nanny who started yesterday if she'd consider doing some night nannying for us before starting to work full-time and she agreed. So she worked on a Thursday and then the following Monday.
Absolutely no problem with the babies - we didn't hear a peep the entire night.
BUT my mother had been staying with me (for 4 weeks in August) and she happened to talk to C who told her she'd worked a full day elsewhere, finished at 5pm and then came to our place to start at 7pm.
I was very cross because I don't want someone half asleep because then we could do it. I don't know if it's unreasonable or not but I just felt like I want someone alert especially since we're paying for the service.
Anyway, then she went on holiday and I approached an agency to look for another night nanny for a 2 - 3 month stint. I am really hoping the babies start sleeping through by then as we can't afford to do this night nannying thing forever. As it is, I'm digging into my savings which I am SO loathe to do (I grew up with not much money so only feel really secure when I have some stashed away).
They sent 3 people on that particular weekend, I interviewed them all and chose one. We didn't waste any time because we asked her to start the Monday following.
Well, that night (or rather, the next morning at around 2am) I woke to hear the babies screaming - both of them, even Connor (Kendra has a high pitched shrill scream and Connor's is normal) - and it literally took everything in me to stay in my bed and not "rescue" them. The rest of the night was fine but the babies were SOOOOO unsettled the next day. I know their routine and personalities and they were all out of sorts. So much so that I cancelled a friend's visi because I wanted NO stimulation of any kind - I just wanted them to get back to their normal selves.
Of course, besides that, I now started freaking out so I emailed the agency and said what if it doesn't work out with M, etc, etc. They reassured me and said the babies are probably just getting used to her because she is one of their most popular nannies. I have no way of knowing if this is true...but agreed that I need to give her a fair chance.
Well, Thursday rolled around and ...completely different situation. She seemed more confident with them, not too much crying that night (none that woke me) and they were fine the next day.
The same thing on Monday so it looks like M is working out. I'm praying for them to get used to all their caregivers quickly though because K especially is very demanding and with the nannies, she can get her way. Not so with me.
Now back to C. She started yesterday and seemed to be walking on eggshells a bit for the first 3 hours or so. Probably because I was hovering over the babies. Not good. So I decided to get out of the house and leave her to it. Went to have my hair done (grey coloured over) and then to visit my friend in hospital who'd had her twin girls on Monday.
Good thing I did because when I returned she'd gotten into her stride - babies were clean, bathed, fed and sleeping like angels. Bottles were made up, baby laundry was done, etc.
I had left her with the 10-page Control Journal so she knew what was expected.

We're going to try something for a bit to see how it goes - she is going to work Mon - Thurs and then work Fri as a night nanny. That means we'll be able to sleep 3 nights a week - yayyyy!

How you know your babies have been in NICU too long

Since our NICU days I now go to the hospital pharmacy for almost everything because it is right near the entrance of the hospital, there's free parking unlike at the shopping centre and it is about a km nearer my house.

So I popped in there to pick up something and...

I waved to the security guards at the boom gates, said hello to the one at the hospital entrance, chatted to the pharmacy and the hospital reception staff and then I realised...

OH MY WORD - I am waaaayyyyy too familiar with all these people.

Reminds me of the day we collected Kendra and I actually got all teary at the thought of not coming back there daily to visit her.

Absolutely crazy!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Miracles do happen

When I did my first IVF in Sept/ Oct last year, there were 3 of us Cycle Sistas in blogland - Debbie, Blythe and me.

Day by day we blogged and commented and encouraged one another and ..............sadly, only Debbie stayed pregnant and had her identical twin girls at 34 weeks a couple of months ago. Blythe had a negative and I had my chemical pregnancy that left me devastated.

Somehow I consoled myself that she was the one out of three (IVF stats) and that my time would come.

Because in amongst all that grief, I felt some hope - hope that at least I'd gotten pregnant so surely it was only a matter of time and statistics.

Funny, at my clinic, we were also 3 ladies on the same cycle. They retrieved our eggs the same day and only one of us fell pregnant and she had her little girl (of course I kept in touch - be careful if I meet you, I am a connector of note! I don't let go of relationships easily) on 12 June. The other girl didn't really have any good embryos to put back but insisted on transferring poor quality embryos (she didn't fall pregnant) and of course, there was me with my chemical.

Then we waited one cycle for my body to sort itself out and started again with IVF number 2 at the end of November.

That time I connected with a lot of people in blogland who were pregnant either a week ahead or the same time.

And now we've all had our babies.

Rachie Pachie

Just waiting for Trina's little girl to be born.

A real life friend also had her twin girls yesterday and oh, I can't WAIT to meet them. She was 6 weeks behind me and had hers at exactly 34 weeks. Can you believe my babies are 8 weeks old today (where has the time gone)?!

I am beyond excited at all these miracle babies.

We are all proof that miracles do happen.

I know it's hard (and hard doesn't even start to describe all the crazy emotions) if you're not there yet, or even if you're waiting for miracle number 2.

There were MANY times when I honestly thought I'd have to live child-free, not by choice but by circumstance, and yet, here I am today - this time last year I was gearing up for IVF number 1 and now there are two little babies, squealing in the bedroom, so best I get moving!


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