My boys were born premature at 36 weeks gestational age through induced labor and through vaginal “natural” birth. The reason for my induced labor was due to my high risk pregnancy of carrying multiples, my twins being mono-di identical twins, and having been diagnosed with preeclampsia. All minor complications, but I am so lucky to be blessed with beautiful, healthy little boys. They were able to breathe fine and their vitals were looking all great! I know there are many parents who have to leave their new baby at the hospital to get the help that they need in the NICU or even parents who have to say goodbye to their new baby, but I am so beyond grateful that we got to go home with our sweet boys on day 2.
I had to learn how to change a diaper and properly swaddle
My husband had to teach me how to diaper change and swaddle because he was the only one apart from the nurse who properly knew how. The boys were circumcised at the hospital. It was so sad to see their little penises become so swollen and red, but we had to properly care for it with a mountain of Vaseline and gauze. At the hospital, I was barely allowed to move. I was pretty much bedridden for a week prior to giving birth and my doctor discouraged me to do any exercise or walking around as it would increase my blood pressure levels. After not being able to move for 1 week and not being able to stand or walk around immediately after giving birth, my husband was naturally on all diaper and swaddle duty.
I couldn’t tell who was who
I’m hoping I’m not the only twin parent guilty of this, but I was so scared to take off their little birth tag attached to their ankle with their name on it, because I wasn’t sure who is who. I would have to put the boys side by side and even then I would sometimes get it wrong! They are identical twins but I was able to find little things that would set each boy apart from the other. I think I took their tag off after about a 4-5 days. I feel bad because I think it scratched up their tiny little ankle a bit at that time. Thankfully, my hubby always could tell immediately which one was which.
I had to learn the hard way that breast milk is not the best nutrition if there was little to no breast milk coming. When deciding how to feed your baby, everywhere you go, it is encouraged that you should breastfeed your baby. We even attended a breastfeeding class so we could learn more about it, My hope and plan was to exclusively breastfeed, especially because I knew I would be 3 months off of work. However, I had no idea that exclusive breastfeeding is not recommended if your babies are born with a low birth weight and if you dont have much milk coming in. I also had no idea that my milk would not come in immediately because I was induced into labor (forcing the labor to start) and gave birth prematurely. My body was simply not ready to feed the boys because I should’ve still been pregnant.
My lactation consultant and pediatrician played a big role in trying to figure out how to feed the boys. We started on this crazy feeding schedule, where I would try to individually breastfeed each of them which would generally be 10-20 minutes each so 20-40 minutes total. Next I would bottle feed pumped milk or formula, then I would hook myself up to the pump and pump for 15 minutes. When I pumped, in the first 4 days, I was barely getting a few drops. However, by day 5, I got about 10 ml which would increase to 30 ml by the end of the first month. I felt like a robot doing the same thing every few hours every single day.
There was just no sleep in that first month. I tried to sleep when the boys slept, but it was only about 30 minutes to about 2.5 hours at a time. They had a sleep rhythm where they would sleep for about 2 hours and be awake for about 30 minutes to 1 hour before going back to bed for naps.
I implemented things I read online immediately. I always kept their room nice and bright during the day, I would never engage with them at night time to teach them to stay asleep at night. I would try my best to put them down when they were sleepy but awake. I made sure to feed them formula instead of breast milk at night. During the day, we kept interactions very engaging and began tummy time starting the first week of their lives.
However, we had some rough nights where Owen would cry uncontrollably and we felt defeated. I would try everything in the book. Just even thinking about that first month gives me a bit of a nightmare as the memory isn’t so pleasant. I’m so glad we overcame that newborn stage where I just never got any sleep.
From the boys’ birth until they were sleep trained at 5 months, I kept a daily log of what each baby did: sleep, pee, poop, diaper changes, baths, breastfed, breast pump, and bottle fed). While it was a little extra work to log every single little thing, for me, I thought it was a survival tool. I literally would have no idea who ate how much when and when the next feeding would be without looking at the log.
I searched and downloaded many different kinds of baby journal/logging apps, but I found that the Baby Daybook was the best fit for us! Most other apps only let you log for one baby, but this app allows you to add multiple babies and log their schedules. It’s easy to use, gives you a graphical picture, and gives you a good picture of what your babies’ days looked like!
You learn as you go!
I have never been a mom prior to my boys so it only makes sense that I would have no idea what I’m doing. Also I’m the first of my friends to have babies, so I really had to just figure it out. I probably googled, youtube, pinterest, and amazon stuff everyday to try to figure how to best raise my two humans. You really just use the resources you’ve got and trust that you are making the right decisions because God has entrusted you to be the parent and guardian over your children. I use all my limited knowledge and experiences to be the best mama for my boys.
I think that essentially, you truly just learn as you go and as do this mom thang.