Daisypath Anniversary tickers

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Friday, August 23, 2013

3 months

My daughters turn 3 months today. And they now babble, coo, smile and suck at their hands.

Twin A babbles incessantly when in a good mood and is able to turn halfway. She should be the first to flip and to crawl as her neck muscles are strong - she's able to fully lift her head and shoulders during tummy time. She is also able to reach for objects hanging above her! Recently she has changed for the better and I hardly ever hear her crying. Except for bath times when she wails like an angry kitten dragged to the bath! I think she's also easily tickled because she squirms like an eel when I sniff at her belly and neck! Yesterday afternoon, she made us all laugh when she fell asleep in the water at the babyspa. There she was suspended in midwater with the float around her neck and her eyes closed. My CEB thinks she looks like a little bunny as she draws her fists up close to her chest like a boxer in a defensive position most times when we carry her but put her down on the mat and she starts reaching for the objects hanging above her.

Twin A smiles (and cries, unfortunately) very readily and is a real joy when contented However, when in a foul mood as she has been after the injection, she literally screams her head off and cries till tears streak her little face. In addition to taking after my CEB appearance-wise, she needs loads of attention too and looks at you with complete love when you cuddle her.

Twin B has changed so much physically since she was born. Her complexion is now as fair as soya bean curd when previously because of her jaundice level, she was yellowish/dark-skinned. When she looks at me with her black sparkling eyes, the phrase "Mother looks at Child, Child regards Mother" comes to mind. She has been able to focus on people from an early age and is what my nanny terms in Chinese "A Happy Fruit (Kai Xin Guo)". She only cries when she wants milk or wants to sleep. Once both needs are met (the first with a bottle and the second with a pacifier and some patting), she is content again, requiring very little attention. Twin B enjoys water very much so I bring her to the babyspa for a soak as often as 3 times a week where she paddles about in the little fish-tank like a duck in the water. Her smiles have only increased in frequency of late but her voice is clear and loud and she enjoys using it to express herself. She doesn't reach for things or roll about but she loves looking around by turning her head about. When she does that, it makes me recall the feeling of having her in my tummy sticking her head out and us rubbing her head. Contrary to what many pp had told me, Twin B still has a beautiful head of hair which is light brown in the sunlight.

I am so grateful to be blessed with Twin A and Twin B as daughters, so grateful that our lives and paths have crossed in this life time. Motherhood is no walk in the park (but it beats pregnancy) and the journey is a long one but walk the path we will together, as a family.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Moo - Breastfeeding Part 2 and Going Forward

The body is truly a marvelous creation. In mid June, I was pumping an average of 1200ml a day. In mid July, an average of 1400ml a day and now (first week of Aug), the amount of milk I have is between 1600ml to 2000ml.

The picture below shows the most I have ever pumped in one session - 550ml. That was at 6am with the session before at 11pm. And enough for two feeds each  per twin ( Twin A drinks 160ml x 5 feeds + 80ml while Twin B drinks 110ml x 8 feeds). 

So both my twins are (almost) exclusively (Twin B 100% but Twin A 90%) on breastmilk and only on formula if they go out longer than 4 hours (expressed breast milk (EBM)) only keeps for that long after being pumped). As I said the body is a wonderful thing, producing more milk as the twins require more and even the composition of the milk changes as they grow to meet their changing nutritional needs.

So since breast/breastmilk is (touted to be) best and is free, one would have thought that this would be the path I would pursue as long as I am able to produce milk.

But it isn't as simple as that. I pump at least 5/6 times a day which works out to be at least 3 and a 1/2 hours tied to the breast pump. I can't have a whole day out without bringing my breastpump with me and finding some nursing room to pump. I can't get a full night sleep as I am awoken by swollen leaking breasts within 4-6 hours. Pumping also takes me away from the twins - where I could be playing with them, instead I am sitting on the chair pumping milk. And I always end up leaking a ton if it is time for me to pump but I am carrying one of them.

 I could latch them but that means messing up their feeding times (which are diff as Twin B has reflux) and not knowing exactly how much their intake is so pumping/expressing it has to be.

Then there is the financial cost on top of the time cost. Again one would have thought that breastmilk is free so I'm saving a ton on formula but it isn't the case. As I need loads of rest to ensure supply and time needed to pump (which means not attending to a baby when she cries), we have hired a domestic helper as well as a full time nanny who will stay with us and take care of the twins day and night. My in laws at 70 are far too old to help and my side travels far too much. And the nanny doesn't come cheap - close to 3k.

There are cheaper options like infant care or hiring 2 domestic helpers but we are not inclined to either because we want the twins to have 1:1 attention (not the case at infant care which also carries the risk of them falling ill more often) and until they can sleep through the night, complete weaning and teething as well as vocalize sufficiently, 2 domestic helpers won't really cut it. 

Then there is the option of quitting and staying at home to care for the twins which I thought long and hard about. Financially it wouldn't make sense as the cost of the nanny a month is less than 1/4 my monthly take home pay. Breastfeeding wise it wouldn't make sense as I would have to take care of a baby leaving me no time to pump. And having zero experience on bringing up a child, I'm not prepared to go by trial and error by my twins and would rather pay for an experienced old hand to save my twins the grief of any mistakes I might make. Most importantly, hard as it is to admit, even to myself, I don't have the right temperament to take care of children 24/7, esp not at this stage where demands are made by crying. 

Sure, I can latch, bottle feed (make a bottle if need be), soothe, put to bed/holding/petting, diaper, bathe and change my twins BUT I can't stay at home and do this 24/7 without losing my temper, esp when they cry incessantly or refuse to sleep. 

So this is how it has to be going forward for the next 15 months (the twins turn 3 months soon). I'm certainly immeasurably grateful to God, my parents and my in-laws for giving us all the support we need to provide the best we can for our beloved twins. And after all this breastfeeding and sleepless nights, after a horrendously miserable pregnancy, I am positive that I do not want to go through this again. 

I miss fishing, I miss the hotel club lounges, my flying business class on SQ, my ad hoc traveling with my CEB, my Krisfkyer gold, my good old life. I can't spend as I used to, I can't indulge my wants - I was on the verge of selling my car and getting my dream CRZ and then I found out I was pregnant. Now I want to buy a Volvo but I can't as we need to pay for the nanny and then send then off to Playgroup/nursery which would work out to almost the same amount as a nanny.

So many restrictions, so much more stressors but the twins are here and all the wishing, moaning/lamenting isn't going to change my reality so I guess I have to suck if right up and lie in the bed I have made.