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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Happy birthday, Mum!

It was Mum's birthday yesterday - and it is the first time she has celebrated her special day overseas.  A very kind friend shouted us to a Thai lunch - whilst Paul was left at home (at his own suggestion) to mind the babies. 

So with the best intentions, I made Mum a chocolate cake from a mix and a special birthday card, too.  I am very pleased to say that the card turned out better than the cake - I tried to take a few short cuts which backfired!  So whilst the cake is not up to presentation, it still washes down well with a cup of tea - but here is the card, which I am happy to show. 


Mum likes receiving my cards as a present, as she has lots of people to send them to and they are a relatively compact thing to post to Australia.  As she had already sorted through the cards I had here and chosen what she wanted, I decided to make her something new and a bit special. 

I started by using the freebie stamp from the cover of this month's (August 2011) "Craft Stamper" magazine by Polka Doodles - I usually do like the stamps, but admit that this is probably the first one that I have actually used!  I used a lot of the masking technique, to repeat the pattern to emulate a garden.  In a recent "Papercraft Essentials" magazine, there was a free stack of 6 x 6 paper called "Sweet Wishes" so I matched my Promarker colours to the background patterned paper.  I mitred the corners of the patterned paper, and tried to match up the stripes, so the patterns would meld smoothly. 

I had just finished stamping the banner (American Crafts "Birthday" stamp collection, bought in a bundle from QVC) when I smudged the black ink.  Major bummer!  So I then covered this and created daisy embellishments using my "Jane's Script" stamps by Woodware.  These clear stamps mostly consist of card messages, but they had these cute daisies to flesh out the mix of stamps. 

So lots of colouring in - but I really like the end result (even though it took me three days to do, grabbing spare snippets of time whenever I could).  It seems like that will be my way of crafting for the years to come!  All worth it though, it has to be said. I think the finished card is fresh and pretty.  Mum said it was a lot of work, but I know she likes it, too.  Only thing that matters in the end, isn't it?

Friday, 29 July 2011

At three weeks and one day ....

I am sitting here feeding both of you in the very early morning, my sons.  When I feed you individually Lewis, you inevitably come first.  Why?  Because you are crying to be fed, and it seems like you can't wait one minute or even thirty seconds longer.  You are getting better at putting your tongue down, and letting the milk flow from the bottle into the back of your mouth - and I think it's true that Grandma, Daddy and I are also getting better at knowing when you've taken the bottle properly.  We look for the air bubbles in the bottle, accompanied by cute sucking noises - and then we know the level of milk will go down quite quickly after that.  You are currently nestling into my shoulder and throwing your head around, making it difficult to type.  I began to write this post, but then you became restless and started crying, after I had finished feeding and changing you. You then looked like you were drifting off to sleep, but now your eyes are wide open and roaming around the room, settling on me every now and again. 

You give the three of us a challenge when trying to feed you - you put your hands in front of your face and often block the view of your mouth or the way of the bottle.  Your hands are often at the sides of your face - touching your eyes, one hand on the bottle - the other tiny hand is often gesticulating like an actor's in the middle of a dramatic soliloquy - arm dropped down by your hip, hand stretched out and splayed widely.  Your movements are rapid and you squirm quite a lot - I have taken to calling you "wrigglepot" as one of your nicknames, and Grandma has starting using that as well. 

I am sitting here, looking at you, and swearing you are looking back at me.  I often admire your translucent skin, your wide almond shaped dark blue eyes and your tiny shell shaped ears.  Now you have both hands nestled under your head, and appear to be falling asleep against my chest, taking soft snuffling rapid breaths and making cute little huffing noises. 

You may be the spendthrift of the family - when we go to change your nappy, you always seem to get the timing just right for maximum impact - often adding in a little sprinkle, or extra bottom action, for good measure.  It is quite common for you to have gone through three nappies in one change - and two of those usually never got anywhere near you! 

Will life always go at such a rush for you, my son?  Are you going to be anxious to come first, to finish first?  It will be so interesting to see how your personality grows and develops through the years. 

Henry - thank goodness you are so different.  I can hear you awake, making little chicken peeping noises, and see you lying patiently, waiting for people to come to you - waiting your turn with patience.  Occasionally you turn the volume up - LOUD! and announce your presence, but not nearly as often as your little brother.  When feeding you this morning, you lay looking around the room, seemingly happy and content until someone was able to give you attention. 

You lay quite still in my arms whilst being fed - your arms relaxed by your side.  You take your time and are happy to come up for air regularly, but once you've had enough milk, you purse your mouth up and frown at your feeder.  It is very obvious when you are full and won't take another drop! 

Your expressions seem quite sombre and sometimes you look so sad.  Daddy says to you "who stole all your shares, Henry?"and laughs at you when your eyes turn downward at the corners. I can't wait for you to smile at me and reveal a sunny personality - but for now - I am in love with your rosy cheeks, and your little chicken chirps and peeping noises - not to also forget the fact that sometimes you remind me so strongly of your Daddy.  I wonder if you will grow up to be blonde haired and blue-eyed, my son, but no matter how you look, I am curious to confirm my impression that you will be patient, brave and confident in yourself to give your brother the space and room he needs.

Today, Friday 29th July - Daddy registered your births at the Uxbridge Registry office - so you both are now officially Henry Ian and Lewis James Drummond Jones - not "it" and "bit" as Daddy sometimes called you! Much more dignified and appropriate for my beautiful boys - both now as babies, and as fine men in the far distant future.  No matter what - I am sure we will love you then as much, if not more, as we do now.

With all my heart,
Mummy.  xxxx

Monday, 25 July 2011

Models in the making ...

Paul and I received the package of Bounty photos on Friday.  They were taken on Saturday 9th July - our third and last day in hospital. 

We had tried getting photos on the second day, but Lewis was really awake and showing off his big beautiful peepers, whereas Henry was very sleepy and didn't want to cooperate!

On the last day, both boys had just been fed, and were evenly matched in terms of alertness - both ready to go to sleep again - which sounds bizarre for photos, but worked much better on this occasion. 

The following photo is our main one in the package, and for me, definitely has the "awwww" factor - just gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! 


Henry is on the left, and Lewis on the right.  It is not so obvious here that Henry was much bigger than his brother and I think this photo just emphasises their closeness. 

This next photo contains some personalisation (part of the package) and makes me smile! 



We call Henry our "Winston Churchill" - because he always has such a serious look on his face - like he is contemplating the dire consequences of world matters.  It is quite ironic though - because here Lewis looks like he is deep in thought - especially with that hand up to his chin.  Lewis always has his hands around his face, which is especially challenging at feeding time - you have to get through his hands to get to his mouth - not always easy!  Those Australians of a certain age will identify with my nickname for him - "Mr Squiggle" - which was a puppet who could never stay still, used to get quite agitated and jump up and down. 

Still trying to get the boys to four hourly feeds - but as they are struggling to go for two hours, it is quite challenging!  Fine whilst Mum is still here and always helping out, but may be much more problematic  when I need to cope on my own .... but that is a couple of weeks away, and not to be thought of for now.  Trying to grab some snippets of time to post here is proving difficult, but I will do the best I can ...


Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Feeding Times...

have been amended since yesterday.  The midwife suggested we move from three hour to four hour feeds, which makes it much easier with two of them to manage!

Henry gets ravenous though, and can't wait the four hours.  It was very interesting today when I was home alone with them all day - both boys decided to have screaming fits at various times, so I had to walk away for a bit and let them scream.  My friend who phoned later in the day suggested I had locked them in a cupboard!  Not quite, but that is not to say I wasn't tempted, :lol:  ....

Leaving longer time between feeds seemed to have made the difference for Lewis.  Since yesterday, he has opened his mouth wider to let in the bottle and has fed better too - or indeed, it could be the occasional dose of Infacol I have remembered to give him!  Lewis is due to have 75 ml every 4 hours, whereas Henry should be having 90ml.

We received the Bounty photos today, and they are just adorable.  I will try to get one scanned in, but there are a few things on over the next couple of days, so I will see how I get on ....

Monday, 18 July 2011

Breastfeeding

is not happening in this house - unfortunately for the boys' sake in terms of getting the nutrients and ingredients in breastmilk, but very fortunately for a routine and pattern we hope to set. 

Apparently - after a caesarean - milk takes longer to come through.  I developed anaemia in pregnancy because I became averse to meat and vegetables and really only ate salad!  I will also talk about my very significant weight loss another day.

They give you an antibiotic shot in the delivery room, but what they don't warn against is if you are taking iron at the same time.  On the second night home I developed a hideous gastric complaint at night when trying to sleep, which kept me constantly in the bathroom for three nights solid!  Iron is apparently anaethma to the system, and the Dr said your system tries to cleanse itself out.  Combined with menopausal symptoms like hot sweats on top of no sleep, I really thought Paul would have to commit me to an asylum, I felt so sick. The Dr prescribed an gastric supressant, which he said would not combine with breastfeeding - and I would have to express milk without giving it to the boys for two weeks.  My midwife was really supportive, and said "is it really worth all that work and hassle?" and made me look at the really sensible decision to move the boys purely to formula through a bottle, on their 5th day, which was July 12th.  Until then, I had tried to breastfeed, but as my milk hadn't come through, I had to supplement it by feeding the boys formula through syringes.  You can see both grandmas feeding the boys in this manner below.  Miriam, my mother-in-law, in the foreground feeding Henry, and my mum in the background, feeding Lewis. 


Despite me intellectually realising that bottle feeding was the more logical decision for all of us (and that way, we could actually tell how much food the boys were taking in) it still made me feel guilty and inadequate that I wasn't able to do the best thing for them.  The midwife did make me feel better when she said that of all the twins she had dealt with, only one woman was able to feed them both successfully.  I still had quite a weep about that decision - why do our hormones beat us up so thoroughly after childbirth, after all the other rigours we go through?

And then through being so run down, I caught a sinusy cold, which I am gradually getting over.  It makes it tough to catch up on any sleep and feel rested.  As I am on the nightshift tonight, we shall have to see what happens and how I cope!

Certainly, our big trip out today to Tesco at Watford went well - though I never knew walking around a supermarket could be so exhausting!  I suppose until then I forget I have not long had a major operation as I generally feel physically more able than I did in late pregnancy when I was bedridden.  But it certainly was a major task for mum, who had to cope with driving in a foreign country, the double buggy for the first time, and two different types of baby seats!  All on top of minimal sleep.  She certainly deserves her day off this Wednesday, when she is having her hair done, and going out for an early birthday celebration lunch with Miriam and some of her friends.  I shall probably feel desperate for her return after a couple of hours on my own.  Still - it's a good test of my ability to cope.  Arghhhhhhhhh!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Thank you all so much

Dear Friends -

Just a short post today, to thank everyone who has sent cards or gifts for the boys.  We are quite overwhelmed by the volume of post which has been arriving - most especially from friends from NCT and the scrapbooking community, with all the fantastic handmade cards.  Naturally - mention of family should not be omitted - like these beautiful roses from my mother-in-law.  They have lasted and lasted which is just amazing. 


I have been barely able to keep up with it - indeed, it took me about four days to open the cards and only just now catch up with the gifts!  How lovely and generous of everyone.  I promise to personally acknowledge gifts - when I can catch a breath! 

Henry is feeding like a champion, but Lewis is more fractious - indeed, both are struggling to take the daily amount formula that they are supposed to take.  Lewis is furthest from the mark at this point, so we are trying everything we can for the boys to put on weight. 

We are aiming to get out of the house tomorrow to do some chores and go shopping - Mum will be dealing with the double buggy and driving - so it might be an adventure!  Wish us luck. 

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Welcome to the world, Henry and Lewis

And ........... breathe.  It's been an awfully long time between posts, folks.  Something called a twin pregnancy just came up which needed dealing with - and our lovely result has arrived safely into the world.

The night before, I thought I would be really anxious, but I was actually fairly calm and chilled out - even managing to get some sleep before getting up very early to go to the hospital.  I even managed a little snooze in the hospital "bedroom" we were assigned before going into the delivery room. 

On Wednesday, 6th July 2011,  Henry Ian Drummond Jones was brought into the world at 11.21am weighing 6lb 13 oz, following very shortly by Lewis James Drummond Jones at 11.23 am at 5lb 9 oz.

Henry came into the world with a struggle as he was nestling safely under my ribs, and needed some persuasion with forceps to be removed from his snuggly warm home.  On departure, Paul reported that he grabbed the forceps from the consultant and proceeded to do battle!  She had to wrestle them off him saying as she went "hey I need them - give them back!" - way to go, Henry.

Here's Daddy with Lewis.

 

Paul was adamant that he wouldn't be looking at the "business end" but did keep putting his head above the screen to report progress.  Having a caesarean with a local anaesthetic is the weirdest feeling - it is like everything is happening in a parallel universe - you know it is going on, but you don't feel a thing.  I was aware of the tugging and pulling going on in my middle, but didn't feel any sensation whatsoever. 

Lewis was safely despatched at 11:23am and upon being put into the incubator to keep warm, announced his presence going forward by peeing on the male nurse looking after him! 

I recall saying to both of the boys "hello - I am your Mummy and this is your Daddy!"  I remember vaguely the sounds of a lot of counting - I thought it was surgical instruments, but my friend said it was the sound of the midwives counting the number of fingers and toes.  That is so endearing, it just makes me cry - all over again!


In the incubators - Henry on the bottom, Lewis on the top ...

 


Being that Henry was Twin 1 and because of his weight, I could establish from the 36 week scan that he was who I carried on my left side, and Lewis, Twin 2, was being carried through pregnancy on my right.  It amazes me that I can establish who was who "in utero" and it just feels right - Henry has had a bit of a struggle to get thus far into the world, whilst Lewis kicks, poos, wees and wriggles his way through situations with a cock-a-hoop attitude, thumbing his nose at the world, and amazing every one with his hypnotic eyes - so there.  Sir Henry, my brave son - leader of the breastfeeding struggle and defender of the forceps - and Sir Lewis - my courageous and confident son - dealing with the world in a braggacodio manner - you are my sun, my moon, my day, my night - my stars - my reason for existence.  I fell in love with you before I even met you, and that will never cease.  I know Daddy feels just the same.  Our lives will never be the same again and nor would I want them to.  I can't imagine life without you.