Jayce has been home for about two weeks. Justine, a week longer. I am shocked to see how many days the calendar thinks it’s been. With as little as we are sleeping, we live about three days for every set of 24 hours.
We have had good nights and bad ones. Both kids drink their bottles to completion almost all of the time. Jayce takes significantly longer than Justine. We wake up every 2.5 hours to start the cycle of change, feed, get them back to sleep….x2.
Sometimes their stomaches hurt after eating. Those nights are terrible. Usually no one (kids included) gets any sleep until at least the next cycle of three hours after the next feed. Sometimes longer. It takes that long for whatever is happening in their digestive system to settle. This means there have been many nights everyone is awake and the kids cry all night.
On good nights, the kids don’t even wake up fully while eating. We’re able to do the entire care without any resistance and tiptoe immediately back to bed. Much weeping of gratitude from the parents on those nights.
The sleep deprivation is real. Just about every night, one of us lurches upright in bed, frantically patting the bed and mumbling about falling asleep with a kid somewhere in the bed. Many times, as we lay in bed after finishing a care, I ask Josiah if we just finished or are just starting because I honestly can’t remember.
My mom assures me that we’re not crazy. Well, we are–we’re getting delusional and less coherent–but that delusion is real. Any newborn is hard. Two newborns is harder. Two premature newborns is even harder. Two premature newborns with unknown complications in one is a nightmare.
Seriously. We are dying.
Nights terrify me. By contrast, days are easier. Justine stays awake for longer stretches of time. Not only do I love the fact that she is sorting out day vs. night, it gives us opportunity to “play.” This morning we turned on some music and did tummy time, movement of the arms/legs, and introduction of toys with textures. She loves staring at faces and ceiling lights.
I’d like to say we had the same fun with Jayce, but he doesn’t seem to be there yet. He still sleeps most of the time, except for when he’s grunting with tummy trouble or the effort of pooping. Speaking of pooping: the boy is single-handedly keeping diaper companies in business. He poops almost every twenty minutes. I’m not even sure where he gets all the material because the boy only eats 60 mL of food every three hours.
Both kids passed their eye exams. Justine passed her follow-up hearing exam. They continue to grow. Justine is nearly 7 pounds while Jayce is somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 1/2. An average newborn is 6 lbs at birth, so he still has a ways to go.
Twin life is intense. There is no other word. Mostly we laugh in the face of the insanity, though I think hysteria finds its way in too. Sometimes I laugh and cry at the same time. I don’t have to try too hard to imagine what actual insanity might feel like.
We are figuring everything out for the first time. Times two.
For example? Sunday is bath day. If you’ve never bathed an infant before, I’m here to tell you that the only thing worse than bathing an infant is bathing two.
This week was our third attempt. It went better than the first two. We continue to refine our technique.
Josiah put on his swim trunks and sat in the tub while I prepped the first patient. Justine does not scream bloody murder every time you change her anymore (we appreciate it, kid). She didn’t scream when I handed her to Josiah. She didn’t scream when we began washing her down. Reclining on Josiah’s legs and gazing up into his face, she actually seemed to enjoy it.
But heaven help you when it’s time to do her back.
Josiah turned her over. It was like a hoard of angry opera sopranos were being violently stabbed in the bathroom.
For those who haven’t had the privilege of hearing it first hand, let me just say that if Justine was a superhero, her name would be Sonic Boom. The child can rattle window panes in our neighbor’s house. Stick that lung capacity in a tiled bathroom inside the bathtub and you’ll find yourself shouting, “WHAT?” for the next fifteen minutes.
Blinking off the effects of my new headache, I dressed Justine, stripped Jayce, and we did the whole thing over again. Except for this time, we had a screaming Justine in the background who now wanted her bottle, and we had a screaming Jayce who did not enjoy any part of the bathing process. He communicated his displeasure by first peeing, then pooping, all over Josiah’s legs. Then Josiah started crying.
(Not really. But he was not happy.)
When we finished Child #2, Josiah ran to the shower while I dressed a screaming Jayce in the nursery with a screaming Justine beside me. I then started feeding the screaming Justine while the screaming Jayce protested the delay of his bottle.
I think the cats must believe the twins are some strange form of hairless kitten. Both of them shriek along with the twins during times of distress, turning a screaming duo into a screaming quartet. This does nothing for parental stress level.
All the twin parents tell me the first year is insane, but the following years are (in some ways) easier than singletons. I don’t know about that last part yet. I’m here to verify the first part is accurate.
Supporting us through the insanity has been a small army of friends and family. If you’re on my list of babysitters, you already know how much we appreciate you. With the nights being such a free for all, our only reliable sleep is during the day, and that doesn’t happen without your help.
From the bottom of our sleep-deprived hearts, THANK YOU. Please keep coming back.