Monday, September 29, 2008

Bath Water

me: Ezra, if you drink the bath water you'll get a stomach has soap and dirt in it

Ezra: Noooo...I love a stomach ache...Mama drink? Mmm, tasty good.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bob Herbert on Sarah Palin

Bob Herbert's commentary on Palin's interview with Katie Couric is a good one, but in my opinion he focused on the wrong parts of the interview. First of all, while one would not expect a more seasoned politician to handle a momentary loss of words as poorly as Palin did, and I too found that a bit excruciating to watch, I don't think it's any indication of her intelligence or ability. We all make mistakes of that sort, just mostly not on national television. But the part of the interview that shocked me the most was Palin's reduction of armed conflict into "good guys" vs. "bad guys." Her insistence on calling Israel the "good guys" and Iran the "bad guys" was more than naive: it was childish and even offensive. Is the world really that black and white to her? I would suspect it is. She certainly acts as though it is. I'm terrified at the thought of having a president who is unable to even think about the intricacies of foreign policy. Who actually considers Israel to be flat-out "good guys."

And aside from the deep implications of all of this, how ridiculous was it to hear a supposed national leader go on and on about good guys and bad guys? For real? It would be funny if it weren't so frightening and embarrassing.

Strange Dream, and Politics

Last night I was woken up by a baby in the middle of a deep dreaming sleep. And you know how you tend to remember dreams better if you wake up in the middle? I don't remember all the details as well as I did in the middle of the night. In any case, this was a very odd dream:

I dreamed that Barack Obama (although I think in the dream I was Obama) was going to be executed, but he managed to escape out the back door when nobody was looking. Then he had to hide, and try to make sure that nobody knew who he was. I wish I remembered more, but I really don't.

The good news is that the polls are looking good for Obama. I think Palin is starting to backfire a bit on McCain, as people who were original impressed by her began to learn more and realized how truly terrifying a choice she is. Also, McCain didn't gain anything with the debate. It was a pretty boring debate overall, but I think people who watched it probably took from it that Obama definitely seemed on top of things and presidential. McCain was fine, but nothing special. Neither really was.

On Facebook there are a lot of people supporting the Bush Countdown Clock. Which is fine, unless we're counting down to McCain...

Conversations With Ezra II

Out walking yesterday:

Ezra, pointing up at a bird on a wire: "Babba, chicken up there."

Pointing again: "Mama, a squirrel climbing on a house."

(That struck me because it was such a complete sentence. His speech is really picking up!)

Just now, Baruch took Ezra upstairs to get Ari, who had just woken up. I heard over the monitor: "Hi Ari! Good nap?"

Ezra is really into the cleaning lady who comes every other week (my parents have been kind enough to have her come to them only every 2 weeks, so we get the alternate weeks). Now he will make a mess or see something that's a mess and say, "Biiiig mess. Miss Binky clean up." Very matter-of-fact. I have tried to explain that actually I have to clean it up because Miss Vicky only comes every 2 weeks, but to no avail.

Ezra was in the bath yesterday and he talked for about a minute straight in what seemed to be a complete paragraph. I didn't really catch it all though. Something about the water and his cups and pouring the water.

I think there were more that I wanted to record but I can't remember right now! I guess I'll add them if I remember later.

I remembered another: I put a sweater on Ezra to try it for fit for the winter, and he looked down and said, "oh, awesome!" That cracked me up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Say It Ain't So, Ezra

How is it possible that my 2-year-old is outgrowing his nap???? He's much too young. Really he still needs the nap, he just won't take it a few days a week. I hope this is a slow process, and he continues to nap at least most days for a while longer.

The big topic of conversation in our house (well aside from politics) is To Cut or Not To Cut. We love Ezra's hair long, but he won't let us put it up, and even when he does, he won't keep it up. So it's always in his eyes. Plus now the babies grab it and pull it. So I'm advocating for cutting it, even though I love it and it's beautiful and I'll be very sad to see it go. We'll see if Baruch agrees.

For some reason I can go a few days without a blog post and then on a car ride I'll suddenly think of 5 posts. All of which deserve their own posts. I wonder if that's typical. I'm new to blogging, obviously. Not that anybody is reading this :p

Personality Differences

Toby and Ari might be identical twins, but they certainly don't act identical. Their personalities are similar, to be sure, but the differences are fairly noticeable. Ari is more gregarious, as much as you can say such a thing about a baby. He is all smiles and laughs for everybody. Toby gets overstimulated more easily and doesn't like to interact directly for as long; he is also smiley, but a bit more discriminating. Toby notices and smiles and coos at Ari and Ezra more than Ari pays attention to Toby; Toby will also just stop nursing and stare at me and grin (so sweet!). Ari stares at his hands and fingers more than any baby I've ever known. He also likes to sit in the swing with the toys on it, and Toby does not. Toby falls asleep in the crib much more readily than Ari; sometimes Ari will start crying and Toby will just stare at him as if he's wondering why he's carrying on like that. And the most noticeable to other people: Ari just plain loves to nurse, whereas Toby just wants to nurse to eat. My father says Ari nurses recreationally, and Toby just nurses nutritionally. My mother calls them fat (Toby) and fatter (Ari). I think Ari was about a pound more, but the difference might be a bit less now.

All of this is how they are today. They could easily change tomorrow!

Both babies are enjoying being big enough for the exersaucer. They like to spin the spinny toy. They've started to protest being put on the floor, I think because they want to sit up and move around. Neither is really rolling much because they don't want to spend much time laying down learning how! They are getting stronger and hopefully will be sitting in another month, which should make them happy.

They aren't really sleeping well at night. I'm fairly exhausted. What I'm looking forward to most is a regular nap schedule. I can't remember when Ezra did that; I tried reading his old blog, but it didn't really say. It looks like at an equivalent age to where Ari and Toby are now (3-4 months) he was still napping every 1.5 to 2 hours. The little guys are still only wanting to be awake for 1 to 1.5 hours, with maybe one 2-hour stretch per day. It means I spend a lot of the day making sure they get to sleep. I think one problem is that they won't take long enough naps, so they get tired quickly. And the other sleep issue that is exasperating is something that Ezra did too: tons of waking in the early morning, and then waking for the day too early. I wonder if bringing them into our bedroom made the problem worse.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:

Yesterday Ari rolled from his back to his front to his back, and then to his front again. Then he acted stuck. It may have been a fluke, although now both boys have rolled from front to back at least once. They also scoot themselves backwards when placed on their bellies, and right after his amazing feat yesterday I put Ari back on his back next to Toby and he proceeded to scoot himself around in a semi-circle so he was facing the opposite direction :) It won't be too much longer before I have to get really serious about baby-proofing!

Oh yeah and they are both "talking" a lot lately. Actually in pretty different ways: Ari says "gggehhhh, gooooh, aggghh" in a gurgly sort of way and Toby says, "ohhhh! ehhhh ohhhh ehh!!" in a loud yelling sort of way.

Also, they finally fit into the Ergo! Yay! I love wearing the wrap, but the Ergo is easier in and out and on and off. I can pop one into the Ergo really super quickly, and I can also nurse in the Ergo, which I personally can't do in the wrap. Although I tried to nurse Ari in the store today and for some reason it pissed him off. Maybe he just has to get used to it.

And another good thing: my brother is coming to Charleston for the weekend, which I'm really looking forward to :)Benjamin is in law school at Duke in North Carolina.

The Bad:

For some reason both Ari and Toby were up partying all night. They were just awake and laughing and wanting to play all night long. *yawn* Baruch was wonderfully helpful, though. Today they are sleeping more than usual to make up for it. This better not become a habit, because I won't survive it!

The Ugly:

We are sort of the neighborhood freak show. I can't go anywhere without inviting comments from every single person who sees me. I'm pretty sick of it, but I just try to ignore it for the most part. I do often accept offers of help when it would be useful, like in getting groceries to the car, or picking up something heavy off of a shelf, etc. Today I kept track of comments when we went grocery shopping:

While entering the store and getting kids situated (Ari in Ergo, Toby in car seat in cart, Ezra in built-in seat on cart):

them: Do you need help?
me: No thanks, I've got it.
them: You sure do! You're doing great! You don't look haggard at all!

um....thanks? My hair is unwashed, I'm wearing my glasses rather than my contacts, all my decent clothes are dirty so I'm wearing whatever I could throw's good to know that at least I seem calm lol

Other comments in the store:

"You poor thing."

Um, what?!? Did you really just say that? I just walked away, but if I were meaner I would have given her a dirty look.

"You have your hands full." repeat x 100

"Wow, look a her!" said to friend. No, of course I can't hear you talk about me...

"My [sister/cousin/daughter/neighbor] has twins, and blah blah blah..."

It's amazing how many people want to tell me about the people they know with twins. Or people who have twins themselves. And sometimes I run into twins, which is sort of cute when they're looking at the babies.

I'm not knocking most of these things. Some are rude, some are just things to say, most are well-intentioned. It's just annoying to be the center of attention everywhere.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My Three Sons

I couldn't decide which photo I like best. I know, they are almost exactly the same :p

(there is an unofficial, uncensored version which involved nakedness ;-)...if you are a close friend, ask to see it, because it's super cute!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Conversations With Ezra

My mother, on the phone to me: "How is Ezra doing?"
Me to Ezra: "Ezra, how are you?"
Ezra: "Two"


This morning I told Ezra that the woman who comes to clean every other week, Vicky, would be coming this afternoon. After his nap we were eating a snack and had this conversation:

Me: "So Ezra, what would you like to do this afternoon?"
Ezra: "Cleaning. Miss Binky comes."


We were cooking dinner and I showed him how to squish garlic cloves so they could be peeled.

Ezra: "SQUISH! Awesome!"

And since this is about Ezra, here is my current favorite photo of the dude:

Parenting Books I Recommend

I don't follow any one philosophy or style of parenting. We do what works for us, and it's really a mixture of things. Here are books that I like (I will continue to update this list):

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn (and Punished by Rewards, which has more footnotes and references)
Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Weissbluth*
How Children Learn by John Holt
Learning All the Time by John Holt

*Weissbluth has excellent information and some good advice. He is also very full of himself. I would never recommend letting your child cry, but doing so is unnecessary to follow Weissbluth's basic advice.

Other resources I love:

Signing Time DVDs

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not a Pointless Doctor's Visit

I took the babies to the pediatrician today just to make sure they don't have ear infections. They just haven't been sleeping, and had taken to screaming more often than not, which is very much not their personality. (I only ever took Ezra for sick visits the two times in his life he's been sick. I think I'm much more cautious with the little guys because they were preemies.) So of course the doctor looks them over and pronounces them perfectly healthy (and also mentions that they really seem like 4-month-olds to her, and you'd never know they were born over 9 weeks early <3). BUT, and this is the funny thing: after this visit, the babies spontaneously took a 3-hour nap and got back to their regular selves and played happily and napped well the rest of the day! So they must have heard that they were healthy, too :)

Also, a quick PSA: it is not a good idea to give a toddler just one small piece of chocolate for the ride home. We went to my parents' house for dinner tonight since Baruch will be at the hospital pretty much all night doing work. My mother gave me some chocolates to take home, but Ezra saw them, so I figured I'd give him one. Well, the van was obviously dark, so I was a bit surprised when we got home and I turned around and found this (you should really click on the photo for the full effect):

And for some reason Toby was still wide awake, and Ari woke up when I brought him in. So then I had to deal with both awake babies (I rocked Ari while I nursed Toby, and thankfully Ari went back to sleep until just after I got Ezra to bed). I put Toby to bed and threw a very tired Ezra in the tub, and then finally got Ezra to sleep at about 10:30. Nursed Ari, got him to bed. Then straightend up a bit, wrote this post, and now I'm finally off to bed, where I suspect I will get about 5 minutes of sleep before Toby wakes up for the first time :p

Monday, September 15, 2008


The babies are getting teeth or something ridiculous like that. They, especially Ari, took about 10 minute naps all day today, and got progressively more tired until by evening they were screaming bloody murder and nothing would stop them.

And this is when Bad Mama took over and left them in their crib to cry. I thought maybe they'd fall asleep. To be more accurate, I left Ari in the crib to cry. I put Toby down and he started dozing, but couldn't fall asleep because Ari was crying. That's the way it goes: Toby stares at Ari with this look like, "Dude what are you doing? Let's just go to sleep." As soon as Ari gets quiet Toby drifts right off. I didn't leave them there long. I couldn't. I went up and nursed Ari yet AGAIN and he finally fell asleep. Oh yeah this was all after dosing them with Motrin, which I don't think you're even supposed to use until they are 6 months old but they must weigh about 15 pounds which is well within the weight range so what the hell.

I never felt a strong urge to let Ezra "cry it out." Sure I wanted to a few times, but I never tried and it was never something I really considered for very long. I think I'm a lot different now than I was then, in that I have a bit more perspective and I really don't think it will scar a kid for life to cry to sleep a few times (even though I still think it's not a nice thing to do). But I think the main difference is in the babies themselves. The twins put themselves to sleep regularly and have since forever. As long as I time it right, they fall asleep when I put them down. So I know they can. Ezra NEVER did that. In fact I think he still to this day has never done that. I never saw it as within the realm of possibility. Ezra was always walked, rocked, or nursed to sleep. Toby and Ari have been better sleepers, although not the great sleepers you sometimes hear about (and which I'm sure exist, though they can't be too common). Certainly they fall asleep on their own fairly readily as long as the circumstances are right. Toby is better at this than Ari.

But the flipside to this luxury is that it causes increased frustration when they *won't* fall asleep. Because I know they can, and because I suppose I worry that they will lose this ability and with it I'll lose my sanity.

I'm starving again. With all this extra nursing the past few days (from what I am desperately hoping is teething, because that ends at some point, at least for a little while) I've been eating even more than usual. Which is a lot.

Perspective: eventually they will all grow up and I'll actually MISS these days. Well not these days like today, but at least these ages.

Random Facts

Toby won't nurse if he has a poopy diaper. (weirdo lol)

Ezra thinks that chocolate soy milk is called "special treat."

The heat index right now is 110 degrees.

Ari knows how to say "goo gah" just like a proper baby :p

And for a change of track, this article scares me (and I think it scared the authors when they were writing it lol)
Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes
And yes I believe every word of it. I'm glad the Times isn't even trying to be unbiased with regards to Sarah Palin. Since I personally think John McCain is dementing and won't be fit for office in another 2 years, I shudder to think that Palin could end up as president.

My Pregnancy and Birth with Tobias and Ari

This is incredibly long, and I'm sure there is more I could add. I may end up editing it as time goes on. There is so much I can't get across in a simple telling of the story. Mainly how emotionally difficult this all was for me.

After it took us a year to conceive Ezra, we figured it would probably take a while the second time around, as well. I thought 2 years apart was a good age difference for siblings. I'm 2 years older than my brother, so perhaps it just seems natural to me. So when Ezra was 14 months old and my cycle came back, we figured we wouldn't necessarily try to get pregnant, but we wouldn't try not to, either. Imagine our surprise when we got pregnant immediately!

I felt different about this pregnant from the very start. In fact, the other day I went back and checked, and the first time I mentioned the possibility of twins to my friends I was only 5 days post ovulation!! (At that point, the boys were either just split into two people, or hadn't even split yet.) I can't really explain it. I had taken Ezra to visit my family right after the first days of the holiday of Sukkos, so I was at my parents' house. I started to feel nauseated while nursing Ezra and randomly craved ketchup. I figured I might be pregnant, but it was a few more days before I could reasonably test. In fact, I got a negative pregnancy test at about 8 dpo, and then the next day I got a faint positive followed by an obvious positive. I was so excited!

When I was 5 weeks pregnant I called a local homebirth midwife to set up an appointment. At that time I asked her what would happen if it turned out that I was pregnant with twins. She laughed and said that it was pretty unlikely, that perhaps I was sicker this time because it was a girl or just a different pregnancy, and all second-time mothers are surprised that they get bigger earlier. So I set up an appointment for 11 weeks, and went on with life as usual. Or almost usual, as I developed pretty bad morning sickness. I was throwing up pretty much every day, and feeling sick when I wasn't throwing up. I ended up eating quite a lot because it helped keep me from being nauseated. Actually I was eating a lot of frozen Amy's burritos and things like that, because I had no energy to cook. This was also the first time that Ezra was allowed to watch TV, or specifically Signing Time DVDs that we rented from the library. He was 14/15 months old. It turned out to be a great age for him to start with Signing Time, as he was not yet verbal but quickly picked up the signs. By 17 months he had at LEAST 60 signs, and then he started talking.

I continued to feel that this pregnancy was different, but explained it away but saying it was my second pregnancy and bound to be different from the first. I had been underweight at the start (from nursing Ezra and doing a LOT of walking; I was 5'8" and about 105 lbs) but I gained weight rapidly, in spite of the morning sickness. I transitioned to maternity clothes at about 10 or 11 weeks. At 11 weeks I had my first appointment with the homebirth midwife, who found a nice heartbeat and thought that everything looked great. I asked again about twins but she still thought it was not likely.

At 14ish weeks Baruch, Ezra, and I went to visit my parents for Baruch's winter break from his last year of medical school. I went to meet a homebirth midwife in Charleston, since I wasn't sure where I'd want to give birth, as we were hoping Baruch would match for his residency in Charleston. She told me that I was measuring 19 weeks, and I asked if she could try to find two heartbeats with the doppler. She found on on the left side, and then she found another on the right side...but they were both in exactly the same range, so she said she really didn't know what to say. At that point it was too early to be able to find the same heartbeat in such distant parts of my uterus. But she still thought it might be the same baby. (I was sure my dates were right.) She also felt a spot that she was pretty sure was a fibroid (I had felt it myself). I went home and told my mother all of this; I was worried about the fibroid, but still not convinced that there was more than one baby. My mother called up her OB and had him book me for an ultrasound first thing the next morning!

When Baruch and I went for that ultrasound, I really didn't know what to expect. Part of me had thought it was twins all along, but my rational side saw no reason why that would be the case, and simply didn't believe it. The OB was fairly dismissive of this possibility, too, I think partly because he and the particular midwife I had seen do not like each other at all. Imagine our shock when we saw two babies!! First he looked and saw the fibroid (that's what it was, and it was never heard from again lol) and then he saw a baby, and then as he kept looking at the baby...there was another baby! He got all excited and called in another OB who had more experience with that ultrasound machine. They looked at both babies, and then they said something terrifying: they thought they might both be in one sac, or monoamniotic. In fact, they thought they saw them holding hands.

I spent the entire rest of the day shaking. And I got very upset when I read about mo/mo (monochorionic/monoamniotic) twins and the risks associated with that. We weren't due to go back home for a few weeks, and I simply couldn't stand to wait that long to find out what was going on. So my father asked the local, well-known perinatologist, who he knew professionally, to fit me in late the next week. We spent an entire week worrying that we were carrying mo/mo twins, and it was terrifying. We were extremely relieved at the perinatologist's office to find out that in fact our twins were mono/di (monochorionic/diamniotic), and growing well with no signs whatsoever of Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. We also found out that we were expecting two little boys <3

When we got back to Pennsylvania I immediately made an appointment with local perinatologists to be followed via ultrasound for our mono/di twins. Just before 20 weeks, before I was even seen by the perinatologists there, I had an episode of spotting on a Friday afternoon. They fit us in, even though they didn't want to because it was just brown spotting, one of those things that "just happens." A super quick ultrasound showed no problems, so it was dismissed. Here is where my memory gets a little murky. I think I had another episode of spotting, but a lot more (still brown), and went to the hospital. This was before our 20 week ultrasound. They told me on the phone that I didn't need to go, for brown spotting (it was more like very slight bleeding, more than "spotting"). I just don't remember the sequence of events exactly, or when I went to the hospital and when I didn't. Anyway, when they did an ultrasound, they diagnosed a complete placenta previa. At first I was put on just restricted activity, but after I kept bleeding I was put on complete bed rest. We had to get a nanny for Ezra (who I was very glad to have weaned at 17 months, just a few days before we found out we were expecting twins). In this we were incredibly blessed; we found out about the previa on a Friday morning, on Monday we interviewed a nanny, and the next day she started. Tammy was just fabulous, the best nanny we could have asked for. Here is a photo of Ezra with Tammy and the little boy who lived next door.

I kept having bleeds, and they got worse each time. It wasn't long before I was having relatively extensive, bright-red bleeds. They were self-limiting,but I had to be monitored carefully each time. Twice I went to the hospital via ambulance. I stayed in for 3-5 days each time. They kept letting me go home because we lived very very close to the hospital and could get there in time if I bled again. At 25 weeks I had quite a severe bleed. The OR and the NICU were on alert just in case. I spent a long time having a very sobering talk with a neonatologist. It was so frightening. But I stopped bleeding and the babies never showed any signs of distress at all. We had dodged a bullet. At this time I got the steroid shots to help the babies' lungs mature.

Not long after that I came down with an awful stomach virus and ended up back in the hospital for IV fluids. I still don't understand why I would randomly start to bleed just laying in bed, but violently throwing up didn't cause a bleed. After the bad 25 week one, I went a few weeks without another bleed. I started to think it might all be ok after all. The placenta was definitely moving. Soon I wouldn't have any previa at all. One of the perinatologists kept telling me that I might even make it to term and have a vaginal birth. My life-long anxiety was hitting me with a vengeance, though. Really it was the darkest, most awful experience in my life. I was constantly scared that I would start to bleed again. I was terrified that I would have micropreemies. I ended up needing to take medication for the anxiety for a few weeks. I never wanted to put that in my body. I was eating as well as I could. I stuffed myself with protein and calories, even when I didn't feel like eating. I gained quite a bit of weight. I was really just miserable during this time. Ezra was practically being raised by the nanny, and then DH when he came home in the evenings. He spent some time with me every afternoon, but I had little role in his life. He was traumatized by seeing me taken away in an ambulance, and having me stay at the hospital for days on end.

At I guess around 28 weeks Ezra got sick and passed it along to me. I got a horrible upper respiratory infection, with a cough, and an ear infection. In fact, my ear drum burst. I still couldn't hear when the babies were born a few weeks later. I was so sick. I still don't know why all the coughing didn't cause me to bleed. It did cause some contractions, but nothing that affected my cervix.

At 30 weeks and 5 days we had an appointment and our first non-stress test. We had recently found out that I no longer had placenta previa! I now only had a low-lying placenta, which was expected to correct even more to become a normal placenta. I was finally relaxing. With my last bleed (I don't even remember, was it 28 weeks? 29?) I had started to have some contractions caused by the bleeding. My cervix proved to be unchanged (in fact, it measured 4.5 cm long, which is amazing for that stage of a twin pregnancy). The non-stress test was fabulous. Since 25 weeks the nurses had been telling me that the twins had wonderful reactive heart rates, advanced for their gestational age. They had also always measured right on target. In fact at my last ultrasound the perinatologist said that my guys weren't told that twins usually slow down their growth at some point and were still growing like singletons. My first and only non-stress test was fast and easy. The nurse said she wished all her 30-week twins would behave so nicely for the tests! Actually we were lucky it was fast, because usually when being monitored in the hospital the babies would be on and off the monitors constantly. They were EXTREMELY active little guys!

The next day, Saturday, April 19th, at about 5 am, I woke up to a gush of blood. After the first big gush, though, I thought it slowed down or stopped. I was so sad, since I didn't expect to bleed again now that I no longer had a previa. Since I didn't think it was really an emergency, we waited a bit and then called our next-door neighbor to watch Ezra as he slept. Baruch drove me to the hospital. In retrospect it is very good that this arrangement was made. When I stood up I started bleeding quite a bit more. In the car I started to have pain with the bleeding, which was totally new. At this point I was a little scared, but I still thought it was yet another bleeding episode that we'd get through. I got to L&D and they hooked me up to all the monitors. I was stable for a little while. My perinatologist got there. I started bleeding more, I started having more pain. I was having contractions and other pain as well. The perinatologist was standing there very seriously, looking at the monitors, looking at me. A nurse said something about one of the monitors, and the perinatologist looked and did a super quick pelvic and said, "We're having some babies. Start scrubbing in." Before I knew what was happening I was swallowing a nasty liquid, signing a c-section consent, and being rolled into the OR. I remember being strapped down, and having them prep my belly. I was so scared. I wanted desperately for them to get me under the anesthesia so I wouldn't be scared anymore. I told them to take good care of me. I worried about Ezra. Then I didn't know anything until the recovery room. I had an emergency c-section under general anesthesia.

Baruch says he held my hand the whole time. The babies came out crying and peeing (in his words). He had been prepared for something awful, but he was surprised that they looked as healthy as they did. Tobias Wolf was born first, weighing 3 lbs. 12 oz. Ari Jacob was born next, weighing 4 lbs. 4 oz. Ari was put on CPAP (pressure only, no oxygen) briefly because his lungs were "wet" from the c-section. Toby was breathing without any assistance from the start. They were taken straight to the NICU, of course.

One of the first things I asked for in recovery was a breast pump! I finally got one when I was moved to the post-partum room, and started pumping immediately. I think I set a record for most colostrum sent to the NICU :p My milk came in quickly and my boys were fed colostrum and milk from the start (mostly their ealry nutrition was via umbilical IV, but what they got orally was all from me). I was very anemic and unable to sit up easily, so after a few hours a very nice nurse rolled me up to the NICU in a stretcher and I saw my boys for the first time. They were beautiful and tiny. I didn't know what kind of road we had ahead of us,but I was relieved that they were healthy and in good hands. We had all made it.

Our NICU stay was remarkable for being completely uneventful. The babies progressed steadily and even more rapidly than the neonatologists predicted. The first time I tried to nurse a baby (it was Toby) for real, the nurse brought out the scale just to humor me,and was shocked to find that he had nursed his entire feeding. I told the nurses to please start giving bottles as soon as they could, because I wanted my babies home. And in the end they were only in the NICU for 3.5 weeks (25 days). And it was only a few weeks after that when they were nursing exclusively at the breast, no bottles. We gave up the nipple shield within days of that transition, too. Today, at close to 5 months chronological age (not quite 3 months corrected), they are big chubby guys. Ari especially loves to nurse and has the thighs and belly to prove it! They are actually longer than Ezra was at an equivalent age. Developmentally they are just amazing. They both have their hands in their mouths all the time, they grab things, and they can roll from tummy to back but don't often. They are honestly the happiest, most joyful babies you could ever meet. Baruch says it's like they have an inner reservoir of joy that just bubbles up into smiles and laughs. They love to smile at each other and at Ezra. They coo and make pre-babbling sounds. Ari is usually a few days ahead of Toby developmentally, so if Ari is making a certain sound, Toby will start to a few days later. We really couldn't ask for anything more. I don't even think of them as preemies, actually. There's no reason to. We know that we still have to wait until they're older to be sure, but as far as we can tell there are no lasting affects from having been born more than 9 weeks early. We are incredibly, amazingly blessed, and we adore these little boys so much.

Intro Post

Hello world! I'm Ellie (Frankel, hence the name of this blog). I've been married to Baruch since December of 2003. In July 2006 our first son, Ezra Judah, was born. In April 2008 our twin boys Tobias (Toby) and Ari were born. Baruch is currently in his first year as an intern in an Internal Medicine residency program, working an average of 80 hours a week. I've been home since Ezra was born. I'm still not sure what I want to do when I grow up, but I may get a part-time job or start some sort of school in another year or so, when the babies are older.

I have a lot to write for introductions. To start, here is the birth story for Ezra, on the old blog I used to keep for him but haven't updated since he was 14 months old:
Ezra's birth story

I also need to write a pregnancy and birth story for the twins.* I'll start working on that and post it when I finish. It will be long!

Today I'll just start with a photo of my guys, taken a few days ago:

*I do refer to Toby and Ari as "the twins" sometimes. When I was pregnant I would never say "the twins", for fear of compromising their individuality. As I've gotten to know them a bit, I've realized that they are just different people. I don't need to force that, because it's already true. It is sometimes easier to just call them "the twins," since they are, after all, twins :)