Eclectic Muddlehood

How's this for a perplexing beginning? I am a great many things, but none of them are me. At least not in my entirety. This is the little corner where I attempt to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts as I muddle through being a wife, a mother and a woman... among other things.

Name:
Location: Virginia, United States

Here, in no particular order, is a short list of my parts from the mundane to the pretentious, some or all of which may surface in future attempts to work on the whole: wife, mother, doula, childbirth educator, writer, yoga student, homeschooler, amature organic gardner, kitchen witch, all-around foodie, spiritual truth-seeker, daughter, clutter-bug, complusive list maker, bibliophile, homemaker, friend, homebirth/natural birth advocate, impulse shopper, wine snob, knitter, artist, lover, sensuist, and email junkie (There may be more later, but that's it for now.)

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Our Jumbo Shrimp

The average American twins are born at 36 weeks gestation or earlier and weigh no more than 5lbs 4oz at birth. These tiny premature babies often spend a considerable amount of time in a neonatal intensive care unit at great financial and emotional expense to their parents. Although our twins' birth was anything but ideal, I am intensely proud of the fact that we were spared that particularly excruciating experience. I cannot imagine going home from the hospital and having to leave my babies there without me for even one second. Most Americans believe twins always come early and people are continually amazed by our story every time I share it. Our babies were born at 39 weeks 5 days and weighed 8lbs 6oz and 7lbs 4oz. The pediatric staff present in the operating room could not believe their eyes and one nurse even commented that my eight pound son was probably the largest twin she'd ever seen born at that hospital.

It wasn't just luck that helped me grown my babies that big for that long. It was meticulous attention to my diet and my overall well-being. Using material from Dr. Tom Brewer (www.blueribbonbaby.org) and Dr. Barbara Luke (When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads), I modified my diet and began consuming about 3,500 calories a day, focusing on getting about 175g of protein from a variety of sources. Most homebirth midwives who work with twin mothers will also tell clients that a high protein diet is the key to preventing preterm labor and preeclampsia, as well as ensuring a robust birth weight for both babies. I worked hard at this, sometimes eating red meat three times a day. I also paid careful attention to my fluid intake and took a nap with my older daughter every afternoon. Speaking with a mother of twins to be this afternoon, I realized how little guidance most obstetricians give their multiple moms about nutrition and preventing preterm labor and other complications. In fact, most of them simply inform their patients to expect bed rest, premature babies, stays in the NICU and low birth weight babies that will require formula feeding to gain weight as part of the detrimental high-risk mentality the push on these poor parents. I encouraged her to take her babies well-being into her own hands and do what she could to help them grow as big as possible for as long as possible. Then maybe she can end up with what my husband calls jumbo shrimp twins (because they are so big for twins, yet still so little) too.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Milk For Two

I have at least five blog entries knocking around in my head, just dying to claw their way out onto the screen. But alas, they have yet to make it here. Mothering newborn twins is next to impossible. Add the toddler and you basically have daily chaos. I knew this was going to be challenging, but seriously... Here's the bottom line: This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

There is a reason most people don't exclusively breastfeed their twins. Actually there are a lot. But most of them have nothing to do with a mother's physical ability to produce enough milk for both babies and everything to do with trying to function while also being required to nurse anywhere from 20 to 30 times a day. This is in addition to burping, changing diapers, feeding oneself and the toddler, and sleeping. (Just forget anything else that falls outside of that tiny list right there-- NOT GONNA HAPPEN!) So as I sit nursing once again while typing one handed, I can see the appeal of passing off partial feeding responsibility to another person in order to catch a break once in awhile and actually stretch and breathe.

It's a good thing I hate formula and formula companies with the insane blinding passion that I do. Otherwise I might actually be tempted. But as I look down at my baby son who is blooming handsomely on just his mother's milk, I know no matter how badly I may want that stretch and breath some days I'm going to keep on nursing them as long as I possibly can. Those other blog entries will make it up here some day and even if they don't, I'd rather have these beautiful breastfed twins to show for my time than a super active blog.

Time to go nurse the other one!