I have to tell you something. These past few weeks have tested me like no other. Honestly like nothing has testing me before. Our twins are 4.5 months old-almost 5 months old now. So much has changed with them recently-all wonderful and thought-provoking but still a change nonetheless. In the early days, they ate, pooped and slept. Literally. Now they sleep through the night (fingers crossed that continues). What that means, I’ve realized, is that they don’t sleep during the day. Not only are they awake, they are engaged and interested and curious about the world. They can see me-from across the room. They get jealous when I spend time with one over the other. They cry ALL THE TIME. They cry to manipulate. The second I come over to address the situation, a big smile covers their face and I realize it was all a gimmick to get me over there. I don’t know what do do with them when they aren’t sleeping. They’re too little to sit up straight in a bumbo or some other crazy contraption but they’re too big to just lie in their bassinets either. I put them on the stimulation mat: they cry. I put them in their swings: they cry. I put them in their buzzy magic chair: they cry. I put them on my lap and interact: they smile.
And that’s the really hard part of this. They are happiest playing with me. And that feels really great. But listen, it’s also exhausting. The day starts around 8:30am and I do not sit down until around 11am when they both fall asleep (site: right now) for about 15 minutes (btw: the girl just started wailing as I was typing the words “asleep”). Then I make bottles, then I feed everyone, then I burp everyone, then I get puked on, then I change diapers, then I put one on the floor while she wails and try to play with the other. Ten minutes pass, I put him on the floor and play with her. He wails. I just feel like I’m reaching a breaking point.
And then something else big happened this week. I debated blogging about it because it felt personal and like I was crossing a line in terms of privacy vs. sharing. That said, those of you who read this blog (IE: blood relatives) have praised me for being brutally honest about this whole journey. So I guess I’ll share. I have been nursing the babies since they were born, supplementing with formula because I never made enough milk. In the past few weeks, however, my milk supply has decreased significantly. I spent an hour on the phone Monday with the lactation specialist at my Doctor’s office and she essentially told me, with twins, to rebuild a supply I would have to nurse one, then give a bottle, nurse the other, then give the bottle, then pump for 20 minutes. And even then it isn’t even guarrenteed that it will work. There is no time for me to do all that. Once one finishes eating, he/she starts wailing and wants to play. Then the other starts crying. Oh and for me to increase my milk supply, I need to be eating all the time and drinking gallons of water. Where I am supposed to find the time to make food? Much less put it in my mouth. And water? For that to work, I need an IV drip in my arm. Anyway, after hanging up the phone, I decided I’d give it a go.
I tried to nurse both babies at the same time and neither baby was interested. Then they started wailing-I mean WAILING. About that time our baby boy grabbed hold of my insulin pump tubing (by accident of course) and ripped it out of my stomach. I had put the new set in just five minutes before (something I hate to do and dread each time because of the pain involved in inserting the needle). He yanked the cord and blood spilled out all over me and all over him. Almost exactly at that moment, he leaned over and threw up all over himself, myself and our girl. I felt this bile moving up in my throat-this PMS style rage and frustration and exhaustion and sense of failure and I could taste it in my mouth before it came out. I screamed across the room at the top of my lungs “FUCKKKK!”. Both of my babies looked up at me with their perfect innocent expressions and their mouths turned down and their little chins began to wobble. They were so scared of the person who, since the moment they were brought into this world, was warm and cuddly and comforting. They cried. Not an angry wail but a sad, frightened wimper. My heart broke, as it is breaking again right now, and I just sat there with my shirt up and my pathetic failing breasts hanging out and blood and spit up smeared all over my pants and I just bawled my eyes out. The three of us just sat there and wept for several minutes.
I need to accept that the breastfeeding journey is over. I have mentioned several times on this blog how important I think it is to listen to your body. My body directed my decisions through much of my pregnancy and I feel it is doing the same now. I am sad to stop nursing them and I will sincerely miss the connection we have but I need to let it go. Having children is the single greatest lesson in letting go. The need to control is moot. Children dictate what is or isn’t these days and my need to control and manipulate each move is futile. There is something peaceful in acknowledging this chaos-in accepting the fact that these two little beings will dictate what will or will not happen for the time being. It is cathartic to exhale my breath and accept life for what it is. And you know what’s really funny? What reminds you how interesting and magnificent life can be? As I sat here typing this I-feel-sorry-for-myself soliloquy, our daughter rolled over for the first time. I looked up from my whine fest to see that she was no longer on her back but instead on her tummy with her big beautiful eyes wide open studying the fabric of our rug. Moments like these kick you in the ass man. They say “This is life. This is now. Be HERE. Be present”. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Go.