I should be sleeping. But as with most nights, I have a hard time getting my brain to shut down at the same time as my body. My mind races with thoughts --- mostly of schedules, babies, bottles, dinner. I've always had difficulty sleeping, but "back in the day", my mind along thoughts of selling checking accounts, acquiring investments, the latest marketing scheme --- what I thought were important thoughts at the time. Not so much. The babies. That's what I think of these days. It's difficult for it to not be all-consuming...we are pretty much homebound so cabin fever runs rampant and I am becoming increasingly addicted to facebook to see what's happening in the "outside" world. Sad, huh?
But how sweet that my days and nights are filled with these 2 little ones.
We for sure have days and nights that are not so sweet. Quinn is still a very difficult feeder and does not take much more than the minimums the dieticians have set for her. It's a source of stress for Matt and I, counting up every little cc and wondering how much that last spit up set her back. And the beginning of the weekend was extremely hard -- she received her 4 month vaccinations early in case something happens prematurely and we have to go to surgery. Her 2 month ones did not seem to faze her in the least --- but these. Whoa. She screamed and screamed. She screamed because she was hungry. And as soon as the bottle would go to her lips and she would take her first swallow, she would scream again. It was awful. 2 days and 2 nights of that. She may have had a low-grade fever, but we were giving her Tylenol preventatively anyway, so who knows.
But before even the shots happened on Friday morning, Matt & I had already made the decision that the little girl was needing a middle of the night dream feed. The babies have really been doing a decent job of sleeping through the night. They will do it consistently for a few days and then fall off the wagon. Then they will rally like champs and sleep 10-12 straight hours. Pure bliss, one would think. However, while Ryan makes up his extra calories during the day that he misses at night, Quinn does not. She refused to take one drop more out of her 5 bottles, so she was left with at least a 100cc deficit. No bueno for a child you are trying to get to gain weight. And we fought for those cc's all week long to no avail.
So Friday night (after a lovely MNO with my girls), I woke up the littlest angel for her bottle. And after fighting bottles all day and having her scream bloody murder each feed, I have to admit I had some trepidation to wake the beast :) ha. But I knew she needed it, so I tip toed in their bedroom and lifted out the sweetest sleeping beauty. I got her settled down in the living room on her boppy and lifted the bottle to her mouth hesistantly. My nerves were just shot after the day we had. But wouldn't you know, she didn't make a peep, kept her eyes closed tight and sucked that thing down, just like her brother. I truly cried tears of relief.
Just that morning, we had an appointment with an Occupational Therapist to evaluate Quinn. We are not overly concerned with her development - she seems to be right on track with her fine motor & social skills for a 3 monther, but she is a little behind on her core strength. Not surprising for a preemie baby that was in the NICU on her back and side all day for 7 weeks. They estimate she is acting like that of a 12 weeker, so only a few weeks behind which is relieving to us. However, one thing she did notice (and Matt & I had recently discovered), Q seems to get lazy in her eating and not fully "suckle" (yes, suckle vs suck? - there is a difference). Anyway, where her brother wraps his full mouth around the bottle, Q typically eats like a little bird and just barely sucks on the tip of the nipple. She works furiously hard on that tip, ends up wearing herself out, and therefore only has enough energy to finish half a bottle. So, she gave us a few little tips (increasing from medium flow to fast flow nipples, etc). I really didn't think they worked at first.
But then today, fully recovered from her shots, she had an AWESOME day eating. I can't tell you what that feels like, after 8 weeks or so of having to struggle through most feedings. I almost felt human again. And she was so precious. After each of her bottles, she would give me this big grin, like "I told you I could do it, Mom. Just be patient with me." Lesson learned, Quinnie. Momma needs more patience.
But getting back to the point of this post --- with the babies mostly sleeping through the night, long gone are the every 3 hour feedings or even every 4 or 5. Now Ryan goes down at around 7:30pm and sleeps all the way to 7am (most days unless he is having a really off night). Quinn goes down a little later, around 8:30pm and sleeps pretty well until 3am - and usually then she is satisfied with getting a pacifier until about 5:30. So while I certainly appreciate the extra hours of sleep for sure --- I am feeling sentimental about not having our night feeds anymore. There was something so peaceful about one at a time, all quiet and dark in the house, and just me & the baby. There were some sweet bonding moments in our late night feedings. I loved watching them eat, not even opening their eyes, but sucking that bottle with all of their might. I loved hearing them breathe deeply after they were done and thoroughly exhusted, and their warm breath on my shoulder when I put them back down. Sweet, sweet moments. So, I don't mind so much if we have to do a dream feed every now & again for Quinn. It's our little time to bond without the craziness of the day taking over.
And I'll try to remember how sweet those moments are if they wake me out of my coma tonight :)
In His Hands,