Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Sleep Thieves

I have a partially finished post about breast feeding in the files, but I am too tired to actually finish it right now, and would rather write a grumpy post about my lack of sleep.
Here's why: we haven't slept in three days around here.

People think it's funny to say "sleep when your baby sleeps."
I know they're trying to be funny, because it must be a joke. Babies don't sleep.
"Sleep like a baby" must mean "snooze in and out of wakefulness and cry and whimper most of the time and thrash around unless you have a pacifier in your mouth, but be unable to keep a pacifier in your mouth unless one of your parents crouches over your bed and holds it there for an hour or two."

This is the schedule in our home:
6:30-7:30am Breastfeed twins. (It takes an hour to feed them because they've become difficult burpers. So I nurse for 15 minutes, burp for 15 minutes, nurse for fifteen, burp for fifteen.... you get it?)

7:30 - 9:30am Sleep fitfully while my children cry. (Usually by this time I'm so dead tired from being up all night, that I sleep through them crying. They start to cry in earnest at 9:30 though, when they're hungry again, and that usually gets me up)

9:30-11:00am Breastfeed Grey, Bottlefeed Micah. By this time I am home alone, so it takes me a lot longer to do this by myself.

11:00 -11:30am Pump, store milk, wash pump etc. (Since I only breastfed Grey this time, I have to pump so I am still making enough milk for both babies)

11:30 -12:30pm Try to soothe my boys to sleep. Fail. Try to carry them both into the kitchen to find some food for the day. Maybe get some leftovers into the microwave - but forget about them when one of the babies starts really crying. Grey falls asleep, I celebrate. I lie Micah down to also try to sleep. Micah cries until Grey wakes up, but it's time to feed them anyway.

12:30-2:00pm Bottlefeed Micah, Breastfeed Grey. Travis gets home sometime in here, which is wonderful, he takes Grey and feeds him. 

2:00-2:30pm Pump, store milk, wash pump etc

2:30-3:30pm Try to soothe my children to sleep while Travis tries to find me something to eat so I don't waste away (I actually weigh less than I have since my Freshman year of college).  Babies refuse to sleep. Micah dozes in and out of wakefulness, but will jerk himself awake right as I think it's safe to sneak out of the room. Grey will not sleep.

3:30 -4:30pm Bottlefeed Grey and Micah. Sometimes someone will offer to come over and do this feeding for us. So Travis can sleep for two hours and I can pump and sleep for an hour and half.  With the exception of our mothers and sisters, pretty much everyone is terrible at this. One of two things ensues:
Scenario one: I lie in bed listening to my babies cry for 40 minutes, and finally come out to see someone incapable of holding, feeding, burping, or changing a newborn. I take the babies back and do it myself.
I didn't sleep and now I also feel responsible for entertaining whoever is on my couch.
Scenario two: I come out and find one of the babies has eaten and the other baby is asleep. The bottle-feeder tells me with a grin that "the baby wasn't hungry." I burp and change the baby and then feed him because he WAS hungry - he just had a belly full of air and pants full of poop.
Now my children are on drastically different schedules and I have to spend the rest of the day getting them back to the same eating schedule. 

4:30- 6:30pm Travis and I go on a walk, or run errands, since the babies sleep well in their carseats and it's not like they're going to sleep here anyway. We also make dinner of some sort. One of us may lie down for 40 minutes while the other tries to get the babies to sleep.

6:30 - 7:30pm Bottlefeed babies while trying to eat dinner.

7:30- 8:00pm I pump while Travis bathes the boys. 

8:00-10:00pm We try to get the babies to sleep. We lie them down, and leave the room. We return to the room every five minutes to calm our screaming babies back to a quiet state. We leave the room. We return after 5 minutes to calm our screaming babies back to a quiet state... repeat forever.

10:00-11:00pm Babies sleep. Travis works and eats. I blog and eat.

11:00pm-12:00am Breastfeed Babies.

12:00-2:00am Try to get the babies to stop crying and just go to sleep.

2:00-3:00am Breastfeed Babies.

3:00 - 4:00am Try to get babies to sleep. Swear. Cry a bit.

4:00- 6:30am Give up and let the babies sleep on our chests, because even fitful, shallow sleep is better than no sleep.

6:30am Begin again.

Pretty much nightime is exactly like daytime except that we leave the lights off and aren't allowed to talk or sing or watch tv while I breastfeed so as to not stimulate and awake our boys.
Yeah right.
We counted it up, and Travis and I have each gotten about 3 hours of sleep in the last 24 hours.
And about 4 in the 24 hours before that.
And 3 in the 24 before that...

I need my mom to come back.

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Wendy said...

I remember those days! So glad Travis is there to help you sooth your sweet boys. We stayed with my parents for 3 months after Ben and Emma were born but feeding was all I did. We were on my bed all day long eating, eating, eating! Thank goodness for the times my family would knock quietly at my door and remind me they were there to help. I don't now what I would have done without them since my sweet hubby was and still is gone for 14 hours a day.

You will eventually get some sleep, I promise!!

Joy Kara said...

Try to remind yourself that it's temporary! So hard to do, but it's true.
I turned into a sailor when Kara was a newborn. I think I swore about every five words or so ;) I also once hit the wall in the middle of the night out of sheer frustration--then my hand swelled up and I was pretty sure I has broken something, so I cried and kept cursing my idiot self for having hit the wall.
Seriously, let me know if I can do anything for you. I know how to take care of at least one newborn, can cook, and clean :) Also, I can buy fast food. Haha, but seriously, I'd be happy to do something for you :)

Gillian said...

I always have to tell myself that 'this too shall pass'. Jake is almost 5 months now and I am so amazed with the difference in his eating and sleeping patterns. They change so fast, and it DOES get easier, I swear.

kaylie jean. said...

"'Sleep like a baby' must mean 'snooze in and out of wakefulness and cry and whimper most of the time and thrash around unless you have a pacifier in your mouth, but be unable to keep a pacifier in your mouth unless one of your parents crouches over your bed and holds it there for an hour or two.'"

You are not kidding. And I only have one to deal with. I am having fits of empathy and sympathy over here, because I know how tired I am, and I only have one. There probably isn't much, or even anything I can do, but if there is, you better let me know girl. Also, let me know when you want to have breastfeeding parties and I'll be right over. School ends this week. So.

Love you. I'll keep you guys in my prayers.

tammy said...

Can I do anything?
Have you tried Mylicon for gas?
Are they gassy?
Scarlett has been such a wiggle worm and couldn't sleep well and I finally figured out she is gassy. I give her mylicon and pear juice and it has helped a ton.
Ofcourse ask your doctor but maybe it would help.
Do you want me to come one day and just drive them around in the car for a couple hours? Then you don't have to hear them from the other room and you can just sleep and I will bring them back in time to eat. Seriously. I live pretty close I can do that.
And I know it doesn't help now but it will get better. You are doing a great job. This is a really hard stage. Oh goodness it is hard but it will be over soon.

tammy said...

And don't be afraid to ask people for help. People love to help. i.e.: me.

Polly said...

I hate that I have to be so far away. I would be back in a heart beat if I could. Jared said maybe he should write a blog about how they need me at the office too. I'm glad I could be there as long as I was. Next time dad will be done with school and if you plan the next baby for summer I'll come for all of summer break. I do still have other kids at home...
I wish I could do more. I hate this!

Marissa said...

I cringed when I read this post.....especially the part where you roll around for 40 minutes during your "nap" only to get out of bed and feed whichever twin "wasn't hungry" and then "entertain whoever is on the couch". I so remember those days. I had so much difficulty breastfeeding so I pumped and bottle fed breast milk for the first 2 months. One day it clicked....well, kind of clicked and got better. I know what you are going through and there is nothing anyone can say or do to make it better. Just continue to stay strong and know other twin mommies that you don't know are reading your blog and cheering you on. Good luck!!! You WILL make it.

Anonymous said...

:-( I'm so sorry... I can't speak from my own experience, but I hear it gets better! I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers...

B. said...

Our twins are 13 months now, and your post sends chills down my spine remembering those sleep deprived days. I promise you that it will get much better and easier and that once the boys sleep through the night you'll feel renewed.
I second the recommendation of the swing...I had two going and the boys would sleep in them swaddled with pacifiers. I recommend "The Happiest Baby on the Block" dvd...there is a book but who can read when sleep deprived. Dr. Karp has very good, simple suggestions to get your babies to sleep longer and better.
Good luck and hang in there.