Monday, August 23, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love...Twin Style

A few years back, I read Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia. I remember relating to the need to escape after a messy divorce and the search to find truth and fulfillment in the face of uncertainty. Of course, I couldn't relate to having my trip of a lifetime paid for with a nice book advance, but, overall, the book was a satisfying summer snack. This summer, women who don't have 11 week old twins to feed can slip off to the movies to see Julia Roberts eat, pray, and love her way to self-actualization.

At our house, we are engaged in eating, praying, and loving of a different sort.

It recently occurred to me how much of our life revolves around eating. A family member is taking a psychology course and is studying the different theories of human behavior, including Maslow's hierarchy. Seeing her notes reminded me how far down the pyramid we exist these days. Maslow says that, as humans, we must attend first to our most basic needs, such as eating, breathing, and sleeping. When these needs are met, we can then move up the hierarchy to other needs: safety, social, esteem, and finally, self-actualization. While having children has provided me priceless moments of self-actualization, it has also provided me with the profound responsibility of being the provider of all things essential for two brand-new human beings.

No one could have prepared us for how all-consuming feeding twins would be. We tried to be prepared. We took a breastfeeding class, bought the twin breastfeeding pillow, and arranged for a pump rental. I made Marty promise he would be my cheerleader when I was ready to quit. During those days in the hospital, I gave it my all. The lactation consultants were great, but unfortunately, they couldn't provide the one thing I needed: milk. I persevered, but the babies needed more. Mentally, I was breaking I had two babies who each needed to eat at least every three hours. It was taking me at least an hour and a half to feed them both. Then I needed to pump. By the time I finished, it was time to do it all again. Everyone wanted to help, but no one could do what I needed them to do the most: feed. Finally, I succumbed to the call of formula, and from there, breastfeeding eventually gave way to exclusive formula feeding by 6-7 weeks. Certainly, convenience wasn't the only factor that ended my career as a breast-feeder. My own health issues made breast feeding not always the best choice. Ultimately, it is what it is. Yes, I feel guilty, but I also know that my babies are growing just fine, and they have benefited from a mom who is slightly less frazzled.

Make no mistake. Bottle feeding didn't make things easy-peasy. At 11 weeks, we are still feeding around every 3 hours during the day and averaging around 15 dirty bottles a day. Both are eating between 4-6 ounces at a time. At night we do our last feeding around 10. On a good night, they don't wake again until 5. Sometimes we still get the joy of a 3 am feed.

Andrew is now on Nutramigen, the ultra-pricey lactose-free formula, which has helped tremendously with his reflux. At $20 for a small can, it should also sing a lullaby to him at night. Emily is eating Premium Lipil or the AR, which is the "added rice" version. On the pediatrician's recommendation, both babies get a bit of rice cereal in each bottle to help with reflux. We are happy to be wooed by the big formula manufacturer who hooks us with free samples, coupons, and rebate checks. I will say it is a bit embarrassing to have Marty poor-mouth to the pediatrician in order to get more free samples, though. The last time we were there, he made it sound like we were on the verge of me selling my body to feed them! We may not have pride, but we have 4 more cans of Nutramigen.

At their two month well check, Drew weighed in at 12lbs, 2.5 oz, and Emily tipped the scales at 13lbs, 4 oz. While we have battled reflux and spit-up, both babies are gaining well, and Emily routinely gives her feedings an approving lip-smack.

Feeding twins is only part of our food story. Between feeding babies, we must also make time to feed ourselves. Unfortunately, we didn't have the best eating habits before the twins arrived. We have always eaten out too much and cooked too little. We spend too much money on food that is not good for us, while using eating out as our primary social activity. Despite having very little time, we can't ignore the truth any longer. Neither of us is getting any younger or lighter or wealthier. I still have almost 10 pounds of baby weight to lose, not to mention the 10-15 pounds I wanted to shed before I got pregnant. I also learned on Friday that I might have some gall bladder issues. I am a bit scared of my upcoming physical and the updated cholesterol numbers. Since Andrew and Emily were born, I have become so much more aware of the importance of good health. I need to feel better so I can take care of them, and quite selfishly, I want to live a really long time so I can watch them grow into the beautiful people I know they will become.

We are trying to make some changes to our own eating habits that will hopefully save us money and make us healthier. Last week, I ordered Body by Vi shakes and vitamins. My sister-in-law, Windy, sells them and highly recommends them both for weight loss and good health. Our plan is to try the shakes for breakfast, which has to be better than skipping breakfast, consuming too much coffee, or grabbing a fast food fix. I am currently guilty of all of the above. In addition to giving up fast food for a least one month, we signed up for E-mealz, a meal planning service recommended by Dave Ramsey. We printed our first week's plan and bought our groceries last night. We are hoping the plan will solve two of our biggest obstacles to cooking: what to buy and what to cook. Stayed tuned for updates on our progress.

So how about praying and loving twin-style? Well, having our twins is definitely an answer to many prayers. Now that they are here, I find myself praying for the wisdom and strength to raise these babies to be compassionate, responsible, happy, God-loving individuals. I pray for their health and protection, and I pray for a world, scary and fallen, that Emily and Drew face.

The loving part is easy. I loved them before they were ever conceived, and I love them more now than I ever believed possible. With twins, it's double everything except for love. My love is for them is infinite, and I didn't have to go Italy, India, or Indonesia to find it.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...