Adventures in making and raising our test-tube babies

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Baby Dance

The babies are squirmy little worms, which is worth a slideshow.

A Night in the Life

Last night around here was like a Thurber short story. About 9:00 the babies started crying fiercely, so I went to check on them. Their transition to “newborn” size left them in slightly large clothing – too large. Elisa’s had slipped off one shoulder, so she looked like the girl from Flashdance. Amanda had kicked her nightie so vigorously that her feet pulled the neckline down around her elbows and belly button. Meanwhile, Sarah had discovered how comfortable the changing table was, and acted defensively when James tried to move her. So we changed the girls on the bed.

At 10:00 James went to take a nap in the basement. I worked on my Fiber of Her Being taxes and made up the bottles for the next day. At midnight he joined me in the nursery for a feeding, and then he took over while I went to take my nap in the basement.

At 3:00 a.m. the electricity went off, and I was awakened by some appliance that sounded a final “beep” as its death knell, so I came upstairs groggily to relieve James. James, in a middle-of-the-night stupor, was ready, just in case it had been an intruder who cut the electrical line to the house and was coming to rob us. “Hello?” he called threateningly from the babies room, ready to defend his kin. “Hi,” I said from the stairway.

We both got to bed about 4:00, and shortly after that, Sarah came in and meowed her funny meow. “What’s that?” asked James. “Hold on, I’m going to turn on the light,” I said, but he was already asleep. I clicked on my lamp and peered over the footboard. Sarah’s weird meow was the kind she made when her mouth was full. She plopped a dead mouse on our rug. I got up, scooped it up with an “It’s a Girl” paper cup and paper plate, and dumped it in the toilet. I threw the cup and plate away in the garbage can that was full of coathangers. I hadn’t been able to untangle the coathangers with one hand earlier that evening while I was holding Elisa, so I threw them all away. Now the mouse scoops came in with them.

When I went to sleep that time, I dreamed about having an enormous rabbit with a swollen foot on our back porch. I also dreamed that a guy from Cherrydale Hardware was running for President. In the dream only, his name was John, and he needed me to think of a campaign song with “John” in it. The closest I could come up with was “Dawn,” the ‘fifties song. It wasn’t until after I woke up that I realized those lyrics go, “Dawn, run away I’m no good for you.” That would make a terrible campaign song.

When the girls woke me up for the 6:00 a.m., the different clocks in our bedroom said 12:05, 2:17, and 4:20. My watch, which I was glad to have repaired the other day, told me it was 6:45. They slept almost three full hours! Amazing!

As I prepared their bottles, I thought, it’s like the night the bed fell on James Thurber’s grandfather. Just one night in the life. February 21, 2009.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Nowhere Else

"Uh-oh. Is someone getting upset in there?" I listened, and didn't hear anything else.

I had walked into the kitchen and was getting out a pot to boil some water in, to make my whole wheat mac and cheese. I looked down at my right index finger, whose nail was cleaner than the rest because Amanda had been sucking on it for so long.

I looked out the window at the clear, beautiful day. There was a lot going on outside in the world, while inside I was still in my nightgown at 12:50. It was wet on my shoulder where I'd had a baby drooling for a while. Now both girls were settled down in the living room with pacifiers, giving me a couple minute break.

Whenever I think about being saddled with a lot of babies, I think of Heath Ledger's wife in "Brokeback Mountain," the quintessential overworked young woman stuck at home with a ton of kids vying for her hip and arms. A young mom could look out my kitchen window and feel trapped, yearn to be out there experiencing life.

But me, I've been around. I've traveled the world, gotten two post-graduate degrees, had several great careers, owned my own art business, and settled down with the man of my dreams in a wonderful house with a beautiful furry cat. There is nothing that I want to do that I haven't already done.

Except get back to those girls in the living room.

What a wonderful, wonderful life this is.

Oops, someone's crying. Not me.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Taking a Walk

Sunday we took our first family walk. The babies were bundled in their well-insulated carseats, with new hats knitted by Aunt Carolynn. Destination? 7-11 for a Big Gulp!

The rest of the pictures come from our fast-paced activities at home. Rule of thumb: the blonde is Elisa and the brunette is Amanda.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Let the Games Begin

A quick note on what is happening in the crib:

Amanda and Elisa are "asleep" lying close together. They are both working on pacifiers. They are facing each other. Amanda has the hiccups. Every time she hiccups, her pacifier hits Elisa on the nose. Elisa does not seem to notice.

What a funny life. I like it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Home from the Hospital: Pictures

This weekend Amanda and Elisa came home from the hospital, and what an adventure it has been. Here are a few photos from the transition. (To download and/or print, click on the Flickr logo to get into

If you can't see the slideshow above, you should be able to find it by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

They're Home!

The babies are home! The babies are home!

We are having a delightful time. Mostly we prepare bottles and feed babies. After each feeding we pause, change diapers, and start another feeding. They are on a three hour schedule, left over from the NICU: they fuss for an hour, during which we hold them, prepare the bottles, and change diapers. Then we feed them (sometimes sequentially, sometimes with one baby on each side and each hand with a bottle in each mouth). We try to burp them, with spotty success, then we put them in their crib together.

The good part of the NICU routine is that they're on that same schedule. The bad part of this all is that they have a lot of feedings when James and I were used to sleeping...

I'd post a picture but I don't know where the camera is.

Pardon me if I don't answer emails or the phone for, um, a year.

I have my hands full!

Full of baby.

It's fun. Thank God.