The Twins Are 7 Months Old!

It’s hard to believe that 7+ months have passed since the twins were tiny little newborns! I don’t think time has ever flown so fast, while also creeping by so slowly at times. Sleepless nights are rough, but the boys grow and change constantly. It gets hard to remember what they were doing just a couple weeks ago, let alone 7 months ago. One thing is for sure though – with every passing moment, we fall more and more in love with these sweet little boys. And they are so sweet, I could eat them right up!

Brooks

Ashton

So I guess I’ll pick up where I left off before. I’ve been meaning to post more regular updates (and hope to in the future), but the amount of time I have these days is so little, it’s been hard. I’ve sat down to write an update many times, only to have the boys wake up from a nap and never get a moment to sit down again. I feel pretty proud of myself if I’ve showered a couple times in one week. No joke. 🙂

Anyhow. I’m an over-sharer, so I apologize ahead for a long post. My hope in sharing all the things is that there’s some shared experience here for someone and that in some way, sharing is fun or helpful for others.

So I’ll start here and be completely honest – these babies weren’t really been easy babies. We love them like crazy, but easy hadn’t been our experience. Don’t let the cute 7 month old smiles fool you. 😉

Ashton ended up having very bad reflux that caused him pain pretty regularly. Eating was rough. He didn’t always have trouble eating, but it was common (at least a couple times a day) and you never knew when it’d happen. When it did, he would just cry and scream. He never really took to nursing, so he’s been getting pumped breastmilk. He’d start drinking from the bottle and as he started, he’d stop and just be so upset. Getting him to take even half of his bottle would take about an hour. It was brutal. Not to mention that it affected his ability to sleep because of the discomfort. We did finally get the doctor to give him some medicine that helped a lot, but it didn’t solve the problem completely.

Ashton’s heart condition (SVT) that they’d found a few days after birth was also still something we had to think about. He was on medication 3 times a day and we had to be using our stethoscope to listen to his heartbeat and make sure he wasn’t having an episode.

And of course there’s Brooks, who also needed attention from someone and to be fed. Brooks ended up with some reflux too, but his bigger issue was a ridiculous amount of gas that caused him so much pain. It disturbed his eating and definitely his sleeping. In these early days actual, real naps were not a thing for us. Neither baby could really stay asleep for any length of time. We were lucky if we had even 10-15 minutes to do something like eat or go to the bathroom before someone had to go calm one of them down. To try and get the boys to have any length of sleep, someone ended up holding them both in their room and rocking them. If they were held, they might whimper a little here and there, but they’d generally relax and sleep.

Plus, they both were massive spitters. And I don’t just mean a little spit up. I mean we burped them 3-4 times during a bottle and every time there were multiple projectile vomits. Not kidding. The number of cloths we went through every feed and every day was nutty. I had a friend come to visit when they were about 3 months old and she was convinced they needed to go to the doctor because something was wrong. After having seen the doctor about it multiple times, I already knew they were fine, but the spit up game was real.

Also, because they were both breech they had to have hip ultrasounds, which they had at around 2 months. Ashton’s came back a little abnormal, so he had to wear bulky cloth diapers over his disposable diapers for a month to try and help them normalize. We were relieved when his follow-up ultrasound came back normal. Had it not, he’d have had a brace in his future.

It’s hard to even remember nights that long ago, but I know that in the beginning we did the typical waking up every 3 hours to feed them. With Ashton being so small at birth (4 lbs 10 oz) and Brooks being on the lower side of average (6 lbs 5 oz), we wanted to make sure they were getting enough calories. My mom stayed with us for 8 weeks and the hubs had 5 weeks off of work and during that time, we each had one feeding a night where we fed them.

I can’t remember at what point it was, but somewhere around 2 months old, maybe 3, we started letting them sleep until they woke up and wanted to eat. We got down to two bottles a night instead of three and then eventually to one, which is where we were until they hit 4 months.

Add all that stuff up for two babies and we basically always had someone at the house helping us during those first 4 months. We have been lucky to have both my mom and my mother-in-law so available to help us. Without them, we might have gone crazy. 🙂

While it was a nutty first several months, there were obviously lots of great moments. If you don’t follow me on Instagram, you might consider it if you’d like to see regular photos and videos of the boys. I share a good bit and on my profile you can actually see the highlight reel – everything from their newborn baby stretches when they’d wake up, to Ashton rolling over at around 9 weeks old, to their sweet smiles and laughs, and them as they are now – sitting and playing like little champs.

And those early months were full of great milestones. Despite being born a little early and being a little on the small side (Ashton in particular), they were very healthy. Reflux and gas are honestly not uncommon with newborns and go away in time. We loved watching them get stronger and stronger and learning to hold their heads up, roll from their tummy to their back and start to notice people around them, coo and smile.

I’ll tell you, when they start to smile and coo around 3 months, it’s a HUGE thing! For the hubs in particular, interacting with them is something he was DYING for. Even just that little bit of feedback made all the sleeplessness and crying worth it. And it made everything more fun.

The first time Brooks passed gas without crying, I did a little happy dance. And as Ashton got through more and more meals without pain and crying, we rejoiced more and more. By 4 months old, they were over those things and it was amazing. We still have spit up/vomit happening quite a bit, but it’s nothing like it was before.

As those things started to improve though, it seemed that the boys had gotten into some bad sleep habits – things we’d probably created as a result of trying to comfort them during the night as they dealt with reflux and gas. It got so that Ashton pretty much needed constant physical contact in order to sleep. And then Brooks hit what is apparently the “4 month sleep regression” and went from sleeping pretty well to taking 3 hours to fall asleep at night and another 3 hours to fall back asleep after his bottle in the middle of the night.

With two babies, it took just a few nights of that chaos before we decided that since they were 4 months old, it was time for sleep training.

Now I know there can be a lot of debate about sleep training, but we know so many people who have done it with their kids, that we always knew it was what we’d do at some point (assuming it was needed). We went with the Ferber method of sleep training where you put them to bed and have timed checks were you go in and soothe them, give them their pacifier (if you use them, which we do), etc. It’s never easy to hear your babies cry, but it didn’t take long for them to get the hang of things. The first night was a long one, but after that they caught on quickly.

I couldn’t believe how well they started sleeping almost immediately! It was like we did it at just the right time. I’m truly convinced that they just didn’t know how to sleep on their own and once they figured it out, there was no looking back. They were much happier babies! And we were much better parents. A little sleep at night can go a long way – for all of us.

And I would say that since then, things have just gotten better and better. I really do think we have some very expressive babies. They know how to express their displeasure, and they are some of the best smilers and laughers out there! The belly laughs are just precious and I wish I could listen to them all day.

At the beginning of the summer, we couldn’t wait to be able to get out of the house. At about 4 months old, we started to get up the courage to do that more with both of them. It isn’t easy getting us all ready to go and taking all the gear it feels like we need, but we all love getting out and about. I think the boys are generally happiest when they can get out and explore – just don’t mess with their naps. 🙂

They’ve been working on sitting on their own for a couple months now. They really do so well on their own at this point, but we still put something behind them just to catch them when they occasionally tip over.

It’s also fun to watch them lately, since they are really playing with toys now. They are so very aware of what’s happening around them and they are curious about everything!

And now that they sit and play so well, we’ve moved them into the big bath tub and they get to play with their toys and splash around a bit at bath time. It’s one of our favorite times of the day and could not be cuter.

The boys also started eating solids right around 6 months. It was something that I thought would be so fun right from the start, but as I’ve learned, most new things have a bit of a learning curve for babies. It took a couple weeks for us all to get the hang of it and now solids are fun. The boys love pretty much all fruits and yogurt and do pretty well with their veggies. Ashton doesn’t care for peas and Brooks isn’t so hot on avocado. Otherwise, they’ll go with it! I will say though that solids make their spit up even less fun. It’s not just milk anymore – it’s colored and full of food! Yay for stained clothing!

More recently the boys have been grabbing at their toes like mad and rolling both directions. Brooks is looking more and more like he wants to crawl and Ashton has decided he wants nothing to do with being on his tummy – he wants to walk. 🙂

Ashton’s SVT has been going so well (only one episode since he was in the hospital at birth and it was when he was 2 weeks old) that they took him off of his medicine a few weeks ago. We have to be really diligent about listening to his heart for any episodes, but so far there’s been none.

The boys are also really starting to intentionally interact with each other. They’ve been starting to interact for a couple months, but lately they are really going for it and more aware. Such a fun thing to watch and I can’t wait for them to really be able to play with each other.

So now the boys are seeming like they are teething. Nothing has come through yet, but we are sure it’s happening soon. It better because I’m starting to feel crazy when I keep telling the hubs that they’re fussing because of their teeth. 🙂

Of course teething upsets some of that lovely night time sleep, so I’m up maybe once at night with each of them (so twice total). Not perfect, but certainly not bad. I’ll take it.

We are hoping this weekend to be able to take the boys on their first beach trip. We made one trip back in July to my parents’ house in Charlotte, North Carolina and the boys did great. We are hoping for the same this time, but we are headed to Hilton Head, South Carolina – just south of Hurricane Florence. The storm is certainly wrecking havoc on North and South Carolina, so we are hoping we are still able to get there and have a nice time (and also praying for everyone in the storm’s path). I’ve gone to Hilton Head pretty much every year since I can even remember, so I can’t wait to see the boys enjoy the beach I’ve always loved so much.

So perhaps you’re wondering how I am? No? Just the boys? 😉 Well, mom is doing well. Like I said, showers are not as regular as they used to be and sleep is certainly lacking and my toes could really use a pedicure, but we pay someone to come to the house and take care of the boys a few days a week so I can get work done. It’s not nearly enough time to do everything that needs to be done, but we are getting by for now and we’ll adjust as life allows.

I haven’t recovered as well from pregnancy as I would have liked. My abs split like crazy from my pregnancy – like very severely – so I’m seeing a physical therapist. She broke the news earlier this week that realistically it could take me up to two years to really get things back to what they used to be. I have exercises to do every day and a brace to wear around my belly. It’s a hard thing to look in the mirror lately, but I’m trying to focus on what I can do and trying to give myself a little grace given that I had twins and am doing my best.

For now, I’m trying to enjoy as much of this first year with them as I can. I can already see how quickly it goes. It’s a huge joy to watch them grow and change and hit new milestones, but always a little sad to see those younger days go too and know you never get them back.

They amaze me all the time with just how precious they are. I absolutely love being their mom and am so thankful that God saw us fit to be their parents. Sometimes I think He is totally crazy for having given us twins, but I also wouldn’t want it any other way. I know that through all of our struggles to get here, this is exactly where we are meant to be and the babies we were meant to have. As hard as it can be to juggle life during this busy time with them, they are worth all of it. I look at them often and know they are what I’ve always wanted. I just hope I’m doing them proud as their mom.

So that’s it for now! Like I said, I’m hoping to do more regular updating and I have so much I want to share with you so hopefully you’ll see more posts coming soon. If you have any questions, feel free to let me know in the comments. There’s a lot I didn’t talk about simply because this blog post was becoming a book already. 🙂 But if you want to know something – ask! I’ll do my best to answer.

And thank you to my friend Julianne, who took these great photos of me with the boys when she visited a couple weeks ago!

Also, if you’re curious – and pretty much everyone is – the spot on Brooks’ forehead is called a hemangioma. It’ll eventually go away, but we are also treating it with an off label topical treatment from a dermatologist. 🙂