Forgive the radio silence. I know some of you are kind enough to read every day but yesterday I realised how much I had to do and family visitors flooded in and I was shattered by the end of the day. I have to take it easy. Thank god I have finally got my own room. Suddenly the long hours of waiting turn into a full on schedule of expressing breast milk, visiting babies to comfort hold them with the lightest of touches through the incubator windows, endless washing of hands, talking to doctors and trying to grab some rest and recover from the operation in between. I’ve been told I need to try to get into a pattern of 8 ‘feeds’ a day by expressing every three hours with a luxurious 5 hour break at night. All this is not just for the benefit of the milk itself but so that I’m ready to feed them when they finally come home. I’ve read that premature babies come on much faster if they’re fed on breast milk and as this is the one thing I can do for them I’ll do my best. My milk started to come in today. I am getting the full Dolly Parton rack and pumping 60ml each time. Not bad for day 3 I’m told. I felt so proud to go and present it to the nurses. I bumped into the lactation specialist who ruined my pleasure slightly by telling me that by two weeks I should aim to be producing a litre a day for twins. Blimey. No pressure then.
I’m currently writing this, pumping and watching Channel 4 News at the same time. Multitasking is going to have to become my forte. Dear husband came after lunch and I was so fast asleep I could hardly ymove for half an hour. We went upstairs to the intensive care unit and spent some time with B and A. Beatrix has crazy long limbs and long fingers and toes. If we didn’t have another one to compare her to I’d think it was just the gestation age giving me that impression because they haven’t got that baby fat yet. But I think she has genuinely broken the family trend and will be leggy. I wish this for her. Her brother’s build looks more like mine (sorry little fella). I have grown to be at peace with my short legs and having to trot to catch up with people with normal femur length. I’ve even given up the high heels and found shoes that don’t make my calves look like a Russian weight lifter’s but I wouldn’t wish it on her. It would have been nice, as a younger woman, to occasionally have had the option to wear shorts or skirts above the knee every now and then without people referring to tree trunks. I was relieved to get into my thirties and outgrow stores and seasons when you had to reject all the summer clothing. I know this sounds shallow and it’s certainly not that a girl’s legs or any other part should define her. I’d much rather she was clever, of course, so she can think of witty sharp comebacks and put downs to stun idiot assailants into a shamed silence. That and out-performing and out-earning them in later life.
She came off all her ventilation tubes for over an hour today. They’ll try each day a little bit longer. I felt really proud of her. Alexander continues to keep up with her but just one step behind. They are both on rather grim looking phototherapy machines to deal with jaundice. Under the blue light which helps them break down the nasty stuff in their red blood cells they look a series of funny colours. They also have half their faces covered in bandages right now to protect their eyes from the blue light. I feel I haven’t got a fix on their faces yet, partly as a result of all the intubation and partly the early gestation age. Last night I was quite alarmed to discover that Alexander had become Indian in the three hours since I’d seen him. Still, my dad would be chuffed. The husband suggested he might just have a touch of the David Dickinson’s like daddy who is naturally swarthy (and not leathery or fake tanned oh no). Alexander also came off ventilation for a bit today. He’s had the line into his belly button removed as he’s off the painkillers and blood pressure medication. They were worried the last day or so that he might have an infection but nothing seems to have confirmed it’s anything major. It might just have showed the onset of something, and possibly the reason why labour started. He looks more Chan like I’d say, a bit squishier with confirmed short leg syndrome and I reckon B will be tall like daddy. Both their hair is dark right now but her eyebrows look lighter. Mind you it’s currently hard to tell where the fine blond lanugo hair that covers hair stops and actual hair begins.
I’ve been promised a cuddle with Beatrix by the consultant for two days running now but keep getting delayed by events. Today it was the clinical psychologist who popped up from nowhere and generously allowed us to chat through our feelings about losing no. 3 and the imminent little funeral ceremony we are planning. We also discussed how to introduce Lucas to his new brother and sister which was useful. When he visited last night he really wanted my syringes full of breast milk and when I told him what they were he got in position for a feed. I think I will have to come up with some clever tactics to make him OK with that one when we come home. We’ve scheduled another chat to talk through how we make the loss of an identical twin part of an open conversation with them all growing up so that it doesn’t have any guilt or blame attached to it or come out unplanned at a sensitive age. I’ve read a lot about twins who have lost one of a pair developing all sorts of strange notions and complexes from this and we want to plan for it.
Anyway, the milk lady has to deliver a banana milkshake upstairs now. Maybe I’ll get my cuddle maybe I won’t. Here’s hoping.