November First, Two Thousand Fifteen
It's been three nights with Martha and Sadie both, and I think we've largely gotten the hang of it. Our current routine has feedings at 8, 11, 2 and 5 (both AM and PM), which is a manageable, if wearying, twenty-four hour cycle. The days are a breeze, though. All we have is mere twins (!) right now, and I need to go visit Ellie during the day, but beyond that, nothing. And it is far more serene than my life 4 months ago. No worrying about music or work or anything. Just wee babies.
The nights are trickier, of course. Usually we both stay up until 11PM when we tag-team the feed and are typically able to get them both changed, fed and back down within 30 minutes. We then divvy up the 2AM and 5AM feed. Gill has to get up for both anyway to pump, but it's obviously less disruptive when I can take care of the little ladies at one of those nightmarish times. So far we're both getting, easily, around 7 hours of shuteye per night.
Which is amazing.
All credit must go to the babes. They sleep. Praise be to the good sweet precious lord, they sleep.
Sadie is a peaceful thing. Just plop her down and she'll nod off after staring into the middle distance for about 15 minutes. Martha - or 'Grunty Spice', as I've dubbed her - will vocalize mightily for a good half hour or so, and may even need a little bit of time on dad's chest, but she'll eventually give in. And I've got no problem riding that line between sleep and awake while she's lying on me, gradually slowing her breathing to match my own. It's a beautiful feeling.
The news of the hour is that Eleanor is being released tomorrow, which means all children will be home for their two week anniversary. It's absolutely incredible, beyond our wildest optimism. The girl just needs to pack on another 24 grams of heft and she'll be the strapping 4 pounds she needs to be for her to enter our care. Neither Gill or I have even held a baby lighter than 7 lbs until a couple weeks ago, and now we have three under 5 lbs. They combine for 13.
Have been seeing some light signs of baby blues coming from my intrepid wifey. It could be that she just hates mornings so, so much, and with our current cycle we have to endure three of them instead of one. And it's certainly been a ride this last month, so she's so within her right to not be in top form. Our lives our not our own anymore, after all.
Incredible to think our time with the hospital is almost done. I'll always remember the foot pedal faucets (always with the foot pedals, what the hell's wrong with me?)
You walk in, give yourself a wash, say hi to the angelic nurses. Glance at the board that used to have 'Taronno A, Taronno B, Taronno C' at the top of it, but now has poor lonely 'Taronno C' all the way at the bottom. She's been tucked away in a little wing all alone, and it breaks my heart a little. The poor sweet thing - glad she's not making any memories. I feel quite guilty that we haven't gone to see her enough. I can only spend about an hour a day there and Gill today is going for the first time in three days - she simply wasn't mobile enough.
But, no matter, the stay was always temporary, and in the meantime we have two new children in her care. She'll get plenty of attention in the long run.
As I'm writing, I suddenly recall when we walked in and found that S and M were out of their isolettes, just squirming around in actual cribs with only two thin wires snaking from their swaddle. No controlled environment, no nasal gavage, no oxygen saturation tracker, just two little cords - a heart monitor and a respiratory monitor.
And then a couple days later we were just as surprised to see that E had made the same jump. Our small one transitioned from 'premature infant' to 'our baby'.
I remember the many sessions of squeaking the curtain around me and putting Ellie into my shirt and settling in for a good long skin-to-skin. Reading about parallel universes on the Kindle.
I remember putting Gill's milk into little white and red plastic jars, writing the date and time on stickers, one for each girl, initialing all three, then placing in the fridge to bring back to the hospital.
Time just ticks along, and what were once moments are memories now, never to be revisited. Gill's tubes have been tied. Tightly. And I'm going to have my own reproductive organs torn out, burned and buried, the earth salted. Obviously. So these are our last ever children. Eleanor is my final child. The first chapter of this new book is already wrapping up. Lots more book to go, so it ain't tragic, but it's sad that you can never go back and re-read. We will raise these children and get old and will not experience anything like the last couple weeks ever again, neither the good nor the bad.