First things first – two of my friends announced their pregnancies on FB this past weekend. Congrats to Jenn & Gina!! When did we all become so adult?! : )

In looking back at my blog posts for these first few months, I see a common theme:

“Things are soooo00oo hard….but the girls make it worth it.”

Yep – that pretty much sums it all up.

But things have already gotten so much better than at the beginning (in terms of difficulty). People kept telling me that it gets better and, although things are still hard (probably always will be – being a parent isn’t easy no matter what the child’s age!!!), its gotten a lot easier than in the early days.

Here are my reflections:

First – the NICU. Thank goodness we’re done with the NICU. They’ve been home for 2 months already, but that first month of their lives spent in the hospital was rough. I’m glad it’s over. And – side note – I’m actually looking forward to next weekend because the hospital holds a “Preemie Picnic” for all of the premature babies who have “graduated” from the NICU over the past year. I’m excited to go and see the incredible nursing staff and show off how big our babies have gotten!

Second – Sleep deprivation. It’s no joke. I mean, for reaaaaaaal. I really didn’t like when I was pregnant and people kept telling me “enjoy the sleep while you can!” My sleep was already terrible! Tossing and turning, waking to go to the bathroom a million times, etc. I just couldn’t wait for the little ones to come along! And so knowing how much I didn’t care to receive that advice, I’ve refrained from saying the same to pregnant friends. But I’ve certainly secretly thought it. As terrible as pregnant sleep was, sleep with a newborn is 10 times worse. Its non-existant. Oh, how we survived those first weeks when the girls came home from the NICU, I’ll never know?! We were walking zombies. Sleeping an hour here, 90 minutes there. Maybe (maybe!) a total of 4-5 hours of extremely broken and interrupted sleep. Night after night, after night. Saying it was hard is the understatement of the century. But things have already gotten so much better! Somewhere in the past month we turned a corner. And for the past 2 weeks the girls have started having a longer chunk of sleep – about 6 hours – from 10pm until 4am! You better believe I go to bed RIGHT at 10 o’clock! I’m not missing one minute of potential shut-eye!!! It’s made everything more bearable!

Third – Schedules. We’re still on a baby-led schedule, but its become less erratic and more predictable – which really helps make the days easier. I’ve developed a whole slew of games that I play with the girls to break up the monotony of the day and make things more stimulating for the girls. They’ve started staying awake for much longer chunks of the day, which has been a blessing as well as a challenge. However, I love our play-times together and I’m so grateful that I’m able to be home with them as much as I have been. I’m very lucky!

Fourth – Babysitting. Finding a reliable babysitter that we trust was very difficult. But it has made my life soooooo much easier! It’s wonderful to be able to sneak away for a bit to get some uninterrupted work done. I also like having someone else share the burden, instead of having to rely solely on Chris (it was taking a toll on him physically to work all day and have to come home to completely take-over baby duty so I could work for a few hours). I’m glad that we were able to hold out as long as we did (those first few weeks home together were amazing and, given the sleep deprivation, I wouldn’t have been able to do any quality work anyway!), but I’m also so thankful we’ve found someone we like!

Fifth- Breastfeeding. I’ve spoken at length about our difficulties breastfeeding and my detest of the breastpump schedule I’m on. My goal has been (and remains to be) to breastfeed for 6 months. I’ll consider it a triumph if I can get that far. I’m only half-way now and it feels like a long shot, but I’m committed to giving it my all. It helps to know that this, too, is temporary. I commend Moms who breastfeed for longer, and in many ways I’m jealous of the bonds that many breastfeeding Moms have with their babies. Not to sound like I’m dead inside, but I’ve never experienced this with my kids (but many of my breastfeeding experiences have been out-of-the-norm for most people). Somehow I’ve never experienced the feeling of “let down.” I’ve never experienced the surge of hormones that accompanies breastfeeding. Obviously I love my babies – but I’ve never gotten that rush of warm-fuzzies while breastfeeding. I often wonder if things would be different if we decide to have another child in the future?? Who knows? But the point is – in terms of breastfeeding – it continues to be a challenge, but I know it will one day end.

All in all, most things have gotten easier. Breastfeeding has stayed about the same, and the only thing to get harder has been my work – although I also appreciate the mental stimulation that it offers. So for any new or first-time Moms just struggling to make it through the day (or night!!!), just know that it really DOES get better! : )

Bailey munching on Brooke’s elbow. mmm-mmmm, good! : )