Siren had her first illness in September. It came on suddenly, without much warning. We went to our first Parents of Multiples meeting on a Thursday night, and when we got home that night, she wouldn’t let us put her down in the crib. She kept falling asleep, I would try to lay her down, and she would wake up screaming. At midnight, I finally brought her into our bedroom, waited until she fell asleep, and then put her in the bouncy seat next to our bed. This seemed to be okay, and she slept until the morning.
I was feeding both babies the next morning, which is the last thing we do before putting them in their carseats to leave the house, and I was just saying to Will, “I think it was more than not wanting to go to bed last night. Something was wrong,” when moments later Siren projectile vomited (not just spitting up) all over Will. Yes indeed, something was wrong.
Now Imogen has had her first incident as well. Last night Siren went right to sleep after nursing around 8:00. Imogen fell asleep too, but woke up when we put her in the crib. Will held onto her while we sat on the futon watching TV. She started getting fussy, so I nursed her again. I think she went down into the crib and stayed asleep on the third try, around 9:00. Not great, but not bad, and definitely not out of the ordinary. I was finally able to finish my dinner and was heading for bed around 10. Will and I have kind of worked it out on the weekends that I’ll go to bed first and he’ll deal with any baby get ups until he goes to bed (of course I have to feed them if they are hungry, but for the most part he’s able to handle it on his own.) Then I get them when they wake up in the morning and let him sleep in. It doesn’t always work perfectly. Sometimes we end up needing each other’s help. But since neither of us have slept more than 6 consecutive hours since April, it at least helps us to get a little more sleep on the weekends. But anyway, back to the story. I had JUST fallen asleep, when Will darted into the bedroom and said, “I’m going to need your help with Imogen.” At first I was cranky and thinking, “I JUST fed her. It’s your turn.” Then I went into her room and saw what he was talking about. She was wet all over her face and pajamas, and there was “stuff” (without getting too descriptive) on her face and in her hair. “I think she threw up.” …Yes, that seemed to be what happened.
Unlike Siren who was in tears immediately when it happened to her, Imogen remained fairly calm. I picked her up, and Will instantly started stripping the sheets off the bed. I brought Imogen into the bathroom and took off her jammies. The outside of her diaper was wet as well. The easiest way to clean her off seemed to be spraying her with the shower head. So I brought her downstairs with me, got their little bathtub, brought it upstairs to the big bathtub, put her in it, and began running the water.
Will remade the bed while I cleaned up Imogen. Then he ran and got me new jammies, a diaper, and the space heater, which we usually put in the bathroom while we’re bathing the babies so they don’t get too cold. I layed Immy on the bathmat, got her dressed again, and then I went downstairs to sit with her in the rocking chair.
Will set up the pack n play in our bedroom. It is easier to clean up (no sheets, you just wipe it down) and that way we’d be close in case something happened again, which turned out to be good thinking.
It didn’t take long for Imogen to fall asleep again. I brought her upstairs, layed her in the pack n play, I got into bed, and then she threw up again. There wasn’t as much this time, but it did get on her jammies, on the pack n play, and all over herself. So we went back to the bathroom and repeated the whole process. Will cleaned up the pack n play and fetched us the necessary items. Imogen still remained calm and didn’t even cry. Poor baby!
In the third set of jammies for the night, I brought her downstairs again. I was about to sit in the glider when she kind of coughed. I carried her to the downstairs bathroom and held facing downward just in time for her to throw up for the third time. This time we avoided getting it on her or on her pajamas, so we went and found Dad again (he had been trying to grade papers in between cleaning duty) and asked him to clean up the bathroom floor. I sat with Imogen in the glider until she fell asleep.
It was around 11:30 when I put her in the pack n play, and thank goodness that was the end of throwing up. I went to sleep and Will came in around 1 and laid down too. Imogen woke up at 2. I let her nurse for 5 minutes. I didn’t want her to go longer in case she would just lose it all again. But it stayed down fine and she went back to sleep. I think she woke up again around 4. I fed her for a bit longer, and then she went back to sleep.
Siren woke up at 5:30, and even though I was exhausted, I was so grateful that she had slept through all of the throwing up. I don’t know what we’ll do when they (inevitably) get sick at the same time. Imogen kept her Dad and me plenty busy all on her own, and this was a relatively minor incident, when I think back to some of the bouts with illness that I had as a child. I fed Siren and she went back to sleep.
Siren woke up around 7:30. Will brought her back to the bed with us. Imogen woke up a short time after that. I changed her diaper, then fed both babies, and then headed downstairs around 8:30 so that Will could get a little more sleep.
What all of this has reminded me of is that having kids throws a kink into your best laid plans. Things come up suddenly out of nowhere, and fairly frequently. Just last weekend I somehow managed to pop Siren’s elbow out of joint, which required a trip to the doctor on Monday. Fortunately it was also a relatively minor incident. The girls’ daycare was able to keep Immy there while I took Siren to the doctor, the doctor popped the elbow back in, and that was the end of it.
Before having twins, life was fairly predictable. I rarely missed work (I took two sick days in four years of teaching). I could plan when I would get things done, and the only thing that would interfere was my own procrastination. Now I have to rely on nap times or bedtimes to squeeze in chores and work. Our house is in COMPLETE disarray, and will likely be that way until the girls are crawling and we HAVE to at least get things off of the floor. I used to get on the computer every day, and now it happens only a couple of times a month. I could list countless more examples, but I think you can see the point. Life is very different and forever changed. And while I knew that it would be when we decided to have children, knowing it and living it are very different things.
And I don’t say this as a lamentation. Last night while Imogen was throwing up, I wasn’t thinking about how tired I was. All I was thinking about was if she was going to be okay. As a parent, I find what I want more than anything is to know that my babies are ok. It helped that Imogen wasn’t crying and didn’t have a temperature. But as I was cleaning her up, I just kept saying, “I’m so sorry, Baby Girl. I’ll do whatever we can to make you feel better.” And that’s all I could feel.
I’m so grateful that our babies are healthy. When things seem hard, and when I’m sleep-deprived and not knowing how I’m going to get through the next few days, I need to try to remember how lucky we are.