Thursday, July 2, 2009

Reflections at 4 1/2 months

Vanh rhymes with can. Oord rhymes with cord. Have we set our baby up for a lifetime of "Vaughn Eeu-ord?"

Is it strange that only one twin has a Vietnamese name? Click here to see the origin of their names.

For the first 7 months of their lives the boys were fed bottles while tucked into a hammock. When they came to us this was really what they preferred, but we didn't have any hammocks. We shook their cribs to mimic hammocks for the first few weeks and eventually they adjusted. However, they still wanted to have their bottles lying down, not cuddled in someone's arms benefiting from bonding and attachment moments. After 4 months we have worked out a compromise whereby we are allowed to "feed" them their morning bottle, and at least half of all other bottles, provided that when they ask they are immediately brought up and tucked into bed to finish.

At first we were concerned because they didn't seem to be eating on par with other babies their age, but now that they're active their appetites have gone way up, and we've realized that how much a baby eats has more to do with how active they are than how old they are. That being said, they have gone from 50th to 25th to 10-25th%ile in weight since we've had them. No-one seems worried and they certainly get weighed by doctors a lot. They eat pretty much everything (healthy) that we eat and have definite preferences. Vanh likes shrimp, fruit, and egg while Max prefers vegetables and cereals.

Click here for photos of their first time with spaghetti.

The results of the boys' blood tests here at 9 months were very different from those in their referral (at 3 months), which were actually quite scary if you took them apart. We were reassured by the fact that they were fairly standard looking medicals for twins in an orphanage in Vietnam, which has proved to be true. If you have questions about your own child's medicals please e-mail and I will tell you if we had the same.

Their TB tests came up slightly positive because they had the vaccination for TB in Vietnam - but they had to go for x-rays just in case. But I am starting in the middle - here are all their appointments since we've been back:
March = Family Dr. A
April 14 = Adoption clinic Dr. at CHEO (blood tests)
April 21 = Neurology at CHEO (Mommy wondered if their heads were flat - they're not)
April 23 = Vaccinations at Dr. A
May 12 = Adoption clinic to review blood tests (iron supplement advised)
May 26 = TB test at Dr. A
May 28 = return to have TB test read at Dr. A
June 3 = Ophthalmology at CHEO
June 18 = Dentist (Mommy wondered about brown spots on teeth - they're just stains)
June 25 = Vaccinations at Dr. A
June 26 = CHEO for chest x-rays
June 29 = CHEO for hearing tests
July 15 = CHEO to review x-rays
August 27 = Vaccinations at Dr. A
September 22 = CHEO opthamology
October 13 = CHEO adoption clinic
We are not done yet because they have been referred for head-scans but not urgent ones, due to their giant heads. Which I refuse to worry about, because the Dr in Vietnam told us that they would be referred because of the increase in size, and that I would worry, but that there was no need because it was obvious there was nothing wrong.

Their only health problem at this point is that they really don't like Drs, and scream like banshees when having horrible torturous things done to them like weighing and head-measuring. I am leaning on wood while writing this but they haven't been sick a day yet except for one small cold which woke Max up a few times one night.

The thing for adoptive parents of twins to note here is that you will need a second pair of hands around for the first few months, to go through the various appointments if nothing else. (Luckily Woody's work schedule is flexible so he is able to schedule all of those as "days off".) And a tip about CHEO - if you can grab a parking meter by the entrance, it's much cheaper than the parking lot and you are close enough to carry baby twins by yourself.

Our bottle agreement (above) has led to quick and easy nap and bedtimes. It's not all about the bottle either, as we do try to finish the bottle just before, and they still settle right away. Their grandparents gave them a stereo so they always have music to listen to in the nursery. We recently got them crib toys, and if they don't go to sleep right away, they sometimes play with their toys for about 15 minutes, then go to sleep. So, the sleeping schedule is a little - adjusted - from the previous post, which is more of a "longest time possible" ideal. But it is still pretty ideal.

We first met the babies on a Tuesday and the seemed to know us when we went back to get them on that Friday. By the time I came back from the hospital Saturday evening I was already the only one who could always comfort them. They were exactly what we expected and so easy to love right away, with their perfect skin and smell and smiles. We fell in love, knowing that love isn't something you fall into, it's a choice you make over and over again. I felt superior because I'd read somewhere that it usually takes between two and six months to feel like a "real" mother and I felt like one right away. But there have been times since of feeling like a babysitter, and moments of detachment which surprised me. At just over 4 months I am content to simply "act as if" during those moments, which are less and less every day. The boys are now bonded with Mommy, Daddy, and Grandma, which makes for healthy breaks all around. Overall things are going very well.


Jules and Danny said...

Great post Samantha. As I sit and wait for our LOI (which is likely to come the end of August) I wonder about attachment and how it will happen... I have time to think and fret... I see others loving their new babies and their babies loving them back... and I worry about being the family it doesn't work so easily for...
It is comforting to hear that it doesn't have to all flow, and that some days feel better than others...
I love reading your very real posts and I am anxious to meet you and your family when we get down there one day soon.

Michelle said...

Hey Vanh and Max,
Spoke to Mom last night and she says we will go celebrate with you next Sunday with some cake. Mmm.. Mmm... Mmmmmmm. Sounds like a terrific idea to me. Look forward to seing you guys.
Big hugs,

Ange said...

Great post! Thanks for sharing.