Friday, October 29, 2010

2 Weeks

Today, Harper and Allie are two weeks old! A lot has happened since 10/15/10.  They are so snuggly and adorable and truly a joy.  They look very different and have unique personalities.  Allie is our wee little one.  She likes to stick out her long tongue and make cheerio lips.  Harper is our chunker and makes a million different faces.  She will look utterly disgusted at the scene around her and then she will break into a huge smile.  They say smiles at this age are just from gas, but I am skeptical.  Michael believed that until they started smiling when he bobbled them around. Harper is awake more often and just took over an hour to put back to sleep, I think because she just wanted to play.  I ended up feeding her twice in a two hour span, so now their schedules are out of sync.  Not fun at 4 in the morning.  It takes Harper 5 minutes to down the same bottle that takes Allie 15-20 minutes.
Piggy Harper
Foodie Allie
If I did not alternate which sides they feed on, I would be lopsided.

We've had several outings in their first two weeks. They sleep like rocks through all our walks in Piedmont Park,  through a shopping trip to Pottery Barn Kids and Hobby Lobby (the nursery is still being decorated), and through their first church service.  Allie had to make a second Pediatrician visit to make sure she did not drop too much weight.  The doctor was proud of me because she went from 4 lbs. 11 oz to 5 lbs. 1 oz in three days.  Harper weighed 5 lbs. 11 oz last Friday, and I would imagine that she is over 6 lbs now.

We feel so blessed by these little girls.  Thank you so much to anyone who prayed for them to figure out breastfeeding because I think we have really turned a corner. I don't have to fight them for thirty minutes before they eat.  Such a relief!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Birth Story

Harper and Allie have been home for one week now. It has been one of the most blessed, tiring, and rewarding weeks of my life.  I feel so blessed when I think about how smoothly the delivery went.  So many of the nurses could not believe that I had the girls without a C-section and even my doctor seemed amazed that Baby B's (Harper's) head fell right into place after Allie arrived.

A little bit about the birthing experience, my apologies if this is too much information, but I want to be able to remember the events myself:
Pitocin (the labor-inducing drug) really didn't start until 9 am because after 3 different nurses tried to insert my IV, they called in the "IV team" who was one lady -- who finally succeeded.  I've got the bruises to show for this. Dr. Knoer tried to break my water and the second time he tried, around noon, I think, he was successful- what a gush!   I wanted to feel some of the contractions, so ended up waiting until around 2pm to get the epidural. And man did I feel them!  I've thought that it would be cool to have a natural birth, you know, experience what women since creation have experienced, but an hour of painful contractions cured me of that notion!  After the epidural, I took a nice little nap until Dr. Knoer checked me again at 4:00 to learn that I was fully dilated and ready to have these babies.  The nurses took down my epidural a bit so that I could feel the contractions enough to push and I was wheeled into the OR around 4:30.  There were at least 10 people in that very bright room: 2 nurses for each baby, 2 nurses for me, 2 anesthesiologists in case a C-section had to be performed, Dr. Knoer, and of course, Michael.  I felt quite exposed in the stirrups but from the beginning of my hospital stay I had begun to get over any sense of modesty.  I was shaking pretty badly, which everyone said was normal, but besides that, I was just excited and ready to push. 

After what seemed like only a few minutes to me, but was closer to an hour, little Allie was here!  I really only got to see her right when she came out and when the nurse briefly brought her over for us to look at.  10 minutes later, and maybe only 3 more contractions of pushing, Harper arrived, too!  Dr. Knoer said, "Here, hold this!" and Harper girl was squealing and squirming on my belly.  The whole thing was awesome.  Then Harper was whisked away and the most disappointing thing of the birth was that I didn't get to see or hold either of them for maybe an hour.  Michael was amazing; completely there to comfort me and giving me every report he could on the girls while they dealt with the afterbirth and stitches for me.  Honestly, delivering the placenta and Dr. Knoer kneading my stomach afterward was far more painful than the birth. 

Michael and I were flooded with emotions watching the nurses wash our babies and run all the tests in the transitional nursery. We felt so blessed!  Our families did some detective work at the nurses station and found out they had been born and busted in the room saying it was unfair to keep them waiting.  But I hadn't even held my babies, so they had to.

You can't describe how it feels to hold your baby for the first time.  It took some time for it to sink in that they were mine and my life was forever changed.  The family gathered in our recovery room, we announced the names, drank champagne, and then they briefly got to hold them before our families were shooed out for the first attempt at breastfeeding.  I had one nurse on each side trying to get the babies to latch.  I'm sure it was a sight.

Breastfeeding has certainly been the hardest part of being a mom.  Allie sometimes cries and roots around for 45 minutes before latching on.  We joke that she is our foodie because the dining atmosphere has to be just right and then she slowly takes in each taste.  It makes for long nights.  Eventually I will feed these girls in tandem, but so far I've only been successful 3 or 4 times.  I've given up trying for now.  Harper is my little piggy and usually latches right on, though sometimes she picks up some tricks from her older sister and takes forever!  Pray they would get this eating thing down.

I'll post more about the first week soon.  Just wanted summarize the birth and let everyone know that we are thriving.  I absolutely love my new job as a momma!

Posted by Kakhi (can't figure out why it says posted by mbwakefield)

Monday, October 18, 2010

More pictures, including Allie & Harper Go to the Park

I figured out how to send pictures directly from my phone to a Picasa album.

I realize that others may not be as enamored of my babies as I am, but I'm not letting that stop me from posting more pictures. I'm telling myself that my awareness of my own self-indulgence (posting more pictures) is separating me from those parents who become so absorbed with their children that they can't talk about anything else. That's fair, right?
You can also use the links to the left to view both our Picasa albums. if you add these albums as a favorite you will get an email whenever we update them.
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More pictures

I've posted an album in Picasa for anyone who wants to see more pictures.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Welcome Home, Babies!

We took Allie and Harper home at noon today.

On Day Two, they've started to express themselves a little more than during their first 24 hours. They both can cry, and a sure way to hear some baby screams is to unwrap one from her warm swaddling. They don't like to be exposed.

Harper grabbed her pacifier the first time she was offered it, and now she's rarely without it. When she sleeps she spits it out about every 15 minutes, then gives a little yell. If you put it back in her mouth, she dozes off again.

Allie sucked on hers for a while, but she likes to put her tongue on the roof of her mouth, which pushes the pacifier out of her mouth. She doesn't seem to need it to keep quiet and peaceful though, like Harper does, and overall she's the less fitful sleeper. They already have their own personalities, which eerily resemble what we expected from how they acted in the womb.

Our families left this afternoon except for Kakhi's mom, who is staying for a few nights. Then my mom will come help us. Doing this with just the two of us would be difficult.

They're almost two days old!

Here are pictures. Babies getting ready to leave hospital:

Kakhi and babies about to leave hospital:

Our family at home:

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Meet Allie and Harper Wakefield!

Alloway Dayton Wakefield
Born October 15, 2010, at 5:28 PM.
5 lb. 3 oz., 18 1/4 inches.

Harper Brooks Wakefield
Born October 15, 2010, at 5:39 PM.
5 lb. 13 oz., 19 1/2 inches.

All four names are from our family trees. Alloway and Dayton are from Kakhi's family, and Harper and Brooks are from mine. We had a fun time looking through family histories and tracing our families back through generations.

Here's an overview of the rest of the delivery.

Between 4:00 and 4:30 yesterday, the nurses wheeled Kakhi into the operating room. I had to wait a few minutes for them to set things up, and then they retrieved me to help (ha) with the delivery. Can't say I've ever seen anything like babies being born.

I gather from the nurses' reactions that it was a relatively easy delivery. Most twins are delivered via C-Section, and even when they're not, babies aren't always cooperative. Kakhi had about two minutes between contractions once she started pushing, and it only took about 8-10 contractions (45 minutes, maybe?) to get Allie's head out. From there it was all downhill.

The rest of Allie followed shortly, I got to cut the umbilical cord, and then they whisked her away to be tested and checked and weighed and cleaned. We didn't have much time to look at her because Harper still had to be born! But it only took another 10 minutes before her head emerged, and when the rest of her came out, the doctor tossed her onto Kakhi's belly and said "here, hold this." So the first we saw of Harper was a wriggling, crying, messy baby sitting on Kakhi's suddenly not-huge belly. Then they whisked her away, too.

I spent the next hour or so bouncing between the babies and Kakhi, who did an amazing
job with the birthing. She was walking a little within a couple of hours of the birth, and she seems on the path to a quick recovery.

We have moved to a post-birth room, and we get to see the babies whenever we want. They haven't expressed much interest in eating yet, but the nurses tell us that babies don't usually start to eat very well until 24 hours after birth. The hospital runs lots of tests on them. Too many rules and regulations caused by too many lawsuits.

If everything goes as expected, we'll all come home tomorrow, and then the real fun begins!

Here are some pictures:

Above: Allie on the left, Harper on the right.

Above: Harper on the left, Allie on the right.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Babies coming

We are in the labor/delivery room waiting for Kakhi to get so close to birthing the blueberries that they move us to the operating room. Standard procedure is to deliver all twins in the OR, just in case there are some tangled-up type complications and the doctors need to do an emergency C-section. Of course, we're hoping that won't happen. The worst-case scenario is to have to recover from one natural birth and one C-section -- no fun.

Anyway, I've been asking the nurses and doctors all kinds of questions. They've commented on how I'm more inquisitive than most dads-to-be. I took that as a compliment.

She is anesthetized and napping through contractions. Not quite as dramatic as the movies. I think we're still a few hours away, but it feels like things are moving quickly. We'll try to keep everyone updated.

Here are a couple of pictures.

Last night we had one last pre-babies date, and here is a before-dinner picture:

By the way, we went to Murphy's in Virginia Highland, which was great. The highlighted dish is my shrimp & grits. I don't often order shrimp & grits because I never find anything that compares to City Grocery's (in Oxford, MS) -- which means I usually come away disappointed. But last night's were a different style, and I really liked them. Roux-based instead of cream-based, I think. I would order the dessert trio again, and I might go back just for the flatbread appetizer.

But enough about food. Time to focus on babies.

One last belly picture:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tomorrow is the BIG DAY!

Drumroll please...Tomorrow, I report to the hospital at 7:15 am to begin the process of bringing these babies into the world.  We are thrilled that we will finally get to meet our girls.  Please pray for a safe delivery and that the induction would go smoothly.  I am a bit nervous because I know inductions can take a lot longer than planned and sometimes result in a c-section.  Michael's parents are driving in tonight and my family will get to hospital around noon tomorrow.  It feels like Christmas Eve, but even better!

The only sad news is that my dearest dearest friend Anna Hildebrand is getting married on Saturday and I was plotting to sneak up to Chattanooga for the day to witness it.  Saturday will be bittersweet knowing that I am not there for her big day.  I love you, Smalls!

Pray, pray, pray!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Less than one week!

That's right!  These baby girls will meet the world in less than 7 days. 

Here's how I know:
I just got back from my final ultrasound with the perinatal specialist.  The babies look "beautiful," have great heartbeats and amniotic fluid, and they are getting to be heavy little tater tots.  I'm 36 weeks and 5 days and Baby B is weighing in at approximately 6 lbs. 4 oz. Way to go blueberry B!  Baby A has a healthy weight of 5 lbs. 9 oz (also approx.).  The specialist's only concern was that blueberry A's stomach had not grown as much as she would like in the last two weeks. This means that her placenta could be getting tired and it's probably time for mama to start feeding her in the big world outside. 

So my specialist called my doctor who happens to be on his day off.  We must wait until tomorrow morning when he will decide when I should be induced.  If my memory serves me well, he is on call this weekend, so I think there is a good chance that my induction will be scheduled Friday, less than 48 hours!  If not Friday, it will be sometime next week with another doctor in the group because my doc is not on call during next week.  I know you are all on pins and needles ;) so I will post an update as soon as I hear from my doc (of course, Mom, I will call you before that, right after Michael).

I feel very blessed to have made it to 37 weeks (on Friday) and Michael and I thank the Lord that our blueberries look so healthy.

Check back tomorrow for an update.  In the meantime, I have some serious nesting to do!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


It's 10/10/10! You must admit, it would be pretty cool to have that birthday.  If I make it past today, I will happily fatten up these babies to full term (37 or 38 weeks for twins, depending on who you ask).  But today would give the girls a little conversation piece for life. Unfortunately, I'm not really feeling like today will be the day.  Plus, if my labor is like Mama's, as my pregnancy has been, then I'm looking at 24 hours of laboring, making it 10/11/10.  Let's hope the similarities with the mother diverge there.

On a different note, I made Alice Waters' Buttermilk Pancakes for Saturday morning breakfast and they were divine!  I did use 4 different kinds of flour -- not the simplest ingredient list for pancakes -- but fun to make and very yummy.  I'll post the recipe at some point, or really, you should just buy the cookbook (see previous post).  The blueberries liked them, too.

More food notes: Michael and I are taking every advantage of these last few days with portable babies and no babysitter price tag to sample lots of Atlanta restaurants.  This town has an impressive selection.  Here's where we have tried so far and a top dish at each:

Holman and Finch: The Sticky Toffee Bread Pudding with ice cream (hazelnut or some such delicious flavor) was the best dessert I've had in memory.  The menu changes daily, so if you luck into this one when you are there, ORDER IT!  We also enjoyed several dishes that incorporated the 500 pound hog H&F purchased about a month ago.  They do all the butchering themselves and use every part they can (see offal).

The Iberian Pig, in Decatur: The Pork Tenderloin was beautifully presented and great to share among four people.  We split four other tapas dishes with our friends, the Dutsons, and it was just the right amount of food. Top that off with some meaty tacos, compliments of the chef, and it was sealed, we will frequent the Iberian Pig (starting in a few months I guess).

Pacci: Duck Confit over polenta -- crispy on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth meat.

Veni Vidi Vici: For Midtown Restaurant week, we enjoyed a 3 course meal for $25. It's hard to beat battered Asiago cheese with a red pepper puree.

The Porter Beer Bar: Gastropub in Little Five Points, the Belgian Fries were perfection and I loved my Korean BBQ Sandwich. The beer menu was a book and had one that Michael's beer connoisseur professor smuggled back from Belgium for a law school tasting (Kwak -- comes in a cool glass, ask for the story behind the glass).

TAP:  Loved the spicy fried chicken and pork tacos. Good beer selection. Michael liked Three Philosophers.

Rosebud: Michael's risotto of the day was great.

Other great spots we have tried for lunch and quicker dinners: Flip Burger, Yeah Burger, The West Egg, La Fonda, and the restaurant just next door to our condo, Quattro.  We were pleased with all.  I told you I'm working on fattening these babies up!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Feeding Blueberries

Last fall, I read Julie and Julia, after reading My Life in France by Julia Child.  I was inspired. You may have seen the movie where Julie Powell cooks all 524 recipes of Mastering the Art of French Cooking in one year. I'm not so ambitious to cook through a Julia Child cookbook or to set deadlines for myself, but I searched for a cookbook to take on.  Because I wasn't interested in filling my refrigerator with random ingredients that would go bad after using only a teaspoon, I decided on Alice Waters' The Art of Simple FoodThe ingredients are simple and I like the emphasis on the local-food movement.   Waters encourages buying ingredients that are in season.  I love that her recipes generally entail a main vegetable or meat that is prepared with ingredients you already have in your pantry; it's amazing how far olive oil, salt, and pepper can take you.  Most of the recipes have variation ideas so I can use up stuff that is sitting in the fridge.  She gives good explanations of why certain methods give the best results.
In case you have this cookbook or buy it, which I certainly recommend, here are a few of my favorite recipes so far:
  • Hummus: In Austin, Michael and I were on a quest for the best recipe and threw in all kinds of ingredients.  Waters's 6-ingredient Hummus surprised us as the clear winner. 
  • Guacamole: Even after dining all over Austin, a fresh Tex-Mex haven, we would say this guac competes with the best of 'em.
  • Haven't gone wrong with her soups: Spicy Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Red Pepper
  • Sweet potatoes with Lime (add salt and butter and you're done!)
  • Moroccan Sweet Potato Salad
  • Braised Duck Legs with Leeks and Green Olives (couldn't find duck legs in Jackson, so I used chicken legs)
  • Roasted Almonds: Michael regularly roasts these and keeps his babies' Omega-3 levels up! 
  • Onion Tart: Really pretty and yummy
What does this have to do with growing blueberries? Well, this is what the babies have dined on for the last 9 months, minus the first trimester when I couldn't stand the smell of onions or garlic (both frequent Waters ingredients). I've cooked 95 of the 308 recipes.  30 Percent!  I have a feeling this could be a multi-year endeavor since cooking may take a hiatus while having to feed 2 babies 8-12 times per day.

Here are a few pics, still working on the food-photography thing:
Braised Chicken Legs with Tomatoes, Onions and Garlic and Hummus

Caprese Salad 

Potato Gratin- Delicious!

Simple Salad, Tomato Tart that our friend Jonathan made (not a Waters recipe), and Sautéed Shrimp with Garlic and Parsley 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Growing Belly

As of today, I have been pregnant for 35 weeks and 3 days.  On average, twins come at 35 weeks, so they could arrive any day now. I've been blessed with an easy pregnancy -- only minor nausea in the first trimester.  My one more-serious problem hit me on my brother's graduation day from Ole Miss, when I was 13 weeks along.  It may have been a stomach bug, but whatever it was, I ended up spending the night in the hospital in Jackson to keep from getting too dehydrated.  After that horrid 24 hours, I haven't felt sick for the rest of the pregnancy. The craziest thing (and what makes me think it's not a stomach bug) is that my mom had the same experience with all three of her babies: sick first trimester, sick as a dog one day resulting in night in the hospital, and then smooth sailing until delivery.

At 30 weeks, we moved from Jackson to Atlanta. Even though Michael and the rest of his family strongly encouraged me to not do so much packing and unpacking, I could not resist.  That resulted in 2 weeks of bed rest to make sure I made it to 34 weeks.  I must say bed rest wasn't so bad.  Michael cooked, cleaned, laundered, grocery shopped- basically did everything around the house and told me to get back to the couch whenever I started to help.  I also had sweet visitors bearing lunch and their babies to entertain me and answer my many questions about raising blueberries.  Thanks friends!

All twin pregnancies are considered "high-risk," which means we've gotten lots of ultrasounds and continuing confirmation that both girls are healthy.  Baby B is a little bit bigger and she likes to do more flips.  Baby A has been a good girl and stayed head down for the last month or more.  We hope that Baby B stays head down like she seems to be now so that I can attempt a normal delivery.  Today I'm 1 cm dilated, which means they could come tonight or in 2's a waiting game.  I am ready to meet them and be done with this huge belly, but want to fatten them up a bit more before they come, too.

See how my belly has grown:

At 17 weeks.

At 23 weeks, I'm pretty proud of that baby bump.

At 35 weeks and yes, the shirt is becoming a crop top. I officially outweigh Michael.  All for a good cause...