Wednesday, July 14, 2010

State of Things, the Scream Edition

This post today is brought to you courtesy of the Miracle Blanket. I had half-heartedly tried a tight swaddle previously and had watched my boys lose their minds. But, at my wits end yesterday, I pulled out a couple of swaddle blankets I bought at a consignment sale, and lo and behold, both boys calmed down immediately.

I haven't really mentioned it, but I have a couple of screamers on my hands. They are on an antacid medication because they both barf up about half of what they eat, almost every time they eat, and combined with the screaming, the doctor suspected GERD. But so far, the medicine doesn't seem to be doing much to reduce either the barfing or the screaming. Granted, the are on a weak medication (a Zanta.c thing, I think) because the stronger stuff (infant Prilo.sec, I think) isn't covered by our pharmacy insurance and would cost $50 for a one month supply for one baby. And this ends up being one of those "Man, I feel guilty for having twins" thing, because for one baby, we might be able to swing that, but for two? I can't imagine adding $100 a month to our already tightened budget. I mean, if they really do have GERD, and that is the medicine that cures the problem, we would (of course) gladly add it to the budget. But I'm not entirely sure that is the problem. The barfing is a problem (sometimes it's overflow of undigested milk, sometimes it's mucous and milk, and sometimes, it's half-digested spit-up-style chunks-- most of the time, there's a progression of all three after a feeding), but mostly, the screaming, the apparent writhing in pain, the absolute inconsolable shrieking, and the insistence on eating often less than half an hour after finishing a long feeding-- those are the problems that I was hoping might be solved by the medicine. And considering that they aren't even really alleviated by the current medicine, I don't have a lot of faith that GERD is the real problem.

My aunt made a really generous gift of cash for the boys, and we are divided over what to buy. We have a swing that we love (and the boys love it), but it's HUGE, and we can't really move it from room-to-room, and I get really nervous having them in a room where I can't hear them (and moving the monitor here and there as needed is a pain, too). And of course, they both like it, so it would be great to have two of them, so I was thinking I might get a travel swing. But, I was also thinking that it would be nice to put that money toward a more structured carrier. Courtesy of friends (both internet-- hi, Alexicographer!-- and IRL-- hi, Charlotte!), I have a few different styles of slings. And J.ack LOVES the sling (especially the Baby K', but sadly, I'm either not using them right, or I'm still weak from the pregnancy, because they kill my back. Granted, my back hurts pretty much all the time anyway, but wearing in a sling is more than my back can take right now. I got a less-expensive front carrier kind of thing, but H didn't like it (it was too complicated for him to use). I hear amazing things about the Erg.o carrier, but for PETE'S SAKE. The S.O.B. costs over $100! And that's not including the necessary infant insert doodad. I'm all for making that investment if it works, but my GOD. I just can't imagine spending that much on something that may or may not be of that much use to me. And of course, ultimately, I would need two of them, if we ever wanted to go anywhere without a stroller. Sigh. Yet another "if we only had one..." thing.

So, advice? What would you use the money for (it's around $100)? Maybe screw the baby crap and spend it going out to dinner with H? Save it for later? Fritter it away on Peanut M&Ms and root beer? Medicine? What would you do?


jill said...

I vote for peanut M&Ms and root beer! ;) Seriously though, I have no advice. I hope the reflux/gerd/barfing thing gets better soon - poor little guys.

Anonymous said...

Oh no, poor boys! And poor Kate & H! Benjamin was on zantac and it's not very strong at all. You need to constantly adjust the dosage as they gain weight. Check with your doc but you can go up to 1ml 4x day. He was up to 1ml/3x before getting relief and grew out of it at 5.5m. Do you have a consult with a pediatric gastro? They're usually more aggressive than a pediatrician. I'm assuming you're doing all of the tricks (burping often esp at the start or if they've been crying, keeping upright). Have you adjusted your diet to see if that's the issue? Sorry for all of the questions, I hate to read of babies in distress.

If it were us we'd put the money in their college fund.....but I know that's not for everyone. At 8.5m, we're still using the swing every few days (mostly if one is tired but won't nap) but never needed two. We have a cheap-o carrier and never use it because it's uncomfortable. Can you test drive a friend's? Personally I'd put the $$ towards a piece of gear for when they're slightly older. We could use a jumper or exersaucer but don't want to shell out the bucks for something they won't get much use out of now at their age. We should have bought one a few months back and they get so bored easily now that it would have been money well spent.

Sue said...

Things sound rough - glad the swaddles provided a little relief. I'm out of town now, but you're certainly welcome to borrow my Ergo carrier and my swing when I get back. Hope things improve soon.

Ashley said...

I think at this age they need ot be held and cuddled and loved and you likely have lots of people jumping at the bit to do that? Maybe. I don't know.

I think I would save the money for when they do get a bot older and you'll need it for "containment" type toys (bouncers, exersaucers, door jumpies, etc). Good luck with your decision!

VA Blondie said...

Baby carriers saved my life the first few months! I still use carriers, because it is often easier than keeping him in a stroller or car seat.

You may want to consider an asian style carrier like the mei tei, in place of an ergo. I have a mei tei, and I love it. It hits the same weight bearing points as an ergo, and you can find them much cheaper. If you have baby wearing group in your area, you can try one out to see if you like it. I love my ergo, and think it is well worth it, but you need to find what works for you.

amy said...

We love the Ergo. Have you checked eBay? My SIL got one there for a good price. You're welcome to borrow mine for a few months but I don't have the insert. Seriously, let me know! Happy to send it. Could you try the new meds and see if it makes a difference?

My suggestion about the money is to try to make your life easier: a swing if it'll buy you more peace; meds to buy you quiet; a maid if your house is a mess; dinner out if you need a break.

Could you share the name of the awesome swing?

jenn said...

I did a ring sling & loved it much more than the carrier- found on etsy for very very cheap too. I would suggest that if you do decide to get any gear you check out craigslist or ebay- so much of the early baby gear is pretty pristine after they grow out & you can pick up a great deal & stretch the bills!
Otherwise I say you sock it away so you and H can eventually have a date night with babysitter!
Of course- looking for older baby gear too isn't a bad idea- there comes a point around 6 months or so where you look around and nothing you have seems to work anymore and you feel like you need a 2nd registry! Check out local consignment sales or baby swap sales for really good deals too!

Jennifer said...

I just got two Ergo carriers and I LOVE LOVE LOVE them. We had the Baby Bjorns which were OK for those early months, up until about 15 lbs. since then they KILL my back. my husband is totally fine with them though. The ergo puts most of the weight on the waist/hips and is so much more comfortable. We use them for hiking and going places strollers are tough. And I use the Ergo (and the Bjorn before that) to do grocery shopping on my own. One baby in the carrier and one in cart. I got mine through for half price, so it was two for one in my case. I have seen them there before, so just sign up for their mailing list, if they show up, I can't recommend them enough.
As for the screaming thing, I had only 1 twin who had that issue and it turned out to be a milk allergy upsetting him. He also had reflux, so he was on a slew of medications for that. And if your doc tells you that it helps with the puking, that is a bald-faced lie. My boys are 8.5 months old and the one still pukes like its his job.
I had to cut all dairy, not just milk and cheese and yogurt. Milk in all forms like the whey powder that is in TACO SEASONING. It's been tough but totally worth it, since he's a happy healthy boy. (they both are.) It is tough, but evidently it is pretty common sensitivity. Just a thought.
Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

Baby Carrier. Hands down.

You can get a used Beco or Ergo on ebay for 100 bucks. They are worth their wait in GOLD.

the Babychaser: said...

Can I put in a word AGAINST buying a carrier? I have two wonderful Moby wraps that I NEVER use. The truth is, the carrier isn't that useful with two babies. You'll never get to use it outside the house (J and I went "hiking" once with the babies in Moby's which was nice, but just the once), and you'll find in a few months that the babies either hate it or sleep in it. And you actually don't want them sleeping in it, because you want their naptimes to be structured and in a room that is AWAY from you. Also, doing housework in the carrier (as opposed to taking a walk where you can concentrate on your posture) KILLS your back.

Our babies are spit-uppers, and also screamers. But they weren't doing it as early on, so maybe you are dealing with GERD. Before you try anything expensive, though, pick up some mylecon drops. I know the doctors say it doesn't do anything, but I swear it's made all the difference. Our babies still spit up--apparently there's nothing to be done about that. (And I'm not bitching about a little dribble of spit-up--I'm talking waves and waves of it!) But it seems to immediately ease their stomach pain.

Another solution is to just get ONE bottle of the GERD medicine and have them share it. Our doc is totally cool with that approach. That way you only spend $50 to see if it works.

As for how to spend the money--I cannot say enough about the Rainforest Jumperoo. They'll be ready for it at about 2-3 months old (you might have to manufacture a step for them so their feet can reach something to bounce off of, but they can go in as soon as they can control their heads), and it will last them a year, probably. Dex spends at least an hour a day in it. (Yes, yes, all you judgmental mommys out there--I am letting the jumperoo raise my child!) And we had a 5 1/2 old baby over yesterday and she was hilarious in it--she was jumping and giggling and going nuts. I know you're short on space--so are we. But you'll want this, I swear.

Also, don't fret about things you can move from room to room. Soon you'll be leaving them without watching them all the time, and good equipment will be more important than portable stuff. I've actually showered with Dex in the jumperoo and Gretchen rolling around on a quilt on the floor. I know, bad mommy, but with twins you have to be practical.

Shinejil said...

GET SOMETHING FOR YOU (and H, if you want).

I can't emphasize you enough. Self-care, esp w/ your little guys having such feeding troubles. Poor babies! Sending all of you wishes for a quieter time soon.

luxzia said...

I'd say as far as baby things go - is there any way you could get a test run of the medicine just to see if it improves the spit-up and baby pain and then be able to make a decision?

And as for carriers, bouncy things or whatnots... seriously think about what you'll be doing with the twins and how you'll be doing it. The Portland friend has an Ergo that was indispensible for her because she didn't have a car for the longest time and baby A was pretty attached to mommy. Consiering how tiny she is, and that she can comfortably carry a 30-lb child in it, if you plan on doing anything outside with the kids and want to carry them, it might be a worthwhile investment. Since you guys are planning on taking little H and J over to Germany to meet the grandparents, as well as possibly going to Austin - really good carriers could make all the difference (and be easier to travel with than mega-stroller). (and as well, I can keep an eye on cragislist out in the land of hippie attachment parenting for cheaper ergos).

All of that being said... do take time out for yourself and H. You are both going to need the break, even if it's just going to the local somewhat upscale pizza joint just the two of you. I suspect the twin-raising doesn't necessarily get any easier... although at least in a couple of years they can tell you what they want and need and won't need mommy as the source of all sustinance. I think you're doing a great job from the sounds of it and... lots of love and hugs (and a belated happy birthday to big H).

Erin said...

Ergo! But if you want to save money, I have a pattern for making it (don't know if you're interested or have a friend who might be interested in making a couple for you). Then you can spend the extra on peanut M&Ms and root beer :-)

Seriously, it's well worth it--I used ours until P was 4 and K was 3 (he's a lot taller than P was), and it saved me multiple times. If you can borrow one from a friend, so much the better!