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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


No, not the kind where you pour out your deepest, darkest secrets to a stranger while sitting on a leather couch. Although who knows, that may be in order as well.

We're talking physical therapy and speech therapy for the twins. I know, who ever heard of speech therapy for someone who has just learned to coo? I sure hadn't, although now I'm pretty sure I should have with all of the problems we had with Brennan's tongue when he was born. But, I digress (as always). Warning, this is going to be a bit lengthy, but I want to get this story out there....

When the boys were about 4 weeks old, I started to notice that they always slept with their heads tilted toward each other. At this point we still had live-in help, so the boys were rarely laying next to each other, except for when they were in their bassinets. We just got in the habit of putting Beckett in the one on the left and Kiernan in the one on the right. And we thought it was so sweet that they "looked" toward each other when they slept.

Fast forward a few weeks to when they were about 6 weeks old. Our visitors had returned home and I was home by myself most days with the boys. So of course they were spending more time on the floor. I noticed that they looked at each other when on the floor too, but rarely turned their heads from side to side. So I decided to start making a conscious effort to put Beckett on the right and Kiernan on the left. After a week, I decided that it wasn't that they were looking at each other, it was that Kiernan always looked to the right and Beckett always looked to the left. And their heads were starting to get flat spots on the places where they most frequently rested them. I mentioned this to the pediatrician at their 2 month appointment and within 3 minutes of being in the room, he noticed that neither baby was turning his head from side to side when laying down. He gave us instructions to do neck exercises with the boys 4 times per day and that we would re-evaluate at 4 months.

Meanwhile, I'd been struggling with breastfeeding. I'm certainly no stranger to nursing troubles, as Brennan had a severe tongue-thrust as a baby and was ultimately unable to nurse. The twins each had their own set of problems. At birth, Kiernan's blood sugar dropped to 24 (newborns should be above 45) and because it didn't increase after nursing, they gave him a bottle of formula. Beckett's blood sugar was 46, but because he would not nurse, they wanted to give him a bottle of formula so that his sugar wouldn't drop. This is a long story and something that I'll get into in another post.

So for the first few weeks I fought the good fight on the nursing front. Both boys could latch, but had a hard time staying latched. I had several appointments with the lactation consultant at the hospital where I delivered the boys. The LC maintained that the boys were latching well and that it was probably my low supply that was the problem. I followed her recommendations and still had troubles. A fellow MoM (mom of multiples) who has twin boys that are 4 months older than my boys recommended an LC at a hospital a little further away. This LC agreed that they were latching well, but not staying latched and recommended that I see a speech therapist who is also an LC.

This ST/LC is wonderful. She is so supportive and calming and just a wonderful person. She evaluated both boys and confirmed my suspicions that they had some weakness in their facial muscles. We now do cheek stretches with the boys and have changed the positions in which we feed them in order to make it easier for them and to encourage the strengthening of their cheeks and tongue. Kiernan will need a little more work than Beckett, but they'll both be just fine. She also recommended pursuing physical therapy whether the pediatrician agreed or not.

After seeing the boys again at 4 months, the pediatrician was happy with their progress, but was also on board with my (and the ST/LC's) desire for PT. So he recommended one not far from our house. She does home visits, which is especially convenient so I don't have to take poor Brennan or get a sitter for him. She is also wonderful. After evaluating each baby, she said that Kiernan's neck is very tight, but he has great muscle tone. Only one side of Beckett's neck is tight, but his muscle tone is a bit low, so he'll most likely require more therapy than his little brother.

These boys have had more appointments in their short little lives than fun outings around town. During the day, we do our assigned stretches and position changes. We nurse and bottle feed in special positions. We attend our necessary appointments and a breastfeeding support group. We are BUSY.

Sometimes I wonder why God chose to give me these slightly "higher-maintenance" babies. All 3 of my boys have had feeding issues and the twins have gross motor problems. None of them have been easy, straight-forward babies. Don't get me wrong, I count my blessings that I was chosen to be Mommy to all 3 of these beautiful little boys and that they are happy and healthy, with no life-threatening or chronic issues, and I pray that it continues that way. But I still have to wonder what it's like to bring home a baby that nurses like a champ and only goes to the pediatrician for well visits, or maybe the occasional sick visit. But after some prayers and reflection I think I've arrived at my answer -- it's because I can handle it. God knows that I am capable of handling my special babies' needs. He knows that with some (OK, a lot of) sacrifices, we can survive on only Brian's income, so that I am able to stay home with my boys and take them to appointments and work with them every day. Really, no matter how much work they require, I feel insanely lucky to have been given these most precious gifts!


  1. They're so cute! I'm sorry you're struggling with these issues. It's so easy to question "why is this happening?" You know from reading my blog that I've had the same questions when it comes to Knox's speech. Sometimes you just have to give up and pray! I think God uses things like these to grow us as people and as mothers, not that He causes hard things to happen, but that He can use them to our benefit in the long-run. I hope your sweet boys make quick progress!!

    1. Thanks Jessica! Same to you and Knox! You're right, I'm trying to just see it all as a gift from God :)


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