Twins! (But Not Really)

I've had a lot of people ask if Lucy looks like Violet did as a baby. Well, they say a picture is worth a thousand words right? I present to you exhibit A:

Do you know which one is which? If you follow me on Instagram and have a good memory, you may know, but otherwise I'd say it's a pretty tough call. But as much as they may look alike (and have the exact same facial expressions), they've had very different beginnings. I don't want to say personalities, because I think Violet's behavior as a baby had a lot less to do with personality or temperament and a lot more to do with her health issues. I often actually wonder what her babyhood may have been like if she had been healthy.

Here's a little bit (okay maybe more than a little bit) about Violet's start in life...

When Violet was born she had meconium aspiration and was in the NICU for a week. When I would trek down every hour and a half to visit and feed her, she would most often be screaming her head off or at least be fussy. You can't really blame her - she was surrounded by other crying babies, bright lights, and lots of beeping and other random noises. She had tubes in her nose and throat, tape all over her face, and wires stuck to her body. I couldn't feed her on demand because I had to go back up to my room to get rest, eat, and be monitored and checked by the nurses and doctors. It wasn't exactly the most ideal way to enter the world, to say the least.

I also was in pretty bad shape after I had her - a lot of tearing and sitting on donuts and such. She didn't sleep much at night, so neither did I. My mom actually spent a couple of nights at our house with her just so I could get some rest in between feedings. (Thanks Mom!) I think babies can sense when you're exhausted and feeling like you've been hit by a truck, and they tend to get stressed as well (hello, evening witching hour?) And to make matters worse it turned out she was allergic to the dairy and soy that I was eating (and that was in my milk) and we didn't figure it out until she was about seven or eight months old. It wasn't an allergy that would show up on any test, so basically we were just told, sorry - you have a fussy baby. It wasn't until her weight dropped from the 90th percentile to the 9th that our doctors got worried and referred us to a pediatric allergist. (We've since switched pediatricians and love our new one!)

Throughout all of this I dealt with post-partum anxiety. I couldn't sleep because of it. I heard Violet crying even when she was sound asleep. I mean, literally. I had to ask Kevin many times if she was crying or if I was just hearing it in my head. Luckily, I didn't have post-partum depression. I loved my baby like crazy and protected her like a mama bear. No one else could hold her much (not even her papa) because she would scream and scream and become absolutely hysterical. It was more than this mama could take, so I just held her, and held her, and held. her. We didn't know why she wouldn't let anyone else hold her, so I would "coach" Kevin on how to position her and what to do as he paced the room. I resented the fact that I was the only one who could calm her down. I resented him when I was trapped in the nursery rocking and nursing her for hours and hours on end while he could go about his normal life. In my head I knew he was doing all he could - at one point he even spoon fed me my meals because I hadn't been able to get a bite to eat - but I couldn't help but feel it, no matter how irrational. Looking back at that I cringe, but it is what it is. (I'm trying to follow this advice this time around)

Even after we figured out why Violet was sick, I still wanted to nurse her. I was irrationally horrified to give her formula. The funny thing is I never thought twice about another mama giving formula to their baby, but with the hormones raging within me (and after smelling the stuff - not pleasant) I just didn't want to use it. So I went on an elimination diet - trying to cut out all dairy and soy from my meals. Well, it turns out dairy and soy is in nearly EVERYTHING. I lost way too much weight and was at the lowest weight I had been since I was a freshman in high school. And although Violet was doing better, it wasn't enough. So for both of our sakes I switched to formula - first Alimentum, but then when that was still causing her to react, we went to prescription formula (Elecare Infant). The stuff tasted horrific, but Violet sucked it down like it was the most amazing thing she had ever eaten, because despite it's taste it pretty much was - it was the only thing she had ever eaten that didn't make her tummy hurt.

At the advice of the pediatric allergist, we fed her that exclusively (no solids) until she was over a year old to allow her time to heal. She pretty much hadn't slept through the night more than a handful of times since she was born, but I didn't know any different and didn't expect any different from my poor sick babe. It was hard but I'm sure the rest of you mamas know that you do what you have to do for your babies. I was back at work at this point, so that was even more tough, but I powered through. I'm going to admit, as much as I missed her, being at work felt like a vacation because our days for the past year had been a battle. There were a lot of great moments, there were beautiful moments, but overall it was hard, hard work. It was difficult reintroducing solids, but luckily her condition was one that most kids outgrow, and we've been able to reintroduce soy and dairy back into her diet at this point. We actually added the dairy back in just a month before Lucy was born.

Violet is now a rambunctious, opinionated, thriving toddler with a tenacious spirit. While she's definitely still a mama's girl, her and her papa have a special relationship of their very own. She's incredibly smart and inquisitive and has a great sense of humor. Always watching the world around her closely, she doesn't miss a thing. Luckily, unlike her mama she also has a great sense of direction! She is our gem - our firstborn.

Lucy has had a much less eventful beginning so far and is a happy, healthy little girl. She sleeps like a champ and gives lots of big goofy grins. She loves her big sister and watches her closely. Unlike her big sister, Lucy loves to be swaddled and put down on any cozy surface to lounge for a while. While I'm still definitely not the most laid-back mama that ever was, I definitely don't have the anxiety that I had with Violet. I marvel at how alike they appear, yet how each is girl her own person. They're living proof that while our genes definitely help to shape our personalities, our experiences add their own twist as well. It will be interesting to compare our two beautiful girls as they grow and see how alike or different they may be. Either way, one thing's for sure - they are both loved to the moon and back by their mama and papa.
xo. Lauren


  1. I'm glad Lucy is off to an easier start. I think dealing with a fussy baby and a toddler would be so overwhelming. I'm struggling with just dealing with a toddler while pregnant!

    My daughter had meconium in utero too, but luckily she didn't inhale any of it. They did take her for several hours after I delivered, but she was fine. I was terrified when they broke my water and told me that we'd need the NICU.

  2. My second baby (named Violet!) is a month old and also much less stressful than my first. He was early, spent a week in hospital, was back in hospital in critical care the next week, and had severe reflux that made feeding difficult. Breastfeeding was a huge battle and I had medical complication related to his birth that made me extremely uncomfortable for the first four weeks after he was born until it was resolved. Fortunately, he was a happy, cuddly baby. Anyway, I related so much to what you wrote and really appreciate your honesty in recounting your experience. I hope Lucy and Violet both continue to thrive -- they are gorgeous little girls.

    See you soon!

  3. My second child is now 1 and I have to say this experience has been much better then the first for me too. When we had our son the experience was bad enough that initially, my husband and I decided he was going to be an only child. Then when he turned 2 I started to realize and convince my husband that the second time I could handle it better because I know what to do. I felt like I needed a do over on the whole baby thing. My baby girl came with a different set of difficulties but my approach was much better and looking back I think I have handled it with flying colors (unlike the 1st time). My son was stuck in the birth cannal for over an hour when I gave birth and had the cord wrapped around his neck. The birth was classified as tramatic and he lost his instinct to suck swallow breath when he ate. He had to be trained on a haberman (I think that's what they're called)so I was unable to breast feed him. He was also the most scheduled and regimented baby you ever met. If he didn't get whatever it was time for on time he was a miserable little man and made sure I was too. I was so mad at the people who told me babies didn't need schedules. My daughter, she thankfully didn't get stuck, but her heart rate dropped after my epidural and everyone came running and said push now! Then I spent 1 month trying to figure out why she spit up every bottle I gave her. And I mean the whole bottle. She never cried about it and didn't seem to be in pain but she also wasn't really gaining much weight. Still the doctor was not concerned because she did not show any distress. So on my own I researched feeding issues and all by my self, figured out she was lactose intollerant. I was proud of myself when I told the doctor at her next appointment what I figured out and how switching to soy fixed her problem. Even with her problem her temperment was bette then her brother's ever was. It still amazes me what these little people put us parents through but they are so worth it!!



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