Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho Ho Ho



Since Thanksgiving I have been trying to get the boys their photo with Santa. I made several attempts but something always seemed to make it not happen. A few times one or both would throw up on their cute outfits (yes, throw up, not spit up). A few other times one would have an explosive diaper. Once a friend just decided to pop in for a cup of tea (my friends seem to think I'm bored and lonely with Dave out of town - I've had a few surprise visits and several phone calls). One friend offered to go with me and help but canceled twice for good reasons - she has twins herself and she and her babies all got sick this week.

So I finally got them out the door on Thursday after 3 hours of getting all 3 of us ready. We all looked good, if I must say so myself. No puke or poop marked our clothes. I even dressed a little up myself, in one of my favorite skirts, seeing as how it isn't very often I get out and about.

The timing was right. The boys were fed, clean, and happy. I got to the mall and there was someone vacating a really good parking space. I waited patiently and then an SUV full of teens decided they wanted to fight me for it. They turned the corner, saw the spot being vacated and even though I know they saw me, they signalled their intention to take it. Fortunately, a spot right by that one just got vacated and they took it so all was good.

While I put the stroller together several other drivers waited for me to vacate my spot... yeah, right. I got the boys out of their seats into strollers, walked into the mall, realized I forgot their Santa hats and went back to the car for them. I retrieved their hats while more drivers waited for me to vacate my parking space and I surely disappointed them when I turned the stroller back around and went back into the mall.

Walking through the mall a family of 3 very stupid (yes, I mean stupid) bothered me as I was getting the boys a personalized 1st Christmas ornament. I waited patiently in line then had my turn to get the ornament personalized. Then the stupid family starts touching the boys and playing with their pacifiers. I felt torn between trying to get the ornament painted right and trying to protect the babies. Of course, the babies come first. I was too polite. I told them to please not touch my babies but if they really must, then they had to use hand sanitizer, and I handed them my little bottle and turned back to the ornament painter who had stopped progress on my ornament and started helping the next customer. I asked her to please finish my ornament since I was there first and she said, "well, you were talking to those people." I stared at her incredulously. The woman who was then being helped seemed to realize that my talking to "those people" wasn't really by choice. I could just tell by the kind and understanding look on her face.

The stupid family actually asked why I didn't want them touching my babies. Since they were, truly, deficient in mental capacity I continued to take pity on them and explained as politely as possible that I didn't want my boys exposed to harmful germs that could make them sick. The teen girl asked, "what to you mean?" See, I said they were pretty stupid. I explained further about germs leading to colds and flu. She said that she wasn't sick as her mother coughed right next to her. I said, "maybe not, but your mother seems a bit ill and I don't want my babies to get it."

My ornament was finished and it took some great effort to get rid of the family, and make my way to Santa. I got stopped a few more times by curious customers who seemed to have never EVER seen twins before. I also had to navigate through the offensive and annoying kiosk employees trying to get me to look at/buy crap. This mall allows them to yell at customers to try to get attention. Many of them actually walk right in front of you and block your path. I swear, this mall sucks in that way. If it weren't for the great shops I'd never go. As it is, I only go there a few times a year, anyway.

I finally made it to Santa and tried to navigate the stroller through the maze of ribbons that kept the line in order. When I got to the back of the line, Santa's helper closed the ribbon right in front of me and told me they were closing until 6:10, which meant another feeding/diaper cycle and also meant waiting in line with all the people going to the mall after work. I begged her to make an exception, she wouldn't. I walked off and cried.

I went to Mrs. Fields to get cookies to cheer myself up. Every time I ordered my cookies the girl at the counter just paused, I don't know why the delays. I kept having to turn my head to tell people to please not touch the babies and then I'd turn back to get my cookies and find the employee helping the next in line. Again, I protested and finally got my cookies, paid for them, then forgot them as I rushed off with the 2 crying babies.

I turned around to go back for them and a kiosk worker jumped in my way to try to sell me a heat pack. I walked around her and another kiosk worker jumped in front of me and said, "whoa, where's the fire?" I walked around him while holding my arm high in the air waving him the finger! Yes, picture me in my dark blue velvet skirt, pushing a twin stroller and waving the birdie high and mighty!

I got my cookies, went to the cush Nordstrom bathroom and fed the babies, diapered them, then made my way back to Santa's line. I love Nordstrom!!

I waited about an hour and a half and the boys were starting to fuss again for more food and diaper changing. I was near tears again for all the trouble this had taken just for this photo, which seemed so important to me. When I finally made it to the front of the line Santa's helper said she was glad to see I came back. I decided to tell her exactly what I had to go through to get to the front of the line and how she could have saved me 3 hours of extra difficulty and tears that day. She stared at me blankly, then her chin quivered and her eyes watered and she turned around and ran off. I made Santa's helper cry. She ran off leaving the rest of the line stuck. We stood there not knowing what to do. Everyone waiting for Santa then got delayed because of me.

In the end I did get a great photo, though.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Remember the fruitcake?

Do you remember that fruitcake that made the rounds? I used to think that there was only one fruitcake in the world, but it was impossible for the one to make the rounds to so many homes, so I think that there may be a few fruitcakes in the world, really. Nobody eats them, or I don't think they are supposed to eat them. They just keep passing them around, regifting them. I'm not talking about the British fruitcake, like they have at weddings and holidays. We Americans have our own version and this fruitcake is like a hot potato, or like the "Old Maid" card.

Well, I saw this photo on the net:

Does that mean someone actually ate it? Well, we know one has been cut. Does this mean there is one less fruitcake in the world?

I haven't seen a fruitcake in years. My parents received it every year and did their duty by regifting it to pass it on. Who has it now, I wonder?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The cloth diapering challenge

I really wanted to cloth diaper these little guys. I was so determined that I didn't want any disposable diapers in the house and I tried to see if I could get the hospital to use cloth on the boys when they were born (they wouldn't).

I ordered cloth diapering service from Tiny Tots, learned how to do it, bought all the equipment, and felt very comfortable with my decision. I firmly believe it's the best option. It's better for the babies and better for the environment. I don't buy into the bull put out by the disposable diaper manufacturers that says the environmental impact is the same, if not worse, with cloth diapers. They say that laundering the cloth is as bad as throwing the disposables in the trash. They fail to mention that laundering the diapers can use less water and pollutants than it takes to just manufacture the disposables, and they don't include the environmental impact of packaging and delivering the cargo to the stores to sell them. They fail to mention that a disposable covered in a landfill can take at least 250 years to "biodegrade." They also fail to mention that disposables are now a possible link to rising rates of male factor infertility.

Oh, I'm making myself feel worse for using all these disposable diapers! Aack!

Dave refuses to use cloth diapers like Bum Genius that we'd have to launder ourselves. Maybe later in the game, but we are so busy with two babies that laundering the cloth would be tough, even though I'm very willing to do it.

Another option is gDiapers, though they are not the ideal option. These are sort of a combo between cloth and disposable. Dave is on the fence on these and won't decide as to whether or not to try them. Fortunately, we don't have a septic system and by what I've learned, and I could be wrong, our municipal sewage system is compatible with these diaper inserts. I don't know if our plumbing would cope, though.



We can also try 7th Generation diapers but their website has really ticked me off. Their fancy way of giving coupons is not compatible with my printer and I have to request for them to mail me printed coupons, which they send me one at a time, which defeats the purpose. I have heard that they have sent very good coupons and deals to other mothers of twins, but I have failed to reach the right people, I suppose. I don't think their website is very user-friendly, at least not to this user. I've read, too, that unless these are composted, they don't do well with biodegrading, either.


I have attempted to use the Tiny Tots prefold diapers on the boys several times over the last 2 months. They're super cute, even if they were super huge initially. I love photographing the boys in nothing but their cloth diapers.

Until recently, the cloth diapers were really big on the boys and practically engulfed them if I used the Litewrap covers. I tried without the covers but that was futile since they would soil through to their clothes and blankets without the added polyurethane covers. Also, with them being so huge, it was pushing the little guys' legs out too wide and making them so uncomfortable, not to mention added concerns about leg development (hey, I'm a first-time mom and it's my prerogative to be concerned about everything).


I tried again a few days ago and while they were still a lot bulkier than their disposable counterparts, they weren't so bad and no longer splayed out the boy's legs so badly. I used them all day and went through many changes, about one every hour or two per baby. I was pleased with how they are more absorbent with breastmilk poops, which made cleanup easier with fewer wipes. The boys seemed to be fine in them, too. By the end of the day, however, the boys had developed the worst diaper rashes I've ever seen. I was surprised, since cloth diapers are supposed to be better about these things and typically cloth diapered babies get fewer rashes.

I'm not giving up just yet, though. We still subscribe to the diaper service, though so far it has been a big huge waste of money. I'll continue for another few weeks and will try to cloth diaper starting one a day, then two a day, and so on and so forth, to see if I can build these guys little bums a tolerance to the fabric, which is more harsh than the disposable diapers. These cloth diapers aren't soft, by any means.

I hope someday that we can graduate to using all-in-ones and launder them ourselves. Actually, I am reading "Diaper Free Baby" to see about using elimination communication as an alternate method. I think I can do it with William quite easily; Ronan will be more of a challenge. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I love motherhood!


To all those that said, "you don't want kids, they're too much work!" To all those that said, "Are you sure you want children? They change your life!" To all those that said, "Just wait until you have kids..."

I waited. Boy, did I wait! Yes, they have changed my life. Yes, they are a lot of work, but not too much.

I LOVE BEING THE MOTHER OF WILLIAM AND RONAN!

I've wanted children for as long as I can remember. I've always felt that I was supposed to have children and be a mother. It broke my heart in high school when a friend said she didn't see me having children, but rather being a favorite aunt. I like being a favorite aunt (I'm the only aunt to 5 of my nieces and nephews so that is hopefully a given). Oh yes, I have loved being an aunt for 16 years but I've been heartbroken at not being a mother. Now I'm a mother and it feels so good. So right.

At the same time, I feel for my friends that want children but still struggle to conceive. I feel for all the women who are going through the struggle of infertility and especially for those who have crossed that bridge into acceptance of living child-free. I realize that could still be me, had IVF not changed my life.

Dave is a great father and we are such a happy family.

I would write more, but Ronan needs me NOW!

It is work, but it's bliss.

What a week - or two!


The last week has been rough. Dave got the lurgy that has been going around at his work. Of course, everyone there has had it or has it and nobody takes sick days so they pass it around. Dave included. In a way they think they're heroes for sticking it out and getting the job done even though they feel like crap. Most of it, though, is that they don't want to waste their precious days off being home sick when they can use them for a better purpose, to travel.

With Dave sick it meant I didn't get much of a break from the boys. I'm not really complaining, it is just hard work and I've been very busy and very tired. Poor Dave, feeling as crappy as he did, helped in whatever ways he could. We were both too nervous to have him handle the babies because they are still under 2 months old. Our pediatrician warned us that if the boys develop a fever before they are 2 months old then the testing would be invasive and include a spinal tap, just to be safe. We'd rather be safe and keep these boys in a bubble, but since we can't do that, we just try to keep the germs away the best that we can. When Dave did need to handle them, he washed his hands well and wore a mask. Again, poor Dave. That mask irritated his skin and made it difficult for him to breathe, and he got very little precious time with his little guys.

The boys are 8 weeks today, though, and just days away from 2 months! Dave's also feeling much better now.

I'm finally feeling more like myself. When they say it takes at least 6 to 8 weeks to recover from a c-section, that is very true in my case. I still have a lot of nerve damage (me and my nervous system, joy of joys) and have odd sensations when anything touches below my belly button. I occasionally feel jabs of pain as the nerves remap. Fortunately, the area was numb due to the nerve damage until just a few weeks ago. That didn't mean I had no pain, but all the times the doctors and nurses had to touch the incision, I didn't feel it much.

The cloth diapering isn't going very well. That's another post to come, since it has been quite the story. Essentially, they were way too big for the boys until recently. Now that they fit, I was excited to use nothing but cloth diapers the other day and it went really well, at least until both boys developed the worst diaper rash I'd ever seen! I'm not giving up just yet. Once they've recovered from the rashes I'll try again, starting with one a day for a few days, then two, then three, and so on. If that fails, I'd like to try gDiapers. Dave still is adamant against using any cloth diapers we need to launder ourselves and he's on the fence about gDiapers. I'm also looking into elimination communication as an alternative.

We took the babies on their first trip to Grandma's house on Sunday. We were only there for about 4 hours but it took us all weekend to prepare. I caught up on laundry and Dave got the car cleaned and fueled. Dave packed our diaper bag as well as a car "spare" bag just in case we got stuck overnight (the car isn't in the best shape and doesn't have a heater). I bought some warm fleecy outfits for the little guys (with all the baby clothes we had, we had nothing that warm for 0-3 months). It took us 4 hours to get ready for the day and we got to her house an hour later than planned.

Jack and Chris were there and Jack took loads of pictures of the boys. I can't wait to see them. Jack has such a way about him that he, again, made me feel comfortable enough to bare pink parts and breastfeed in front of him. I just think that breastfeeding these guys is such a beautiful thing. I love looking at William's and Ronan's faces as they nurse. Dave took a lot of photos, too.

Daniel prepared us a nice lunch and we felt very spoiled. Before we knew it, it was time to drive home. It was a good dry run for Thanksgiving.

The boys have their 2-month pediatrician appointment soon and they'll get shots. I'm not looking forward to it. I'm sure it will hurt me more than it hurts them.

Feedings at night are getting so much better. I've now been nursing them throughout the night and they are actually sleeping a good 5-6 hour stretch (nearly 7 hours a couple of times) several nights a week. Sadly, sometimes they do their long stretches opposite each other. We are pretty strict about our night-time routine, though, and usually get that long stretch from 11pm until 4-5am.

I'm still tired.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tomorrow

I don't care how you vote, just vote. The democratic process works better when more people participate.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Getting political

I know I'm opening a big can of worms by writing about this, especially now. There are a lot of people that agree with my views, but there are also a lot who disagree. It can get ugly. That's why I normally keep my views to myself. However, I have this strange compulsion, given everything going on these days, to express myself more openly this year.

So, I'll start with the presidential election. I will be voting for Obama. To be honest, I liked Hillary Clinton's platform better than Obama's when it was back in the days of the primary election. I was also very bitter about Obama's campaign calling me so often and sending people to my house to ask for donations. I gave a small donation once at Target, but I was reluctant to do so, even then. The only reason I did was to promote change. However, I believe there are many better organizations that could use the money. I believe if a person donates to one cause, then the other causes won't get that donation. It all depends on where your heart is and my heart goes out to children with cancer, orphans in 3rd world countries, and children affected by fires.

Barack Obama won the primary election and though I disagree with him about his health care plan, I believe it is better than McCain's. I also don't believe McCain's bull about Obama raising everyone's taxes. The president only has so much power, anyway. It takes a lot of people and a lot of power to make things happen. Dave and I don't make over $250,000 a year, anyway. Besides, if we did, we wouldn't mind paying extra taxes if we knew it would help people get much-needed health care. Why must people be so greedy? I really don't mind a certain amount of socialism because at some point, most people need some help. Sure, there are some abusers, but for the most part, I still have tremendous faith in humankind and believe that we should be willing to help others. Christ would.

Dave made an interesting comment the other day as we were driving along looking at all of the political signs on people's yards. Dave said he wanted a sign that said, "How would Jesus vote?" Maybe all Christians should ask themselves that question. I found that very interesting considering Dave is not religious.

Which brings me to Proposition 8. This is a very controversial issue here in California. This is one that has caused a lot of arguments and divisions. Proposition 8 is for an amendment to the California Constitution that would legally define marriage as between a man and a woman once and for all. This would make same sex marriages illegal in this state for good. Now, it seems to me that those who oppose gay marriage, oppose it on moral grounds because they believe homosexuality is a sin. This makes this issue a religious issue. That means, to me, that this is clearly an issue of church and state. I believe firmly in a separation of church and state.

I'm not gay, so why should I care if gay people can marry? I believe that all people, regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation should have the same equal rights. To me, denying homosexual people the right to marry is similar to denying multiracial couples the right of marriage. Besides, supporting same sex marriages also supports monogamy, even if that monogamy is between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. At least that's a step in the right "moral" direction, right?

Essentially, though, it's not my place to judge, so I will be voting NO on Proposition 8. I have some neighbors who have YES on Proposition 8 signs in their yards. I wish they hadn't have done that. Now I look at those neighbors and think of them as homophobes. I think there is a reason for homophobia and bigotry (hidden homosexual tendencies, perhaps), and I believe it's a great personal weakness.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Baby time

In "The Chronicles of Narnia," there is another world with a time of its own. In Narnia, a lot of time passes while only moments pass in our own world. While this is fiction, there are many time dimensions that really exist in our own world.

My dad seems to have a time dimension of his own. People that know him would call it "Calder time." I've been accused of living on Calder time, too, though in my defense there are often factors out of my control and it's just my fate to get the blame when it really should fall elsewhere (I normally don't have it in me to explain, I just suck it up most of the time).

When my dad moved to Guatemala we discovered that Calder time was really "Guatemala time." I discovered there was a method to it. If someone says "morning," they really mean noonish. If they say "noon," they really mean sometime in the early evening. If they say "tomorrow," it means sometime probably that week and "next week" means any time that month. If a person says they can do a job in 5 minutes, it will take a couple of hours. If they say they can do it in a couple of hours, it is an all-day affair. Something that takes a full day will take a full weekend and anything more than a couple of days will take all week. Likewise, a job that takes a week will take at least a month.

I've recently discovered a new time dimension. It's "baby time." Ever since the boys were born I've been living in it. Dave and my mom have visited a great deal in baby time, too. In baby time, time passes in a strange way. One hour may feel like several, or it may feel like 20 minutes. Baby time isn't nearly as predictable as Guatemala time or Calder time. Sleeping in baby time is odd, too. 3 hours of sleep will seem like 8 or may seem like only 30 minutes. Even though the babies are typically on a 3-hour feeding schedule, sometimes we finish one feeding cycle just in time for the next one to begin.

Dave escapes baby time every day when he goes to work. He also spends a lot of time in his "cave," which is my term for our office. I don't think baby time exists in there unless there is also a baby in there. I live in baby time 24/7 - but I'm not sure if 24/7 is a term that really can exist in baby time.

I don't mind baby time so much. I've learned to adjust and live in the babies' time zone. I go with their flow, feed them when they are hungry, change them when they are mucky, and take care of myself when I am able to - when they sleep or sometimes when they are eating. It's easy for me to find computer time since I am pretty much tethered to the couch with babies on me most of the time. I'm tandem breastfeeding right now (for those not familiar with this, it means I've got both babies on my EZ2 Nurse pillow with each baby on a breast). I'm able to type when doing this, and this is often when I eat, drink, and sometimes sleep if I'm tired enough. Finding the time and ability to shower or prepare myself a meal is more difficult because that requires both babies to be content and sleeping at the SAME TIME. While I have done well to get the little guys to eat at the same time, it's not so easy to get them to sleep at the same time. There is usually one awake at any given time. If they are awake and left alone, there is usually a certain amount of crying or escalated screaming.

Fortunately, baby time is somewhat predictable. I can pretty much guess when they will want to eat and can somewhat plan around that, provided they both sleep afterward. So, for the most part, I'm tethered to at least one baby most of the time. I have a baby sling and have discovered the benefits of wearing a baby while trying to get other things done - adult things (get your mind out of the gutter - I'm referring to doing dishes, laundry, and basic household tasks).

The biggest problem I encounter with baby time is that the rest of the world is NOT in this time dimension, nor do many people understand it, even if they themselves have spent some time in baby time. I think many people visit baby time without even realizing it. Even Dave won't seem to realize he was in baby time - on occasion he'll say, "but that was 8 hours ago" when it was really only 2 or 3 or maybe he'll remark about how the babies just ate 30 minutes ago without realizing that a full 3 hours has passed and it took that long to change them, wash the bottles, and prepare for the next feeding.

We've been blessed with so many offers of help. The help is always needed and appreciated. The only problem with the help is that the helpers are not living in baby time and to accept the help, I need to try to make baby time mix with real world time. I need to make myself available to answer the phone or the door on real world time, even though the babies might be hungry, tired, or dirty. It's tough for me to talk on the phone, let alone return phone calls. It makes me feel like I'm rude, but I do the best that I can. It's hard for me to get out since I need to make sure both babies are fed and changed first, and make sure it's all done quickly so that I have some time before the next cycle begins. With the healing c-section and my bad arm, it's also difficult to get out since I can barely carry one car seat on its own without a baby, let alone 2 with babies, not to mention handling the stroller (getting it in and out of the car).

When helpers do come, it means I can't take a nap when it's convenient and I have to schedule my naps, meals, and showers on real-world time around the schedule of those that are coming over. We have Carmen, a great housekeeper, come twice a week for now, to help out. We need her help or the house might fall apart, but it requires a lot of effort from me. I have to get the house tidy or she'll try to put things away and they'll either end up in the wrong places where I'll have to do it over again when she's gone, or she'll be always asking me where things go, which means I might as well do it myself. Her time is much better used doing the things that we just don't have the time or ability to do right now - like real cleaning and not general tidying up.

So, again, twice a week I have to try to make baby time mix with real world time as I try to get the house tidy enough to keep things out of Carmen's way. I have to be showered by the time she gets here or I don't get a shower. Likewise with eating. I feel awkward eating in front of her, as I have discovered that she often hasn't eaten by the time she gets here and if I make myself a sandwich, I feel compelled to make her a sandwich, too, which is hard on me and also isn't a very good use of her time or our money.

She is very helpful, however, when the babies need attention and I could use an extra pair of hands. She sometimes comes into baby time and helps with a feeding when we are doing a bottle feeding (obviously, she can't help much with breastfeeding). She is great at picking up and rocking a baby when both are crying.

In this way, help is bittersweet. It's necessary and it gives me that little extra something I need to be the best mother I can be to 2 babies at the same time, but alternatively it causes me some stress on those days when I have to work in 2 time dimensions at the same time.

I have double the babies, why can't I be double the person and have one of me in baby time and the other in real-world time?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One month old today!

The boys are 1/3 through their "fourth trimester!" In a way, it's kind of sad. They're quickly growing past being newborns and becoming full babies, then from babies to boys and boys to men.

They're really growing so fast! They've been outgrowing some of their clothes by the week and now I need to do some sorting so that it's easy to quickly grab an outfit that fits.

Ronan has lost some of his fuzzy hair in a receding hairline pattern. It's cute because it makes him look much older and wiser, in an odd sort of way. William is starting to do the same.

Ronan may fit a colicky pattern now, but the jury is still out on that one. Thank goodness for "Happiest Baby on the Block!" Although, the "cuddle" cure only works until I put him back down, then he screams all over again. This makes nights very difficult for both Dave and me, but especially me. I'm trying to take on the night shift on my own so that Dave can get some sleep so he can be fully alert at his job. You see, his job requires "lerts." Really, he is the sole breadwinner for now and he needs to focus on his job. My job is caring for these little guys. It is not likely I'll be able to "return" to that job at the TSA. First of all, the job pays less than child care would cost and even if we found a workaround for that, there is no way I would be able to work outside the home if I'm kept up all night by screaming babies.

The boys are still asking to be fed every 2-3 hours. Occasionally we'll get a 4-5 hour stretch between feedings but then they make up for that stretch in the day or the next night by wanting food every 90 minutes for awhile.

I still breastfeed, pump, and bottle feed. In the bottles, I give them whatever I pump and supplement with formula when I run low on breast milk.

I think William may be smiling. He smiles back if I or Dave smile at him. Of course, it could be gas. At this early stage it is tough to say.

Ronan is getting a lot better at latching on. That's a big relief to me.

William may have some issues with reflux. He projectile vomits 1-5 times a day. I'm not talking "spit-up," which for some reason many people assume that's what I mean since I'm a first-time mom. I know the difference between spit-up, which is common, and full-out vomiting. Poor William. It shoots out his mouth and nose and comes up in copious amounts, or seemingly so, until it seems his stomach is empty again. He handles it well, though. Once he's cleaned up he's got his fist back at his mouth asking for more food.

William also still struggles with a nasty diaper rash. It seems his food, if he keeps it down, passes too quickly through him. He has liquidy acidic poops. Sorry if it's TMI for you. This concerns us, though. The poor little guy hurts and isn't gaining weight as rapidly as his brother. We're very attentive and do what we can to ensure that he continues to keep the calories in him and keep him clean so his bum bum won't hurt so bad.

They're both strong and seem physically advanced for their age. Their legs are strong, so are their necks. They also have amazing dexterity in their hands for being so darned little and young.

It's tough to put them in pants/trousers because both of them curl their legs up and kick a lot, which results in them pulling their legs up in the legs of the pants, then they kick and either pull the pants off or if they are in a sleeper, then they pull the sleeper down, which puts pressure on their neck and makes them terribly uncomfortable, then they scream. Ronan is better about this than William and I can occasionally get away with putting sleepers on him as long as the fit is really good. I try with William from time to time. I put pants on him if they don't have feet sewn in. Today he's wearing pants with feet and I put some socks on him under the pants and the socks seem to be keeping his feet where they belong, in the feet of his pants.

Both of them have troubles being on their backs when they sleep right after eating. They get all congested and have difficulty breathing, which results in me worrying and not being able to sleep. I have found that it helps to put them in boppy pillows so that they are elevated. I think we may need to get them sleep positioners (recommended by their pediatrician).

We've had to deviate from a lot of our hopes and plans. We still try cloth diapers regularly but the diapers and covers are just too big for them, still, and push their legs out too wide. With the covers on, the diapers cover from their belly buttons to about their knees. The boys hate being soiled, too, which results in them having to be changed about once every hour in the cloth diapers, which doesn't work too well for me getting sleep. I'm so sleep deprived as it is. While I keep trying the cloth diapers and hope to make them work someday, we are using disposables for the most part for now, which gives me some guilt about the environmental damage, not to mention the effects on the boys (excessive heat, diaper rash, chemicals, etc.). Well, we have a couple of years of diapering for me to make that transition to cloth - and we have a time commitment to the diaper service which we will fulfill so hopefully we'll get this worked out by the time that runs out.

I also swore I'd never take the babies to bed with me. Well, I don't seem to have much choice in that, again, if I want to get any sleep. Sometimes it's the only way to get Ronan to calm down and the only way to keep William from choking on his own vomit. For now I put their boppy pillows on the bed next to me (they are kept on the bed by the arms that run along the sides of the top of the bed so no worries about them falling off) and put the babies in those after each feeding. If I remember to wake up about 1/2 after they fall asleep then I put them back in their cages (cribs). Ronan seldom will stay in his cage unless he's very deeply asleep when he's put in there.

As I mentioned earlier about the sleep positioners, that's another thing I didn't want to use. I didn't want to have anything in the crib except a baby swaddled nicely. The boys don't often like being swaddled and will scream and writhe until I let their hands go free. They escape from any blanket swaddle. We now use Swaddleme wraps by Kiddopotamus and those work well for a few hours, but they have almost outgrown those. I recently ordered some Miracle Blankets from Amazon with hopes those will work. For now we have to put rolled up receiving blankets on each side of each baby to keep them from rolling and we secure a warm blanket over them to keep them warm.

Dave and I feel like we're coming down with some bug. Not fun and worrisome because I worry the boys will get it. Their pediatrician said that if they get a fever in the first couple of months they'll need to get a spinal tap. We need to avoid that - only one month to go until I can worry a little less.

I worry most of all about SIDS. I'm terrified of it and there is a part of me that thinks since I have two babies, I'm at double the risk of losing one to SIDS. A big part of my worry stems from the risks we are taking due to necessity (vinyl covered mattresses, blankets in their cribs, sleeping on boppies, sleeping on the bed with me from time to time). My family has lost 2 children - my brother John to cancer at the age of 7 and my niece Halie Marie to a fire at the age of 2. A part of me feels like this is a special curse that will affect my children and it scares me beyond anything. I love these little boys so much.

They are barely sleeping. I'm hoping I can get a bit of a shower, maybe a nap, or a little time outside in the sunshine. Oh, and maybe get a little laundry done, wash the bottles, wash my bedding since William threw up all over it, etc.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We made it out!

Dave and I took the boys to Oktoberfest in downtown Campbell today. It took us about 2 hours to get ready and out the door, but it was really worth it. We were only out for about 2 hours but still, totally worth it.

I'm still very sore from the c-section but I was able to walk the stretch of the main street and look at the booths on both sides. There were some nice interesting things, but we didn't buy anything.

The boys got a lot of happy smiles and questions. I felt so proud and just so elated to be out. One guy carrying a couple of beers asked Dave if they were twins and Dave said, "yes." A moment later he told me what he wanted to say, "no, you've been drinking too much and you're seeing double."

They are going through a growth spurt so it has been tough to get sleep. William wanted feeding every 90-120 minutes instead of his usual 3-hours, but that was better by this afternoon. Tonight when I was giving him his bottle, he threw up, projectile vomited, all over himself, the couch, and me. Poor little guy. I've e-mailed his pediatrician about the vomiting. He's done it quite a lot and it worries me that he might be suffering from reflux issues.

Last week I had daily visits from the ladies in the Relief Society at church. They were all so nice and watched the boys while I was able to shower and do a few things for myself. A couple of women brought us dinner, which was also very helpful.

Our friends Erin, Anne, Mark and Stephanie have also provided dinners for us, and Tony and Rachel brought us a nice dessert last week. It's all so extremely helpful. Dave and I are just so busy with these guys and learning how to be parents, me while I'm recovering from what was a very difficult physical experience for me. I keep wondering when the c-section incision will stop hurting. It is getting better, but just not as fast as I had hoped. I am much better from the PIH, though. My blood pressure has been a lot better this week. It's still not where it was before I was pregnant, but it is no longer considered high and I am not taking the blood pressure medications anymore.

I'm on my own now this week. My visiting teacher from church offered to get more visitors and helpers for the week but I decided to try it on my own and see how I do. We are getting the hang of this.

Thank goodness for boppy pillows, Playtex nursing bras, and the EZ2 Nurse pillow! Those have been the most helpful items we have through this experience.

The boys are a bit fussy right now and Dave is holding William while I hold Ronan. We hope they go to sleep soon so we can sleep. I try not to bother Dave on work nights so that he can be clear-headed at his job. He's the sole provider for this family for now and in this economic climate, his job is so extremely important to us. The nights are very hard on me, though. I dread them, really.

The love I feel for these boys is immense. I marvel that they are just at the beginning of their lives. I think about how long it has been since my infancy and all that has happened in my life. I hope they don't suffer as deep of sadness as I have, I pray that they make the right decisions and don't slip into the pitfalls we see all around us. I worry so much about all the different paths they might take. Part of me feels selfish for bringing them into this world that is full of so much strife, but then I think of all the goodness that is in this world, too, if we just open our eyes to see it.

I was feeling this elation today as we were out. I was watching the smiles of others as they looked at little William and Ronan. The boys are magic. They bring such happiness and joy to Dave and me, and to all those that are around them. Babies are magic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Motherhood

The last 3 weeks have been wonderful and hard. I'm having a difficult time recovering. My c-section incision still hurts, sometimes more than others. The constant getting up to care for the boys isn't helping. The more I use my abdominal muscles, the worse it hurts, but I'm sure it's probably helping my belly to be stronger in the end.

My doctor reminds me that there is a reason they say it's at least a 6-8 week recovery, plus I have to also recover from a twin pregnancy, as well as the PIH. It has been hard, but the love I feel for the boys overshadows a lot of the pain.

Ronan is my cuddly one and William is my curious one. Both seem physically advanced to me. They have been rolling over onto their sides for a couple of weeks now. Both try to hold their own bottles and today William actually pulled his pacifier out of his mouth with his fingers! They have pretty good neck and leg strength. They are also growing so fast, they are growing out of clothes faster than I can keep up the laundry.

Mothering twins is hard and it's rewarding. I'm so tired that it is hindering my recovery and Dave and I have both had some sort of stomach bug the last few days. As difficult as these early weeks may be, I see the blessings above all else. On one hand I can't wait for some time to pass until the boys are sleeping through the night, or at least for about 4 hours at a time. On the other hand, I see them growing so fast and see my little babies getting bigger and bigger and realize how very precious this time is in the moment. I'm trying to enjoy every moment, even though it's difficult at times.

The night time feedings are the most difficult. They have gotten easier as we have figured out how to streamline them to save time and make more time for blessed sleep. I bought some nursing bras at Mervyns on clearance for $5 each! Shame they only had 3 - so I need to do laundry more often. I leak so much I can only get away with wearing each bra for about a day before they feel icky. They aren't exactly my size but they are just slightly bigger and the perfect size for fitting my breast pump in there for hands-free pumping. So now at night we make 6 bottles of formula (I'm still not making enough milk for all feedings so they get my milk by day and formula at night). When it's time to feed the little guys I pump while feeding both babies in tandem. I set them up in boppy pillows to make this easier. It has improved feedings so that they take about 40-60 minutes per feeding instead of 2+ hours. I used to breastfeed them, then let them sleep 20 minutes while I pumped, then bottle feed them, then change their diapers and then cuddle them back to sleep. The new system is so much better, but still tiring.

In the day they still breastfeed, I still pump, and I still give them a bottle, but in the daytime they get nothing but breast milk. At least I can do that for them. I'm taking Fenugreek to help improve supply and it seems to work but it makes me smell like curry. Funny, huh?

William is crying so it's time for another cycle to begin. Thank goodness the boys are on pretty much the same schedule!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Work status

I forgot to update about the TSA job. I showed up that Monday as directed. I felt awful and apparently looked it. I was told by a few people that day about how ill I looked. Nice of them, really.

So I went in and filled out the paperwork for maternity leave. After that I was sent home with apologies for keeping me there so long. I went home and slept most of the rest of the day. The next day I became a mother.

Incidentally, the job pays less than it would cost for child care for 2 babies.

All is well

The boys had their first pediatrician appointment this week. They're doing very well! They've each gained about a pound over their birth weight. The doctor said at this point they just hope to see the babies at their birth weight. She said it's a testament to our feeding and caring for them. It's a testament to our lack of sleep.

I'm improving, too. My platelets are up and liver enzymes and blood pressure are down. I saw Dr. B. today and my incision is healing nicely, though it still hurts like buggery. She said I can stop taking the blood pressure medication. I need to keep monitoring my blood pressure for a week or so, and if it's good then this PIH concern will be a thing of the past (until/unless I'm ever pregnant again).

Dave is taking good care of us all and despite the pain, illness, and lack of sleep, I LOVE being a mom! I love these boys so much and miss them terribly when I'm separated from them - even if it's just for an hour or so.

William is addicted to the "booby prize" (breastfeeding) and Ronan is getting better at latching on. Ronan sometimes gets really frustrated with it, especially if he's very hungry. I'm still unable to keep up with their needs for milk, but we only need to supplement 3 feedings/baby/day.

In an effort to get more sleep at night, I give the 3 formula feedings at night so that cuts out about 20-40 minutes of breastfeeding time from each cycle. The boys wear out from breastfeeding before they get what they need from me so every breastfeeding session is followed by giving them a bottle until they are satisfied. They fuss a lot if they don't get enough.

A friend advised switching to expressed breast milk for the night feedings for the sedative effects. I'd love to do that but Dave pointed out that it would mean mixing breast milk with formula during the day and William's digestive system doesn't tolerate that - he throws it all up when we do that. I don't want to stop breastfeeding, either, and want to continue to put them to the breast at the beginnings of the day feedings. I also pump after every feeding and get about 5 ounces per session, but it's not quite enough for all of their needs.

Ideally, I'll make more milk and the babies will get to a point where they have the stamina to stay latched on long enough to get what they need from me.

I feel lucky to be able to do this much, though, as I know this is hard for a lot of mothers.

Dave returns to work on Monday. I'll be on my own. I'm nervous but I'm sure it will be okay.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Photos!

There isn't much time to post right now, but I really want to show these guys off. Here are some photos!
























Friday, October 3, 2008

Out of the hospital, again.

I have more photos of the babies and I can't wait to post them! I have to post a status first, though, as the last week has been a difficult one.

The babies and I were released from the hospital last Saturday night and I thought I was doing well for having had twins by c-section. I have no previous experience with this kind of thing so I didn't realize that my health was still not quite stable. I shouldn't have left the hospital so early.

On Sunday afternoon I felt even worse. I felt weak, weary, and just bleh. By Sunday night I had the chills/shakes so bad it was tough to walk just to the bedroom. Every few steps and I was racked with chills that brought me nearly to my knees. After each spell I'd pull myself up and go another few steps. My mom saw this and helped me to bed and made me take my blood pressure and temperature. My bp was 186/102 and my temperature was 100.2. My normal body temperature is a bit on the low end (I'm cold, hehe) in the 97 range so this was a bit of a fever for me.

After resting about an hour the chills got better and my bp was down to 156/94 - still high but not as scary high. My temperature was down to 99.5. I should have gone to the ER but didn't relish the idea of spending the night in the ER waiting room.

The babies had an appointment in the Newborn Club at Kaiser on Monday morning so I mentioned my health issues to the nurse at that appointment. She said normally she'd send me to the ER but that she was concerned the ER wait would raise my bp so she advised me to see a clinician asap. I did that and since my doctor was on vacation, I got in with another doctor in her clinic, Dr. K. He was a real ass.

My mom went with me and I told Dr. K. the rundown of symptoms: high bp, sudden swelling in my legs and hands, elevated heart rate (over 100), elevated temperature, dizziness, funky vision, chills/shakes, and a headache. He didn't seem to take me seriously and told me that with Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (PIH), the symptoms usually go away after delivery - as if just telling me that would suddenly make the symptoms go away. He asked the usual questions about health history and laughed when I told him I have RSD.

He asked about the blood pressure readings and when I told him I took the bp at home, he said, "so it isn't valid." Nice. Fortunately, the medical assistant took my bp before the appointment and it was 156/97. He called her in and she showed him her notes and he started to take me more seriously. He then took my bp and said it was 160/100. After that he checked my incision and said it looked fine, then he wanted to do a pelvic examination, something I learned later was not necessary nor normal for this situation. During the pelvic exam he seemed to have forgotten about the big sewn-up hole in my belly because with one hand inside of me he pushed on my belly with the other hand. Oh how I screamed!!!

He left the room for a few minutes and when he returned he told me that he didn't have much experience with this sort of thing so he consulted with another doctor. He said that he and the other doctor agreed that I needed to go straight to the ER and that they'd probably admit me. He said he'd call the ER in advance to let them know I was on my way.

He didn't.

I got to the ER where the person behind the counter put down my primary complaint as "swollen feet." That's going to get the situation taken seriously, uh huh. She also took my bp and it was pretty high then, too. In the triage my bp was high there, too, but they still thought I was there from swollen feet. By the way, by this time my feet were pretty much gone to the swelling, which was all the way up to my thighs and included my knees.

After over 2 hours in the waiting room they took me in and hooked me up. I still had to wait over an hour for a doctor, then even more hours before Dr. P. came in from Labor & Delivery. Dr. P. was the resident that was in on my c-section with Dr. M. She told me that my blood tests revealed that my liver enzymes were elevated and based on that and my bp I needed to be admitted for observation and treatment.

Fortunately, they put me back into the Mother/Baby unit I stayed in after having the babies. They said I could bring the babies in with me provided that someone else stayed with me in the room, too, to take care of them. They made it very clear that I was the patient, not the babies, and that they could not help me care for the little guys. I had to sign a form that said I understood this very clearly.

I didn't have the boys with me that first night and I don't know which I did more, slept or cried. I was scared and just wanted to get better so I could be a mommy. I missed my little guys and my husband so much. I was so grateful my mom was still around and she and Dave took such good care of William and Ronan while I was away. Dave brought the babies to me on Tuesday and they stayed with me until my release last night. Dave stayed with me most of the time, too, sleeping on a recliner that was in the room. It was a tough ordeal for both of us. Essentially, the whole family lived in that hospital for about 8 days since the birth. We're all glad to be home again!

Dr. P. told me she thought my symptoms were more consistent with HELLP Syndrome. It's still unclear, though, which type of PIH I have been dealing with, but we know it's rare to have the symptoms persist after delivery. Good for me to have another rare health issue. I sure wish the delivery and recovery could have been as good as the "magic" pregnancy.

The boys are magic, though. All the nurses at the mother/baby unit were so sweet to them and to me. Some would come in just to see the boys. Dave was able to sleep at home on Wednesday night instead of in the recliner - the nurse was nice about me being on my own and she even helped me with a diaper change. I just love the nurses that cared for me. They were all so sweet and generous with their care.

After trying a couple of different blood pressure medications they were able to bring my bp down to a normal range. Also, the blood tests revealed that my liver enzymes were improving, too. They still aren't in the normal range but are headed that way. I have an appointment with Dr. B. this afternoon and need to have another appointment next week and probably weekly until we are certain that the condition is resolved. Hopefully, I'll get to go off the bp medication in a matter of weeks, though Dr. P. warned me that the effects could be ongoing for much longer, maybe for life.

The important thing is that I'm doing much better and that I and the boys are all home with Dave. Dave has proven to be such a great father and he's been a wonderful husband through the whole ordeal. I'm so happy to be married to him. The boys are lucky to have such a great dad.

I'll post again soon with photos and an update on motherhood. I love it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We are proud parents!



Yesterday was such chaos, but we have wonderful babies to show for it!! They're perfect.

I went for the NST and my bp was still high. My urine tested positive for proteins so they called it preeclampsia and sent me over th L&D right away. A lot of good that did. They were so full I had to wait over 2 hours in the waiting room for a room, then I waited another 3 hours in an observation room before things got started.

I had a couple of serious panic attacks prior to the surgery, but the surgery itself was pretty easy. It just felt like turbulence. ;)

William Arthur was born at 8:58pm weighing 5 pounds 1o.5 ounces, 19 inches. Ronan Bryn soon followed weighing 6 pounds 1 ounce and also 19 inches. So much for u/s weight guesstimates - but they were within a pound of the estimates. :)

They are perfect and doing very well.

I'm doing fine but still having some issues with blood pressure and some issues with bleeding - there may be a problem with the incision. Both problems will probably resolve in time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Close, but no cigar

My blood pressure is still elevated. Fortunately, I'm showing no other signs of preeclampsia. Apparently I was supposed to go to L&D on Friday due to the bp but nobody told me. I did have to go in yesterday, though. I was told on Friday to start taking my bp at home daily and to call L&D if it stayed high. That's exactly what I did. I called yesterday and they said to come in. When I got there the doctor there asked why I didn't show up on Friday. Interesting.

Anyway, my bp won't go very far down. This morning it was 156/101. In all readings recently the systolic won't go below 140ish and the diastolic stays pretty much above 90.

After several hours in L&D and some lab work, they said that the lab work is still good and that the only issue so far is the blood pressure, but that it is a sign that the pregnancy is putting a strain on my body. I was there for about 7 hours. After they started talking about me going home I ate a granola bar out of my bag. Ten minutes later the doctor said that he would like to recommend a c-section that night. He said since I'm passed 37 weeks, and that since my bp wouldn't go down, there is a health risk involved and that I should probably plan to deliver soon. If it weren't for that granola bar I might have had the babies by now. He said they would have had to wait 8 hours after that granola bar since it wasn't a complete emergency. He said since we had to wait anyway, he sent me home with advice to call Dr. B. and discuss earlier delivery options (sooner than October 8th).

So, I showed up for work this morning. I had my note from Dr. B. and also from the L&D doctor and they had me fill out the paperwork for immediate maternity leave. After that they sent me home.

Dr. B. is off work today so unless there is an emergency, the babies aren't coming today. It's a day to day thing, though, now, and only a matter of a short time.

I'm glad it worked out this way. I wasn't too keen on the doctor last night. He was nice enough, but most of our discussions and his advice came third party from the resident or the nurses on duty. They would come in and tell me what he said, then they would go and tell him what I said, and back and forth like that. Also, when he came in to check me out, he didn't listen much to me or the nurse assisting. He checked my cervix, which is showing some effacement but no dilation. he said that he definitely felt twin-a was head down. I got really excited about that and said, "really?" He said, yes, definitely a head. Why?" I told him that just a few days ago twin-a was breech. He left the room without a word.

For about 15 minutes I was excited that twin-a turned the right direction and thought I may get out of that c-section after all. He returned, though, again without a word, dragging an ultrasound machine with him. I tried talking to him but he remained silent as he put super cold gel on my stomach and proceeded to perform an ultrasound. It all looked funky on the screen and he ummed and awed. I asked what he was looking at and he said, "it's called a breech. That must have been a really hard bum or hip I felt." Then he took the ultrasound machine and again, left without a word.

I'm really hoping Dr. B. can do the c-section!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The NST appointment

Just a quick one to say that everything went very well with the NST. My blood pressure is up again, though, and now I am supposed to take it regularly to make sure it doesn't go up and stay up.

Dr. B. called and explained that if they schedule the c-section for anytime before 39 weeks they had to do an amniocentesis and she assumed I didn't want that. She's right. She said she'd do her best to find me something a few days sooner and with her. Here's hoping!

Shit storm

Just before I left for my NST I got a call from the HR person at the TSA, my employing agency. Basically, since going on workers' compensation, they've had 4 years to try to find me a suitable job within my restrictions. Well, she wanted me to come in to discuss a possible job.

I met with her at 1pm and she really put me on the spot. She explained that the job was for receptionist. Fine, as long as it's within my restrictions. The hours were good, full time but early from 7:30 to 4:30. Great. Starting Monday. What the heck?!?

She thought my due date was late October and figured I could put in a few weeks until my due date. Oh my gosh!! She had no clue about twin pregnancies. I explained a bit to her that my "twin due date" is actually a week from today and that being 37 weeks pregnant with twins, I really wasn't sure my OB would clear me to work. She wouldn't give me time to clear it with Dr. B. She wanted an answer right then and there (wolf!).

Basically, the way federal workers' compensation works, is that the agency has first dibs at trying to employ me. If I decline that offer, then that's pretty much it, workers' compensation owes me nothing more. If I decline, it also means that my workers' compensation benefits would likely suffer. Besides, the economy is crap. I need a job to go to after I'm ready to return to work after a sufficient maternity leave. I've been wanting a job and looking for a job for a long time. I just didn't think one would turn up right now. What timing!

So, I told her I would accept but that I needed to take maternity leave starting next week. I told her I'd work a day or two, maybe more depending on how I felt and what my doctor said, but she wouldn't accept that. She pretty much made me feel obligated to fill out that form saying "reject" and gave me pretty much no time to mull it over or consult "my people" (my husband, vocational counselor, doctor, and claims examiner).

I went home and felt really horrible and duped. Dave was also terribly upset. We were so worried that a big mistake had been made. Also, the job she offered me on paper was an airport checkpoint job not within my restrictions - not the receptionist job she offered me verbally. It was all fishy.

I talked to my people and after they talked to their people, I was advised to take the receptionist job, show up for 1 full day of work, then submit for maternity leave. The HR person talked to her people and found out that I could actually do that. I told her I would be there Monday and that's exactly what I am going to do. Dr. B. wrote me my note.

Now all I have to do is make it through Monday without having babies.

They're not coming out

I've been crying and stressing over this so much since yesterday that I decided that they boys just aren't coming out. They can stay in my tummy. It's fun to have them there, anyway.

It's just gotten too complicated and scary now, the whole prospect of the delivery and when it might happen. I've spent too much emotion worrying about it that I'm done. I just will keep these guys inside. That's it. I'll stay pregnant.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's never easy

Dr. B. got back to me and told me her schedule is completely booked and so far she'll be unable to do my c-section. The only chance I have for getting her is if I spontaneously go into labor on her shift at L&D. I've asked her for her schedule, hoping she'll give it to me along with some tips for stimulating labor without doing anything risky (I'm wary of herbs, ointments, etc.). I just want to know what days I'll be going for some long walks. The only shift I know of that she has, as I mentioned, is tomorrow night and that's a little too early. Anything after this weekend would be good.

She has me scheduled for the first appointment she could find with someone good. She's got me scheduled with a perinatologist on October 8th! While I'm glad it will be a perinatologist, I'm just afraid of that date. That will put me 2 days prior to 40 weeks. While it is possible I can make it that long without going into labor, it's not likely nor is it appealing. I'm soooo going to be hurting by then and it could be risky for the babies to go 2 weeks over twin-term.

So what it's really looking like is that I'll probably go into labor and get whatever random doctor is at L&D at the time, and possibly have an emergency-c. If I go into labor I also risk baby feet going into the birth canal, which can also make the procedure riskier.

On top of that, my mom had made herself available to help us based on the 38-week twin due date. She has to go back to work on October 8th.

Yikes! What a bummer. Looks like I need to continue taking it easy and I was so enjoying having restrictions lifted.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No news

I e-mailed Dr. B. yesterday afternoon about scheduling the c-section and I haven't heard back from her. That's unusual. She usually gets back to me within 24 hours. I'm going nuts wondering when it will be. My guess is that she may be waiting until Friday to see how the NST goes. If it doesn't go well, they would have me deliver that day, anyway, which puts me at Dr. B.'s shift that night - but scary short notice Batman! Not that you get much notice with labor, but I'm still freaked out over the whole surgery thing.

The last NST went very well, though. The nurse performing the test said that she rarely sees such good tests with twins. The ultrasound yesterday was also excellent so all indications are that things will be good on Friday, too. My next appointment with Dr. B. isn't until next Thursday and it was booked with words from her and the nurse, "if you make it that far." Still, knowing Dr. B., she'll probably want to see if we can do this in the 38th+ week, since that would be best for the babies.

Stephanie and I took advantage of her taking a day off and a nice spa offering free pedicures with the purchase of a 1-hour treatment. Dave didn't want me having a massage until I was past 35 weeks due to risks of preterm labor (massage can cause contractions and of course, I already was having too many of those through the whole pregnancy). I finally got my massage today and it was lovely! Stephanie had a facial and then we took a little break and went out to eat at a Thai restaurant. It was yummy! We returned to the spa with full tummies and had some really relaxing pedicures. It was a great day.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Double breech!!

Today I'm 36 weeks and 4 days pregnant. This is quite an accomplishment for twins and everything is going well. The babies are measuring well. They are about 6 pounds each (twin-a is 5lb. 11oz., twin-b is 6lb. 5oz.) and the placenta is functioning well, they are moving well, and heart rates are looking good. They are both "practice" breathing, which is also an excellent sign.

They love my ribs! I have two baby heads nestled in my ribcage. No wonder I wake up every morning feeling pummeled. They are both kicking at my bladder, too. Nice. ;)

With double breech twins I won't be able to labor and attempt a "natural" kind of delivery. These babies will be coming c-section. Also, twin-b, who used to be our small one, caught up with twin-a's size by week 28, was a little bigger by week 32, is now in a percentile 30% larger than twin-a. Typically, when the presenting baby (twin-a) is more than 30%ile difference from twin-b then that also usually results in automatic c-section. It looks like I was destined for a c-section delivery, no matter what I wanted to try or experience. I thought I had my head wrapped around it, but I'm still disappointed.

I hear from so many c-section moms that it's okay, that it's a good way to go. I much prefer it this way to having twin-a come naturally and twin-b come through c-section. At least this way we know one way or the other and there will be no double-door entry for these boys.

Another shocker is that this means they could come as early as Friday. I'll be 37 weeks, full term, on Friday and that's when Dr. B. is next on duty at L&D. Since it's a scheduled c-section, I will have Dr. B. performing the honors so it will be scheduled on one of her L&D shifts. Our list of things to do prior to baby day is not complete so Dave and I would prefer the babies come a little later (plus, if they come Friday they'll be Virgos and it might be more fun having Libras - just kidding).

Friday is sooooo soon! However, every day we push it we risk me going into labor, which with the positions of the boys that could be risky because the feet could drop and make a c-section more difficult, or if labor progresses too fast, it would be an emergency-c with a general anesthesia. Plus, going into labor at random would mean that I wouldn't get Dr. B. The big benefit to requiring a c-section is that I'd get her. She may have a shift next week or the week after and I'll leave it up to her expertise on how far we'll gamble on this. While Friday is the earliest possibility, I suspect she'll schedule it for a later date, but it won't be long now.

Tonight is a full moon and a Tuesday. A double-whammy! A friend pointed out to me that most babies are born on Tuesdays and/or a full moon. I just need to make it through tonight. Baby steps.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

35 weeks!

Yesterday was another major milestone. My nurse told me that after 35 weeks the babies have almost as good of a chance of requiring no NICU time as they do full term!

I'm starting to really feel it, though, especially in this heat. My leg has a pinched nerve that sometimes hurts so bad that I can't even walk through the house without crying. My hands get so swollen at night that I can't grip the blankets. I'm tired. Oh, so tired.

However, it's all worth it. I'd rather have these aches and pains then have these babies come too early and have to suffer with needles, devices, and procedures in the NICU. It's only for a few more weeks, anyway.

I'm so excited!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

It's all good

My appointment went very well today. My blood pressure is back down to 118/81 today. It's still a little high for me, but I'm very satisfied with it and so is Dr. B.

There are also signs that twin-a has turned head down. Woohoo! I'm feeling some hiccups down low, and also in my middle on the left. I'm pretty sure twin-b is the middle left. Also, my fundal height actually decreased. It was 40 last week and is 39 this week. Dr. B says that's a sign that the babies shifted. If twin-a is head down then we won't need a scheduled c-section and hopefully the babies can choose their own birthday.

I'll be 35 weeks along tomorrow! My goal is at least 36 weeks, but I'd like to go to 37 or 38. I have been optimistic and in ordering the diaper service, I didn't order the delivery to happen until September 26th. That will be 38 weeks.

It's getting tough to walk sometimes, though. I have some sort of nerve issue in my left leg. Sometimes it's fine and sometimes I can't even make it from one end of the house to the other. Dr. B said there isn't really anything we can do about it. I just have to try to sleep with even more pillows and perhaps not sleep so much on my left side. I already sleep with 6 regular pillows and a body pillow! It looks like I may have to try sleeping in a reclined position with a bunch of pillows behind my back. Tempest won't like that since he likes to sleep an hour or two each night on a pillow behind one of my many. I tried it last night but he protested and tried to dig at my pillow mound until he could reach "his" special pillow. He's so cute. :) I'd actually rather have kitty cuddles than be pain free - funny, huh?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Upgraded to weekly appointments!

It sounds good, but it's not really that good of news. It means my doctor is concerned about possible preeclampsia. If that's what it is, it's just mild so far and nothing to be too concerned about just yet. I'm just showing some minor beginning signs, but those signs are inconclusive at best. The biggest sign is that my blood pressure is a bit elevated. My blood pressure is usually quite low so even when it goes over 120/80, which is normal, that is high for me. Today it was 135/80 so it's borderline high, but of concern in pregnancy - and with twins it's a higher risk.

I've also recently developed the swelling that can be so common in pregnancy, but wasn't really common for me. I did so well to avoid the cankles and such. I still don't have cankles but my hands and feet are now like Mr. Stay Puft. My hands are the worst. It started just a few days ago. They get so swollen and sore while I sleep that by the middle of the night I'm unable to grip the blankets to pull them back over me. It takes a little while of stretching them and soaking them in warm water to be able to move my fingers again.

Otherwise, I'm doing very well. My doctor said that my body is accommodating the twins better than most women accommodate even single pregnancies. I'm only just really starting to feel pretty big, like I am carrying twins. My belly does measure full-term size for a single baby (40 cm fundal height) and in a week or so it will surpass that, he he. I'll be "puffickly huh-yooge!"

Still, I get around all right and don't feel too put out. I'm supposed to remain resting, though, the best that I can.

I go back to Dr. B. next Thursday to check the bp and swelling and she said she'll probably run some labs if my bp doesn't go down.

Monday, August 25, 2008

At least one more week!

Dave and I have been super busy trying to get the nursery ready for the boys' arrival. Too busy, actually. I've not been feeling very well lately, mainly yucky in the tummy. I overdid it, again, on Saturday. We got a lot done, but by the time we were ready to go to bed I was having too many contractions. I did my counts and had 7 in 45 minuts and they were coming consistently at about 8 minutes apart. Nice.

So, I called the hotline and they told me to go to L&D. Joy of joys. I need to start doing my contraction counts earlier in the evening so I can avoid these middle of the night or all-nighter trips to L&D. We got there at about midnight and stayed a few hours. They checked for dilation a couple of times with some good results that I was not dilated at all. They did the fFN and told me that based on the results they can pretty much guarantee that I won't go into labor for the next week but after that, all bets are off.

The last time I had the fFN they gave me 2 whole weeks! Now they only give me 1 week? I was hoping for 3.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I had a baby shower!!!


For years and years I went to many baby showers in my family. They were fun and a wonderful way to get the women of the family together. I moved away from Utah before my friends there started having babies and showers. Showers with friends are quite different from the family showers and are also good fun.

At the family showers, the main topic of conversation was labor and delivery nightmare stories. I knew which cousin had the cord around his neck 3 times and which aunt experienced 72 hours of labor. Sometimes it was too much and scared me about ever having children. I once asked if we could go an hour without having those stories at a shower and one of my aunts replied, "when it's your shower, sure!" I always looked forward to my own shower.

My shower was Saturday, August 9th. Nearly 2 weeks ago (I've been a terrible blogger). It was wonderful! One of the games was the "verboten word game" where people are forbidden from saying certain words. The verboten words were "baby" and "labor," which essentially prohibited the guests from scaring me about having these babies (trust me, I'm scared enough of the way they may exit my body). I know they will have to leave my belly at some point, and that day is coming soon, I'm just not really thrilled about the method. I'm hoping for the good old-fashioned method over a c-section, but the biggest fear I have is that one will come the old-fashioned way and the other will come via c-section. Ouch!

Either way, though, I will be happy to have both babies come at the right time and be healthy. Oh, and I'd like to come out of it all pretty healthy, too.

The other games were creative, too, and we all were well entertained. Corinne was a wonderful hostess and I'm very grateful to her for it. She had some back pain through the day and I know that it wasn't always easy for her to put on the smile and take care of everyone as she did. She was a true hero that day

I also have to express my gratitude to Karen (KarenF on my comments) and my mom who provided a wonderful array of food for everyone.

Stephanie and Rachel also contributed in many ways - games, prizes, planning, and the best cake I've had in ages

So a big thank-you to Corinne, Rachel, Stephanie, Karen, and my mom. A big thanks also to everyone who attended and a huge thanks for all the wonderful generous gifts.

Plumbing disaster

Here is a confession. We've had a drain fly problem this summer. It was coupled with a nasty smell emanating from the bathroom attached to our office (the house's master bedroom but it works much better as an office - when it doesn't smell).

The bathroom seldom gets used, mainly because it was smelly. Dave never seemed to smell it, but to me it smelled musty, like the Pirates of the Carribean ride in Disneyland. I smelled it a few summers ago and it bothered me so much that I went in and proceeded to tear the whole bathroom apart. I made Dave install a new floor, new sink, and new toilet. Little did I know that the smell was coming from the shower drain.

Dave started smelling that mustiness over the last few weeks as the heat got bad. He was also annoyed by the drain flies we were seeing in the bathroom. Last Saturday he set about to clearing all the drains in an effort to get rid of the pests. It went really well in the main bathroom that we use daily. He got to the shower in the "spare" bathroom and while that seemed to be the source of the flies, it drained really well... too well.

He looked down the drain and thought he saw that it was broken. Later that evening, when the heat of the day wore off, he went under the house into the crawl space to check it out. While he was there he had me try out various taps, flush the toilets, and run the washing machine and dishwasher through to drain cycles (I forced them to the drain cycle so he didn't have to wait forever).

The news was not good.

It also looked and smelled really bad.

The main bathroom was fine, as was the toilet and the sink in the spare bathroom. The kitchen sink with garbage disposal, the dishwasher, and the washing machine, as well as the spare shower, all were draining into the crawl space. Dave thinks there were slow leaks but this summer a pipe ruptured and that was when it got pretty nasty.

Dave says it's actually not as bad as it sounds. Maybe.

So, we got the plumber in and he spent about 6 hours under the house fixing it. He's a great guy!!! Now we still have to clean up the mess and damage. Not good.

More belly shots!

I have to first apologize for the lack of action here. I've been so tired and the thought of writing here seemed overwhelming. I don't know why, because I enjoy it, I'm just tired.

I've also been negligent in taking and posting belly photos. I took a few on my own using a mirror and tried out the camera timer. I got a friend to take one today, too. I need to get better at this. There isn't much belly time left, and in a way that makes me sad. The belly has magic.

Here are some photos from 31 weeks and 2 days:


Here is one from today (32 weeks and 6 days):