Wednesday, May 28, 2008

So much!

I've had all sorts of ideas of things to write about. These ideas come to me as I'm drifting off to sleep. Unfortunately, by morning, those ideas aren't easy to remember.


The last few days (or week) have been busy and pretty much a lot of the same. On Friday we awoke to the smoky air from the Santa Cruz Summit fire. It was about 20-30 miles from here, but the smoke here was thick enough to make Dave awaken with worries of our house being on fire. It was thick enough to burn the eyes and cause us difficulties with breathing. It smelled nice, though. I feel so sad for all the people that lost homes, many of them were uninsured.


The contractions come and go. Some days are better than others. There is a big difference in the days when I am busy compared to when I'm resting. There was a little bit of a scary point yesterday when they started happening every 3-5 minutes for about a half an hour. I did as I was told and emptied my bladder and filled it quickly again with 2 glasses of water followed by rest. It got better.


I'm having some odd twinges near my belly button. It feels a little like getting kicked in the stomach. I wonder if these are baby kicks or something else. It also sort of feels like a stitch or even electric shock at times. It's strange. Not bad, just strange.


On Sunday we had a nice little bbq (with lots and lots of food). A few local friends came and we all had a good time despite the cloudy chilly weather. Go figure, a week before it was over 100 and this last weekend it was under 70. Fancy that! It helped the firefighters with the fire, though, so that was good. Sunday really was nice to just sit around and visit with everyone.


On Monday Dave and I actually went in person to Babies R Us (BRU) to finish the registry. We still need to make some adjustments. I want to delete a bunch of items from the list and add some replacements - we want to try to have more stuff that is available in the store rather than available only online. It was funny, though, we'd been to what we thought was BRU several times just browsing. Someone told us that the local BRU was located inside a particular Toys R Us (TRU). So, we found the TRU and in the back there was a babies section that even had a few ads and signs for BRU, but it really was kind of pathetic. We just couldn't figure out why everyone was raving about BRU because we really couldn't find much in the actual store that we liked or needed and most of the floor models of anything were really over-played with, over-messed with, and just plain knackered. The online selection was great, though, and they offer a 10% discount for "twins" - essentially anything purchased in twos, but you have to ask for the twin discount. While we were there I overheard a woman saying to a man that she wanted to go to the real BRU later that day. I had to embarrass myself and ask her where the real BRU was. It was actually just about a mile and a bit down the road. We found it and it's puffickly huh-yooge and full of great stuff! It was really easy to find everything we'll need and zap it with the zapper (I'm trying hard to refrain from calling it a gun, because I really don't want to have people thinking I'm talking about a real gun when shopping in a baby store - yikes!).


The BRU store still doesn't have a few things we would prefer that we don't want to budge on, like some glass bottles. We registered for a set of BPA-free Born Free plastic bottles, which I hope the babies will like, but it would be nice to have a set of glass ones on-hand, too, just to try and just in case. Actually, in my ideal world I will be able to breastfeed both of them without any problems. We'll just have to see what happens.


I've spent today and yesterday getting ready for our "babymoon" in Puerto Vallarta. I've ton a lot of laundry, trying to get that caught up because it won't be long before the doc's orders will restrict my laundry doing. I had a really nice break with Stephanie getting a fancy pedicure. She had a couple of freebie coupons. Well, sort of freebie. I don't know exactly how it works (I'll learn soon, she promised to take me to the event next time) but she "won" them in some event that she goes to every year. She had two gift cards for the "Express Pedicure" at a really nice spa. They normally charge $45 for this pedicure but it is the "express" and we were both curious to see how it was. Well, this pedicure was much nicer than the $15 one I get at the place near my house. It was in elegant surroundings and they offered us champagne, chocolate, cookies, lemon-water, and just the whole spa kind of pampering treatment. Of course, I declined the champagne. The pedicure itself was so nice! The foot massage was lovely and I really felt like it was a special treat. Thank you to Stephanie for taking me and treating me to this experience! The rest of my pedicures this summer will probably be back to the $15 one at the local place - and yes, I'll let you know when the next one is, Karen (Rachel wants to come, too). The benefit of the cheapie pedicure, which is also very lovely, is that they paint pretty flowers on my big toes and put a little pretty crystal in the middle. When I have the flowers with the crystal I call those my "happy feet." I didn't get happy feet from the fancy spa, but my feet sure look and feel great!

I went to Target today and found an ingredient list for my favorite lipstick - No7 from Boots. I discovered that it does, indeed, contain parabens. Butylparaben was the last on the list of ingredients, but it is nevertheless on the list. I'm sad about that. I replaced my lipstick with a paraben-free option from Burt's Bees. I'm trying so hard to avoid chemicals that can, as my friend Tony puts it, "turn little boys into girls."


We're off to Mexico tomorrow! Dave and I are so excited and we're really looking forward to it. Puerto Vallarta is just a 3.5 hour flight from here so I think I should be okay. I promise to take it very very easy through the whole trip! That's the point of this trip, nothing but relaxation. We have to leave our little Tempest, though, and that always makes me sad. He has such a hard time when he's alone. Part of it is because he gets locked in the house when we are away. Normally, we have a cat flap and he's allowed to come and go as he pleases during the day. We have to shut him in at night due to our raccoon that lives somewhere in the storm drain outside our house. A few months ago we tried to leave the flap open so Tempest could come and go whenever he wanted. We heard a noise in the kitchen late one night and Dave got up to investigate. I was in bed and I heard Dave scream. I grabbed the phone ready to call the police and I called out to Dave to ask if he was all right. Just as I did that I saw this big raccoon come running into our bedroom. Dave heard me scream as I jumped up on our bed. The raccoon was afraid of me and he ran back toward the kitchen with me chasing him. By that time Dave had the door open and shooed the little bugger outside with the broom. We had a few more experiences with "Rocky Raccoon" as we had to try various options to keep Rocky out. Merely locking the flap wasn't enough, he was able to figure that one out.


Now we have to lock the flap and barricade it with a couple of boxes that are heavy enough that it's hard for even me to drag it over the flap (that's not saying much, I'm a wimp). So now Tempest gets locked in at night and for the entire time that we are away. We have friends to come and feed him and they play and cuddle with him, but he still goes a bit nuts and makes messes (just finds things and drags them all around the floor - last time he managed to get into my yarn drawer and we found bits of yarn all over the place). We love him to bits, though, and I don't mind the mess, I just feel bad that he has such a hard time being alone.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Upcoming limitations!

I'm glad I mentioned the contractions to the perinatologist. She gave me the booklet that I'm supposed to get around 24 weeks (mid-June) with information on preterm labor. The booklet lists the limitations they plan to put me on starting at 24 weeks. I don't mind them so much, but I'm nowhere ready enough for them.

They want me to limit shopping. Dave will like that. I don't shop much, anyway. This includes grocery shopping, though, which is a necessity. The book says if I can't avoid grocery shopping then they list the limitations on it (like having the groceries packed lightly and leaving anything that isn't frozen or refrigerated in the car for Dave to bring in later). I can handle that but I'm not sure Dave will enjoy it.

There are limitations on cooking which are more limitations on standing. I'm not to stand more than 10-15 minutes at a time. This might be difficult in more ways than just limiting cooking time. I'm really not much of a cook and most meals I cook take about 15 minutes to prepare, anyway, so that's not a big deal. With standing limitations like that, though, it sort of limits other things that require standing. I remember standing in line at OSH yesterday for more than 15 minutes. It really tired me out so I can see why this is a limitation and now I guess I see why shopping and errands are limited.

I need to limit anything that causes uterine contractions. I'm getting a lot of those so I guess I need to pay close attention to what causes them. For the most part, I get them when I need to pee, when I stand up, when I move quickly, when I walk for too long, and when I am dehydrated. I'll also need to spend 1 hour twice per day to focus on contractions. This means drinking 2-3 glasses of water then lying on my side for one hour feeling for contractions and making notes about how long they last and how many I get.

As for trips, they want me to stay within one hour of the hospital, which means that even my mom's house is too far. Everyone I've mentioned this to, however, doesn't think I should take this restriction seriously. They say that Kaiser has to cover me no matter where I go into labor. I worry about the facilities, though, and also am concerned that they could deny coverage on the basis of my not following doctor's orders. We'll have to see how I feel about this later on, but for now I have my concerns. This restriction doesn't kick in until mid-June, though, and I'm so glad we're going to Mexico next week. I'm so excited!!

As far as trips go, it does say that if we take a trip that lasts more than one hour (in a car, obviously, because they say no flying after 24 weeks when these restrictions start) then to stop and rest for about a half an hour. This would really annoy anyone with me. We are going up to Graeme and Ashley's wedding in Oakland in late July and Dave, Tony, and Rachel are all expecting me to drive. Isn't it nice how the pregnant woman is the assumed designated driver for the duration of the pregnancy? We're planning to get a hotel, though, so it won't matter that much. I'll be pretty big by then, though, and at the peak of restrictions and risks for preterm labor so I will have to take it very easy. If I drive really fast there I can make it in just about an hour.

Housework will be severely limited. Again, I don't mind this but Dave will. Any housework I do will be limited to small spurts with a minimum half-hour rest in between.

Like I said, I don't really mind the limitations so much and I'm sure they can be massaged a little since every case is different. I'm mostly concerned because the big stuff Dave and I wanted to finish before the limitations kick in are barely even started. We wanted to clean out the garage (big huge job) and the guest room and get everything ready for the babies. We are having a very difficult time choosing a crib. For some reason, most cribs look like cages to me. We plan to have the babies share a crib at least for the first several months, but we realize we'll probably have to get 2 cribs at some point. With 2 cribs to purchase, that puts a big limit on the price we want to pay. I see lovely cribs for about $500 but $500 is the maximum we want to pay for both cribs (obviously we'd prefer to spend even less).

I did some research on cribs for twins and some of the results are laughable. There is one that brings to mind the story of Hansel and Gretel, how the kids were kept in cages to fatten up, at least the boy was while I think the girl worked (sexism in fairy tales, now that's a novel concept). So, this double crib comes up in a search:

Other options for double cribs for twins are, um, just not our style:

So, it looks like twin-specific cribs are not going to be seen in our house. I always liked the idea of a convertible crib but realistically, we'll probably never do the conversion. We're thinking of bunk-beds or twin beds for the boys' graduation to real beds. I really want to get the crib(s) and car seats, as well as get the house painting and cleaning done before the restrictions kick in. That way it will be a lot easier to just take it easy and follow all doctor's orders.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Doctors, symptoms, other stuff

A lot has happened since Thursday. My mom came up Friday for the ultrasound. She thought the sight of me wearing those electrodes was too funny. She and Dave took pictures. I'll add them to this post as soon as I upload the photos.

The ultrasound went very well. The babies are still measuring on target. They are about 10 ounces each. They were squirmy, as usual. I mentioned the contractions and they told me that they have me on a list to take another class (Kaiser is all about the classes). The upcoming class will be in a few weeks and it's about premature labor. Basically, I do need to watch the contractions but there isn't much they can do about them until week 24 (mid-June). My doctor was right, too. I'm getting a lot of them.

After the ultrasound my mom and I went to Valley Fair to get out of the heat and do some shopping. My mom was so cute. Every time we bought something she told the salesperson, "this is my daughter who is pregnant with my twin grandbabies!" We walked around a lot, probably over 5 miles worth. I was fine with it, but my thighs weren't. I mentioned how they've really increased in size. I used to wear medium maternity pants, but I outgrew those because of my thighs. The large pants are already tight on my thighs, but they fit well on my belly. I hope I don't outgrow those too soon! I was wearing a skirt that day, and the heat combined with big thighs and the gel I couldn't quite wipe all away from the ultrasound resulted in serious chaffing. I have never chaffed so badly! We're talking about 3 inches long by 2 inches wide on the top of each thigh. It even bled in some spots and both areas are brown/red and very painful. Dave wouldn't let me post a photo like I was tempted, but in retrospect he was right. Nobody wants to see that. A friend of mine (I don't know if you want me to say your name) told me she wore her husband's boxer shorts in the latter part of her pregnancies. Dave's boxers are too big for me so I bought a few pairs and she is right - boxer shorts make the best maternity undies!!

On Saturday Daniel (my mom's husband) invited us down for a dinner to celebrate his birthday. His daughter's family was there as were some other friends. We had a great time and the food was fantastic! Jack Wasserbach, our friend and wedding photographer, was there with his wife, Chris. Jack wants to do some pregnancy photos when I get bigger. That will be fun!

Dave and I did pretty much bugger-all yesterday. We ran a few errands, napped, ran some more errands, then went out for a curry. The babies either really love curry or hate it, but either way it makes them move so I get a kick out of it, literally.

I had a follow-up appointment with a cardiologist this morning. He said my description of the palpitations is the best he's ever heard. He thinks it's because I'm a technical writer. I think he may be right, but mostly it's probably because I've paid careful attention to it because I wanted an accurate diagnosis. My internist told me last year when it was bugging me that it was simple anxiety. I like this cardiologist. He said, "your not inventing compensatory beats. It's anxiety-provoking, but it is not caused by anxiety." That's what he said they were, "compensatory beats" that I'm feeling. Essentially, I think it's synonymous with PVC. Two of my friends and my mom all told me they thought it was PVC or premature heart beats. Thank you Nav, Indrani, and Doctor Mom. ;) What is happening is that I'm getting in some extra heartbeats. The extra beat happens too quickly after a normal beat so it's very faint because the heart didn't completely fill up. It pushes out a small amount of blood then it takes a little extra time to fill for the next beat, which contains a bit extra blood (for instance, a regular beat pumps 70% of the heart's volume, the extra beat pumps about 50% and the compensatory beat after the extra beat pumps 120%). The headache is from first the depletion from the extra beat and extra space after that beat combined with the rush of blood from the compensatory beat. He's concerned that in pregnancy it will make me faint, so I may have to take medication for it. Otherwise, it's a benign condition that is usually nothing to worry about. He is having me get an echo-cardiogram tomorrow just to be sure that there is nothing wrong with my heart causing this issue. Thanks for the advice, Indrani, about the exercise. I think you're right that increasing my heart rate might help. You're also welcome to come use the pool, too! You're local and we still have yet to meet! We need to remedy that. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I've strapped it on

I'm wearing the Holter monitor today. Boy, what a day to be covered in electrodes. The temperature got over 100 and here I was, not allowed to shower or use the pool. The pool is lovely right now - Karen, why don't you bring the girls over sometime? Also, the electrodes are on the top of my chest. It's very obvious with pretty much every shirt other than shirts that cover up to my neck, and the only ones I have like that are long-sleeved, which is not easy in this heat or with the RSD.

Oh well, it's just for one day, that's all. I was worried that it wouldn't catch the palpitations. For the first several hours of wearing it, I felt great, not a single palpitation. For some strange reason, though, my heart seems to go wacky when I'm at rest, instead of active. As soon as I lay down to rest and have a nap this afternoon, I started getting the palpitations again. Most of them aren't bad, but if I get several in succession they start to make my head hurt, make me feel nauseated and woozy. I'm now wondering if they are due to a blood pressure drop. It's hard to say. I'm pretty sure they aren't much to worry about. They aren't new to pregnancy, I've had this issue before, usually in the summer. It makes sense that this would crop up and bug me in pregnancy, with all the things that come with pregnancy like increased blood flow, rapid weight gain, hormones, and other body changes.

Dave was sweet again yesterday. He took me to Costco and we got an air conditioning unit for our bedroom. We'd really like to get proper a/c installed in our house, but we are waiting to finish the construction we have planned on doing all these years. We're getting it done, but just very slowly. We still have the kitchen to go and we want to move the furnace. Moving the furnace is the biggest issue holding us back from installing a/c. The furnace is in a strange location. There is a section built right smack in the middle of our house just for the furnace. It makes our hallway have a turn to it to get to the living room, otherwise we could look straight down the hall to the other end of the house if it weren't for that thing jutting out like it is. We want to fix it.

Dave installed the a/c last night as soon as we got home. Our bedroom is otherwise boring. We have no tv or anything in there. I can take the laptop in there and watch tv using the Slingbox, but I get a little stir crazy in just one room. It's nice to be able to go in there for a cool retreat, though, and for naps.

Tomorrow is expected to get even hotter. I'm guessing I ought to get used to spending more and more time in the bedroom. I can take the heat better than most people, I think, but I'm very concerned about letting my body temperature rise as it could be harmful for the babies.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

3rd trimester belly

I e-mailed my doctor about the side pain and since the cysts are on that side, she wanted me to come in to make sure that everything was okay. Yesterday's doctor visit replaced the one I was scheduled for on Friday.

The good news is that the pain is round ligament pain. Normally that pain is on the right side, but the babies seem to be more on my left. As long as I know it's normal then I can do my best to ignore it.

She used the doppler to find the heartbeats. This was my first experience with a doppler and it was awesome! Dave and I actually considered renting a doppler back in the days when we thought there was just one baby, but with twins we decided not to do it. We were both worried that it would be too confusing with two heartbeats, seeing as how neither of us are medically trained. ;) I mentioned that to my doctor and she agreed that the doppler rental wasn't very wise with twins, that it would probably cause more worries than it alleviated.

It was amazing to hear those two alternating heartbeats! All I can say about it is wow. :)

She did the usual stuff and answered all of my questions. She made an appointment for me to get a Holter monitor tomorrow because those pesky palpitations still bug me. She agreed with my friend's assessment that the palpitations are probably PVC's, which are pretty harmless but annoying. She just wants to be sure, and so do I.

I was 18w3d along at the visit and she measured my fundal height at 24 weeks so while I'm halfway through the 2nd trimester, my belly is close to entering the 3rd. She said that's right on track for twins. She said she's very pleased at how well I'm doing for having twins, that I'm doing a lot better than many twin pregnancies. I tend to agree with her. Aside from the usual aches and pains, I feel pretty good, but then again, I'm just so happy to be pregnant!

She confirmed that the contractions, which are Braxton Hicks, are very common and she said I was going to get a lot of them. I do get quite a few of them. Again, as long as it's normal and not cause for concern, I can handle it just fine. Maybe I'm weird, but I kind of like them. It's like I'm getting a big hug from my belly.

So, I thought I'd make a list of the things I've learned that aren't really in any books I've seen so far:

1. Nobody warned me about how sore my belly would get. Ever since week 9 it has felt like I do a huge amount of sit ups and core exercises. Obviously some days are worse than others, mainly during growth spurts. Apparently this extreme soreness is very common in twin pregnancies. I'm getting used to it, though.
2. I didn't realize the growing would happen in such strong spurts. It seems like I can go 2-3 weeks with nothing and then overnight I'll grow several inches. Friends seem to notice it happening with me this way, too. Corinne mentioned noticing a big difference in my belly from last week to this week.
3. The protein drinks are the best for pregnancy! I was having a really difficult time even eating in the first trimester and those drinks really helped to balance me out nutrition-wise, helped me to feel better, seriously helped the oligohydramnio/polihydramnio issues, helped with dehydration, and just overall physical well-being. As a bonus for the 1st trimester, these drinks are great for m/s if you can drink them.
4. Pregnancy packs it on where you least expect it. I really hoped my thighs would maintain their medium tree-trunk size or even shrink (yeah, right), but alas my thighs have achieved redwood status and no longer fit into a lot of the maternity pants that I so looked forward to wearing.
5. There is a deli meat controversy. We are told to avoid deli meats and if we really really must have them, then they should be heated to steaming. I wrote about my experience at Le Boulanger trying to get a heated sandwich or something without deli meats. This was not an isolated incident. I've seen this debate on message boards and have heard it from other people I know. Some people just don't want to give up certain foods no matter what the risk. Granted, the risk is low and a lot of people think that they are above the risk, or they are so very secure in their pregnancy they think a miscarriage couldn't possibly happen to them. The way I see it, though, is that I love my babies more than I love deli meats, caffeine, or any other food or body product that can cause harm. Dave and I have a strict policy of taking no chances. I know a lot of people who understand that and feel the same in their lives, too.

I'm still blown away at the size of my belly. It's so fun! I find it funny that the left side of my belly is slightly bigger than my right. It's funny that the babies are preferring that side. I think they like being close to each other. I love feeling them move and can't wait until the feeling is strong enough for Dave to be able to feel it.

Other good things: our cherry tree actually has cherries! In the 5 years we've lived here, the cherry tree has never produced red ripe cherries. The last couple of years brought a few, very few, green cherries but the birds took those very quickly. The first couple of years were rough for the tree. It had been neglected for so long, the tree looked nearly dead when we bought the house. It had some sort of fungus and other problems. Now it is flourishing. It's so lovely to see!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Farts

Okay, let's face it, farts ARE funny! Keep a straight face all you like, but you know deep down inside that farts are hilarious. Humans get so big-headed. Yeah, we are smarter than the "lesser" animals, we created societies, we made cities and organizations. We are superior! Yet, with all of our intelligence and superiority we still pee, poo, and fart. So maybe some people won't admit to it, and I'll grant that some royalty doesn't do any of that stuff (their waste is transformed into glorious perfume that slowly seeps out of their pores - if we could market that perfume it would cost a fortune). The general riff-raff of the world farts.

I have a friend who insists that she never farts. She says it just never ever happens while her husband stands behind her with his expression showing otherwise. I hear some people hold it in so tight when they are awake but they are a veritable gas machine when they are asleep and those muscles relax.

What's especially funny about farting is when it happens to someone who is dressed to the nines, looking so fine and elegant, and yet they still, being human, will have to fart. It just happens. Hopefully it happens when one is on his own and he can let it fly before it builds to a painful level.

When I was a little girl my dad gave my sister and me a huge lecture about farts. We couldn't stop laughing and it made him really angry, because to him this was a serious education he was trying to impart on his daughters. He told us that as girls we needed to learn to "squee" them out so that we could let them go in public. We argued that it doesn't matter if it's squeed or loud, people will still realize someone farted. At the time I didn't realize my dad's wisdom. He was essentially teaching us how to drop fart bombs in crowds and get away scot-free!

Dave doesn't find any reason for squeeing them out, though. He just lets them go, loudly, wherever he is. I'm sure there are places where he will hold them, but I think that's rare.

We all have our famous fart stories. They usually bring laughter but are not fit for discussion unless you're talking to children or a bunch of drunks.

Farts are especially magic for children. I mean, imagine, it's a free pre-packaged stink-bomb and are as available as the nearest bean burrito. Fantastic!

When I was a kid I was introduced to fart games when I was very young. My sister and aunt had a special fart game where when someone let one go, they or anyone that heard it had to say "skids and no returns!" This meant that if you said "skids and no returns" (later abbreviated to "skids") then you didn't have to "eat" the fart, whatever that means. You'd give yourself away, and immediately redeem yourself of all fart guilt, if you said "skids and no returns" as soon as you farted, whether you squeed it out or not. The last person to claim "skids" had to be the one to eat it, and thus also get the shame of the fart, rather than having it go to the person deserving of it, the farter. When I was that little, I actually thought they made up a clever new word, "skidsanoiturns." I loved that word.

Advance a few years and my cousins introduced me to another farting game, though they called farts "busters." If you farted or smelled a fart, you had to quickly put your thumb to your bridge of your nose with the rest of your fingers were in a loose fist or "hang-loose" sign toward your forehead. The same rules applied, the last person with his thumb on his nose "ate it" and took the shame of the fart. These were lovely games geared toward relieving yourself from the shame of having to stink up the area. Farting became a proud thing.

Adult fart stories are especially good, though. We are not supposed to fart, especially in public. We all do, though, from time to time. Okay, most of us do, the others struggle with gastrointestinal disorders from holding them in. Of course, once again, the exception is royalty who don't even have orifices for farting (other than their mouth and they fart in the form of words). Our presidents have tried to mimic this farting method but they just sound more like idiots. Okay, back to adult fart stories.

Dave loves the one about me where we were at the grocery store, stuck in a long line but really stuck so that neither of us could escape. There was the cashier stand on one side and the point-of-purchase rack on the other and we were next in line. I could hold it in no longer so I gently squeed it out. It was one of the nastiest smelling farts I ever let. Okay, I admit that it may have been one of the nastiest farts EVER. Dave knew immediately it was me. I give myself away when I let stinky farts because I giggle too much. Granted, I giggle when others let stinky ones in public, too, so I get blamed a lot for other people's farts, too. That time, however, I held a straight face as long as I could and only giggled a little bit, pretending it was something funny I saw in a magazine. Dave's never let me live that one down.

However, I had a better fart once. It was New Years' Eve at Lake Tahoe. Dave made us all kippers for breakfast that morning, warning us all that kippers led to really stinky farts. Funny enough, I didn't fart that entire day, not once, and never had the urge to fart. I was really proud of myself, so proud that I bragged to the other women that were with us that Dave was wrong about the farts because I hadn't farted all day! They all admitted to little indiscretions throughout the day but nothing very bad. Well, right at midnight we were on the dance floor and my tummy rumbled and hurt and before I knew it, I had to let it go right then and there or suffer the consequences of doubling over from the pain. I didn't have to squee, the music was loud. Unfortunately, the smell was pungent and before I knew it, I was solo standing in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by my own stink, everyone standing at the edges of the bar afraid to go anywhere. The fire department may have been notified of a gas leak, I don't know, but it was my most embarrassing and infamous farting event.

I know, I know, people aren't supposed to talk about farts and I just broke all the rules. Not only did I talk about them, I admitted to them and made 2 confessions. Do you dare to do the same in your blog? Wouldn't that be funny if there were a string of blog entries about farts? How about it? Do you dare?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Spa Day!!

I know it's Mothers' Day, but this is a day that has caused me a lot of sadness over the years. I know I'm not alone in my feelings, while this is a much-deserved day for our mothers, it is nevertheless a day of pain for so many others. I think of those struggling with infertility, and of those who never had the chance to test their fertility, and of course I think of those who were quite fortunate to conceive, only to suffer a great loss at some point later on. There are many childless mothers in the world, and they are also very nurturing and loving women. Today, I think of them.

I like the idea of today being a "spa day" or a spa week. It's actually one of the worst weekends to go to a spa. However, Corinne, Stephanie, and I are going to a nail salon on Tuesday to celebrate this new tradition. Yay!

The workers' compensation appeal was Friday and it went as well as can be expected. The woman running the hearing was a bit nasty to me, mainly in the beginning, but I think she probably deals with a lot of deadbeats. She soon realized that I had my wits about me and I posed my arguments to their decision and before I knew it we were done and the day could move on without any more stress. Speaking of stress, it's amazing to me how much my body has been affected by the stress. I still have palpitations, but not nearly to the same level as pre-hearing. The headaches are still coming, but they aren't nearly as painful, and the contractions have pretty much ceased. I hate that I was so stressed out and feel terrible to be this stressed during pregnancy. With RSD I stand much more of a chance of passing on anxiety disorder to the babies, so it's imperative that I keep the stress down. Now that the hearing is overdonewithgone, that's what I intend to do. Dave deserves a mention in this. He took the whole day off to be there for me, he also spent many hours and suffered a lack of sleep reviewing my case file and finding important information for me, saving me from the stress of having to do it myself. I don't think I would have found as good of information as he found, either. It was so sweet of him.

So yes, I said contractions earlier. I have been getting some contractions for a couple of weeks now. I didn't know what they were at first, but other twin mommies and twin-mommies-to-be helped me to learn that what I have been experiencing are indeed contractions. They are very funny feeling to me. They sort of feel like a big tickle. My belly gets super tight and hard. They don't last very long and they don't really hurt, although I sometimes feel crampy afterward.

I have quite a bit of pain on my left side as of late and I don't know if it's round ligament pain or if the cysts are being squished and causing the pain. It's a sharp pain and is most prevalent when I and standing up and walking. Also, lying on my left side is getting more difficult as it's putting a lot of pressure on my hip. Any advice would be appreciated. I have a doctor appointment on Friday (and another ultrasound - woohoo!) so I'll mention this at that point.

Thanks, as always, for reading. :)

Here are the latest belly photos. There wasn't much action from weeks 14 to 17 and then all of a sudden I think there was another growth spurt. At 18 weeks, there is no mistaking that I'm pregnant now.


Here is the belly from my perspective sitting in the living room chair:


Monday, May 5, 2008

Junk food, junk tv, and other indulgences

We all have our indulgences, our guilty pleasures. Some don't admit to them while others flaunt them wildly. Some deprive themselves while at the other extreme some have no resistance to them.

I believe in moderation. I freely indulge in things when I know it isn't in excess. After all, true guilty pleasures don't give as much pleasure unless they are special treats only allowed occasionally.

My favorite indulgences are trashy tv shows, greasy foods, and girlie bath/body products. I'm not a big fan of food in general, though, so even the greasy foods don't seem like much of a treat. Food to me is just a means to an end. We have to eat so we eat. It's annoying that it comes with so much effort just to keep the body fed. We have to buy the materials that someone had to grow. We have to prepare the food, which takes time, effort, and a certain element of planning. We have to spend time eating the food, and then we have to clean it all up. This takes a lot of time that could be spent on other worthy indulgences, as well as other things that are more maintenance tasks than anything else.

Even so, there are some foods that are very enjoyable, even to me. Some of them might appal some friends of mine who wouldn't touch oils even if they came in a bottle of body oils, which I also love, btw.

I love In-n-Out Burger cheeseburgers and fries. Their fries are fresh from the potato and are served fresh and hot. Leslie (my mom's husband's daughter) once took me to an Asian fusion restaurant in Beverly Hills that served some of the best foods I've ever eaten. They fry spinach to a crisp so you eat them like potato chips - and they are a bit oily. Yummy!! My latest craving has been for ice cream. I've also had a recent craving for root-beer floats, which I've had 4 of in the past few days and intend to have another today. Mmm-mmm good!

Dave has banned me from having my bath ritual, with is another of my favorite indulgences. I love to just lie in a hot bath with my Alba Botanica Kukui Nut Massage Oil (with all sorts of lovely oils) while reading. I would lie there for long stretches and it would be so relaxing. Now that I'm limited to showers I have struggled to find shower products to give me that same sense of indulgence as a bath, especially since I gave up on a lot of nasty chemicals since I recently learned that they can cause reproductive disorders to the babies (as well as all sorts of other nasties to me). I found an herbal mint salt scrub (yes, more lovely oils). It gives my body the same feeling as if I just had a nice soak in a moisturizing bath. I also have been using Avalon Organics peppermint body wash and hair conditioner. They smell so nice and make me feel so good!

Being Mormon, I guilty admit to enjoying wine and beer. I haven't enjoyed them nearly as much the past several years as I did in my twenties. I really really enjoyed them back then, but I have greatly reduced my consumption over the years. Well, now obviously, it has been reduced to zero. Another guilty pleasure is tea. I never indulged in tea that much, maybe a cup or two a day. I used to enjoy coffee but I developed a severe intolerance to it in my twenties and now I can't even smell the stuff without feeling ill and getting a headache - if I touch it I develop a rash, it's that bad. Now that I'm pregnant and taking all of my doctor's warnings very seriously, I've been drinking only decaf tea from England, which contains a whopping 4mg of caffeine per serving.

I love love love sunshine. I don't like greasy sunscreens and I believe most sunscreens are toxic to our bodies as well as harmful to our health by blocking the essential nutrients of the sun. Of course, moderation here, too. I'm not opposed to using sunscreen once I've gotten a healthy amount of real unadulterated sunshine. When I do use sunscreen, I will from here on out use the healthier ones that are rated well at the EWG website. Have you checked out their database? It's fantastically useful! I love being able to learn what products are harmful to me and the babies and what alternatives I can use. I was amazed to learn that most of the popular sunscreens Dave and I have used in the past are rated the worst among the products in the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. On the other hand, California Baby Sunscreen is one of the best rated products in the database.

I really enjoy my "stories" on tv. One of my favorites is Desperate Housewives. It's so trashy I just love it! It's the television equivalent to a burger and fries. I remember Stephen King once saying that about some of his books, which I also really enjoy. That's my other great indulgence, books. I have eclectic tastes when it comes to books, television, and music. For books I enjoy horror, mystery, and classics. I do not like romance novels even though they are the trashiest of all - I just can't stomach them, though I've tried on occasion to give them a try. I have difficulty with reading sci-fi, too, ever since I read Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - it all seems like satire now, and I just can't take it seriously. Music-wise, I like anything from Johnny Cash to Nine Inch Nails (name that connection, hehe).

What are your favorite indulgences? I'd love to read about them in your blog or in the comments here.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

I've been tagged!

Thanks Jacosta, for tagging me. :)

It looks like I need to answer some questions!

4 Things I Did 10 Years Ago (1998)
Wow! 1998 doesn't seem like that long ago. I'm amazed that was 10 whole years ago! I'm not sure I can remember exactly.
1. I was living in an apartment in Sunnyvale. I had Kitty Bugs and a great roommate named Abraham, who left that year to get married.
2. I had a group of friends from Israel and one friend from Pakistan - they all really opened my eyes and helped me to learn a lot more about this world in which we live.
3. Career-wise wasn't doing well. In '97 I'd left a good job that I really loved because of a boss I couldn't stand and I went to work at another company that I also loved, but they had no focus. I left that job in '98 and ended up in a company where I just didn't belong. I did go to Washington DC for that job, though, and really enjoyed the trip and met some really nice people. Louis Farrakhan was staying in the same hotel that week and I had a few odd experiences that I suspect were somewhat due to that. When I got to my room, there was a book at my doorstep. The book was a mystery and still is today. It was The Year of the Death of Ricardo Reis by Saramago. I still have the book. Also, I awoke early one morning to a fire alarm. I really didn't want to get up - had a nasty headache. I actually debated which would hurt worse, getting up or getting burned. I decided in the end to get up but I was very casual about it. I got dressed, got a bag and filled it with my reading book and a few other essentials before leaving. When I left, I noticed hotel employees searching the floor, room to room. They got upset with me for still being in the hotel - and it was obvious to me that they were searching for more than just people who ignored the fire alarm. I went out the fire escape and ended up out in the back of the hotel at the top of a long narrow staircase. By the time I made it to the front of the hotel we were allowed back in and told it was a false alarm. I also had a few words late one night with one of Farrakhan's bodyguards - he wasn't very nice or talkative.
4. This was the year of chocolate. After traveling to Europe in 1997 and indulging in the chocolate wonders there (mainly Switzerland) I had a goal to try as many different chocolates that year that I could. A few of my friends joined me on this quest and it was lovely. It's ironic how now with RSD, chocolate is one of the worst things I could eat - too many stimulants.

4 Things I Did 5 Years Ago (2003)
1. January wasn't off to a great start. I got injured working at the airport on January 23, 2003. This was after a marathon work schedule for everyone who was trained to do both types of screening with the TSA (checkpoint and baggage). I was stationed on the tarmac screening checked luggage for bombs. We were all overworked and overtired. The CTX machines we used would shoot the suitcases out sometimes at an estimated 25mph. I was clearing bags off the back of the machine when a coworker noticed the machine was shut down. He started it back up, not noticing I was there, and shot a suitcase out. It happened to be a hard-coated puffickly huh-yooge suitcase going to Japan so it was packed to the hilt. My hand was crushed and the force of the blow sprained every joint in my right arm and 2 vertebrae in my neck. This was the injury that led to shoulder surgery and eventually to the RSD.
2. The best thing that happened that year was on June 29th. Dave and I got married! I wasn't able to take the time off immediately following the wedding so we could honeymoon (I hated working for the TSA) and I was still on pretty much permanent light-duty because the injury wasn't healing. We went on our honeymoon a couple of weeks after our wedding.
3. Our honeymoon deserves a line on its own. We went to Florida where we stayed a few days in Orlando. We went mainly to Universal Studios and to Disneyworld. We had a great time riding the rides. We also went on the usual tours. After a few days we hopped on a cruise to Nassau and swam with stingrays. It was great! We stayed our last night indulging at the Hard Rock Hotel - lovely room, too high priced.
4. After nearly a year of working light duty my arm just seemed to be getting worse and I hadn't been able to fully move my neck since the accident. My coworkers were tired of working with a light-duty person so they did terrible things - like leave me alone to screen several flights' worth of suitcases that needed to get done or people wouldn't travel. I, being too responsible, did my best to do it on my own but it was difficult because I had to drag the bags and manipulate them in different ways since I couldn't lift them. My doctor decided at that point to pull me off work pending the shoulder surgery, which was in March '04. I haven't been back since and I'm still looking for something I can do that won't aggravate my arm.

4 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Our friends, Niel & Corinne, are vacationing at Lake Tahoe. Corinne asked me to care for her cats. One of them is just a kitten and is ill with some sort of infection in his eyes and nose. He needs 3 kinds of medicine, one of which is required 3x/day. I handled it the first time on Friday, but realized I needed help. I brought Dave along with me yesterday and it took the 2 of us about 2 hours to coax him out of the box-spring in their bed. I had to use a toy to lure him to stick his leg out and then I grabbed his leg and pulled him out while Dave lifted the bed high enough to get him out. Unfortunately, he hasn't been getting his eye drops the 3x/day but he got the important stuff. I'm so glad N&C are coming home today! I'm feeling ill and am not up for another challenge of getting the cat out from inside the bed.
2. A good friend of ours is in town to visit. Martin moved back to England a little over 3 years ago and we haven't seen him or his family since. His wife and I are very good friends and I've missed them dearly. It's a shame his wife and daughter couldn't come this time, Martin is here on business and they couldn't take their daughter out of school. It was wonderful to see him. A large group of friends turned up at the Chicken Coop to visit and we got to see a lot of people we don't see nearly enough.
3. Dave and I went to A&W for a burger and a root-beer-float. That's my latest craving, root-beer-floats. Yummy!!! Dave had never been to A&W before so this was a first for him. I wished this particular one was like the drive-in style ones, like the one I remember in Salt Lake. The one we ate at is fairly new and is combined with a KFC. I can't eat KFC anymore because it makes me cry - KFC was Buggy's favorite food.
4. Dave and I went to TJ Maxx and to Target. We got a gift for a friend, a birthday card, and a posh water bowl for Tempest.

4 Shows I Love To Watch (in no particular order)
1. My Name is Earl
2. The Office
3. Desperate Housewives
4. Two and a Half Men
-They all make me laugh.

4 Things That Make Me Really Happy
1. My husband. He's very sweet and takes good care of me.
2. Tempest. He makes me smile and laugh a lot.
3. Animals and nature. I love watching birds in our yard and watching the plants go through seasonal changes.
4. Sunny days with a light breeze.

Now I need to tag 4 people. I chose Sheri, Em, Barb, and Karen. I chose them because I thought they might enjoy this the most. I hope they participate but want to let them know there is no pressure to do so.

Thanks again, Jocasta. :)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

OfficeMax Redeemed

All I can say is wow!

Kathy, the manager at our local OfficeMax just called and was super sweet! She was very interested in our situation - the twins thing. I mentioned to the other person (Diane) about how it was difficult for me to return the chair earlier due to the complications of pregnancy with the twins. That was true. Anyway, Kathy said she was really excited for us. She sounded sincere. She explained that she's been "out of it" due to a botched oral surgery and apologized for our difficulties we encountered in returning the chair.

Anyway, she offered us a gift card for a little more than the value of the chair. It's not a cash refund, but it's something and Dave and I are quite pleased.

Lesson reaffirmed: if you're a dissatisfied customer, take it to the top!