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!