In 5 hours, it will be time for my/our baby shower. Gifts have been arriving by post (of all sorts), all week, and thank you notes have been flying back out the door.
In the midst of all of the disruption and distress of last week, my family pulled together to support my mom in getting ready for the baby shower. I went over yesterday afternoon and lay on the couch while various members of my family shuffled through to visit with me. Luckily my mom lives less than 5 minutes away, so going to her couch to rest is within my treatment plan.
I've noticed wee wisps of magical thinking sneaking in over the last few days--fears that having a baby shower will somehow doom the pregnancy. Ugh. I hate those thoughts. And I know that's just what they are: thoughts, not predictions. And yet, the hyper-vigilance with which I check the TP or count the BH contractions shows me I'm still trying to control the outcome of this pregnancy by curtailing my own happiness.
So I'm not, curtailing my own happiness that is. I'm am happy, and excited, and really looking forward to my one and only baby shower, a day we have worked towards for 4 long years. It is so much more to me than a party to prepare for the boys, it's a celebration of our persistence, our love, and our resiliency.
I do not plan to go a week between posts, but last week was a doozy.
I allowed myself a few outings on Monday (two doctor appointments and a trip to Target) on Monday, and then started bed rest in earnest on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, we had our growth scan for the boys. They were both measuring aprox 25w1d, which is great, since I was 24w1d! I can't remember the weights, but over a lb, and closer to 2 than 1, so that is positive. I haven't gained any weight since I left the hospital, but the babies are growing,and I am eating often and protein-fully, so until someone gets worried, I'm going to keep on, keeping on.
The less positive piece is that my cervix, which was still over 2cm long, but was showing a bit of funneling at the top. The bed rest injunction became very real to us at that point.
But then the real fun started. When we got the car we both had messages from a friend of my moms telling us she was in the hospital, with what sounded like a stroke or a TIA. Oy. I called my siblings, and my husband went to tell my father and take him to the hospital. My mom is 81, and has been having trouble with her blood pressure since she had a surgery on her finger in June (beta day, actually!) Her doctor has been sort of lackadaisical about dealing with it, which pissed her off, and made her not want to ask for or more help. My siblings and I had been talking to each other and her about getting checked out by someone more responsive (noticed her speech was slurring, seemed unsteady, a couple of driving incidents with a teen aged granddaughter in the car etc). So we were all aware that she needed some sort of assessment. Although I'm not happy it got that far, at least in the hospital, she got throughly checked out.
And then I started having contractions. I couldn't tell if they were braxton hicks or not, and after the funneling info, I was spooked. I called my doctor, and my husband hightailed it home from the hospital, and we got an iphone app to time them, I took a warm bath, and things finally calmed down, just to start up again the next night, and add to that excruciating right hip pain. By the time I woke up on Friday, I was a weepy mess. We went and saw my doctor. He monitored me, no contractions, but I did have blood in my urine. Turns out, more kidney stones for me! Oy. Not as bad, by any measure, as the ones in October, but still, pretty awful.
Mom was still in the hospital, awaiting some sort of heart scoping procedure, since they'd found a hole in her heart during her echocardiogram. For some reason, they didn't do the procedure...hoping to find out more later. She is doing pretty well, and is finally going to start seeing some specialists. Whew. And she's pissed enough to FINALLY change primary care doctors. Whew.
I'm finally getting used to the 'big boy' kicking these two are doing. The first 2 weeks of it really freaked me out, especially since Ziggy (baby A) liked to work my cervix over, quite frequently. But now its more familiar, and it feels like a chance to communicate with both of them. I'm still having the BH contractions, but they are not as frequent or as scary. I think the super long ultrasound irriated my uterus (listed as one reason for BH contractions on the internet). My sister said she had them starting around 5 months with all her pregnancies, sometimes all day every day, so hopefully that will bode well for me and pushing--no more than 5 or 6 pushes for each of her births!
The other big news is that we hired a nanny...for us. Husband was trying to do everything himself, which mostly meant he was exhausted, and running himself ragged, and feeling as if (and it was true), he was not accomplishing anything he needed to at work. He is our only breadwinner, and a partner in his company, so not getting work done is not an option.
We placed an add on Wednesday, and interviewed the first two people who where qualified on Friday and Saturday, and made our choice! She is awesome. She is applying to graduate school, and cooking is her hobby. She reads the same food blogs and has the same subscriptions that I do, and she is funny, and laughed at our jokes. At this point, we are concentrating on having her supply meals for us. We are running on takeout and frozen food, which is not how I want to feed these boys.
I'll update more often, than once a week! Typing laying down is very challenging.
That title sounds more ominous than it ought to...
If you will recall, my doctor has put me on modified bed rest as a precaution, rather than because of anything that is wrong. The basic idea is to recline as much as possible, sit for only 15 minutes at a time, and to minimize physical stress. I am allowed to go to a restaurant once a week and to a movie, but not on the same day. As you can imagine, I'm really looking forward to that! Hopefully at our ultrasound on Wednesday we'll find that my cervix is nice and long and closed, and this can stay as precautionary bed rest!
Frankly, it has me a bit frantic. The week I spent in the hospital, and the week I spent recovering from the hospital took a whole lot of my nesting time and threw it in the trash. Last weekend we finally chose a new mattress and found a love seat for our second floor (so I can nurse in the middle of the night). But, in my opinion, everything else is in chaos! Ok, that is a vast overstatement, but my maternal brain cannot tolerate that I will be bringing these boys home to a house that is less than perfectly organized. Of course, I would have fallen short of that goal anyway, but I could have at least been pursuing it! I've got people willing to help, and I hope to enlist them, but it's just not the same...
I really need recommendations of books to read. I tend to like mysteries, and I like series. I've worked my way through the Outlander series a couple of time. The Maise Dobbs series is a favorite. In terms of regular novels, I'd prefer not to read anything too upsetting (child soldiers, lots of incest etc). Actually chick lit is probably a good bet. Also, TV series, please help! I'm planning on watching "In Treatment", maybe "Grey's Anatomy", but beyond that I'm drawing a blank.
To add insult to injury, my netbook, which is thankfully still under warrenty, has been having hard disk errors, so I may be laptop-less for a few weeks, which will make blogging interesting (15 minute increments?)
The boys are getting VERY big and thumpy. I can feel them from the outside and I need to leave my hands off my belly long enough to see if I can see them! My belly is finally starting to catch up to my breasts. Really. I posted a belly pic on FB and both my mom and a friend thought it was more of a boob pic than a belly pic! Yes, I know, I owe you a belly pic. I'm working on it!
My baby shower is in two weeks. I'm going to be hogging a lot of the available seating by laying on one of the couches, but other than that, I'm looking so forward to it. I invited a huge rag tag bunch of people from all the different parts of my life, and it feels like a true celebration of how far we've come.
We have pretty much decided on names, but we aren't sharing them until the birth. It's driving my mother in law a little crazy to not know, but what's the fun in knowing EVERYTHING!
Wish me luck on my gestational diabetes test...
Last night was the last meeting of our childbirth class. We'd missed two because of my hospitalization and subsequent exhaustion, but we'd thought we'd go any way. It was potluck. That didn't bode well. I can barely cook for us at this point. Yes, I could have gone to the store and got something from the deli, but meh.
5pm rolls around, Husband would need to get showered and ready to go, and we both found ourselves rather uninspired to bother. As we talked about it a few things stood out: Our leader was clearly a pretty burnt-out doula (she'd announced she was retiring at the first class, and then at the third class, she announced she wasn't because she wanted to finance a vacation the next summer...that just sort of irked me.) I didn't feel like I could really recommend her to anyone since she seemed burned out, and their birth would just be a vehicle for her get to Europe in the summer. But I digress, or I bitch and moan, but whatever.
Then there was the little fact that she'd never acknowledged that we'd let her know I was in hospital, and that the following week I was too ill to come in. Turns out, we found out via the last class reminder email, that she'd not been to the last 3 classes, and no one had told the group why we weren't there.
And then, there was the group. They may have actually been very cool, and interesting, but there wasn't any structure to allow us to get to know each other, and lets face it, after class at 9:30 at night, the last thing any pregnant woman wants to do is stand around talking! Meeting other couples with babies near our kids age was our wish, and not an explicit offer, but it sure would have been nice. And I know friends who's birth class cohort became friendly, so it wasn't a totally reasonable wish. Oh well.
However, I will say that as soon as I learned the following, I'd gotten my monies worth: if you can take a crap, you can push out a baby. Yes, I am paraphrasing dodge-ball. Basically, I thought there was some other set of muscles or magic innards that I needed to access during this critical period of my children's life, and yet, I've been practicing all along. So between me and my uterus, I think we're gonna be alright.
I wish there had been a childbirth class for mothers of multiples--even if most of them were getting planned c-sections, it would have been nice to connect with them (and yes, I have joined our local multiples group, but I haven't gone to a meeting yet). We are going to breastfeeding multiples class next week, and I'm really looking forward to it.
One of the best things overall, as a twin mom, about going to childbirth class is that it reinforced for me that my goal is to leave the hospital with two, live healthy babies, and that even though my options, because I choose to take the medical route, are more limited, the birth experience will be good enough. I am capable for getting myself alllllll wound around the axel trying to control things that I think will cause irreparable psychological harm, and what I am pounding into my head daily is that I don't have to provide perfect experiences for our children so that they have perfect lives. I need to be responsive, and work to help them to be resilient. I feel like if we have some sort of lovely calm birth experience, great, if not, ok. We get our boys, and then the real work begins. I think when you are giving birth to one, the risks are lower, and you have more options, and I still think people torture themselves way too much about it not turning out as they planned. I need to protect myself and the boys from that part of myself. But hey, none of this has gone as planned, so that makes it a bit easier to let go of things.
I'm planning to expend all my idealism and intensity on breastfeeding. This is something I believe in, and want for myself and for them, and depending on a whole raft of factors, this could be daunting. But I can get help with it. My sister, my friend who nursed her twins, professionals, all of it. But if the best I can do is pump my breast milk and bottle feed them, then I will. I hope we get to have 'at the breast experience', but it's not what happens, then I want to make sure that I don't saddle us all with the idea that I am defective, or they are, and that we had a less than good connection. I remember seeing a video in college of mothers in Japan who bottle feed their babies, but they do it next to their skin, even under their shirts. That made such an impression on me; you can bottle feed, and be close. Being close is what matters.
There is that resiliency wish again.
I guess you could sum up my parenting philosophy as: she takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'.
Well that sucked.
A week and a day in the hospital, 6 days on antepartum ward, and a PICC line later, I finally came home on Monday. I was so weak and exhausted that I had to take a nap after I showered.
Yeah, that exhausted.
To be fair, the antepartum ward was awesome. All the rooms are huge and private because during construction or engineering, or something, they didn't put in enough oxygen tanks, so the rooms, which were supposed to be doubles, became singles. Let me tell you, that was the best mistake ever made. It would have been even harder to have a roommate. I am a pretty low stimulation type person, and just having the other person there, when I felt like utter shite for 5 out of the 7 days, would have been awful. It wasn't until Saturday that I could concentrate long enough to read, but then had nothing to read! My sister, the soon to be full fledged librarian, came through with a great book, and I was at least entertained for Sunday and the part of Monday I was there.
In the end, I never had the 'magical' relief that most people get when they pass a kidney stone. I seemed to have stones, and muck and gunk in my ureter, plus a swollen kidney from being pregnant, in addition to it being swollen from the ureter clogging, so I was not a happy camper. When I had my ultrasound on Monday, there was no more blockage in the ureter, so I didn't need the nephroscopy, thank goodness. Like I need a piece of plastic in my back and the feeling of needing to pee all the time!
I've been surprised at what a slow recovery it's been. I think that the end of second trimester fatigue has hit, in addition to recovering from a week of being sedated and hardly sleeping (I mean for a twin pregnancy, I realize I have 6 more weeks to go before I hit 28 mark, but I'm as big as a 28 weeker!)
Since I've been home, the babies have gotten so much bigger! Their kicks are much more distinctive, and wierd feeling, and yes, baby A has kicked me in the cervix a few times. Not painful, but weird! Last night they were very active, although baby A is easier to feel (posterior placenta), and Husband FINALLY got to feel some kicks from the outside. Next baby B needs to give daddy some kicks!
I find myself startled when they start kicking, as if something bad is happening, and then I remind myself that it's just them kicking, and it's ok.
In terms of me and the pregnancy, I've got some sort of dermatitis going on in my girl parts-not conducive to a good nights sleep! It was gone the whole week I was in the hospital, so I'm doing some detective work, and trying to eliminate (soap, laundry detergent, toilet paper), and see if I can figure out what is causing the irritation.
***Changing my laundry detergent did help a bit, but I finally took my girl parts to the dermatologist and she suspects a yeast infection. Turns out, some women never get the internal type, which jibes with my experience of myself, and just for TMI's sake, it had started to wander down my thighs! Never have I been happier to smear myself with nystatin and hydracortisone! Waiting to hear back from my OB on whether he wants me to do an internal treatment as well.**
Also, I've started to 'stutter' when I breathe sometimes. Its like that kind of breathing that happens after you've been sobbing, and you're winding down. But I'm not sobbing, and it doesn't happen all the time, or in just one positon. This morning Husband was worried I was crying in bed! Nope! Just breathing like a pregnant lady!
Also, I'm developing a hernia below my belly button. I was getting worried that I has having some sort of odd set of contractions, but only in one spot! When I take a deep breathe (sometimes), or straighten up, or sneeze, I get this tight feeling below my bellow button. Turns out, ye olde abdominal wall is a splitting a bit. Seems likes it's not a big deal, as long as nothing protrudes through it...So I'm on super princess duty, no lifting, no deep breathing (JUST KIDDING!) and I'm wearing my maternity belt which seems to make the whole belly area a lot less uncomfortable. The big buggabo is laundry. My laundry is in the garage, my bedroom is 2 floors away. Husband will do everything he can to make it work, but he is a VERY busy guy, and dammit, I wanna do laundry when I want to!
We lost a whole week and weekend of prep time, but we'll get it together somehow. We still need to get our new mattress (we have everything, including the bed frame!), the boy's mattress', decide on dressers, and find a nursing love-seat for our second floor, clear out the babies room, the closet and another storage closet. Oh, and move me out of my office! No biggie. Ugh. The hernia doesn't make it any easier to do the prep work, but I'm going to try. Our registry is up (we did multiple places...is that normal?), and the baby shower, which I'm also treating as my 40th birthday party, since these babies are all I've wanted for my birthday for 4 years, is underway. My mom, sister and cousin are collaborating, and I know it's going to be lovely. My mom already ordered the cake from my favorite bakery, and I've requested bowls of peanut m&m's. Sounds like a good party, eh?
I'll try to keep up a little better here. After all, blogging shouldn't affect my hernia.
I'll try to get a belly picture up, I have one on my phone that I can't figure out how to get on here, from here...
The 20 week ultrasound went well, if not a bit long and painful! Geeze! It is a testament to pregnancy exhaustion that at one point I dozed off, and at the time the tech was pressing on my very full bladder and other bits of my anatomy. Oy.
Both still boys, both very active and healthy. They are measuring 20 weeks, 6 days, or their heads are, I'm not sure. But baby A weighs 13 oz and baby B weighs 12 oz, so that is a 1 oz, and 1 % difference, which is good stuff according to the doctor.
Speaking of my bladder, I have suddenly, as of today, reached the phase where I really have to go, but not much comes out. Oh fully empty bladder, how I will miss you. I was so freaked out about it, and some other lady bits irritation that I called the doctor and they fit me in for a quick urine screen and looking over by the good doctor himself. I was pronounced "very pregnant with twins", and no bladder infection. So I guess this is just gonna be one of those things I cope with. The doctor said that baby A was probably (is probably) on my bladder and it's irritating my bladder. Hopefully, he'll get tired of hanging out down there, and go up and bother his brother who is apparently responsible for all of those tickles I feel in my ribs and sides.
The facility we went to today was not as swank as the place we went to for all our other scans, and both Husband and I were sort of, well, aware of it. The machines weren't as fancy, and we didn't get a CD of the boys, or any 3d pictures, which we've become accustomed to. However, this place is much closer to home, thus much better for when I'm on restricted activity. I'll be going to the hospital for my non-stress tests and that's even closer to our house. Ho hum. It's hard being a princess.
I'm about to take my sorry, sleepy pregnant butt and plant it on the couch. Anybody watching, The Chior on BBC America? It makes me wanna sing!
So I'm just over here, plugging away, being pregnant. Getting little whollps from each of the boys, and managing to keep the nutty anxiety to a minimum.
I had a little anxiety peak on Monday after talking with my cousin about the baby shower in November, which was after we'd spent a good portion of the weekend figuring out, actually buying some things for the babies room. It was really hot on Monday, and at our childbirth class I was suffering with puffy hands and feet (as was husband) and then the boys were not moving around (most likely sleeping) and I got myself all convinced that I had early onset pre-eclampsia and both the boys were dead. I got more and more tense as the night went on, and then when we got home I shook my belly a bunch, and as far as I could tell, both woke up. Also, husband gave me a much needed reality check.
The thing about magical thinking, is that it is nightmarish, and is never comforting. Ugh. So I didn't kill my babies by going to childbirth class, or getting things ready for their room, or by planning the baby shower. Shocking.
The most exciting thing that has happened is that I felt Stardust from the outside! I was dozing with my hands on my belly and I felt,what felt like a knuckle, sweep arcross my palm! It woke me up, and I sort of yelped! I'm sure it's going to get uncomfortable and all that, but I'm really going to miss having them bumping around inside of me.
I'm heading into the last four weeks of work, and boy am I glad. The work days are tiring, and it's hard to eat all I need to eat!
In terms of eating, I'm feeling pretty good about how I'm doing. I'm eating lots of lean protein and veggies and sweet potatoes, and some treats. What I've noticed about my digestion is that I am really thirsty at the beginning of the day, and drink a lot, and then by about 3 or 4, I can still eat, but drinking makes me feel pretty full and sloshy.
In terms of food aversion, I don't have any really strong ones, except to tomato sauce. I think it sauces that have a lot of wine in them or something. I can eat 'regular' pizza (like round table or something), but the fancy deep dish I usually love smells horrific to me, and a really lovely lasagna that a local food co-op makes, smells AWFUL. Thai food, not super appealing, but its ok. I'm really looking forward to the winter weather and all the homey, plain food that goes so well with winter.
Yesterday I went to see my OB. All by myself. Because our doc had a delivery on Friday, our appointment was rescheduled to Monday, and Husband would have had to really turn himself into a pretzel to make it. Since we'd had the great scan last Wednesday, we both decided we were comfortable with not being there together. Since we've started down this track (the TTC etc.), neither of us ever wanted to miss an appointment where we might get bad news. Uplifting, eh?
So I showed up, got shown to a room immediately, got weighed, got my BP taken (both were pronounced GREAT! by the nurse), got measured, heard the wee heartbeats and was sent on my way!
One of the things that was surprising to me was that he said that I was carrying small. Not in terms of uterine size or baby size, both are perfect, but that the way that my uterus was working? Holding the babies? Not sure...anyhoo some people's uterus grows up and out, and mine seems to be growing wide?, again, not sure. But I think it's my general body style. I tend to be wide rather than thick, so I'm probably using up some internal space that others might not posses. He also said that it looked like I had a good frame for caring and delivering twins. That is just the kind of thing I like to hear. I'm soaking up the good feedback. I'm pretty convinced that I'm carrying a baby in each breast. My breasts are enormous--they are still much bigger than my belly, once the belly finally surpass the breasts, I think I'll feel like look much more pregnant. I'm mostly wearing sleep bras at home, and suffering the best-of-the-worst in terms of bras when I'm out and about.
I have finally hit the constipation wall. I think it's the type of calcium I've been taking, so I'm switching it up and trying to find the right balance of calcium and magnesium, and hopefully I'll be back to my usual, ahem, self.
We went to our first childbirth class last night. We're going to an independent CB class, so it's 6 weeks long, and focuses a lot on various ways to manage an unmedicated birth. Clearly, that is not all that likely in our case! It made me somewhat wistful for those of you who are pregnant with singletons, and have so many more options than us twin moms. Of course, I could do anything I wanted to, but I know, even with a singleton I'd have a hospital birth, I'm just that anxious, but I would have worked very hard for an unmedicated birth. Oddly, I'm not scared of giving birth. I've been preparing for an unmedicated birth since I was a teenager (really, I used to want to be a midwife), nausea? Pre-eclampsia? Pre-term labor? Fetal death? Yup, terrified of all of them (ok with nausea, it was more dread than fear). Even though only one class is going to directly address our likely path (epidural/vag birth or cesarean), it's so nice to be a part of the club. And, I've finally been shown a picture of where the heck my organs have gone! Nice to know!
Today makes 18 weeks, 1/2 way through. Zowie. The guest list is being compiled for the baby shower, the stroller has been purchased and the car seats have been chosen, and the registry is going to be compiled. As of October, I'll only be working 2 days a week, and then by the end, none. Wow. Just like a regular pregnant lady.
Oh my god! This is so much fun! It's like being tickled from the inside! They are both getting big enough that I can feel them at times other than just after dinner. Today had been a true kick-o-rama!
Keep it comin' boys, keep it comin'.