Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Non-Stress Tests are causing me STRESS!!!

Why do they call them Non-stress Tests?? I find that they do nothing but cause me more stress. Today's NST lasted 90 minutes long...yes, 90 minutes long! Let me start off by saying I had an OB appointment first, which lasted maybe 10 minutes so I was feeling pretty encouraged that my NST would be just as eventful and quick. No cervix check today (yeah!!!), no belly measurements (why bother...doesn't take a measuring tape to see I'm as big as a freakin house these days), and just a quick check of the babies' heartbeats with the doppler. She went over my recent bloodwork and labs with me - no sign of pre-eclampsia yet (but my levels are more elevated since the last time so we'll keep an eye on it), no gestational diabetes, no anemia and my fFN came back negative. Everything seems to be in check. My BP was a little on the high side again (148/89) so she ordered a 24-hr urine check. I did remember to ask this time at what point she wouldn't try to stop labor and she said 32-34 weeks, which surprised me. She said even if we had to deliver now for some reason that the babies would be fine but she'd feel better about them being delivered between 32-34 weeks. I'd much prefer for her to do everything possible to keep these little guys in until at least 34 weeks, even if all those meds make me feel miserable. I remember with Cole and Bella, after being on a mag pump and niphedipine for 4 days, I was begging and pleading with the nurses to stop all the meds and just let my body do what is was going to do....not only do the meds make you feel physically drained but it also does a number on your emotional stamina. You can only take so much, especially when you're throwing up every hour on the hour from horrible acid reflux. Okay, so let's stop there with all the gory stuff....

So I go over to the room where they do the NST's and right away the nurse does an ultrasound to check their positions and check the amniotic fluid. Fluid looks good and is at a nice, healthy level for both babies. Seems Baby B changed positions though...he's now transverse with his head on my right side and his legs on my left side. Baby A is still head down with his head right against my cervix and he's pretty much curled up in a ball, facing downwards. Poor little guy is being crushed by his brother and probably just counting down the minutes until he can make the great escape. It's funny how most people assume twins will want to be as physically close as possible after they're born but Cole and Bella never did. They loved having their own incubators in the NICU and being able to stretch their arms and legs out. They never slept in the fetal position, like most babies. And when they finally were moved to a double isolette where they could be side by side, they actually bothered each other more and the nurses moved them back to separate isolettes. I have a feeling these guys will be the same way...I mean, seriously, once they're out of the womb and have the ability to spread out, why would they want to sleep in such tight quarters?? I know I wouldn't.

Once the nurse determined their positions, we thought it would be a piece of cake to get them both on the monitors. At first, she managed to get recordings of them for about 10 minutes but they weren't moving very much. And then Baby A fell off the monitor and then Baby B and we were right back to square one. It took both of us to try and find them again....once we finally had both of them back on the monitors, there was no good solid movements from either of them for a good 30 minutes. She said if they continued like this, that my OB would probably send me to L&D for further monitoring....I said "no way....we gotta get these guys moving somehow"....but it seemed like everytime we'd manage to get both of them on the monitors, one would eventually fall off and we'd have to start all over again. I had a few contractions here and there but nothing that was extraordinary....I think she was more concerned with their lack of activity than the contractions. At some point, I even started to worry. Then she asked me when was the last time I ate something and it actually had been 3 hours so she offered me some orange juice and within 10 minutes, they were both a lot more active. Guess they were just feeling sluggish from being starved....she suggested that from now on I should eat a snack and drink some juice right before the NST's and hopefully we'll have better luck.

After 90 minutes of this, I was so exhausted!! I was looking forward to getting off the sofa and being out of the house but this wasn't exactly what I had planned! She took my BP after the NST and it had gone down a little but not too much....no shocker there considering how stressful the "non-stress" test was. Overall, I'll consider today's NST a success though....I didn't end up at L&D and that, to me, is considered a success!

I have to laugh though about how many people I must have encountered on my way up to my OB's office who asked me when I was due. Here's how most of the conversations went:

The nosy person (TNP): "So when are you due?"
Me: "Not until April"
TNP: Oh, you look like you're due any day now.
Me: Um, yeah, thanks...
TNP: Do you know if it's a boy or a girl?
Me: Actually, 2 boys
TNP: Twins?
Me: Yes, twins (unless you know of a way I can have 2 babies that are NOT twins - no, I didn't actually say this part but I really really wanted to)
TNP: Were you trying for twins? (I'm not kidding....I was asked this 3 times today....how do you TRY for twins??? Sex twice in one night perhaps??)
Me: No, weren't trying...we were just very fortunate to be blessed with twins
TNP: Are these your first children?
Me: No, we have another set of twins who are 2 yrs old
TNP: (opens mouth wide, looks at me like I'm kidding....) You're kidding, so this will be your 2nd set of twins? Do twins run in your family?
Me: Yeah, they do now (really, do I wanna start getting into a history of the fact that yes, my grandmother had twins and 2 of my cousins have twins...yadda, yadda, yadda...)
TNP: Wow, I've never heard of that (obviously, they never watch Discovery Healthy Channel or TLC where there are tons of stories more interesting than mine)
TNP: (without giving me a chance to respond)...So are you done having kids after this? (as if I'm my uterus is shooting off sets of twins left and right)...
Me: Yes, I think so (what I really really want to say is "No, we're hoping to have triplets next time around")

After having this conversation about 4 times with different people BEFORE I even got up to my OB's office, I had decided in my head that I was just going to say I was due anyday now and we were having a boy, who will be our first born. I hate to sound rude but in the beginning of this pregnancy I will admit I enjoyed the attention and the interest that people showed when they learned we were having our 2nd set of twins but nowadays, I just wanna avoid the conversation at all costs because it's ALWAYS the same questions/same comments. Then there are the people who want to know if we had to do fertility treatments to conceive either set of twins. Normally I don't mind discussing this as I've always been very open about having to do IVF to conceive Cole and Bella, there's no shame in that. But unfortunately the comment I usually hear after I tell people that we needed IVF to conceive our 1st set of twins but that these twins were spontaneously conceived is "well, looks like you didn't need fertility treatments after all". This comment always angers me. As if we were doing something wrong to begin with and that's why we couldn't conceive. I'd love to say to these people who make this comment "hmmm, now that you mention it, maybe all it comes down to is sexual position...maybe we weren't just doing it right the first time". As if all 3 IVF cycles we did were in vain and didn't mean anything....I always say if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, IVF is not an enjoyable experience by any means and it certainly isn't cheap either but I wouldn't have Cole and Bella in my life if I hadn't gone through any of it and, along the way, I've made many life-long friends who cycled at the same clinic with me. So I never look back now and think "maybe I didn't need IVF in the first place"....I just thank God I had such a wonderful RE and that we were blessed with success, even if it did take 3 tries.

Okay, I should get off my soap box....I'm feeling just a little bit irritable and hormonal these days. Can you blame me??

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Another milestone!!!

I'm finally 28 weeks pregnant today!!! Since 24 weeks, every 2 weeks has been a huge milestone. And while I know 28 weeks is still very early for these little guys to be born, it does give me a sense of relief knowing they have a very good chance for survival if they were to be born now.

When I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I never really experienced the "nesting phase", probably because I was working full-time and then as soon as I went on maternity leave, I got put on strict bedrest. With this pregnancy, I'm REALLY feeling the "nesting phase" and an urgency to get things done. Unfortunately Tim doesn't share my urgency, which has lead to a series of arguments (usually I end up in tears sobbing how he just doesn't understand what I'm going through). The other day he told me that if the nursery doesn't get done before the babies are born and all the other things that need to get done, than I can just do it after the babies are born, especially if they're in the NICU. My first reaction was "did he really just say that??"....then my second reaction was "where's the closest frying pan so I can hit him upside his thick head!". This was another instance when I broke down into tears, sobbing "when do you think I'm gonna have time to do that AFTER the babies are born....if they're in the NICU, I'll be spending all my time with them there and when I'm home, I'll be pumping breast milk and trying to recover from a c-section and get as much as rest as possible, not to mention still trying to spend time with Cole and Bella....and after the babies are home, I'll have absolutely NO TIME to deal with putting a nursery together, organizing clothes, etc, etc".....I honestly couldn't believe he thought I'd have all the time in the world to get things ready after the babies are here. At one point, I even said to him "What the hell are you thinking????"....he must have forgotten how crazy and chaotic things were when Cole and Bella came home from the NICU and we only had them to take care of. This time around, I'll have 2 newborns and 2 toddlers to care for....I don't even wanna think of how many loads of laundry I'll be doing on a daily basis.

So with all that said, he's supposed to be calling my stepdad sometime this week to set up a time for him to come over and help him get the room ready. My friend Bonnie came over yesterday and helped me organize baby clothes and put them away. She even packed a bag full of clothes for them that I can take to the hospital with me. After yesterday, I felt a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. Then this morning, I started making a list of things that Tim can pick up from Target or Babies R Us that we'll need...so at least now I'm feeling like I've been accomplishing things!

Other than that, nothing too exciting going on around here....the kids are doing pretty well at preschool. They had all the 2-yr olds together for the longest time because they were short on staff but they must have hired an aide for the older 2's class because the last couple of weeks, they've had the classes separated. So now there's only maybe 7-8 kids in Cole and Bella's class on a daily basis with 2 teachers. It's so much more calmer and peaceful now....they're also able to follow their lesson plans more easily now and the kids come home almost every time with a new art project they did about something they learned that day. In addition to learning about vegetables that grow in a garden, they learned about the sun, the moon and the stars. Bella is starting to count now too except she skips certain numbers, like the number 3. She was practicing jumping yesterday and she said "1, 2, 4...go" and Tim said "what about the number 3?" and she said "I no lika da number 3".

The potty training is still somewhat of a joke but we're starting to make some headway. Cole has been asking to sit on the potty and he makes an earnest effort to go but his short attention span doesn't allow for him to sit there for the few minutes necessary to make things happen. So after about 30-60 seconds, he gets up and says he can't go. Oh well...it'll happen in time, that's what everyone tells me. Bella is going through the same thing...she wants to use the potty but doesn't have the ability to sit there until it happens. Cole is starting to realize when he has to go but Bella hasn't yet. I told Tim we should just load them both up with undiluted apple juice one day and let them run around naked and see what happens....

That's about it for now....I have an OB appointment on Monday and an NST following right afterwards. Hopefully, both appointments will be uneventful!!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Thank you, God, for oranges!

The other day Bella and Cole had their first bit of homework from preschool!! This week, they are learning about God's creations. The teachers sent home a piece of paper with a flower on it, with large petals, and on the petals, the kids were supposed to come up with things they were thankful to God for and I would write them down. It was quite humorous....I asked the kids "what are you thankful to God for?"...here's the list....

Cole:

Thank you, God, for oranges
Thank you, God, for choo-choo trains
Thank you, God, for the sun
Thank you, God, for the moon
Thank you, God, for my animals

Bella:

Thank you, God, for Elmo
Thank you, God, for Dora
Thank you, God, for my family
Thank you, God, for green grass
Thank you, God, for boobies (NO, I didn't' actually write this on the piece of paper but I included it here b/c I thought it was hilarious!!)

That's where Cole started getting just as silly, like "Thank you, God, for farts", "Thank you, God, for poop"....and then they both started in on thanking God for every silly, disgusting thing under the sun, totally trying to out-do one another. I must admit I did laugh at a few of them....geez, I'm as bad as they are!

We are impressed with Cole's soccer abilities already!! The other night he was tossing the soccer ball back and forth with Tim and Tim accidentally threw it too high and Cole used his head to throw the ball back to Tim....we both just looked at each other like "woe, he's a natural". And then he continued to "throw" the ball back to Tim using his head. We tried to get it on video but by the time I got the camera, he had fallen backwards onto one of his Bob the Builder hammers (he was naked b/c it was right before bathtime) and he had landed on the hammer in a very sensitive spot...the fun was over at that point. He cried endlessly and screamed "bad hammer" until he was blue in the face.

I had another ultrasound on Monday and the babies are hanging in there....gaining weight like there's no tomorrow. Baby A weighs 2 pounds, 5 ounces and Baby B is 2 pounds, 10 ounces. If I had any worries about not eating enough, I can put those to rest...they are clearly getting as many nutrients as they need. The u/s tech said Baby A is head down right against my cervix, almost as if he's planning the great escape. He's just waiting for the right moment to "run for the border" so to speak. Baby B is also head down but higher up on my right side. He's a mover and a shaker...always trying to change positions but I'm not sure he's having much luck. Every once in awhile, I'll catch a glimpse of something pointy sticking out on my side...when I press on it, he changes positions.

And then today I had an appointment with the perinatologist, but first I had to stop by the lab to do the Glucose Tolerance Test. I don't know how other pregnant women can say they like that drink...within the first few sips, I wanted to puke. I managed to get it down in a matter of minutes but man oh man I felt so sick to my stomach after that. Then I went upstairs for my appointment and the kick-fest began....I think the sugar in that drink hit the babies within 10 minutes. There were arms and legs everywhere, going crazy. Let's just say Baby A was not kind to my cervix....I think he thought he had Super Human strength at that point and was literally trying to pry his way out. All in all, the appointment went well, with the exception of my blood pressure, which was 160/90....and I hated to have to tell the peri that I've also been getting headaches and blurred vision. There was no protein in my urine but she had me do some additional bloodwork at the lab for pre-eclampsia. She also wants me to start monitoring my BP at home. Let the fun begin....

I had a rough night last night with contractions but thankfully as long as I kept drinking water and stayed on my side, they would go away. But then I'd wake up in the middle of the night every couple hours, feeling crampy and my belly all tight, so I'd drink more water and then they'd go away after a little while. After I mentioned this to the peri, she wanted to check my cervix and it was closed and thick still (God, how I hate these cervix checks!!!) And then she went a step further and did an fFN test, which she said she'll do every 2 weeks at this point. And actually, even though that test is worse than a cervix exam, I was thankful she's doing them every couple weeks because I really feel that's the only reason Cole and Bella did as well as they did when they were born. The week before they were born, my OB at the time did an fFN test and it came back positive so he had me get the steroid shots to mature their lungs...they were born 5 days later. I haven't heard back from her yet on the results of my bloodwork, GTT or the fFN so hopefully no news is good news!

And while we're finally in the home stretch of this pregnancy, I realize we're also in the scariest, most anxious part of it as well. Starting next week, I'll go for twice weekly NST's and I'm sure I'll find myself at the hospital plenty during this time. Just the other day I was saying that I think I can get to 35 weeks and in a way I still believe that part of me wants and needs to be prepared for going earlier than that. With Cole and Bella, things started happening really quickly....one day I was fine and then the next day, things just got out of control with pre-term labor. Finally, after 4 weeks, my body gave out and labor couldn't be stopped at that point. Hopefully, I'll do better this time but at least I'm prepared for how quickly things can go from uneventful to downright scary.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

We're in the HOME STRETCH!!

As of today, I'm officially in the 3rd trimester of this pregnancy...YEAH!!! Sometimes I still have to pinch myself to really believe we've made it this far! And now the real test will be how much further can I make it....I have a feeling I'll make it past 32 weeks, perhaps even to 35 weeks for a bunch of different reasons. When I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I was working full-time up until 28 weeks, even though my OB much preferred me to stop working at 24 weeks. I was always on my feet and probably not keeping myself as hydrated as I should have. This time around, I've been on bedrest since 20 weeks so I've had no choice but to be off my feet as much as possible, which leaves me all the time in the world to drink 100 ounces of fluids per day. The only reason I would think I might deliver before 32 weeks is if my BP goes up again and stays consistently high.

So our evening alone without the kids, actually went well. I talked Tim into taking me to Target to get some new jammies. Probably not the smartest move because after being on my feet for more than 10 minutes, I was like "we gotta get outta here!!" Then we went and rented a few movies for the evening. We went home and watched one and then had dinner. We actually had some nice conversations that didn't pertain to the kids, which was nice for a change. At one point, he started rubbing my belly and pushing on it and saying "wake up, little guys". Then he took one look at my face and quickly moved his hand away. I'm sure the look on my face said it all. There was a point in this pregnancy when I loved when Tim would push on my belly and wait for the babies to respond but now....no thank you. When these little guys are resting, that's my time to relax and enjoy not being poked, punched, kicked and hit in the cervix, not being kicked in the ribs or the bladder, or having one of their knees or elbows sticking out on the side of my body in the most painful position.

Well, I have to honestly say I miss the kids...I called last night to see how they were doing and my stepdad said they were fine. Cole said "hi Mommy" and then went back to eating popcorn and watching tv. Bella was too busy to come to the phone because she was too intrigued with my stepdad's nieces' boyfriend's tatoos to come talk to me. Then this morning I called and my mom rushed me off the phone saying she was in the middle of a diaper change and that the kids were fine. When they're away from me, I feel like a piece of me is missing. But then after they're back home for a few hours, I'm already wondering when my mom and stepdad can take them again for a weekend. It's the perfect irony, isn't it??

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Random ramblings....

First off, I have to post a picture of this adorable Christmas ornament that my friend Clare sent me. She said she took one look at it and thought of ME!!!! Can you see why (check out the Mommy Reindeer's shocked look on her face!!)



I opened up the package and couldn't stop laughing...I instantly called Clare and said "I'm gonna send you our family Christmas portrait next Christmas and that's exactly what I'll look like". Actually the funny thing is after I opened up the package, I stared at the ornament and thought "wait, there's 4 reindeer children..." and then it hit me...we're gonna have 4 children!! We've gone from a tiny family of just the 2 of us to a family of 4 and now we'll be a family of 6, all in a matter of 2 years. I was thinking about a friend of mine who has 4 kids....4 pregnancies in a matter of 6 years. How on earth did she go through pregnancy 4 times???? I can honestly say I never want to be pregnant again....ever! Many friends have told me "well, you wanted 4 kids...this was the way to go...2 pregnancies, 4 kids and you're family is complete". It didn't actually happen like that though...there was a pregnancy before Cole and Bella and then 2 more pregnancies in between Cole and Bella and these little guys but they weren't meant to be. They were all singleton pregnancies too....guess my body prefers twin pregnancies.

My mom and stepdad offered to take the kids overnight this weekend and they left a little while ago. As I was waving goodbye, I thought I was gonna start crying. I know I need the rest and Tim definitely needs a break but I feel so darn guilty. They always have a blast up at my mom's...they have a farm and the kids LOVE to feed the horses, the cow and the pigs. So now our house is empty and completely quiet, I can actually hear myself think....and I worry "will Tim and I have anything to talk about, other than the kids?". I'm secretly hoping he'll work on the guest room, cleaning it up and getting it ready for him and my step-dad to convert it into a nursery so I won't have to worry about what we'll talk about. It's wierd to be alone with my husband and worry that we'll have nothing to talk about. But our lives these last few years have been consumed with children and so that's what we tend to talk about mostly...the other night I whined to him "we never talk, we never kiss, we never even hold hands". And he said "sweetie, I'm home all day working...you see me every hour of the day...what can I tell you that you don't already know?". Then I broke out into my little song and dance about how I'm feeling neglected, blah, blah, blah....so he made an effort to kiss me goodnight when I went to bed and he kissed my belly and said goodnight to the babies. Someday I wonder what our lives will be like after the kids move out and go away to college....we've always talked about doing lots of traveling when we retire....but will we have anything in common or even want to spend time together at that point?? I'm sure this is something most couples worry about, at least I hope we're not the only ones with this concern.

Here are some recent pictures I took of the kids...in these 3 pictures, they were playing on the stairs together before bedtime.





Here's a picture of Bella in her little cowgirl outfit...



A picture of Cole just being silly....



A picture of them hugging...or maybe they're wrestling...it's hard to tell...LOL!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Going to the OB is a treat these days!

I had another OB appointment on Wednesday and I can't even begin to say how much I look forward to these appointments even now more that I'm on bedrest. The whole appointment took 2.5 hours and, normally, this would've annoyed me but I was just so happy to be out of the house that I enjoyed every minute of it. I can't say the same for Tim though!!

The appointment went well for the most part. Because I've been having a lot of cramping lately, my OB wanted to check my cervix...not the most pleasant of experiences. Thankfully my cervix is still closed. When I told her what the 4-D u/s tech had said about my cervix shortening, she said she wasn't surprised and that she's expecting it to continue to shorten as the next few weeks go by. She's not expecting me to get further than 28-30 weeks but she's hoping I can get to at least 32 weeks...so I'm out to prove her wrong just because I don't like her attitude about the whole thing. Perhaps she's just being realistic but I'm determined not to have these babies before 32 weeks....I suppose part of it is I fear I'll feel like a failure if I can't carry these babies as far as I did with Cole and Bella.

I mentioned to her that I haven't felt a lot of movements from the babies lately and the ones I have been feeling have been very weak. So she listened for their heartbeats with her doppler...it took forever, which made me wonder why she just didn't do a quick u/s. It drives me nuts because every other OB I've seen uses the u/s machine to check on the babies...they like to check the heartbeats, check for good movements and check the fluid levels. But not her...she swears she knows she's hearing both babies' heartbeats but it still makes me nervous. Finally she found both of them but she sent me for an NST (non-stress test) anyway, which took about an hour because Baby A kept moving and falling off the monitor. I had a couple mild contractions while being monitored but nothing strong or consistent. I'll start twice weekly NST's at 28 weeks.

My BP was good this time around (128/78) as opposed to what it's been at the last few appointments. So overall, a good, uneventful appointment...just the kind I like but I expect these next few weeks to get a little eventful as I'm hitting the home stretch finally.

A funny thing happened on my way up to the OB's office...I was waiting for the elevator and there was this cute little old lady waiting too. She looked at me and said "oh, it's so nice and round, just like a basketball". It took me a few seconds to realize she was talking about my belly, and not my ass!!! When I finally realized she was actually paying me a compliment I said "bless your heart" because I was always so envious of my girlfriends who all had perfectly round pregnant bellies (when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I carried them very wide and I hated the way my belly looked). Then she asked, "You're about 9 months pregnant?" and I said "no, almost 7 months with our 2nd set of twins" and she covered her mouth and then said "oh, girl, bless YOUR heart". As I got off the elevator, she was still shaking her head in disbelief and saying "bless your heart". I guess it's still hard for me to fathom that I'm measuring 10 weeks ahead so I look like I'm about 36 weeks pregnant...it's almost like it happened overnight.

The babies seem to really enjoy hearing Cole and Bella's voices. Last night, I was laying on the sofa and Bella came up to me and started talking and one of the babies started kicking. So I said "say hello to the babies, Bella...they like your voice". So she yelled as loud as she could into my belly button "hello, Garrett...hello, Landon" and both babies went nuts!!! It is rather adorable....Cole came over as well and I said "say hi to the babies...tell them you're their brother" and Cole said "hi babies, I'm your brudder"....it's enough to melt your heart!

Cole and Bella had a visit from Melody, our VMRC therapist. I love, love, love the Early Intervention Program we are involved with. I credit Melody with how well Cole and Bella are doing now...every time we hit a snag in their development, she'd give me tips and exercises to do with them and by the next time she came out, they were hitting that milestone. I've gone from a nervous, anxious first-time mom to someone who's much more confident...in fact, she loves to bring up all my crazy worries like the time she came out when Cole was about 8 weeks old and I said "Melody, I think he's blind because he doesn't focus on things with his eyes and he doesn't track very well". Then there was the time I was convinved Cole had autism because Bella was much more social than he was. And then when they were 18 months and still not talking at all, I asked her if we could have a speech therapist involved with them, even though she told me a million times they'd start talking when they were ready and she wasn't concerned. To please me, she had the speech therapist come out who told me the same exact thing but continued to come over just to keep me happy. Yesterday, Melody said to me "do you still want Lisa to come out next quarter?" and I said "only if she can come out and tell me how to get them to STOP talking"....she had a good laugh about that. Anyway, the kids love when Melody comes over because she always brings such fun things for them to do...yesterday they painted, made macaroni necklaces, read books, played with playdough and sang songs. She was very impressed with Cole's fine motor skills because he was able to string all the macaroni on his own necklace...she said he's come a long way. Everytime she comes out, he's made huge improvements in his abilities. Last month, he wasn't talking in full sentences and now he's talking in full sentences very clearly. And Bella...well, after she kept getting in Melody's face and saying "Melody..hey Melody...Melody...hey Melody" until she finally had Melody's complete attention, Melody said "wow, she just doesn't let up, does she?" and I said "welcome to my world". She has 3-yr old twins so it's nothing she's not used to I'm sure. I'm sure with the next assessment that is being done in another few months, VMRC will realize that Cole and Bella are no longer in need of services but I'm sure the next set of twins will be so hopefully we'll have Melody involved in our lives for another 3 years!!

And speaking of Cole and Bella, we've definitely hit the tantrum phase full blast. Everything is a do or die situation to them. The other night Cole wanted gatorade to drink with his dinner....so Tim offered him a sip of his gatorade but this wasn't enough for Cole. He wanted his own cup of Gatorade but not just any cup...it had to be his Thomas the train cup. So Tim opened a new bottle of Gatorade for him but Cole wanted the juice from Tim's bottle. Now we're going on about 5 minutes of crying over this....and when Tim went to put water in the cup to water down the juice (we only give them a tiny bit of juice and then really water it down so limit the amount of sugar they take in), Cole completely lost it and threw himself on the floor screaming "No Daddy, no water". Funny thing is one minute he acted as if he was gonna die over this and the next minute he says he's done with dinner and wants to go play with his trucks. Bella's starting this too only she doesn't really tantrum...she just looks you plain in the eye and says "no" and does what she wants. And she'll either throw something that's in her hand at the time or she'll kick something that's by her feet. It REALLY makes me appreciate the first 6 months of their lives when they were so little and helpless...when I could put them each in a bouncey seat and they'd be content and happy. Now they're their own little people with distinct personalities and the ability to express their opinions and dislikes....in a way, it's nice and in a way it's downright stressful!!!

Well, I've written a novel....6 weeks of bedrest will do that to ya!!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

"I'm going to kiss you now"

Bella is into kissing...last night, she trapped Cole in a corner and laid a big, wet one on his cheek. He was not happy and screamed bloody murder. She loves to give kisses...the other day I was hugging her and I said "Mommy loves you" and she gave me a big, sloppy, wet kiss on the cheek and said "I love you Mommy". These are the moments I live for. She's such a sweet little girl.

Then there's Cole....who's very sweet but definitely all boy. He loves to gross me out by trying to lick my feet...yes, he tries to lick my feet. How disgusting is that? I can't make a big deal out of anything he does because then he realizes he's pushing my buttons and he goes out of his way to repeat the behavior. Oh and he also loves to try to make himself fart...where did he learn this? I have no idea. But he'll stand there and try to make an honest effort to try and fart and then when he finally does, he laughs at himself and proudly announces either "I farted" loud enough for everyone to hear or he says "I cut the cheese". I'm trying really hard not to laugh when he does this because it obviously just eggs him on but sometimes it's just too funny to pass up. I have a feeling the boy will be a class clown type of person as he gets older. The other thing he's been doing lately is saying "Noke" instead of "nope" when we ask him something. I asked him "are you trying to say 'nope'?" and he says "yes...noke". It makes me just wanna pinch him because he's so freakin cute! Tim's convinced he can read which makes me laugh. Cole knows every single train in the Thomas collection so when he sees a picture of one of the trains, he says it by name and Tim always excitedly says "I think Cole can read".

How's the potty training going? I must laugh at myself. Here's what's happening...they both go in their diapers and then they take their diapers off and sit on the potty. I've bitten the bullet and I've started bribing them by offering them a piece of their Halloween candy (yes, we still have Halloween candy left....my friends are actually shocked about this). So they both sit on the potty for maybe 20 seconds and then they stand up and hold their little hands out and say "I want candy". I've tried to explain that they need to actually pee or poop in the potty and not just sit on the potty for a few seconds with nothing happening. I'm sure I'm doing this all wrong....and someday they'll be in therapy because I've traumatized them somehow.

I watched the National Geographic Channels's special the other night on Multiples in the Womb and I was so fascinated by it! The one thing I found the most fascinating was learning that some twins actually continue the same behavior outside the womb when they're older, like playing peek-a-boo behind curtains. I never thought much about it but Cole and Bella love to throw these old blankets that Tim has (they're so old they're see through now) and they love to try to touch each other through the blankets. I never thought this had anything to do with how they reacted to each other in the womb but maybe it does?? And the other funny thing was as the narrator was talking about babies fighting for space in the womb, I could feel these little guys kicking away and it made me wonder if they were "playing nice" or "fighting" with one another.

I have an OB appointment tomorrow which I'm hoping will be uneventful. Bedrest is getting more and more boring by the day. I'm starting to wonder how I'm gonna hang in here for the next few weeks. My body is turning to mush and my mind is starting to go....I called someone today and as the phone rang I honestly forgot who the heck I was calling. But I shouldn't complain...I know every day these little guys are inside me cooking is less time for them in the NICU. To help keep me motivated and encouraged, I've been watching Babies: Special Delivery every day. In a way, it makes me nervous about the whole c-section thing again but then seeing the happy endings makes me feel excited about what's in store for us.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

4-D ultrasound today!

And it was amazing! The little guys actually look human now! We got some great pictures of Baby B, who was all too happy to show off! But he kept getting in the way of poor little Baby A, so we didn't get so many good pictures of him.

Here a just a few of the pics:

Baby B



Baby A





I love the last one, especially, because it's one of the only pictures we have of the two of them together. On the right side, you can see Baby B's face and his umbilical cord between his legs and he's got his leg and his arm bent upwards...he's a little meaty little guy already! You can see Baby A's head on the left, desperately trying to get in on the shot!

Their both really good weights already...Baby A is 2 pounds, and Baby B is 2 pounds, 3 ounces. I can't believe how big they are already....so I'm carrying 4.3 pounds of baby right now, not to mention all the other weight involved (placenta, amniotic fluid, etc). It's no wonder I can't stand up for more than 10 minutes without feeling like I'll fall flat on my face.

I think, just from how the babies were reacting on the u/s, that Baby B will be full of personality and very lively. Baby A seems more serious and reserved. Throughout the whole u/s, Baby B kept shoving his feet and his hands in Baby A's face and Baby A at first kept trying to push him away and finally he just let Baby B push him around. Baby A kept trying to cover his face with his little hand...he probably just wanted some peace and quiet.

We got a DVD from the u/s as well and Cole and Bella watched it. Cole was more intrigued with Baby A's privates than anything else. Neither baby was very shy about showing us the goods, which were very clear to see and there is no mistaking that they are both boys. Bella watched the video for a few minutes and squealed "ooooh, babies" and then she went on her merry way to play.

So, all in all, it was a wonderful experience and it was so awesome to see them with some meat on their bones!!!! The only negative thing was how much my cervix has shortened since it was measured 3 weeks ago....then it was measuring 4 cm and today it was 3.1 cm. My OB had told me that anything between 3-5 cm is good so hopefully it won't continue to get any shorter than that. At 30 weeks, with Cole and Bella, my cervix had already shortened to 2.9 cm so looks like I'm following the same path again. I have to be honest and admit I've been cheating on bedrest here and there....just being on my feet more than I should be in the house and walking up and down the stairs more than twice in one day. Guess it's time to buckle down and get really serious about the bedrest, which is hard to do, but I don't want to end up in the hospital, like I did last time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"It wasn't me...It was my evil twin"

It's so amazing to me how at the tender age of 2, Cole and Bella already know how to point blame towards one another. This happens at least once a day. For instance, the other day, Tim was taking them somewhere and asked them each to climb into their carseats but they had other plans. They decided it would be much more entertaining to climb all the way into the back of the mini-van and play "catch me if you can"...Tim was obviously not amused and finally said "Who wants a spanking?" and Bella, without missing a beat, pointed at Cole and said "Cole does". And then another day, one of them spilled juice on the table and when I asked them who spilt the juice, they both pointed fingers at each other!! Cole is pretty good about telling us when he poops in his diaper (yeah, the potty training...not going so well) so when we smell poop, we'll say "which one of you pooped?" and Bella will always say "Cole pooped" and if he didn't, Cole will get very upset at being wrongly accused and say "I didn't poop...Bella pooped". Awhile back, I had found these really cute t-shirts on a site for multiples where one shirt reads "It wasn't me...It was my evil twin" and the other shirt for other twin reads "Evil Twin"....I was SO tempted to buy these shirts but my mom convinced me not to, out of fear that I'd be labeling them. Well, looks like I didn't need to worry about labeling them because they're so good at pointing blame towards each other for everything. I just figured this would happen later when they're a little older OR figuring because they're twins, they'd cover for one another instead of blaming each other to save their own hide.

Bella had an appointment with her pediatrician on Wednesday because of her sleeping issues. Ever since she saw Elmo at the birthday party back in December, she's woken up in the middle of the night, usually around 2 am, and she climbs into bed with us but then she won't go back to sleep for hours. I cheated on bedrest and went with Tim to the appointment because, well honestly, I wanted to hear everything the pedi said, rather than Tim's version, which probably would've gone something like this...."um, he said she's fine....I don't remember what else he said". We basically wanted to rule out any physical reasons why she could be waking in the middle of the night and unable to go back to sleep, like her 2-yr molars, ear infections, sleep disorders, etc. So he ruled all that out and said that her little body has just gotten into the habit of waking at the same time every night and instead of entering the next phase of sleep, she wakes up and then she's completely awake and can't wind down enough to get herself back to sleep. Within the last few nights, she actually hasn't come into our room, but rather she calls out for Tim from her bedroom door and waits for him to come to her room and she wants him to sleep with her in her bed (she's definitely a Daddy's girl). So we figure maybe this is a step in the right direction because she's able to get back to sleep easier and she sleeps much longer in the morning. At some point, we'll have to let her learn to put herself back to sleep but for now, this works for us (and it really works for me because Tim snores horribly and Bella doesn't seem to be bothered by it the way I am!!!)

I'm on my 5th week of bedrest....I keep telling myself that I have a lot to be grateful for...it could be so much worse. I could be in the hospital on bedrest, I could be on magnesium sulfate to stop contractions, it could be worse. But I'm on bedrest at home without any medications at this point...so that's one thing to be happy about. The nurse from the high-risk clinic called me this morning for my weekly monitoring appointment and I told her that the contractions, cramping and backaches I have been having have been easily controlled by drinking extra water and laying on my left side. I drink so much that I spend a majority of my day and night in the bathroom...it's worse in the middle of the night. Because from the time I go to bed at night and then wake up again, it's enough to dehydrate me and cause contractions...so then I have to drink 1-2 glasses of water and then I wake up every hour to go pee. I can't believe how much fluid I'm taking in just to keep the contractions to a minimum...I must drink at least 100 ounces a day, if not more. Oh well, no sense in complaining....it's all for a good cause.

Other than that, my life is completely and ultimately boring as hell. I might spend some time shopping online for some crib bedding. Part of me is still apprehensive about buying stuff right now...it's the "glass is half empty" part of me. I have to admit that everytime I have an ultrasound and I see that the little guys are doing well, I still have to pinch myself that this is really happening. For a minute, I panic and think to myself "oh crap....how are we gonna do this?" but then I snap back into reality and realize we survived just fine with Cole and Bella. My attitude back then was as long as they went to bed each night happy, pink in color and with full bellies than we must have done something right that day and I'll have the same attitude about these little guys. Ultimately, the God's honest truth is I have no clue what we're doing....I have no clue how we'll handle this...I just have faith that God is watching over us and providing us with patience, strength and a great sense of humor because, let's face it, when you have multiples, you have to have a sense of humor. I don't know any multiples moms who don't have an amazing sense of humor...it's the one thing we all seem to have in common. And the other thing we all seem to have in common is the dior need to for structure and routine..it's necessary or you'd go insane. Some of my friends who have singletons would laugh at me that I had to make sure we were home at a certain time because Cole and Bella had to nap....or they'd say "you should be more flexible"....there is no such thing as flexibility when you have multiples, in my opinion, not in the beginning anyway. We got off track once after the kids came home from the NICU and it was pure insanity...Tim and I were basically doing rock, paper, scissors to see which one of us would be rewarded with the privilege of sticking out head in the oven to escape the insanity. I mean, one kid was always awake, one kid was always needing to be fed, they were pooping and peeing at different times so virtually round the clock, one of the babies always needed something. With one baby, when it goes down for a nap, you have the luxury of taking a nap, cleaning your house, whatever you want to do....but, during that crazy time, we always had one awake...I finally called one of the nurses in the NICU and cried into the phone "how do we get back on schedule????" and she talked me through it. Thankfully, we were able to get back on schedule and things got better from that point on. Which only taught Tim and I a major lesson...there is no such thing as flexibility with multiples in the first year. We had a schedule and we had to stick to it if we wanted to survive that first year. And so we'll be back to that again with these little guys because it worked the first time...and you gotta learn from your mistakes, right??

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Perinatologist Appt Today

I was SO excited to finally meet with the perinatologist in person but it was rather uneventful, just like a regular OB appt. Because the perinatologist is over an hour away, my OB was consulting with her via e-mail regarding my case so I wouldn't have to make the long drive. But now they have the peri coming to her office once a week to work with all the high-risk patients so I'll see her every 2 weeks and my OB every 2 weeks until I deliver.

I don't know why I expected this visit to be more exciting or more informative than when I meet with my OB. She did do an ultrasound and I was relieved to see the little guys are doing well. They're both head down and laying side by side...awww, how cute. This probably explains why I'm all belly with this pregnancy and not as wide as I was with Cole and Bella, who preferred to lay in the transverse position. She still said it's difficult to tell if they share a placenta or not but the fact that they are each in their own sac with a very thick membrane that separates them is encouraging...so, more than likely, we're not looking at a case of TTTS here. Also, we haven't dealt with growth discordance as of yet so that's also encouraging. At our last Level 2 u/s when I was 22 wks pregnant, both boys weighed in at 1 pound, 3 ounces....so they're growing at the same rate, for now, anyway. I think it was around 26 weeks when we discovered that there was a 25% growth discordance between Cole and Bella and we never did learn why that happened but it is fairly common in multiple pregnancies.

My blood pressure is starting to enter the "borderline" stage so the peri is going to have me do some bloodwork at my next visit for pre-eclampsia...no other signs of pre-eclampsia as of yet, like swelling or blurred vision. I have headaches at least once a day but those seemed to be easily treated with tylenol. I also have to do the 1-hour glucose test at my next visit. I can't stand that drink they give you...when I was pregnant with Cole and Bella, I remember almost puking when the lady in the lab gave it to me and said I had to drink it all within a couple minutes. And then I sat in the lab for an hour waiting for my body to process that sugary crap while the babies went nuts inside me from all the sugar. I felt like I had 2 tiny octupuses inside me...it was probably one of the most uncomfortable times I can remember from that pregnancy, other than the tail end of the pregnancy when I just wanted to stop throwing up from the acid reflux. In a couple weeks, I'll also increase my dosage of Heparin. The bruising this time around isn't too bad, or at least maybe I don't think it's that bad. Each time my OB sees me, she cringes when she sees my belly and asks if the shots are painful....they're actually not...I've become quite a pro at giving myself painless shots.

She measured my belly....still measuring rather largely. Tim told me that some lady in the waiting room asked him when I was due and when he said "April" she said "oh, I thought she was ready to pop anyday now"....I can't even imagine how much larger my belly will be in just 4 more weeks. As it is now, I have to have Tim help me put my shoes and socks on when we go to appts....a task he isn't thrilled with but what choice does he have, except to watch me try to do it, which takes a good 10 minutes and I'm huffing and puffing the whole time and making wierd grunting sounds every time I have to bend over.

My next appt with her is on 1/24 and she informed she'll check my cervix again to make sure it's still closed....gee, I can hardly wait (insert sarcasm here). And I have a Level 2 u/s again on 1/22 so we'll see if my cervix is continuing to shorten, which I'm sure it has just based on the fact that one of the babies (I'm assuming Baby A) is constantly kicking at it and digging away as if he's trying to plan an early escape.

Okay, so that's my update for today....nothing too exciting! Although we do have a 4-D u/s we're doing this Saturday so I'm excited to see what the little guys look like now that they're more human-looking and have some fat on their bones!! I'll try to post some pics from our u/s!

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

"Mommy, I wanna stay home with you"

Guilt....that's all I ever feel these days...Guilt. How come no one ever tells you the huge amount of guilt you feel as a parent?? I feel guilty about everything....this morning, Bella threw her sippy cup at me and hit me in the mouth so I reprimanded her for it. I didn't yell at her, I didn't spank her...I simply said "Bella, we've been over this a million times. It's not okay to throw things, especially throwing things at other people. You hurt Mommy". She responded by crying...she broke down into huge tears and put her head on my belly and said "I'm sorry, Mommy". How did I respond? I ended up crying right along with her (most of this could probably be blamed on pregnancy hormones, I'm sure)...I worry that every little thing I do or say to my children will scar them for life. I was talking to my mom and stepdad the other day about how to handle Bella's middle-of-the-night wakings and they kept offering suggestions, none of which seemed pleasing to me. Then my stepdad finally said "just leave her in her room to cry" and I finally threw out the horrible truth...I said "I'm afraid she'll feel neglected and abandoned if I do that"....okay, so that's the sad, ugly truth. That's why I feel guilty all the time....most of the time, as a parent, I'll respond to my children's inappropriate behavior the way I should...I give them a time-out, I reprimand them verbally, I try to teach them the appropriate way to do things but then there are times, especially when they cry, that I have a hard time following through. I just feel so guilty all the time about everything. Is this normal? I have no idea.....

So this morning, the kids were getting ready to go off to preschool and I asked Bella if she likes school. She said "no, I don't like school" and I asked her if she likes her teacher, Miss Lindsey, and she said "no". Then she said "Mommy, I wanna stay home with you". Now I know this really isn't true about her not liking school because I call everyday to check on them and I'm told they're having a great day, and when Tim picks them up in the afternoon, neither of them want to leave school. They're learning so much...it's incredible! Cole can count to 10, he knows his primary colors and most basic shapes. Bella hasn't caught on as quickly, probably because she's too much of a motor-mouth in class and doesn't pay attention in circle time the way Cole does. But just hearing her say she wants to stay home with me broke my heart....being on bedrest now and being as hugely pregnant as I am, I just can't keep up with them anymore. I notice during the weekends I have lots more contractions and I'm more tired when they're home so I know having them in preschool more right now is necessary. It just makes me so sad to think of them being away from home 4 days a week. At first, when they started school, I was loving the freedom and the ability to run a simple errand by myself without having to drag them along with me. I remember one day saying to my sister "I actually got in and out of the grocery store in less than 10 minutes....10 MINUTES....can you believe that?"....I didn't have to stop by the florist section to get them each a balloon and listen to them fight over who had what balloon, I didn't have to stop at the bakery to let them pick out a muffin to share and listen to them fight over who ended up with the biggest half of the muffin...I just whizzed through the store and got what I needed and left.

But now that I'm on bedrest and they're in school 4 days a week instead of just 2 days a week, I'm finding that I really miss them. They are at such a fun stage right now...very expressive, very verbal and so full of life and personality that I can honestly just sit there and watch them for hours and find something to laugh about. Last night, they were sitting on the sofa drinking their "hot milk" and stuffing their mouths with a banana while watching Dora the Explorer (I love this show and I credit it for teaching them Spanish!!) and I just sat there staring at them, in awe of how beautiful they are and finally getting what it means when a parent says they're heart is so full of love for their child. And then Bella spit milk on Cole and he started screaming as if she had just poured acid on his face and the moment was gone....

So forgive me for this being such a down post....I'm just really missing my kids right now and feeling completely useless as I lay on the sofa for most of the day. Some of my friends have said to me "enjoy the bedrest...enjoy the break because your life as you know it is about to go completely nuts after you have the babies"....I know this is true and I know I'll look back on this time of bedrest and wish I had enjoyed it more. But it's hard when I feel so freakin guilty all the time....

Monday, January 8, 2007

"I'm taking you out of my 5"

This is what Tim said to me yesterday - "I'm taking you out of my 5". That would be his top 5 people in his cellphone network I suppose. I think I'm starting to grate on his nerves. And if that little comment wan't proof enough...2 days ago, as I sulked in a chair feeling sorry for myself, he said "I'm going to ask your OB to admit you to the hospital on bedrest". I laughed...he didn't.

I can't say I blame him for being irritated with me...I learned awhile back that I'm a type A person. I have a need for organization and structure...I like things that are predictable...and if I start a project, I like to finish it within a reasonable time (this doesn't include Cole and Bella's baby books...LOL!!). So it's really hard for me to sit around and watch the dishes pile up in the sink or the endless baskets of laundry sitting all over the living room and not be able to help. And the other thing is I like things to be done a certain way....so when I see him take on the newly assigned task of cooking dinner or getting the kids dressed for the day, I have to grit my teeth and not say a word. A couple times I've caught myself saying "why didn't you put salt in the water for the pasta?" or "why did you dress Bella in that outfit?" and I realize I have no right to even ask these questions. Most husbands wouldn't even be as helpful as he's been while their wives our on bedrest so I just sit back and tell myself "this is only temporary, this is only temporary...so what if the pasta has absolutely no taste....so what if Bella goes to school with a shirt that has old stains on it...so what if the kids didn't get their hair brushed today"....we're functioning, we're surviving....for now, anyway. And the highlight of my day is with the Christmas money my mother-in-law gave me, I asked the lady who cleans my mom's house to come clean our house today. No, I didn't even think for a second of spending that money on the new watch I desperately need or a new bottle of perfume....I just wanted someone to come clean our house. Cole and Bella love to practice their Spanish when they see Margarita, who they usually see at my mom's house when she's there cleaning. They love to chase her around the house, yelling "hola" to her. This morning, Bella decided to call Margerita "Anna" since she can't pronounce Margerita. Margerita didn't seem to mind, saying she's never liked her name anyway. And then poor "Anna" had to tolerate being followed all over the house with Bella yelling "hola, Anna" over and over again. I think "Anna" was happy when Tim left to take them to preschool.

So let's chat more about the kids....Cole has decided he doesn't want to wear diapers anymore. The whole potty-training process has gone in stages....just recently, he started to really dislike being in a poopy diaper and he would tell us immediately that he pooped and wanted a new diaper. It went something like this....he'd go hide in a corner somewhere then he'd walk over to me or Tim and turn his backside towards us so we could check his pants and he'd say "I pooped...I need a new diaper". Then he wanted to sit on the potty AFTER he pooped....okay, this is backwards but at least it's a start and he's showing interest. As of yesterday, he said he's done with diapers and wants pull-ups. I have a feeling it's only because he's tired of Elmo on his diapers and he's more intrigued with the Incredible Hulk and Spiderman who are on the pull-ups that we bought. Bella could care less one way or the other about being potty trained....sure, she thinks it's a neat idea but it's too much effort. She can't be bothered with sitting still on the potty for longer than 1 minute. I asked her the other day if she wanted to read a book while sitting on her potty and she said "yes" and looked at the book for a whole 10 seconds, then said "I'm done" but there was nothing in the potty. They went to preschool today, both wearing pull-ups, and as they were leaving I told each of them "okay, we're done with diapers....you're both gonna use the potty at school like the big kids do" and they both said "okay". I have a feeling the last laugh will be on me but what do I know....I just want them both to be completely potty trained before the babies arrive or we'll surely be driven to the poorhouse from just the cost of having 4 kids in diapers.

My mom and step-dad bought Cole a Bob the Builder tool set, which he thinks is pretty cool. The other day he discovered that the little plastic saw actually works and he was running around sawing at everything. I said "Cole, come here and take the babies out of Mommy". He was happy to oblige...he put the saw to my belly and cut away and said "Out, Babies". It was really cute and I thought for a moment "wouldn't it be really cool if this sparked an interest in him to become an OB???"....but then last night, he took his little plastic pliers and came over to me and proceeded to try to cut my toes off. When I asked him what he was doing, he just laughed....so my dreams of him wanting to be an OB and deliver babies as his profession were quickly fading and I started having some disturbing thoughts of him becoming the next Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Cole and Bella are really enjoying feeling the babies move and, most recently, they've been able to see my belly move each time the babies kick or punch. The other day, Cole saw my belly move and he said "Mommy, there's a snake in your belly"....which freaked Bella out and she started whining "no snakes, Mommy, no snakes". So now, not only is she freaked about Elmo (thanks to my good friend Tori who had Elmo as a guest at her children's birthday party a whole month ago) but now she's also freaked out the Mommy has snakes in her belly. This child is afraid of her own shadow...but then again, I was like that as a child. I specifically remember my parents buying me this freaky little water toy that when hooked up to the hose, would spurt water all over the place and it would start flying in the air. My sister thought it was the greatest toy on the face of the earth but me....it just plain freaked me out...my dad would bring that thing out on the front lawn and it would send me running for the hills in sheer terror. And it had a freaky, little smiley face on it too, as if it knew it was scary and it would haunt me for the rest of my life. I have a feeling poor Bella will suffer a "Scary Elmo" complex for the rest of her life....she has yet to go one day without mentioning to us how scary Elmo is and how scared she is that Elmo is coming from Sesame Street to come get her.

Well, I'll end on that note....Tim has offered to make me a sandwich for lunch....you'd think I'd be loving this bedrest thing more, right???

Sunday, January 7, 2007

"Are you joking?"

The title of this 1st post is usually the reaction I get from strangers when they learn I'm pregnant with our 2nd set of twins.

I never realized how interesting this fact is to other people. After I say "no, I'm not joking...I wouldn't joke about something like this", they usually respond by saying "do twins run in your family" to which I reply "yes, twins run in my family...sometimes they even walk too" (a funny little reply I learned from a friend of mine who also has twins).

Then the wierdest comment comes last...this is where the complete stranger says "well, God doesn't give you more than you can handle" as if they pity me or maybe they think they sense some sort of "holy crap" look in my eyes that I can't see for myself when I look in the mirror.

I do have to admit when Tim and I learned we were pregnant with our 2nd set of twins, I probably did have that "holy crap" look in my eyes.  After my OB told me "you're having another set of twins", I immediately walked out of her office and called my good friend Bonnie (no, I didn't call Tim right away out of sheer fear of how he'd react) and screamed into the phone "Oh My God....what am I gonna do? How on earth am I gonna tell Tim?" and she laughed and assured me everything would be okay (this made me feel great because Bonnie has an instinct about these things).

I came home and Tim didn't really say much to me.  He began to head up the stairs to take a shower and I asked "well, don't you wanna know how my appointment went?" and he just looked at me as if he already knew what I was gonna say.

I said "it's twins again" and then he did something that really surprised me...HE LAUGHED!! And not just a little hearty laugh as if he had heard a really great joke, but the kind of laugh that is almost hyena-like as if he had just heard the joke of the century and would be laughing for the rest of his life.

Then he went upstairs and showered....that's probably when he broke down into tears but I'll never know.

So let's start off with a little history leading up to how Tim and I got to this point in our lives.  We met almost 12 years ago on a blind date at Chili's.  I remember thinking "he's cute but not really my type". Later I would learn that he was thinking "she's cute but her thighs are a little too big for my liking".

After the date, we agreed that it went well and he'd call me. Here I was thinking "you can call me but I'm probably not gonna go out with you again"....until my dearest and oldest friend Jen convinced me to go out with him again. I love to remind Tim that he actually has Jen to thank for us being together because if it wasn't for her, I'd have never even returned his call (at this point in our time together, I'm not sure if Tim's thanking Jen or cursing the day she ever told me to go on another date with him).

Jen's point was "you've dated a lot of jerks who were your type....this guy is not your usual type so maybe this is a good thing" (not to mention that I had also been married previously to a world-class jerk who I have to thank for my "I hate all men" phase, in which I wouldn't have recognized a "nice guy" if my life depended on it).

7 years later, Tim and I were married. Yes, 7 long years of dating....7 years of ups and downs, 7 years of "this isn't working for me, maybe we should take some space" which only ended up with us back together in the end, which always proved to me we were meant to be, and, let's not forget to mention, 7 long years of my child-bearing days rotting away.

We were married on a beautiful sunny day in August 2002 and almost immediately we began talking about when we should start a family. Call it women's instinct (Tim calls it "self-fulfilling prophecy") but I had a feeling trying to conceive would not be an easy task for us because let's face it, nothing in our relationship had been easy. I wanted to try immediately, Tim wanted to wait 6 months...we compromised and started trying 4 months later.

It was fun at first, I must admit....that first thought of a fertilized egg implanting and turning into a baby that we'd be holding in our arms 9 months later. That's how it happened for everyone else, right?

But that's not how it happened for us....and I ended up in my OB's office asking her to run some tests because I was already 33 years old and dreading something horrible was going on in my body, which was preventing me from becoming pregnant.

As it turns out, my women's instict was right and I was diagnosed with high FSH (a condition where a women's body has to work extra hard to produce eggs...also known as diminished ovarian reserve). I remember my OB telling me this and saying "you'll need IVF to conceive and you might wanna run, not walk, to a clinic who can provide this service for you".

Most of the RE's I spoke with wouldn't touch me with a 10-foot pole when they learned of my high FSH but thankfully I met a couple wonderful ladies online who lead me to our beloved Dr Geoffrey Sher of the Sher Insititute for Reproductive Medicine, who was more than willing to work with me and even dared to give me some hope that I could conceive via IVF.

Here's a picture of Tim and I on our wedding day....don't we look so happy and hopeful??



One miscarriage and three IVF's later, our beautiful twins, Cole and Isabella, were conceived and born in October 2004.

I'm leaving a lot of details out of this part of the journey....most of it depressing, heartbreaking and disappointing. The whole process was emotionally, physically and financially draining.

I love to hear those couples who say "experiencing infertility brought my husband and I closer" because I often wonder if they just said that to make it sound like everything was always hunky-dory. Tim and I experienced many peaks and valleys during the process...mostly valleys....and I don't ever remember thinking this experience brought as closer as a couple.

I do remember feeling horribly guilty for being the reason we couldn't conceive.  After I would give our credit card number out to the billing lady at SIRM over the phone, I'd hang up and start laughing so hard I'd end up in tears. When I would tell Tim "well, I just charged another $25,000", I could see his dream of ever owning a luxury car disappearing right before his very eyes.

That's not to say Tim ever made me feel guilty or bad....oh, no, I did that to myself....but he spent a lot of time on business trips and I spent a lot of time arranging RE appointments, calling various pharmacies to see who offered the better prices on all the medications I'd need and trying to stay sane and hopeful. I lived and breathed IVF during those days.....it was like a full-time job to me (and the sad thing was I actually had a full-time job at the time which obviously suffered a great deal as I was too consumed with trying to conceive).

Okay, so that's a little bit of the details....but it all ends on a good note....we were blessed with Cole and Bella, our little miracles in every sense of the word. They were born at 32 weeks (8 weeks early) after a very difficult pregnancy but they were healthy, with 10 fingers and 10 toes each, and so beautiful that neither Tim or I could believe they were actually our children.

There were many, many times I would be rocking one of them to sleep in the NICU and think "I can't believe I'm a mother...I can't believe these babies are mine....oh man, I feel so sorry for them!!!"

The first 12 months of their life is a huge blur, honestly. The first 12 months were about pure survival....Tim and I did what we could to get through each and every day. Then the first 12 months went by and we're finally at the 2-year mark and we're having a blast.....

Here's a picture of Cole and Bella a few days after birth...I still can't get over how tiny they were (Bella was 3lb, 6 oz and Cole was 4lb, 8 oz at birth). The 2nd picture was one of our first official "family pictures".





And here are the kiddos now...looking at them today, you'd never guess they were preemies....

This is one of my favorite pictures just for the fact that they're actually sitting nicely together on the stairs eating their snack and having a lovely conversation about their shoes (yes, I was one of those moms who swore her kid would never eat those darn gummy snacks but sometimes I have to pick my battles)...



Bella...all smiles....that is, until Cole smacked her in the back of the head...



Cole...the boy has a cheesy grin...don't you love the chipped front teeth, courtesy of just being an active little stunt devil...



In the meantime, I experienced another miscarriage when I became pregnant totally by surprise a few months after Cole and Bella were born (I guess survival mode included having sex on occasion!) but unfortunately it ended in miscarriage before we could even celebrate being pregnant.

After awhile, we began to try naturally, thinking if it happened once then maybe it might happen again. But it didn't and by December 2005, we had planned to do another IVF cycle with the leftover frozen embryos we had from our IVF cycle when we conceived Cole and Bella.

In February 2006, we transferred two beautiful embryos and we were blessed to be pregnant. Tim and I were SO relieved when we had our first ultrasound and learned there was only one baby!!

But sadly, at 10 weeks, we lost that pregnancy and finally had to come to terms with having no more children.

In our reproductive career (as I like to refer to it), we had spent over $100,000 to have a family and we had simply run out of the financial means to continue....and we were just so overjoyed to have Cole and Bella that I think Tim and I felt very peaceful about this decision. That's not to say there wasn't any grieving involved here, on my part anyway, but I was happy to at least have two children and I figured this was part of God's big plan for me and I was satisfied with that.

So we went about our life....talking about all the fun vacations we'd take as the kids got older....traveling to Germany to see Tim's extended family, Walt Disney World trips, traveling to Boston to see my extended family....we were full of dreams of what the future held for us as a family of four.

Then one month my period was late and I had that nagging feeling of "hmmm, could I be....no.....have we even had sex in the last month....I can't remember the last time we had sex....there's no way".....so I humored myself the following morning and dug out a home-pregnancy test that I still happened to have leftover from my frozen cycle.

Within a few seconds, a 2nd line appeared right away, nice and dark, and I stood there with my jaw wide open. I ran over to Tim, who was sound asleep still, and yelled right into his face "Oh my God, I'm pregnant....I'm pregnant....I'm pregnant".  He woke up for a second and said "that's great, Mom" and went back to sleep.

I didn't care....I was too overjoyed in my own little world to be mad at the fact that he didn't wake up to celebrate with me.  I just laid next to him thinking "I can't believe I'm pregnant....who can I call at 6:00 in the morning??"

This happened on a Saturday so on Monday I called my OB's office and asked for a beta blood test and she was happy to oblige. When she got the results, a huge whopping 13,900, she had her nurse call me and say "you need to come in for an ultrasound", which concerned me because I couldn't be that far along and I was starting to wonder if she was suspecting a molar pregnancy.

But I remained hopeful and went in the next day for my ultrasound and when my OB couldn't see much on her ultrasound machine so she sent me to radiology.

The u/s tech wouldn't say much to me except when she asked me if I already have children and I said "yes, a set of twins" she said "oh, do you want more twins?"....and I asked her "why, do you see two babies?" and she said "I can't tell you anything...you'll have to talk to your doctor".

I stared up at the ceiling for the remainder of that u/s (a very long 30 minutes) wondering what on earth she could possibly mean by the question she asked me....surely, it was someone's idea of a joke that I could be pregnant naturally and without any medical intervention with TWINS!

After she was done, I went upstairs to my OB's office and she greeted me in the hall with a smile and asked me to come back to her office. She asked "did the tech say anything to you about the ultrasound" and I answered "no".

She then told me to sit down and said "you've having another set of twins".....my head started spinning and all I heard at that point from her was "blah, blah, blah...another beta....blah, blah, blad....another ultrasound next week....blah, blah, blah".....and then I left her office and called Bonnie.....

Now I'm 25 weeks pregnant with twin boys and still in complete disbelief that this is really happening, even as I lay in bed in the early mornings and I feel them kicking inside me.

It just seems unreal to me, this little miracle that has occurred. In the beginning, I never intended the pregnancy to last.  I figured based on my history of miscarriages, even with medical intervention, that I might as well enjoy the pregnancy as long as it lasted but not to get too attached.

I must admit there's still a small part of me that feels that way...too afraid to get attached because I'm not exactly out of the woods just yet. In fact, until we're holding these two baby boys in our arms, I won't feel content and at peace.

I'm going on my 34th day of bedrest.....yes, bedrest since 20 weeks due to "irritable uterus"....can't say I blame my uterus for feeling a bit irritated. Not to mention that my OB considers my pregnancy to be high-risk for a whole host of other issues so needless to say I'll spend the remainder of this pregnancy off my feet as much as possible.

Here's my most recent belly picture (not exactly the most flattering picture but for the sake of being overly sentimental, I've been taking belly pics every 2 weeks)....at 24 weeks, I was measuring 34 weeks...I look like I'm ready to give birth any day now!



So that sums it all up.....when I think of having another set of twins, I know I am living proof that God has a sense of humor.

I do believe that God doesn't give you more than you can handle but, surely in my case, I think God just likes to amuse Himself. This pregnancy can be nothing else other than a pure miracle that God has blessed us with (oh, and the 2 glasses of wine Tim encouraged me to drink at dinner the night I'm sure these little guys were conceived).

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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