Monday, May 27, 2013

The First Week

It's been one week since the birth of my boys, and what a week. Our current status is Henry and I are home, and John is still in the NICU. 

Henry is doing really well. At his 1 week doctor visit, he was two ounces over his birth weight, so up to 4 lb 3 oz. Up until yesterday, I was waking him to eat every 3 hours, but yesterday I think he woke up! So now I'm feeding him when he wakes up, which is usually every 2-2.5 hours. But last night he went 4 hours, which is the longest I'll let him, so I even got a 3 hour stretch of sleep! Awesome, considering the longest I had slept in the week prior was about 1.5 hours. He's starting to look around, and stay awake for about 5-10 minutes after eating. He nursed really well for the first two days, but he was exerting too much energy, and both the doctors and lactation consultants agreed that we should use only a bottle for now until he gains some weight and is stronger. Which I'm fine with, my milk supply has sucked and I'd rather track exactly what he's eating. So we're using donor breast milk for Henry right now. I'll write another post all about my boobs another time. He eats about 8 times per day, 45 ml each time. He stayed in the hospital for 6 days. I was discharged 4 days after birth, but thankfully the hospital wasn't very busy so I could stay in a "family room", which was really the same room I had been in, so I could take care of Henry. This was so nice, because the last four days or so we were in the hospital he was in my room exclusively unless I was in the NICU visiting his brother. 

John is still in the NICU, fighting hard to be able to come home. It was so hard leaving him there when Henry and I went home. The doctors say that John is acting like a normal late pre-term baby, and Henry is the exception. Apparently it's normal for late pre-term babies to have problems eating and to have apnea and bradycardia events (Brady's as the NICU staff call them). Brady's are when his heart rate slows and he either resolves them himself or they have to just touch him a little and he then resolves it. Brady's usually follow apnea events, when he forgets to breathe. The NICU folks say these are very normal, but they scare the crap out of me. Yesterday he had a Brady when I was holding him. All of a sudden the monitors started beeping like crazy, more than the normal beeping that drives you mildly nuts. And a nurse came over and noticed that I had let his chin get too close to his chest. She merely raised his head so his neck wasn't crunched, and told me "posture is everything!"  I had no idea I was supposed to watch for that - nobody had told me - is this something other people know? How am I supposed to take a baby home who forgets to breathe and whose heartbeat drops if his chin gets too close to his chest? I guess that's why there's the rule that he can't go home until he has 5 days without Brady's or Apnea's. This still terrifies me. And they won't let him go home until he takes all his feedings via a bottle. Right now he will take 15 or so ml by a bottle, and then wears out and falls asleep. So the rest they give via a feeding tube. He eats 8 times a day, 40 ml each. And so we wait. 

I go to the hospital every day, but only for about 1-2 hours. I feel so awful that I can't stay longer, but I have to juggle Alex, and taking care of Henry, and I still am not allowed to drive, so I have to fit within other people's schedules. Once I can drive this Friday, if John is still there, it will be easier. If my au pair is watching Alex, I will be able to take Henry and hang out at the hospital. But it will still be hard. The hospital is 45 minutes away with no traffic. But I'll figure it out. Thankfully my husband is home with us another week, but I keep reminding myself and him that this is the easy time. First, we only have one baby at home. And second, preemies, as long as there's nothing wrong with them, are very easy. All Henry does is eat and sleep! There's no extended crying for no reason, or anything that is really that hard. Henry is so easy, it's only going to get harder from here. 

Regarding my own recovery, things are improving every day. It was nice to be able to stay in the hospital for 6 days, as it allowed some time to heal before coming home to a toddler, and stairs, and everything. But the first night I came home, it was very overwhelming. I had spent the precious 6 days in a darkened room with a baby that barely made any noise. And I came home to a house with big open windows with sun streaming in, two big barking dogs, a toddler who doesn't have a quiet voice, and my husband, au pair, and MIL all talking to me. I even think the TV was on. Talk about sensory overload! I feel better now, and I'm starting to help out a little more at home, which feels nice as I haven't been able to do anything for over a month while on bed rest. I wish my boys would have stayed inside for longer, but I have to admit, it is nice to get my body back to myself. Well mostly. Now it feels like it belongs to a breast pump... But at least I can walk up stairs with minimal pain!

I had a tough delivery - general anesthesia, a second surgery to repair the incision as it wasn't shut, magnesium sulfate, an infection at the incision site, and the latest news that the pathology report that was supposed to show pieces of my fallopian tubes from the tubal ligation doesn't show them so I have to have an HSG at 6 weeks to prove my tubes are truly tied. Oh the irony, I've had a couple HSG's to help me have children, and then the procedure I have to make me not be able to have children, not that I think it's possible, is now requiring another HSG! Many people, including my husband, don't understand why I want my tubes tied. But I never want to wonder if I might be pregnant. I never want to experience that mindfuck that I know only too well after going through infertility. And so I'll have another HSG, one last procedure to deal with my fertility. And be done forever.  

I feel so blessed being home with two of my children. Henry is amazingly easy, and so my life is pretty good. I only want my other son to join us now. But only if John is healthy. Please God help him be healthy. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Boys are here!

Oh boy, it's been a tough couple of days. On Thursday, I went to my regularly scheduled doctor appointment which included dopplers, an NST, and an OB visit with my doc. Everything looked good except my blood pressure. My doc ordered a 24 hour urine collection, and it almost seemed offhand, a blood draw to check my blood levels. No big deal. 

Friday morning I had settled into my normal workday at home, lying down with my computer, surrounded by pillows, when my phone rang. It was my doc and she said do not pass go, just get yourself to the hospital right away, but don't drive yourself, we're having babies today. My blood levels were bad, and they indicated severe preeclampsia. 

I called my husband to come home and get me, jumped in the shower, and ran around packing a bag. Of course I didn't have a bag packed already! Less than 2 hours after my doc called, we pulled into the hospital that is about an hour away, ready to have these boys. 

My doc met with me, and explained that not only do I have severe preeclampsia, but it has also elevated into HELLP syndrome. I don't know a lot about either of these, but I know it can be bad, very bad, for mom and babies. So we need to deliver ASAP. Problem is, I took a heparin shot that morning. 

About 2 weeks prior, my doc switched me from Lovenox to heparin as we got closer to delivery. And even though she would have preferred me to quit a little earlier, we had negotiated to quit heparin at 35 weeks. Yeah, we were at 34 weeks and 6 days, 1 day prior to me quitting heparin completely. Also, I had eaten breakfast that morning so they didn't want to do anesthesia. 

Long story short, after watching my blood levels get worse throughout the day, they made the decision that they had to deliver ASAP even though I hadn't appropriately metabolized the heparin, so I had to deliver under general anesthesia. I was crushed - this definitely was not the way I wanted this to happen. But I understood. 

Fast forward to waking up: I found out that my two boys had been born. Henry, Baby A, the one we had been worried about, at 4 lb 1 oz. And John, Baby B, the "big" guy that we had no worries about, at 4 lb 7 oz. (smaller than any of the latest ultrasounds). 

Both boys went to the NICU, but Henry, the little guy, only spent the night there, and has spent the time since in the regular nursery or in my room. He latches like a champ, and we have him on a routine where he nurses from me for about 20 minutes, then he gets donor milk that has been fortified to increase calories. He lost 4.1% of his birth weight in the first day of life, and I've been told that he won't be able to go home until he's gained above his birth weight. But he's doing well. Our little IUGR baby, so tiny, but healthy. 

John has been in the NICU since birth, and he's not doing so hot. He's having a hard time keeping his sugars up, and also with eating. I feel so bad for him because he's been alone, without his family, for much of the time. I've only seen him a couple times because between my own complications and taking care of Henry, I've been pretty confined to bed. At one point they were talking about graduating him to the Level I nursery, where Henry is when he's not in our room, but then his sugars went down and he regressed. I went there last night with the hopes of feeding him via a bottle and they had fed him early, trying to increase his sugars and avoid a feeding tube. I was still so confused last night, I didn't understand everything they said. Just sat there holding my sweet baby in the wheelchair, trying not to fall asleep. 

That's the other thing that's been awful - my own complications. It's been really hard for me to understand because I had no symptoms of preeclampsia or HELLP. No headache, pain under rib, blurry vision, nothing! I felt fine, or as fine as a miserable pregnant with twins woman could feel! So when they told me that my liver and kidneys were starting to fail, I had a hard time wrapping my head around all this. I just was doing what I was told to do - go into the hospital and deliver my babies! But then they started talking about 24 hours of magnesium sulfate, and I lost my cool. I had heard bad things about that drug, and I just didn't want to do it! My doc had to remind me that I was very sick. And then when they said I had to have general anesthesia, well that was the kicker. Now I couldn't even see my babies after I delivered them! Definitely not what I had planned. 

I made it through the general anesthesia, and started the magnesium, and barely realized I had babies. This is why I hate drinking to excess. Or why the couple times I've tried pot were so miserable. I hate feeling out of it. If I don't know what's going on, or can't process things well, I get so frustrated and hate every second of it. They were telling me details about my babies, and about the delivery, and I didn't understand them. This continued for the entire next day, all while on the magnesium. Miserable. 

So in addition to that, as I was delirious and feeling like crap on magnesium, the day after delivery, my incision kept bleeding. They had to replace the padding and dressing over my c-section incision four times throughout the day. Finally one doctor pulled it all off, and noticed that an artery was spurting, and there were multiple spots of bleeding. They're not sure if it was the decrease in my platelets, or the preeclampsia, or whatever, but all of it led to having to redo the incision. Yesterday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the first surgery, I had to have another surgery to redo the incision! Luckily they could do it under light sedation and local anesthesia, but again, this was more time of feeling fuzzy and not completely understanding what was going on. 

Today is the first day I feel kind of ok. I'm on Percocet, which makes me a little fuzzy, but it's nothing like the feeling of magnesium or all the other crap. Today I'm focusing on resting, continuing to get to know my little Henry, and trying to understand what is going on with John. I hope he gets out of NICU soon, because I really don't feel like I'm bonding with him at all. I feel bad that he's all alone in NICU without us. Hopefully we'll fix that soon. 

Friday, May 10, 2013


It's official - we have a diagnosis of IUGR, Intrauterine Growth Restriction, for Twin A. I went in today for a growth scan, and I really wasn't expecting a great result. Over the last couple months, baby A has been falling on the growth scale - in fact, they both have been. 3 weeks ago, baby A was 10.8% of normal, and baby B was 20%. Today, baby A decreased even further to 4.5%, but baby B increased to 32%!  I was more surprised that baby B increased on the charts than that baby A decreased. They had both been steadily decreasing, but B not as high of a rate. 

With the diagnosis of IUGR, I start going to even more appointments: twice a week NST's, once per week dopplers. But no more growth scans. And a c-section on May 30, when I'll be 36w5d. My doc considers that close enough to 37 weeks, which is her ideal for IUGR situations. Any time I go in for these NSTs and dopplers, if anything looks bad, then they'll send me immediately to delivery. 

I guess they're trying to find the optimal time when it's better for twin A to be out than in. Over the next 3 weeks, they are both still growing, still gaining maturity in lungs and other functions, and the longer they can stay inside, the better their overall outcome will be. But only if they stay alive. 

That's the ultimate risk with IUGR babies. Something is not working, probably the placenta. For baby A, his placenta isn't doing a good job of transmitting nutrients and oxygen from my body to his. The dopplers, which measure blood flow through the umbilical cord, look good, and as long as that continues, he'll still get nutrients and continue to live. But it could stop. 

For the first time today my doc mentioned the risk of stillbirth, and it's really scary hearing that word. I think she was just trying to explain the whole situation, especially because my husband was at the appointment and he normally is not, but it's still an awful word to hear. What if after all this, after everything we've been through, we lose our little guy in the final three weeks??? 

I'm trying to maintain a positive attitude, trust the doc and her opinion, trust that she knows what she's doing and is doing the best for our boys, but part of me wishes we would deliver now. I can't help thinking that my body is failing little baby A, that he would be better in the NICU, where they could directly provide him with food and we would know he's getting nutrients, as opposed to this guessing game we play twice a week. 

Three more weeks. No more than three weeks, and I'll meet these little guys. I'm hoping they're both ok when we meet. I know that even when they're out, the little guy, baby A, may face some more difficulties, the kind that come with IUGR babies. I'm trying to stay away from the Internet, at least some, but it's hard. I just hope they'll both be okay. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Home Again

After a day and a half in the hospital, multiple monitoring of the babies, a 24-hour urine test, multiple blood tests, I have been sent home with the same diagnosis I walked in there with: pregnancy induced hypertension.  Yes, it keeps getting higher, but they can’t find any evidence of pre-eclampsia in my body.  So very good news!  I have been cleared to go home and wait a little longer.  I have a renewed commitment to bed rest.  I have to admit, I’ve been doing too much cleaning and stuff at home.  But I really need to focus on laying down as much as possible, and just being okay with living in a shithole of a place.  It’s really not dirty exactly – every two weeks, I have a housekeeper that comes and cleans.  And it appears the dishes get washed occasionally.  But there is stuff everywhere!  We still haven’t unpacked completely, and my husband decided to get some boxes unpacked this weekend.  But his idea of unpacking is take stuff out of the boxes and spread them all over the house.  There are pictures propped up in rooms all over, but not actually on the walls.  There’s a huge pile of stuff at the top of the stairs to the basement – things that need to go downstairs – but haven’t actually made it down there.  And every counter in the kitchen is covered with stuff.  Because he also did the great thing of going to the grocery store, but he didn’t actually put away the non-refrigerated stuff!  Why oh why? 

I’m trying to chill out and just accept things for awhile, but it truly drives me nuts.  I know that if I just get up and take care of it, it would only take 1-2 hours to do it, but I also know that it would start a chain reaction in my body – contractions, higher blood pressure, and maybe another round of hospital checks.  So I lie down, and try to ignore it when I make my slow little trips to the kitchen to get food.  At least there is food in the house – right?  He provided that, so I need to just be okay with it. 

I go back to the doc on Friday for another growth scan.  It will have been 3 weeks since the last scan, and I think I’m most worried about that.  All this distraction about my high blood pressure and possible pre-eclampsia seems to have taken the focus away from the true worries – my little guys growing.  Last time one of them was down to 10.8%, and that was down from 48% only six weeks prior.  We have been on a bad trajectory for both of them, so I would not be surprised if it’s even worse.  From what I’ve read, high blood pressure doesn’t help with growth either.  I have been pounding the protein shakes, and trying to eat  as much as possible.  The weight for me has definitely gone up – I’m definitely following if not exceeding the weight guidelines for twin pregnancies.  But I’m afraid it’s not translating to appropriate weight gain for the boys.  I don’t know what else to do – I guess just lie here as long as possible. 

I’ll be 34 weeks on Saturday, which my doctor is very happy about.  She says that 34 weeks makes a big difference for the babies, especially regarding NICU time and care that is required after birth.  I’ve taken the steroid shots, and she moved me from Lovenox to Heparin, to be ready for a quick delivery if necessary.  I guess all we do now is wait.  I don’t think she’ll let me go past 37 weeks, so 3 weeks max after Saturday.  I’m hoping that we schedule a 37 week c-section date on Friday, just so we have something to focus on.  The nursery isn’t ready, and I don’t have a hospital bag packed.  I just can’t get too excited about all that stuff.  All I want is to stay pregnant for a few more weeks to give these boys the best fighting chance possible.  The rest will all fall into place.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Reporting From the Hospital

Before anyone gets excited/worried/whatever, the boys are not here yet.  I’m just spending the night in the hospital  for observation.  The last couple weeks have been tough, and every day seems to get worse.  I monitor my blood pressure daily, and it is slowly getting higher and higher.  I spent a few hours two weeks ago in labor & delivery triage getting monitored, and had the lovely experience of collecting my urine for 24 hours at home.  I go every week for Doppler checks to make sure the blood flow to the babies look good, and am scheduled for another growth scan on Friday.  But today my blood pressure was higher than it had been before, so I called the high risk nurse, and they told me to come to the hospital as soon as possible to get monitored.

I showed up, and about two hours later felt completely foolish.  I feel like I continue to cry wolf about my high blood pressure, and then nothing is really wrong.  So my doctor sat me down, telling me I officially have the diagnosis of pregnancy induced hypertension, and that now my threshold to come in is any number over 160/110 (either number higher than the threshold), instead of the previous threshold of 140/90.  She wanted me to take home another 24 hour urine jug, and was just waiting for the blood test results to send me home.  And then… the blood test results came in.  My creatinine levels are elevated, which can show impaired kidney function.  Sweet.  So my doc immediately changed her tune, and told me that I would be staying in the hospital for 24 hours to do the urine test, and repeat blood work, and 2 steroid shots, 24 hours apart, to help develop the boys’ lungs.  Even before the blood work came back, my doc told me she is pretty sure I will develop pre-eclampsia within the next two weeks or so.  Now, she’s testing to see if it has already happened.

So best case scenario, I get to leave the hospital tomorrow in the early evening, continue to monitor blood pressure, stay on modified bed rest, and try to get a few more weeks under my belt.  I think medium case scenario, I stay in the hospital for hospital bed rest, continue to get monitored, and if/when it gets bad, they’ll do a c-section.  Worst case is the results of the tests look really bad, and we do a c-section really soon, maybe tomorrow night…  Wow – that’s scary when I actually write it down.  I’m 33 weeks + 2 days today, so if I deliver tomorrow, we’re definitely looking at some significant NICU time. 

I’m amazingly calm right now, sitting in the hospital by myself.  Even when I spoke with the hubs, I never broke down or anything.  Right now I’m just hanging out in this hospital room by myself, bored out of my mind.  When was the last time I just hung out for 24 hours in bed, by myself, watching TV or reading?  Ever?  No toddler running around, no hubby to argue with about what to watch, no au pair to get to know, no laundry or anything to do!  This is so weird, I’m trying to enjoy the rest and relaxation, but it’s hard.  Is it wrong that I’m looking forward to the ambien my doc prescribed me for tonight???

Thank God my au pair is here.  She has been great.  It’s fun getting to know her, and she’s really good with Alex.  Between my hubs, my MIL and my au pair, I know that Alex will be taken care of, even if I have to spend a lot of time in the hospital.  Of course I miss her terribly.  If I have to stay here for awhile, I hope someone brings her to see me…  My little girl is now 18 months old, and I’m sure she doesn’t understand why Mama isn’t there tonight, and won’t be there in the morning.  My husband is changing his work schedule to go in later than normal, to work around the au pair’s schedule, so he can take care of Alex.  He really has been great, and I’m trying to show my appreciation.  Bed rest, even modified, has been tough.  I have such a hard time letting go of things around the house.  Everybody puts things in the “wrong” place, my husband leaves things all over – he just doesn’t see clutter on surfaces like I do, and it has been driving me nuts to have to rely on everybody else.  I know I need to get used to it – if I do go home tomorrow, I’m sure modified, or even more strict bed rest, will continue.  And when the boys are here and I bring them home, I’m going to need to rely on everybody else to keep the house running while I take care of them, but man is it hard to give up control.  And why is it easier to watch my MIL clean my house than my mom???  I’m almost 38 years old, you would think that I need to get over this.  But when my mom offers to go in my room to change my sheets and clean up, I cringe.  I’m immediately sent back to being a kid, getting yelled at by her because my room is a mess.  Ugh – I guess we never really grow up in certain respects…

Now I will go, just hanging out in this crazy bed that adjusts constantly so I’ll avoid bed sores – should make sleeping interesting.  Everybody has given me a hard time about choosing a hospital that is an hour away from home, when there are great delivery hospitals much closer to home.  But this place has either the best or 2nd best NICU in town, depending on what you read.  And I’m currently in an entire wing devoted to women on hospital bed rest.  Amazing really – it’s a whole high risk floor.  The only people on this floor are those on bed rest or moms that have given birth but their babies are in the NICU.  I can definitely tell this place is designed for me.  I had hoped to not need the rock star NICU or high risk services, but here I am.  I didn’t want to be here, but at least I’m in good hands.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


We have officially reached the scary part of my pregnancy, at 31 weeks. It started 3 weeks ago at a growth scan. Both boys had been measuring great and there have been no issues. 7 weeks ago, Twin A was 48% on the growth scale, and Twin B was 32%. 3 weeks ago, Twin A dropped to 23% and Twin B was at 29%. My doc was a little concerned, particularly about Twin A, but she said everything is fine as long as nobody is 10% or lower.

Well, two days ago I went in for another growth scan and Twin A is now 10.8%, and Twin B is 20%. Suddenly my doc is concerned. 3 weeks ago my c-section was scheduled for 38 weeks 4 days, and now she says there's no way they'll let me go past 37 weeks, particularly if Twin A decreases or stays the same. Now every week I go into the doc to check blood flow to the babies. This looked fine at my visit, but if it ever decreases they will deliver immediately. And another growth scan in 3 weeks.

The other scary thing is my blood pressure has started to rise, and they're worried about pre-eclampsia. On Friday my blood pressure was 122/89, and my doc said if the second number is ever over 90 then it's a problem. An hour later it dropped to 122/86, so she was less concerned, but she told me to get a BP monitor and check at home daily.

So yesterday I was at home and started to feel swollen in my face and hands. I laid down, and sent the hubs to get a BP monitor. I checked it, and it was 125/95. So I called the MFM on call, and she told me to get to the hospital! I left the hubs with Alex and went to the hospital, where they monitored the babies and my BP for about 2 hours. My BP jumped all over the place, the highest being 140/90. But it was mostly lower. And they checked my blood and urine for signs of pre-eclampsia, noting none. So they sent me home with a jug for collecting my urine over 24 hours, and told me to come back if the BP gets higher.

Because of the BP and the restricted growth, I'm on kinda bedrest. At least that's what I'm calling it. I pressed my doc about what that means exactly, and she said I should live the couch potato lifestyle, and only do what I have to. In her words, if I have to go to the grocery store, go, but try to get someone else to do it. Same with running after a toddler.  The ambiguity almost makes it harder, as I have to ask for everything, and really think if it’s a “have to” or not.  My husband has been working crazy hours – for the last few weeks he has been coming home between 9 and 12 at night.  So it’s not like he’s around even to ask. 

The best thing in the world, the blessing in all of this, is our au pair from France arrived on Friday.  She’s still getting acclimated, and she hasn’t officially started working yet, but I really like her so far, and she seems very excited and eager to help.  She and Alex are getting along great, and AP (au pair) seems to really enjoy spending time with Alex.  This week I will be showing AP around, and how to do her job.  But I will also start leaving her in charge for long periods of time, so I’m very interested to see how she does.  I’m sure it will be weird being in the house while she’s in charge – I need to shut my office door and allow her to really be in charge, without me hovering.  But I’m excited and hopeful that she will be good.  Her English is a little rough, so we’re spending a little time with sign language and trying out new words, but I think it will work out well.  Thank God she showed up the same day as I was prescribed bedrest – kinda. 

I’m trying to remain positive about my boys, but it’s hard.  I’m just so afraid that I will have to deliver early.  Between the low growth and the high BP, there are a couple things working against my plan to keep these boys cooking as long as possible.  I know with the medical field now, that there is a high chance of survival in the NICU, with nothing wrong at the end, but it would be a tough road if I delivered now.  The really good thing is I have no signs of pre-term labor – no real contractions, my cervix still looks like a wall of steel – but that doesn’t matter if the doc decides it’s too risky to stay pregnant.  I keep talking to these little boys of mine, telling them to grow, grow, grow!  I’m drinking protein shakes like they’re going out of style – constantly eating, I’m so sick of food.  And I’m really trying to be good and stay off my feet as much as possible – so hard to do.  But it will all be worth it if my boys can cook as long as possible!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Thank you so much to all of you who sent such lovely and supportive comments to me. I really try not to complain in most of my life, but this pregnancy has been much harder than I anticipated, and I’ve really struggled, and it’s only getting worse. No matter how much I try, it’s hard to convince myself that I need to just accept help, and be okay with being able to do less, and try to get rid of the guilt. But you ladies have helped, you really have. I need to print out your comments and keep them with me always…

I hate to admit how much I’ve struggled during this pregnancy. I think part of it was that I wasn’t desperate for the FET to work like I was in my last pregnancy. Given how long it took to get pregnant with Alex, I honestly didn’t think it would happen this quickly for me for baby #2 (& 3!). It was as easy as going to the store and getting a baby, and I even got the buy one get one free special! Well, I still had to do a FET so there was a little meds and stuff, but compared to my quest for Alex, I may as well have just gone to the baby store. I didn’t expect it to be so easy, and so quick. I know I’m so incredibly lucky, but when I’m faced with taking time away from Alex, I don’t feel as lucky and grateful as I should.

And then I get news like I received earlier today. My husband has a BFF. Seriously, they’re like lovers, they love each other so much. The BFF’s wife introduced herself at my baby shower: “Hi, my name is J, and my husband is Alex’s boyfriend.” And everybody laughed because it’s so true. Even they admit that they have a bromance. Anyway, they got married shortly after we did, and took awhile to start TTC, but knew of our struggles. I have always liked J, the wife, we’re not super close, but we really enjoy each other’s company when we’re together. We’ve gone on vacations and lots of double dates and such together, but never really spent time together just the two of us – only with our husbands. We went on a vacation together shortly after my two miscarriages, and right before they started TTC, and I think I turned her off by how much I talked about my TTC experiences, and especially the miscarriages. She told her husband, who told mine, that she definitely didn’t want to become obsessed like I was. Ugh – didn’t feel good to hear that.

Anyway, fast forward a couple years, and we have Alex and are pregnant with twins, and they’re still working on TTC. J has PCOS, and she has had multiple IUI’s and a miscarriage. She and I have talked a little, but she doesn’t always seem to want to talk about it – she’s always so freaking positive, and I admire her positivity – I was never there in my TTC journey. They recently started their first IVF cycle, and the doc held back on the meds since she typically overstimulates even with the IUI dosages. Well, she didn’t stim hardly at all. They did further tests, and a cyst that they found on her ovary continued to grow and take over her entire ovary. They did more tests, and decided they needed to remove the entire ovary and tube, which they did yesterday. The preliminary pathology report shows that it was a cancerous mass that they’re hoping is benign. They think it was stimulated by hormones, so probably a result of the fertility drugs! She meets with the oncologist in two weeks, but her fertility doc thinks that if it’s benign, he can still get her pregnant with an IVF round, and then do a complete hysteroscopy to remove the chance of more cancer.

I’m in complete shock, and I feel so bad for her. She still sounds so positive, or maybe she’s just putting on a positive front. I wasn’t even going to bring up the baby thing, just focusing on the health stuff, but she immediately brought up that her doc said he can still get her pregnant. Oh how scary – I can’t even imagine going through IVF knowing that it caused cancer before. I know it’s super rare, but I never thought about this possibility while I was injecting all those meds in my body. She and I were emailing last week, and she said thanks for being one of the few people who understand why she would go through anything to have a baby. I know she wouldn’t continue with IVF if they thought it would cause more cancer, but can you imagine being pregnant, knowing that as soon as you deliver they’re going to remove your one remaining ovary and uterus? Crazy.
I feel so lucky, yes it took me awhile to have Alex but we I have her now, and I essentially went to the baby store to get these two little boys in my belly. And yet I’m complaining about back pain and the rest. At least I’m healthy, and I have my children. It could be so much worse.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Feeling like a failure

I'm writing this when I'm supposed to be napping - during my daughter's nap. I just put her in her crib, and I'm supposed to use the next 1.5 hours or so to get rest, but I have to get something off my chest. I feel like a failure as a mom. And as a pregnant person. I know I should be easier on myself, and this is hard, and blah blah blah. But I really expected so much more from myself, and I just failed miserably. 

I had these wonderful visions of myself as a Part-time SAHM. I was going to do all kinds of educational things with Alex - I asked and received for Christmas annual passes to the zoo and the children's museum. I've only been to each once. It's too hard running after a toddler when I'm so freaking huge, and any kind of physical activity causes BH contractions.  We got this great house with a fabulous backyard. Alex loves to go outside and climb up the hill and back down. But it's steep - much too steep for a 17 month old to do herself. So I have to go with her, which completely exhausts me, and causes BH contractions. So we stay inside, playing with toys that we're both bored of, reading books that we're bored of, and coloring (bored too). She cries every time I let the dogs outside and don't let her - I feel so bad, but I just can't handle it. There's a park only about 1/2 mile away, and she can walk there and back by herself, I don't even need to push her in a stroller anymore, but I can't do it. 

On Mondays and Fridays she goes to daycare, which is just phenomenal. They just implemented a new computer system where they take videos and pictures throughout the day, and send them to you each day. It's so obvious that she loves this place, and she gets so much out of it. Her vocabulary is just exploding. Between sign and verbal words, I can understand about 80% of what she wants, which I think is pretty incredible for her age. She can sort by color, and loves learning all kinds of things. 

My MIL also comes over most Wednesdays to watch Alex. I say most - she's definitely not the most reliable of child care. But she loves Alex and takes good care of her. 

Tuesdays and Thursdays are the hardest - these are the days when I'm responsible by myself. I hate that the only days when I'm completely a SAHM are the hardest days. They're so hard physically - my body is screaming at the end of the day, and I crawl into bed as soon as I put her into bed at 7:30. I have BH like crazy, and my back hurts, and my butt has sciatic pain, and my hemorrhoids hurt, and my heartburn hurts, and my hip hurts, and I could go on... 

Our au pair gets here next Friday. I'm so excited to have her come, but I also feel like a failure needing full-time child care. Yes, I'm working part-time, but I'm paying someone to work 45 hours per week when I'm only working 20 hours! And we're even considering leaving Alex in daycare for 2 days per week - she's just getting so much out of it that is seems bad to pull her out. Yes, it will be tough financially but I know that neither the au pair nor I will be able to give her the education and social experiences like she's getting now. Yep, continuing to feel like a failure... 

My pregnancy is going ok. Both boys are healthy, but at the last growth scan they decreased on the growth scale. At my 24 week scan, baby a was 48% and baby b was 32%. Then last week at my 28 week scan, baby a is now 23% and baby b is 29%. The doc said that both babies seem healthy, but this can happen in later pregnancy as they start to run out of room and nutrients - they can start to drop on the growth scale. She said she wasn't really concerned unless they got below 10% but we'll be monitoring them more closely. Growth scans every 3 weeks, and it will likely go to 2 weeks or more often. My cervix still looks great - over 4 cm. So even though I'm having a ton of BH contractions, it doesn't seem to be affecting my body. But my doc said to try to take it easy - lay down as much as possible, at least as much as I'm up during the day. I'm trying to eat as much as possible, especially protein, and I've gained the appropriate amount based on my pre-pregnancy weight and the guidelines in Dr. Luke's book, but I still feel like I'm failing my boys if they're running out of nutrients and not growing like they should. 

The doc's suggestion to lay down as much as possible is really hard with a toddler that runs. But it makes me feel a little better about the 2 hours spent snuggling in my bed this morning watching Yo Gabba Gabba... A little...

I know this will all work out in the end, but none of this was how I wanted Alex's young life to be, with a mom that couldn't play with her, and go outside with her, or do much with her. I'm about to outsource even the little bit of time that I have been spending with her to an au pair, and I feel even more guilty. I'm happy that we have two healthy boys (please God, help them grow!) coming and I'm thankful for my family, but I can't help feeling like Alex is getting the short end of the stick here. And it will even get worse when the boys get here, and I won't even have time to snuggle in bed watching TV. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Harder than I thought it would be

Everything – the pregnancy, the move, the transition to part-time SAHM, this whole thing has been harder than I thought it would be.  I usually thrive in stressful situations, but these past few months have been so freaking hard.  I feel awful for abandoning my blog and my online friends, but I’ve had to cut way back on the things that take up my time, and this was one area of my life that I had to pretty much cut completely out – I’m sorry.  I’m not going to promise to delve right back in it, but I want to slowly catch up, see what you guys are up to, and go back to using this space as a bit of a journal again.  Because I need the outlet, somewhere to release all the crazy that is jumbled up in my head. 

On the surface, things look generally ok.  People keep saying they’re impressed with how I’m handling it all, and I just smile.  Because they don’t know that every day, I psych myself up and tell myself that I can get through today – just get through another day.  Almost every day, I cry from exhaustion or pain, or just being overwhelmed.  But I get up every day, and make it through, once again.  Overall, things really are pretty decent.  Here is my laundry list, in no particular order:

Alex:  She’s still my joy, the best part of my life.  She’s almost 16 months old – unbelievable!  She’s so much fun, and healthy and happy, and truly the best part of everything.  She’s such a charmer, not afraid of anyone or anything, smiles almost all the time.  She’s starting to test her limits, and will listen to certain things (for example, it’s been weeks since she has touched the dog’s water dish after telling her no for about a week), but for others, thinks it’s HILARIOUS when I tell her no (we spent 30 minutes tonight working on not standing on the couch – she giggles when she stands, looking at me with this evil grin on her face…  how can I not laugh?).  She eats great, but has thinned out a bit, down to 60% in weight after being about 90%, but at 96% for height.  She runs around constantly, and is so much fun.  She is currently in daycare two days per week, and loves it.  It’s such a good school!  I feel bad about pulling her out in a few weeks (more on that later).  Truly, nothing wrong I can say about her.  The only thing is the guilt I feel because sometimes I turn the TV on and just lay on the couch, too exhausted to get up and play.  I’m glad I get to spend more time with her now that I’m working part-time, but I hate to admit that the work days are so much easier than the kid days.  She takes so much out of me physically, and I feel awful that I can’t give her my all like I can with my work, just sitting on my ass all day. 

The move:  This has been so freaking hard.  Physically, the unpacking and getting settled in is exhausting, especially while being pregnant with twins.  I have everything almost unpacked, but my husband is (finally!) moving here this weekend with more stuff.  So he’s going to show up, drop off boxes and start a high-stress job immediately, leaving me to unpack his crap.  Ugh.  So the move isn’t quite done…  Good news is we’re officially under contract for our old house, so hopefully we’ll only have one month when we have to make two mortgage payments!!!

Pregnancy:  Technically, it’s awesome.  I have had wonderful ultrasounds, and found a great high-risk doctor whom I love.  Both boys (YES, two boys!!!) are growing well, and they are only 2% different from each other, which is great.  Nothing is wrong.  Except… I feel like shit.  The morning (all day) sickness has finally decreased to the point where I don’t need zofran every day, just about 2 days per week, starting last week at 21 weeks.  I sleep like crap, and I’m incredibly exhausted.  So much so that I begged for additional anemia and thyroid testing, but it all came back normal.  Apparently I’m just pregnant with twins.  So freaking tired!!!  I’m currently 22 weeks, and I hear the worst is yet to come.  Oh joy…  I’m very happy that everything is going so well, but it’s so hard to be excited when all I want to do is sleep.  And when I finally lie down, I can’t sleep.  Oh, but I got something that is amazing – the It’s You Babe Prenatal Cradle.  I’ve been wearing it for a week now, and I can’t believe I made it through my pregnancy with Alex without one.  It’s the most unsexy thing you can find, and it’s hard to disguise under some clothes, but I don’t care.  Back pain is gone!!!  So things are looking up – much less nausea and no more back pain in the last week.  I hope this “wall” people talk about with a twin pregnancy stays away, because I’ve felt some sort of wall for months…

Hubby:  Ummmm…  I don’t know.  Maybe I should devote an entire post to him sometime.  He has struggled with finding a job here, so it took him longer than he wanted to move here.  He’s definitely the stereotypical guy where his whole sense of self seems to be derived from his professional life, so there was some questionable times there when he couldn’t get someone to hire him in a great position.  But he found the perfect job – a really good job, in fact.  He starts there next week, and finally moves here on Friday.  The transition, the being apart, has been tough.  I’m really lonely, and I know he is too.  He came here for two weeks in the middle to interview at companies, and that was almost worse.  I went from being a single mom, knowing I didn’t have anyone to rely upon to help me, to expecting help, and not getting it.  When I’m alone, I don’t look around, hoping for someone to help.  Instead, I just suck it up and deal, because there is no other option.  But I had in my head that when he came home, it would be different – he would help out more.  I don’t know why I had these expectations, it’s not like he’s shown me anything in our nine years together that would cause me to have these expectations, but I think I was living in a fantasy land.  And when he didn’t meet this fantasy, well…  it didn’t go well.  I’m nervous about him moving back here, and integrating him back into our daily life.  I need to remember that the reason I’m with him is for his company, and his love, and the great times we have together.  He really is a wonderful dad to Alex, even if he doesn’t clean up after her.  Or get up with her in the mornings...  And he’s very excited about the boys.  And I know that if I truly need help, like if I can’t take care of Alex anymore due to this pregnancy, that he will step up.  But it has to be real, not just my current state of crappy – I need to recognize my new role of part-time SAHM, and act like it.  He’s going to have a stressful, although good, job, and his job will be to work his ass off, and my job is to take care of Alex, the boys and house.  Yep, this is me psyching myself up…

Child care:  I am very excited about this one.  After weighing all our options (daycare, nanny, etc.) and thinking about whether I want to continue working after the boys are here (yes, please don’t take away my part-time job – love it!!!) we decided to hire an au pair.  Hubby and I had some honest conversations acknowledging that he’s just not that helpful, especially with babies.  And I want to continue working, at least part-time.  And based on the cost, an au pair is incredibly cheap when you start pricing out child care for three babies!  So we picked an agency, looked at a ton of profiles, did some Skype interviews, and selected a girl (actually not a girl – she’s one of the older available au pairs at 25) from Bosnia and Herzegovina.  She started our first Skype interview telling me about how in her culture, pregnant women get whatever they want.  In fact, she once drove two hours to the nearest McDonalds for a pregnant friend of hers that was craving a burger.  How can I not love her?  She comes in less than three weeks, and I can’t wait.  We wanted her to come early so she could develop a relationship with Alex before the boys get here, and if I happened to go on bed rest, she could help take care of Alex.  My high risk doc listened to my situation about being a single mom (in essence, especially in January), and suggested I have back-up child care in place by the time I was 28 weeks.  That was all it took for us to start the au pair search in earnest.  I really hope our au pair is just as great in person as she was over Skype.  It’s a huge risk, bringing someone here into our home that we don’t know – for a year!  But I have such a good feeling about her, I’m just praying it goes well. 

Work: As I’ve said, I love it.  I’ve very easily transitioned to working at home, and I think my employer is happy with me.  We had originally set this up to try it out until the end of April, and then reconsider, but I would be shocked if they didn’t want to continue the arrangement.  It’s going to get even better and easier once the au pair gets here, as I currently drive two hours (1/2 hour each way, two round trips) to drop Alex off at daycare the two days I work.  My MIL usually watches Alex another day, but she is not very reliable.  Like the hubs says, you get what you pay for.  So sometimes it’s hard getting enough time to focus on work, and I do a lot in the evenings.  Can’t wait until my au pair gets here!

The other “job” I started was the mentorship at the university I mentioned earlier.  I went through the interview process to start teaching at a local university, and the only thing that I needed to do was complete a mentorship, which consisted of attending another person’s class and helping him out.  The class met once per week for four hours, and considering where it was in town, I had to leave my house Wednesday nights at 5 pm and didn’t get home until 11 pm.  My MIL watched Alex while I did this.  I successfully completed four weeks of the mentorship, and then I quit.  I’m so disappointed in myself for doing this, but I couldn’t handle it any longer.  Thursdays were so unbearable.  I was so tired, I would turn the TV on almost all day, just to try to occupy Alex, because I couldn’t give her anything of myself.  I would just sit there and cry, because I was so tired.  Fridays were a little better, simply because I could take Alex to daycare, and take a couple naps when I was supposed to be working.  Saturdays were hard, Sundays were a little better, but then I would have to stay up late for the next few nights, trying to prepare for the section of the class I was teaching.  It was too much work, at least for my current exhausted condition.  I was halfway through the session, and I had to quit.  My mentor understood, and wants me to come back after the twins are born and finish the mentorship and start teaching.  But how in the world am I going to do that?  Who knows.  For now, I’m ignoring that part of my life.  I always wanted to be a college instructor, and maybe I’ll do that someday, but it was so exhausting, I just had to take it out of my life for now. 

Those are the big parts right now.  I think things are getting better.  Like I said, not throwing up and not having back pain – huge improvements in my life.  Everything else seems like it will fall into place.  I just need to keep growing these little boys, and keep being as good of a mom as possible to Alex.  And I need to have reasonable expectations of my husband.  I need to focus on why I love having him in my life, and look to my new au pair for help, not my husband.  I’m reminded that this is simply a season in my life, and this baby time goes by so quickly.  I need to cherish this time, with Alex, with the boys, with my husband.  We have so many things to be grateful for, I need to remind myself of this every single day.