Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words or So

I can just hear you years from now. Mommy, didn’t I ever smile? Why do I always look mad in all my pictures?

The short answer is yes, you did smile, just not on camera.

In general, Ella, you are very smiley. You smile huge, wide smiles all the time. You are a bit more reserved in front of the camera, but more likely to let us capture those sideways grins. Anna, you are much more shy and particular with smiles. Especially first thing in the morning, you smile too. But it usually takes more work to get a big grin out of you. And you tend to flash little smiles quickly.

And both of you like to stare very solemnly into the camera. The little black box comes out and you start looking very seriously at it, no matter what antics Daddy and I are trying behind the camera. So, it is a wonderful feat when we get a picture with both of you smiling.… a crazy stroke of luck. This problem might be overcome if we bought a camera where the time between depressing the button and the picture being taken is less than 3 seconds. Although that sounds like a very short period of time, when you are trying to get two infants to sit still, it is interminable.

Below, our first mistake was trying to take these pictures just before bed. You weren’t in the best of moods already. Our second mistake was putting you in a hot outfit when you were already pretty warm. Third was trying to make you sit up on your own, which you can’t quite do yet. We should have propped you on something, but we were trying to get the pics before you totally exploded. Our fourth mistake is deciding half way through to move the blanket in the background, thus making photoshopping a smiling head from another picture almost impossible.

Anna: “What am I doing here alone? Where’s Ella?”

Ella: “I’m coming, hold your horses!”
Anna: “Oh my, Mommy has that black thing again. “

Ella: “Take that!”
Anna: “Mommy, she’s hitting me again.”
Bailey: “Wait, when did they get tails? I need to sniff their butts!”

Anna: “Man, Daddy sure can act funny sometimes.”
Ella: “Yeah, what on Earth is he doing?”

Ella: “I don’t really get what I’m supposed to do here.”
Anna: “I think they want us to do something….Ella, um, do you know what we’re supposed to be doing?”

Ella: “Wait, I’m falling. Oh, thanks Daddy.”
Anna: “Aww man, you weren’t coming to get me out of here.”

Ella: “Ok, I am so over this, let’s blow raspberries..”
Anna: “Yeah, are we done yet?”

Ella: “I am not going to smile anymore, so you should just pack it up.”
Anna: “I’m starting to get irritated, Mommy!”

Ella: “You know, actually, that Daddy guy is kind of funny.”
Anna: “I don’t know, I’ve had enough fun for one night.”

Anna: “No seriously, I’m done with this.” 
Anna: “Really…done with this people!
Ella: “I’m ok, but you’re shaking the camera, Mommy.”

Anna: “Wait, now I’m falling over. Oh good, we’re done right?”
Ella: “Whatever.”

Anna: “Noooo, don’t just sit me back up.”
Ella: “You know, that Daddy is cracking me up.”

Anna: “I am telling you people, I don’t want to do this anymore.” Ella: “Come on Anna, check out Daddy.”

Ella: “Hey, Anna, this isn’t so bad.” Anna: “Now she’s falling on me! Do you see this?”

Ella: “Yeah, she’s right. We’re done.”

Anna: “I SAID WAAAAAAA” Ella: “Me too….WAAAAA”

Ella: “Wait a minute, you’ve had your chance, now it’s my turn to cry. You be quiet.”

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

from Anna (L) and Ella (R)

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Day You Were Born Part 2

I forgot to mention in Part 1 that Uncle Craig had shown up in the triage room shortly after Grandpa and JeJe. He said he just couldn’t get any work done and was so excited he had to come wait, even though he might not get to see you for a while. Then when they told us the c-section time was so close, he was really glad he had come. So, even before you were here, he was pretty crazy about you! He called Auntie Sharon and she arrived shortly before the allotted time. The little triage room we were in was too small for everyone, so everyone but Grammy moved out into the waiting room.

All of the sudden it was time to go to the operating room . Daddy and I were walked down the hallway and as we passed a door, there was a younger guy with scrubs and a mask on. They said there was a change of plan and he would be our anesthesiologist. The nurse assured me this was a good thing. He looked really young and for a minute I was slightly alarmed and then I thought about how Uncle Mikey looks young but is a really good pilot and decided this guy could be the same.

We walked past a bench where they told Daddy he had to wait. I walked into the OR where people were laying out instruments and prepping the room. I began to get nervous remembering they said I might have a general if my scoliosis was too bad to do a spinal. They had me step up on a stool onto the table. The anesthesiologist had me lean forward and looked at my back and said he could do a spinal. Then I got really nervous. He numbed my skin and I started to sweat. I was really wishing Daddy could be there to hold my hand. I remember the spinal hurting a good bit, but only for a minute or so. I tried to hold really still while he put it in and before I knew it, it was in and I was laid back and I started going numb.

They had me scoot onto the bed/table before I went completely numb. The dr put a nasal cannula in my nose. It made me very uncomfortable. I don’t breathe very well through my nose and this was like trying to drink from a fire hose. The air was very strong and fast and I couldn’t breathe. I finally asked if I could have something else because it was bothering me and he gave me a mask instead. That worked much better and I was able to calm down and open my mouth and breathe when I needed to. Everyone was bustling around and I really wanted Daddy to come back.

They finally hung a drape in front of me and Daddy was brought in. He came over and held my hand and told me many times how much he loved me. I could tell he was really nervous. It’s funny that him being nervous made me more calm. The anesthesiologist was very nice. He would tell us generally what was going on and reassure me that I was doing well. He had very nice blue eyes above his mask and a soothing voice. Daddy was waiting over my left shoulder and the anesthesiologist was over my right and there was a big blue sheet at my chin. I could hear Dr. Phillips talking to another dr. He had told me that a woman, Dr. Capet would be helping him out in the OR since there were twins and he needed an extra set of hands. I heard him telling her that we had twins coming and then they chatted about the weekend and various benign topics.

Pretty soon, I could hear and feel them getting down to business. I could feel what was happening, but it didn’t hurt. Just movement and pressure and I was aware of what was going on. I heard them say Twin A, that's you Anna, and pretty soon they told me to look up and see my baby. This very pale baby covered with white hovered over my head for a second. You were dripping fluid everywhere and I got some in my eyes and mouth. I got just the very quickest glimpse before I had to blink and spit and when I looked back you were gone.

Ella moments after birth. This is the closest to what I saw when I looked up, although there was a lot more vernix. You look pretty darn angry about the whole situation. :-)

Daddy had stood up to see you and he was very excited. I was waiting to hear you cry and as soon as you did, it was the most beautiful sound in the world and it made me cry. Daddy watched as they fished around for “Baby B”. Ella, later I found out that after your sister was born, the doctor reached in and grabbed one foot. But he couldn’t grab the other foot, you kept pulling it away from him. Eventually he had to flip you around and fish you out head first because you weren’t cooperating. It’s like after your sister left, you all of the sudden had lots of room and decided you weren’t ready to leave yet! That's why Anna was born at 12:42 and Ella at 12:44, because Ella tried to escape! They flashed you over the curtain quickly too and then I could hear you really screaming as they worked to clean you up.
As soon as you were both out, the anesthesiologist said Daddy could either stay with me or go over to see you. I didn’t hesitate, I told him “Go!”. I wanted him to make sure you were ok and stay with you guys.

This is the first picture Daddy took when he got over to you guys. I think this is Anna getting cleaned up. It's easier to tell who is whom when you get your arm bracelets.

About that time, I started to feel really bad. I was moaning and feeling like I was going to pass out. I got all clammy and felt short of breath. At some point they had removed the oxygen mask and I was sure I was passing out any second now. I told the anesthesiologist and he assured me it felt like I couldn’t breathe, but that my values were just fine. He even showed me on the monitor that my pulse ox was 92. But, the anesthesia had deadened my diaphragm and my body was just sure it was suffocating. I felt ENORMOUS pressure on my chest. Like they were squeezing my heart from the bottom up and it would explode. I was moaning and just couldn’t stop. It was so uncomfortable. I remember listening to what was going on with you guys while trying not to feel like I was dying. I heard them say how much you weighed. I didn't hear your lengths until later. I heard a nurse ask your names and I heard daddy say Anna Evelyn and Ella Ruth. I was so glad.

After you were born, there was lots more pressure and pulling and jostling that I could feel and pretty soon, without Daddy or babies to distract me, I started feeling sick. I ended up throwing up several times and feeling pretty crummy. I remember they brought you to see me Ella. But I was so sick that I could see the anesthesiologist wave the nurse back while he held my emesis bag. It seemed like there was lots of commotion and at times I could hear you cry, but I was feeling so short of breath and such ridiculous pressure all I could do was groan.

In the mean time, they were taking your temperature, putting on your arm and leg bracelets, taking your footprints and cleaning you up. Then they swaddled you guys up.
This is Ella very mad about having been removed from her nice warm home. You can see why we gave you the nickname "Little Bird" in the hospital. You made little "eep" sounds that reminded me of a bird, and when you cried and your stretched your head up on your little neck, it reminded me of a baby bird.

Here's Anna getting her footprint taken, and not much happier than Ella was!

 Eventually, I started to feel a little better and they brought both of you over to see me. You were all bundled up with hats on your heads and you looked so precious and snuggly. I noticed that Anna was much paler than Ella and they told me that you had swallowed some amniotic fluid on your way out, but that you were just fine. We took a quick picture and Daddy and I remarked on how cute you both were and then the three of you guys headed down to the nursery and I was alone again.

Mommy meeting Ella for the first time.

Daddy took our first group photo. Notice Anna on the left is much paler than Ella.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On the Day You Were Born (Part 1)

People say I need to write out my birth story before I forget it. I may have already forgotten parts since you were born 3 weeks ago and I haven't gotten a lot of sleep since then. But, here goes.

We have to start a little before the day you were born. At the beginning of my pregnancy, before I even knew you were twins, we knew my due date was May 21, 2012. Then when we found out you were twins, the doctor said you would probably be about 3 weeks early, so we went with May 1 as the due date. After a month or two of that, all of the sudden, he said you would probably be about 4 weeks early. We were surprised, but started thinking and telling people your due date would be April 21. I mean, wouldn't you think looking at these that you were squished enough to warrant early release? Kate is on the right and that is Pippa on the left with her own leg folded in front of her. There is some debate if that is actually your leg or your sister's, but that is what the ultrasound tech told us.

Daddy kept wondering if you would hold out until May to be born. He even asked the doctor,  who gave him a funny look and then explained that this conversation probably wasn't even necessary because you would probably be early, but that we would cross that bridge when we came to it. So, I got very used to the idea that you would be here on or before April 21. And if you weren't, it wouldn't be long before they would just do a c-section and get you out.

Luckily, you guys seemed perfectly contented floating in your amniotic fluid and growing and feeding on the inside. I showed no signs of early labor, no cervix dilation, no discharge or any reason to think that you would be making an early appearance. So, when we went to the 35 week appointment on Thursday the 19th of April, I expected to discuss scheduling a c-section rather quickly. Daddy and I were both shocked when the doctor said that the hospital didn't let them schedule a c-section until 38 weeks, so we scheduled it for MAY 8.  THREE WEEKS AWAY!!!! Daddy and I later discussed that actually, the doctor had never said that he would take you early, just that he thought you would come early. Still, it seemed to me, the incredibly pregnant with twins lady, that I had been running a marathon and a couple of hundred feet from the finish line, they moved the finish forward another mile. It wasn't that I couldn't do it, it was just that I had mentally prepared myself of April 21, not May 8th. So, I went home that afternoon somewhat stunned and even slightly demoralized. But, I quickly decided that there were hundreds of twin parents who would give their left arm to have been able to carry their twins to 36-38 weeks and I should be thankful that you were healthy and doing well. If I had to do this another three weeks, I just needed to pause and get used to the idea and then soldier on.

Friday after work, I went with cousin Ginny to the AMOM consignment sale. I bought you a package of hats and a bottle drying rack and some pink UT outfits that I thought Daddy would like. Cousin Ginny bought a yellow elephant rattle I thought was cute. While we were waiting to check out, I saw a pink one, so we bought matching toys. I did a lot of walking and everyone was amazed I was there as big and pregnant as I was. When I got home, Daddy and I went through the box of preemie clothes we borrowed from AMOM. We marveled at how small most of them were. Saturday, with no signs of labor, I bought a ticket to the UT baseball game Daddy was attending. People seemed amazed I wanted to go, but it seemed to me that getting dropped at the door and picked up there all rock star style made it no big deal. Plus, it was better to be in Austin with Daddy than stuck in Manor by myself if I did go into labor. A lady at the game saw me and said "I hope for your sake you have that baby soon." When I told her that today was my due date and I was carrying twins, she just shook her head.

The next day, Daddy got up really early and started painting the outside of the house. I decided to go to Georgetown and visit with Grammy and Pop. There I helped Grammy with her computer and I had lunch at a little Mexican restaurant. Grammy made me stand in front of the wall to take what ended up to be the last picture of me before going into labor.

 Late that afternoon I drove home. Daddy was tired from working outdoors and he suggested we lay down to take a nap around 5pm. Well, I laid down with him and he went to sleep immediately, snoring up a storm, but I couldn't fall asleep. I was just uncomfortable, so I got up and did a load of laundry and puttered around the house. I soon began to realize that my belly was getting very taut and uncomfortable and I wondered if I was having contractions. I immediately went in to the bedroom to tell Daddy. But, he was so tired from painting and working, he was in a coma. I shook him and said I was pretty sure I was having contractions. I expected him to start and get all freaked out. Instead, he rolled over and said "brain fog." I was surprised and tried again to wake him with no avail. So, I called Aunt Jody and Uncle Mikey on Skype. I was having pretty rhythmic discomfort and tightness. I wasn't sure if these were Braxton-Hicks or the real thing, but I told them and we all wondered if this could be the start of labor.

I downloaded a contraction timing app for my phone and timed them for about 20 minutes. I was just too keyed up to sit and time them for too long. I called Grammy. She didn't think this was actually labor. I was talking to her on the phone and she didn't think I would be able to talk through them if it was truly labor.I tried to wake Daddy again and decided it was so good that he could sleep. If it wasn't labor, then I wasn't wasting his time on a false alarm. If it was, he was going to need this rest because he wouldn't be getting any more for a while. So, I cleaned a little around the house and then settled on the couch to try to rest. I fell asleep for no more than 30 minutes and woke up uncomfortable and feeling a little heavy, the way I do when my blood pressure is high. So, I got up around 2:30 and took my blood pressure. It was 158/100. I began to worry that I was developing pre-eclampsia and was going to have an early c-section after all. I alternated between puttering around the house, finishing laundry, checking the hospital bags, laying down and resting. Around 5 am I got up to have a snack and heard Daddy get up to go the bathroom. When he came out into the kitchen, I was leaning back on the counter and I said "I think I am having contractions." His eyes got as big as saucers. Now this was the reaction I had been expecting. He came over and felt my belly and how rigid and hard it was. I told him about my blood pressure and he began telling me I should call the doctor. It was about 30 minutes before he convinced me to actually call the after hours number.

Minutes later, a very tired sounding doctor, called me back. She listened as I told her I thought I was having contractions and my blood pressure was up. She told me to go into the hospital to be monitored. When I told Daddy this, he sprung out of bed and started showering. He kept saying how glad he was this happened while he was at home and not while he was at work. And he felt just horrible that he had slept through me needing him. I told him I was glad he had gotten some sleep if this was the real thing. I called Grammy and she answered the phone immediately. I told her I was going in to be monitored and she said she would meet us there.

I got kind of nervous and worried I was going to forget something. I checked and re-checked the bags, packing the last minute items. I gatehered a bag of snack foods for Daddy and took a quick shower. The whole time, I worried that I was crying wolf and we would get sent home. I worried they would say, "oh, you silly girl, can't you recognize Braxton-Hicks?" I didn't want to get my hopes up about this being it if it really was going to be weeks more. It wasn't until about 6:20 that we got loaded into the car and took off for the hospital. I called Uncle Craig on the way there, hoping not to be waking him. He answered and said he was laying in bed after his alarm went off dreading getting up. I told him it might be a false alarm, but he sounded excited and said to let him know if it turned out to be more. I called work and told them that no matter what, I wasn't going to be logging in from home today and promising to keep them updated. I ate a granola bar and crackers in the car on the way. Daddy told me this was a bad idea and he was going to tattle on me if they asked. I made him promise not to offer up this information unless they asked and he agreed.  I was just starving and I knew false alarm or no, they weren't going to let me eat there. I couldn't imagine starving all day and THEN getting sent home.

We got to the hospital right around 7am. The shift had just changed and they were all ready for us. They took us to a triage room and a very nice nurse who seemed very bright and cheery for a Monday morning greeted us. She had a UT nursing student with her who was learning about OB. I got into the spiffy hospital gown and gave a urine sample and they hooked me up to a monitor and blood pressure cuff. Laying down, my bp was SLIGHTLY lower, but not much. And they were definitely seeing contractions. Once I realized that I was right and I wasn't imagining my symptoms, I felt so much better and relaxed.

Grammy got there about 30 minutes after we did and came to the triage room. As I lay in the bed, they started watching the monitor with the nurses and they would ask if the contracitons hurt or if I felt them. I was surprised that I didn't feel most of them. And the ones I did feel were the ones that went much higher on the monitor.  That made me feel like I wasn't being a big weanie.

The nurse spent a good long time trying to get your heart monitors set. She had a hard time finding you. Of course, you weren't where "normal" babies would be, so she had to search around a while to get the monitor on your hearts. Then, once she got Pippa's heart rate monitored, she had a hard time finding Kate's without picking up Pippa's again. She would get it all set and try to belt the monitor on and you would move and we would have to start over. She said at one point "I am really glad you are having a c-section. I can't imagine what a nightmare it would be to try to keep these babies monitored during a vaginal birth." Well, you weren't exactly cooperating, so what was new? The place she seemed to get Kate's the best was right up under that sore right rib. She worried that putting the monitor there was hurting me. It was uncomfortable, but it was bearable and I wanted to see your hearts and be reassured you were both ok.

Grandpa and JeJe arrived pretty quickly afterward and we all sat in the room and watched the monitor waiting to get enough data to let Dr. Phillips make the call. Grandpa and Daddy really geeked out on watching the monitor and seeing your heart rates track almost exactly the same most of the time. One would go up and the other would stay within about 5 beats per minute the same. They wanted to know what all the values were and they scrutinized the telemetry print out for what the biggest variance was. Several times one of you fell off the monitor and the nurse would come in and have to find you again. Dr. Phillips came in and said that my bp was pretty high and the contractions did look like labor and "those are two compelling reasons to have babies today."

The nurse came in to put in my IV. That was not fun. She had to try twice, but got it the second time. They started a bag of saline to hydrate me before the surgery. They told me that because I had eaten that morning, they needed to wait a while to do my anesthesia. I thought this meant afternoon time, but the nurse came back in and said noon.Whoo, everything was happening fast, but I was pretty calm. I had done the best I could for you and now it was time to let the doctors and nurses do their thing. It occurred to me later that we probably would have waited until lunch time anyway, as that was when Dr. Phillips had some free time and no patients to see downstairs. They came in and took the monitors off and I just laid in the bed and rested. I sent out the text message to all the people who wanted to know when we went into labor. I called Auntie Katie and Auntie Michelle and my boss at work and let them know that you were making your debut today. Daddy and I talked about April 23rd being the day! I laid in the bed under Grandy's patchwork quilt and posted a pic of me waiting for surgery on facebook. They also came in and took my fingerprints to put on your birth certificate. And I don't know how 4 hours disappeared so quickly, but it went by in a flash. They brought Daddy a paper jumpsuit, mask and hat and took him to get ready. Grammy stayed in the room with me. The anesthesiologist came in and asked a bunch of questions and talked me through EXACTLY what was going to happen. It was nice to know what would happen.  She seemed concerned that I was nervous and scared, but I told her that Pops is an anesthesiologist and I knew what was involved and was prepared for it. She had me sign some paperwork and they came in minutes later to start prepping me. And then, they came in and said, "Let's have some babies"! Daddy and I took a last labor picture and then we walked to the surgery area. Today was indeed the day!
I am about to take a shot of the most bitter medication you will ever taste in your life. It's something Pops gives all his patients and it is supposed to keep you from throwing up during surgery......well, it didn't work for me.

Minutes before you were delivered! Doesn't Daddy look funny?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Twin Effect

There are three main reactions you get when you tell someone you are having twins. Some people get REALLY excited. They gush and say congratulations over and over and ask if there are twins in your family and talk about what a blessing twins are. Then there are the folks that seem horrified. They gasp in shock and stare at you as if wondering why you aren’t freaking out more. They say things like “What are you going to do?”, ”Better you than me” or even ”Good luck with that.”

Then there are the folks that seem much more interested in how you came to be than in the fact you are coming. Fertility drugs have certainly increased the number of twins that are around. But, most IVF twins are fraternal twins. Fraternal twins occur in nature when the woman ovulates more than one egg at a time and both eggs are fertilized at the same time. Fraternal twins are just as likely to look alike as any two siblings are, they are just carried at the same time. IVF involves implanting already fertilized eggs into the uterus. Because it is expensive and doesn’t have a horribly high rate of success, frequently more than one fertilized egg will be implanted at once. Many times only one egg makes it into a viable pregnancy, but other times, two or more eggs survive and twins, or even higher order multiples occur. Identical twins occur when one egg is fertilized, and then at some point after fertilization, the zygote splits into two embryos. Identical twins occur in about 2-3% of pregnancies and account for about 30% of all twins. Although identical twins can happen with IVF, it is about the same rate as occurs in non-fertility assisted pregnancies. Identical twins don’t run in families. No one knows what causes the egg to split, it is just the luck of the draw. But, the average person doesn’t know this and so I patiently explain that while there are two sets of fraternal twins in my dad’s cousins, there aren’t any identical twins that we know of in my family. But, identicals don’t run in families and this was just a fluke. However, this usually doesn’t answer the question these people are trying to ask. Usually what they want to know is if I was taking fertility drugs or if we did IVF. So, they then ask something they perceive as a tactful way of getting at this information, but that kind of make me cringe.

“So, were you trying to get pregnant.” I feel like asking “Well, what do you mean by trying? Like did we MEAN to have sex? Are you really asking me about my sex life?” But, I know that they aren’t trying to be rude, they are just curious. A twin pregnancy is still rare enough that people are somewhat fascinated. I will usually say that we did not use fertility drugs. Most people seem surprised by this and I guess given how many fertility multiples there are, people are much more likely to know someone who had twins via IVF or Clomid than not. I try not to get offended, but after the 1000th time you answer that question, you start to get kind of irritated. I hear from other Mothers of Multiples that I will get even more tired of people asking if you are identical when you are here. I can see how that would be.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Programming...

Ok girls, up until now, I have been writing about stuff in a linear sequence, but I have to break in today. Today I am 31 weeks and 4 days pregnant. And I look and feel every single day of it. Please don’t misunderstand me. I feel blessed that you are both growing, and are healthy. I thank my lucky stars that I haven’t had a lot of problems carrying you and I hope sincerely that I can carry you all the way to “twin full-term”, but I just have to say, that I am getting really tired of being pregnant. Not the carrying you part of pregnancy, just the condition in and of itself.

There are women who say that they never have felt better than when they are pregnant. That they are born to do this. They glow and say how wonderful they have felt through their pregnancy and they frankly, make me want to vomit a little bit. Or slap them.  Or just call shenanigans.  I think it must be some type of lie they perpetuate to make sure we suckers will join them in Mommy-hood.

My good friend Michelle describes pregnancy this way: “For 30 years, your body has been all about you. Keeping you alive and doing what is best for you. Then when you get pregnant it is like your body turns on you. All of the sudden, things that have worked one way forever, all of the sudden are different. You are no longer priority number one. If the baby needs hormones, it is really irrelevant that those hormones are poisoning you. The baby gets the hormones and you feel sick.” That Michelle is one smart cookie. And what can you expect? She is a rocket scientist after all.

Now, I heard her say these things, but until you live them, you just can’t understand how TRUE they are. Feeling bloated, crampy, nauseous and bone tried during the first (and for me second trimester) was not fun. But, it was disconcerting too. All my life, when I felt nauseous, the remedy was usually to throw up. If it was something that I ate that made me sick, getting rid of it usually at least helped if not alleviated the issue. But in pregnancy, this is no longer true. I felt nauseous, I vomited, I continued to feel awful, I vomited some more. I still felt nauseous. But even more appalling, quickly afterward, I frequently got hungry. It was like my body was saying “Nope, that didn’t satisfy my whim today, try again.” And each day, it was a different thing it didn’t like. Today Saltines are ok, tomorrow saltines make you sick, but applesauce works. Next week neither of those work. Things you have always loved like peanut butter now couldn’t turn you off more if it was spread of horse manure. Everything just changes.

Feeling hungry while being nauseous is a horrible feeling. You know you need to eat. I mean, after all, there are two little growing beings in there that need food. But, you have NO idea what might go down and stay down, or if that is even possible. You contemplate what might be easy on your stomach. You contemplate what might be the least objectionable food currently at your disposal to throw up. You try to gauge whether you can ignore the hunger and just not eat anything else and go to sleep. I call this “the Scarlett O’Hara I will think about it tomorrow” plan. You learn that this tactic frequently leads to waking up dry heaving…and usually before you have even gotten to tomorrow yet. You learn to choke down crackers while feeling like any minute you could be seeing them again. And this is very bizarre because never in your life before have you tried to eat while feeling this sick and the whole time your brain is screaming “What are you doing?!?” All the old strategies for feeling sick no longer apply and you have no idea what to expect. Sometimes you think you just feel a little bit nauseous and then all of the sudden, it is on you and you have to run to find a bathroom (at these times, the little blue emesis bags were god-sends). Other times, you would think vomiting was imminent and you would wait all night and never throw up, just be convinced you were going to. And then one day, boom. You are just ravenously hungry. No nausea. No explanation. Just today, it’s over.

And then, there was a time there when I was big, but not too big. When I was tired, but not exhausted. A time when I couldn’t run a marathon (well, ok, maybe I could never run a marathon, but you get my drift), but I could still grocery shop, or clean house or help with household painting and floor installation without feeling like I might die. That time seems to have been quite brief. It wasn’t long before I felt like I got huge. Now, other people still say I don’t look big enough to have twins in there. I don’t know what to tell them. Right now you are both approximately 3.5lbs. There is 7 lbs of baby and a bunch of amniotic fluid in there. The doctor measured me at 37 cm. That is what the average singleton pregnancy would measure at about full-term. I have no idea where it seems to be hiding, but it is there. And I feel every ounce of it when I walk around, try to roll over in bed, or lift my arms above my head. I can climb one flight of stairs. At the top I will be quite out of breath and feel slightly dizzy and faint. I wasn’t in the best of shape before you, but I could climb one flight of stairs and hardly breathe any differently at the top. Give me 3 or 4 flights and I might breathe a little faster, but I would think nothing of it. I am pretty much good for nothing right now. Even sitting or lying in one spot for too long hurts.

And I am not complaining here, but Pippa, your stubborn refusal to get down out of my lungs seems to have caused one of my floater ribs to either stretch and separate, or actually cracked it. And it HURTS. If I sit up straight and hold still, it’s fine. It hurts to lay down, but not horribly. But holy cow, twisting or maneuvering to get up out of bed (something I do at least 4-5 times a night now) really stings. And coughing and sneezing pretty much suck donkey balls (as Daddy would say). Now you girls have switched places. In a strange move, you both are diagonally transverse (not up and down, but not really all sideways either) with now Kate’s head lodged up under that rib. And Pippa seems to think it is a blast to either kick or punch me in the cervix. I got news for you kid, banging on the door is not the way you are going to get out. You are going to have to get down there and head butt it. You have to wait a couple of weeks to do that, but you could get down there and get all ready and in position anytime now and that would be just fine with Mom. After all, if I can breathe more easily, you will too. Just sayin’.

It occurs to me that pregnancy is designed so that toward the end, you are so uncomfortable, the idea of labor doesn't seem so bad if you are done with pregnancy in the end.  Of course, for me, the idea of two babies to take care of is still pretty scary, but it's seeming more appealing every day.

Ok, so I know you need 4 more weeks of cooking, at least, before you are ready to make your debut. And in truth, if I had to do this for several more months, I would do it. But, boy am I glad it’s getting toward the end. Aside from being so curious to meet you I could just burst (this might be less if you were more willing to pose for the ultrasound, Pippa, I am talking directly to you my girl), I am anxious to give you every chance at health and a good start in life. So, stay in there and cook a while longer, but do me a favor and cook while floating head down the way you are supposed to. Daddy says that he thinks the way you guys are laying would be the most comfortable way to be, like in a lazy boy. You must agree. Whatever, just stay in there for a while, ok?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

All is Revealed

We were both relieved the 12 week ultrasound date had finally arrived. Glenn had spent his sleepless nights researching the 12 week nuchal translucency test and knew precisely what was going to happen. I had researched it, but not nearly as in-depth as he had. The ultrasound appointment was first. I wasn’t feeling great, but I was very ready to see you guys and make sure all was well. I knew I had probably lost weight rather than gained and I worried about your development. Plus, I had read about vanishing twin syndrome and I wasn’t sure what was worse, one baby that had it’s twin disappear, or two babies stuck in the same sack. We went into the ultrasound room and I lay down on the table. The tech pulled out the wand and squirted jelly on my tummy (which was nice and warm) and got the machine all ready. She put the wand on my belly and then she pulled the wand away and said something like “are we looking for more than one baby?” Glenn said “There’s two?” I swatted at Glenn and said “Yes, it is twins.”, so relieved that there were still two babies. She looked back at our chart and got very flustered. I imagine she has probably accidentally told a couple or two that they were having twins and obviously, she didn’t want to be the one to break that news. But, she was also upset as the appointment had not been made for twins, so we hadn’t scheduled enough time to scan both babies adequately. She went into a set-up screen and changed the number of fetus option from 1 to 2 and we were off!

They refer to the baby closest to the cervix (or presenting baby), as Baby A. We looked at Baby A first, checking the fluid on the back of the neck (the nuchal translucency) and it was well within the range so as not to indicate Down’s syndrome. We heard your little heart beating, saw you batting your arms and kicking your legs. Saw the fingers on one hand. The little zipper-like spine was easy to spot and at one point, you flipped all the way over. I thought the technician had flipped the picture somehow, but she said “No, that baby just turned over.” Glenn and I held hands, and he kept asking if I could feel you moving. I couldn’t. It amazed me how much you were moving and I felt nothing. In the background behind you, we caught glimpses of Baby B. Then, we switched over to Baby B and did all the measurements and checks again. Again, good heart rate, and the nuchal translucency was good. We were relieved to find out you were both healthy, but we really wanted to know about the membrane. Had she seen it? We couldn’t see it at all, but Glenn asked just as we were wrapping up and the tech said that yes, she had seen a hair like membrane between you. We walked out of that room on cloud 9.

Now you look much more like a real baby.  Although I can't remember which one this was.  What a bad mommy I am.

Glenn was very animated and excited as we moved to the doctor’s office and awaited a visit from the doctor. I was very happy, but I was also feeling very crummy. When the doctor walked in to me sitting over the trash can, he said, “Well, this won’t do.” Thankfully he prescribed me two drugs to help manage the nausea. He confirmed that everything had looked good at the ultrasound and that we were in fact having mono-chorionic/di-amniotic twins! Praise the Lord!

Glenn and I headed to Chick-Fil-A again after the appointment, but I couldn’t eat much of it. I was anxious to go fill my prescription and try these anti-nausea drugs. And we were both anxious to tell people. We had been keeping this secret (although I think most of my co-workers had figured out that me looking like death and puking in the bathroom meant I was pregnant) and it was so fun to be able to tell people.