Friday, May 27, 2005

Boy Oh Boy, Oh Boy!!

There are times in your life when you swear that time will never pass, like when your OB gives you an important date for a test and of course a chance to see your precious baby(ies) again.
When our OB told us when we would have our first big scan at something over 12 weeks, it was 4 whole weeks away!
Dutifully I made a new ticker for my siggy and waited... then I waited some more... and then I went out and bought a fetal Doppler to listen in on the babies' hearts. No way I was going to go by faith for 4 whole weeks after all. Hey! It was either that or showing up at the OB's every second day just to make sure babies are fine!!

But wouldn't you know it? Time does go by and the day of our NT scan dawned all gloomy and rainy and I so thanked myself for ordering a cab the previous day because my SPD flared up and I couldn't walk.
You couldn't even talk to George the whole morning before the scan; the guy was gloomier than the weather! When I did manage to get a few words out of him all he said was he was worried this time we would find 3 babies in there!!

The traffic was not as bad as we thought and we were in the office for our appointment on time!
I filled in the necessary paperwork, where I accidentally wrote down as George's profession "housewife"!! Did you think they would notice?? I hastily smudged it up and wrote "Naval Officer" instead... No, I wasn't nervous at all.
Our name is called and we get up and into a nice office with lots of Ultrasound machines. I lay on the bed, shoes and all (!!) and exposed my belly. Oh yay! Our first belly scan! No dildo camera anymore! The babies are now big enough to be seen through my belly!

Up until that moment all I cared about was seeing my babies again. The thought of anything being wrong, had not entered my mind and if it had, I had hastily brushed it away. Nobody in our family ever had Down's Syndrome or Trisomy 13 or 18 and I was so below the "older mother" limit, I really did not think the test would be passed by both kidlets with anything but flying colors.
But as I lay there a new term entered my mind; "scrambled genes" or "oops, the blueprint for building this baby is upside down!! We were reading it wrong and now its all messed up! The hands go at the end of the arms, not the legs you silly cells!!"
Some times trisomies can happen for no apparent reasons. George's genes and mine were combined for the very first time; would they fit together? And would the combination wield a healthy baby? In other words, are we even genetically compatible? At least enough to create a complete, healthy, everything-in-the-right-place new life?

We were about to find out as the gel was squirted onto my bare belly. They keep saying its cold and inhumane, but I didn't even feel the thing. My eyes were glued to the screen and as the probe touched my belly, there was my first baby dancing around!!! They say a fetus' movements are spastic and without purpose but my baby danced the most beautiful, fluid dance in the history of the world. It no longer looked like a blob or a lima bean. There was no mistaking that the black and white little creature there, was indeed a miniature human, with a nose, ears, fingers, toes and a little wildly beating heart.

Allowing myself to have a few silly, innocent, I-haven't-really-gone-through-Hell-to-get-pregnant, thoughts, I recently thought if my babies would be ugly and if I would love them the same if they were as I was looking at a particularly unattractive in my eyes, little toddler in the super market.
But right at that moment I was totally, helplessly, forever and ever, blindly in love with something that did not even have thick skin yet (nor hair or lashes) and that looked more like a miniature skeleton than a baby. At that moment I didn't even care whether it would ever grow hair or if it would have big eyes or small eyes or short lashes or look less cherubical than an angel.
It was MY baby and I loved it with all the strength of my little heart and it barely looked human let alone beautiful.
And at that point, it turned and waved at me with all tiny (skeletal) five fingers. S/he knows me and its only 12 weeks old!!!

I turned to look at George who had leaned as forward as he could, mouth almost agape, looking at the screen with the same intensity I was, trying to memorize every little tiny detail, but thank God for videotapes because if I hadn't watched the video 25 times since yesterday, I wouldn't be writing this right now in vivid detail!

Then the doctor did something that pissed me off and I barely contained myself from jumping up and ripping his arm off. He prodded my baby!!! He dared to prod MY baby so it would turn for him. The little one kicked back fiercely and so hard it hurt me as my skin was caught between a probe and a tiny foot.
The thought of killing the doctor only lasted a few seconds because I realized he is not really hurting my baby and all he wants to do is to make him turn. I probably jar the babies more myself every day just going about my normal business.
I tried to calm down thinking of the "egg in a balloon filled with water" parallel my OB used to let me see how well protected my babies are while inside of me... yet no one ever told me how well equipped they are this early on, to handle the raging hormones of a protective mother, so I really tried to relax and allow the man to work. I am sure the kids will someday return to the office and give him a good kick in the head as pay-back ;)

Once our little skeleton man had turned the doctor measured this little gap between his skull and outer skin. Now, the number has to be under 3mm. Children with trisomies usually have an unusually thick gap (nuchal translucency) but since this isn't a diagnostic test but a screening test (meaning it will only give you with a % of probability for a potential problem), if you do get a thicker NT measurement, you usually have more testing done.
For our baby B, as charmingly s/he was named by the medical profession, the measurement was 2mm. When this data along with how tall s/he is from tail bone to top of bony head (in our case 5.6cm - a little over 2") is entered into a mathematical equation with my age and the fact that yes our baby does have a nasal bone visible, you get a probability that this child might have a trisomy. For our first baby that chance was 1:4853 for Down's and 1:7602 for other trisomies.
By age (27) alone the risk was 1:810 for T21 and 1:1459 for T13,18. So that was a marked improvement.

We momentarily leave baby B alone and move on to Baby A who is sleeping at the moment, even though its sibling has been busy kicking all the way to Virginia.
This little one yawned and dutifully turned sides so the doctor got a good look at it. This baby's NT was 1.8mm and s/he was 6.09 cm long. This was the baby we kept seeing for the first 8 weeks and it is by 3 days older than the sibling, so its natural its bigger.
For this little one (who really just wanted to get back to sleep!) the probabilities were 1:7689 for Down's and 1:10210 for T13,18.

And then we got our big news "Looks like you have two boys in there".
My jaw almost dropped at the news. For a teeny, tiny, please forgive me God, second, I thought of all the pink, frilly and wonderful clothes I had at home just waiting for our little girl.
In my wildest dreams I hadn't thought of having two boys! I thought, two girls, a girl and a boy as possible scenarios but never two boys and for that split second I mourned my girlie dream.
But it was only for a split second, because in truth I didn't care about the gender and I told the doctor that all I care about is that they are big and healthy and they come home with me after the birth.

We left the office holding (ok! cuddling) a pack of U/S photographs, a note saying our babies are healthy and a videotape of the event.
We smiled like a pair of Chester Cats, talking about our little boys, whose names are already picked out by family tradition... John and Cody!!
George seemed a little concerned and promptly painted me a picture of endless games of mock war, football, cowboy outfits and a house full of testosterone as we sat down for a cappuccino. He seemed somehow apprehensive we are (probably, don't paint anything blue just yet!!) having two little boys, but all I could think of were my two little guys and as I lay in bed later that day I realized that I couldn't care less if I didn't have a girl in there and I felt silly for momentarily mourning my pink dreams. In all my thoughts all I could see were my little boys... Though I did remind myself that we would know for sure sometime in August and that at this early stage there is indeed margin for error.
But for now, I am enjoying my two little boys and I can't wait for me to hit 27 weeks so I can go blue-things shopping :)

World beware! The twins are coming full force!!

Friday, May 20, 2005

Do we have too much freedom on our hands?

I recently read a post that got me wondering... Well actually it was more than one post, all were different in context with different worries and woes from pregnant women, but they all had something in common: Personal choices and "freedom".

I put the word freedom in quotation marks because I simply, personally, not judging anyone, do not believe in this kind of freedom.
Having battled (and seems, temporarily won over) infertility, my outlook on many things, changed. First of all I do not take this getting pregnant - 9 months later you have a pink healthy baby stuff, for granted any more... and I will certainly never say again how I would pick my getting pregnant month just to avoid having a Gemini baby!!
After 2 years of Infertility Hell, if someone told me I needed to stand on my head for 20 hours a day in order to have a healthy baby, I would. From the moment these two little ones embedded themselves inside of me, nothing, nothing is more important to me than their well-being.
I would tear through stone walls with my bare hands to get to them and ease their discomfort if they cried and I would most certainly slap (at the very least) anyone who dared hurt them (teacher, other kids etc). In other words, I feel like a mother!

Now, that does not mean that because I went through some rough times in order to get pregnant, I am more deserving or more entitled or that I will simply love my little ones more than the woman who got pregnant in her first try... BUT, I might appreciate a few things a little more, just because I worked a little harder in achieving them. If you think about it, that pertains to everything in life... the left over meat loaf you threw out yesterday without a second thought, would mean the world to someone else, somewhere else in the world. You know what I mean?

So when I hear things like: "I won't vaccinate my children" or "I won't have this prenatal test because its such a bother to me" and doctors just nod and tighten their lips because its your choice and this is a free country, honestly I get infuriated.
You see, I believe that from the moment you decide to have children, its not about you anymore. You are becoming responsible, re spo nsi ble, for someone else. You become their voice, their advocate, the voice of wisdom... they expect you to protect them!

I get really, really pissed when someone subjects me to secondary smoking. I get all rowdy thinking why should your unhealthy habit, impact me??? How dare you!? and I want to slap them all the way to Virginia!!
Well, don't you think your baby might think the same thing??? She is totally dependent on you. How dare you endanger her future? Who the heck do you think you are. She might think and with good reason...
We keep fighting science and progress so much... but we keep forgetting that just a generation ago, women lost their babies all the time when really, they shouldn't have to.

We forget that infant mortality rate has dropped not because we somehow evolved but because of the advances of medicine. We take good health and good outcomes so for granted and we are caught unprepared and wonder why with wide eyed child amazement when something bad happens and it makes me so mad sometimes.
Like my friend who told me "I haven't had any testing, haven't read anything about pregnancy or delivery. I have a doctor who I pay to know everything for me"... her baby died shortly after delivery from a totally preventable problem if only she had gotten tested.
When she got pregnant with her second baby, she virtually sat through every test available to man!

Or like my other friend who lied about her gestation age to avoid testing because she had been infected early in pregnancy with a very serious virus that can give her anything from a miscarriage to a developmentally retarded and malformed baby.
She was so afraid they were going to take her baby that she managed to avoid every single test that would affirm or discard any problems with the baby. I pray to God she has the healthiest baby in the history of man!!

Of course all these are my personal opinions. I am not better or worse than my friends. They both did what they thought was best for their situation and their babies... and of course having all the tests in the world does not mean you will have a better outcome. In the end what is to be will be... with a few exceptions: Things like Gestational Diabetes testing is a pain in the butt, but its totally treatable and might save your baby's life! Its the #2 reason for infant mortality! Did you know that?
Knowing if your baby has a diaphragmatic hernia can also save her life and its only an ultrasound away...

In the end what this is all about, is having a healthy baby. If you have your dream birth or your dream pregnancy is irrelevant and you will feel the same if God Forbid, I never wish it on you ever find yourself in my friend's unfortunate position.
Don't take anything for granted... do the best you can. Medical science is not the boogie man. They don't want to torture you, they don't want to turn you into a lab animal... they want to help you get your ultimate dream. A healthy baby to bring home and love!! Does it really matter what you will go through to get that? One smile from your little one and you will surely answer "no, I would go through Hell, over and over again just to see that smile".

If we are to exercise our freedom of choice, lets not do it on the expense of someone else... before we chose not to subject ourselves in some temporaty tortute like a GD test, please, let us think for a moment whose future is really at risk here... Pregnancy is less about us and more about bringing that baby, healthy and well, home... isn't it?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

You will be happy to know...

That my ovaries have now been reduced from large sized oranges to whatever fruit or veggie size they were pre-pregnancy. All fuid has drained from them and the excess fluid is gone from my body (all this was the result of the-not-so-friendly-hormones I was injected with in order to achieve this pregnancy). I am no longer in any danger of suddenly dropping dead with a gargling sound because some of the fluid reached a lung or my heart.

You will also be happy to know that I am not suffering from constipation! And if you do envy me and wish it on me, I swear I WILL hunt you down and give it to you. It IS contagious you know... Highly contagious!! So beware!!
Nausea is also contagious... come to think I am pretty sure the whole pregnancy thing is contagious so keep away you nasty ill-wishers or I will unlease my deadly hormones upon thee... ;0)

I am rather tempted to write "Pregnant woman's comfort food - Do not eat" on the wrappers of various edibles I have stashed away (hoping for a day when I can think about them without gagging or better yet actually EAT them!) just to warn a hungry hubby or guest and to save them the inevitable run to the grocery store at 4am...
Hey I am being thoughtful here ;o)

Motherly worries...

It's official! There really is no rest in PreggoLand or no peace of mind... (though you too will get to hear often enough from your mothers "just relax and all will be well" - hey this generation won't go for that. We want to know everything!!)

So... well you read about my miscarriage anxieties earlier on in my pregnancy so you will be happy to know that these are slowly going away... only to be replaced by others.
Almost through my 1st trimester with no major episodes (except the constant nausea and the SPD and a couple of episodes of spotting), I bought myself a Fetal Doppler and listened in on the babies' last night. I would have held perfectly still and happily held my breath for the rest of my pregnancy, just listening to their "poketa poketa poketa poketa" hearts beating away, if the little buggers weren't so eager to get away from the probe and the sound waves it emits.
So after about 10 seconds of listening to a heart, I would get the wind-like sound of the placenta instead, as the fig sized baby under my skin, squirmed away, trying to hide (in sheer terror, I am sure, and shaking his little fist angrily at the intruder) behind some large vein of mine, in hopes of disguising his own tiny heart sound... Amazingly enough, the little plot worked!!

As I turned off the Doppler, cleaned myself up with a tissue, and just before I snuggled under the covers a thought hit me. It hit me so hard that my heart missed a beat of two... The thought was "Is my Doppler FDA approved?"
I mean think about it... Ultrasound waves are used to smash up small rocks inside your kidney or your bile duct. What if while trying to listen in on my little ones I was accidentally sending lethal sound waves, smashing around their environment or worse... smashing up them!?
I went rigid at 2am not being able to shake the thought from my head as this irrational panic seized me. I jumped out of bed (well, as much as a pregnant 180lbs woman suffering from SPD can "jump") and spend about 2 hours searching the Internet for "FDA ultrasound waves safety standards".
You will be happy to know that at 2.5MhZ and <5mw/cm2, my Doppler is certainly way below safety limits so my babies are fine... even if shaking with terror right now at the thought of mommy trying to find them again with the probe. Well kids, START KICKING!! I promise not to use the Doppler anymore if you start kicking!! Really!!

So now you get a taste of what other anxieties (past 1st tri. miscarriage) a pregnant woman can have. Per example: we have mosquitoes! If you too live in a humid yet hot state/country you have them too. Only problem is I cannot tolerate them! I hate, hate, hate them! After a night which I spent chasing a really annoying one around the room, I bought myself what I buy every year. A liquid, plug-it-in mosquito repellant. But the difference between this year and last year is.... you guessed it! I am now responsible for two more (currenly fig sized) people.
See scene described above, of a frantic Tina searching at 3am on the Net to find info on safety of mosquito repellants. I ended up calling my midwife. They are safe she said and I breathed a sigh of relief (that certainly you gals in Virginia must have heard).

So now that evidently my babies are doing good, my 1st trimester is almost over and I feel less and less scared of miscarrying, I needed something else to worry about, because don't forget, I AM a worry wart!
New (scarry) terms came to play: Gestational diabetes (50% or more of women carrying multiples get it!), Pregnancy Induced Hypertension (see previous), Pre-Eclampsia, Premature Labor... need I go on? Who knew that carrying "just two" as my mother says, can be SO dangerous!! I dare not imagine what happens to you if you are carrying three or more!!
How do I escape all those pit-falls?! Can I escape them anyway??
"Eat well, follow these instructions" says Dr. Luke, brilliant in the area of nutrition for moms to be of multiples. But I CAN'T follow your instructions Dr. Luke!!
I can't stomach my 10 ozs. of meat a day! I have NO apetite!! I gag constantly! Nothing even TASTES good or smells good anymore. I can't even finish a meal (unless its junk food or just fruit!). Then you have an added factor: Maternal guilt. OMG I am killing my babies!! I am surely depriving them of a good future! God what will I do!?

I can't even take my prenatals without gagging 10 times at the mere smell, how will I swallow the 9 pills of Calcium, Zinc and Magnesium Dr. Luke suggests... and how will I avoid her doomsday attitude "You don't eat, you don't get to go home with your babies in one piece".
Good grief!! Who would have thought that someone EVER was going to tell me "EAT!" instead of "put that fork down!!". This would have been Paradise a few weeks ago. Not worrying about weight for 9 months! Eating whatever I craved and having an excellent excuse!
So sad that I crave nothing... and when I do its a) either impossible to get (like a really sweet, ripe watermelon in May!) or b) I can only enjoy a few mouthfulls because I either get indigestion, heartburn or nauseated!

But hey! You know what? I am not complaining!! But I DO pray that no matter what food follie I end up doing (eating or not), my babies will somehow still be big and healthy at birth. I also pray that what they say about nausea is true and that it WILL go away by my 2nd trimester (one short/long week away) so I can FINALLY gobble down my 10 ounces of meat a day and my bushel of green leafed veggies without feeling like my meal will end up... well, all over the place!

And you know what the best part is? The worries won't end once you become a parent. The will haunt you for the rest of your life (different ones according to child's age, just for variety)... I know my mom still worries I will somehow get killed in a motorbike accident!
Oh well... I guess what they say IS true "Becoming a parent is deciding to walk around with your heart outside your body for the rest of your life"... :)
And frankly? I CAN'T WAIT!!!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

They warned me I would be missing my high school years..

When I was younger… much younger (more than a decade ago that is), I was told many many times by my teachers that I would be missing my high school years (thus I had to enjoy them now, while they lasted).
I’m pretty sure that included homework and though I was a pretty decent student (mostly A’s – except math, I went through my entire high school life hating math), I really didn’t think I would miss being in high school… I went through College thinking how wrong my teachers were. I sure did not miss high school…
I could have probably gone through my entire life thinking how wrong they were and how I was not missing being in high school except… it finally hit me.
I do miss being in high school… I don’t miss the actual school, but the time period I spent being a high school student, and that’s probably what they meant anyway.

So today I realized that I miss waking up in the morning, my only care in the world being homework and what to wear in gym class. I miss coming home to an already made hot meal, clean and ironed clothes in my closet that I did not put there, nothing more worrying than researching an essay or preparing for a test…
This all happened to me during my high school years… so in a sense, yes I am missing high school… I am missing myself at that age and the wonderful freedom I had, though as a typical teenager, I thought I didn’t have quite enough of it (freedom). As I will tell my children one day, with freedom comes responsibility.
It’s a trade-off really. You trade one thing for a piece of freedom. i.e. You can have a car and be allowed to sit your driver’s exam, but then you have to wake up an hour earlier each morning to drive your younger siblings to school…And it goes from there… You can stay up as late as you want at night, but you probably have to be making your own money by then, which means you will be working in the morning which means you are trading your sleep hours for staying up late…

I am entering this mother-hood thing with the “knowledge” it won’t be easy. Of course never having two newborns that I am totally responsible for, cry and claw for my attention at the same time, I do not exactly know how difficult it will be (and also how rewarding) but I will try to enter it with the high school attitude.
Yes it may be hard, but later in life something harder will happen (like, oh I don’t know, twins in puberty??) that will make me miss and appreciate a little too late, the earlier days, when they were small and defenseless and I could just please them with a clean diaper, a bottle and a squeaky toy… (instead of cell phones, brand name clothing and cars!!)

Or if they were fighting, just picking one under each arm and marching away… try doing that with a couple of 80 lbs teenagers!! I really need to write all this down so I will remember especially on bad days…
Instead of “Baby’s Room” on their door maybe I should put “It could have been worse” and you know what? It really could have… No matter how bad you think you have it…. There is someone else out there right now, who has it worse…

So my advise for the day? Before you go missing it… enjoy it now that you can. I truly believe happiness comes from looking back and having no regrets…

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Dear Lord...

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this pregnancy. Thank you for my husband. Thank you for giving us two babies...

Dear Lord,

Please allow me to carry these babies to term. Allow me to hold them and rock them to sleep, to watch them grow, to love them and be loved by them.
Help my worries fade away like I trust in you that everything will be alright.
Let my tears of worry be for nothing, let my babies thrive inside of me until its their time to come into this world. Protect them from harm and evil and grant them a good life.

Thank you Lord.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Notice: Lost! Sense of humor. Reward given, please call 555-HUMOR

Apparently I have lost my sense of humor... Have you seen it?

I realized my blog is filled with anger and frustration mostly.
Its my place to vent I guess... which means I have no sense of humor.
Can I borrow yours?

Or a list of nice, witty responses I would appreciate :)

And the twins are not even here yet!!!

Have you been pregnant? Or do you have kids??
Then I am sure you will nod your head along with me when you read further down...

The twins are not even here yet (in fact so far they have been an "abstract" thing and some black and white smudges in rice thin paper - nothing like the Lennart Nilson pictures) and I have been the (unfortunate) recipient of much unsolicited and most times, downright stupid advice.
According to a (brilliant) writer, mom of twins, whose book I am currently reading, what you most need is a good sense of humor...

OR (this is my recommendation)
A truckload of solid arguments based on medical information ;) (and yes I can hear you Mary..."typical Tina!")
Hey, where would I be without my statistics, huh?? Or my bookcase full of books (with the gory pictures you so hate, lol)

In a nutshell, WHY on earth do people assume that a) I know absolutely nothing about babies, b) they know everything, c) its the inherited birthright to pass on information in a tone that implies you are a moron and d) it all comes from parents of singletons!????

YES I DO KNOW how to change a diaper! Doing a quick calculation in my head, I started babysitting when I was 13, then I helped raise oh.... 20 kids to date, I work (or least worked before the accident) as a kindergarten teacher... well not kindergarten, my class was the 2 years old... so TRUST me on this. I can change a diaper.
I can/know how to make a bottle. I can feed a baby, burp it, bathe it, dress it, take in and out of the car seat, properly fasten the car seat to the car, go shopping with a baby, entertain a baby etc.

What I do not know (and neither do you, dear total strangers-I-had-never-seen-you-before-tonight advice givers) is how to juggle twins. How to organize twins (though I do have a pretty good idea and a list of things that I think might work) but trust me... My kids won't go hungry, be dirty, miserable etc, without your advice. So, as politely as I can muster, shove it sister!

Of course the ones that annoying the heck out of me are those patronizing, women whose only response to every sound argument or medical fact you present them with is: I have been there.
Uhm, excuse me... but no you haven't. To date I am the ONLY mother to be of twins I know in my social circle.
NO mother of twins will EVER give you all this crap I mentioned above.
I am SO grateful for people like Monika or Dian who are NOT patronizing or pretend to know what its like to have two newborns all at once (or two crawling/walking, in of course opposite directions, babies) and yes they are both mothers (of singletons).
Monika offers me kind advice by sharing her pregnancy with me, and from time to time tells me what its like in her house with a 4 year old and a 2 year old around... but she has never once told me things like "Poor you, you are having twins" or "how will you manage" etc.

Dian on the other hand has two grown kids (so she has survived two teenagers, lol). She too has never ever pretended to know what its like to raise twins. She will share stories of when the kids were young but she too is not going around pretending to be this all knowing person who won't even hear your arguments out because "she has been there and you haven't" (so what can you possibly know!?) because when the twins do come, I will be in a place that not one of the "well wishers" above (not Monika and Dian of course!) has ever (and will not) been...

I am so thankful for my Monika and Dian (and Sherry and many others)...

I am especially ticked at my MIL who has one response to pretty much anything you say.
Per example:
I am saying how it will be nice if my husband and I, don't forget we are man and wife (and no you dirty minds you, I don't mean sexually, geez!! :)) and once in a while go out.
My MIL will smile in a smile that surely comes from the experience of raising 3 kids (not at once!), and nod and say "Yeah right... wait until the baby gets here".
And thats her response to everything that is not baby related. The other day I was discussing how I was saving to buy a nice rocking chair for the nursery and again I got the same nod, same sentence. Oh, she also says quite often "that baby is going to teach you real good"
What is this? What am I? This totally clueless, moronic person that will be "taught a lesson" after the "punishing" baby arrives?!??!
What is parenthood? Capital punishment!?

Of course all this crap comes from parents of a) singletons and b) people that had no problem conceiving whatsoever.
I never, EVER heard a former IFer complain about parenthood. They sucked up every moment of it.. .and YES I DO know its NOT all smiles and roses and dressed, clean, make upped women and babies who swallow everything moutful of baby food and never make a sound, like the TV shows it. I do know I will probably think this IS indeed some form of capital punishment, especially when its 4am and I haven't eatten, slept or showered in 3 days and I have to get up for the 10th time since 10pm to change yet another diaper...

But I also realize that babies grow up... that they offer so much more and that the bad times will be there, but will be in the long run so much fewer than the good!

And why do those women ONLY talb about the "tortures" they have endured while pregnant or raising their kids? Don't they remember ANYTHING about the good times? You know, I have heard from anyone except my... (wait for it, this will be good.... waiiiiit) MOM (of all people, yes you are shocked I know!) about all the fun stuff kids do, first birthdays, clever things they say etc...

Didn't these women want to have kids? Do they feel cheated because no-one warned them about the "troubles" ahead, though I highly doubt this last part because based on the amount of advice I receive, surely they received something like this too...

OR, is this some form of a game? "Present motherhood like a horrible, horrible thing, so that person about to become a mother, receives a wonderful surprise when she realizes there ARE indeed so many good things about it!".
Don't you want to scream?

I need some witty answers and fast. And one last request ... if you are not the mother of twins, I don't want to hear how you know exactly what it will be like... because you DON'T!!!! (that does not include my friends btw... your advice is always welcome because I know you love me. I am mostly ranting about those total strangers who sat by me all night Friday at Peggy's party, bombarding me and scrutinizing how much lasagna I ate!)

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Things I can't wait for...

I can't wait:
  • for my belly to get really big
  • for my babies to start kicking
  • to start doing the nursery
  • to get my 3D Level II ultrasound
  • to meet my babies in person
  • to drive them home for the first time
  • to show them around
  • for their first Christmas
  • for their first smile
  • for their Christening day
  • for their first birthday party
  • to read all my favorite stories to them, doing all the different voices

Jesus I really, really, really, can't wait to be a mom!!

Prayers answered... to the letter!!!

Before I got pregnant with the twins, when I was struggling through yet another fertility treatment, I prayed to God... no, I more like tried to strike a bargain with God, that would allow me to get my so-much-wanted baby.
I clearly remember saying "God please, help me get pregnant and I promise I won't mind if I have the worst pregnancy symptoms ever. Just as long as I have a healthy baby..."

Turns out God answered my prayer to the letter because for the past 4 weeks I have been sick all day, every day no matter what I do... and I am more or less house bound because it seems that my body is threatening to miscarry if I slightly, ever so slightly over exert myself.
For instance, Easter Sunday I spend 10 minutes walking besides my 28 month old godson on the sidewalk, to make sure he didn't drive his little tricycle into the street and two days later I had started to spot.

Before that, at only 6 weeks, I felt so good I decided to finish the errands that I had left behind and walked (with long breaks) for about 40 minutes downtown... and I triggered SPD (Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction - very painful, happens only to pregnant women and the only cure is... delivering the babies!).

So yeah... God does answer your prayers... but be careful what you ask for because you might actually get it. But you know what? I don't care!! I am pregnant and thats all that matters!

You know you are pregnant when________ (you do this)

So far it has been a rather, uhm, challenging experience to be pregnant.
True, I have been through excruciating pain, extremely painful bloating, constant morning sickness from Hell, much less than others but so far, I haven't felt much pregnant... just sick.
Often I do surprise myself when I am lovingly thinking about having a child and I remind myself that I am indeed already pregnant. Its like seeing that positive pregnancy test for the first time all over again. This warm, fuzzy feeling overflows inside of me and I swell up to the point of tears as I rub my swollen tummy...

But there are times when I am positively feeling pregnant and not all of them are unpleasant.
For instance, tonight, 3:30 am, I have to get up pretty early because we are invited for lunch somewhere, yet I am unable to sleep though I really am sleepy (aren't pregnancy hormones great?). My stomach feels so, so heavy yet I know that I had very little to eat all day and that I didn't have my protein quota filled for the day which lead in turn to guilty feelings towards my babies (bad mommy already - yikes), which in turn made me so hyper there was no way in Hell I could sleep...

After much tossing and turning I get up and decide that I have a deep craving for.... liver!!
So, at 3:30 am, there I was cooking a nice, fresh piece of liver (very well done, thank you) drowing it in lemon juice and enjoying every last bite. Needless to say now I feel full, content and rather sleepy and my stomach has finally settled down.
Well I know some of you go "ewww liver" but hey, I'm pregnant. Some people eat anchovies with their pizza or worse so there is no accounting for taste. Besides, liver is actually rather good for you and especially if you are pregnant with twins and with very, very low iron!!
So cut me some slack will you??

I can't wait for my little ones to start kicking. At least then I will feel a little less sick and a little more pregnant... but I am sure I will find something to complain about then nevertheless.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Me and my Polyanna attitude...

Let me just begin by saying that the views expressed in this blog entry are mine and mine alone. These are my thoughts based on my experiences... I am sorry if you have experienced something more, something different than me and that gives you another view of the whole subject but please don't shoot me... This is my diary after all :)

It was Easter this past Sunday in Greece (and some other equally obscure parts of the world I bet), so we visited my best friend (who also married us aka the best man) and their little boy ... and as you would expect there was the usual relative accompaniment that you would expect in such a festive, family day...

Word of my twin pregnancy got around fast as my friend is also pregnant (two weeks ahead of me) so everybody was quite liberal with the information (except me but hey, call me superstitious).
So to make a long story short, I was sitting on the couch sipping my ice cold coffee and politely chatting to my friend's cousin, a mother of about 40-something whose son is around 14. When she heard I am carrying twins she looked at me, probably noting my bright, big smile and said "Well don't get too happy. I too was carrying twins but at 3.5 months one disappeared. Anything can happen..."

Ok so, lady, look... I know the statistics... I know first hand of people going through that... Trust me, the possibility of something going wrong enters my mind every time I feel a twinge, a pang, a pain, a cramp... And I really didn't mind your warning.. Or rather, I wouldn't have minded if the look in your eyes wasn't telling me "...I didn't manage to hold on to my second baby, why should you?"
But to her face, I said nothing. I found some excuse five minutes later to politely make my exit (and thankfully with an active 28 month old around, you get plenty).

The whole scene combined with some light bleeding come Monday, and several entries I read in other people's blogs (former IFers like me) made me wonder tonight, in the wee hours of the morning as I lay awake unable to fall back to sleep (yet another wonderful pregnancy thing): Do I really have pink shades covering my eyes about this pregnancy... or am I just not bitter or scared about my previous infertility?
Is it true that pregnancy doesn't cure infertility? And isn't the goal, a baby... no matter how it got there?

What got me thinking were several blogs of people who had gone through various treatments, many years of the ups and downs IF brings, some had several miscarriages and in the end they managed to get pregnant and stay pregnant BUT...
But by the time they got there they were so bitter, scared, worried and torn, their pregnancy became ... a not so happy time in their lives.

Before you start yelling at me because I never had a miscarriage (but I am sure you don't wish one on me, surely you are not that bitter), or because I managed (so far) to avoid IVF and got (miraculously if you ask me) pregnant just before I tried it, please hear me out, oh kind mob.
If you read my previous entries you might have become familiar with my philosophy...
I do believe that wounds are healed. I do believe that pregnancy cures infertility and I do believe the pain goes away after you have your baby in your arms.
I too had my bitter bitch moments. I became angry at God, at my much, much older friends who got PG right away, at my body, at my husband, at my doctor... I too yelled, cried, spend a fortune on HPTs, doctors, drugs... and I almost got divorced from my husband.
(Not to mention I live in a country where infertility is this great unknown, taboo issue and I had absolutely no support from anyone, including doctors and hubby - but I did get to hear real often "just relax it will happen if you let it go")

And you know what? It did happen when I let it go.
Uhm, no this is not one of the "I magically became pregnant when I gave up hope" stories. My hormonal, annovulation and MFI problems did not resolve just because I pretended not to want a child. But I did let go of the anger. I forgave myself (first of all), I apologized to God, to my friends, to my husband... and promptly switched doctors (a few times I might add). I formulated a plan, I educated myself but most importantly I became familiar with my options. Ok lets try this... and then this... and yes there is a chance I will never have biological kids. And I don't care less!!

Before I go any further let me add that I knew I would become a mom someday (one way or another). It was somehow promised to me because the desire, the drive, the love for a child I yet not knew never, ever left me and that was my collateral from God that one day I would be someone's mommy!! My question was when?
I had felt ready and hot 4 years ago, 3 years ago, 2 years ago, last year... For me it wasn't a matter of whether I gave life to the child with my own body, or if she came from own eggs or hubby's sperm (though he had a different opinion)... For me a real mommy (parent) is not the biological one necessarily and your real child is not the one you gave birth to. It doesn't matter if she grew in your uterus or in your heart. She is yours now...

When I started my "last chance" treatment and somehow got pregnant, I decided that though probably I will face secondary infertility later on and that I wasn't going to let my past bitterness and long road behind, spoil this pregnancy.

I keep a "Polyanna" attitude toward the whole thing. I am not naive and I am well educated (hey, 3rd year medical student here!). I know of the risks!!
But I am determined to bond with my babies, who btw have fingers now thank you very much (5 in each hand I hope!). I am determined to be happy about them, talk to them, sing to them and dream about them... because the alternative is to wallow in self pity thinking of dooms-day scenarios and repeating that I am still an infertile woman deep inside.
And then what? There are two possible outcomes: I loose the pregnancy and then I go around saying "I knew it, I knew it... thank God I didn't bond". Really girls... does it matter whether you were 4 weeks pregnant or 12 weeks? Did you cry any less? Did it hurt any less?


I can deliver healthy little ones... and if I hadn't felt happy, I would have missed 9 months of their lives and a period of my life I cannot get back.

What will you choose?

Lastly I wanted to address the issue of women who adopt. They mourn so much the fact that they won't be pregnant when fellow IFers who did get pregnant keep saying "I won't do this until the Xth month. I won't buy anything until I bring the baby home. I don't want to talk about my pregnancy because it might seem more real and if I loose it, it will hurt so much more (yeah, right)..." Loosing a dream you could virtually taste does not make it any less painful that loosing that of which you dreamt of, trust me.

So if those women who DO get pregnant after infertility (of course me included), spend their 9 so awaited months in bitter denial, shock or expecting the worst... maybe they should have adopted to begin with? After all, an adoption guarantees a child, right? When a pregnancy does not!
Why would you want to get pregnant? So that the child will look like you or your husband (if you haven't used donors)?
Because you want to feel what morning sickness is like? What insomnia is like? How about SPD? How about delivery and a c-section? And if you do really want to live through those things, then when you do get pregnant why the heck do you sail through all these with a "LaLaLaLa, I am not listening, this is not really happening to me" attitude toward your baby and your situation?

I have a friend who lost a child. The baby had some birth problems (stayed too long in lthe birth canal without any fluid) and could not breathe when delivered as she had gone for too long without oxygen. An accident or an incompetent OB... doesn't matter. It happened...
The little girl lived for a month in the NICU (born full term) and died.
We were all inconsolable (we are very close to those friends) but I personally was elated when my prayers were heard and a few months after the birth my friend got PG again.
(and no I do not have a direct communication route to God, lol)

Our friends told us nothing. In fact they chose to vanish. When we did see them, she couldn't hide her pregnancy any more. Understanding how this is so delicate, I tried not to look at her belly or talk about it but eventually she did confide in me. Apparently until she started to show they told no-one. She did not want to "bond" with the baby she told me because after all, she might loose it again. She pretended not to be pregnant at all. She tried not to eat so she wouldn't gain any weight, she tried hiding her belly... and her eyes looked me so, so sad like she was really mourning her pregnant time, pretending it wasn't really happening to her and really, sort of asking for help. So I did the only thing I could do. I put my arms around her and told her what I knew in my heart. "It will be alright. You'll see. You can be happy... It will be alright"

Her little girl was born healthy and they are a happy family now but I wonder...
How will this little girl feel when she is older and she is told "you see, we pretended we weren't pregnant with you, we bought you nothing, we did not celebrate you growing inside of mommy, we pretended you weren't kicking because we were scared from a previous experience, but we are happy you are here now..."
I mean, it still to this day haunts me that my mother tried to abort me and that she blamed me for "having to marry" my father (a wonderful, wonderful man btw, its my mom who is psycho) and having a "miserable" life though I had a pretty good childhood!

What will you tell your child when she asks? When she is pregnant with her first?
"Don't get too happy because there is miscarriage going around"?
"Don't bond just in case you loose the pregnancy"?
"Yeah, I was pregnant x times but only deliverd one healthy baby, so you might be next"?
"I couldn't bond with you until you proved you could breathe and live"?

Ιf you do indeed think like that, then yes, you are broken. But not because your ovaries do not work... because your heart and your spirit are broken and that, no science in the world can fix. No doctor can repair... except you.

Please, cherish your children... even if they grow under your heart for a few short weeks. They will always be your children and trying to pretend they did not exist, will not take the pain away...

Wishing the best for all of us...

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Just like that...

Not two weeks ago I woke up from a very disturbing dream. I dreamt that someone took my baby out of me, as she was, a little, tiny embryo, to examine her and put her back inside of me... But it wasn't just one baby... there were two of them!! I saw the whole thing in black and white, like an ultrasound. Both babies were fine even outside of my body and they were put back in.
In my horrid dream, the doctor "broke" one of my babies but she re-attached herself and was fine afterwards... 5 days later we found out we are carrying twins.

I was 8 weeks 2 days when we saw, as clear as day, the two little ones in my uterus, happily floating in their sacs. Apparently I am a rare case, since I had to date, 5 sonograms with two different doctors.... where was baby B hiding??
The look on George's face was worth a million dollars!! We are happy and I finally feel "complete"