Monday, August 22, 2005

10 Things 9 Months Plus Will Never Tell You

Top 10 Things They Won't Tell You About Pregnancy & MotherhoodBy Yours Truly
1. Your belly is NOT the only thing that will grow huge during pregnancy
2. You will get a ton of cellulite
3. You will burp and fart like nothing else
4. Pregnancy is also painful
5. All the lotion in the world won't save you the stretch marks if you are genetically predisposed
6. It will get worse before it gets better
7. As much as you love your little one, sometimes you will wish it came with a muffler
8. There's a good reason men don't have babies
9. You won't necessarily glow and pregnancy might not be the best time in your life
10. The mommy in the baby food commercials, with the clean pajamas, wearing makeup and having perfect hair, a spotless house and a baby who opens his mouth delightfully expecting the next mouthful... DOES NOT EXIST (and most certainly won't be you or me)
(11. Pregnancy lasts 10 months! Not 9!! Add 40 weeks up and see how many months you end up with!)

Pregnancy Timeline

November 2004 - Start Ovulation Supresion
February 2005 - First AF after supresion
March 2005 - Start of Follistim Cycle 150 units a day
CD 14 reveals 12 eggs around 18mm, lining is 14mm
CD 16 the eggies have grown some but so has the lining
CD 17 we trigger and cross fingers, lining is 17mm (yikes)
Ovulation happens at around 10pm on Monday 14th March
2 week wait - During the 2ww I get moderate to severe OHSS which haunts me till the end of the 1st trimester
8, 9 and 10dpo - Spotting brown and pink and cramping and I think the cycle has failed and I expect AF to show up any minute
12dpo - I see a dream full of young children and in the morning I test and I get my first ever BFP!!! I tell George who does not believe me after all these years and wants to see it verified by someone in a white coat!
14dpo - HCG is 156.4
16dpo - HCG is 222 - we worry about ectopic or something else
20dpo - HCG is 1202
5w 2d - We see a sac and a fetal pole
6w 2d - We have a heartbeat
7w 2d - Baby's H/B is 180bpm
8w 2d - Surprise, surprise, we have TWO babies in there!!!
9w - Emergency U/S due to bleeding - Small placental detachment but babies are ok
12wks 4d - NT test, we were told we probably have two boys in there and we got excellent results. About 1:7000 for T21 and 1:11000 for T13,18
14 wks - REALLY felt babies kick
16wks 4d - Babies are still doing great and weigh more than 5oz each
20 wks - I start feeling the babies from the outside as well
21 wks 2d - Level II scan. Babies are still boys (with a small reservation on baby B) and weigh 14oz approximately. Baby B has reduced amniotic fluid
21 wks 4d - Baby B's amniotic fluid is normal on repeat scan
24 wks 5d - Emergency U/S due to severa abdominal pain. Baby B (John) had wedged his elbow between bowel and uterus!! OUCH

Next milestones:
1/9 - Next U/S
I hit 28 wks on 12th September
I have my shower on the 17th September
I will get the steroid shots for babies' lungs at 30 weeks
I will go on bedrest as a precaution on 10/10
Tentative C-section date scheduled for 11/15

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Belly Armor Plating!

I woke up this morning after this terrible dream... I was looking at my naked belly and all of a sudden the baby on the left side (Cody) swept his face across the uterus and I it from the outside, kind of like in the Alien movies!!! I freaked out completely!! I woke up breathing heavy and feeling funny... this feeling of tenderness towards my little boy mixed with a feeling that my belly skin is so thin and that I am not protecting them enough...
Fast forward to tonight. I was sitting, looking at my belly and had a De ja vu moment as Cody turned sides inside my belly and I saw it happen from the outside. For a second or two, this tennis ball sized head, showed up clear as day as my boy executed his flipping maneuver.
Tears filled my eyes as I watched and felt helpless from the outside, realizing that this is all the separates my tiny, tiny and frail babies from the harsh outside world. Just a few layers of muscle and skin!How can I protect them? Will touching my belly or Beau laying on me, hurt them? What if as he turns, I accidentally hurt him? What if he pokes an eye out on my finger or something? I mean his head was right there!!!
It really, really scared me to the point I started to wail. George came over, laughing as I tried to explain that I just saw our son's head move across my belly and I felt it too!!
After both Cody and I (I am sure his mothers hysterics freaked the boy out!) both calmed down I decided I know exactly what I need!!I need a nice, solid, impenetrable piece of belly armor plating!!!
So... do you think eBay does that??

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The mediocracy of the 50% percentile

Let me preface this post by saying.. I am average! Hubby is average too.I am average everything. Average height, average cute, average intelligence. NOTHING special about me. Nothing special about hubby either.. There was nothing special about us our whole lives. Just your garden type variety fellas... and this goes down rather well with us. I mean, we know we are your average, next door Joes but when it comes down to your kid, you want the best right?
I don't really believe I will breed the next Einstein or a miniature Chopin but I will be sure to try... and this kind of expectation and effort seems to start from the womb, especially when coupled with my bottomless (and annoying) anxiety about this pregnancy.
So when we went for our Level II ultrasound at 21 weeks, and the doctor told us everything looks good, everything was were it is supposed to be and apparently functioning, I felt relieved.However when I read the report that our babies were at the 50% percentile (your average, garden variety babies) I was a bit let down.I would have felt SO much better if the doctor had said "your babies are advanced for their gestational age" or "they measure 3 days ahead"...Then there would have been some margin for error. Skipping a meal or not taking a vitamin perhaps... some small assurance that I am not only doing things right, but this pregnancy is going sooo good, my babies are growing like weeds.
I don't really mind they are average. I am average. Average is good... but at least while in the womb can't they do something extraordinary like be big and advanced so in case they are born early, they will have this much more of a chance??
That's all I want for them. A chance! A fighting chance!So here I am 3 weeks past my ultrasound, worrying because last night I forgot to take my iron supplement... because when you are average, you really do need every little piece of leverage you can get!! Right?Look at me... they are not even here yet and I am a pushy mom!! *sigh*
Next ultrasound is 9/1. Hope I have good news to report then too .... hopefully that our babies are now over a pound (which is the average) and that my missing a few days of supplements (preggo brain!) didn't really have any super adverse effects on their growth... :)

We are all good mothers...

After getting pregnant and announcing it, it became very clear that pretty much everybody I talk to, has some advise and an opinion about how I should raise my babies or handle my pregnancy.I don't mind really, since they do mean well... except when they use their "I know better and I cannot possibly be wrong because its a FACT" tone of voice at which point I get SO close to loosing it...
I started to wonder why is this so. Why is it that whenever I start a topic about my choices or ask for advise about parenting or immunization or circumcision or AP or anything on how to raise your children, WW3 invariably breaks out? And as it often does, it hit me one day at around 4am...
Because children and child rearing is one of the most sensitive and controversial topics around and one in which opinions seem to bear a remarkable resemblance to a belly button... everybody has one and all are different!!
And I really don't get it!!I mean these are MY children, MY way of life, MY resources, MY opinions...WHY on earth would someone pass judgment and present me with a "fact" without considering my options at ALL?Why would you make me feel like a bad mother if I choose not to breastfeed (or don't manage to) or if I choose to vaccinate or not home school?Do I not want the BEST for my children (and since there is NO "best" rules why is your approach correct and mine isn't?)How can you assume to care more about my children than I do? You haven't even seen my children, my house, or lived a day in my shoes... how can you present your opinion as the absolute-no-doubt-about-it BEST for me and the children?
So for the record, I AM a good mother and so are you!! And THAT'S an indisputable fact!!Why?
Because we all dreamt about our babies.Because we all cried when we saw the heart beating for the first time and jumped with joy when we felt the first kick.Because we all bit our nails right to the bone when we were told there might be some problem with our baby and we felt exhilarated with joy when the problem resolved.Because we all put our babies before us and in the end the reason we ask, the reason we share experiences and the reason we look for the "best", is because we all are good mothers and our babies are lucky to have us..
Just don't use that tone of voice when you advise or share your thoughts with others.You are not God and you can most certainly be wrong or it might be that your views and advise are not suitable for any given situation... and what might work for you, might not work for me.And for Love's sake, please, don't put down other mothers or mothers to be, and make them feel bad or unsure about their choices or parenting styles...Because at the end of the day its their children and their lives and you cannot live it for them... all you can do is provide guidance... gentle and open minded guidance and that's all...

Rollecoaster ride...

As a younger girl, before we started trying, I had often dreamt and fantasized about my pregnancy. It would be this perfect thing, totally uncomplicated (I had no idea what kind of complications there were anyway) and my husband was this devoted, loving, totally supportive "don't-move-a-muscle-honey" kind of guy, who would look at me and my growing belly adoringly and come with me to Lamazze classes and ultrasounds and to baby stores, helping me pick out the crib and stuff. And of course we would have enough money to buy the very, absolute, best!!
Of course reality has proven to be totally different than my fantasy ;)
Well my husband is very loving, caring and adoring but he won't go anywhere near Mothercare. Nor will he tell me to stay put in the couch if there is something he needs and I can get for him ;)And of course we do not have the money to spend on the most expensive baby stuff. In fact we don't have any money for baby stuff and if it wasn't for friends and caring family my babies would sleep in laundry baskets!!
But what really throws me in for a loop is this emotional rollercoaster I can't control.One moment I am ecstatic and optimistic, the next I am down at the very bottom of the pit of despair...
Plus lately I have been having dreams that disturb me.My babies never get born and if they do, they turn into animals or I loose them and can't find them, or I forget to feed them or something and I wake up in a state of panic.
The physical side of this pregnancy is also starting to get me down. I am turning into this big, immobile person, contantly in pain to the point I had a couple of thoughts that this will be my last pregnancy. The possibility of this condition I have, to become permanent, restraining me for the rest of my life while having surgery after surgery to correct the problem is scary to say the least.Yet the love I have for those little creatures inside of me is so big and so vast, I don't think it can fit inside of me anymore which is certainly the reason why I am expanding.
But really, my emotions are a rollercoaster. One minute I am as excited as a school girl on her first date and the next I am terrified of the change these babies will bring in my life.I am terrified of something happening to them. I have said it a million times already. I am terrified of things with scary names like Gestational Diabetes, Pre-E, PROM... I don't want my babies to be born early!! I want my babies to be born big and healthy at 38 weeks... and I want to be physically able to take care of them!!I don't want to argue with my mother in law and fight for my right to be the sole (with hubby) caregiver for my babies and the one who makes the decisions on how the babies are raised and how I handle them...
I want to keep them safe and sound and happy and healthy and I want to raise them to be good people.And at times I am sure I will but then again there are times I am mortified!!This pregnancy is turning out to be an emotional and physical rollercoaster ride...
And like any rollercoaster ride it might scare the heck out you or make you sick but you smile afterwards and maybe, a few years later, when you have forgotten how you threw up in front of a crowd or you were scared to death and all you remember is the exhilaration of the ride... then you might as well ride the rollercoaster again.

I Lost George

I woke up in a state of panic this morning wondering "whose babies are these?"
I went to bed at around 2am but woke up at 3.30am and again at 5am. Deciding that I was not comfortable and with the boys kicking up a storm inside of me, I left the bed (and poor George who I had almost pushed off the bed in an effort to find a comfortable spot which resulted in me lying diagonally in bed) and had an early snack as I sat in the couch, flipping through the channels and deciding there is absolutely nothing worth watching at 5am I finally dragged myself back to bed at around 7am.
This time I did get comfortable and I fell into a deep sleep...I briefly woke up at 8am to remind George that Beau was crying because he was hungry and fell back asleep.
The dream started with me being on vacation in our family's ranch in Crete.I haven't been there in 8 years but I spent the first 17 years of my life there, every summer with no exception.I was with my parents and my brothers and my best friend from school.Everybody was at their correct age but our house was by the sea instead of in the mountains.In in the dream I found myself looking through a maternity store picking out PINK clothes with my mother who was not herself, meaning she was actually interested and sweet.
After a while I found myself in a state of panic. Whose babies were these?I was SURE I had a boyfriend and he was the father of my children (girls) but who was he?? I tried to remember, I started asking my friend and my brothers but nobody could remember who was he...Plus there was a good looking stranger flirting me but because I was sure these were somebody else's babies I semi-blew him off while I went in search of my mysterious lover and father of my twin girls!
My best friend however wasted no time and I think she hooked up with him.There was me dancing by the seaside, a scorpion I saw in the bathroom and other things but as the time went by I became more and more frantic in my search and at some point I was outright crying.How could I let it happen? I would be a single mother of twins! I couldn't find the babies' father and worse yet I couldn't even remember who he was!!
I woke up crying with the question "whose babies are these?" still in my lips and I scurried off to the living room (as fast as a heavily pregnant woman can scurry off) where George, the father of my twins and husband, was at his computer, typing away.I was awash with relief and I cuddled up to him.
The time was 13.11pm when I woke.It has been the deepest and most rejuvenating sleep I had in weeks!Even if I managed to loose and forget about my husband somewhere in between!!

Maybe baby

Today I got my copy of "Maybe baby", a film based on Ben Elton's book "Inconceivable" which is basically their struggle to conceive their twins (through IVF).Loved the book, hated the film... It was a rather nice film, if you hadn't read the book though. The cast was brilliant, the sets were great and the whole production was very carefully laid out. It was just like an American film (oh come on, you know you agree with me about British Productions!!!) only with a lot less nudity involved (not even a single breast!)

The couple in the book and film do not conceive while we are watching, unlike the author and his wife, as stated at the foreword, but they both end with a promise for another try and maybe... a baby.The book was brilliant and I laughed out loud many a times (though some words made me pause... who uses the word "blokey" and "Mawkish" these days!?) and I admit I reached for the dictionary twice... Apparently its been a long time since I left Scotland!The reason I didn't like the movie was that it totally missed the mark and the point of the book. The movie was about infertility yes but it didn't touch me at all. The book did...

However the film made me realize in full color what is happening here.
While I am racing through this pregnancy (week 23 already) at break neck speed, so has my counter part, George. At least in the psychological part of it.
As my bank account drained, so did his.When my phone got disconnected because I couldn't pay it, so did his.As I lay there for an ultrasound crossing fingers and toes to the point of cramping, wishing with all my might everything is alright, so does he..So he doesn't want to look at cribs, and he doesn't really care what color the nursery will be but that does not mean he doesn't care about this pregnancy and his sons...
Good thing I realized that too... Makes me a whole less mad at him and a whole lot more fair :)

Sometimes I wish ...

... that my legs had little handles on them, like those on shopping bags only sturdier...
Let me explain: Imagine this. Heavy pregnant lady. With twins.... With SPD in a severe form. Sleepless for nights except catnaps. Exhausted.
Said lady tries to get comfy in bed. She carefully places her pregnancy pillow in a U-shape for her head and shoulders, being careful so that she doesn't bump her head on the head board as she sleeps. She then places a stack of pillows so she can life her pelvis off the mattress and some to go under her knees...
She sits on the side of the bed between the carefully constructed pillow-nest.She now contemplates turning and actually lying down.She half turns her body but her legs weigh a ton and no matter how much she tries she can't swing them over the mountain of pillows... She returns her body in its original position and grabs a leg with both hands and manually drapes it over the pillow mountain... She does the same for the other leg...And wishes her legs came with built-in handles... that would make the whole grabbing-lifting-draping thing a whole lot easier...
As soon as the legs are where they are supposed to be, she lays herself down and gets comfy... The whole ritual takes about 30 minutes... it doesn't matter anyway. In about 2 hours from now, she will be wide awake again.Her pelvis will not be on fire but her tailbone will most certainly be...
And that will be the end of her night-time sleep...C'est la pregnancy!! :)