Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gratitudes ..... Frustrations .... Crazy

In many ways I am incredibly grateful for all this summer has brought.
Here we are at 31 weeks and all appears well so far. In many ways so far my third trimester is actually more comfortable than my second. I have much less belly/tendon/groin pain, which is a huge relief.
My husband has been an amazing trooper, taking on all the cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, and care of our fur-baby Pepper.
We're so close to meeting these two little ones and we have an awesome support network - some people in the process of preparing for the first few months (my Mom is cooking 30 meals for our freezer) or waiting in the wings to be asked when the time comes that we need help. I truly feel blessed.
However, this summer has also carried some great frustrations.
When you aren't allowed to do much (or are just so exhausted you can't) and you're feeling all nesty, you want the stuff you get done to stay done! And you want to get everything ready... everything, everything. Like... a messy closet is going to destroy your happiness and render you incapable of parenthood, everything.
So when I saw our beautiful nursery tidied and almost ready one day and then torn all apart the next, a minor meltdown ensued. The husband needed to start from scratch to put shelves in. Really? Really? I have not seen his cost/benefit analysis on that decision and something tells me I wouldn't agree even if I saw it.
On top of that is a major deck reno that started with tearing the railings off in June and we're now almost in September and it's not even close to done. This weekend found me staring at a hole that went straight through the deck and down through the ceiling of the room beneath. Rotten wood torn out and two sides of the house without siding nearly brought me to tears. GAAAAH.
The very last thing you want to see when you're staring down the last few weeks of a TWIN pregnancy is the nursery torn apart and the siding coming off of your house as rainy season approaches.
We replaced the majority of our windows and our front doors this year too.....you know so the winter wind doesn't rattle the curtains this year. There was an issue with the doors and they said they couldn't do them, then they could, they were installed and then a few pieces needed fixing. They still aren't completely finished....but it's close!
I don't need close. I don't want progress even. I want done! I want ready! I want everything so freaking clean and tidied and organized that absolutely nothing needs doing after babies are born.
And I don't have a hospital bag packed either!
So babies, you need to stay inside and grow for a good long time yet. Because I'll lose my mind otherwise...... I may not be in full posession of it even now.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Snippets

Lesson from second birth class: People have different pain tolerances, pain thresholds. To give us some idea of how we handle pain, everyone in the class gripped an ice cube for a full 60 seconds.
I was the only one hyperventilating and near tears by the end of the minute.
The instructor looked at me with true compassion and apologized in advance, "I'm so sorry for you. I'm the same. I'm so sorry."
Greeeeat!

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Sitting on the couch at the end of a lovely summer day. A large object suddenly enters my peripheral vision .... a dear runs past the window ..... followed by my husband.
Laughing, I'm waiting for him to come into the house and explain and then suddenly a dear runs past the window..... followed by my husband.
Dejavu? Doing laps? Common enemy chasing both of them?
"There were two dear!" he claimed when he finally came in.

I learn later my hilarity was matched by my neighbour who saw the same activity from her kitchen window...crazy young guy next door doing laps with the wildlife.
Andrew maintains that although it did nothing to scare the dear away for any length of time it made him feel better.

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The witching hours for me are between 2 and 4. I'm almost guaranteed to be up for at least an hour during that time.
Sometimes it's because I wake up hungry. Sometimes I wake up hurting and can't find a comfortable position and my legs get restless. Sometimes I wake up feeling sick, like something just isn't right and the more I try to sleep, the more sick I feel.
Regardless of the reason I do the same thing. I quietly put on my pj pants and leave the room so I don't wake the hubby. (Yes, still sharing a bed but he gets less space these days.) I waddle to the kitchen and blearily get a snack, usually crackers and cheese and a tall glass of water.
I usually sit on the couch and surf facebook while stupid TV plays in the background as I munch. I don't want to stimulate my brain too much by reading, particularly baby related stuff which is guaranteed to bring me to full 'studying-for-a-critical-final, better-know-this-stuff' alertness.
However, lately I pulled out a scrapbook kit that I received from my great friend Hillary. I carefully took out all the little pieces and separated them into types and piles. I spread it all out on the dining room table so I could see it all. Since I don't think I'll ever be a great scrapbooker I've given myself permission to use every tiny piece in that kit and BOY is it ever freeing. I'm having a blast! Plus, it isn't brain work, it's visual so when I do go back to bed, I fall asleep with lovely images and no thoughts. It's the perfect meditative middle-of-the-night activity.

Friday, August 26, 2011

30 weeks


30 Weeks and 35lbs weight gain. Belly continues to grow 1cm/week.
Aaand today is soo much better than yesterday. Amazing what some sleep and the absence pain can do for me.
Baby girl continues to be SUPER active and strong. Today I actually got some of her movements on video.
Baby boy is quieter until late afternoon and I think this may be because he's head down now. I often have trouble knowing who is kicking, since they both have their legs on my right side.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rotten, no-good day

What happens when you try to exist on 4 hours of very interrupted, pain-filled sleep coupled with very low iron and a bit of stress thrown in? Meltdown!
That combination lead me to one of the worst days ever yesterday. Nothing was terribly wrong but nothing was right. I felt physically awful, downright sick at times and yet couldn't sleep much. No amount of food helped and I wasn't hungry. I couldn't think clearly or drum up energy to do a single thing. I was in a total fog. By the end of the day I just broke down crying....although nothing was particularly wrong. I just had nothing left in me but emotion and the very thought of having to do anything (like attempt sleeping at night) or endure anything (like childbirth) was utterly inconceivable. I had nothing left in me.
This was my first experience with a hormonal crying jag. It felt different than other crying jags. It was pure emotion with little context, just tears needing to be shed, child like, and when they started they continued effortlessly until I chose to be an adult again. I felt like I'd been cleansed afterwards. Although those tears and the emotion is still just under the surface for me today I have some wearwithall to keep it in check and I feel capable of doing whatever needs doing.
Such a strange experience to be totally besieged by emotion and exhaustion.
I venture to guess this will not be an isolated incident.
6 weeks to go.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ultrasound 29 and 5

Ultrasound day! We're at 29 weeks and 5 days and things are looking good.

Babies are measuring exactly the same size: 2lb and 14oz each, which is what the baby books say a singleton should be at this stage. The OB is happy although he said their stomaches are measuring a little small. So we'll see him again in 2.5 weeks to ensure both are growing well.

Otherwise the big news is that the babies have totally changed their positions, which may explain some of the massive discomfort and belly contortions I've experienced in the past week. I mean contortions where I'm certain they are stacked on top of each other trying to excavate their way out of my solar plexus. And discomfort that wakes me from a very peaceful sleep saying, "ouch ouch ouch, what is happening in there and how do I make it stop?"

Our baby boy is now head down! This is a first and it's great news because if he stays that way, we have a shot at delivering rather than a c-section. Our baby girl is still transverse but her head is now on the left rather than the right. And both of their little bums and legs are squished over to my right, which explains all the jabs and rib jumping I feel on my right side.

This past week has brought a lot more contractions and I have less influence on them than I used to. It used to be that if I had contractions, I would sit or lie down and relax and they'd go away. Also, lying down used to be quite comfortable. That isn't the case anymore. The OB confirmed that since my uterus is now the size it would be for a full term single baby, this is totally normal and will likely increase. As long as there isn't consistent pain with the contractions and there are less than 6/hour, I shouldn't worry. Plus my cervix is still about 2.5cm, so clearly the contractions are not 'effective' yet.

So I will keep resting lots, sleeping when I can and we'll all keep on growing. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Snippets

Stacey: Andrew, I'm scared of what it might be like trying to take care of two newborns.
Andrew : That's a healthy fear.


We laughed.
Not exactly a helpful reply but what else is there to say? We'll just do our best.

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At my last Dr apt, I was cleared to go out and get a pedicure if I wanted to. This is the first summer in years and years that I have not had painted toes. But I can't stand to have someone else touching my feet and it wouldn't be worth the money to pay for a whole pedicure and ask only for the paint job.

So tonight I asked my husband if he'd be willing to paint my toe nails. He chose the colour (bright pink) and from my vantage point of 5 feet away they look pretty darn good. I'm thoroughly impressed.
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At exactly 29 weeks the babies started needing MORE. More food that is. After I eat the babies are very active and I can't help but imagining them using up all those calories I just consumed. And suddenly I can't get through a night without a snack. Sometime between 2 and 4 I'm incapable of staying in bed, I desperately need additional nutrients.
I wish this translated into being able to eat anything I want. But with the return of heartburn and an additional sensitivity to my blood sugar levels, I actually need to be more careful about my food than a week ago. Cookies actually don't appeal to me much and I need balanced snacks spread evenly throughout the day.
New learning: Water does not help heartburn but pickles do! Why is that?!?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Baby Shower

In preparation for the baby shower (and the babies) we started putting our house in order. My parents came down to help (translation: do everything) prior to the shower. This involved things outside the house like get the darn car oil change and a new headlight, weed, work on the deck reno; and inside things like clean, organize, tidy, prep food, get groceries, etc.

My job was to delegate and do small things and get the nursery looking more like a nursery. This meant finally getting the big wall decal onto the wall. Here is the work in progress:
I cannot describe how much I love this decal. It is vinyl and will peel off later on, hopefully easily. For a big decoration, it was easy to apply and it's gorgeous. I can't wait to finish it off with the remaining leaves, flowers and birds. It's the main feature of the room and I love it.

I really don't want the room to have cutsie characters, I want it to be pretty ... at least at the beginning. :)

Saturday was the baby shower and it was all I could have hoped for. There were several teary moments where the reality of finally being here, expecting babies, particularly hit home. I can't give enough credit to my friend Clare for organizing such a great afternoon, full of great food, some simple, meaningful games and fun.

Check out the great banner:
Everyone got to decorate two onesies with fabric paint. They turned out beautifully and I can't wait to use them, first on the babies and later on teddy bears and such. Some people showed particular artistic skills.

I got some lovely gifts and check out just how tiny an outfit a 5lb baby would wear! Note: it's the teensy one draped over my belly.

And finally, the one thing that I had my heart set on and was willing to pay for was the cake. I've mooned over beautiful baby cakes for years, so the chance to have one myself was too much to pass up. I found a great picture on the internet and Clare found me a bakery. I sent them a picture and they delivered. Here is my dream baby cake:

We saved the bottom tier of the cake for when the babies arrive and we have people over to see them.


The shower was a heart-warming, fun, initimate gathering, exactly what I hoped for. The babies got some amazing gifts and now all I have to do is fill in the gaps. I feel like we are much, much more prepared for these little ones to arrive. 7 weeks to go! (most likely anyway)

Friday, August 12, 2011

28 weeks!



We made it to 28 weeks! Babies continue to grow and so does the belly! I'm now at 30lbs weight gain with probably another 8 weeks and 8 lbs to 16lbs to go. Belly dropped even lower this week.



Today's doctor apt went well. Although the ultrasound in 10 days will tell us a lot more about the growth of the babies, this appointment confirmed that all seems to be progressing normally.


It's funny that regardless of what I eat, how much I eat, how much I nap or not nap, my body maintains a regimented pace with this pregnancy. I consistently gain 1lb per week and grow 1 cm per week. Nothing I do seems to change that. I find that fact kind of comforting .... something infinitely bigger and more powerful than me is in control of this process.



I also seem to have no control over how my belly feels. Every week or so I go through a day or two of real discomfort where something just feels wrong. And then that goes away and I'm walking and shifting position comfortably and confidently again, without worrying about how much it might hurt. I just have to go with the flow and not try to control this.



The past two weeks have brought heartburn back into my daily life; some days it's almost non-existent and other days it's terrible. Also, hip pain keeps me turning over and over all night long like a rotisserie chicken. I tried to address some of that with massage and managed to aggravate a very angry trigger point, which has me feeling like I have a massive bruise across my left side and lower belly. Went to a professional last night to sort that out and it's feeling a bit better today.



However, this week also brings my baby shower and a whole lot of preparation to get the house 'company ready.' Not to worry I have an army of others doing the work, I'm mostly just delegating. More on that soon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Classes Begin

Yesterday we attended our very first childbirth class.

I waffled about signing up for it for several reasons. It's expensive. Most people I know say all the info goes out the window when you get into the real situation. And the big reason, with twins only a portion of the information will be relevant for us....and we won't know what our options are until we know the positions of the babies close to the end. And that 'end' is also unknown.

However, given that this may be our only pregnancy and childbirth experience, and given that having more info may make me feel better before the big day, I signed us up. Also, as my doctor said, she didn't take the classes but in retrospect her husband was traumatized and the classes would have given them an opportunity to discuss the possibilities ahead of time. So we are signed up and classes have begun.

What I already know is I'll be delivering in an operating room with an epidural. (Note: epidural does not mean I'll have to have the medication, just that the epidural 'line' will be in in case they need to act fast.) I also know that unless baby boy (A) is in the right position, it'll be a mandatory c-section. However, even if it's a c-section, that doesn't mean I won't go into labour. And the more I know when that happens, the better. :)

What I learned last night is what to look for if my water breaks. I also learned that even if it is looking like a vaginal delivery, I will likely labour at the hospital, even in the very early stages. And if it does end up being a vaginal delivery, babies are born before placentas. So that was 3 things that I learned in an hour of her talking about stuff that is mostly irrelevant to us. But whatever, it gave us a chance to meet other pregnant people and also stuff to talk about.

One of the ice breakers the teacher had us do was to introduce ourselves and what the best and worst part of pregnancy has been for us so far. Andrew and I kept our answers pregnancy related but afterwards we agreed that the best part is just the fact that we have achieved pregnancy and the worst was everything that came before - 2.5 years of trying.

Those years of infertility were so hard and so sad that this whole pregnancy journey seems like a short fast ride through Miracleville. I am still amazed to be here, amazed to feel them move, amazed to be a part of this beautiful thing that my body is doing. Compared to 2.5 years, this pregnancy gig is really short lived..... and it`s probably going to come to an end in a short 8 weeks.

WOW!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Memories and Reality and Rambling

I have kept a journal for years, sometime writing daily, sometimes more like weekly, occassionally there has been a lapse of a month but I always pick it back up. I often go back to those journals for clarity on decisions or to remember what I was learning and thinking at the time.

I started writing regularly when I found myself suddenly, shockingly, in the middle of a marital breakdown, which ended in separation and then divorce. Writing helped me to process what the heck was going on, internalize it and deal with my own emotions.

Today I can look back on that time with a lot of compassion, more understanding and incredible gratitude; gratitude for the people who helped me through that time and for my own coping mechanisms. I'm also incredibly grateful that going through that difficulty gave me so many more life skills. And it goes without saying that I'm grateful for the new life I've made, for my wonderful husband and the amazing journey we're on together.

I wonder how I'll look back on this summer. Will I be frustrated that I didn't get more accomplished? Will I remember it as a time of rejuevenation before all the crazyness started? I hope, with the help of my journals, that I'll remember it pretty clearly, some great things, some stressful, nothing perfect but, over all, a beautiful time of anticipation.

Maybe that's what I like so much about reading my journals. I don't sugar coat anything. I just write for clarity and completeness, so when I read them, I'm able to recall the whole picture, or at least far more than exists in my un-aided memory.

I hope I'm able to keep up my writing when the babies are born, even if it's just a few sentences to allow me, years down the road, to relive (just a tiny bit) what was happening, what I was feeling, how momentous the change was in our lives and why. It's important to me to have a record of what is ahead.

Remembering is important to me. With that in mind, I might need to spend a little more time writing about today so I don't lose 'now' in my anticipation of what is next. I have spent a lot of the past couple of months wishing time away and suddenly I am aware that we're on a count down to a major life change. It makes me want to soak up and appreciate all of what today holds and it makes me want to write.

Maybe more blog posts are on the way.... :)