Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It's the final countdown

We are a mere 5 hours from April. APRIL. I really thought these boys were going to be born in late February, and here we are -- a stone's throw from their due date month. I am very grateful to be here, what's most important is that they are healthy, blah blah blah. But can I also ask that I *not* deliver them on April Fools Day? I know, I'm wanting to have my cake and eat it too. But I haven't been in contact with cake in months (YES, I remember that I snuck a couple of cupcakes, no need to be technical), so I don't think this teensy favor is too much to ask. To April 2nd or beyond!

A few people (such as Furrow) have asked about my feelings on whether bedrest was worth it, considering it's been a week and half since it's ended and we've seen no action. Honestly, I still think it was for the best. It's possible that I could have made it this long while actively caring for a toddler, but I really doubt it. Even now that I am technically off bedrest, my Mom still graciously runs the house for me. I spend as much time as I can laying on the couch because I can get away with it for now because it's best for the babies. There are too many preemie twins in the world for me to regret doing everything in my power to be safe, even when we can't prove without a doubt it was necessary. And selfishly, Bean and I have had tons of fun with "Gamma" (as he calls my Mom). We've really enjoyed her stay!

Now we are in the final countdown... in one week max I will be holding my precious little guys in my arms. I went to preschool this morning, the last time I will see most of my friends while still a whale preggo. I continue to experience the swirl of emotions: super excited to snuggle them, but dreading the sleepness nights with newborns times two. As uncomfortable as I am right now, this is the easy part. Wild times ahead.

DH informed me that I haven't posted pictures of Bean in so long that there are none are still showing on the main page of the blog. I'm taking that as a hint, here are a few that I was able to pilfer from the camera.

Our weather has since turned schizophrenic, but for a while we enjoyed gorgeous spring days. Here Bean enjoys the play set that I scored free from a friend last fall.

Contrary to popular misconception, there is a need to own sunglasses in Seattle. But not all of us can make them look this good.

He's ready for baseball season to start. Go Tigers!

"Are YOU talkin' to ME?"


Monday, March 29, 2010

Are you tired of these kind of updates? Because I kind of am.

But we both may be suffering from these I AM STILL PREGNANT posts for a bit longer.

Today was my final OB appointment. (And by final, I don't mean just related to this pregnancy, I also mean ever. A realization enough to make a hugely pregnant woman a bit weepy. But strangely, even though I still tear up watching the same "The Blind Side" commercial for the thousandth time, I'm unfazed by this. Either I'm completely okay with knowing this is the last time I will feel little feet kicking inside me, or I am still in denial about coming to the end of our tumultuous reproductive years. Time will tell.)

Anyway, it was an uneventful appointment for the most part. Weight gain spot on, blood pressure perfect, my "sample" was clear. (Now there's something I won't miss about being pregnant... trying to fill a sterile cup while reaching around a belly that measures 44 weeks. It ain't no easy feat, people.) Then I asked her to check my cervix, all the while fearing that I would hear her say 7 or 8 cm. But instead...

"You are still 4 centimeters, same as you were when I checked two weeks ago," my doc told me with a smile. "I know Dr. H said 5 centimeters last week, but she measures a bit more generously than I do."


No change in two weeks, really? Insert look of shock here.

My OB was pleased and impressed that my body was holding strong. "I have only had a handful of twin moms make it to 38 weeks," she said. "You guys are heros. Are you going to be okay until the C-section next Wednesday?"

Seeing as the only two roads to an earlier delivery are a) labor starting naturally or b) an amniocentesis to confirm lung development... then yeah, I guess I will have to just wait and see what happens. She told me that labor could still kick in at any moment, of course. Twin A's head is right there. My friend could be posting the fun update later tonight that we are on our way to the hospital.

But. You may alternatively be suffering from these boring updates for another 9 days. I've now been off bedrest and meds for just over a week and my cervix is unchanged, so my doc feels that we could just as likely be keeping our date in the OR on April 7.

Mind-blowing. Absolutely mind-blowing.

I'd love to know who voted for "to the bitter end" on the how-long-can-this-pregnancy-possibly-last poll in the right column. I'm still more than a week away, but wow, how did you have the faith that it was even possible? Well done.

On another happy note, it seems that being off bedrest has cured my gestational diabetes. There were some bottles of glucola in the exam room this morning, and I was tempted to ask for a retest so I can give up this stupid finger pricking as soon as possible. My blood sugar levels dropped significantly as soon as I could move around during the day; I've been slowly pushing my carb intake and haven't even been close to going into the danger zone. Today I decided to go completely wild and had for breakfast a glass of orange juice and two bowls of Fruit Loops cereal. The only diabetes-approved things in that meal are the bowl and spoon. Breakfast is the hardest meal of the day because blood sugar tends to shoot up after you end the overnight fasting, but my number was still around 100 (90 is average, 120 is the max). The doctor didn't say I could stop testing, but she didn't scold me for cheating with Toucan Sam either, so I take that as implicit permission to continue indulging my preggo whims as long as I'm under 120. HA! Slowly but surely, I am regaining my humanity.

With the news that labor isn't necessarily imminent, I think all of us here will relax a bit this week. And I guess now DH and I will be able to finish the second half of "Twilight: New Moon" that we started last night. When we stopped it to go to bed, I was sure we'd never get to see the end. But we might! (He doesn't want anyone to know he actually watches those movies, so let's keep it our little secret. I appreciate it.)


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Welcome to Full Term. Population: ME!

(Technically I have 4 hours left until I am full term. DH is afraid if I deliver at 11:59 pm that I'll be all pissed that I fell short of the mark. And he's probably right. But I'm thinking optimistically that we'll make it at least until midnight tonight.)

As far as updates go, my friend Mary has offered to post for me as needed. My plan is to text her on the way to the birth center, as long as I'm sure it's the real deal. Then after the kiddos are born, with luck everyone will be okay and the four of us will return to my room where I can post a picture or two using their wi-fi. (If my computer makes it with me, of course. I'm more concerned about all our technology being packed when we leave than the outfits we have to bring the boys home in. The birth center has perfectly good diapers and blankets, but the quality of Internet access they provide through the television is quite shameful.)

If I make it that long, my last OB appointment is on Monday (the C-section is scheduled for Wednesday of the following week). My regular doc will be back in the office, and I definitely intend to have her check my cervix. If she says something insane like 8 cm, I don't know what I'll do. Run laps around the hospital, I guess. I'm nervous about having to deliver the boys ourselves, but I'm not so keen on doing the amnio that the hospital requires to approve an early C-section. Several friends have told me that a long shopping trip brought on labor for them after bedrest, so that's an option too. You don't have to tell me twice that going to the mall is a good idea.

On a darker note, I find myself worrying a lot like I did at the very end of my pregnancy with Bean, that something devastating will happen at the last minute and I will lose one or both of my boys. I know, I shouldn't think or talk like that. Statistically it is very rare. But I am so glad I haven't sent back my doppler yet, because I still like to check and make sure we have two strong heartbeats. Their movements feel different these days due to lack of space in the old ute, and hearing the loud, steady "swish swish" on the doppler is extremely comforting.

I'm also worrying more about how Bean will react to having brothers. Things at home right now are as close to perfect as they can possibly be, and I'm loathe to disrupt it. What's the secret to our harmony? Between you and me, it's not found in books like "Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers" or "The Happiest Toddler on the Block." You just need three adults who are available on a rotating basis to give your child complete, undivided attention. So that means we just need six more adults to move in when the twins arrive.

Any volunteers? Please?


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Mama's getting greedy

Here we are, still pregnant, and only three days from 37 weeks. According to most sources, like the March of Dimes and the World Health Organization, that would be considered full term.



I am giddy with excitement. If by some miracle I make it to Sunday, it will be a photo finish. I am definitely having contractions, and I'm starting to feel them more than I was in the past. Still not anywhere near close enough together to head to the hospital... but I can't imagine my cervix is unaffected by all the activity. My water could break at any second, calling halt to our anxious waiting.

When I lay down, the contractions are less frequent. I'm feeling greedy and want to go for the big 3-7, so I am still on a sort of self-imposed modified bedrest. I went to preschool yesterday with my Mom and Bean, and I'm very glad I did. It was great to get out and see my friends, and Bean absolutely shocked me with his level of independence and confidence in the classroom. But other than that and my OB appointment, I've stayed home this week, and even spent many hours a day laying on the couch. I know the label "full term" means nothing to my little guys -- it's not like everything would be 100% guaranteed perfect if I delivered on Sunday -- but it's certainly among the most emotional milestones I could reach in this pregnancy.

I may not reach it, but I'm going for the gold on this one.

Several people asked about the timing of my planned C-section. At our hospital, they won't schedule a C-section prior to 38 weeks unless you do an amniocentesis first to determine lung functioning. Call me crazy, but I didn't rush to sign up for that, and neither the doctor nor I see a need to deliver earlier than that anyway. As it is, my C-section is scheduled for 38.5 weeks on April 7. (See the floating fetuses on the right for a countdown to that date.) If I go into labor earlier than that -- which we are all betting on -- they will just go ahead and do the C-section immediately without the amnio. I have no idea what would happen if I arrived at the hospital completely dilated and ready to push. Twin A is head down (vertex) at this point, so we could potentially try a last-minute VBAC. Twin B is sideways (transverse) but could likely turn during delivery of Twin A. I imagine it depends on which doctor is on call at that time, how the babies and I are doing, how I feel about it in the moment, etc.

Three more days... wish me luck.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

At this point we are considering camping out in the birth center parking lot

Just a short update following my 36 week OB appointment today. First, I had the pleasure of scaring the crap out of all the first-time pregnant women in the waiting room who stared wide-eyed at my belly as I waddled by -- no doubt worrying that they too would soon need their own ZIP code. I resisted the urge to smile and say, "Yeah, and I'm only 36 weeks along."

Then I had the ultrasound. The boys are still measuring big, although not as freakishly as at the 32 week appointment.

Twin A: Just under 7 lbs (80th+ percentile)
Twin B: 6 lbs 4 oz (60th-70th percentile)

The sonographer confirmed that there is a 20% margin for error on these estimates, and even more so with twins because they are so smooshed that it's hard to measure accurately. So who knows, perhaps they will fit into their preemie outfits after all, even if just for a week.

My OB is off this week, so I saw another doctor in the practice. I decided to request a cervix check, even though I was afraid that knowing would cause more anxiety for all of us. As it is, I can't take a sharp breath at home without my Mom and DH grabbing for the car keys. "If you are sure you want to know..." the OB said, " are 5 centimeters dilated."

My Mom asked the doc if there was any amount of dilation (besides 10 centimeters, natch) that would cause her to admit me sooner for a C-section. "Nope," she responded. "I had a woman who walked around at 8 cm for a week. Even though we are doing really well, it's better for the babies to stay in a bit longer. They are still premature."

Then she added, "It just makes a difference in how fast you drive to the hospital when labor begins."


I am debating whether to go to preschool with my Mom and Bean tomorrow morning. I know the more I push myself physically, the more likely I am to go into labor. Everyone is asking me if I'm "ready." As far as nesting goes, I think we have pretty much everything we need for their arrival. Emotionally? Yes and no. I am definitely tired of being breathless and uncomfortable, walking like Gumby and wondering what's happening in the world beneath my giant belly shelf. But I don't want to rush the boys. Obviously their health is my top concern, and I have no problem enduring this for a while longer because it benefits them.

Plus, although I may be excited to meet them, the thought of having major surgery and then bringing home two newborns to care for at the same time... well, let's just say that's a pleasure that I'm perfectly willing to wait for.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thar she blows

My 36-week belly. I love how my husband leaves so much room on the right side of the photo in case my stomach shoots out even more between the time he lines up the picture and then presses the shutter.

I don't want to make the call prematurely, as there are still a few more hours left, but it looks like the babies won't be coming on my first day post bedrest. And what a wild day it's been:

7:30 am - Wake up, lay in bed
8:00 am - Eat breakfast in bed, SITTING UP!
8:30 am - Take a long shower
9:00 am - Lay down in bed, recovering from shower
10:00 am - Dry hair with hair dryer, SITTING UP!
10:15 am - Walk downstairs
10:20 am - SIT on the couch, lots of snuggling with Bean
12:45 am - Eat lunch SITTING UP at the table with my family
1:15 pm - Head upstairs to lay in bed (exhausted and uncomfortable)
1:30 pm - Watch DVRed new episode of Tool Academy
3:00 pm - Take a nap
3:45 pm - Back downstairs to SIT on the couch
4:00 pm - Watch "Last Holiday" with Queen Latifah
5:30 pm - Eat dinner SITTING UP at the table with my family
6:15 pm - SIT on couch
7:30 pm - Lay on the couch due to contractions

You know, just the normal stuff that crazy rockstars do.

It's been a great day spending more time with my family, but a difficult day. It's more of a tease to be off bedrest now. It kinda feels like I'm no longer grounded, but I've broken both my legs so I can't go anywhere anyway. My muscles (back and side, mostly) have not grown to support this belly, and I get super uncomfortable very quickly even when I'm just sitting. I walk like I've been riding a horse for the past 30 hours. I would love to get out of the house, to go with Bean and my Mom to playtime tomorrow, but I just couldn't sit comfortably in the car or on the hard chairs at the gym. And of course, I don't want to scare the children.

My belly is, in a word, unwieldy. We are thinking there could easily be two 7 pounders in there already, seeing as 3 1/2 weeks ago they were estimated at 5 lbs 15 oz and 5 lbs 3 oz, respectively. Twins do tend to gain weight slower than singletons in the final weeks, but we also know that my sons prefer to be born as toddlers.

Oh, and point of interest. Quite a few people commented on my last post that they didn't realize I couldn't sit up during my bedrest. The reason is that as far as the cervix is concerned, the weight of the babies is exactly the same when you are upright -- whether you are standing or sitting. Those of us on complete bedrest (as opposed to modified bedrest, which is less strict) are instructed to lay as flat as possible, always at an incline of less than 45 degrees, so that there is little to no pressure on the cervix. How did I drink? With a straw. How did I eat? Very carefully, and not all that well. The hardest task, though, was typing while laying down. That's how dedicated I am, posting and commenting the entire time. I will probably be sainted one day.

Here's to 36 weeks...


Friday, March 19, 2010

Couldn't have done it without you

We are just about there.

On Sunday, I will be 36 weeks pregnant.

At 36 weeks pregnant, my doctor said I can discontinue bedrest and mediciations because we will enter The Safe Zone.

Two days from now.

I may not still be pregnant at that point, of course. My brother turns 28 tomorrow, maybe they want to share a birthday with their uncle. But either way: I WILL NOT BE ON BEDREST IN TWO DAYS. After 11 weeks. After 77 days. After 1,848 hours.

In anticipation of that day, I wanted to say my Bedrest Survival Thank Yous, just in case the arrival of the twins preempts the day. I have been so blessed...

-- My DH
-- My Mom
-- My Dad
-- Bean
-- Extended family who prays for me
-- Friends who support me
-- Kind souls who have delivered 2 dinners a week for over 2 months
-- Comcast cable with DVR
-- Pickles
-- My bed
-- Judge Alex
-- Trashy celeb magazines
-- Fluffy white pooches
-- DH's collection of sports team t-shirts
-- My Dad's Vail shorts from the early 1990s
-- Netflix
-- Google Reader
-- Small Dove chocolates that my Mom sneaks onto my lunch plate
-- Electric leg shaver
-- Procardia and Progesterone
-- Parenting forums
-- My body pillow
-- Reality television
-- Super cold milk
-- Fellow bloggers
-- Everyone who has commented on my blog
-- Tiny newborn clothes
-- Wireless Internet
-- TV and cable remotes
-- Baby kicks
-- The UPS man
-- My cervix
-- Fresh air through open windows
-- Cute monkey stationery
-- My rented doppler
-- Breathe Right strips
-- Maternity underwear
-- Nilla Wafers
-- Kat Von D
-- Burrito Night
-- Maalox
-- Toddler snuggles
-- Back rubs
-- Hope

The doc has instructed me to take it easy on Sunday. Don't push myself, start small, and lay down if I feel too many contractions. (Although we are "ecstatic" in her words to have made it this far with the complications I've had, it's still best if they continue to bake.) Really her warnings are unnecessary. I'm the one who has been in bed for over two and a half months. Just a trip to the bathroom leaves me winded, as I have zero muscle mass and the boys are crushing my lungs. I have no delusions that I'll spend the day skipping through the zoo with Bean, zipping to the mall for some retail therapy with my Mom, or beating DH in a game of tennis. But after spending all this time in a horizonal position, there is one thing I can't wait to do:


I plan to sit the hell out of Sunday. Sit on the couch downstairs. Sit at the kitchen table with my family when I eat. Sit in the playroom and watch Bean enjoy his toys. Sit on the chair in my bathroom and actually DRY MY HAIR WITH THE HAIRDRYER instead of soaking my pillow like I'm doing at this very moment.

Sit, sit, sit, sit, sit.

I will sit unlike anyone in the world has ever sat before.

And it will be the greatest. feeling. ever.

So thank you for hanging with me these past 11 weeks, I really couldn't have done it without you. I hope you have a great weekend of sitting, standing, or whatever other exciting activities you have planned!


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

And....... nope!

My OB appointment yesterday really threw me off. Hearing that I was 4 cm dilated was such a shock, like finding out that "Operation Repo" is all staged. Looking back, I almost wish I didn't ask the doctor to check, because it's made me more paranoid about labor starting and getting to the hospital on time.

At bedtime or just before (9 or 10 pm-ish?) I started feeling very off. Not like how I am normally off, but like off off. Twin A was suddenly super low in my pelvis, and he was thrashing around and it hurt like crazy. I had sporadic contractions, and although most I still couldn't feel unless I was specifically checking, there was at least one that seemed to hit a bit harder. And I'll spare you the details (are you shocked?) but I was going to the bathroom way too frequently, even for someone in her 35th week of a twin pregnancy. My stomach just didn't seem right.

None of these were enough to raise the labor flag, but they were all reminiscent of the hours before I began active labor with Bean. I was completely wired and couldn't sleep, thinking about how I was already 4 cm and how any minute my water could break. With Bean, my cervix was Fort Knox until the day before I delivered. Certainly things would get started soon.

DH was concerned and kept suggesting we call the doctor on-call, but I resisted. We agreed that he would go to sleep, because we were better off if at least one of us had a nap. I checked my DVR and ironically, the only show waiting for me was "16 and Pregnant" on MTV. I half expected my water to break just in sympathy.

Just before 1 am, I was losing my mind. I kept going to the bathroom, Twin A was trying to bust through the exit, and I thought I might have been leaking some amniotic fluid. I woke DH, we got dressed, told my Mom our plan, and headed to Labor and Delivery.

My mind was racing as we drove -- I was suddenly absolutely terrified at the prospect of meeting our twins. Fortunately DH was calm and set me at ease, his hand resting gently on my knee. (I guess it's easier to be calm when you know that no one will be man-handling your internal organs in the near future.) We talked and joked, it was almost like a little date we haven't had in forever. I asked him if being born on St. Patrick's Day would make our kids Irish Twins. HA HA! *sigh* I slay me.

Soon we were back at our home-away-from-home, the birth center. I was put in a triage room so they could monitor the babies, chart contractions, check if my bag of waters had broken, and see if I had dilated any farther. Our nurse was very nice. TOO NICE. She was waaaaay too pleased about collecting urine samples at 2 am. I'm guessing Prozac was involved.

Sure enough, one by one, the tests showed that I was not in labor. The bag of waters was still intact, my cervix was still dilated 3-4 cm, and I wasn't having any major contractions. Between the rock hard "bed," the uncomfortable monitors, my sleep deprivation, and Miss Perky Nurse, I was about to lose it when we were finally released around 4 am.

I am so annoyed at myself for getting so panicky as to cause that trip, costing DH and I almost an entire night's sleep. And not to mention $50, because we learned that if you go to triage and they don't admit you, you have to pay your insurance ER co-pay. I really think if I hadn't had that "4 cm" hanging over my head, I would have just gone to sleep last night. That'll teach me.

On the bright side, DH took the day off because of our overnight adventure. We slept in and then watched "Angels and Demons" in bed while my Mom and Bean were at preschool. It was so unexpected and relaxing and wonderful, unlike the weekends when he has to tackle our to-do list.

It's 10 pm now, and it doesn't look like I'll be having Irish Twins after all. The rest of today has been completely uneventful. I'm hoping I can hold out until 36 weeks on Sunday... we'll see!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

"I'd get everything ready at home."

Still pregnant! 35 weeks and 2 days now, fast approaching that 36-week average for twin gestations. Striving to be average, I'm awesome.

My weekly OB appointment was this morning. After another successful night in his big boy room, Bean woke up around 7 am-ish and started the day by chatting with his froggy stuffed animal and the monkeys on his pajamas. I dug in my closet for the only maternity shirt that still fits without my stomach hanging out at the bottom like a bad beer belly on Thanksgiving. My Mom did everything to get all three of us ready to go, as always. (I fully expect a halo to appear on her head any day now.)

In the waiting room, Bean charmed all the young pregnant couples holding hands and eagerly anticipating their ultrasounds. They smiled as he waved his toy truck in the air and announced proudly, "Mommy! Dump truck fly!" Then he hopped across the room to throw away some trash for me when I asked him to. Will their kids be as cute, well-behaved, and smart as mine? Not a chance. But it's nice to see them have hope. I only wish I could take some credit for him. We'll see how the other two turn out, then I'll make the call.

I was uncomfortable sitting in the chair, and it felt like forever until the nurse called my name to head back. I was happy to see the number staring back at me on the scale -- I gained about one pound in the past week despite my concern that my stomach is so smushed that I can't eat enough calories. (A once-in-a-lifetime concern, no doubt.) I actually weigh about the same with these twins that I did with Bean at this point in my pregnancy. My blood pressure is still within the normal range, which is very reassuring. I don't have any other signs of preeclampsia, but it's always a worry on my mind.

The doctor came in and we talked about how the boys and I are doing. My belly measures 42 weeks now, although it looks more like 62 to me. Twin A's heartbeat is in the 140s and Twin B is in the 150s, as usual. This does surprise me every week, though, because Twin A is more hyper in the womb. I always imagine him being my high-strung child, and Twin B being extremely laid back. (With Bean falling in the middle of that scale.) Perhaps I'll need to adjust my stereotypes after they are born.

I was due for my Group B Strep screening, and since the doc was already all up in my lady bits, I asked if she would check my cervix.

"Well," she raised her eyebrows at me when she was done, "you are four centimeters dilated."


I had expected a centimeter or two, but not FOUR. When I was 4 cm dilated with Bean, I was in the triage room at the birth center, gripping DH's arm with white knuckles and crying, "Why does it hurt so much? How can it hurt so much?" as I contracted. A private room and epidural immediately followed.

The doctor told me that she could feel Twin A's bag of waters resting on the cervix. She guessed that my water breaking would be my big sign to head to the hospital. DH will be glad to hear this, because he is still traumatized from our early days on bedrest and seems to fear that I suddenly may drop two babies on the floor of our bedroom without warning. The doc smiled and assured me that won't happen, the boys are much bigger now.

We chatted about the logistics of getting me to the hospital and how the process works if it's during the day versus the middle of the night. Unfortunately my doc is going to be off next week, she's staying home with her son until his day care slot opens up. I doubt I'll make it that long anyway, but who knows. "Some women walk around for weeks at four centimeters," she told me. "But I'd get everything ready at home."

Back in the car, I was almost giddy calling DH, my Dad, my in-laws, and my grandma with the update. The thought of meeting the boys soon is absolutely thrilling -- even if it's a couple weeks sooner than I had hoped. But I must say that excitement is tempered by my fear of the C-section, even though my first one was completely fine. I am not so scared of surgery when it's done with general anesthesia... I just have this belief that one should be completely under when internal body parts become temporarily external. Of course in this case the spinal block is better, because I'll get to meet the twins right away. But if they try to narrate which of my organs they are violating to get them out, we are going to have a problem. I would like to hear about my babies, but let's leave the fact that you are slicing through my uterus completely out of the discussion. Thanks.

Anyway, I'm back in my bed. For now. Excited and nervous. And I still haven't learned how to use that darn camera.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chaos ensues

Yesterday absolutely kicked our butts. All four of our butts, ranging from petite toddler size to hugely-pregnant-with-twins size.

First, it was the one-year anniversary of losing my Aunt too soon. Naturally that cast a crappy cloud on us, especially my Mom. It really just couldn't have been a good day.

Then Bean was up before 6 am. My Mom tried in vain to get him back down, and she ended up rocking him for over an hour. That makes for a tired Bean and a tired Grandma. They did manage to run a couple of errands, but Bean reached his limit before they could hit all the stops. At home, Bean kept asking for food but not eating it, meaning my Mom was busy making meals and then throwing them away. He wanted to be held constantly (this is not new) and also complained that his ears hurt. He was a grumpy little munchkin so she put him down for a nap early. Of course he didn't sleep long, so it was Tired Bean and Tired Grandma: Part Deux all afternoon. And as you know, the sequel is never as good.

Meanwhile I was super uncomfortable just laying bed. Not surprising; I think all moms of twins are ready to post an eviction notice on their uterus by this point, but it makes the days sooo much longer. Every time I stood up, I would immediately get lots of Braxton Hicks contractions. Not painful ones, but still rather fast and furious. Fortunately when I laid back down, they would subside. Nevertheless, I was constantly thinking labor could kick in any minute. I would feel sharp pain now and then, but when I would check my belly, instead of feeling a contraction I would get a swift kick from one of the boys. I'm glad to know they are active, but dang... ouch.

DH came home from work with take-out (and a flower for my Mom, the big sweetie) and that's when the evening got really crazy. A woman came by to look at the china cabinet we posted on craigslist. Fortunately she did want it, and she and her son spent a while going in and out of the house loading it into their truck while my dog yipped annoyingly at them from behind a baby gate. Bean sporadically complained about various body parts hurting... from his knee to his stomach to his ears. But in between complaints, he was laughing and playing. We wondered if we should continue with our plan to move him into his new "big boy" room that night -- we'd already put it off four weekends for various reasons, but we wanted to make sure any protests he made were not due to an underlying illness.

Then after dinner I logged into my email and found that I had been hacked. Some jackass sent out spam to every. single. person. in my contact list, including people I haven't spoken to in years. Because nothing says "Hi, howya doin', it's been too long!" like a link to a Viagra advertisement. So then I started panicking, trying to secure my account. I was also worried about Bean's random physical complaints, I couldn't get up and hug him and check him out. Bean's temp was normal, and my Mom and DH suspected it may be growing pains. We decided to see what happened overnight and take him to see the pediatrician in the morning if we were still concerned. Partly due to the stress of the evening, I started contracting like crazy. I was drinking lots of water to stop the contractions, which in turn made me have to pee, which in turn made me contract because I was constantly having to get out of bed.

DH was trying to put out tons of fires at once -- helping me send out emails to everyone in my contact list telling them not to open the link, running virus and malware scans on both computers, writing down the time of all my contractions, checking that our hospital bag was entirely packed, and then heading out to get gas in his car because the tank was empty and we wanted to leave the minivan for my Mom. As much as I'd prefer for the giant mess to take place in DH's car than mine, I was less than enthused about the prospect of giving birth in a stalled out Mazda 3 on the side of the highway.

My Mom, who was ready to collapse by then, had to give Bean a bath because my DH was occupied. When DH got back from the gas station, he was able to take over the Bean bedtime routine. We held our collective breath when DH left Bean in his new bedroom. But this part is worth saying in huge letters because it's incredibly awesome:

Bean cried for no more than 30 seconds when DH closed the door, and then he slept the entire night in his big boy bed without so much as a peep. He didn't wake up until just after 7 am. !!!!!

I was actually worried about him, because that's a mom's job. Worry when they cry out at night, and worry when they don't. DH remarked that Bean is a total rockstar, but I'm withholding judgement on this whole operation until we get some consistency. The way I figure it, either he will regress and start crying at night because he misses his old room and crib, or this will be balanced out in the future by at least one of the twins being a complete nightmare when it comes to transitions like this.

Optimistic, huh? But there's no way I could be lucky enough to have three easy kids. And something about this pregnancy hints to me that twins are challenging.

DH was up late changing the passwords on all of our important web site accounts while I watched a recorded episode of The Marriage Ref, trying to decide if it was cute or just dumb. When he climbed in bed, we both agreed that I would probably go into labor in about an hour, when both of us were in the middle of some much needed REM. But miraculously, we all made it through the night in our own rooms, and so far the morning has been calm. Bean has not complained about any more "hurts," my Mom and DH seem to have recovered from yesterday, and our twins are still happily practicing karate on their mama's insides.

The frequency of contractions and general pressure that I've been feeling for the past couple of days makes me feel like I won't be pregnant much longer. But then again, I said that last weekend, and here I still am. If I make it to tomorrow, I will be 35 weeks along. The average NICU stay for this gestation on my twins forum is 5 days. FIVE! I know I can't count on being that lucky, but the number gives me hope -- compared to the 110 day average at 25 weeks gestation when I first went on bedrest. And I have two IRL friends who delivered singletons at 35 weeks who needed no NICU time and are now a fabulous toddler and preschooler.

It's bizarre to think that at most I have 8 more days on bedrest. I'm already kicking myself for not accomplishing in the past 10 weeks one of the main tasks on my to-do list: read the manual for my new camera and figure out how to use it. Because call me crazy, but I have the sneaking suspicion I won't have the time or focus to do this once the twins are born.

Here's to an uneventful weekend...


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Staying thin while getting fat: the GD diet

As some of you commented after seeing the belly shot in my last post, I am carrying all of my baby weight right out in front. Half of this is genetics, my Mom also looked like a basketball smuggler when she was pregnant with me. The other half is due to my good old friend gestational diabetes. Stomach aside, the rest of me has not been this thin since my wedding almost 8 years ago. Which of course is all kinds of awesome, not to mention surprising considering I literally get no exercise whatsoever. Obviously I am following the diet for the general health of the twins, but if I have to deny myself all of the yummy indulgences enjoyed by my preggo pals, it's nice to also have the immediate gratification of The Skinny. I have recently started waving my arms up in the air and smiling in satisfaction when they don't jiggle. (And then I look down at the new stretch marks on my belly and start sobbing.) Unfortunately, I am fairly certain I won't be able to maintain The Skinny after the birth. In fact DH has predicted that I will be the only woman ever to weigh more leaving the hospital after having twins than before I went in to deliver. I guess it depends on which is heavier -- two fetuses or a box of truffles, several ice cream sundaes, a cookie cake, and as many Cadbury eggs as I can get down before wanting to barf.

The diet is both not that bad and incredibly annoying. The meals and snacks we have come up with are pretty decent, really. The hardest parts are timing everything that I eat, remembering to test my blood exactly 2 hours after starting a meal, and obviously not being able to treat myself with any... well, treats.

A few people have asked me for tips on eating well, whether they have The Diabeetus or not. After I stopped laughing hysterically that someone was asking me for food advice that didn't involve the location of the nearest Dairy Queen, I typed up the guidelines given to me by the diabetes center at my hospital. I'll also pepper in some of the ways I have learned to eat without drawing the wrath of my testing meter. These are generally good habits to form, so even if you aren't spawning, you may find this helpful.

"They" say:

-- Avoid sugar and sweets, like cookies, ice cream, donuts, etc. Even 100% natural fruit juice should be avoided. (For some reason, this is the first bullet on their list. Apparently they want to break your spirit quickly and get it over with. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here!)

-- Fat in moderation: butter, margarine, oil, mayo, and salad dressing. Too much can increase insulin resistance. (This isn't so hard... I can do moderation. Just keep your hands off my butter.)

-- Eat plenty of high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, and veggies. (Rice, bread, and pasta should only be WHOLE GRAIN -- and thus less appealing so you stick to appropriate portion sizes.)

-- Breakfast is the toughest because blood sugar tends to rise the most after this meal. You've been fasting overnight and your body reacts to this. Don't have cereal, juice or milk at breakfast. (Which leaves dog food, shrubbery, and the bumper from your car.)

-- You may consume 3 servings or less of Equal or Splenda per day. (I wish this was an option for me, but I avoid artificial sweeteners and other forms of rat poison altogether.)

-- Eat a variety of foods and don't try to lose weight. (Just make sure that none of the variety of foods are too tasty.)

-- Eat foods with carbs every 2-4 hours while awake, it helps keep your levels balanced. If you go too long without eating, your next meal could make your blood sugar shoot up. (I do appreciate a diet that requires constant carb consumption, even if it's *groan* the brown grainy stuff.)

-- Snacks should be at least two hours after meals; both snacks and meals should include protein and/or low-moderate fat. (So far I haven't had a problem working the fat in there.)

-- When people around you enjoy foods that aren't in your diet, raise your eyebrows and give them a look that says, "I can't believe you eat that crap. You are so cruel to your body." (Okay, I threw this bullet in here. But I think it's reasonable to flaunt your awesomeness now and again. You deserve to feel superior!)


Breakfast should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)
Snack should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)
Lunch should include 2-4 servings of carbs (30-60 total grams)
Snack should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)
Dinner should include 2-4 servings of carbs (30-60 total grams)
Snack should include 1-2 servings of carbs (15-30 total grams)

Here are some examples of things that have one serving of carbs: one slice of whole wheat bread, 6-inch corn or flour tortilla, 1/4 bagel, 1/2 English muffin, 1/2 hamburger or hot dog bun, 1/2 cup potato (or peas or corn or yams or sweet potato or beans), 6-inch corn on the cob, 1 small baked potato, 1 cup carrots (or beets or pumpkin), 1 cup milk, 6-8 oz plain or light yogurt, 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup bran cereals, 3/4 cup unsweetened cereal, 1/4 cup grape nuts cereal, 1/3 cup cooked pasta, 1/3 cup cooked rice, 3 cups popcorn, 1/2 cup canned fruit (light, drain juice), 1 tennis-ball sized piece of fruit, 1/2 small banana, 1 cup berries or melon, 17 grapes, AVOID dried fruit and all desserts

Here are "free" foods: lean beef, pork, lamb, chicken (w/o skin), cheese, egg, tofu, fish, peanut butter, cottage cheese, all other non-starchy veggies, green beans, diet pop, coffee, tea, sugar-free Jell-O, butter, margarine, oil, salad dressing, mayo, nuts, olives, avocado, lard, cream cheese, sour cream

Mmmmm.... lard!

These are some examples of the foods that have kept my babies healthy and inadvertently rewarded me with The Skinny. Once we identified things I like to eat that also fit the guidelines, we could just rotate them throughout the week.

Breakfast: Either low-carb oatmeal or eggs and bacon with one slice of toast; they also suggest two pieces of whole grain toast with peanut butter, or berries with cottage cheese and one slice of toast, or crackers and cheese and almonds. You can drink water, or herbal tea w/o sugar is free. (I've managed to drink milk with my breakfast and I still test low enough.)

Lunch: Grilled cheese and a small salad; baked potato and a small salad; open-faced banana/butter/peanut butter sandwich (made in reverse order and called a "skabanna nut" in my family) (and in case you remember me mentioning it, yes I do avoid peanuts while preggo/nursing so I have almond butter instead); my Mom also gives me a pickle on the side and *small* number of chips

Dinner: This is the easiest meal of the day for me. I just focus on having some protein (chicken or beef are my favorites), a veggie or salad, and not too much pasta or bread. Spices are free, thank goodness, so flavor isn't a problem and you can still have creative dishes. I like the diabetes recipe collection from, but many of my normal favorites are just fine as well.

Snacks: Various combinations of fruit, nuts, cheese, or crackers; yogurt with tbsp of grape nuts cereal; cottage cheese and fruit; they also suggest light smoothies or a Fiber One bar or 15 multigrain tortilla chips with salsa or homemade trail mix or one mini whole wheat bagel with peanut butter.

Final Snack: I like to think of my last snack of the day as "dessert" for my own sanity. I have a few Nilla Wafers (with a Girl Scout cookie or two hidden beneath -- shhhhhhhhhh!) and milk each night before bed.

So here's what it really boils down to for me.

-- Limit carb consumption based on the OVERALL MEAL PLAN guidelines. It's not that you can't have bread with your meal, but choose a small whole-grain dinner roll. Instead of a huge bowl of spaghetti, prepare a pasta dish with chicken and a small amount of whole-wheat noodles and various veggies.

-- Find ways to work protein and fiber into your diet. This is the hard part for me, but you just have to do it.

-- Be aware of what has carbs. Yes, fruit is good for you, but there are a lot of natural sugars in it as well.

-- Eat frequently, but keep portion sizes small (again, following the OVERALL MEAL PLAN will help with this). Critical!!!

Tips for sticking to the diet. My first one would be go on complete bedrest for two to three months and have your Mom serve you all your meals in bed. This way you are not tempted by no-no foods in your pantry or in the world at large. Television commercials of actors scarfing down Olive Garden's new heaping creamy pasta dishes may send you into a homicidal rage, but at least only your pillows will suffer because you can't actually get out of bed. My second tip is make a spreadsheet of all meals and snacks for the entire week and shop only from that list. It's not something that you'll need to do forever, it just helps to get you acclimated to what it feels like to eat within these guidelines. Making the initial change is hard, but it soon becomes a habit.

Whether you are eating healthy for two (or three) or just in search of The Skinny, I wish you good luck and moderately happy eating.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Party! Pizza Party!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who remembers this game from the '80s:

I have had this commercial in my head ever since we decided to have a pizza party for Bean's second birthday. Thank GOODNESS that's over now, and my head can resume repeating its old favorites like "The More You Know" jingle and the Hustle.

On Friday, Bean's actual birthday, DH came home from work early with dinner and gourmet cupcakes. Although Bean's giggles had floated up to me all day, I hadn't really seen the little guy much because my Dad is visiting for a long weekend (no one else exists when "Bumpa" is nearby), so everyone gathered around my bed to eat and open gifts. It was really nice to all be together, and Bean clearly had one of his best days ever.

He politely asked for a fork before diving into his double-chocolate treat.

On Saturday we had a few of Bean's friends over for pizza, cake, and ice cream. I took a chance and asked a mom from MOMS Club who said she used to be a pastry chef to make a train cake for the event. I was expecting a sheet cake with a picture of a train on it, but this was delivered instead:

While my fabulous DH and parents ran around the house all morning preparing for the party, I managed to pull myself into a presentable state over the course of about six hours. The good news is that I made it downstairs and into a chair to greet people when they arrived. The bad news is that my uterus started flipping out and I had to go back upstairs to bed after less than 45 minutes. (more on my uterus below) (try not to skip ahead with anticipation) I was able to hear all the laughing and talking from downstairs and outside as the party spilled into the yard beneath my open window. And likewise, they were able to hear me yelling at the dog (who had been banished to my room) to stop her incessant whining. Eventually the dog was released to hold her own among the onslaught of eager toddlers, and I could relax. I was definitely disappointed not to be able to attend longer, but I was super happy that Bean got to have his birthday party and he obviously had such a great time. We are so lucky to have wonderful friends.

Bean delivers a sly smile while posing with Grandma M. and Grandpa J.

Grandma M. had the great idea to get a bubble machine to welcome our guests, which was moved out back later. The kids loved it.

I just thought this picture was cute -- one of Bean's friend's helping another with her shoe.

Now the pregnancy update. Today is 34 weeks, and as of lunchtime I am STILL PREGNANT! Awwwwww yeah. So that means the final (!!!) milestone ahead is 36 weeks, at which point I will do a little jig and then be released from bedrest and meds. Okay, I guess I'd be released from bedrest first and then dance the jig. But I don't think the technicalities will matter, because the feeling around the house is that I will go this week. My body is beginning to mutiny due to all this hugeness. I present Exhibit A below.

(And no, I did not wear a wife-beater to my son's party. I had a light drapey sweater over this, but for belly assessment purposes I took it off.)

I have discovered that my belly does not like measuring larger than a 40-week singleton pregnancy. As soon as I crossed that threshold, things started to fall apart. The boys seem to have dropped in my pelvis, making me incredibly uncomfortable, even just lounging in my own bed all day. Simply rolling over or getting up to pee requires such extreme effort, labored breathing, and bizarre sound effects that DH is constantly asking, "DO WE NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL?!" I fully realize that being uncomfortable does not mean that delivery is imminent. I did carry Bean to his due date, and it wasn't all ballet and butterflies the whole time. But along with these aches and pains come frequent contractions, such as the parade of ones that caused me to cut short my time at Bean's party. The doc told me to expect this as inevitable when a uterus is as big as mine, but it's disconcerting nevertheless.

My next OB appointment is Monday morning. I am very anxious to see what the doc has to say, I think she'll be checking my cervix for dilation. We won't pull out any Big Guns to stop their arrival, so if this is it... well, then this is it. Welcome to the world, twinklets. According to an informal survey on my twins forum, the average NICU time for preemies at this point is 1-2 weeks. I try not to get my hopes up, because it could also be much longer if there are complications, but we could potentially all be home as a family in not much time at all.

DH is reminding me to look at this week as a win-win situation -- either I stay pregnant and we reach 35 weeks (at which point there becomes a chance we could avoid NICU time entirely) or we get to meet the boys and I am sprung from Bedrest Prison.

But I don't know, guys. I'm neither thrilled about the prospect of the boys coming this early, nor excited to feel like my hips are going to tear off my body.

It's going to be some week, either way.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Happy 2nd birthday, Bean

Dear Bean,

Two years ago today, I held you in my arms for the first time. I was aware at that moment that my life was changed forever, but I didn't know how. I couldn't imagine who you would become, your personality, how you would fit into our small family. It was both an end and a beginning for me -- life was no longer about me and your father. Every day since has revolved around you, our precious little star.

The early months were not easy. Having waited so long and endured so much for you did not translate into being more prepared for caring for a newborn. We struggled with feeding, sleeping, and reflux. When you cried, your dad and I worried that we didn't have what it takes to be parents. But slowly the fog lifted. The learning curve was steep, but we caught on eventually. You smiled, cuddled, and showed us the everday miracles of having a baby. When you were about five months old, I quit my part-time job to be home with you. It was the best decision I have ever made, because even feeling fulfilled in my career couldn't hold a candle to the joy I've had being with you.

You've been attached to your mama from the beginning, you still love to be held and snuggled close. When we go to preschool or other activities, you like to stay near me for security. But as your second birthday grew closer, you began to venture off more confidently on your own. I absolutely love to see you having fun with other toddlers, but selfishly I am glad you are still a cuddler at home. While I know that over time you'll need me less and one day I'll be so uncool, I cherish the moments when no one else exists in the world but you and me.

I'm not quite sure what I did so right in life to deserve you for a son. You are incredibly good natured and sweet, my heart melts on a daily basis. Even though I hear your tiny voice call "Mommy!" at least a thousand times a day, I never get tired of it. You get so much joy from life, you laugh and explore and learn. You remind me to live in the moment, to be silly, to go with the flow. You are very agreeable, and unless we ask you something torturous (e.g. "Can we trim your nails now?"), your automatic response to any question whether you understand or not is an enthusiastic "Yeah!" I can also count on you to be well-behaved in public. I can't tell you how many times strangers have come up to me to remark that you are the best-behaved child wherever we are, from the doctor's office to an airplane.

It's incredible to see you develop your own preferences and voice opinions. One day, seemingly out of the blue, you decided that you love sports, and since then most of our conversations revolve around football, basketball, hockey, and soccer. When you pick out your own clothes in the morning, you often ask to wear your "team shirt," a Michigan State football jersey. You also love cars, trains, drawing, dogs, and babies; and when it comes to food you prefer orange juice, waffles, toast, and pasta.

The past two months have been hard on you, I have been on complete bedrest while pregnant with your twin brothers. We have been so lucky to have Grandma M. come and stay with us for several months. You adjusted so quickly, you and Grandma are best buddies. You don't really understand about the babies in my tummy, but you do know that I have to stay in bed. I love when you climb in next to me, cheerfully greet me with a "Hi Mommy!" and curl up for some quality cuddle time. Today you gave me a huge smile and said, "Love you, mommy. Love you." It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about your sweetness. Even when you aren't right next to me, you always keep me posted on what toys you are playing with -- calling out "Mommy, b-ball!" or "Mommy, fast cars!"

I am so proud to be your mother. You are gentle, kind, thoughtful, energetic, bright, silly, helpful, and beyond adorable. As you grow, I become even more amazed at your new abilities. There is so much left for you to experience in the world, and I am thrilled to be a part of that, providing guidance and support the entire way. Thank you for all the joy you bring to our family, for making motherhood more incredible than I could have imagined. Happy second birthday, sweetheart.

I love you always,



Tuesday, March 2, 2010


A good day: Fitting into your skinny jeans.

A good day on bedrest: You still fit into your husband's large t-shirt.

A good day: Your hair turns out perfectly after washing, blow-drying, and styling.

A good day on bedrest: You wash your hair for the first time in three days.

A good day: Stopping by Starbucks for your favorite treat on the way to work.

A good day on bedrest: Forgetting that Starbucks even exists because you haven't seen one in two months.

A good day: Getting to go out for drinks with your friends.

A good day on bedrest: Getting to go to the doctor.

A good day: Watching a new episode of your favorite sitcom.

A good day on bedrest: Watching the "Tool Academy" marathon on VH1.

A good day: You and your husband go on a romantic date.

A good day on bedrest: After some creative maneuvering, your husband finally navigates around Mount Belly to get close enough for a quick kiss.

A good day: The weather is sunny and beautiful.

A good day on bedrest: What's "weather"?

A good day: You prepare your favorite meal for dinner.

A good day on bedrest: You manage to eat a meal without getting it all over yourself and your sheets.

A good day: Your toddler takes a nice long nap so you can take a break and surf around online.

A good day on bedrest: You get a break from surfing around online by taking a nice long nap.

A good day: The young stud at Jiffy Lube flirts with you while he changes your oil. You are so hot!

A good day on bedrest: You can reach the back of your legs with the electric shaver. You are so hot!

A good day: Magic elves cook your meals, clean your house, and wait on you hand and foot like a princess.

A good day on bedrest: ...Oh wait, that one is the same. (Thanks Mom and DH!)