Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cue complete and total panic

52 weeks pregnant
Have you ever seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail?  Sorry, dumb question, of course you have.  You know that part where the castle guards are watching someone run towards them?  Every time they cut to the guy, he's running at the same long distance away.  And then impossibly soon, he's right on top of them, wielding his sword?

That kind of sums up this pregnancy.  The birth was always MONTHS away, nothing to worry about, plenty of time.  And now?

Two weeks from this Friday.  AT THE MOST.


Impossibly soon.  And wielding a sword.  I don't mean literally, of course.  Unless you count... never mind.

I'm trying to remember how I felt two-and-a-half weeks before the twins were born.  It was exactly the time I was getting off bedrest, so there was that sense of relief that my babies were likely pretty healthy by that point, plus the grieving that I wouldn't have any excuse or opportunity to spend an entire day watching Teen Mom marathons on MTV.  What I remember freaking out about most was that 1) Bean would have a hard time adjusting to his brothers and 2) I wouldn't be able to bond with Nix and Gax because there were two of them and only one of me.  Turns out the former was a justified and realized fear, and the latter not so much.  But this time around, I am (perhaps naively) comfortable that our kids will do relatively well with a new brother, and that bonding won't really be an issue.  Instead, I am in absolute panic about two other things.  Namely: 1) There is no way my complete-these-tasks-before-baby-comes-or-you-are-totally-screwed list will be finished in time, and more importantly 2) CRAP, I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO MEMORY OF WHAT I'M SUPPOSED TO DO WITH A NEWBORN!

The few things I remember:  Feed baby constantly.  Change diaper frequently.  Give a bath every couple of days.  Dress in adorable tiny clothes.  Strap in car seat for travel.  Allow baby to sleep often, even though the favor will not be returned.

I'm hoping that will do me.

I had my 36-week check-up with my OB this morning.  Everything is looking good, blood pressure, heartbeat, etc.  I am 1.5-2 cm dilated, which freaks me out a bit, but she told me that's normal for women who have given birth previously.  Plus I did walk around for at least two weeks at 4 cm dilated with the twins.  The doc manipulated my tummy and felt the sweet little pork chop for a minute and said, "I'd guess he's about 6 pounds now, and he'll probably be around 8 pounds at birth."  I tried to smile pleasantly and nod, but she must have heard the SNORT! that occurred reflexively in the back of my brain.  She knows that Bean was 9 lbs 14 oz and the twins were 8 lbs and 6 lbs 6 oz, respectively.  I figure the chance of this single child weighing around 8 pounds (if he comes as scheduled, and not early) is approximately the same as the chance that Colin Firth will come to the hospital to congratulate me on the birth, wearing his Mr. Darcy costume and that "I am trying to hide my emotions but I am madly in love with you" expression that he always flashed at Elizabeth Bennett.

Anyway, the OB continued on to ask me what I thought his size would be.  She said that mothers' estimates of birth weight were shown to be more accurate than estimates from ultrasounds and doctors.  I did express doubt that my uterus had suddenly changed its MO and was this time carrying a reasonable amount of baby -- but I'm curious about your guess too, so I included a poll on the right side of this blog, under the "About Me" blurb.  Stop by and cast your vote!

And in the meantime, if someone feels like reorganizing storage boxes in our garage, please let me know.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Two (times two)

Earlier this month, Nix and Gax turned two years old.  Yes, TWO.  On one hand, it seems like forever ago that we welcomed them into the world.  That's probably because I hardly got more than an hour's sleep at a time for the first year of their lives, and that whole period is a hazy gray mist in my memory.  In fact, I don't feel entirely certain that they ever were newborns, but the pictorial evidence is compelling.

Being a twin mommy is an adventure.  That's putting it mildly.  Having one tiny and completely helpless human being rely on you for everything 24/7 is a challenge enough, and two of them arriving at the same time (give or take two minutes) can be overwhelming to say the least.  I don't think anyone can prepare you for what it will be like, the highs and the lows.  But watching the two of them together, sharing each stage of life, it's incredibly special and unique.  Not to mention so ridiculously adorable I could often eat them right up.

Nix is as sweet as sugar with a sly little smile that makes you want to hand over the M&Ms that he's asking to eat for breakfast.  He is giggly and playful and cautious and snuggly.  He is fascinated with trucks and plays with them for hours every day.  When we hear a loud one drive by, he exclaims, "GUCK!" and then will sign "more" and start crying after it passes.  Nix is a fabulous sleeper, he'll go 12 hours at night (only waking if he can't find the bink that's inevitably 2 inches from his mouth) and then take a solid two hour nap.  His current favorite foods are oranges and eggs, but ask me tomorrow and it will be something new.  He's kinda picky at mealtime, but not overly so.  Nix's favorite television shows are Little Einsteins and Super Why!, those having replaced the beloved old Sesame Street.  (He also would never admit it, but he does enjoy the Wiggles when Gax requests them.)  Nix adores being outside, climbing the ladder on our playset or being pushed on the swing or chasing bubbles around the yard. He was a quiet guy for a long time, but in the past few weeks, his language has picked up quite a bit.  Hopefully he'll be able to use words to communicate soon (instead of just label objects), which should cut down on the roughly 4 hours a day that I spend trying to guess what either one of the twins is wanting.  Interestingly, though, Nix only seems to learn words that Gax says first.  Nix's stats at his pediatrician check-up were 28.4 pounds in weight and 34.2 inches in height.

Gax is two going on 20.  He does not want to be held back by the fact that he weighs less than 30 pounds and can't yet speak in sentences.  Whether you are doing laundry, preparing dinner, assembling storage shelves, or walking the dog, he wants to be right in on the action.  Which at this point means he's often throwing a tantrum when you won't let him chop onions, but one day it'll be great to have such a self-sufficient child.  As long as he doesn't accidentally burn the house down first.  He is observant, fearless, energetic, and serious -- although he can also be quite goofy when he wants to be.  He lives by the motto, "I'll sleep when I'm dead, mom."  Gax knows exactly what he wants, and God help you if you stand in his way.  He will pick out his own clothes AND tell me what Nix should wear as well.  He is very vocal, and like his twin brother, it's starting to be actual words instead of just uninterrupted screeching.  He is also a semi-picky eater like Nix, but it's most often the opposite foods.  If he sees Nix eat something, he's not at all interested in it, until you try to give his leftovers away.  Then it's "MINE!"  He loves yogurt and Pop Tarts best.  I mean, not that I let my two-year-old eat Pop Tarts for breakfast.  What kind of mother do you think I am?  (Yeah, okay, I am totally that mother.)  Gax doesn't have a similar passion to Nix's love of playing with trucks, he's more of a roamer, following us around the house and insisting that he helps with whatever we are doing.  He's not interested in the toy vacuum -- he will drag the gigantic one out of the closet and try to figure out how to circumvent the plug covers.  So far no one has been electrocuted.  Gax's stats at his pediatrician check-up were 27.8 pounds in weight and 33.8 inches in height.

To celebrate their birthday, we invited their preschool friends to join us at My Gym, which has play equipment for little kids.  (In other words, I am far too lazy to host a party at my house and will continue my personal mission of hiring out as much of the work as possible.)  Here are some pictures from their big day, and a couple from Easter.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Boy Crazy

A while back, I was chatting with a mom who was visiting our preschool class to see if our program would be a good fit for her family.  I told her I have really enjoyed attending with my three boys.

"Do you know what you are having next?" she asked, nodding at my obvious baby belly.

"Another boy," I responded with a smile.

A deep, genuine look of pity immediately crossed her face, and she put a hand gently on my arm in comfort.  "Aww. Did you think it was going to be a girl?"

A couple of weeks later, I took Bean to our beloved pediatrician for his 4-year well-child check-up.  The doctor had three girls and then a boy, and actually promised me early in the pregnancy I would be having a girl.

When I told her that we were team blue once again, she exclaimed, "OH NO!  That's the worst news I've heard all day!"

Sure, it was only 10:30 in the morning.  But still.

As a parent, you have to develop a thick skin because everyone and their dog groomer has an opinion about the decisions you make.  And usually?  You are doing it wrong.  But I must admit these kind of comments about the sex of my children (which I get fairly often) do sting.

Am I being oversensitive?  Definitely.  First, let's not forget that I have pregnancy hormones coursing through my body every minute, so I'm "oversensitive" like Mount Everest is "tall-ish."  But it hits a cord deep in me. I spent painful years and months fighting to create this family.  I did things I never dreamed I'd have to do, like give myself shots and remain on complete bedrest for nearly three months.  The implication that I would be anything other than 100% satisfied with these children, being oversensitive or not, quite frankly makes me want to cry.

I know it's not intended like that, I really do.  And I understand how pregnant women (fertile or otherwise) have hopes that they will have a child of a certain sex, at the same time as they are grateful for the baby and more concerned about his or her health.  I own that this reaction is mine.

But is it that hard to believe that I am actually completely content to be the only uterus in my household?  (Evey the dog has been... ummm... fixed.)

Even before infertility reared its ugly head, I knew from the moment I said "I Do" that I would only be producing male children.  My father-in-law is one of five boys.  My husband has two brothers and one sister -- a sister who currently plays ice hockey at her college and who only reached for dolls as a child when she needed to fill the stands for an imagined sporting event.  But gender stereotypes aside, I remarked years ago to a friend who has two boys that I would surely be joining her in that club.  I never had visions of tutus and glitter for my future, and I can't say that it really bothered me.

And enter infertility.  I'm not saying that every woman who has struggled to conceive automatically lets go of any dreams she had of specifically raising a girl or a boy, nor that she should let them go.  But I will say for me personally, staring down the reality that I would quite possibly never get and stay pregnant did make me more appreciative of the miracle when it happened than I would have been otherwise, and even less concerned with the sex of the baby.

Am I missing out on certain experiences because I will never have a daughter?  Certainly.  I will never take her shopping for a prom dress, and I won't well-up with proud tears when DH walks her down the aisle at her wedding.  But there are plenty of other experiences that I will miss out on in life for many reasons -- like visiting the Moai head statues on Easter Island or performing stand-up comedy to a packed audience at the Apollo -- and I try not to dwell on those.  Instead, I am excited about the four little men that I get to raise.  I will never have to mow the lawn. I will never have to lift a heavy box or struggle to open the pickle jar.  And can I get a giant "woo hoo!" for hand-me-down toys and clothing?  Six people on one income is scary enough without needing an entirely new wardrobe for one of them.  For another 10 years or so, I will be the main woman in their lives, and maybe it's selfish, but I think that's kinda cool.  As DH said when we found out it was all blue for us, "These boys come from a long line of sons adoring their mothers."  And the feeling is absolutely mutual.

So just to settle any question in your mind: I am not crying in the corner because I will (God willing!) have four sons.  I accept that I will not own nice things and the things I do own will be broken, scratched, and chipped.  When I feel the urge, I will buy adorable fluffy pink headbands for my friends' daughters.  And no, we will not continue trying to have children until we get a girl.  Ha!  That question actually just makes me laugh -- I take it as a compliment that I look like I have any amount of sanity and money left for another baby.

Whew!  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Now on to bigger things, like my belly.  On Friday I will be 34 weeks, the point at which my doctor would not try to stop labor should it begin.  And according to the mass opinion of strangers, it could begin at any moment.  It's not an exaggeration to say that almost every time I leave my house, at least one person looks me over and says something like, "Wow! That baby will be coming any day, huh?"  No, my offspring are just abnormally huge, thank you though.  If I wasn't wearing DH's sweats, I would take a belly shot for you right now.  I'll try to get one soon, on the rare occasion that I am actually wearing presentable clothes.  According to my doctor, I have gained 32 pounds so far.  She said she's not overly concerned about it at this point, as my starting weight was healthy (remember I had just finished that diet), but she did warn me to keep an eye on the gain.  Yep, I'm definitely keeping an eye on it, thanks!

And finally, a few pictures...

Linda, a long-time close family friend, came to visit from Michigan --
she's about to be a Grandma of twins herself!  We tried not to scare her...
...too much.  Muahahaha.

"You distract her while I go through her purse!"

Gax shows off his new "Smile!" face.

Yes, he really does consider that a smile. And apparently so does Bean.