Two Niños

From infertility to two babes at once, this is my life…

Archive for May, 2007

Gotta do better

Posted by Mel on May 30, 2007

We are in the process of selling our house. We’ve had it on the market since early January and have just received our first offer in the last few days. I know, I know – why in hell would we put our house on the market now, especially in early January?? Well, we moved out of town and we had to. Soooo, we knew it would be a marathon, but it still sucks. And the negotiations on this offer we received have been quite strange and anxiety provoking. See, they offered, we countered, they stalled, stalled, and stalled….communicated that they may decide on a different house…and then finally submitted a counter offer. For not much more than the original offer. This all occurred over the span of about 5 days – a bit stressful. We really are ready to sell this house. We aren’t in a bad financial situation, thank goodness, but we are ready. We are renting a tiny place from my uncle right now and its just time.

Now, to the meat of the matter. We finally got their counter offer today. Like I said, it is low and almost insulting, but we are ready to be done. So Alex and I had to discuss and decide whether to accept the offer or not. He called me to talk while I was feeding the babies. So I’m feeding them, have the phone on speaker talking to him, and dealing with fussing and him saying ‘I can’t hear you’ about a million times. He was being annoying, I was frazzled and already anxious about this whole matter, and I lost my patience. I raised my voice at him….and made my baby boy cry. He was scared by my yelling. Ugh – I’m so ashamed.

Alex and I are, let’s just say, passionate in our communication style with each other. He talks loud, I yell at him sometimes, and it is just how we do things. It is certainly not the healthiest, but not a huge deal for us either. It’s just always been that way. But now, it can be no more. We’ve both been making a conscious effort not to raise our voices in front of the babies, but today really hit home. I NEVER want my babies to feel fear caused by me. I NEVER want them to feel insecure in their own home. It broke my heart. There is nothing like tears rolling down your baby’s face to inspire you to do better.

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On the mend

Posted by Mel on May 24, 2007

I think we are all on the mend (except maybe for Alex…he wasn’t feeling well yesterday). No fevers for two days now and eating and sleeping better. Yeah! We are still having a bit of trouble at night – D wants to be held when he wakes up. I think he is teething like crazy. His first tooth just popped through recently (not until he was almost 10 months!) and he must be working on another. He seems to be more sensitive to these things than E. She has two teeth already and never really had any major issues. But anyway, we were up for about an hour last night, but that is much better than the 2.5 hours the night before.

The babies are cracking me up these days. They are growing so fast and becoming little people. Such distinct personalities. E is a busybody – headstrong, determined, and independent. D is more of a cuddle bunny. He is stubborn and sensitive. Yet I find that there is no pigeonholing these two. E IS very independent, but she is more wary of new people and when she gets hurt, she wants her Mama! D is more sensitive but he adapts to new situations well and can be quite friendly to strangers. They both make me so proud I can hardly stand it.

I was thinking yesterday how much easier things are now. The first few months with two infants was hellish. Very, very difficult. We certainly have our challenges now, but things are very manageable. We get around well, I can handle the babies by myself in most situations, and we have adapted to this life. People make comments when we travel like ‘boy, you are brave’ – but not really. We are just living the life that we have and adapting and learning along the way. It really has just gotten better and better. So any parents of newborn twins out there – it does get better, I promise! There is a turning point at 3 months and then another one probably around 6 months. I had a hard time seeing a light at the end of the tunnel but trust me, it is there. It’s actually fun now!

Ok, off to clean up the million toys on the floor…

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We are home

Posted by Mel on May 22, 2007

We are home from our 6 day trip to Chicago. It was quite enjoyable. We are all battling colds now, but overall it was a very successful trip. Travelling with children is always a bit difficult, but I believe it is magnified with infant twins. The hardest part is the plane, although where you stay is a big factor too. We did alot of things right this time (after learning from our first trip to Chicago back in January) – I think I will put a post together with tips for travelling with twins. Need to think about it for a bit to make sure I include all the good stuff.

So like I said, we are all dealing with a cold we picked up in Chicago. This is really the first time the babies have been sick. E handled it well and quickly, D not so much. He had a rough day yesterday – fever up to 102.6, some vomiting, and a restless night. Forget sleep for me – I put a pallet down in the babies’ room and ‘slept’ on the floor, about a foot from the end of D’s bed. The fever didn’t scare me that much (although he did feel like a little fire ball) but the vomiting kind of freaked me out. I was so worried he would be dehydrated on top of the fever. But he woke up this morning in good spirits and the fever had come down so hopefully he is on the mend. It is such a bad feeling when your babies don’t feel well. They are so pathetic and you are so helpless to help them. I think it is probably worse at this age, too, because they can’t communicate to you how they are feeling or what is wrong. But we are muddling through…I’m learning and they are learning to deal with me :-).

So that’s about it – hopefully more recovery for the next day or two and trying to get back into our routine. We have a new baby pool that’s just itching for some cute little babies to float around in it…

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Pleasantries

Posted by Mel on May 18, 2007

When you text someone, the whole point is to be short and to the point – no pleasantries involved. But I just can’t do it. Unless it is my husband or close relatives, I just can’t write a simple ‘ok’ or ‘yes’. I feel compelled to include at least the basic greeting and closing. Why? I don’t know. I’m sure it says something about me, just not sure what.

I even find myself wondering why someone was so ‘short’ on their text with me – are they mad, annoyed, what? Weird, huh? I know that most people don’t bother with pecking out pleasantries on their little phone buttons, but still these thoughts go through my mind.

I think I am extra sensitive to everything. It allows me to be super perceptive about people, but it is also a curse because I am constantly aware of everything. Every little expression, intonation, movement, etc. I learned through my former business life to take a step back and not always intuit meaning into everything, but I still have to remind myself sometimes. My poor husband generally bears the brunt of my craziness….some would call him a saint.

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Nothing like a little travelling

Posted by Mel on May 17, 2007

We are in Chicago this week. Alex had some business meetings so the babes and I came along with him. His sister lives here, so it is a good excuse to spend some time with family. We got here on Tuesday and will head back home on Sunday.

The babies have actually done really well so far. This was their second plane trip (we came to Chicago in January – I KNOW, WHAT WERE WE THINKING!! – when the babies were 6 months old). There were extra seats on the plane so we were able to take their car seats on. The flight was even enjoyable! They ate, slept, and ate some more. I got to write some and even peruse a magazine. That’s more ‘me’ time than I get in the normal course of a day.

We are staying at a Residence Inn so the setup is fantastic (when you have babies, at least). We have a living room with a separate bedroom, a pretty much full kitchen, with a DISHWASHER!! I don’t even have one of those at home. It is awesome. I have so much more time – when I’m home, once they go down for their nap in the morning, I have to wash bottles, cups, dishes etc. Which usually leaves me with about 15 minutes to sit down and read the news, pay bills, whatever. Here, I just load up the dishwasher in about 5 minutes, and I’m DONE. Yee haw! I am so ready to move out of my uncle’s place. We need a dishwasher! That is motivation enough.

I venture to say that the babies are sleeping better here than at home. The hotel supplied us with two pack and play cribs so we are all set. They are napping now…quite peacefully. And later we are going to go out shopping for a while and then meet up with the fam.

I am really enjoying being here. I love Chicago, but even more than that, it is wonderful to have some variation to our daily routine. It is so easy to get stuck in a rut – to not want to leave the house because it is nap time or eating time or whatever. I try not to do that at home, but it is very easy to get sucked in. But when you travel, you better forget it unless you want to be miserable the entire trip. It is great for me to be forced to be more relaxed with the schedule and routine. The more we do it, the more I see that the babies adapt and are fine and the more I’m inclined to do it some more. Don’t get me wrong, it is a HUGE pain preparing for a trip with 10 month old twins, but very much worth it.

By the way, I will try to occasionally do some catch up between my last update to now, but I think I’ll do it in a more casual fashion….in keeping with my current ‘relaxed’ theme :-).

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UPDATE 4 – The birth…

Posted by Mel on May 15, 2007

So, the birth story. It’s really not very dramatic. It all happened so quickly, kind of a whirlwind. We were at the hospital at 36 weeks gestation (to the day). The doctor came in about 5 pm and said let’s go. We couldn’t believe this was actually it, finally. Some tears and phone calls later, it was all systems go. We had a planned c-section – one of the babies was head down, but the other was transverse (sideways). We could have tried a vaginal delivery, but after all we’d been through, we didn’t want to risk having any emergencies with the second baby, etc. So, we began preparing (or being prepared) for the surgery. I had an IV started, some blood work drawn, and then a nurse came in and shaved me…down there. I felt sorry for her after being immobile for about 6 months, she had quite a job….

Anyway, about 7pm or so, the anesthesiologist came in to do the epidural. This is something you hear so much about – how scary it is, how big the needle is that they put in your back, blah, blah, blah. But it really was not that bad. I admit I have a very high tolerance for pain and scariness, but this really didn’t live up to the hype (thank goodness). There was a young nurse anesthesist (sp????) assigned to be with me from the point the epidural was started throughout the surgery. He was so nice but I’m sure I annoyed the crap out of him. I kept expounding on how ‘interesting’ the feeling of the epidural was and how ‘surreal’ it was not to be able to feel my legs. I’m sure he was laughing on the inside.

So right before 8pm, we were wheeled to the OR. Alex had to wait a minute to come in while they prepared me for surgery, but I had the nice nurse guy to comfort me, so I was ok. Alex came in and the next thing I know, I see some red stuff flying by in a tube next to me. I asked the lovely nurse-guy what that was and he said they had started the surgery. What?? No one even told me.

This was when it got a little scary. My baby boy was ‘baby A’ and he was wedged down pretty tight in my pelvis, head down. I felt them tugging and pulling and commenting about how he didn’t want to come out. They were struggling for a while and seemed to start getting concerned – I started getting scared, but finally they got him out. They rushed him over to the side to clean him up – he didn’t cry right away. We were freaking out – yelling ‘is he ok? Is he ok?’. Alex went over there to check on him and he cried very quickly (think they had to give him a little shot of oxygen). Meanwhile, they were working on getting my baby girl out and I was still freaking out about my son. Everyone was assuring me he was ok and then out comes my girl. No problems for her and she was crying right away. At this point, Alex is over back and forth between the babies and I’m laying there STILL freaking out – yelling, asking if they are both ok. I felt very alone, but the nurse-guy, my steady, was still there trying his best to comfort me. He assured me everything was fine, but I was still scared. But, they were fine and after a bit, they wheeled them out for a bath and weighing and such and Alex went with them.

So, there I am lying on the operating table, being sewn up, all by myself. At some point I think the nurse-guy left, so then I was really alone. I felt really, really abandoned. Clearly I wanted Alex to be out there with the babies, but it sucked being in there by myself. After 9 months of being cared for and being the focus of everyone’s attention, it was so weird to be alone and so vulnerable. Alex videotaped the birth and aftermath, but I have yet to watch it, 10 months later. My emotions and fear about the pregnancy and that day are still raw and I’m scared of watching, scared of what will come to the surface….

Anyway, after what seemed like a long time, they wheeled me to recovery to be with Alex and my babies. They were doing great! E (the girl) was 6 pounds 3 oz and D (the boy) was 6 pounds 5 oz. They were healthy and beautiful! D had to go to the nursery just to get his blood sugar checked (it was a little low right after birth), but they met me in our room once I left recovery. No nursery stays for them. Wow! I couldn’t believe we a) made it to 36 weeks and b) the babies were really healthy. What a blessing.

We battled some jaundice over the next few days (D had to be on Billy Lights from day 2 until we left the hospital on day 4, E only for a little while) but that was the only issue the babies had (not that that is even an issue…). So, we all left the hospital together, 4 days after the babies were born. And then the real adventures began….

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My first Mother’s Day

Posted by Mel on May 13, 2007

It’s my first Mother’s Day. I have come to realize over the years that I am not a very sentimental person. I feel things, for sure, and I am most definitely emotional, but I just don’t do the sentimental thing too terrribly much. We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, don’t really buy gifts for holidays, birthdays are not a huge deal, etc.

However, I’m feeling alot about Mother’s Day. For a couple of reasons, I think. First, we waited so long and fought so hard to become parents. It was a very long, three year emotional roller coaster, and not the fun kind. My heart broke at least 36 times over that three years and every time I thought I couldn’t handle another crushing blow, one was delivered and my only option was to figure out a way to handle it. It was hard and it still makes me sad to think about it.

And my second reason for feeling emotional about Mother’s Day is that I realize now just what it is to be a Mom. And Mom’s deserve this day so much. It is harder and more challenging that one can ever imagine. You can never be prepared for this huge job. There are so many things wrapped up into being a Mom – enormous responsibility caring for and shaping these new beings, love so massive that its hard to express, self reflection that is very hard at times, and a huge desire to BE BETTER.

My heart is so full today. I have the two most beautiful babies one could ever dream of having and they are my soul. I love them with all of my heart and I am so proud to be their mother.

Happy Mother’s Day.

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UPDATE 3 – Pregnancy 33.5 weeks to when the babies came…

Posted by Mel on May 8, 2007

After our week long hospital stay, we are at home – with a t-pump (terbutaline pump installed in my thigh) and a home contraction monitor that hooks up to the phone and sends my contraction information to a monitoring service.

To be honest, at this point in my pregnancy, I FINALLY felt a little bit less scared. I knew that we were getting very close to a much safer point for the babies to come. Of course I wanted to keep them in as long as it was safely possible, but I didn’t feel terror at the thought of them deciding to make an entrance sometime soon.

I was obviously on very strict bedrest (not that I wasn’t close to that before anyway) and my daily ‘activity’ consisted of walking down the stairs in the morning to recline in my chair or lay on the couch, about a million visits to the bathroom a day, and making my way slowly back up the stairs at night to go to bed (not that I was really sleeping…). Sadly, I probably enjoyed this part of my pregnancy the most simply because I was not terrified every second of the day – the contractions were more an annoyance at this point since I a) knew my body was a bit deviant from the ‘norm’ and could contract and contract without producing any real results (i.e. cervix changes) and b) like I said, we were at or very close to a ‘safe point’ in the pregnancy.

I had to use the monitoring device a minimum of twice a day for an hour each time. I came to dread it. My doctors set my contraction limit at 6 contractions per hour – there were few hours I didn’t have at least six contractions. And if I had 6 or more when I monitored, they made me give myself a boost of the terbutaline and monitor for ANOTHER hour. Now, its not as if I was so busy that the monitoring was cramping my schedule, but I just hated doing it because there was always this fear that I was going to have to go to the hospital or take more medicine or be more stressed out. I felt like I knew my body pretty well at that point and felt confident trusting my own assessment of the situation. Nonetheless, it is pretty much required to do the monitoring when you have a t-pump, so we did it. And the t-pump itself was interesting. I had to change the injection site every 3 days so I had to stab a little needle in my thigh, change the tubing for the medicine to flow through, and add more medicine whenever it ran out. It really freaked my mom out that I had to inject myself, but after two rounds of IVF shots (which included 12 weeks of progesterone injections with the BIG needle), this was nothing. It really didn’t phase me at all. It’s weird what becomes normal in extenuating circumstances.

My doctors promised me I could remove the t-pump at 36 weeks and I carried on monitoring, reading tons of books, contracting, and poking my leg until then. I even scheduled my planned c-section for the day I turned 37 weeks. I couldn’t believe I had a date!! I was having more and more contractions as the days went on and the medicine started to lose effectiveness. Nothing to the point of hospitilization again, but clearly starting to increase. As promised, on the day I turned 36 weeks, the doctors told me I could remove the pump. I took it out after one last dose that morning – by that afternoon I was contracting like crazy. And they were different this time – stronger, more intense. By 4:00 pm I called my husband home and called the doctor who told us to head straight for the hospital. I was really worried that we’d get there and they would put us through another round of trying to stop the contractions. I wanted nothing more than to have healthy babies, but by this time I was 36 weeks and I was BEAT.

I didn’t have to worry….when the doctor finally came in about an hour after we got to the hospital, he saw my contraction log (which showed contractions about every two minutes), saw my face, and said ‘You ready to have these babies tonight? I can tell these contractions are different – it’s time’. My husband and I were pretty much expecting this, but still, the reality that we were going to have our babies in a matter of hours was overwhelming.

[To be continued in the next post]

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UPDATE 2 – Pregnancy from 32.5 weeks to 33.5 weeks…

Posted by Mel on May 7, 2007

So, we left off at the hospital, for more contractions, again. This time the contractions were stronger, scarier, more persistent and consistent. My cervix had stayed in tact through all of the contractions so far, and was still ok at this point. However, the doctor was quite concerned with the quantity and ‘quality’ of the contractions, so he decided to bring out the big guns and pump me full of magnesium sulfate. This drug is a significant step up from terbutaline and is generally used in fairly critical situations to stop or delay contractions (we were told at one point that most people go on to have their baby(ies) within hours or days of receiving magnesium sulfate). The doc also decided to go ahead and give us a round of two shots to help mature the babies’ lungs…yes, he was thinking they were coming soon.

I stayed on the mag sulfate drip for about 24 hours. They had me on the highest dose possible, yet the contractions continued. They slowed some, but kept coming fairly regularly. And if I thought the side effects of the terbutaline were bad, wow – I had no idea. The mag sulfate kicks your butt pretty thoroughly. I literally couldn’t see straight and was so dizzy I could not keep my eyes open. I vomited and just generally felt absolutely terrible. The nurse told me that most people on the mag sulfate at my dose were catheterized. Fun. Somehow I avoided that but she made me call her everytime I needed to go to the bathroom, which was alot. So anyway, I’m getting mired in details here….

After 24 hours of the mag, even though the contractions weren’t gone, they decided to stop the drip because I was starting to have severe side effects. They switched me back over to the terbutaline shots – sometimes these become more effective again after having mag. The contractions got a bit better, but still lingered. My OB and the perinatologist conferred and wanted to put me back on mag. I refused. My cervix was still in tact, it didn’t work before, and it was excruciating. I have a very high tolerance for pain and suffering, but this was enough. And most of all, I was concerned about the effects of the drugs on the babies – it would have been one thing if they had been effective, but they were not. So we (husband and I) said NO. It was decided we’d try to continue with the oral terbutaline – it was suppressing the contractions OK, so we were moved to a long-term high-risk pregnancy unit, stayed there for one more day (for a total of 4 days), and were discharged on full bedrest.

About 5 hours later, we were back at the hospital with lots of contractions. So, a few more hours of trying to figure out what to do with me, a couple of different medicines later, and they decided to hook me up with a terbutaline pump – as in a constant supply of terbutaline delivered through a needle taped into my leg. Fine with me…let’s try it. So we did, and it seemed to work better than anything so far. Another 3 days in the hospital (with contraction scares here and there) and we finally went home – with the pump in my leg and set up for home contraction monitoring.

The things I remember most about this hospital visit are 1) feeling really crappy from the mag 2) being stuck in a tiny little room (that is normally used for a few hours at a time before a woman actually delivers a baby) with no bathroom for 3 DAYS and having to use a disgusting portable potty right by my bed 3) and watching World Cup soccer with my husband (who was with me in these tiny rooms the entire week I was in the hospital). Fun stuff, huh?

[To be continued in the next post]

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UPDATE 1 – Pregnancy from 21 weeks to 32.5 weeks…

Posted by Mel on May 7, 2007

Ok, I’ve put this off long enough. I have been waiting for the ‘perfect opportunity’ to sit down and write – how silly of me. Perfect opportunities never present themselves, so waiting for them simply prevents me from accomplishing anything. So, I will attempt these updates by snatching whatever free time I can…

My last post was probably the last time I actually looked cute during the rest of my pregnancy. I started having some really minor contractions around 17 weeks – at that point, I ended up having a UTI so we attributed the contractions to that – and they did mostly stop after I took the antibiotics. Well, at about 23.5 weeks, I had my first hospitilization. I had a rare outing that day (from the beginning of my pregnancy, I spent most of my time at home taking it very easy) and spent about 3 hrs having some decaf coffee, browsing briefly at the store, and watching a movie. By that evening, I was having a fair amount of contractions – as many as twelve per hour. They were not regular or strong, but plenty enough to concern me. I called the doc and he said to head to the hospital. I ended up staying about 4 hours, having 3 shots of terbutaline (a drug commonly used to help slow down or stop contractions), and two bags of IV fluids. The contractions lingered for longer than the nurse was comfortable with, but finally stopped and I was sent home with the advice to ‘stay hydrated’ (seemed a little underwhelming on the advice front – an issue I got to experience many times during my pregnancy).

Things were ok for about another 2.5 weeks until I hit 26 weeks – another round of contractions and I was prescribed oral terbutaline to take ‘as needed’. I was having contractions every day, sometimes only a handful a day, other times a handful an hour. By the time I was 28 weeks, I was taking the terbutaline 3 or 4 times a day.

At 30.5 weeks, back to the hospital we go. More contractions and more fear. Again, 3 shots of terbutaline, at the hospital for about 5 hours, and sent home with instructions to take the oral terbutaline around the clock, every 4 hours. Fun! I forgot to mention that the side effects of the terbutaline are racing heart, shortness of breath, agitation. Just what I needed…by this point in my pregnancy, I was pretty miserable – so very fearful every minute of the day, worried that every bad thing that could happen would. I was literally in my chair or on the couch all day long. I was scared to move. We were having ultrasounds with a maternal fetal specialist (simply because I was pregnant with twins) every four weeks and I could barely make it from one ultrasound to the next. The anxiety was unbearable. Adding to that, at about our 30 week ultrasound, they thought one of the babies had a ‘high-normal level of amniotic fluid’. This could mean alot of things, some not too good, so another thing for me to freak out about. They assured me that they didn’t think it was any concern, just something to keep an eye on, but I was googling and worrying of course.

On we move to 32.5 weeks – I had been taking the terbutaline around the clock as instructed, but it seemed to gradually lose its effectiveness and the contractions became more and more frequent. So, back to the hospital, this time with more frequent and stronger contractions….

[To be continued in the next post]

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