Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Quickie Updates (Babies, Laundry, Thanks... )

Thank you so much ladies for the kind offers of help yesterday on our cat crisis... once again you all totally blow me away with your generosity & support. ((HUGS)) & huge waves of gratitude are zipping across country for each of you right now, I feel so blessed to know you all.

I'm in a bit of a rush, but wanted to update quickly before we're off again. Boys are doing ok... there were some concerns Con might have needed to go back on oxygen (pretty alarming to N & me, since he's been off oxygen for a week) but he's been recovering on his own, & always looks good, so they're letting him work through it for now. Val got another bump up in his o2, but is back at 1/2 liter of flow. They're both nippling well & gaining weight-- both guys are now over their birth weight. They're starting to talk circumcision for Con sometime this week if he gets his breathing back under control.

& on the "cat laundry"-- our neonatologist said to wash it well & it should be ok... i'm still super nervous about it, but N is convinced it will be alright. If there are smells or stains, it's gone, but I'm not sure about the rest of the stuff. My mom showed up again today & cleaned furiously & was SO worried about the laundry & the guys. She was crying when we got here, scared for the boys (we told her about Con maybe needing more air). I guess our trip to the NICU finally convinced her of the huge difference between a preemie & a newborn, but I felt AWFUL for making her feel so badly. She really does mean well, & would walk through fire for us & the boys. I just needed my folks to understand the reality of what we're dealing with & didn't know how else to get it across. I feel like I'm living in a permanent state of guilt. We have a very close family & I know we'll work through it, it's just that the "working through it" sucks for everyone.

To those of you who blog/post on the board-- I'm still reading, even if I can't always comment, know I'm still here, following your story & thinking of you.

Monday, March 30, 2009


In an effort to be helpful, my mom was putting things away in our second bedroom while we were in the NICU with the guys. She inadvertently shut our cat (Felon) in the room, which is also where we've been storing baby stuff, for 15hrs. We found him, let him out & she offered to wash all the clothes, sheets, etc that had been on the bed where Felon had made his "nest." While doing this, she discovered that he had peed & pooped all over everything on the bed. Specifically, ALL of our boys' things-- clothes, towels, sheets, blankets. Everything. Everything got washed, unfortunately it all got washed with MORE cat poop that somehow got missed & made it through to the dryer. I don't know if any of you are familiar with cat stink, but it NEVER goes away. Everything smells totally foul. She tried vinegar & baking soda-- no help. The clothes, etc. are not bleach safe, & we don't know how to clean this stuff so that its safe for the guys. (& me, since we would like to TTC again & don't want toxoplasmosis.) So we're thinking we have to toss everything. We're going to check with the boys' docs & see what they think, but we don't want our kids hanging out in cat stink-- that stuff is toxic. This would mean everything we got at our shower is gone. The first outfits Val & Con ever wore-- gone.

Sigh.... I'm grateful my guys are doing well, but can't we catch a break on the small stuff in the meantime? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry over our cat crap chaos, so I did both. I'm SOOOO frustrated. Thank God the guys had a good day today or I might have lost it totally.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another Rough Day

Val is back on higher flow & more o2. It's ok, he's working really hard lately-- they've got him trying bottles now too & the dudes are doing their best. (They've each taken some whole bottles, but are still taking a lot of their feedings by gavage & BFing kind of sucks with a nipple shield. I'm tempted to get rid of the thing, but everyone swears it's good for preemies.) Overall, despite the setbacks today & last night, they're slowly moving in a good direction. (At least according to the NICU staff. N & I are too personally invested to tell much.) I just hate that they have to work so hard right now... they should be blissfully growing away, safe & sound in mom's belly. Instead, they're doing all they can to eat & breathe & stay warm. They're working so hard, & we're so proud of them, but I wish I could have given them just another few weeks.

My mom did ok today.... she didn't listen to my directions (or she did, but immediately forgot & treated them like newborns anyways.) I had to remind her not to rock, not to stroke them, to watch their chin positioning (she claimed she was, but did not & cut off Con's breathing & only listened once the nurse corrected her. Thank God I asked the nurse to hang out & supervise while she was there, or I might have had an "event" myself!) I was a huge stressball all day, & the only good part of the visit for me was that she finally ackowledged that visitors might not be the best idea right now. I really really hope the whole NICU experience sunk in & we'll have less of this "oh, they're fine" crap. I'm so surprised that this is coming from my folks. They're usually so supportive, & I just dont understand their inability to grasp the seriousness of the NICU preemie experience. Anyways, I hpoe today helped, & I already feel guilty both for letting her come & unsettle my guys & for subjecting my mom to the really awful experience of watching the baby you're holding alarm like crazy. The boys are doing ok tho, so most importantly-- no serious harm was done. (Although as I type that I feel even worse for adding stress to my poor little men's lives. Sigh... I just can't win.)

In happy news-- my best friend snuck into our house today & left us several dinners for the week. The girl can't cook to save her life, but got her parents to help out & made some really womderful dinners. When N found her note, I totally burst into tears-- it was completely unexpected & exactly the kind of help we need. She made no demands of us & just gave, & I am beyond grateful.

I am exhausted & still feeling really down.

I miss my babies. So so much. My heart breaks everytime I have to leave them.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Random Updates on LIfe in the NICU

Nolan & Conrad, kangaroo-ing

Today was one of those rough NICU days, for those of you who've had kids there-- you know what I mean. (for those of you who haven't had kids there, I hope you never know what I mean.) The guys are doing ok, it was just a rough one on mom & dad. Val is back on oxygen (which is fine-- anything he needs, we want him to have.) The guys run the show & everything happens at their pace, but some days are just more wearing than others.

Also-- my mom is coming with me to the NICU tomorrow. I don't know that I'll let her touch/hold the guys (we want to keep them as stress-free as possible), but I need a ride up there (N has a mandatory work meeting) & we decided it might be good for her to see what the NICU is really like. Alarms constantly going off & tubes & monitors everywhere, etc. We spoke to our nurse today & she agreed it would be ok, just to move at the boys pace, & that it might actually help to have a nurse explain to her the difference between a preemie & a newborn (i.e. preemies really do have special needs, they are NOT just tiny, cute newborns.) So please cross your fingers it goes well. I know I'm in charge & the nurses are awesome & will give me all the support I need, but I'm still really anxious about her visit. Wish us luck!

Because I'm feeling stressed & anxious, I'm going to focus on something positive...

Breastfeeding rocks. :)

(disclaimer: this is NOT a knock on moms who can't or choose not to breastfeed. It really is a lifestyle change & just doesn't work for everyone. I would NEVER judge of condemn a mom for making a choice other then mine-- we all have to do the best we can with the hand we're dealt.
That said, I adore bf-ing. Even though I'm pumping most of the time (& it is MUCH harder to be motivated to get up every 3 hrs for a pump than it is to get up for my kids), it's one of the few things I can do that really makes me feel like a mom. N loves it too-- he is totally committed to making it as easy for me as possible. he cleans & sets up our pump every time I use it, sterilizes everything every day, keeps a log of when & how long & how much we pump, & brags to anyone who will listen how much milk we're getting & how great it is for the dudes. & it is great for the dudes-- they've had zero residuals left in their tummies since we switched to all breastmilk, they didn't need the jaundice lights, & are gaining weight wonderfully (knock wood.) & there are few things as beautiful as a happy baby sucking away. I know not everyone is as enamored of bf-ing as I am, but I love it. I totally lose track of time & get lost in the private moments I get to share with my sweet boys.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

3 posts...

in one day. crazy, i know!

just wanted to say i'll update later on with the dudes' latest, as we had some pretty big changes today. i just REALLY needed to release some steam... i've been really frustrated with the lack of support & needed to grump it for a bit. feeling better now & thanks for listening guys :)

Super Sweet New Hats

Val's "hot tamale" look Conrad in a cool blue puff ball hat, matching his frog suit

Seriously, how cute are they? :D

NICU Related Family Rant, Part II

First-- thank you!!! I wish I could wrap all you ladies in a big hug, I REALLY needed to hear those words of support today.
My mom, who had been our "go-to" person, apparently lost her mind today. My brother is in town, & while we've had this talk with my folks before, it never seems to sink in. My brother can be pretty selfish & has been known to single-handedly ruin family gatherings (& does, nearly everytime he comes home. It's not entirely his fault, as my folks refuse to acknowledge how unreliable he is & continue to rearrange their lives around him. N & I refuse to do this, & it creates some tension.) Anyways, they called last night to see when he bro could see the boys. I said I wasn't sure, & IF he'd be able to, it would have to be time-limited & at a time that didn't disrupt the boys. They were a bit annoyed with that, but seemed willing to work with us. UNTIL-- they told me the bro was sick on Monday. With the flu. & wen we said we're really sorry, but no way is he getting in the NICU then, my mom got SUPER annoyed. I could hear the pissiness in her voice & she actually had the balls to say "but it was over 72 hrs ago & was probably food poisoning." Are you kidding me? When I got upset over her tone & said I don't appreciate her questioning parenting decisions, she said "well, I've had a sick kid before. I think you're just overtired, so I'll let you vent on me, even though I already apologized to N." At that point I was so upset I just hung up. This woman knows what we went through to have these boys. I gave up pretty much everything to keep this pregnancy, we lived in constant fear of losing them, & we already lost 2 kids-- losing another is a very real fear for us. She's been nothing but supportive & awesome... right up until the minute my brother is involved, & then suddenly my caution (which she totally agreed with last week) is now paranoia & explaining why the NICU is not similar to having a "sick kid" is "venting". I expected so much better from her, & am really hurt that she can't see that she's putting her son's selfish crap ahead of my sons' health.
N & I were super hurt & upset by this crap this morning. I actually checked with the neonatologist bc I was feeling so guilty, & the doc totally agreed with us. Half of me wants to explain to my folks why their expectations of us & the boys are inappropriate, & half of me knows it won't change anything, as long as my brother is involved. When all is said & done, I know we made the right decision-- every time they've had visitors, the guys have had some sort of event that has moved them backwards, & we WILL NOT take any unneccary chances with them. I just hate that people who I generally respect & find solace in are acting like spoiled children right now-- I want them to see where we're coming from, but I don't know if that's possible.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Update & Frustrated Rant

They moved the boys today to a different part of the NICU. It's their "Special Care" Unit... still intensive care, but for babies who are fairly stable. Val is still in a "crib" but back on 2L of flow thru his cannula. He does fine on lower flow & room o2 levels until he eats... digestion takes up so much energy for him that he starts desat-ing( this means his blood oxygen levels drop too much, for those not familiar with NICU terms) & they increase his flow & o2. Con had to go back into an isolette in the wee small hours this morning.... he was having a hard time maintaining his body temp. They're trying to wean him back to the crib tonight. Val did awesome breastfeeding this morning, but was too exhausted to suck when we tried again this afternoon. Con was super sleepy & not into it this afternoon either, so we'll try again with him when we go back to the hospital tonight. Both guys are now getting all breastmilk for all their feedings (all feedings are still gavage for both) but they are digesting it all MUCH better-- far fewer residuals (food left in their tummy) & jaundice quickly disappearing.
In "mom" related health news (much less interesting): they kept me extra day in the hospital & hesitated releasing me yesterday as well. My blood pressure is still awful (170/110 on Monday, & now is less high but still up there ever since. like 150ish/90ish). They've got me on lasix & blood pressure meds (both safe for breastfeeding) & constant d/a's til they figure out what's going on. Til then, I'm supposed to be taking it "easy". Yeah, right.

Rant coming up: Sometimes I wish the only family we had was our little family-- me, N & the guys (& my mom). My mom has been the only consistently reliable & completely understanding support person we have lately. My dad seems fairly oblivious allot of the time. My brother finally came up to visit, but I seriously doubt that he came to see us or his nephews. He came because he couldn't afford to fix his truck (my dad's truck, really) & wants my folks to pay for another year of tuition (he's turning 25). My dad seems to expect us to do command performances of the babies, which is infuriating me. How often to I have to explain that they are NOT normal newborns? One of my sons requires oxygen to breathe, & the other is in a plastic box. They eat through a tube in their nose. Visitors wake them up & take away energy they need to learn to eat, breathe, stay warm, suck & swallow. Our days are dictated by the boys' schedule & needs-- they are our ONLY priority. I don't care if you want to "show off" the kids. They need rest & quiet, & if we have to alienate everyone we know to keep the boys healthy & moving forward then that's what we'll do. We lost 2 babies & went through a year of hellish medical testing & almost 8 mos. of a very difficult pregnancy to bring these boys here, & we are fully prepared to kick any amount of a** we need to in order to care for our guys.

& to everyone who's told us to "get some rest while the boys are in the hospital": you have GOT to be kidding. No, we don't get tons of rest--I have to get up every 3 hrs to pump, & N is amazing & gets up with me to help & clean up. We spend pretty much all day in the NICU next to our babies, not bc we HAVE to, but bc there is no where else we want to be. No matter where we are or what we're doing, my heart & thoughts are with my sons, & it is far more stressful to be away from them. Anyone who thinks that NICU time is better spent in mom & dad staying home & "getting rest" has never had a child in the NICU.

&, no offense here, but I feel that no one has any right to make demands of us right now. We will NOT be accommodating any one's schedule but Val & Conrad's. period. They are OUR boys. Mine & N's, & no one has fought harder or loves them more than the 2 of us. No one wants them home & healthy more than us, but we will NOT rush them or put them at risk by trying to speed things up for selfish reasons. All we ask is that everyone be patient & make no demands or requests of us right now. My mom has done nothing but help, & has never questioned or doubted us or our judgement when it comes to the boys. She hasn't expressed disappointment or complained or asked anything of us, but she is the only one.

Sigh. I really needed that rant. If you know me in real life & read this-- don't be offended, just cut us some slack. We're doing our best.

Monday, March 23, 2009

The 2 Most Perfect People in My World

Valentin working his paci after his first bath
Val all stretched out.

Conrad snoozing & airing it all out.

NICU Update

We spent all morning with the boys. Both guys had an ultrasound on their spine, we're waiting on results, but we should get them back today. Absolutely hated seeing my sweet boys covered in blue goo & miserable... Val screamed every time I had to let go of him.
Pumping is getting better-- both guys are now getting about 2/3 breastmilk at every feeding. N has been awesome helping me pump-- sets everything up, cleans everything up & keeps a log for us.
They upped their feedings to 35cc's (their max until they start gaining weight) & Con's bilirubin levels are headed down, but Val's still need to be monitored. They're planning on moving both guys to cribs tomorrow... we'll see how that goes.
It stresses N & I to see things moving so quickly, but we're trusting the NICU folks to read the boys' cues & make sure they're being appropriately challenged but not stressed. Val is back on room air at 2L, & they're going to work on decreasing the flow today, since he's not desat-ing nearly as much. His nose is looking better as well (no more blood clots & the swelling is going down).
Con is doing well at the breast-- definetly interested & even got a solid latch once or twice & some good practice sucks. We're going to try Val for the first time this afternoon. Bc we want to breast feed, they won't introduce a bottle until they're latching well & getting some milk at breast feedings. I think we're scheduling a consult with the lactation consultant for tomorrow, so hopefully that will help, since this is my first try breastfeeding as well.
I'm almost writing this more as a log for myself... sorry if it's a bit dis-jointed. N & I are waiting on lunch, then a quick nap, then some pumping, then back to the NICU for kangaroo time & breast feeding with the dudes. We pry won't leave the hospital until after dinner, & will be back up here for their 9pm feeding. Thank God we live so close!
I'm finding myself increasingly frustrated with anything & anyone who interferes with my ability to be with my boys & pump for them. It seems so hard for some people to get that NICU babies are pretty much all-absorbing. & we have twins, so the pumping time, kangaroo time, breast feeding time all are increased-- there just aren't enough hours in the day to keep other people happy & care for my kids & keep my sanity. So of course, "other people" are out the window-- i have to be sane to care for my boys, & they are our only priority right now. I wish people would get it.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading the ramble... as you can tell, nap time is much needed! :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Is there such a thing as overzealous NICU parents? N & I are there as often as we can be & do everything the nurses let us-- change diapers, dress them, swaddle them, take temps, kangaroo care as often as possible, pump every 2 hrs, etc, etc. We basically never see other parents... where are they all? The nurses haven't complained about how often we hang out (although some of them seem confused about how content we are just to sit next to their isolettes & some of them seem genuinely happy to see us so often... depends on the nurse.) We basically jsut made the boys dictators of our schedule-- we sleep when they sleep (or blog when they sleep, in this case!) & hang out when they're up. We don't want to step on any toes, but they are OUR kids. & we're there so often, I wonder why we so rarely run into anyone else... especially bc most of the babies are on similar feeding schedules.

We get discharged tomorrow night... totally dreading it. (Although I miss my bed & critters, I'll miss my boys more.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Our Boys

Valentin Nolan, 4lb 15oz, 17 inches, 10:37am, March 19, 2009, (Val)

Conrad Michael, 5lbs 2oz, 18 3/4 inches, 10:39am, March 19, 200, (Con)

Val holding N's thumb and working his paci.

Both guys are doing great-- Con went on room air last night at midnight & has been doing amazing on it since. (Very few episodes of apnea & fewer brady's-- most self-recovering.) He ripped out his feeding tube so many times they switched it to his nose (he's still ripping it out, but isn't ready to go off it yet, so he's stuck for a while.) Val is on 1liter of oxygen still, but at 21% (very low) but he's working a little harder to breathe, so we don't want to rush him. He's also having some bloody nose/snot issues. The bloody noses are likely bc his nasal cannula is drying, so they added a humidifier this afternoon & he seems to be much more comfy now. The snot he's still working out from the c-sec (amniotic fluid doesn't get squeezed out of their lungs during a c-sec like it would in a normal birth). All their chest x-rays are clear so far. Their arms are splinted to keep their IV's in & secure.
They're both doing really well on their feedings so far, so if they keep it up (no major spitting up & make sure they're digesting everything) they'll be weaned off their IV's at 3am tonight. (fingers crossed! Altho they will leave a track line in just in case.) Their issoletes are still keeping them warm. They need to be able to maintain their body temps at 27deg Celsius before they can try a big boy crib, & right now Val's is around 30 & Con's is set at 31.5. Tomorrow they think we might be able to put them to breast for the first time. (They won't get much, if anything, but it's good practice for them & me.)
They each have a "dimple" at the base of their spines (Con's is slightly larger) & they're having u/s on Monday to make sure the dimples are merely that-- the docs want to make sure the skin is closed over them & that their spinal cords aren't affected. It's likely just a precaution, but we want to be sure.
I know there's more, but that's the basic NICU update. I'm a little nervous that they're progressing so quickly, but thrilled at the same time. We just want to be sure they move at their own paces.
& on their names: N picked their first names out of 2 of his fav books, "Nolan" is after their daddy, & "Michael" is after both grampa's. (& for those of you wondering-- Valentin is pronounced: "Val-en-teen"). Sorry to keep you all in suspense, but I couldn't resist teasing you guys a bit longer! :)

Birth Story

Quickie update: the boys are both ok, & I'm sore, but doing ok as well. We're spending every waking minute we can in the NICU or pumping for the guys, so I will be in & out very erratically, but wanted to update while I have a sec (am waiting on a nurse. my blood pressure has been really crazy, so I promised I'd wait in my room this time until 5:30 so they can get a BP measurement before we go back to see the guys.)

Birth Story in brief: My water broke (& it was VERY obvious what it was! no doubts about peeing) at 4:35 am on Thursday morning. We got to L&D, called our OB (who got up & came in ASAP) & got a quick check on the guys. They were fine, but my blood pressure was through the roof. They let me labor until I was 5-6 cm dilated, then Baby B turned back down transverse & my rising BP made a c-sec neccessary ASAP. A half hour later, we were in the delivery OR, & baby A was born at 10:37 am, March 19, 2009, followed 2 minutes later by his brother. Both went straight to the NICU, & have been there ever since, learning how to breathe, eat & stay warm on their own. For now, I just wanted to let you all know we're doing ok-- a detailed update on the dudes will have to wait for antoher installment, since the nurse just left & we're going to kangaroo the kids.

Both boys have completely changed our lives-- they are the most perfect people I've ever seen, & the love I feel for them is beyond descpription. We're being very selfish with our time-- the guys dictate our schedule each day. N & I are doing everything we can to help them along, which at this point is offering kangaroo care as often as we can, & pumping like my life depends on it. Please keep the prayers coming! It's still early yet, & the docs are predicting around 4 weeks in the NICU.

N, me, & our beautiful boys. (baby A is on left, baby B is on right. oh, their names? stay tuned!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wedding Pics (just for fun)

Dancing, "grumping", & laughing with N at our wedding.

N carrying me over the mud, all smiles, leaving the church as husband & wife.

My very handsome hubby & me posing before the ceremony.

I've been a little rough on N lately, so I thought I'd indulge myself & post some pics from one of the best days of my life. These are pics of pics bc our photographer only works in film, so they aren't the best, but give the general idea. We wanted all candids, so other than the posed shots of N & me by the window, & the pic of my bridesmaids, she caught all the others on the fly.
With all that's been going on lately, it's become too easy to neglect the man who's helped me chase my dreams & never asked for anything in return. I just needed a reminder of how incredibly lucky I felt on our wedding day, & how lucky I am still.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Boys' Update

For those who haven't seen our update yet: the pre-e is slightly worse, but not bad enough to outweigh the prematurity issue yet so that's good news. The guys' NST was "a little nonreactive" but because we also had a biophysical profile done, which came out just fine, they're letting us keep them where they are for now. Blood flow through the placentas was still good (yay!!) We have a growth scan at our appointment with out peri. on Thursday morning, so we'll have a better idea of whether the pre-e is affecting their growth then. & then Friday we have another NST & appointment with our OB to check BP, protein levels, etc.
They told us today to start bringing our hospital bag to every appointment, as if any one thing gets worse (worse headaches, even!) they'll deliver ASAP to keep the boys healthy. Contrax are still here, & getting worse little by little. The cervical issues are now basically non-issues due to the pre-e, since the pre-e will likely speed things up regardless of an absent cervix. (so at least there's only 1 issue to worry about now-- there's a silver lining to eveything!)
I'm starting to get used to the idea that they'll likely be coming sooner than we hoped, & as has been pointed out-- they are in WAY better shape now than we were a few months ago, & when all is said & done we'll do whatever needs to be done to keep the guys healthy. Saturday will be 34 weeks, hopefully we'll be around til then!
I'll try & find a broader topic tomorrow, but I thought I'd update tonight. :)

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Meaning of Life

Does everything really happen for a reason? I hear it all the time, I say it all the time, but is it true?

If I had never gone to law school & taken that stupid job in Chicago, would I never have realized what it was I really wanted out of life? Would I have still been too preoccupied with pleasing everyone else to realize happiness when it came by?
If I had never dated the abusive jerks I kept finding in college, would I not have known what an amazing man N was when he finally came along?
If my dad hadn't finally gotten honest about his drinking, would I truly know him the way I do now?
If N & I had never lost our 1st 2 babies, would we treasure the opportunity to be parents the way we do now?

I can find silver linings to all of the above, in one way or another, but there are so many other circumstances that I just can't see the end to yet.
Why have N's sisters & my brother deserted our families?
Why did N lose him mom when he was so young?
Why was my dad an alcoholic for so long? Yes, things are better now, but would they have been even better if he had never drank?

Are the events on our lives just a random conflagration of circumstances, with no overarching meaning behind them? Are my assertions that "everything happens for a reason" merely a way to find meaning out of nothing? I suppose they could be, but I choose not to believe that all this is meaningless. I want to believe in a greater good, & holding onto hope that the meaning will come clear if I keep moving forward helps to keep me putting one foot in front of the other.
Why have we had to struggle so with this pregnancy?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Obsessive Ruminating on Pre-E

So I think I have a cold. My throat is sore, I'm all stuffy & snotty (sorry, I know that's gross, but I figured since I already threw the words "mucus plug" out there, a little snot couldn't be much worse!), & I have a headache & am totally nauseous. Although those last 2 are probably the pre-e, which also generally makes you feel like crap. Normally I wouldn't be super concerned about a cold, but I have this random fear that if the boys have to be born this week & I'm sick, that I won't get to see them. (I'm totally going to go obsessively google this in a minute, which will probably NOT help, but I'll do it anyways.) I've also been obsessively watching my weight since we got home & checking for signs of increased puffiness in my face & hands. Is a lb a day acceptable for a pre-e preggo? Who knows.... I still have a double chin, & my hands are all dimpled (usually they're skeletal) but I think that's how I left the hospital. The docs all seemed very confident that if things got worse, I would KNOW. So I think I'm ok, & just super paranoid.

Arg. I hate being sick, & I especially hate problems that have no defined course. Our peri explained pre-e to us as a "syndrome"; a collection of problems that taken together tend to follow a certain course & have been given the name pre-e. The signs of this stupid "syndrome" are so random & scattered, it's really hard to keep track of at home unless it gets bad. For instance-- while high blood pressure & rapid weight gain (like 10+lbs in a week) are indicators, so is protein in your urine (can 't track that at home), & hyper-reactive reflexes (found this out when everyone kept banging on my legs & then ducking so they didn't inadvertently get kicked by my wildly flailing limbs), & headaches (but these are also normal for pg, so aren't the best way to tell) & seeing spots or lights (ok, maybe when this started happening I should have done something) or blurry vision. There's also all kinds of things that go wrong with your liver & kidneys, & clearly we can't monitor any of that at home either. Sigh.... I'm dreading Tuesday bc I don't want things to have gotten worse, but at the same time I'm so anxious to check on my guys that Tuesday really can't get here fast enough.

Some random pre-e facts I thought were kind of interesting: this particular pg problem could actually be dad's fault. (I found this kinda funny, as so far everything that's caused problems for us has been unequivocally my body acting up, so I was glad to tease N that this one was all on him!) They think pre-e happens when the babies (or baby) start requiring more blood than their placentas can supply. So mom's body raises her blood pressure to increase blood flow through the placentas, which somehow also affects mom's platelet count, & her kidney & liver function (that part gets really technical & medical). But bc they think the whole thing is kicked off by hormonal changes in the placentas that tell mom's body to kick into high gear, & dad's genes are in the placenta as well, it could be dad's fault. (It seems there are studies that show some women develop pre-e with certain babies' daddies & not others, leading to the prediction pre-e may have something to do with dad's genetics.)
So really, pre-e is just mom's body trying to be a good mother by sacrificing mom's health for the health of the babies. Which would be fine, except that once mom gets sick enough, the babies get sick too. Which is why we have so many tests on Tuesday-- they're going to be looking at the blood profusion through the placentas, which I'm told is the first indicator that the babies aren't tolerating all this very well. We also have an NST for the dudes, & cervical check for me, since if all these contrax are further shrinking/dilating my cervix, we may not have much longer regardless of the pre-e.

Speaking of contrax... I had horrid, very uncomfortable (bordering on painful) that required that I "breathe through them" all yesterday. (I had no idea what they meant by "breathe through a contraction until I found myself actually doing it... kinda weird.) Anyways, they were like 20 mins apart ALL DAY. Exhausting. Although they finally let up when I went to bed.

I feel like we're on borrowed time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kung Fu & Thanks!

I wanted to start with some thanks today, so thank you to everyone who sent a kind comment or email or post our way. N & I appreciate the support so much! It may seem silly that "online" friends are such a source of comfort, but you all absolutely are-- there is no substitute for people who've walked in your shoes & not only sympathize, but truly empathize with your struggles & I'm grateful know such a supportive group of women.
I have some public thanks I want to throw out here too... I hope you guys don't mind! I just think good deeds should get some recognition every so often! :)

Special Thanks: to Mandy, for all her kind prayers, & enlisting so many others on behalf of our little guys. I really hope we get a chance to meet up this summer, so I can thank you in person!

Extra Special Thanks: to Kim, my pre-term mommy guru. From our first PTL scare at 26 weeks right up til now, you've never wavered in offering support & guidance, no matter how hectic your own life got. Even now, when you could tell me to stuff it with all the whining about our NICU fears, since we're looking at days or weeks & you went through months, you've never said a harsh word & have offered us nothing but comfort. N & I have followed the Cman's progress from day 1, & now even N takes your advice as gospel!
Kim also sent us some very cute preemie sized clothes & diapers that her handsome little man no longer fits into. They are adorable & hopefully will see the guys through their first few weeks. Thanks so much Kim! You've been so generous! Not only with the clothes, but with your time & I appreciate it more than I can say.

In health related news: looks like we'll be spending all of St.Patricks day in the hospital have a bunch of tests done to make sure the boys are coping well with the pre-e. Til then, I'm supposed to be spending 4-6 hrs every day being completely horizontal to help keep my BP down. Enter the Dragon is on in HD right now, so I'm going to catch up on my blog reading & then lay down for a nice long round of kung fu! (I LOVE LOVE LOVE kung fu movies.... I know, it's weird. But it makes me happy!)

Hopefully I'll be back to more interesting posts soon, but for now I'm kind of consumed with thoughts of my boys... sorry guys, hang in there-- I'll get interesting again eventually! :)

Friday, March 13, 2009


We're home! The pre-e is moving slowly for now, so they let us go & will monitor me from home. (so now we REALLY have a lot of doc appts! but is worth it to have my own bed & boys still baking!)
The boys are still doing well. We didn't get the results of the 24 hr urine collection (sorry, I know thats gross) yet, but we'll just go back in if need be.
All our docs independantly predicted that we'll be delivering sometime in the next week to two weeks at the longest, so we're likely looking at some NICU time, but the prognosis is good for 33 week twins so N & I trying really hard to stay positive. The contrax & everything else just seem to be pointing to my body giving up (docs didn't phrase it that way, but that's the gist.) so they won't do anything drastic medically to try to stop labor if it starts again.
I'm totally wiped out & going to crash for a bit (or try, at least) but wanted to update first & let you all know we're ok & still hanging in!
Thank you all so much for all the kind thoughts & prayers! ((hugs))

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pre-E Update

N just left for the night (unless I have to call him back in, there's no reason for both of us to go sleepless tonight!) so I thought I'd update while I still have the hospital laptop.

My BP is still all wonky, & my kidneys aren't doing great. Earlier this evening I started having pretty bad regular contractions, so the on call doc got me a shot of drugs to try to stop the contractions, which worked-- thank God!! However, if they come back, unless everything else has settled down, they won't be stopping them. Apparently they're worried bc there are too many signs my body is "shutting down" to let any one thing get too out of control at this point. The boys are still doing well (& really, that's all that matters to me) so I'm ok for now.

I know that if we had to deliver at this point, their prognosis is pretty good, but it still terrifies me. We want these babies so badly, we've worked so hard, & it breaks my heart to think that it's my body's inability to cope that is putting them at risk. I trust our docs, & we're in a great hospital with an excellent NICU, but it's still scary. We already love these kids more than I can say, & I hate watching N be so afraid for me & the boys. He's been a total rock today, & is calling into work tomorrow, just in case, since we won't know much until we get more labs back & see our peri.

In other random news, I'm hooked up to so many monitors it's insane... I even have these sweet leg cuffs that keep inflating (they're worried about DVT, since I have a history & am so swollen & am strict bedrest.) They're like a blood pressure cuff on your legs & I have to wear them all night. & they go off constantly. On alternating legs. & I have a real BP cuff that inflates periodically & threatens to squeeze my arm off. Sleeping is going to be SOOO restful tonight. :P
It's all worth it to keep the boys healthy, but I feel like the bionic woman.

That's all I have.... I'm going to go back to watching Grease (yay for cheesy musicals on hospital tv!) & keep hoping for the best. Thank you all for your kind thoughts & words. If it's not too much to ask, please keep the good thoughtsfor my little guys coming. With any luck we'll keep them baking a bit longer.


This is the only place I can get to from the hossy computer to update, so here's all I know for now:

I got admitted for pre-ecclampsia this morning (12 lb weight gain in 5 days, high BP, & a bunch of other pre-e symptoms). I'm here at least until tomorrow & we won't know for sure what's up til then unless things go south fast (which we're told can happen with pre-e). We just got labs back & so far my liver & kidney function are in normal ranges, which is good news & means the pre-e probably isn't progressing super fast right now. The boys are doing well. It's just a mattter of figuring out how long we can safely keep them before we have to deliver at this point, since the only cure for pre-e is delivery. I'll update when I can, but for now please keep my guys in your thoughts & prayers. Thanks!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm a Bad Wife

N's family have been going through some difficult times lately, & while we talked about it alot initially, it's a pretty upsetting topic for both of us so I've let it drop lately. N has been pretty quiet the past few days & playing a lot of video games (something he tends to do when stressed) but because he likes to ruminate on things by himself for a while & has a stressful job, I haven't thought much about it, other than to complain (on the blog-- not to him!) about the video game playing. In fact, he's been worried & really down about his family situation, & I haven't bothered to ask him what's going on, instead assuming its the usual work crap.
The truth is, I have been so preoocupied with my own crap-- how I'm feeling, how the boys are, etc-- that I haven't been paying as much attention to N as I usually do (as I should). I feel like such a bad wife, & a bad friend to my amazing husband. Just because I feel miserable doesn't give me carte blanche to neglect his feelings, & I feel totally rotten for being so self-centered lately.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Infertility vs. Recurrent Miscarriage

I realized when going through my blog reader this morning that we seem to be separated into 2 groups-- the infertiles & those of us who've suffered losses. Even among women who've experienced both, we seem to pick a "home" & stay there, identifying ourselves either as infertile or someone who's suffered a loss. My insurance even separates the two (infertility treatments are not covered, but treatment for recurrent pregnancy loss is.) So why the division?
Do we identify with the experience that affected us most profoundly? After 2 losses, N & I were technically infertile since I didn't ovulate on my own. (I won't pretend that our experience with infertility was anywhere near as extreme as so many other's & I do not mean to compare us with couples who've gone through injectables or IVF, I'm just making a point.) I still identified most with other women who'd suffered losses & didn't feel I belonged in the community of infertiles.
Even though our bout with "infertility" was technically brief, I felt it was compounded by the 2 years of losses, and yet I heard all the time from well-meaning folks (including some infertiles) that "at least we could get pregnant" as though 2 failed pregnancies in 2 years somehow made us one of the "fertiles." While I know that some women who consider themselves infertile yearn for the ability to get pregnant without meds, I also know women who can get pregnant who wish just as hard for the ability to STAY pregnant & would gladly use any meds available if it meant they could keep their child.
I'm not sure exactly where I'm headed with all this, other than to say that to my thinking at least, recurrent pregnancy loss IS a form of infertility. Does a women who goes through 2 years of medical treatments that result in one healthy pregnancy suffer any more than the woman who experiences repeated losses for 2 years before finally achieving a healthy pregnancy, or the woman who goes through 2 years of waiting on an adoptive parent list? I don't think so. & yet there remains a divide in the community. Why?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Our First "Baby"

This is why I wanted the baby stuff set up early! My mom set up the pack n play, we turned around for 30 seconds, & Chunk made it his new bed! We kicked him out, & I covered the inside with tinfoil (at the suggestions of the woman who taught our childcare class) & it worked-- he tried it once, got freaked out by the foil & hasn't got in it again. Still, he was pretty cute, so I had to get a picture!

Forgive Me...

for what I am about to write. I know I've ranted about complainers, & my opinions haven't changed, but I have to vent somewhere & I hate to do it on the board, so if you don't want to hear it, please stop reading now, because this girl needs to vent!

I HURT. Everywhere. I woke up this morning feeling as bad as I usually do at the end of the day, & I don't think that bodes well for today. Every joint in my body aches. My back & every bone from the hip down feel like its been snapped in two. My pelvic bones are so sore that it almost puts me in tears to turn over or stand up. Even sitting down & getting up from the stupid toilet is torture. Last night my back seized up as I was trying to get off the couch & I was stuck there crying until N got back. My feet feel like walking bruises & my poor hands are practically arthritic claws. I get stuck all the d***n time because I'm just in too much pain to move. My legs are so bad that they don't quite work right anymore & I fall into things. (I haven't actually made a full trip to the ground yet, knock wood.) The contrax are getting increasingly painful & leave me doubled up & gasping for breath. In short, I HURT.

As ridiculous as it sounds, I really am grateful to be this miserable because it means my guys are right where they should be. I know what the alternatives are to all this, & I'll take the pain if it means my boys will stay healthy & baking for a few more weeks. But my nerves are completely raw at this point. It takes so much energy just to keep from crying & attempt to act normal through this that I am mentally & physically wiped out. I feel awful for being so snappy & impatient with everyone & I'm trying to keep from turning into a psycho b****, but it's getting tough.

To anyone who read this & wants to punch me right now for whining when I really am incredibly lucky to be going through this, I totally sympathize & I'm sorry. Please be kind in comments, I know how obnoxious it is for me to complain, but I cry enough lately.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Random Updates

Nothing too exciting today, so just some updates:
  • In response to Amanda-- girl, the stretch marks are there, just not on my belly!! :P & they ain't pretty... this will NOT be the summer Kate gets back in a bathing suit!
  • & on the c-section vs. vaginal delivery debate-- at this point, its up to the boys (& my doc's expertise, of course) If possible, we REALLY want a vaginal delivery & my doc is 100% supportive of that, with certain caveats: we have to get past 35 weeks, both boys need to be head down & comparable in size (baby B can't be much bigger than A, since A is on the bottom), & the boys need to tolerate labor well. If we get to try it, I'll have to be monitored pretty closely so no jacuzzi etc. for us. If we don't meet any one of the conditions for a vag. delivery, then we're c-section bound. We have a lot of trust in our docs, so both N & I are pretty comfortable following their recommendations. I'm super nervous about either option, honestly. Since we're dealing with multiples, both situations have their benefits & risks, so I'm all freaked out either way-- basically whatever is best for the boys is what we'll do, we aren't wedded to any specific birth plan.
  • my mom picked up some super fun fabric for the curtains & crib skirts in the boys' room-- I'm very excited to see the finished product!
  • N & I just got a new TV (our old one was dying a slow death) so we decided to save & splurge since we'll be spending a lot of time at home over the next year or so. It's a pretty sweet TV & N was all excited to set it up as soon as he got home with it.
  • Unlike the TV, I cannot get N to set up the pack n play or move around some chairs to put up baby stuff. I would really like this done so we can get the critters used to having it around (our partially blind kitty will need some adjusting time to the new arrangement & the birds will need to get over the change & get their screaming protests out before the boys get here.) But instead of setting up stuff, he's upstairs playing video games. Grrrrr.... I feel like such a nag to keep asking him to set it up & I'd love to be able to just do it myself, but I can't & am getting annoyed. Sigh... he's been so patient with the bedrest situation that I hate to add jobs to his list, but some one has to put this stuff together, right?
  • There are some UFC fights on tonight, & while the card isn't the best, it could be the last fights we watch just the 2 of us! Holy crap... I think it's starting to sink in a bit....

Friday, March 6, 2009

3 Weeks...

at the longest. After our check on the dudes today, the docs are guessing we'll go sometime between now & the next 3 weeks. I know if the meds stop working for the contractions we're running out of options, & I know that if they're getting stressed it's better for them to be out than in, but I'm still praying for those 3 weeks.
TMI coming up, so if you don't want to read pregnancy details, stop now! I am indeed losing my mucus plug bit by bit, my cervix is still shortening (but slowly, thank God!), & the dudes are both head down, with baby A way down in my pelvis, & with the extra contractions & *ahem* bowel issues I've been ahving the past few days, the docs seem to think the guys are getting ready. I'm still hoping we'll hang on longer (it can happen!!) so I'll be keeping my fingers permanently crossed from now on. It might make it harder to type, but it's a small price to pay! :P

And now for some belly pics:

almost 32 weeks. Can you tell they've shifted down? I can't...

and from the front (looking a little less lopsided I think...)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Do Our Kids Have a Job?

I was watching the Dr. Phil show with the octuplet mom, in which he told her babies should not be born with a "job", (i.e. you shouldn't have kids to fulfill a gap or need in your own life), & it got me thinking.

I know that after our losses, I was more determined than ever to be a mom (either through adoption or biology) & that the feelings I had were shared by alot of women in similar situations. Does this mean we (I won't presume to speak for anyone else, so assume "we" means N & me) had an agenda in getting pregnant again? In my heart of hearts, I don't think so. It really bothers me to hear people say we're having twins to make up for the two we lost-- in my mind, all our kids are irreplaceable.

But can we say with certainty that we would have persued parenthood this devoutly if we had never lost our first two? Did I want to be pregnant again to fill the gaping hole those losses left in my heart? In all honesty, I can't say that the losses played no part in our decision making process. At the same time though, I have no expectations for these boys other than wishing them to be healthy kids.

& all this got me thinking further-- why do we want kids in the first place? Think about it-- it's harder to quantify than you might think.

I've always wanted kids, always seen myself as a mom one day, but why? Would I be less of a person, less of a woman, if we never had kids? I don't think so, but I also know how incomplete I would feel if N & I didn't have our own family. Kids have always been in our plans.

But when I try to coherently fill in the blank: "I want to have children because ________", I get stuck trying to put into words WHY.

I want to have children because:

- building a family with N is an expression of our love & commitment to each other.

- I believe God intended us to raise children.

- I feel somehow called to be a mom. (see what I mean about being hard to quantify?)

The reasons go on, but they get harder & harder to put into words although they are very real reasons to me & N. Can you confidently fill in the blank? I know in my heart & soul that building a family is part of our future & the right choice for us, but the WHY behind that feeling is much harder to describe.

Is It Fear?

I have felt "off" the past week or so. There's been some random pregnancy related changes-- more contractions (every 20-15 minutes for hours on end-- this is super annoying, as they hurt & don't let me rest), less movement from the guys, some crazy swelling, headaches, bizarrely rapid weight gain, still can't sleep, everything still hurts, etc. I think a lot of this crap is just because I'm huge (measuring 44weeks if you want to compare to a singleton pregnancy), & I guess there is enough physical stuff going on for me to be feeling "off" solely because of that. But I find myself hesitating to call my doctors about this stuff. If a friend told me she hadn't felt movement in 12 hrs, I'd tell her to call... & yet, I hesitate. (TMI coming up) Earlier this week, I passed a snot-ball (I refuse to call it a mucus plug since we don't know & I don't want to think that's what it was) & talked N out of calling the doc since I could still feel the boys moving a bit (or at least that's how I justified not calling.) I'm starting to feel a little crazy.
Why do I do this? I'm terrified of anything happening to our boys, & I would do anything to keep them healthy, & yet increasingly I find myself paralyzed when it comes to taking any kind of action when something wonky happens. What is wrong with me?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Cat's Eye View

For Christmas our friend L (a fellow animal nut) got us a "pet's eye view" camera & I finally took it out of the box this morning & hung it on Digger's collar. Most of the pics were a blurry mess, but it was pretty funny to see anyways. Here are the best shots of my cat's life between 9 & 10 this morning:

Gazing at a table. (We have 5 shots of this. Digs apparently really enjoyed thsi view.)
Watching Felon take a bath

A blurry pic of Diggers stalking Felon (Felon is the dark blob in the middle)

Digger' food bowl (blurry, because Dig eats like a little piggy!)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Our Dilemma Continued...

Since apparently I'm not the only one facing a career-related dilemma I thought I'd throw out some more thoughts on the topic.
I'm in a similar situation as Mandy (see her comment below) regarding early childhood ed. I enjoy it, I'm pretty good at it, but is it enough? Could I teach pre-school for the next 20 years & be genuinely satisfied & happy? & like Kim (see her post below) what if I get the radiology certification & then end up in a health care situation I don't want to be in? While I could almost certainly get a job in radiology (& honestly, that is one of the main draws), & I would probably be reasonable happy with the work, what if I ended up at a hospital instead of a clinic & work hours as weird as N's?
The problem for both these options, for me at least, is that they feel like settling. I've already had one job that I worked strictly for the money, & I was never more miserable in my life. I could probably be reasonably happy in either childcare or a health care field, but is that enough? Is it fair to put my family deeper into debt by racking up more student loans & go after the master's degree with very few job options (if any) available? Is it time for me to just grow up already & do the responsible thing & go after employment instead of a dream job?
My mom stumbled into her career out of necessity, & ended up being very successful & happy in it, so I know that sometimes doing what you need to do can lead to doing what you want...

Honestly, part of me feels a little selfish for mourning the loss of a dream career when I know how lucky I am in the rest of my life. Is it really fair to want it all? Or should we be satisfied with all we already have?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prelude To My Dilemma

When I was 18, I wanted to be a lawyer. I would graduate college, go straight into law school, get a job in Chicago when I finished law school, marry another lawyer or similar professional & have kids sometime after 30.

Everything started off according to plan-- I graduated college early, spent a semester in Italy, went straight to law school, got the big job in Chicago, was dating the "right" kind of professional, & was on my way to having everything I said I'd wanted. Except I hated my life-- I hated the job, I didn't like living in the city (I really missed green space-- I've never since underestimated the charms of grass!), & the guy (while nice enough) just didn't "fit" with the people who really mattered to me. But I kept on, thinking of all the people I'd disappoint by walking away. & so I continued until my life fell apart.

I met N on a trip home to Michigan, & despite all my best efforts, fell completely in love with a cop from a hick town who was living in the city where I swore I'd never live again. We did the long-distance thing for too long while we tried to figure out where to live. My dad got honest about his drinking, nearly tearing apart our family, work got increasingly miserable. N & I lost our first child right in the midst of this. It was then that I finally gave up on the life I thought I should have, & went after the life I wanted.

I moved home to Michigan, & in with N. I was able to be there for the healing process as my dad got sober. N & I got married, & he encouraged me to go back to school, this time for something I wanted to do (someday I'll write about why I went to law school in the first place, but now isn't the time). I found the perfect master's program at our hometown university & enrolled in the historic preservation program, which I loved. I worked on a project in the field (documenting a historic farm) & was even happier with my chosen profession-to-be.

Around this time, N & I got pregnant again & I thought I really was about to have everything I'd always wanted-- a family of my own, my wonderful husband & a career I actually enjoyed. & then we lost our son. & I got sick. Sick in my mind, my heart, & my body. I had an infection from a botched D&C & had to withdraw from classes temporarily. After loads of tests, we decided not to wait to TTC & eventually found ourselves pregnant again-- with twins! By this time, I was back in school part time & had finally found a job I liked (no easy feat in Michigan's economy) teaching pre-school. We found out we were considered a high risk pregnancy & have spent almost this entire pregnancy on restrictions & now bedrest (I'm not complaining, it's just the facts.) So I had to resign my job & again take a break from classes.

Because I don't want to practise law ever again (& can't get a job here anyways-- believe me, I tried. Everyone is laying off lawyers, not hiring.) & because what I was making as a pre-school teacher (the only other profession I have any worthwhile experience in) is barely enough to cover the cost of childcare for 2 infants, we decided I would stay home with the boys for their first few years while I finished school. By the time I'm done, they should be headed to pre-school anyways, & I can head back to work.

My Dilemma:

& now here's the reason for my long drawn out story about the past 6 years-- I'd like to go back to school in the fall. However, Michigan has cut funding to essentially every place that would hire a preservationist. The private arenas are hurting as well-- there's no money for land trusts to hire, museums are cutting back; in short, it's not looking good. I already have plenty of student loans from law school that N (bless his heart) is covering while I'm not working & we do NOT want to add to the total, especially with yet another degree that I can't use.

Alternatively, I could get my CDA so I'd make more $ teaching pre-school (assuming I could find a teaching job again), or get certified in radiology or a medical trade (where I probably could find a job). Leaving Michigan isn't an option for us, and while we can make things work on one income, we want the security & freedom that 2 would give us (even if I only work part-time).

N will support my decision whether I stick with preservation or change careers, & I feel like the responsible thing to do is to chose the path that will lead me to a job, even if it's not my dream job. Right?

(At the same time, I can't help but feel a bit like an a** for having all these stupid degrees I'll never use... & while I'll gladly sacrifice my career for our family, I can't say it doesn't hurt a little to have to give it up.)

26 days...

until we reach 35 weeks!!!!!! woo-hoo!!!!

35 weeks has been my personal goal since our weekend in the hospital & the docs slowed things down with the wonder-drugs, & I really think (knock wood) that we'll make it. Our dudes are doing great (knock wood again) & my body is actually mostly cooperating (& knock wood once more) & I am so hopeful.