Saturday, December 29, 2012

18-week appointment

It went well. Truly as good as it could go. They measured fluid and my cervix and looked at the babies bladders (I guess this would give them clues to possible TTTS). Fluid looks good - Baby B's fluid is slightly lower but only by 1cm compared to Baby A's. They don't start being concerned until there is a 3cm difference between the two. My cervix is awesome - probably the best thing I have going for me. In fact, my doomsday self was wondering if a bed rest order would come with this appointment. Instead, she told me I have no restrictions at all on activity or lifting...that it is even okay to lift my 33lb daughter occasionally. Bladders look good. This wasn't a growth scan, but she did say that although Baby B is still smaller, the difference between the two did not appear to be much different than the previous appointment. Next appointment is scheduled for January 7th and that will be a full-blown growth scan.

We spent the day recovering for a very busy holiday. Pajama day for everybody. Unfortunately by 6PM I was feeling pretty bad. Cramping, tight...I was concerned. It lasted for about 5 hours. If I hadn't had the appointment in the morning with my awesome cervix, I probably would have taken a stroll down the street to the hospital. But here I am awake the next morning, feeling normal. And about to eat some pizza as I skipped dinner last night after not feeling well. The only bad news from today's appointment - no weight gain from the previous appointment. I thought for sure there was...she asked me to weigh myself in the bathroom. I did and came running to her in excitement - I'm up to 138lbs! She showed no excitement - this is what was on my chart from the appointment two weeks ago. She hasn't given me any specific goals or anything...has just said to make sure I eat three meals a day with two snacks. Well, I blew those orders last night, but today is a new day.

More resting this weekend...hope you get to have some too.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It's 5AM Christmas morning and I'm wide awake, waiting for Little Miss to wake up. This will most likely be the one morning in her short history that she sleeps beyond 8AM.:-)
Follow-up - I didn't post this right away, she did sleep until 8:30AM!

I'm really, REALLY enjoying the holidays this year. Three is such a perfect age. I always hear parents say that they wish their kids would stay three and four forever. I never understood it. I do now. The wonder, the excitement, the unbridled enthusiasm for pretty much really is magical.

After we got Emmeline to bed, DH and I sat in front of the Christmas tree, nibbled on Santa's cookies and talked about next Christmas. The twins will be around 8 months. Really, Emmeline has a couple more Christmas holidays of it being all about her. Then we looked at the pile of presents and tried to visualize it...times three. We both agreed that all other issues aside, our house simply does not have the room to accommodate that. That is an advantage of deciding to stay in a smaller home - it keeps the consumerism at bay and forces constant purging and organization...if not, you would have to stay tuned to see us on a future episode of "Hoarders".

In other news, I've started some hardcore nesting. I've been getting some boys clothes, from friends and the resale shop. I've gone through my baby stuff pile and took inventory. I now have a beautiful new armoire because I have kept my clothes in what will be the babies' room. It feels good to get some things in order...I have a feeling that this post-holiday time before they're here will go very quickly.

Emmeline continues to talk about the "babies in her tummy". She will tell me that she has to eat a lot to help them grow. They make her so tired. After she kisses the babies in my tummy in the morning, she asks me to kiss her babies. I wonder when she expects them to arrive...

In terms of how I feel - okay. Just okay. I've been so tired lately, but it is really hard to determine if it is just holiday tired or pregnancy tired. Probably a bit of both. I am also waiting for some cravings to kick in...of anything! I just want to feel excited about food again. It still feels like I'm force-feeding myself.

18-week appointment this morning. I'm anxious because the 16-week one was really just a baseline. We'll have a clearer picture of what is going on this week. Fingers crossed that Baby B (the smaller one) has grown appropriately. I now feel them both move (yes, I can tell them apart), but Baby A is definitely more active. It's funny - I remember all the concerns I had with ultrasounds with Emmeline...and now I have those same concerns times two.

Times two.

Can you tell a bit of denial still lingers?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The babies in my belly...

Semester...and done. I made it. I have to go in one last time today to meet with the Dean to set up my non-teaching assignment for next semester, but that's it. I can't say it was my best semester, but I can't say it was my worst. I'm just proud to have made it with minimal impact to my students. The highlight of it all was being able to walk with faculty at was fun, plain and simple. My colleague and I ended up being seated right on the edge where all the graduates would walk right past us. We spent most of the 2 hours analyzing their shoes. You could tell that for many of them, it was their way of trying to be individuals in a sea of black gowns. ;-) Speaking of which, Emmeline got a big kick out of me wearing my gown and when I came home, she sat at the piano and sang a song about graduation...the lyrics went something like this "graduation, graduation, graduation". :-).

So, 17 weeks yesterday. Due to request, I took a belly pic. I do admit, although my belly is bigger, I do look skinnier than I did in the previous weeks. I think they are feeding off my fat reserves. In spite my best efforts, I guess I'm still not keeping up with these guys. Still only up 6 lbs. My ob isn't concerned yet - we'll see what she has to say at our next appointment on Dec. 28th.

Oh, and as soon as Emmeline found out I was taking a picture of my belly, she wanted a picture of the "babies in her belly" too. It's hilarious - last night, I asked her if she wanted to put together a puzzle with me. She threw her hand over her forehead and laid back on the pillow and said "I can't. I need to rest. The babies are making me SOOO tired.". Hmmm...I wonder where she's heard that before.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pork Belly

That's code for "We're having identical boys!". Yes, it was a fun night at our favorite Ann Arbor restaurant - Mani. We brought the sealed envelope. This sealed envelope has remained in my purse, unopened, since Monday. I'm completely impressed with myself.

We handed the envelope to the waitress and wrote on it "Calamari = Girls; Pork Belly = Boys" and explained the deal. She was a good sport and I think she was excited to participate. We watched her walk over to her computer system, and then suddenly, she was surrounded by a bunch of other wait staff. At this point, we turned away because we were nervous that one of them would slip. The interesting thing is that we were sitting at the "chef's table". This is a bar-like area that is essentially attached to the front of the kitchen, giving one a close-up and personal view if it all....and, in front of us, was the printer that printed out orders as they were typed in. We realized that we also had to divert our eyes from that machine. So we just looked at each other and talked about our preference. The conversation started with "No preference...really." But by the time the appetizer arrived, we settled on the idea that boys may be the hope - for a couple of reasons. One, it would be nice to experience raising each sex. Two, we both agreed that although Emmeline would do okay either way, boys might be easier on her; especially since they are identical. Identical twins are known for having such an emotionally-tight, telepathic-like bond, that I think it will just be easier on Emmeline without the additional female component. So within about 4 minutes, our preference went from "No preference" to "Boys".

Then the pork belly arrived. Oh, that meant boys. Girls were designated calamari. For the record, we also ordered calamari after the surprise pork belly arrived. :-) It arrived with a blue, lit candle on the side. We promptly reopened the envelope which contained the very telling ultrasound pics and staged a picture with the pics, the candle and the pork belly. See below.

Boys. Boys. BoyS. BOYS. It is sinking in. A whole new world. Twins would have been a whole new world...then identical identical twin boys.

How did Emmeline react? Well, she's been claiming that she wants boys all week. But I predicted her three-year-old behavior accurately...I told my DH that I bet when we told her the news she would say something like "Oh, I want girls.". She asked us immediately when we walked in the door "Are the babies boys or girls?". Initially, she said "Yay!" when we told her the news. Then, sure enough, that changed to "I want girls.: :-) Sorry honey, I know it's a hard concept to wrap your head around, but none of us have control over the gender.

So, we never really bought Emmeline real "girly" toys, so we are fine on that end...but clothes - well, different story. While I have a ton of friends with little ladies, it is much slimmer on the boy front. My BFF has three of them, but she explained that when boys clothes get through the third boy, they're about done. I get that. So a little girl clothes purging and little boy clothes shopping over the holiday break.

Speaking of which, my last faculty meeting is today. Then I give a final exam on Tuesday and I'm done. Finished up Emmeline's and most of the rest of my shopping yesterday. Just some Christmas cards to address and a few more cookies to bake. Wow, done possibly a week ahead of time? Probably the last time I will have that experience in the next 18 years or so.

I leave you with the pork belly/ultrasound pic:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

16 week appointment

How did I forget that the 16-week ultrasound was a longer one where they scan every organ, finger and toe. Times two. The ultrasound itself was about an hour and fifteen minutes long followed by a meeting with the doc.

The good: all organs are functioning and there is ten of everything on each baby. Stats? Baby A is measuring 17w5d and Baby B is measuring 16w4d. Confusing because Baby B seems to be measuring on schedule which would mean that Baby A is actually a week ahead. But the ob is suspicious of the dates and thinks that there may be a possibility that Baby A is on schedule and Baby B is small. I don't know what to think- I gave them the right date of my last period and we did have a dating ultrasound at 6weeks that confirmed that date. We'll just have to wait till the next ultrasound to get a clearer picture.

The concerns? Two old ones; one new one.

1) Twin to Twin Transfusion
2) Preeclampsia
3) Velamentous Cord Insertion (Baby B)

There are no signs of the first two yet, although my ob seems to be most concerned about the preeclampsia. Apparently because mine was classified as "severe" at the end and also was early onset, my chances of it happening again actually increase with a second pregnancy...and then add the twin thing on top of that added risk. As for the twin-to-twin, no signs yet. And what is a velamentous cord insertion, you may ask? The cord has inserted just outside the placenta. It is still getting use of the placenta, but as the baby continues to have increased needs, it may not be effective enough for that baby to keep up a good growth rate. The thing is that while twin-to-twin transfusion has a couple of options for solutions and even preeclampsia has some options such as bedrest, it sounds like the most likely solution for issues with a velmentous cord is delivery. None of this was new information or surprising to me...I knew the twin-to-twin stuff, I have direct experience with preeclampsia and although I didn't know that one of the babies had a velamentous cord, I knew what that may mean. The one thing that the doctor said that had me catch my breath a little is that she mentioned viability and that if any one of the above situations was occurring, the options would be evaluated as to keep the babies in and take them at 25/26 weeks. 25/26 weeks. That's like 9 weeks away. Up until now, I only had numbers in the 30's floating around in my head.

All the above being's still all "chances" at this point in the game. In the moment, the babies look good. "It's a good start", she even said. So we'll take that for now and deal with each appointment as they come.

However, I will say that since that appointment, I feel like it's time to come out of our shell of denial and get things in order. We have some big furniture/room changes to make to accommodate two little ones in our house.

My DH heads home tomorrow after 6 days in Asia. So ready. So, so ready. I feel like I'm going to crash when he walks in the door. He has been putting E to bed every night that he is home and I realize, now that he has been gone for a stretch, what a relief that has been. I find that my body crashes about 7:30PM...but when you have a 3-year-old to put to bed, and that bedtime process takes much longer than it should...well, you have to push through.

In other news, it is the last week of classes. Yay! I made it through the entire semester with only calling in sick once and never puking in class. This, sadly, feels like an amazing accomplishment.

Next post: Thursday evening with the news of the gender. Emmeline says "boys" and given how amazingly intuitive she is, I wouldn't doubt it. Time to do some major clothes purging if that's true...because these tubes...yeah, they're getting tied during the c-section. All done.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Then there were two...

Not just babies in my tummy, but chickens.

We had four backyard chickens. One got killed by a raccoon over the summer and another bit the dust today after being attacked by a small, yet powerful hawk. I went out to give them some fresh water and found two of them throwing a fit. Then, when I didn't readily see the third, I had that sinking feeling. I discovered the carnage in the corner of their area. I'll be curious to see if Emmeline asks about her. She has never asked about the gray hen that died this summer.

Some people have asked if we are going to get a couple more. In the city of Ann Arbor, we can have four hens. I joke with the people who ask, saying that, yes, we plan on getting two baby chicks in early May (baby chick time) and raising them in our basement because we'll have time for that come

In other random news - my parents have stayed with me most of the weekend and that has been very helpful. Although, I learned something valuable about myself. I'm only really at the first step of embracing help. While I readily requested them to come out (big step), I didn't do much feet up time while they've been here. They are so good with Emmeline which gives me such a peace of mind that I find myself taking full advantage of my "alone" time opportunity. Today, that involved working on Christmas cookies...which, by the way, Emmeline loved doing. Yes, bed rest will be a challenge for me if it comes to it. I definitely like to be on the go. As my mom said to me today, "No wonder you haven't gained hardly any weight. You never sit down!". She's right. I am aware. I'm trying. Old habits die hard even with two babies inside.

16 weeks and tomorrow is the first appointment with the new high-risk ob. I'll post tomorrow night with all the details, which, of course, won't include the sex of the kiddos quite yet. See previous post ;-) Maybe on Thursday.

Friday, December 7, 2012

First parent-teacher conference...

You know, another one of those events that I daydreamed about before Little Miss came into our lives. Reading all the Facebook posts from proud parents this time of year, hoping that I could write my own proud status update someday.

It was great - of course it was. I won't list the many details, but the summary is that I am just so pleased to send her to this particular preschool. It is play-based, not to say that they don't work on things, but it is clear that their philosophy is play, socialize and gain same basic life skills now...there is plenty of time for hardcore studying later. I buy it. I know that many preschools are now much more academic. In fact, the teacher we met with said that she has had parents pull their kids from the program after conferences because they discovered "there wasn't enough worksheets". But I have had the benefit of seeing the trends of freshman over the last 11 years...clearly more worksheets at younger ages is not making kids "smarter" over time...quite the opposite.

Blah, blah, blah...something just feels good about knowing you made the right choice for child when they are yet not capable of making a particular decision.

In other random news...looking forward to the day ahead. Emmeline's in preschool, Alex is out flying and I have the day. I'm going to catch up on a little work, run some holiday errands and maybe, just maybe, relax a bit.

My parents are coming out on Sunday and my mom is going to my ultrasound with me on Monday. She never went to one with Emmeline, so I think she's pretty excited. We will probably have the opportunity to find out their sex, but it is an awkward situation. My DH won't be there. So, I think I'll have her write it down on a piece of paper and put it in an envelope. Then, when Alex gets home at the end of the week, we'll go out to dinner, give the envelope to the waiter and tell him/her to bring us one thing as an appetizer if they are girls, another if they are boys. I'm totally stealing this idea from another blogger (I forget who)...I thought it was so fun when I read about it.

I'm already thinking about our favorite restaurant - Mani in Ann Arbor. I'm thinking calamari if their girls, pork belly if their boys. ;-).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's all academic...

I just bought my first book about twins less than a week ago - yet another difference between this pregnancy and the last. Those of you who have been through infertility know how academic the process becomes. You know more about those early days of pregnancy than anyone really should. You know exactly what the beta numbers should be 5dp9dt. You know what 5dp9dt means (5 days passed a 9 day transfer). You know acceptable ranges of estrogen. You know what ultrasounds should look like at 5 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks probably 12 weeks. In the midst of the academics, in the midst of trying to gain control when you have been so out of control in the process of trying to have a child, the miracle of the experience can be lost in numbers.

And then she was born. Maybe my brain had reached its intellectual capacity, maybe the mothering instinct was more powerful. Regardless, I ,for the most part, threw the books, other people's advice, etc. out the window. What should and shouldn't be done in parenting usually became just inaudible chatter to in the Charlie Brown skits. I very quickly learned that it just wasn't necessary. If I shut down that noise, most of what I needed to be a good mother was inside of me. I'm not saying I'm perfect and I'm not saying I'm great at it, but I am saying that I have no regrets in her first three years...mistakes and regrets with mostly looking inside for my innate mothering instincts that came alive the minute I saw her face.

I learned a lot about the uselessness of academics while raising her these past few years. The biggest reward of tossing the books and the chatter? I was able to fully live in the moment with her so much more easily. We've spent three years together, yet I feel like we've been connected over multiple lifetimes. I know I'll relate someday, but when people say "it goes so fast", I have yet to relate. I actually feel like the last three years have gone in slow a very good, special sort of way.

So when we found out about this pregnancy, both of my experienced philosophies came to the surface...academics vs. instincts. Guess which one initially won? Guess which one is more comfortable to embrace? Yes, the academics. I will not reveal how much time I spent on Google after the initial news of the twins. Yes, a twin-pregnancy scholar in a day or two. And then when we discovered they were monochorionic? Well, lather, rinse and repeat. The difference, though, with this compared with the pregnancy with Emmeline is a level of self-awareness. Oh...academics, research to gain control while feeling extremely out of control. Yes, I was lost in it for those first 12 weeks...nada, zip, nothing about the "miracle of the experience".

But the one baby step was that I didn't buy a book about twin pregnancy until 14 weeks. I figured that at least when I shut the computer down, I wouldn't go direct to some additional "casual" reading.

And so, now at week 15, I'm trying to back off - to make a conscious decision to lay off the research, to connect to this amazing experience on an instinct level. Frankly, I know enough to feel comfortable, to be an advocate for myself. On Monday I'm transferring to a highly-respected high risk ob - I'll be in good hands. Time the let go of some control, to connect with these TWO little buggers growing inside of me.

Because it's not all academic.

And to put a polished touched on this profound post...I have a yeast infection. Yay! ;-).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Last "us" trip for awhile...

So on Friday and Saturday, DH and I had a little overnight getaway. Some of our good friends, people I babysat for when I was 12, invited us for an expenses-paid night at Ceasar's Windsor. We relaxed, ate at a casino buffet (I actually really dislike buffets, but given that casino ones are often a little better and I am feeding two extra...well, it just seemed like the right thing to do), saw the Moscow Ballet perform the Nutcracker, ate a delicious breakfast and played a few slots. It was fun. I had two pieces of prime rib - everyone else at the table had one and yet I felt no shame. I was only proud of myself that I could do it...I have been feeling crappy lately with very little appetite. Actually, I laid in bed this morning for about an hour with a cold wash cloth on my head, trying not to loose my breakfast. Felt ok after that, but body obviously did not get the memo that the second trimester is suppose to be blissful! Ok, maybe not blissful, but at least full of energy and appetite.

Did I feel the little buggers yet? I think so. The ob doesn't think it is out of the question, given that they're twins. But I'm not officially calling it. I'll let you know when I make the official "they're kicking!" call.

Today I decided that I need to do something to bring back the "this is exciting - I'm having a baby (babies)!" feeling that I experienced throughout my pregnancy with Emmeline. Although, I've been told by friends that twins or not, it is very difficult to feel the same about the second as one did with the first. I believe that, but I just want to experience some joy about doesn't have to be often or intense, just present in some way. I wonder if something as simple as browsing a baby store would do the trick? I have spent a lot of time looking through old Emmeline photos and videos, which has been helpful. I also wonder how the feelings will change when we find out the sex. I can honestly say that I don't have a preference. The old cliche' rings long as they're healthy.

I leave you with a pic of me at 14.5 weeks in front of a tree at Ceasar's Windsor. You ever have a picture taken that destroys the acceptable image you that have of yourself? This is one of those for me. I knew in my head that I was getting pretty big, but come on! Seriously??? Where are the babies going to go? The positive thing is that this picture inspired my to start using my Burt's Mama Bee Belly Balm sooner rather than later.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Three years ago yesterday...

My Little Miss was born at 12:09PM three years ago yesterday.

It's interesting how this birthday impacted me so much more than the last two. I found myself recalling the details of that day with much more detail this year...not only recalling the joy of her actually birth, but also all the logistics of my hospital stay. Oh, the magnesium sulfate. I hated that evil, evil drug. You know how they say you forget all the pain of the birth once you are holding your bundle of joy? I strongly disagree. Granted, I didn't labor and push her out, but I remember all the details, including the unpleasant ones. More accurately I would say that once I was holding my bundle of joy, I realized that it was ALL worth it...mag sulfate and all.

I had another appointment today, with an impromptu ultrasound. 14 weeks. Everything still looks great, I say with a tone of disbelief. Am I a nutcase to always expect that there is going to be something wrong? I still find myself bracing when I go to appointments. Ah, the scars of infertility and loss.

I had the doc look for parts. Nothing yet. Maybe at our 16 week ultrasound.

This was my last appointment with my ob. In two weeks I will officially be transferred to a high risk ob, which means all appointments will be at the hospital. Great for us as the hospital is only about a mile and a half away.

Other random details...weight is up about 6lbs and so is the blood pressure 130/88. My ob was reassuring that there is no need to worry quite yet about those numbers...that many twin pregnancies will have elevated numbers throughout without it ever turning into preeclampsia. I bought a few maternity shirts at the resale shop today in a size up...I'm pretty sure that I will be out of my current ones by the holidays.

Oh, and the best news is that it looks like the university will give me a non-teaching assignment for next semester which will allow me to work, yet not be on my feet. It will be a job that I could do from a bedrest situation (depending on circumstance). This is a huge load off my mind!

I'll post the latest ultrasound pics tomorrow. For now, I leave you with a few birthday pics of my Little Miss turning three. Oh babies, you have a lot of cuteness to compete with ;-).

Wow, is she ever going to be a wonderful big sis!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So different...

With Emmeline, by this point (13.5 weeks) I had already experienced the following: low, non-doubling betas, bleeding, hematoma, hospital visit, and a "positive" NT scan. So far with twins? Who knows about the betas (never had them tested), not a drop of blood, only a hospital visit for a "normal" ultrasound and a stellar NT result.

Normal risk for my maternal age for Down's is 1/137. Our adjusted risk based on the results: 1/2421. Normal risk for my maternal age for 13/18 is 1/259. Our adjusted risk: 1/4421. I find my self in awe that things are so smooth so far (aside from feeling much worse than I did with Emmeline) - so different from the pregnancy with Emmeline in all ways. I'm cautious though...lots of potential risks lay ahead as I progress.

Well, the first "non-smooth" thing happened yesterday. Bacteria in my urine. But they just called three weeks after the test, so on the recommendation of a good friend, I asked to be retested. I just didn't want to start a strong antibiotic if it wasn't necessary. I was retested and it was still positive. Starting the antibiotic this morning.

Oh, and I had a talk with my ob while at the office. I'm transferring to a high-risk ob. Surprise, surprise.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NT Scan pics and Emmeline's birthday party

Here are some pics from our NT scan:

13 weeks tomorrow. Still can't wrap my head around it. Still can't picture two children that look identical running around this house.

I've been feeling up and down. At least the exhaustion and nausea isn't as constant as it was in those first weeks. I still often wake up at 4AM, wide awake and quite nauseous. Last night I tried something new and made myself two hard boiled eggs - yes, at 4AM. As soon as I ate them and settled down, I fell back asleep and slept great until 8AM. My DH made a great observation - I'm probably waking up because I'm hungry. So if it happens again...more of the same.

Weight gain continues to be a challenge. My total weight gain is still at a little over a pound. I'm going to call my ob tomorrow and get a referral to a nutritionist. I'm obviously not doing the eating part right and since the nausea transitioned direct to heartburn, well, I need some advice and support.

Yesterday was Emmeline's first kid party for her third birthday. It was a blast - for her and for us. While at the party, in the midst of cutting her cake, one of her friend's dad's sad "Wow, next year's party will sure be different.". I looked up and very innocently said "Why?". He just stared at my stomach...and then I got it and said "Oh crap.". I mean that in the best positive way :-)...said much more out of fear than out of lack of love, of course.

Here is a pic of my Little Miss - enjoying what will most likely be her last kid birthday party as an only child.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Umm...great NT scan and other news

Does monochorionic mean anything to anyone out there? In a word - IDENTICAL.

Two sacks, but one placenta.


There are some increased risks. The chances of monochorionic twins? 3/1000.

But they look great...both neck fold measurements slightly under 1. Strong heartbeats. Couldn't ask for a better scan.

Then they couldn't find a second placenta.

Of course. Because my mind is a mind that needs concern. It needs something to worry research, to read about. It needs a "challenge". I wasn't going to get that, apparently, with fraternal twins and a great NT scan.

Mixed feelings. Elated that things look good. Scared that they share a placenta. Starting at 16 weeks, there will be ultrasounds ever other week. Glad that we live one mile from the hospital.

Pics to come.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kharma's pink toy and 11w6d belly pic

After we told Emmeline the news, there was a lot of discussion about her toys. She initially said, on her own, that the babies could play with her toys. Nice - what a sharing three-year-old. But as we tried to peg her down, it became clear that most of her toys were not including in this statement. Could the babies play with your piggy? No. Could the babies play with your blocks. No. Could the babies play with your animals? No. So we asked, what could the babies play with? What she said is one of the funniest things she has said in very long time...

"The babies could play with that little pink toy that Kharma (our dog) got from the dentist last week.". Yes, out of a house so full of toys that we could stick a sign in the front door and open a daycare tomorrow, she has allocated one of our dog's toys to the babies...a free one at that.

Fair enough.

In case you were wondering, this is what 11w6d looks like with twins. Yeah, if they hadn't discovered that there were two babies at our last ultrasound, I think we may have figured it out by now. Maybe.

NT Scan on Monday.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Two babies, a three year old and a career...

Oh, and a husband...who's also a commercial pilot.

So I started a full-time tenure track faculty position this fall...impeccable timing, I know. Remove the sarcasm for a moment, and the truth is that it WAS impeccable timing. Emmeline had started preschool and was thriving. I had taught as an adjunct professor for 10 years at the same university, so while the transition to full-time wasn't painless, at least I had taught all my classes before. And frankly, if this full-time position had opened up any sooner, I may not have been ready to dive into it.

And actually, now, if it had opened up any later, like next semester, I for sure would not have been ready to dive into it.

Ok, definitely remove the sarcasm...the timing was and continues to be impeccable. I enjoy my job - summers (if I want) and holidays off (including about a month off around Christmas), great flexibility in when I work and teach my classes, nice compensation and benefits and most of all, I enjoy how Emmeline seems to get a kick out of what I do...."mommy teaches boys about airplanes" she says, seemingly with pride.

I had a lengthy human resources appointment today. It's complicated. I will not have put in my year in this position until next September, which effects my benefits. Long story short, if I can continued to be employed until March 22nd, I will get the rest of the semester paid for at my full salary and then I will be able to take 6 weeks paid along with 6 weeks unpaid starting next September. If I don't make it until March 22nd, nothing in terms of compensation (although I can take unpaid medical leave). Yeah, there's a little incentive there. But also, I'm aware, a lack of control.

Baby steps in wrapping my head around this - talking to people, gathering information, "planning" for something that was so far out of the plan.

Today - some shopping.:-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Glad someone is excited...

I knew that with successful infertility treatments it would be easy to fall into the "I shouldn't complain" trap. There was an undertone, I'm sure mostly self-imposed, that there should be nothing but gratitude...and unicorns and rainbows. I was aware of the trap and made a very strong effort not to fall into it. When I had hard days, during pregnancy and beyond, I would vent about them and not feel guilty. I quickly learned that gratitude, joy, exhaustion and frustration could co-exist and that to deny any of them was...well, unauthentic.

And now I'm back again- on the edge of that same trap, faced with the task of being authentic. I'm "that girl" - the infertile with an IVF babe who is now suddenly and surprisingly pregnant with twins. I know what it means. I know somewhere deep inside there is gratitude. I'm pretty confident at some point there will be joy.

But to say I'm there right now would be unauthentic.

Today I didn't enjoy being pregnant. I felt big and tired and irritated that my energy was missing. I didn't get excited when I thought about more babies in the house...I felt fear and exhaustion for what's to come. I looked around our modest house and suddenly felt claustrophobic. I packed away the beautiful professional wardrobe I just purchased this fall and replaced it with less sophisticated, stretchy maternity clothes. Yes, I grieved a wardrobe today - A WARDROBE. I'll admit it. Because today was just one of those days.

My best friend told her son about the babies today and shared with me that he was super excited. I responded with, "I'm glad someone is excited today because I'm just not feeling it.".

But the good news is that "I'm just not feeling it" and I know that feelings are impermanent like everything else...and there is a chance I'll wake up tomorrow or someday in the future and it will be gratitude and unicorns and rainbows - at least for the moment.

First pictures...

Here's pic #! at 6w2d taken at Fetal Maternal know, the experts in ultrasounds. Note the "Here I am!". "I", of course, being singular.

And here's pic #2 at 10w4d. After the second doc came in and confirmed the twin pregnancy and then left, I asked the the ob if she could do another quick ultrasound to print us a picture...I needed a picture of this to look at when I find myself still in disbelief.

So what's been on my mind? Bed rest. I know it's a comin'. I'm not a pessimist in saying that, but rather a realist. I know many twin pregnancies make it to 37 weeks without it, but I just don't see it in my cards that I will be one of them. I had a strong case of preeclampsia with Emmeline and as I sit here at 11 weeks, taking my blood pressure twice a day, there are times when that bottom number is already creeping up (I know, won't be "preeclampsia" until 20 weeks). And so I plan that my days of mobility will be cut short and find myself in crunch mode. For example, I felt pretty crappy yesterday, but pushed through to have a family outing day because those times may be limited. Today, to obviously feel like I have some control, I think I'll make a pre-bedrest to do list. Now, the challenge will be not to push too hard, inadvertently putting myself on bed rest early.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Their in there now?

This was the response when we told Emmeline about her siblingS-to-be. It was cute, she was excited and the fairly lengthy conversation was documented in a video. I pushed to tell her. DH probably would have waited. But I've been so tired and not myself...and now getting quite huge, that I just wanted to give her a reason other than "mommy doesn't feel well". She just said goodnight to my tummy before going upstairs to bed.

Today was a nice family day. We went to the Henry Ford Museum, had lunch, spent time at home, then wandered the neighborhood delivering Emmeline's party invites, followed by some park time. But I'm beat. And did I mention that I'm exactly the same size that I was with Emmeline at 6 months, but I'm only 11 weeks. I think I understand something already...while this may be a special journey, it most likely won't be a comfortable one.

And on that note, I'll head upstairs to put my glasses on and grab a couple of Tums...because, yes, heartburn with twins apparently starts at 11 weeks.

Friday, November 2, 2012

So what's with the blog name?

Last late fall, my husband and I had the luxury of going to Chicago childless to celebrate his 40th birthday. As we were walking down Michigan Ave., we were pulled into the American Doll Store. Yes, two adults without thier daughter, very much enjoying browsing the American Doll Store. And then I stumbled upon the Bitty Babies, and within a moment, I made the firm decision that Emmeline would be the proud new mother of one upon reaching her 3rd birthday.

And then I got pregnant.

I was late, tired, nauseous and bitchy. DH took Emmeline and our dog Kharma for a late evening walk. I laid in bed seething and sick for no "obvious" reason. As they walked in the door, I walked out...headed to Walgreens for a pee stick.

And there it was. The + sign came up immediately. DH asked if I was reading it correctly. I have probably read 50 of these sticks. You tell me the pee stick brand, I will tell you what a positive test looks like. Yes, I was reading it right. + means POSITIVE.

What? WHAT????WHAT????

We had truly reach a place of contentment and got very comfortable with the idea of being a one-child family. Emmeline is an IVF babe after 4 years of trying. What were the chances, right? I'll write about this in another post, but because I felt quite confident that Emmeline would be it, I feel like I very consciously gave her ALL of my mothering energy. I feel like there is nothing left for another child.

Well, the time has come to dig deep.

We had an ultrasound at 6w2d (pic to come). Measuring great, good heartbeat. And so, as we walked out of the ultrasound, I began my journey of acceptance. Emmeline will have a sibling. Women do this all the time. Things will work out. We started to watch videos of Emmeline when she was a baby and look at her baby books. Yes, there are so many fond memories.

Fast forward to ultrasound #2...10w4d (pic also to come).

I would say that acceptance was achieved before this ultrasound started. In fact, if we saw a strong heartbeat and good growth at this ultrasound, I was prepared to allow myself some excitement...almost out of the first trimester.

And what would happen next will always be imprinted on my of those outlier moments when you remember every detail...the sights, the sound, the words, the feelings.

"You say they saw one baby at your 1st ultrasound? I see two.".


I believe I screamed "Noooooooooo!". The ob left to go get another doc - because of the obvious magnitude of the news, she didn't want to be wrong. About 20 hours, I mean minutes, later, another doc came in, performed a transvaginal ultrasound, and there THEY were. TWO STRONG BABIES. TWO STRONG HEARTS.

So, back to the Baby Bitty Twins title...we haven't told Emmeline the news. Perhaps this weekend. And she will now be receiving Bitty TWINS for her 3-year birthday. Wow, is she ever going to be a fantastic big sister.

Next appointment is right at 12 weeks. We are going to find out their genders. And it will be in time to order Emmeline her own gender-appropriate bitty twins. :-)