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. :-)