Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Happiest Season of All

It's the most magical time of the year, right? Not for everyone. It seems that all of my real-life close friends are all having really rough times right now. What's going on, universe? Here's to a much better 2008.

I can't say my life is just peachy yet as my surgery still looms over me, but I must say that life with babies is a hell of a lot better than life without babies. Yes, I am tired, and yes, I sometimes long for the days when I could take a nap or jot off to run an errand without thinking twice, but I am so, so happy to have my two little boys. They are the sweetest things ever, and I can't imagine living life without them.

This knowledge just makes me even more disgusted with all the people who spout "just adopt" or "move on" to infertiles seeking treatment. Geesh. Kids are so important. We all know it. Why pretend that infertiles aren't missing something when we so clearly are?

After everything that happened, I'd still do it again in a heartbeat to have these two little people in my life. I am so lucky. I have everything I want for Christmas.

My one boy said dadada repeatedly this weekend, and the other said momomomom, with very distinct articulation. What a great feeling to hear those sounds, even if the babies have no idea what they mean.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Hey GLouise--Thanks for your comment to my last post; I was wondering where your blog went! Yes, please tell me what I need to do to still read your blog. I really am interested in adopting one day. I don't know if it's feasible for me, but I've found your story very inspiring.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another Day

No fear--I'm not leaving my blog. I guess the conflict is really internal. How do I come here and vent about stuff when the most important fact remains...I have two wonderful, healthy children. Can't that be enough?

When do the bouts of depression go away? When do I start living my life like I actually enjoy it?

I thought I was doing a lot better. I even thought I might quit the therapy, as it really doesn't seem like much goes on in my sessions.

But then I had a really bad day, which turned into a bad weekend, which now promises to turn into a bad week. I'm consumed by this black cloud of misery.

It started when insurance denied my claim. I'm mustering up the effort to appeal but I haven't gotten that far yet. I'm just so emotionally tired. Then it got worse when I dented my car last week on a pole in a parking garage. One second of carelessness is going to cost me $1,000 in repairs. There goes my Xmas bonus. There goes trying to restore some of my depleted savings. There goes saving towards my surgery which I doubt will get covered even after an appeal. G--d---it!!! When am I going to get a break?

And the one voice in my head says...you did get a break. You have two healthy sons. You're here for yet another day. Yes, money is tight, but you can pay your bills. You have a good job. A good spouse. A spouse who has a good job. Why are you complaining?

Why?--my other voice replies. Because I'm surrounded by friends and family who have been through none of these problems and have all the same things I've had to fight almost to death for. Do I begrudge them their good fortune? No, of course not. I'm just mad at the universe. I'm stuck in a cycle of "Why Me????" Why does everything have to be so hard for me. I've had a string of bad luck for the past 2 years now and I'm waiting for the universe to just let up on me for a little bit. Cut me a break. Send a few pick-me-ups my way. Something. Anything to say, yes, things have been tough lately, but it's nothing personal. Good stuff will still happen for you, too. All this suffering will balance out.

Or is this suffering just the tip of the iceburg? Things could get so much worse. I could just use a little coddling right now, universe. If you don't mind.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Where Do We Go From Here?

I'm at a crossroads. So many of my blogger buddies have quit blogging, as you can see from visiting the sites on my blog roll (which I just realized I accidentally deleted...I guess it's time to clean house.) Some have said goodbye, like dear Meg, one of my very first friends here, while others have simply disappeared.

It seems like an infertility blog is a hard place to keep coming to once you've achieved the ultimate goal--children. If you're trying for more, you usually stick around, and the blog remains laregly about infertility. If you're done building your family, your blog becomes focused on your kid(s). Those blogs are often twinged with survivor's guilt, and either they morph into a new Mommy blog or they simply end.

Then there is me. I have my two wonderful babies, and I'm done family building. Not because I want to be done, but because I have to be. There will be no more treatments for me. Adoption is highly unlikely given my financials these days. Plus, I feel like couples without any kids yet should have the first shot at adopting...(you know, the whole survivor's guilt thing.)So do I keep blogging as an infertile? Do I convert to a Mommy blog? I still feel like the only place people really get me is right here.

I have two close friends struggling with infertility in my real life now. One is on the road to adoption after failed treatments, the other is on the road to treatment.
Infertility has scarred my life, and I hate to watch it up close and personal as it scars those close to me.

I'm sick of the way infertility is treated by the media. The whole Oprah thing with Jenna made me livid. I'm sick of infertility being thought of as something that only strikes those who waited too long to have kids or those who waited too long to get married. I married young and my infertility certainly wasn't caused by age. Nor was the infertility of so many of those I know.

And if infertility does result because you didn't find the right partner until you were in your 30s, does that really make you any less deserving of some empathy??? Because you chose to bring kids into the world once you were ready rather than when you were too young, unemployed, or with the wrong guy?

So I've read that one in eight women are struck by cancer. One in six couples are struck with infertility. Everybody bands together against cancer. Shouldn't we all be banding together against infertility? Infertility might not kill you, per say, but it kills the family you are meant to have. How can people not see that? For those who can't afford treatment, infertility kills the family members you'll never meet.

I know much has been said along these lines and mostly we are preaching to the choir. If we can make any difference at all, it will be worth it to those who continue the struggle.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I hope everyone had a great Thanskgiving. Ours was really nice. The boys did great and we had a small gathering with my side of the family.

I was feeling pretty good all weekend until I got the letter from my insurance company saying that my abdominal surgery would not be covered. Evidently it doesn't matter to them that my muscle separation is the size of a entire hand rather than the normal 1 or 2 finger gap that you usually see in abdominoplasty patients. Nor does the fact that you can see my intestines moving just under the skin whenever I'm laying down. Because I don't have a "true hernia" (at least not yet), the surgery is considered cosmetic. Yeah, because having your intestines bulge out is just about looks...

Oh God.

I have three doctors willing to write letters to my insurance about the medical neccesity of having my muscles sewn back together, but somehow I don't think it will matter. So I now have to save up about 8 grand to pay for the procedure, which will be done in an outpatient surgical facility. This scares me to death. As much as I don't want to be back in the hospital, I'm really scared about having such a serious surgery done and going home the same day. But that's how cosmetic surgery is handled. If insurance would cover it, they could insist on a hospital stay.

I just feel so torn about what to do. Clearly I can't spend the rest of my life with my intestines putting on a show for me every evening after dinner. I need the surgery. But I'm so afraid of the complications. Some pretty bad stuff could happen to me as a result of the surgery, including death. Even though the odds of complications are low, I've managed to be one of the "lucky" few twice now (Only .08%of women experience HELLP and only a very low percentage of people require IVF with ICSI to conceive, while 16% of abdominoplasty patients experience complications.) Do I push my luck a third time? I've met two surgeons who seem cautious to operate on me, and one who is ready to do it tomorrow. (It seems to come down to experience--two of the docs just weren't qualified.) I'm going to seek a few more opinions yet seeing as I have to wait now to save the money anyway.

This sucks.

I feel like my life is finally moving on, but the stomach issue is holding me back and can't be ignored. I just wish there was a simple answer.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Hooray for Jamie!

One of my best blogger buds is in labor right this very moment. Please wish her luck and good wishes!

One thing I love about this community is celebrating with everyone when their dreams are finally realized.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Farewell Fertility

After staring at the paperwork from the initial consultation for almost 3 months, H called this week to schedule his vasectomy. It really sucks that he has to do this; that essentially we have to slam one final nail into the coffin that contains our fertility. I mean, our one “up side” to this whole infertility thing was that we’d never worry about birth control again and that we could hold on to a little spark of hope that maybe we’d spontaneously get pregnant one day. Well, my docs have all agreed that another pregnancy would be very dangerous for me, so we can’t take that risk. Now we’re going to be infertiles with no hope of future treatment. I’m so grateful we have two kids, because I know if we only had one child the vasectomy would be a lot harder on us. It’s still hard though. Having twins is like having an only child in some ways…you only get to go through these precious baby stages once and when they’re over, they’re over for good. The hard part with twins is that in addition to only going through this once, you’re going through it at warp speed. You can only focus so much on one baby until the other baby needs you. There’s little time to just sit back and enjoy them. Of course, I know if we had only one baby I’d be busy obsessing about when/if I could have or adopt another. So all in all, it just sucks to be an infertile no matter how you look at it, no matter how successful a treatment was for you. I’ll never be over our infertility. It has changed our lives in too dramatic of a way. I still cringe at pregnancy announcements and big bellies. It doesn’t hurt as much, but it does hurt. I imagine it will be pretty hard for me when my sister gets pregnant with her second.

The good news is that I’m finding more things to be happy about every day. The babies interact with us so much more now, and when they laugh I feel a joy like no other. The one likes to babble at me a lot. He’ll take my face with both of his hands and stare intently into my eyes, babbling away. Then he’ll open his mouth wide and plunge at my face, trying to eat my hair, my nose, my cheeks. This make me laugh like nothing else in the world. I like to think he’s trying to give me a kiss, but he’s at that phase where he just wants to out everything into his mouth. Both of them are rolling around and pushing up like champs. I expect the one to start crawling any day now. I really like this phase—they do a lot more but they’re not yet mobile. Wish we could stay here for awhile. I’ve stopped feeling so incredibly overwhelmed, as the boys both nap in their cribs now and do a decent job sleeping through the night. Their crying has decreased a great deal, which also helps a lot.

So, that’s how things are right now. I’m waiting to see if my insurance will cover the surgery to repair my abdomen. If it does, I’ll likely schedule the surgery for sometime this winter. I’m scared about it but I also want to get it over with so that I can finally heal completely and move on. Therapy is going okay. It’s not all that exciting most of the time. I hope it’s helping but I don’t really know. I know I feel better than I did a few weeks ago when I placed the initial call, but I feel like that also has a lot to do with the babies getting easier to handle. And the fact that they look at me when I call their name, laugh when I tickle them, and prefer me over everyone else, except sometimes their daddy.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Therapy 101

In case you’re all dying to know how my first therapy session went, I won’t leave you in suspense any longer. It went about as well as I could expect—leaving me, brimming with emotion, wondering just how many sessions it will take for me to “rewire” my reactions so that I can cope with all the crap that has happened to me and keeps coming my way.

What I learned in the first session wasn’t all that surprising—I have low self esteem stemming from how my parents raised me. You see, when you constantly discourage your kid from being what they want to be and constantly call into question all of their decisions, and even go so far as to proclaim that they must love a food that they have repeatedly sworn they hate, the kid starts to call into question everything they feel. They start to mistrust themselves. The kid ultimately develops a very low self esteem. That kid, desperate for their parents’ approval, becomes an overachiever and to the outside world appears to be quite a success. The kid becomes keenly observant of the people around them in their quest to obtain parental approval and therefore make tons of friends because of their ability to listen and dole out helpful advice. In the meantime, their own emotions get bottled up until they become such a burden that the kid can no longer deal with them. Therefore the kid becomes depressed and prone to anxiety attacks. Throw in some major life issues to deal with, and the kid can no longer function without seeking therapy. I’m so textbook it’s scary.

I’m not here to blame my parents, but I’ve known forever that their brand of parenting wasn’t--and still isn’t--very helpful for a healthy self esteem. Whenever I expressed interest in something, I was told--oh, you don’t want to do that--or I was told why I shouldn’t do that. This pattern has continued right into adulthood, as I faced infertility and was told by one of my parents that I shouldn’t do fertility treatments, and if they were faced with the same issue, they would choose to be childless.

All of the mentors in my life have recognized my self esteem issues and have asked me how someone as successful and smart as me could have such a problem. Well, I’ve always known the answer to that. I didn’t need therapy to tell me. What I need to know is how to fix it. Because I’m not going to repeat this pattern with my boys. Period.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Next Step Forward

I’m finally pulling the trigger on some much needed therapy. I’m nervous about it, and I keep second guessing whether I really am depressed enough to seek counseling, but I’ve decided to go through with it and see what happens. After all, it can only make things better, right? I had a few rough days last week where I was just so down I couldn’t stand it. It was tough making the call for a referral—you get so many questions—but after I told my situation to the counselor on the phone, she told me how surprised she was that I was coping as well as I have been and that I definitely should seek some help ASAP, not only pick up the pieces but to be able to get though my impending abdomen surgery (more on that later).

What are my symptoms? I’m unmotivated about work, I have little interest in seeing friends, I’m sad more often than not, I have emotional breakdowns after every doctor’s appointment, I feel sick when thinking about a future hospital stay, and yes, I’ve occasionally thought that I’d be better off dead. But only occasionally. Most of the time I’m happy to be here, even though I’m unhappy about so many things that have happened to me. I don’t believe I’d cause myself any harm and I certainly wouldn’t harm anyone else. But sometimes I don’t want to be around anyone, and that scares me. Sometimes, when I’m alone with the boys for a few hours after work, I just want to call H and tell him to come home early because I can’t take being alone with them. This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

I’m tired of feeling sad more often than I feel happy. I want to snap out of it. H is also having a hard time. It’s hard to feel happy when I see how depressed he is too. I’m hoping therapy will provide me with an outlet and an objective person who will help me come to terms with my emotions and teach me how to handle them in a more productive way.

For awhile, this blog was my “therapy.” I could get things off my chest, and get some good feedback from others in the same boat, but now I feel like I need to take the next step in getting better. Occasionally I get a comment from an anonymous person who tells me I need to “get over myself” and stop complaining. Those comments (which I refuse to post since the person doesn’t have the guts to say who they are) always send me reeling. Maybe I am too self-centered. Maybe I should just get over it and focus on the positive. But then I have to laugh. I mean, this blog is about me, after all. Why should I have to “get over myself” when writing it? If I did, what would I have to write about? I’m not sure how many people care about what I have to say. I like to think my blog helps some people who are going through what I’ve been though. I’ve also made friends here who I think are genuinely interested in what’s going on in my life. To the people who think I need to “get over” myself, I say—don’t waste your time reading my blog. My blog may not be for you, and I can respect that. But my blog is first and foremost an outlet for me. It’s not about gaining readers or popularity. I hope my story can help other people and that’s also why I tell it. I know reading other people’s blogs helps me feel less alone in this whole mess.

Anyhow, that’s what’s on my mind lately. The boys are doing great and I’m plugging along. I hope I’m on the road to a complete recovery. I’m going to do everything I can to be a better, happier person for my kids. I have to believe that there will be a happy ending to all this. You might say I’ve already gotten my happy ending, but it’s just not that cut and dry.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Day in the Life of a Working Mom with Twins

I knew from the beginning that given my financial needs and my personality, I would be a working mom. Going back to work was hard for the first week, but it really has done wonders for my overall sanity. I miss the babies like crazy while I’m away and I worry about them, but I also feel like I’m a better mother to them after having some time for myself. I don’t regret the decision at all, but I also acknowledge that I might change my mind about it in a year or two when the boys are older. It has shocked me to see how many women (mostly relatives) are shocked that I went back to work, especially since most of them went back to work themselves after they had their own kids. It seems that they all expected me to stay home even though I was upfront about going back to work from the very beginning. For whatever reason, they seem to think that going back to work when you have one baby is fine, but going back to work with twins is unthinkable. Um, hi—do you know how much diapers and formula costs?

Luckily I work with a lot of moms around my age and they have been a wonderful support system for me. Watching them and talking to them about their kids shows me that being a working mom is not crazy or selfish.

As far as feedings and schedules, it does get easier around the 3 month mark. I saw real progress when the boys hit 4 months. We aren’t successful at feeding them at the same time in bouncy chairs (way too messy), so what we try to do is stagger their feedings by about 30 minutes. We feed one and then the other, and most days that works out just fine. Occasionally they will decide they are both starving at the same exact moment and that’s horrible if you are alone, but it rarely happens these days. So, when A wakes at 5 a.m. to eat, his brother is still asleep 90 percent of the time. H feeds him, puts him back to bed, then feeds B, who is sometimes still asleep or just starting to wake up. By feeding them one right after another, this sets up the 30 minute gap between their feedings for the day.

Here’s how our schedule has been lately:

5:00 am: A awakes and is fed

5:30 am: B awakes or is woken and is fed

6:00 am: I leave for work

Both babies go back to sleep until anywhere between 7:00 and 7:30.

H leaves for work at 7:30 and our au pair takes over.

Babies are awake and happy to play.

Baby A eats around 8:00

Baby B eats around 8:30

Naps are attempted around 9:30-10:00 and last until the next feeding if we’re lucky.

Babies eat again between 12:00 and 12:30

Afternoon naps are often taken around 1:30-2:00.

Babies eat again around 3:00-3:30.

I get home at 4:00 and play with the babies, who are usually very active and pleasant this time of day if naps were successful.

5:30: I make dinner while the babies watch.

6:00: H and I wolf down our food as the babies start to fuss.

6:15-6:30: H and I both take a baby to feed for the final feeding of the day. This feeding, the most important and predictable of our day, always consists of at least 6 ounces.

7:00-7:30: The babies get their baths—H and I each take care of a baby.

7:30 pm: Both babies are in their cribs with lights out. They are falling asleep faster and faster with less fussing each night.

8:00: The babies are asleep and H and I get our one hour together before we go to bed at 9:00.

Anywhere between 2:00 and 3:30 am: Baby B usually calls out for a pacifier or diaper change but quickly goes back to sleep

5:00 am: The process starts all over

Hope some of this helps. I found the best thing was setting their bedtime at 7:30 and having a predictable routine each night starting with the 6:15-6:30 bottle. No matter how bad the day has been, their bedtime routine has resulted in two sleeping babies by 8:00 for the last two months. This has been wonderful, because I know that no matter how bad things have been, everyone will be calm at 8:00 and stay that way for at least 5 or 6 hours.

Now that I’ve written out an actual schedule I’m just waiting for a sleep regression to come and mess it all up.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Hit the Pause Button

I spend so much of my life waiting for "the next step" rather than living in the moment. When I was going through infertility treatments, all I wanted was to be pregnant. When I was pregnant, I looked forward to the babies actually being here. Now that the babies are here, I'm anticipating their first words and being able to actually go places with them, like the zoo.

I need to slow down. This morning, when H got up to feed the babies at 5 a.m., I got up to help him instead of getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep before work. He didn't need my help, but I wanted to feed one of my boys. They won't need these early morning feedings much longer. I want to treasure this time.

I didn't know that having twins would be this hard for me to handle. I didn't know how tough it would be to split my attention between the two of them. A laughed for the first time yesterday while H tickled him, and I couldn't really hear him because I was comforting a screaming B. There's rarely time to just sit and marvel at them. Would time please slow down for me?

Since these are my first and perhaps only babies (we haven't ruled out adoption one day), I'm trying to really live each moment with them. It's so hard. I want to scoop both of them up in my arms at the same time when I get home from work but I can't. I give myself permission to buy them super cute but expensive clothes from Gym.boree because this may be the only time I get to go through this. I cry when I look at the newborn pictures taken the first few weeks of their lives while I was still in the hospital because I wasn't there and I can't have that time with them back. I am finally coming out of the cloud that I think was a mixture of PPD and PTS. As hard as everything has been, it was all worth it. I finally feel again.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sleep and Such

I had a wonderful weekend with the babies. As you may have noticed, I'm rather undecided on how to refer to the boys in my blog--I want to keep things anonymous--so I think I'll just refer to them as A and B. It seems too impersonal, but I think it's for the best as I still don't want people I know reading my blog.

Anyhow, A slept all night long both Saturday and Sunday without a single peep. B only woke about twice for some minor comforting. It was great. I've learned however that this could change at any moment, so I'm not going to expect this trend to continue. I'm still taking things one day at a time. I also spent a lot of the weekend on nap training and was able to get the boys to take all of their naps in their crib this weekend. Unfortunately their naps were much shorter than usual, but at least we're making progress. The secret so far has been putting the boys down earlier than I normally do, so that they're not already overtired when I start the nap process with them. At least, I think this is the secret. They could just be messing with me. A has mastered rolling over, and as a result I've spent a lot of time checking on him and pulling him back to his side when I find him on his stomach asleep. He awakes for a moment when I roll him back and grunts his annoyaance but falls back asleep. With this new development, I've been sleeping less as he's been sleeping more because I keep checking on him all night. I still can't see how my best friend lets her newborn sleep on his stomach and even puts him down that way. I certainly don't want anything bad to happen to him, so please understand that when I complain about how easy everything has been for her--from conception to childbirth to her baby sleeping through the night, albeit on his stomach--it's not that I wish she had a hard time like I did or anything. God, no, I wouldn't wish what happened to me on anybody. I just marvel at how she takes everything for granted, especially after the hell I've been through. But whatever. I'm moving on.

My good friend at work--one of the only people who knows that I did IVF- has started going through her own testing for IF. She's been trying for over a year now and finally gotten up the courage to talk to her doctor about it. Her initial ultrasound showed a lot of cysts, but the docs don't really know anything yet. My heart is breaking for her. She came out of her first appointment shell shocked, just as I did a year and a half ago. I'm glad she knows about what I went through so we can talk openly about it now. She was a major shoulder for me to lean on last year, and she now takes some comfort in the fact that I've been through this and can help her through it. H is afraid that I'll be reliving too much of everything by being there for her, but I don't think it will be a problem. One of the only good things to come out of my experience is that I can be there for other people who are struggling. My friend has commented that no one else listens to her the way I do--she now sees for herself that that only people who have been through this really get it. I wish this was something she never had to learn. I've directed her to the blogosphere, so you may be seeing her around in some form or another soon. I don't know what I would have done without my blog friends. Thank you all for being there.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

It'll Be Okay

I've spent so many posts complaining lately that I want to acknowledge that I really am starting to feel better emotionally overall. I have many, many more good moments than bad ones with the babies now, and even when things get tough, like when Baby B decides to pee on me while Baby A is screaming to be fed, I take it much more in stride. The babies are really cute, and I'm trying to enjoy this time as much as possible. They've started interacting a tiny bit with each other, which is so fun to watch. I'm happy I get to be their Mom.

Yesterday I tried to get them to nap in their cribs again thinking it might be easier now that their night sleep has improved, and that was just a big old excercise in futility. Not only were we all miserable, they didn't get any decent nap time and last night they awoke quite a few times in the 2:00-4:00 a.m. range. H and I are exhausted today. I love how easy the sleep books make their "programs" sound. I know I have to keep trying though, because soon they'll really be too big to nap in their bouncy chairs. Please keep the nap tips coming...especially you twin moms out there!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

One Year Later

A year ago I was in 2WW hell, about to find out that I was pregnant. Looking at my posts from that period, I was much more in control and on top of things than I feel now, even though I remember vividly what a difficult time it was. I was propelled with the hope of what could be even though I was scared. Now that I've faced almost losing my life and all chances at having a normal child-bearing experience, I find I'm a very different person. I'm tired. I am so very grateful for my two babies, but I am so tired emotionally.

Things are getting better with the babies every day, but in some ways I know I'll never heal from this experience. I called my uberfertile former best friend last week, who just had her second unplanned baby. She joyfully recounted how easy the birthing process was. Four pushes and he was out! She complained about all the little sleeping noises and grunts he makes and matter-of-factly stated that she puts him on his stomach to sleep because he gets more rest that way. The poor thing is only 2 weeks old and she's putting him on his stomach to sleep. Um, hello, you do know about SIDS, right? She answers that she did this with her first baby and she survived.

Now when people ask me if I plan on having more kids, I simply answer that I can't. The chance of HELLP recurring is too high so the doctors have forbidden it. You wouldn't believe the pity I see on people's faces. It surprises me. I'm an infertile with no hope of treatment now, and knowing there's nothing I can do about it does give me an odd sense of calm. Granted, I'm still pissed off that I can't get pregnant like most women I know, but that desperate longing I once felt is gone. I've had my experience, and while it wasn't a smooth ride at the end, I got to feel what it's like to grow two little people. Now I just need to accept that I have a body that failed its job in delivering and feeding those two little people, and that jackasses like my former best friend will always make me feel the sting of the injustice of it all.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


After a few very rough days before I went back to work last week, things started looking a little brighter. Now it seems that I am starting to have a few more good days than bad ones, so perhaps I am starting to turn the corner on this whole depression thing.

The boys were baptized this weekend, and it was absolutely beautiful. Everything went amazingly well, and for once our babies weren't the ones crying. My sister's newborn did the honors of squacking her head off during the party. That made me feel much, much better, since the past 2 weeks it's been my boys causing a commotion at family gatherings. The boys were attentive and pleasant during the ceremony, and then they slept like angels at the restaurant afterwards where we had the party. I am so glad we ignored my MIL's constant pestering to have the party at our house, because being able to just relax and enjoy the day out was so much better than trying to host something at our house. It was expensive but worth every penny. I have no idea how we would have cleaned and cooked for a party of that size with twins.

MIL, however, seemed sorely disappointed that she couldn't camp out at our house with all her side of the family who came from out of town. She still managed to come up with an excuse to get all of her relatives over to our house afterwards, but it was only for a few minutes luckily. She wanted everyone to have a tour of our house, and H obliged but made a point of saying that we weren't up to entertaining with twins (I mean, the whole reason we paid to have the party elsewhere is because we didn't have time to prepare the house for guests!). She was pouty all day, but I couldn't feel bad about it because it is just so hard to get anything done around the house with two babies, especially when one is still colicky and neither of them wanted to sleep through the night this week. I don't understand why she can't see how exhausted we are as it is. The weirdest thing--in the middle of the party, once both boys woke up from their naps, she asked H is he would do her a favor. Sure, he said...what is it? She asked if she could take the babies back to our house now that they were awake and have some time alone with them. Uhhh, no....H replied. Everybody here drove a long way to see the babies and this is their party...why would you take them from it??? Weird.

The thing is, she sees the babies a lot. It's not like she's getting less time with them than my parents. I think she misses the times when we had to rely on her to help take care of them by herself while I was sick, though I know she's genuinely glad I'm better. I think she got too much of a taste of playing "mom" instead of "grandmom." And the thing is, I'm not giving up my rights as Mom at these events, now that I'm finally in the picture. We let her feed one of the babies during the party, but H and I remained the babies' primary caregivers. Now that we're both back at work, the weekends are our main time to interact with the babies too, and we're not willing to just pass them off. We're making up for a lot of lost bonding time.

Anyhow, aside from MIL being MIL, everything was really nice and I think everyone had a really good time. H's brothers actually made it (his one brother has never visited us the entire time we have been married) and the weather couldn't have been better.

As far as me being back at work, I'm doing pretty well with it. I miss the babies a lot while I'm gone, but the separation also gives me a chance to recharge and be better with them once I get home. Also, my abdomen/hernia has been bothering me a lot more lately, so having a break from lifting them all day is probably good for my healing. Being at work has given me back a slice of my identity before this whole thing went down, and that's been good for me. My co-workers are so great, and my managers are being very understanding in letting me ease back into a full schedule while I continue to heal. So, really, right now I think things are as good as they could be. I'm concerned about my hernia, though, and will be making a few more doctor's appointments this week.

Are there any twin moms out there reading who had a hernia repaired after their delivery?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Seeking Help

I really, really appreciate the outpouring of responses to my last post. Yes, I feel this bad quite frequently, but things overall are getting better. I feel even worse for admitting how bad I feel, because ultimately, the most important thing of all in my whole pregnancy/birthing experience DID go right... I have two very healthy babies, even if they do cry a lot and aren't sleeping through the night, unlike all the babies my friends have just delivered. (I think there is this conspiracy amongst some new mothers (especially the fertile ones who were so good at making you feel like shit during your fertility treatments) to make you feel like you and your baby are complete failures compared to them...will explain later.)

I thank God every day that it was me in the hospital and not the babies, and that it was my life on the line, not theirs. My heart goes out to those people who went through what I did and lost their baby on top of it...I am so, so sorry. Knowing how lucky I am to have my babies makes me feel even worse for struggling so much right now. It's time I sought some help, for real, because I don't want my memories of my boys' first year overshadowed by depression. I'm glad to hear about the preeclampsia site and will be heading that way...the problem always is finding the time. Somehow, I need to make the time to get the support I need.

Talking to other mothers in "real life" just isn't cutting it right now. Every time I talk to the neighbor of mine down the street who had twins three weeks before me, she makes me feel like slitting my wrists. You know, I thought I'd have the perfect friend in her--we're both raising twins the same age, we both had c-sections, and we both have to have our abdominal muscles repaired at some point this year. Well, I call her to commiserate on how rough some of the nights have been lately, and when she asks how I'm doing and I tell her how exhausted I am all the time, she says in a snooty voice..."Really? And you have help at home!" (Referring to our au pair) Yeah, well, the au pair isn't working the night shift and mainly right now her job is to be with the babies while I go to my upteen million doctor's appointments because in case you've forgotten I almost died, Be-otch!!! (This is all said in my head, of course). When I tell her how the au pair stays with the babies while I'm at the doctor's, she actually chastised me for not bringing them out with me!!!!! She told me I had to get used to bringing them out sooner or later. Hello? Why would I want to bring them to germy doctor offices? And no, I don't need to take them out if I don't want to. I think it's more important they have a good schedule at home with their naps, thank you. Compound this by how she expressed shock that I was planning to go back to work (her words--"do you think the au pair will really be able to give your babies the attention and care that you would give them?") and then her bragging about how her babies always nap perfectly in their crib twice a day and that I better make mine do it now or I'll be sorry, and you can see why I might feel a little down about myself. With friends like that, who needs enemies, right? Would you believe she actually ended the conversation by suggesting we get together for a play date soon? Ha! So, sometimes it seems that when I reach out to talk to people, I only end up feeling much, much worse. As far as the other twin mom, her husband tells me that things are not nearly as perfect at home with their twins as she likes to suggest. Go figure.

I applaud all you mothers out there in blgland, both fertile and infertile, who can be honest about how tough all this is. Thank you for being there.

Monday, August 20, 2007

What's Wrong With Me?

I have to admit that I am really struggling to remain sane most days, especially when my sleep the night before has been bad or minimal. I think I'm still struggling with depression. I had another doctor appointment on Friday, this time with someone who hadn't seen me before, and I was again told how surprised this doctor was that I lived through what happened to me and am recovering. I keep getting told that the few other HELLP patients the doctors have treated have all died. No one seems to know what to tell me now because they never made it this far with their patients. It makes me extremely depressed, though I suppose I should be thrilled to be the one who lived. It's just hard to wrap your head around it. The fact that you should have died from how bad things were. The fact that you're recovering but no one really knows how long the full recovery will take and whether there will be any lasting impacts. The fact that every doctor who looks at your deformed abdomen with your intestines swirling around and says, no--I've never seen anything like that before, and I'm not sure how to fix it. It makes me want to cry alot.

I'm glad my body was tough enough to carry twins for as long as it did and tough enough to survive one of the worst cases of HELLP syndrome ever, but I am pretty pissed and depressed that EVERYTHING about my childbearing experience has been "unnatural." I couldn't get pregnant on my own. I couldn't deliver vaginally. I couldn't breatsfeed because of my condition. I couldn't come home with my babies from the hospital and spend their first month of life with them. Everything about the whole damn experience has SUCKED. I feel like a complete failure for not being able to breastfeed. I feel like a bad mother for not being able to say, "but despite everything bad that happened, it was so worth it." This is not the most gratifying thing I have ever done. The babies are very, very difficult to handle. Am I absolutely horrible for saying that??? Sadly, it feels true right now. The birth of my babies was not the best day of my life, and it should have been. Getting pregnant should have been a joyous experience, and thanks to IF, it wasn't. My maternity leave should be a wonderful bonding time with my boys, and really it's just been about my survival.

I love the babies, but I feel so overwhelmed and helpless that sometimes I think they'd be better off without me. Horrible thoughts, I know. But the thoughts are there, and I have to deal. All of this is compounded of course by the fact that my boys are not "easy" babies like every other baby my friends seem to have. They cry a lot. They aren't hitting a lot of the milestones as quickly as their younger cousin, which is of course constantly pointed out to me. "Oh, she is already reacting to this and doing that; your boys aren't????" It was bad enough having my IF pregnancy compared to my sister's natural pregnancy; it's worse having my boys compared to her girl. "Oh, she hardly ever cries; oh, she drinks 8 ounces every bottle; oh...oh...oh."

I. Hate. It.

Help please, I'm drowning here. Please tell me it gets easier?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Sleep Makes Me a Better Person

Thanks for all your comments about the napping situation. Two weeks ago, I was spending my entire day trying to get the boys to nap in their cribs when they would start to drift off in their chairs, and it was making both them and me extremely frustrated. If I could get them to nap in a crib, it would only last 30 minutes tops. If I turned the swing/bouncy seats off and left them alone to nap there in a quiet room, they would take great 2 hours naps, morning and afternoon. I was driving our au pair crazy because the boys would be fast asleep in their seats and I would start "nap training" and create unbelievable chaos.

Since H and I were also working on improving the boys' night time sleep (trying to cut down from 2 night feedings to just 1), I decided to quit being the Nap Nazi and let them get their rest during the day so that feasibly they would be better prepared for night sleep. Sleep begets sleep is what the Sleep Lady book I have says--that's the system I've been working with since day one. By easing off the crib nap requirements, I had more will power to work with the boys at night. The plan was to feed them at 7, have them asleep by 8, and then feed them once, and only once, between then and 6 am. This was quite the power struggle, but I am most happy to report that after one week of enduring extreme sleep deprivation, H and I won the battle. On Thursday, the boys went to bed at 8 and did not awake until 1 am for their feeding, and then did not awake again until 6:30. On Friday, they lasted until 2 am and stayed in bed until 7:00. On Saturday night, they slept until 4 am before needing to be fed!!! Now, these much improved nights have not been completely perfect--one twin almost always awakes around 11 or 12 for a diaper change, but the improved sleep has made me a much, much happier person. I figure I'll resume nap training once we have a few more good nights. Really, I don't think it's a big deal if they nap in their chairs, as long as they are not relying on the motion to sleep, which they aren't. I've been moving one of them into the nursery in his chair and turning on the monitor while I sit with the one who sleeps less downstairs in a quiet room. So far, all of us are happy.

On that note, it's time for me to go to bed...:(
More later!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

In the Middle of the Night

Just sitting here listening to the twin formerly known as Baby A making raptor noises in his sleep. H can somehow sleep through the little chirps and squacks he makes but I can't. The boys are about to turn three months, and I have one month left of maternity leave. I know that I'll just be starting to find the babies really interesting when it's time for me to leave them all day for work, and that sucks. I'm feeling some guilt about going back to work, but it's not like it's a choice--we can't afford for me to stay home. Our au pair is working out nicely and I think she'll do very well with them. I hate the idea of her spending more time with them than me though. She's overly helpful in some ways, and so when the day is over and she should be officially off duty, I get a little peeved when she still runs to them when they make any little noises. I shouldn't feel this way...I mean, shouldn't I be relieved there is someone to help my one crying baby while I'm tending to his crying brother? I just feel like I should be doing it all.

I'm still trying to feel like a real mom. I just don't know what to do sometimes, especially as I'm trying to get the babies to learn to take their morning and afternoon naps in their cribs instead of their bouncy seats. I feel incompetent. They both with be sound alseep in their bouncy seats, but the moment I try to lay them in a crib they scream bloody murder. At least we have a good bedtime routine and they go to sleep fairly easily in their cribs at the same time every night. The nights are still rough with lots of awakenings (hence this post), but they are starting to go for longer stretches without feedings at night.

Any advice on getting twins to nap in their cribs is greatly appreciated. I'd be happy to show the twins firsthand how it can be done as I am sleep deprived and find their crib ensemble soft and appealing, but I don't think that would work.

Monday, July 30, 2007

I'll Drink To That

My liver doctor is very pleased with my improvement and tells me that my liver is pretty much healed now, at last. The best proof of my liver's restored health is that he said I could have a glass of wine or beer with dinner. He just reminded me not to do any happy hours or anything. :)So, I did have a small glass of beer with H to celebrate that night (there was no wine in the house, my preferred drink.) It was more of a symbolic act than anything; I don't plan to do even moderate drinking any more. Maybe a one nice glass of wine on a special occassion every now and then, but that's it.

The doctor says that with my liver looking better, my main concern needs to be with my abdomen, which is still distended and full of intestines that aren't protected by the muscle wall. I'm told not to lift anything heavy. The abdomen has gone down significantly in size, however, and I can now wear girdle-like things that pull the whole stomach in so that I actually almost look like my former self if you stand back and squint a little. In fact, I bought a dress from Ann Ta.ylor yesterday for the boy's baptism that is only one size up from my normal dress size. And get this...the reason I needed the larger size was do to my still-enlarged bust, not my tummy. Hooray for that! While my chest is still a double D, it's not a nice double D like before I delivered. It's all deflated and droopy. I feel like my boobs just hang there. It kinda sucks. I need to do some bra shopping again.

Other changes with my body...my linea nigra scrubbed off in the shower today like a cheap fake tattoo. How weird is that? The belly skin is disgusting and crepe-like, but soft. The bad part is that I have the worst strecth marks you have ever seen along my sides, on the tops of my thighs, on my hips, and all the way down the undersides of my calves. These stretch marks are due to the way I blew up with fluid after I delivered; they are not because of the actual pregancy. They are truly horrendous, and my doctor says they will be with me for life. I feel like a zebra the way they stripe along my sides. It will be one-pieces for me from here on out. Somnetimes I'm very depressed about how disfigured I look with them, but when I consider the alternative to what happened to me, I just count myself lucky. I'm here, a little war-torn, but here.

The babies are doing great and are growing fast. I love them more each day. I get very tired some days and I often wonder what H and I have gotten ourselves into, but I know it's all worth it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

The New Normal

I'm still here...I'm just finding it hard to blog with the twins and Stefanie, our new au pair, to look after. Stefanie arrived last Thursday night from Germany and is a very nice girl. She's 19, and has experience watching baby boys, but ones that were a little older than my twins. Because the boys are still so small, she's rather timid around them, and I certainly wouldn't leave her alone with them yet. I have a month to "train" her before I go back to work. I figure if I can take care of them by myself with a bum liver, she'll be able to also.

On the liver front, things are continuing to get better. Most of my blood test results from last Friday are in the normal range now. Only my bilirubin remains elevated...so my eyes are still yellow.

Alas...a baby squeals; more later, I hope!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Home Alone!...with Babies!

Last week I finally had some good news...my blood tests showed improvement in my liver function. While my liver enzymes are still not in the normal range, they are much better, so talk of a biopsy appears to be off the table. Thank goodness! Thank you all for the prayers and good wishes. I was really worried that my condition had stagnated.

I moved back home with the babies and H on July 4, our own little independence day. H was off with me for the long weekend, and then MIL stayed with me Monday and Tuesday. After I saw that I could handle the babies much better on my own than with MIL, she went home and I have been alone with them for the past two days. It has been tiring for sure, but so wonderful. I am finally their Mom in the way I imagined I would be. I've definitely started to bond more with them the past few weeks, and I see them developing a preference for me as well. After all the people who have handled them the past two months, it is a relief to see that they do seem to recognize the woman who carried them for 37 weeks and then disappeared for almost a month.

Now I have one week to be alone with them and H before our au pair arrives. I am excited about her arrival and I know it's the right child care choice for us, but I'm sad that our time as just a family of 4 has been so brief.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Diapers, Doctors, and Die Hard

These are the three things that have kept me from blogging lately. I've gotten a significant amount of my strength back, so I have been able to care for the babies almost full-time during the day. In fact, I was completely on my own with them from 9 am to 5 pm on Tuesday because my mom had some doctor's appointments of her own. I was scared at first, but everything went really well and I managed to get the boys fed, diapered, and bathed without having to leave either one of them cry for too long. When they both decide to have a meltdown at the same time things get very tricky, but I've been managing to multi-task between the two of them very well. I even did their laundry and made a few phone calls.

While I feel better and stronger, my body is still taking its good old time healing. I've had many doctor's appointments since my last post, and things still look crappy for me. Let's see--where to start? Well, my OB thought I'd need a D&C to remove some remaining products of conception. We did an ultrasound, and they saw a little spot of something in the cervical canal, but the OB decided it wasn't worth doing the D&C. (a D&C would be risky for me now anyway because of my liver and clotting issues) I seemed to get a light period last week, but it was a brighter red than normal. Could have been the stuff they saw on the ultrasound. Then the bleeding stopped. Now it has started again. The OB has no idea what to make of any of it.

Next, my liver enzymes are still testing the same (crappy), which isn't good. The liver specialist wants to see some improvement by now. If he doesn't see improvement soon, he feels I should have a liver biopsy done. This is also risky. I had more bloodwork done yesterday and am praying that we'll have some better results. I'm not nearly as yellow as I was when I got home, so something with the liver must be working.

I saw my general practitioner yesterday and he said my urine is full of bile still and "looks absolutely awful," and he again emphasized how surprised he is that I'm alive. Ugh. Getting sick of hearing that. He also has nothing to tell me treatment wise. We're supposed to just sit and wait for my body to heal itself.

I have an appointment with a surgeon today to assess my abdomen, which is still the size of a small kick-ball. When I lean back, you can see all of my intestines moving. It is truly gross. The docs thought I might have a major hernia, but we did a CAT scan last week and it didn't show one. The stomach muscle may just be stretched super thin from the twin pregnancy and subsequent swelling. The surgeon today will assess whether I'll need the stomach muscle repaired in order to bring my intestines back into where they belong. If I do need surgery, I won't be able to have it done until my liver is healed. In the meantime, I have to be very careful not to lift anything heavy or let anything hit or compress my stomach.

Finally, to the last item occuppying my time--Die Hard. H got all three of the original movies on DVD for Christmas, and we've been watching them over the past two weeks after the boys have settled down for the evening. Last night, my parents offered to babysit so we could go see Live Free or Die Hard. I didn't want to go at first--I was depressed about all the doctor's visits and I felt guilty leaving the boys, but I ended up really enjoying the movie. I highly recommend it. It made me laugh my ass off, and that is a hard thing to make me do these days. :)

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I've been living with H and the babies at my parent's house now for almost a month. It hasn't been easy for us or my parents, as you can imagine, but all things considered we are making the most of a difficult situation. My Dad and I are more laid back about everything, so I think it's affected us less than my Mom and H, each who like things "just so" and tend to get a little on edge when they don't have complete control over their living situation. I know you're thinking, "But, Emmie, you're a self-admitted total control freak!" Well, I'm really not when I know that there's nothing I can do about something, and logic dictates that I need to accept my situation rather than fight it. I need to be taken care of right now, and much as it sucks and much as it means being gracious about things that would normally drive me nuts, I know when it's time for me to let little annoyances slide off my back. Even if it means having to eat carrot cake or something. I wish H could be as understanding. He lets every little thing my parents do get to him, then he vents to me, and quite frankly, I'm sick of hearing it. Yes, we'd rather be in our own home doing things our way, but that just isn't an option right now.

While I still want to fill you all in on the rest of my hospital adventures and a better breakdown of my medical condition, today I'd like to write a little more about the emotional aspects of all this.

When I was in the hospital, I found it hard to listen to people tell me all about the babies. I just couldn't focus for one thing, and I was in so much pain. I wanted to know the babies were okay, and that's about it. It hurt to hear from other people what my babies were like...I should have been the one telling people these things. H had a priest visit me the Sunday I arrived at the next hospital, and I was able to talk about all of my feelings to him. It helped a lot. I felt my illness was a punishment for me wanting to do everything myself for the babies without my parents' and in-laws' help. Here I had gone out of my way to ensure I wouldn't need their help, and suddenly I'm so sick that not only do I need them to take care of the babies, I need them to take care of me, too.

When I was released from the hospital, I was still in very bad shape. There was really nothing more the doctors could do for me in the hospital though, so it was decided that my recovery would be better at my parent's house. In order to leave I had to prove that I could climb a flight of stairs, get in and out of bed, and step in and out of a shower. I demonstrated each of these things just once before being discharged. When I left, I was terrified that I wouldn't be able to function at home yet. My mind continued to be preoccuppied by how I would accomplish the simplest of tasks. The whole way home I repeated my plan to H over and over: "You pull the car up as close as you can to the door. Tell my Mom to keep the babies upstairs. Help me inside to the bathroom. I'll go to the bathroom. Then get my pillows and help me sit in a chair. Once I'm sitting then bring down the babies." I kept repeating this over and over, terrified that I wouldn't be able to make it to the door, that I wouldn't be able to control my bowels during the hour-long car ride, that I wouldn't be able to climb the stairs to go to bed that night. These simple tasks literally took all of my energy. Being able to stand in front of the sink and brush my teeth and wash my face on my own was a huge accomplishment that night.

So of course, being in that shape, the most I could do with the babies at first was hold them while I sat. When I first held both of them in my arms after getting to my parent's house, it was wonderful. The three of us sat there for 2 hours. The next few days though, I couldn't help but feel extremely detatched from them as I watched H and my parents care for them "their way." I felt like a complete stranger to them. I wasn't their mother. And there was nothing I could do to insert myself into the situation. I just had no strength. H would offer me a baby to feed, and I'd have to decline. I worried that I didn't have any feelings for them. I didn't have any feelings at all. I was an empty shell...a deformed version of myself. I couldn't kiss them--I had a cold sore on the paralyzed side of my face and there was concern that I could pass on a viral infection.

As my mind slowly started to come back I couldn't help but feel bitter looking at pictures that were taken the day the babies were brought home from the hospital..Mother's Day...a day I was so sick I don't even remember it. In the pictures I saw my in-laws and H, laughing, smiling, holding my babies in my house without me while I was fighting for my life in the ICU. Oh, the bitterness. I even felt angry at H.

to be continued...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

We Now Take a Commercial Break...

For some much needed positive news!

My sister had her baby last Wednesday, almost exactly one month after the boys were born, and she is beautiful!!!! Everything went well and my sister is doing fine. I was well enough to visit her and the baby in the hospital last week, and last night she brought the baby to my parent's house so all three babies were together. What a zoo! We got some fun pictures and enjoyed the symphony of baby cries (for the most part :)

While I'm on positive thoughts, I want to note some of the wonderful things that have come out of my almost dying. (Yesterday I had 3 separate doctors tell me how they can't believe I survived, so it's kinda funny that I can now say I almost died and know that I'm not just being my usual melodramatic self.)

1. A big source of pain in my life is that I've never heard my mom tell me that she loves me. She had never said the words to me. I've always felt that she much preferred my sister to me. Well, my mom was an amazing caregiver to me in the hospital. She sat with me for hours while I slept, spoon-fed me food when I couldn't do more than open my mouth, and countless other things. She soothed me when I had panic attacks. Most importantly, she told me how much she loved me for the first time. Even though her actions already showed all that love and I knew that she loved me, it was really something to hear it.

2. A cousin of mine (my dad's sister's son) has not spoken to my parents or me and my sister in 7 years; it's a long story. Well, when his mom, my aunt, told him what happened, he called her every day for updates on me. Finally he wrote my dad, and apologized for all the years of silence, and asked that he and my dad could talk in order to put the past behind and be family again. My dad, who never had any issues with him in the first place and had hoped for years that he would come around, immediately embraced this chance to talk to him. This reunion has been wanted for so very, very long by us.

3. There are other relatives that have been somewhat estranged, and they have all reached out to put differences behind and move forward.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The next week in the hospital

Before I continue, thank you all for your comments. I need to share this in order to start moving on. This experience has jarred me in ways I never could have imagined. Thank you, Jen, for the information about the support group. I will be visiting it soon. During my stay in the hospital, social workers would visit me in between all the other parades of doctors and visitors, and they would want to talk to me about postpartum depression and such. Well, at that time, sick as I was, I couldn't talk to them had I wanted to. I'm sure I do have some depression issues to deal with (who wouldn't??), but when I was in the hospital, I could only focus on one thing--reserving every bit of energy for healing my body.

I could only stare in disbelief at those social workers who would come in wanting to chat about my feelings while I was being given blood products because my body was shredding all my red blood cells, being fed nutrients through an IV, and had yet a third bag attached to my body to drain fluid from the C-section incision site. (Ironically in all this, the C-section incision healed beautifully within a week of the procedure, you can't see it, and I never even felt it.) I was hooked up to oxygen and covered in electrodes to monitor my vital signs. My thoughts were on getting through the next painful test and whether I would have the assistance I needed when my bowels would begin to demand immeditiate release. It took two nurses to get me in and out of bed to use the bathroom. I had to have all of my bags of fluid hooked onto the walker they helped me use, and all of the wires attached to my body stayed with me after being unplugged. It was a long process to get me up and back to bed. Getting my massive belly positioned back in bed was very painful, as the nurses surrounded me with pillows and foam props to try to minimize my pain and help me breathe. I couldn't lay on my back because the weight of my stomach crushed me. I had to be carefully positioned on one side or the other, and once I was propped that way, I couldn't move without assistance.

Over the course of the next week, the doctors tried every test to determine whether I had HELLP Syndrome , Fatty Liver, or something viral that was causing all of this. The problem was (and still is), that I showed many signs of both HELLP and Fatty Liver and nothing was clear cut. The cure for HELLP is delivery, and here I was, delivered but getting worse, not better. Or at least, not getting better at the rate that would be expected for HELLP. All the fluid that had been removed from my abdomen had built back up. My jaundice was not improving. My white and red blood cell counts were still bad. My arms and legs were so swollen they looked like tree trunks, and my fingers and toes were like sausages sticking out of my huge hands and feet.

After a few doctors who saw me thought I was just a "big" girl to begin with, not recognizing the severity of my swelling, my Mom stuck a picture of me and H pre-pregnancy on my bulletin board with the baby pictures she had brought. One of the nurses saw it and asked who the girl was with my husband. I thought she was joking. When I answered me, she looked down at me with the saddest eyes and said--"Oh, honey...you must be in there somewhere. Don't look in the mirror, okay?" I didn't. I was spared seeing what I was like at my worst. It must have been pretty awful because when I finally did see myself 2 weeks later, I was still horrified. And that was after everyone had told me how much better I looked.

There wasn't much more the hospital I was in could do for me, so it was recommended that I be transferred to a tertiary care hospital where more specialists would be available to examine me. When a bed finally became available there, ten days after I had delivered, I was transferred by an ambulance. This part truly felt like a movie. With the sides of my abdomen spilling out on either side of me, I was carefully moved from my hospital bed to a very narrow stretcher and loaded into an ambulance. It took 2 men and 2 women to move me. H rode with me but up front, because a nurse had to monitor my vitals the whole way. I was continually given morphine during the hour trip for the pain. I spent most of the time with my eyes closed, trying to block everything out, thinking only that I had to get better for the babies and H. Whenever I was in pain or going through a difficult test I did this--just sort of retreated into myself.

The days following the birth

I remember very little about seeing my boys the next few days after their birth as I got sicker and sicker from my liver not functioning. They had to pull a few strings to allow the boys into intensive care. When they brought them to me, I asked for Baby A first, since I hadn't seen him. I took a few moments with him, then they handed me Baby B. H asked me who would be who, namewise. I felt Baby A was Zach and Baby B was Alex. H said he had come to the same conclusion on his own. Then I remember the lactation consultant coming in and helping me try to breastfeed. That's when I thought I was out of the woods and just getting better. Luckily, as I got sicker and they began putting me on medications that would affect my breastmilk, I denied the lactation consultant's attempts to have me still pump and get my milk to come in (they were planning to just throw it out until I was "better"). "Better" was not coming as soon as it would have in a "normal" case of HELLP syndrome or Fatty Liver (I showed symptoms of both issues), and had I needed to be pumped on a regular basis in addition to the constant battery of tests they started running on me plus the excruciating pain I was in from my fluid filled abdomen and body--well, I just can't imagine it.

I continued to turn a darker and darker shade of yellow as the jaundice intensified. The whites of my eyes turned yellow. Friday morning, the left side of my face became paralyzed. I went for an immediate MRI to rule out a stroke. No stroke, it was Bell's Palsy. I had no idea--I did not look in a mirror until a week later. Had no idea about how my face now drooped, that I was so yellow, that even my face was swelled up like a balloon. As I filled with fluid, I was trapped in my body. The pressure from my abdomen swelling up to my chest was horrible. I could barely breathe.

H says I saw the babies every day until they went home on Sunday, Mother's Day. I only remember seeing them on day two. I have no recollection of Mother's Day at all. None. My mom says that was one of my very worst days of all, when the fluid that built up in my abdomen was so much that I began throwing it up and they had to puncture my side to allow some of it to drain. Three and a half liters were taken out. Although the liquid was removed, new liquid continued to fill in as the liver still was not processing it. I had a bag similar to my urine bag coming out of my side to allow the liquid to continue to drain. But it didn't drain faster than it continued to fill.

I was given morphine for the pain. I didn't want it. The sickenly sweet smell filled my nose and stayed with me. I had the most twisted, horrifying nightmares, and I began hearing things and making no sense when I was on it. Even though I didn't want to take it, I had to use it when they moved me from stretcher to stretcher for the constant MRIs, CAT scans and other X-rays. Every bump and jostle my body felt was horrible. I was a water balloon about to pop. When my bowels began working again, I had to have nurses position bed pans under me because I couldn't get out of bed. In addition to my abdomen being filled with fluid, it was filled with trapped gas that was making the pressure worse and needed to come out. This was next to impossible to get out without me being able to stand up and move some. The nurses and physical therapy worked with me to get me up a few times. I was given more morphine after I'd get back into bed. The pain and exertion was just too much. My mind wouldn't quiet. The inside of my mouth felt like pins and needles. I couldn't drink enough, and needed to be brought more liquids all the time. The nurses would bring tall cups with straws that I couldn't suck from due to the paralysis. I spent my time struggling to drink, go to the bathroom, and sleep in between constant doctor visits, blood draws, and tests. When people visited me I freaked out if they got too close or were too loud. My head couldn't take it. I had panic attacks.

My parents would tell me about the babies and I had a hard time listening. H brought me cards and I wouldn't be able to look at them. My focus was on my next breathe.

(Quick update about the present...I still am on a long road to recovery. I cannot care for the babies right now, other than to do occassional feedings and diaper changes. My condition is extremely rare, so for those of you with questions about HELLP, know that I am by far a worst, worst case scenario. I have been told not to have any more pregnancies because my risk of this happening again is high. But for someone who has a "normal" case of HELLP, I think a second pregnancy means you just get monitored more closely.)

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Part One Continues...What I Didn't Know

My last post is my recollection of the day the twins were born and of what was happening to me. Here's what else happened that day. (Even today, I still had to ask H to tell me when things happened to me.)

When they started the C-section I was in complete renal failure. My liver stopped functioning. My bowels shut down. The day of the birth was the worst day for me as far as complications.

With my liver not functioning, I began to become very jaundiced, and every part of my body and abdomen began to swell with fluid that could not be processed. The swelling over the next few days became extreme. Fluid seeped from my arm at one point. I started the pregnancy 120 pounds. The day of delivery, I had been 172 pounds. Over the course of the next few days after delivery, I swelled to 198 pounds. I took on thirty pounds of fluid, likely more considering the immediate weight I lost with the removal of the twins.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Dream Turned Nightmare, part one

I want to try to get out what I remember as best as I can in a stream of consciousness. Apologizing now for all typos and poor writing.

May 8, Tuesday morning at 3:00 a.m., feeling pretty awful. Get up to go the bathroom. Heavy watery discharge then the release of a lot of mucuos. The mucuos plug? Water breaking? Not sure. Wake H. Call the doctor. Doc says to come to the hospital to be sure. Needed to be there that morning early anyway for 12:00 planned C-section. Debated calling and waking parents. Decided to call them and let them know we were headed out.

By 4:30 a.m. hooked up to monitors in labor and delivery triage room. Nurse determines water had not broken, but contractions starting and very painful. Doc on her way. Told the C-section would be moved up to 9:00 a.m. H calls my parents with update--there already on the way. Doc arrives. Now it's sometime around 6:00 a.m. Suddenly told the C-section is going to happen now. I'm in the OR. Get the spinal. Painless. I hold H's hand.

Baby A (Zachary) is born at 6:35, 5 pounds 11 ounces and 19 1/4 inches. He is in some distress and is whisked away to the NICU. I didn't see him.

Baby B (Alexander) is born at 6:37, 5-10 oz and 19 1/4 inches. He is cleaned up and brought to rest on my shoulder. He sucks my face as I greet him--Hi, Baby! Then he is put in the incubator by my side for a bit. H has gone to check on Baby A, who is fine but being monitored. H goes back and forth between us. We're asked if we know the names for each baby. Say we have names picked but I need to see Baby A first to figure out who should be who.

I ask for an ice chip but am denied. They don't want anything in my system...something appears to be wrong. Doc tells me I may need a hysterectomy (which did not happen). I think...What?? Inside panic but too weak to ask why or what's going on. Whatever you have to do I say.

Everything goes black.

I hear a woman calling my name sharply. I open my eyes and see a doctor hovering over me that I don't know. She says in the same urgent voice--Do you know where you are?? I give the name of the hospital. Do you know what happened to you? I just delivered twins through a C-section I say. She keeps repeating, "No, do you know what happened to you? Do you know where you are?" Meanwhile both of my hands are being slapped by nurses on either side of me and I feel attempts at needles being poked into the veins. We can't get any veins they're yelling. I think that's odd--my veins are usually so good. The jab me up and down the hands and arms until finally they get IVs in both. Everytime I start to close my eyes my name is called sharply and I'm asked the same questions. I see bags of blood being hooked up. The doctor yells that they're going to need more blood products; there's no time to wait. I'm told I'm in intensive care in critical condition.

I have no idea what has happened. I now know my blood wouldn't clot and I was bleeding to death. I'm told they call it DIC. They were close to losing me. If it hadn't been for the ICU doctor's fast action...

Once I am stabalized I'm brought to a room in the ICU. I don't remember much of anything else about the day. I know I wanted to see Baby A so badly. I ask how he is doing and am so relieved to hear he is out of the NICU and is absolutely perfect. Both babies are strong and healthy. H promises to hold off giving the names until I've gotten the chance to see both boys and decide. He spends the night with them in the maternity ward while I'm in the ICU.

I grieve not seeing my first son the day he was born, but I am so happy he is okay.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Where on Earth to Start?

I'm lucky to be alive. I'm lucky that my boys, Zach and Alex, were absolutely perfect after delivery and are showing no ill effects from my condition. I'm lucky to be out of the hospital to recover at home, where I can finally be with my family.

It looks like my diagnosis is HELLP syndrome, something that only happens in .02 to .08 percent of pregnancies. And evidently, I am one of the worst cases the doctors have seen. The "cure" for Hellp is delivery, and once you've delivered it's supposed to resolve quickly. Well, I delivered almost a month ago. Who knows how long recovery will take. I know Jamie at Sticky Feet has been giving updates through all this, so I'm not sure what you all may know about my condition already and what happened to me.

When I just reread my last post before all this went down, I saw the line about my mom having sympathy for my condition and how this means I might be about to die. It makes me shudder. I had a really bad feeling Saturday through Monday that something wasn't right, but all the signs I exhibited were really things that could have been perfectly normal ones for how far I was with the twins. If I had called the doctor on Saturday, it likely wouldn't have made a difference in what happened or the severity of it.

Anyhow, there's plenty of time to get into the nightmare that was my 2 plus weeks in the hospital.

I want to say a big thank you for the gift Jamie, The Woman Who Cried Pregnant, Lisa, Hopeful Mother, Jonesing for a Baby and Motel Manager sent to me. When I saw who it was from I was truly stunned and I cried happy tears. Couldn't believe you tracked me down in that hospital. It's funny that Jamie comments about the boys needing to share the teddy bear...a few hours after the package arrived, I received an identical one from a family friend. The first thing H and I said was--how perfect is that?--now the boys will both have their own bear!!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

In the middle of the night...

I get up every hour, on the hour, like clockwork. I finally gave up and decided to write a quick post and check out anything else new in Blogland.

My parents were near my house today for an afternoon party, so they called to see if they could stop by and bring dinner. This was a surprise...my parents never just stop by, even when I encourage them to. I said okay, as long as they understood I was not doing so well and would probably stay in bed. I figured H would definitely benefit from some decent food and company. It turned out to be a very nice visit, and the dinner they brought was amazing. Several of my favorite fresh veggies that they steamed when they arrived, a colorful salad, and ribs they picked up from a nearby restaurant. It was the best meal I ate all week.

My parents were shocked to see how my condition has deteriorated from just a few weeks ago at Easter. My knees and calves have swollen up to match my balloon feet and I can barely hobble around. My parents immediately saw the increased size of my already over-extended belly. My mom, who typically has no pity for any pain I describe or will match it with her own story of discomfort, was all sympathy (several times I've heard how she had to walk uphill in snow with swollen feet a week before she delivered me). I think this means I'm going to die, because my mom has never shown sympathy for any pain I've been in...she's just not the comforting type. That's always been my dad's role.

Yeah, so I'm pretty uncomfortable right now. Anxiously awaiting Tuesday. Praying the babes will be okay. Praying I will be okay. Surgery scares me, though I've been trying not to focus on it. If you don't hear from me the next two days, I'll be back soon, hopefully doing a lot better with two boys in my arms.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The final stretch...

I'm still here, limping along. Friday was pure hell. I had an appointment with the peri, then my OB, then a non-stress test. All told, I spent 4 straight hours of people poking and prodding me my belly. Baby B moved so much during the non-stress test that they couldn't track his heart beat with the movements like they needed to. They finally gave up, figuring if he is that active he is fine.

So, it turns out I need a C-section after all. Both babies are transverse, one on top of the other. The OB was very glad she had already scheduled me for Tuesday. Evidently, having twins transverse at this late stage is part of the reason why I'm in so much pain. They are truly stretching me to the limit. Last week, when Baby A's head was down in my pelvis, had been the day I felt the best. I guess he just doesn't want to stay there anymore.

My neighbor who had her twins a few weeks ago had been strongly against a C-section, and she has since told me now how wonderful it was--nothing at all like she expected. (She even had a previous vaginal delivery to compare it to.) I know that she too was in immense pain before the C-section took place at 37 weeks. Right now, every hour is such a struggle for me. It's nothing like I expected. My sister, who is 3 weeks behind me with a singleton, is still living a normal life, shopping and eating out, visiting friends. I've been cooped up and experiencing increasing pain for over two months.

My friends without kids don't get how much pain I'm in. They call all the time, asking to get together, and seem surprised when they find out I'm in bed asleep or resting. I feel like they see me as being melodramatic about the whole thing when I explain that I really can't do anything right now. One friend keeps pushing for me and H to go to the movies with her this weekend, yet I can barely sit right now.

Another friend keeps asking how soon she can come see the babies next week--she's asked no less than 3 times if she can be here the first weekend we're home. When I suggested she come see us briefly in the hospital instead and wait a few weeks before coming to the house, she started in on asking H about coming over.

I'm glad that friends are so eager to spend time with us and welcome the babies, but between them and family, I know it's time H and I make a game plan for setting some boundaries. Especially after reading Jenny's post about all her initial visitors!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I'm Still Here...

In answer to Motel Manager's comment, "Last night, I dreamed you had them today. Any truth to that?? :)" ...

Today I've only given birth to more hemorrhoids (whimper). The babies are still cooking!

I'm so happy to be at 36 weeks and 1 day. Would you believe I have outlasted my grandmother and my cousin, who both had "natural" twin pregnancies and are much larger women than me? My grandmother had her twins at 33 weeks, and as a result my mom and uncle spent a month in the hospital. My cousin had her twins at about 34 weeks, with the babies being born at about 3 pounds each. I can now thumb my nose at the reports that say IVF moms have their twins earlier than natural moms.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A Very Special Date

My C-section is scheduled for May 8 if the babies don't arrive before then. I can't believe I will meet them one week from tomorrow!!!!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Open Sesame?

I had a really good day yesterday. My body felt the best it had in two weeks. H was home by lunchtime with me so we could go to my OB appointment. I was excited to see what kind of progress I was making, because I had been feeling so lousy lately.

Last week, the OB I saw had said the outer portion of my cervix was just the teeniest bit open, while the inside remained tightly shut. She said she had expected me to be more open by this point. Last week, I felt this lock down was good news, but seeing as I'm now almost 36 weeks, I was now hoping to hear that the cervix might be starting to open a bit. I mean, I had a really bad week. Surely something must have been going on, even if there were no real contractions?

I also decided walking into this appointment that I was going to be a little more assertive about wanting to schedule a C-section rather than waiting to have one sprung on me at the last minute. Well, the OB I saw yesterday was the one I've seen the most, and she has been very pro-vaginal delivery with me since day one. So when I started to explain my reasons for why I'd at least like to have a section scheduled for my 37th week in case I haven't gone into labor by then, she had a counter-argument for every point I made.

That is, until she examined me. My cervix is still closed super tight. She said given my overstretched uterus and the fact that Baby B is breech again, putting me in the books for a C-section at 37 weeks probably is a good idea. The fact that I show no sign of opening up despite how far Baby A is crammed into my pelvis tells her that vaginal labor might just not work for me. The uterus itself may already be too stretched to contract properly. So, Monday I will find out when they have scheduled me. If I go into labor before then or if my cervix changes, we can always still try the vaginal delivery. I felt really good knowing that I'll at least have an end date in sight.

The OB said the babies are huge and I definitely won't be having premature babies at this point. So, I'm very grateful that the boys probably won't spend time in the NICU, so long as there are no other unforeseen complications. My cervix has done its job--it can stop being an over-achiever now. Knowing how big and strong the babies are, and how worn out my body is, I'd love for them to just come on out now. I'm ready to meet them face to face at last.

After feeling so physically good yesterday, I feel lousy again today. Oh well. I'm hoping they schedule me for sooner than later during my 37th week.

Friday, April 27, 2007


Since I sense the end is near, I wanted to let everyone know that Jamie over at Sticky Feet will have the first news of the twin's arrival when it happens. So, when you see I haven't posted in a few days, you might find she has the (hopefully good) news. Thank you, Jamie!

I do intend to keep posting regularly after the boys are born; I just don't know how soon I'll be at my computer right afterwards. It always makes me sad when I follow someone's journey from diagnosis to pregnancy to birth and then they disappear forever, so I'm going to do my best to keep up as always. Besides, who else will I be able to tell my nightmare MIL stories and TMI reports to?

Speaking of TMI...does my colon know something I don't? My goodness--I have had so many bowel movements the past two days I could cry. Wait... I have cried. The hemorrhoids, which had been getting better, just can't handle this mass evacuation. I swear, I go immediately after I eat anything! I've been regular this whole pregnancy, and I'm not eating that much these days (no room), so I have no idea where all this sh** is coming from. Oh, my poor rear. I'd be posting a lot more if it weren't for the fact that sitting is so painful, and I need to use my time wisely to work. My boss still wants me to try to work for as long as possible next week, but I really feel like Monday should be my last day. We'll see what the doctor says today. Even though I'm working from home, not being able to sit is a real problem.

On to more pleasant things...I had a commentor ask about my nursery decor, so here's some pictures of it in the early stages.

We now have our glider/recliner in from La.Z.Boy and H has put in a cute white ceiling fan/light so that the baby death trap halogen lamp has been moved back to the living room where it belongs. We still have to hang things on the walls...that's been a big point of debate because both sets of our parents gave us personalized wall hangings with the babies' *possible* names despite the fact that we told them over and over not to give us anything personalized until the babies were here and officially named. Wwhile we are 99% sure these are the names we will use, we were both still upset they did this because we felt like they were jinxing us. I mean, what if something happens??? Besides, we kept telling them the names were tentative. Ugh. MIL keeps saying we have to use the one name we've proposed because it was her great-grandfather's name. Uh, so? We didn't know that when we picked it, so it's not like we were trying to name the baby after anybody. When I'm feeling cranky I just feel like changing their names entirely just to prove a point. Not very mature or motherly of me.

Anyhow, I'll try to post a picture of the nursery when it's complete this weekend.
Must go now--my allotted sitting time is up...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Pain, Pain, Pain...

Yesterday I said my days alternate between pretty good and really bad. Well, today is really, really bad. I haven't had a back ache since the second trimester (not quite sure why it went away as I got bigger), but today it is back with a vengeance. Plus my belly is so heavy that the pressure on my pelvic area/rectum is almost unbearable. I know these could be signs of impending labor, but I've had no contractions or any other signs. In fact, the b-hicks contractions have really backed off the past two weeks. Maybe my poor uterus is just too stretched to contract much anymore. :(

On that note, I've been giving a lot of thought to requesting a C-section. My neighbor had her twins via C-section last week, and though she really did not want to have one originally, she said it was much, much better than her first singleton, vaginal delivery. H brought her and her husband dinner last night, and she was up and about and looking fine. H did note that she still looked like she was 6-months pregnant, but at least her pregnancy aches and pains were gone. Right now, I am in so much pain that the thought of having a quick C-section delivery without experiencing contractions or any other tearing down below sounds lovely. TMI WARNING--My hemorrhoids are so bad today that I can't imagine pushing out two babies so close to that super-sensitive area. Now, I have these hemorrhoids simply from the weight of my uterus pressing down on me, because I've had no constipation this entire pregnancy. Can you imagine what will happen once I start pushing? I feel like my intestines will come out with the babies. Sorry, not pleasant, I know.

Anyhow, speaking of my neighbor and her newborn twins, H came back from visiting them absolutely giddy and glowing. And one of the first things out of his mouth was--We're going to have to have more babies. I love H. I love that he loves kids, especially babies, so much. I hate that IF has made family building so hard for us, while my friends who are ambivalent about kids get knocked up so easily and then cry about it. I'm so grateful H and I are having these two babies, and I pray they will be delivered safe and sound. Even if it means the utter destruction of my arse and nether regions.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

35 Weeks!

If I could move, I'd do a happy dance!

I seem to alternate between having pretty good and really bad days lately. I can handle that. Today so far seems pretty good. The discomforts are always there, but some days they are just more intense than others.

I've had a bag sorta packed for the hospital ever since I started getting bad braxton-hicks contractions, but now I feel like I really need to prepare it. I find it funny that books I'm reading recommend bringing some make-up with you. My routine for the past few weeks has consisted of nothing but hemorrhoid creme, shea butter lotion, and colorless lip balm. And to think I never used to let people see me without a full face of makeup. Anyone who shows up to the hospital after my delivery is going to be in for a big surprise!

I've officialy hit the 50 lb weight gain mark. I still feel that it's mostly all in my belly. I'm a little scared to think about what my belly is going to look like after delivery, especially after watching that sextuplet special on TLC. I've never been a big believer in plastic surgery, but if my belly looks anywhere near as bad as hers did then I'd have to rethink my position. I know your belly won't go back to the way it was, and I can deal with having a small pooch forevermore, but I don't think I could face all those wrinkled folds of drooping flesh. Any twin moms out there want to share their belly experiences post delivery?

Overall I'm getting really excited about meeting these babies. I'm still scared, especially about the pains of delivery and my ability to care for two infants at once, but I figure I'll get through it if I've been able to handle being out of commission for two months now. I'm a very active person by nature, so I'm sure being able to move around again, especially to tend to these very-wanted babies, will feel amazing.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Why I Shouldn't Watch TLC

Since I've been trapped at home for the past two months, I've been watching a lot more TV on the weekends with H than I normally would. Skimming through the online TV guide, I find myself drawn to TLC's line up of shows like it's a train wreck. First there are a million episodes of a Baby Story (I always seem to tune in just in time for the close-up of a C-section), then there's that show about the little people who have twin boys, Little People, Big World (my God, if a 4-foot little person can have twins I really need to suck up my pain!) and then the worst--Surviving Sextuplets and Twins.

Of course we had to watch. How does one have sextuplets and twins? Well, through fertility treatments, of course. The title is misleading--the twins, not the sextuplets, came first, through a round of IUI. They didn't say it out right, but it appears the sextuplets were also the result of an IUI. H thought this was pure craziness--what had the RE been thinking? Since they were successful with twins the first time, weren't they monitoring the number of her follicles more carefully so that excessive multiples wouldn't happen? I don't know; the show didn't seem to care about those details. H felt that this was the type of program that gave people without a clue about IF a bad impression about fertility treatments and the people who use them--the desperate designation. (Wouldn't you know that even the show synopsis calls the couple "desperate to have children.")

Well, watching this couple go through pregnancy with the sextuplets and then cope with 8 little babies in all opened a lot of discussion between me and H about our own IF experience. I have to say, seeing a woman pregnant with sextuplets after already having twins, her belly stretched beyond imagination, made me feel like a royal wimp over my own aches and pains. (She could actually smile when showing her 54-inch belly! And to think mine is only 43 inches.) Her enthusiasm was not enough to make me think I'd ever be able to go the multiple route again myself, though. If H and I ever try IVF again, I am pretty sure I will only transfer 1 embryo. I have absolutely no regrets about transferring two this first time, and I am so, so happy they both took, but I don't think my body could handle multiples a second time.

H, who said he'd never do fertility treatments at the beginning of our diagnosis, has gone from saying we should only transfer 1 embryo the first time (he was convinced by me and the doc to put back our two), to saying he'd be willing to put back 3 if we tried a second time and had three embryos of equal quality. Wha??????? Now, I'm very glad H has come around to being more accepting of IVF and the multiple "risks" involved, but there is no way I could put back three. Not only would it be bad for me, I'd be even more worried about the health of three if they all took. I'm touched H is willing to give IVF another try with me--he was so against it in the beginning that I think his change of heart shows how much experiencing a pregnancy has meant to him. I am so happy I've been able to give him that. Experiencing the pregnancy together has been wonderful. But I'm the one who probably wouldn't go through IVF again at this point.

My reason--none of our embryos were able to make it to blast before transfer, and we only had 2 that showed promise. Which meant we had to transfer both of those two or else we'd be sacrficing one of them (my clinic won't freeze anything less than a blast). Knowing that both took in this last case, I couldn't make that sacrifice if I were faced with the same situation in round two. So yes, we'd have to transfer two again. And of course both might not take--none might take at all. But I don't think I could put myself at risk for multiples again. At least, now is not the time to talk to me about it as I'm crippled by the pain of this current pregnancy.

It's not just about the pain, either. It's about all the risks to the twins themselves. The fears of prematurity and other complications. The things I didn't realize when I first saw those two beautiful sacs on the ultrasound screen. I wanted this. I wanted twins before IF was even an issue. Asking for more doesn't feel right.

Knowing that this will probably be our only go round with infants then, H is very eager to make the most of every moment with our baby boys when they arrive. He is way more into itty bitty babies than I am. I'm more of an "age 3 and up" kind of gal. As a result, H made the decision this weekend to apply for FMLA at work in order to be home an entire month with me after the boys are born. This is a little scary, as it means no income at all for us for awhile, but I am so lucky to have a partner who wants to be so involved in our babies' lives. I think it will be a wonderful month, even if all we eat is mac and cheese for a while. :)

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Little Better

I had another check-up with my OB today and this time it was much less painful than last week. I think having back-to-back appointments with the peri and the OB is what did me in last time--there were a total of three people prodding my belly for extended periods of time trying to get measurements.

Today, Baby A had his head down and back in my pelvis where it belongs, and Baby B was transverse with his head tilted downwards as far as it could go. My OB said this was as close as I could get to having both babies in a heads-down position, so talk of a vaginal birth possibility is back on. So, that's exciting. I think.

When she checked my cervix, she said the outer part was the tiniest bit open (about the size of a fingertip), but the inner cervix was still closed tight. This is the first I've heard of this inner/outer business. She said this was still good and that she would actually expect me to be a little more open at this point anyway. So, everything is okay, I guess.

Since I didn't feel like I had been beat up afterwards, H and I went to a very nice restaurant for lunch afterwards--somewhere we probably won't be going for awhile once we have the babies. It was a nice treat as most of our post-doctor appointment meals these days have consisted of chain restaurants where babies abound.

Some very good news is that H's dad had his prostate surgery yesterday and it went very well. No cancer was detected in his lymph nodes and everything was confined to the prostate gland, which was removed. He was alert and talking on the phone a few hours after the surgery. I think he gets to come home tomorrow. I'm still baffled by them wanting to come visit this weekend...a 4-hour drive can't be good for him right now during the recovery period, which is 4-6 weeks. But it doesn't matter--they're not coming at H's request.

There are a few gripes I've been wanting to voice about MIL in this whole situation, but I've been trying to keep it to myself in the spirit of focusing on what matters--FIL's health and the health of our babies. I could tell MIL upset H earlier in the week when she called to talk about FIL's surgery, but he kept the details to himself so that it it wouldn't stress me out too. I know she was pressuring H to make the 4-hour drive up to be with her during FIL's surgery. I think she was put out when he explained that he can't leave me for that long right now, plus he has to work overtime as it is in order to be able to go with me to my doctor's appointments each week. I can't drive myself anymore, but he also likes to be there with me in the appointments to see the babies. H elaborated the other day that MIL threw back that FIL didn't attend a single appointment with her throughout any of her pregnancies. Well, she didn't go through IF did she, or have a high-risk pregnancy, or have weekly ultrasounds and checks for premature labor. It bugs me that she would criticize H for being an involved dad before the babies are even born.
It seems like she really only sees good in what H does when she benefits from it. She also keeps saying "Emmie is pregnant, not sick." Yes, that's true. But since my particular condition in this pregnancy is probably harder on my body than illness at the moment, I really do rely on H being around to take care of me. I mean, I can barely walk and I'm on modified bed rest! Okay, enough. I need to learn to make it work with MIL somehow.

Hope everyone is having a good day!