Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What We're All Waiting For

There are a list of blogs saved on my favorites list that I don't get to read as often as the ones on my blogroll. I happened to click on one today and saw the most moving video ever. You may have already seen it. If you haven't, check it out, and keep the tissues nearby.

Congratulations on your little girl, Beth. You are going to be a fabulous mom.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Enough of March, Already

Time is trickling by so slowly this month that I feel as if it might just stop all together. I am at 31 weeks tomorrow, and the next week cannot go fast enough to get me safely to 32. I so badly want these babies to stay inside until May, but I'll settle for April if I have to. Just so long as they are not born in March. My b-h contractions are still a constant reminder all day that anything could happen at any time now. I am being so careful to rest as much as possible, and I drink gallons of water a day. I'm trying to think positive thoughts as much as possible. My babies will make it to May...

H and I are getting a lot of important details taken care of in preparation for the boys' arrival. We have been interviewing au pairs and we have found one that we like very much. She has experience with boy infants and has two younger brothers she helped raise. Talking to her on the phone has been very natural despite the slight language barrier. H was an exchange student for 6 months not far from her town, so he can speak to her in her native language as well. She has a friend who is an au pair that is currently assigned to a home about 10 minutes from our house. What are the chances of that, given we live in a very rural, out of the way area? We've extended the invitation to her to live with us starting in July, and she has asked that we give her a few days to decide since other families are also talking to her. She said we were her favorite family though. I'm glad she is not rushing her decision, but I really hope she picks us!!!! If she accepts, it will be a huge relief to know we have childcare lined up for the twins once I have to go back to work. I get 16 weeks of maternity leave, which is much more generous that what most of my friends get, but I know it will go too fast. Unfortunately, staying home is not an option for us.

In other news, H's best friend wrote him the other day that he is having a vasectomy this week because he and his wife of 2 years have decided that they definitely do not want kids. They are 32. This is the friend who was adopted and always struggled with that fact. Now he says they will adopt if for some reason they change their mind about kids. I want to scream--don't do it!!!!!!! Just in case. Because 32 is so young. And adopting isn't as easy as you think. And because it devastates me to see someone throw their fertility away in such a permanent manner after H and I struggled so hard to get pregnant ourselves. But H's friend doesn't know we had to do IVF. Doesn't know our heartache. And we have no intention of telling's just too painful and his reaction will likely hurt us (we have very, very different views about things). He and his wife want to come visit us before the babies are born. I really hope the topic of the vasectomy does not come up. He and his wife have always been open about saying they don't want kids, but this seems so drastic. Are other methods of birth control really that hard? It's not easy being surrounded by friends who are consistently getting pregnant by accident or who take their fertility for granted. Everyone we know has had a super easy time of getting pregnant, and that only emphasizes our struggle. But I guess everyone's situation is different, and if H's friend belives a vasectomy is the best thing for him, I should not judge. But it does make me sad.

Friday, March 23, 2007

My, What a Large Fundal Height You Have...

I had an appointment with my OB today and saw the nice doctor who examined me when I was having my braxton-hicks freak-out a few weeks ago. She measured my uterus and told me that my fundal height is that of a term singleton pregnancy. I would have asked if that meant my uterus would be incapable of any more growth and that's why old utie has been exercising with the braxton-hicks contractions so much, but I was about to pass out from the pain of her pressing on my belly to get a good measurement. Even H, who had come along, commented afterwards that he was surprised at how she had been man-handling my poor, overstretched belly. Then she got out the dreaded plastic glove and gave me my now weekly cervix!(Note to self, if this hurts, what do you think labor will be like? Need to buck up, dear.) After poking around for what seemed like an eternity, she pronounced my cervix good and closed. She also commented at how low Baby A's head is in my pelvis, and I began having scary thoughts of the poor guy being born with a fingerprint on his forehead from all the poking each week.

She did a quick ultrasound and found that Baby B finally decided to flip around and join his brother in the proper "prepared for exit" position. H and I were quite excited that both of them are in the right position now. Of course, that excitement has turned into a little panic on my end. I have been open to either method of delivery- vaginal or c-section- from the beginning, only caring about doing what is safest for the babies, but in the back of my mind I've been preparing more for the c-section. I feel there are risks and benefits to both methods, but honestly, a c-section was looking a little more appealing to me. With a vaginal birth looming, I'm now worried about the fact that I have the group B strep thing, and I keep having terror flashes of cords being wrapped around the babies' necks as I try to push them out. (H almost strangled on his cord when he was born. He was completely blue.) I also worry that I'll push the first out only to have Baby B go into distress and then I'll need an emergency c-section. This happened to a twin mom my sister knows. At least with a planned c-section, you know they both will have a safe exit and the whole thing will be over in 45 minutes. Any advice out there?

The doc was still a little concerned at the frequency of my b-h contractions, but with a closed cervix there's really nothing to do about it. She just told me to keep a close watch and to come in if they increase in intensity in any way. So, does that mean when I got a cramp with one in the middle of the night tonight I should start to panic? Here I am, back to Dr. Google in the wee hours, just like in the early days of this pregnancy. I'm hoping the cramp was just my digestive system being fussy--there haven't been any others.

In other news, I have my first major stretch marks. There are about five large, angry-looking red streaks on each of my hips. (so that's where I've been hiding my store of all this extra skin, huh?) I'm also seeing the emergence of some light, shiny marks on my belly, which I figured had to happen sooner or later.

30 weeks and 5 days...hang in there, uterus!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

30 Weeks and Counting

I passed the 30 week mark yesterday, which is when I thought I'd feel fairly safe about delivering these babies alive and well if they were to come early. Well, I don't feel all that relieved just yet. I really, really want to make it to 37 weeks. "Make it to May 7" has been my mantra. I have not been very hormonal during this pregnancy (okay, aside from the whole shower/carrot cake thing), but I do get irritable whenever friends or family pronounce that I am going to have these babies in April. Don't they understand that having them in April would not be a good thing???

On Friday, the peri measured each baby at 3 1/2 pounds. He said making it to 32 weeks would put the babies past most dangers. So another two week wait...
I've been having some major braxton-hicks contractions in the evening, and I can't lay down for more than an hour without my hip shooting pains through my side. I feel very, very heavy, but my weight is still holding steady. I have a new symptom, hemorrhoids, no doubt caused by all the pressure and weight from my uterus weighing down on me. Constipation has not been an issue thankfully. I am carrying very low and feel as though my belly might just fall off whenever I stand up. Overall, though, my spirits are high and I feel okay all things considered.

I now fully appreciate why doctors warn their patients about the risks of a twin pregnancy--I was so naive. I had no idea about what a real toll it would take on my body, since I've been as big as a woman carrying a singleton who is ready to give birth for over a month now. Plus there are all the prematurity risks to the babies. I honestly didn't think prematurity was that big of a deal...I really didn't do my homework since many babies in my family were premature. I am thrilled to be having twins, though--don't get me wrong. And I would transfer two again if I had to go back and do it over. But I don't think I could do it a second time if we were to try for a third baby.

H asked me the other night if I'd be willing to do another round of IVF to have a third child. I was surprised he asked, because he was always very clear that one round of IVF had been enough for him. He also only wanted two kids. Now that he's seen how exciting a pregnancy is, he seems open to a lot more things to make it happen than he was before. I, on the otherhand, had been open to another round of IVF initially, and I've always been interested in having three children. I'm still open to a third child, but I'm not sure I could do IVF again. For as long and physically straining this pregnancy has been on my body, the stress of going through the IVF cycle was much worse. The physical part of the cycle wasn't bad, but the mental part was the stuff of nightmares. I don't think I could take another round of my heart stopping over phone calls letting me know how many eggs were fertilized and still dividing. Especially since I felt like I was the one who had to be strong through the whole thing. I held everything inside for everyone else's sake, and as a result I don't think I ever came to terms with it.

We were so very lucky and blessed that our first round of IVF worked, and worked so well. From 14 eggs to 6 fertilized eggs to only 2 embryos that were suitable for transfer, and they weren't even blasts. There are so many people who have much more to work with and they have not been so lucky. I thank God every day for what we have been given.

And having been so lucky I don't think I could do it again. I wouldn't feel right putting two embryos back a second time because I think stretching my body to its limit a second time would be too risky for both me and the potential babies, especially as an over 30 something. And I wouldn't feel right only putting back one embryo if there was a second of equal quality that wouldn't be frozen if it weren't transfered. Yet if we were only having a singleton right now, I think I would do another round of IVF. It just doesn't get any easier living with infertility, and I don't envy the decisions any of us have to make about handling it.

So, after these babies are born, we'll be ditching the birth control for good and just praying in the back of our minds that maybe another type of miracle could happen for us one day, whether it be through spontaneous pregnancy or adoption. And if a third child doesn't happen for us, having two to love will still be more than we ever dreamed of when we entered this nightmare. Please God, let them stay put for another seven weeks so they are as strong and healthy as possible.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shower and Stuff

It's been awhile since I've posted because I've just been so tired. I worried at first that I would be a little lonely and bored working from home, but work has been so busy that my days go by just as quickly, only without the stress of the commute. Having the ability to take my mandated rest periods during the day has been wonderful. I get more accomplished after getting rest, and I feel like I'm doing the best I can for the babies.

So...the shower. It really ended up going pretty well, considering all the drama leading up to it. There were so many people there that no one person could really talk to me that much for any length of time (which meant no deeply personal things could be discussed), and there were no awkward questions about my twins being natural or anything. Thank goodness for that. I was worried that H's parents would slip up again and talk about our infertility like they talk about the weather, but they were on their best behavior, at least from what I could see.

The shower brought on some new dimensions to my relationship with my mom, which was a pleasant surprise. She came down the day before the shower to start setting things up at my house, and she told me that she too was worried that H's family would bring up IF. She told me how upsetting she was finding it when she would tell people about her expected twin grandsons and they would come right out and ask about infertility treatments and IVF. She said she was shocked at how rude strangers can be. I think it started hitting home for her what H and I have been going through, and more than that, I think she took personal offense to people's callousness in asking these types of questions since she herself is a twin. The "are they natural" questions seemed to bring her particular pain, as she could have been the target of those questions herself had she been born a few decades later. No one should be described as "natural" or "not natural." My mom is a chatty person--she'll tell anybody in the supermarket line that her daughter is having twins. Her recent experiences have bothered her so much that she said she's stopped talking to people in situations like that.

My mom also got to see how different a twin pregnancy is from a singleton one. She went to my doctor's appointment with me Friday afternoon, and I think it was eye opening for her to see the difference between me and my sister, who is about 2 1/2 weeks behind me. The impact this pregnancy is having on my body compared to the impact my sister's pregnancy is having on her body is remarkable. My mom saw first hand how many extra precautions the docs are taking with me and just how hard it really is for me to move around these days. She got to see the babies on the sonogram--her first time seeing something like that. I think it was very eye opening for her to actually see them on the screen, in ying and yang style, moving all about. Since the appointment she has been much more protective of me and more understanding of my physical limitations.

The day of the shower itself was very nice--we had perfect weather--and H was a good enough sport to stick around and help me open the massive pile of presents, almost all in duplicate. Poeple were extremely generous, and for that we are extremely humbled and thankful. I had a hard time keeping my energy up for the whole thing (which is why H was helping me) but I really did have a nice time. The cake H ordered on behalf of his mom was lovely and chocolate...absolutely perfect. The food was all wonderful and all the pregnant ladies could eat it.

There were a few funny things that happened that I should share, but I'll have to save them for later.

Hope all is well with everyone. I have an appointment with the peri later today so will report back with any news. Hoping the babies are still right on track at 29 weeks!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Dr. B-Hicks Comes to Town

Last week this time exactly I started getting painless but strong contractions. I got in bed, settled on my left side, drank a glass of water, and began timing. 15 minutes apart the first hour. 10 minutes apart the second hour. Finally I called my doctor. She felt that it was probably nothing, just good old Braxton-Hicks, but told me to wait another hour and call back if the contractions continued. They did continue, at 5 minutes apart. I could predict the buggers by the end. At that point I was advised to go to Labor and Delivery, where I was hooked up to all sorts of contraptions and pumped full of fluids. (For the record, I wasn't even dehydrated--I've been drinking water nonstop).

The babies were doing well and bopping all about during the 3-hour monitoring session, and eventually the contractions tapered off. My doc did the fnn(?) test to confirm I wasn't going into pre-term labor (I wasn't), checked to see that my cervix was good and closed (it was) and took some blood and urine samples. Then she sent me home, with orders to go on modified bed rest. H and I slowly allowed ourselves to breathe again.

The next day the urine test showed I had a bladder infection and I was put on antibiotics. The B-Hicks have continued, however. My doc says that this is just a new phase of the pregnancy that I'm entering. As long as they aren't painful and I am resting and getting plenty of fluids, I'm told I shouldn't worry. Right.

I'm at 28 weeks. This is too early for my taste to have these types of problems.

So, modified bed rest really isn't a bad gig. For every 4 hours I'm awake, I need to lie in bed for 2 and preferably sleep. I'm still able to work from home remotely in two 4 hour shifts, thank goodness. My work was amazingly understanding and supportive... such a relief. I'm glad to be able to still work too because otherwise I would go stir crazy being home all day. I'm not a big soap or talk show fan.

I did go into the office briefly on Monday to pick up a few things, and my co-workers surprised me with a lovely shower. Turns out they had been planning it all along for Tuesday. It was a great morale booster, but when I got home I was exhausted and could tell that I was indeed now a prisoner of my house for the duration.

Remember how my MIL didn't want to have my family shower the first weekend of March because she thought it was, in her words, "Waaaay too early"??? Well, look at me now. I'm the breathless, barely moving whale that the peri predicted, right on schedule. The good news is that my weight has stayed steady for the past two weeks. I've gained 37 pounds total and seem to be staying there.

My family shower is this weekend--a massive gathering of my relatives, H's relatives, and my closest girlfriends. Luckily it is at my house, and the carrot cake plot has been thwarted. Will I survive? Stay tuned...