Come join me in my new digs over at http://afamilyfufilled.blogspot.com/ . I hope to see you there!
Come join me in my new digs over at http://afamilyfufilled.blogspot.com/ . I hope to see you there!
It has taken me a few weeks to decide what to do with my blog. It doesn't feel right being here anymore when I cannot write as much as I want to. But slowly, things are getting easier at home and I may find the time to write more, in a different setting, where infertility doesn't rule my life like before, where the medications and testing and shots and worries aren't a part of my day, but rather part of my past. I don't want to miss documenting the things that go on in my children's lives, and overall, that is what is most important. So, I am setting up shop somewhere new. It is in the process of being worked up by a lovely lady who designed another friend's blog. Stay tuned for my new address. . . .
I have had a few interesting thoughts the past 24 hours or so and I think it helps to acknowledge them in some way. I know Mike does his best to understand how I am feeling, but sometimes it is truly only something that makes sense to those that have been through it themselves.
After the third day in the hospital, I had to take part in an "discharge class" for parents. I found out about it very early that morning and Mike was on his way to take Ainsley to preschool, so I went alone and instructed the nurses to tell him where I was. (He showed up at the end of the class.) I sat in that room for 40 minutes, listening to the nurse talk about various components of parenting, and I gripped the chair so hard my hand turned white because all I could think about it was "I am the only person here without my babies." The other parents were all oohing and aahing their babies and mine were just down the hall, learning how to be babies. For some reason, that has been one of the most difficult moments of this entire experience, next to leaving the hospital without them.
I know my hormones are all over the board, that I have the baby blues that often hits a few days after delivery. I have moments I feel okay and I do a puzzle with Ainsley and keep my mind occupied. Other moments, like last night, I went into a full panic because it was getting dark outside and I had to turn all the lights in the house. Why? I have no idea. I have had more strange anxiety this time around.
Ainsley is also home sick today, which upsets me greatly because not only is she sick, but that means I cannot get to the boys until later tonight. I called and checked on them. They haven't gained weight in 2 days, which isn't that big of a deal, but considering they are having some spit-up issues, it may keep them there longer. They have to be gaining weight consistently and be able to nipple-feed their bottles. They are feeding okay, although it takes a lot of effort to get them to get that 40 ml down, which is considered a "full-feeding" for a preemie. I want them to come home, but I am so worried that I won't be as effective as the NICU nurses in getting them to eat, etc. I know they won't send them home until they feel sure they will do well, but I know it is nearing since they are meeting all of their other milestones.
Anyway, here are a few more pictures of them. You know I am not big on posting pics of my kids on here, but I could not resist sharing these. Aren't they gorgeous?
A lot has happened since I posted last, so I will attempt to catch you up. On Wednesday, March 24th, I spent my morning doing a few things around the house and then sat at the computer to read some blogs. When I got up, I was immediately struck with mind-blowing pain that began in my left pelvic bone and radiated down into my leg. I half-hobbled, half-crawled to my bed, where I laid for the next hour crying. I didn't feel contractions, what was this?! I called my OB and he said go to L and D. I finally gave in around noon, called my girlfriend who is a stay-at-home-mom, and had her come help me into her car and get to the hospital. My husband was still at work, so I just texted him to let him know.
Once they wheeled me in and got me settled, they realized that I was contracting regularly, but still had no explanation for the pain in my pelvic bone. They couldn't check to see if I was dilated because of the placenta previa, so I was started on Procardia to slow the contractions. My husband made it up after securing a sitter for Ainsley and in the early evening, we were discharged. Possible "pubic symphasis dysfuction" was discussed as the source of the pain and my OB left instructions for me to pick up a prescription for what the nurse and I assumed was for pain medication.
We made it home, with me still being unable to walk for the most part. After Mike got me into bed, he went to pick up my prescription, but it wasn't there. So, I took Tylenol and went to sleep. On Thursday, I took it easy, finally making it downstairs around noon to make some lunch. Still in a lot of pain, but working through it. We spent the evening eating pizza together and shortly after Ainsley went to sleep, I sat downstairs on the couch and began watching television while Mike worked out in the garage. At some point, I decided to stand up to go to the bathroom and felt a gush. Thought it was my water breaking, but soon discovered the placenta had finally decided to give out. We called my girlfriend to come over to be with Ainsley and headed back to Labor and Delivery.
Upon getting into the room, the first nurse I had (one of about 25 over the next week) asked me to remove my pants to see how significant the bleeding was. I just stared at her in disbelief and my husband quietly said, "Um, can't you just look at the floor?" I left a nice little trail everywhere I went. She immediately freaked out, got me into the bed, and my OB was there shortly. It was then I discovered the medication he had called in, which was somehow not filled at my lovely local pharmacy, was for Procardia for the contractions. Once we got hooked up, we realized I was contracting quite nicely again - and bleeding still. The peri arrived soon thereafter and it was decided to get my bleeding under control, contractions under control, get some steroid shots for the boys lung development, and see how long I could make it. I got a bedside potty since I was allowed out of the bed for any reason. And there I sat.
Contractions were all over the place for the duration of the weekend and the bleeding slowed down, with just one more significant bleed on Saturday. On Sunday, the peri came in to let me know my blood work was coming back abnormal - my liver enzymes were high. I almost started laughing - are you kidding me?!?! He discussed possible preeclampsia and said that we would wait until Monday morning to repeat the levels and if they went up, I would have to deliver. I then noticed my feet began to swell and my body began to look strangely foreign and I began to accept the reality of the situation. Apparently procardia is a blood pressure medication, too, so even though my BP was good, it was probably being masked by the medication. Monday morning's bloodwork revealed double the levels and I was prepped for an afternoon c-section.
My c-section with Ainsley was remarkably easy to recover from and I never felt like it was a difficult or negative experience in any way. This time around, every single second of it was horrifying. The anesethiologist had multiple IVs in me because my veins kept collapsing, he even put in a arterial line (whole lotta fun, let me tell you) to monitor my BP internally, and my epidural was given as a slow drip to prevent my BP from dropping. Once they got ready to begin, I wasn't numb enough and they kept having to give multiple medications. I was awake and aware enough during the procedure to feel slight pain, but I didn't want to go to sleep. I saw them place both screaming boys over the blue drape - my gorgeous little works of art - but I also heard a lot of discussion on clots and bleeding and both doctors almost arguing at times about how to handle this bleed and that situation. It was then my memory got foggy. What I do know is I awoke to the knowledge that I needed blood transfusions because I almost bleed out, that the pain I was experiencing in my left side was actually an entire separate "wing" of a uterus my body decided to develop, with an artery "the size of Texas". It tore away from the uterine muscle, too, somewhere over the course of the week. I was set up with a pain pump and while I had hoped to get out of bed once I felt ready, I soon discovered it would be over 24 hours before I could even move without screaming. The force and determination it took me to get to the nursery the next night was overwhelming - the few pictures I have of me holding the boys for the first time shows an incredibly pale, sick mommy. But my Lord, I have some amazing little men.
They are currently in the NICU, but have been breathing room air since the beginning. They are just "growers and feeders", as the nurses call them. Aidan has a feeding tube, but still nipples most of his feeds. He just gets tuckered out as the day progresses. Quinn is smaller and has been a fighter since the beginning. They haven't really been able to nail down a time when they will come home, but I am hoping it is within the week.
My emotions are all over the place and I am still in a lot of pain as I try to figure out this recovery process. I miss them immensely and am overwhelmed with the ache for them. I know I should be resting and getting ready for them to come home, but I am up and down all night. I told Mike I don't know if I have ever had this much anxiety and I don't know why. I just feel jumbled and tired and sore and confused. I hope all of this roughness passes soon and I can get them home so I can be a part of their little lives.
I am now being monitored at the peri's office twice weekly, so this month with ultrasounds and monitoring and OB visits and growth scans, I should have a little over $300 in co-pays. (Ouch!) The upside: we have insurance when it seems that so many people don't.
My growth scan earlier this week shows some big changes with the boys. Baby A (Quinn) is more active than his brother. I feel him almost non-stop, but he is also the one whose placenta is covering my cervix. It looks like that is finally catching up with him a little because for the first time, he is noticeably smaller than his big brother. They aren't saying IUGR or anything because he is definitely on the high end of normal in size. But it is just starting to become a little more apparent now. That could indicate the placenta isn't working as well as it would if it were in the right spot or it could just be simply the way he is. He also has less fluid than his brother, but not too little.
Baby B (Aidan) is a chunk. I don't feel him as much, which the tech says is probably because his placenta cushions him from my side more and because he suddenly has more fluid than he knows what to do with. Just to put it in perspective, during my monitoring this morning, he went from head-down to head-up to transverse and back to head-down in a matter of two minutes. And there is just no more room left to do that, so my stomach becomes radically lumpy and painful as he does his little circus act. Quinn's heart rate is almost always higher, they have had to buzz Aidan with that stupid little taser machine a few times to wake him up during monitoring. But they both show adequate accelerations and movement and practice breathing. I think they will just carefully be monitoring their fluid, etc. in the next few weeks.
The other interesting thing is that when I first began being monitored weekly a few weeks back, I had a random contraction here or there on the monitor. But now, I can very easily tell when I am having one, see them on the printout, and see how relatively regular they are. They are avoiding giving me anything to slow them because obviously, they are still BH contractions and my cervix is unchanged, but that medication also can counteract my heart condition. So, all of the time I have off now has been spent resting, feet up, trying to let me body relax and get what it needs. The tech did say that sometimes one twin's fluid will increase towards the very end of the pregnancy and that is usually the one that breaks. So . . . I am a little nervous, but hopefully I will make it to our scheduled c-section.
As of now, we are celebrating Ainsley's 4th birthday early (next Sunday) and then we are scheduled for an amnio on the 7th of April. If that is good, then I will have a c-section the 9th of April. The peri said they will only test the twin's fluid who has the most fluid (Aidan) because that one is always less mature, or dilluted more, than the other. So, if that one is mature, then the other one is almost always mature. Kind of interesting.
As for weight, as of this Tuesday, Quinn is just over 4 pounds and Aidan is almost 5 pounds. I hope the measurements are accurate and they are growing big for their upcoming arrival! I will post pictures soon . . . .
I still have the recipes some of you posted YEARS ago when I was expecting Ainsley - and I am planning to use them again. But I am looking for some new ones I can cook and freeze up for after the birth of the boys. I just went and got a bunch of casserole dishes on sale and my freezer in the garage is waiting and ready for some grub.
Before you pass this opportunity up to help me out or tell me you don't cook, just imagine me . . . covered in spit-up, pee, and poop, roots showing, skin all a mess, smelling like something the cat drug in, and then imagine how your one favorite recipe might just get me going enough to find the time to shower and look human. YOUR recipe could be the one.
If that doesn't make you want to send it my way, I don't know what will.
They say that every pregnancy is different. Oh boy, is that the truth. Not that I felt particularly glorious at 32 weeks pregnant with Ainsley, but it certainly was not where I am at in this pregnancy. Here are some fun things that have suddenly appeared this week, reaffirming my belief that this shop will be closed once these boys are born.
1. I have suddenly developed melasma all over my neck. It looks like I don't know how to wash and being that I cannot wear turtlenecks in the ever-fluctuating Las Vegas weather, it leaves me feeling unattractive, self-conscious, and a little like blotchy Michael Jackson must have felt. If it appears on my face in the next few weeks, I won't be leaving the house.
2. Skin tags. EVERYWHERE. I have them on my neck, under my arms, in every crevice and corner or anywhere my skin rubs against itself. I have always been moley, but this is ridiculous. (And yes, my husband makes me feel even better by singing Austin Powers "GuacaMOLE" rhymes about moles.)
3. My nether regions are . . . . engorged. Not sure if it is the pressure of two heads on everything in combination with the extra blood flow, but I look like I had collagen injections in my crotch. You know, not that I could SEE it, but it is so crazy to actually feel your heart beating . . . you know, there. P.S. Did I mention that I haven't actually had sex since November, thanks to placenta previa? I miss sex. A lot.
4. Just like at the end of my pregnancy with Ainsley, but worse, my bowels are in a constant state of upheaval. And now that comes complete with my first hemorrhoid ever. Fun stuff.
5. I actually have bruises all over my belly. Both sides of belly button look like somone chewed up the skin and then above that, I have suddenly developed 4000 new stretch marks and a brownish, bluish bruised tint. Did I mention it hurts? A lot? And when Ainsley pulled my shirt up in the pool supply store the other day while I was having a conversation with the man behind the counter about pool pumps, the look of shock on his face sent me to my car to cry while Mike coordinated. I cried for 20 minutes.
6. I have gas like a truck driver. And now I have suddenly lost the ability to burp. Instead, it is just this painful half-burp, complete with stomach acid. The only thing that helps is if I eat cups of ice all.day.long.
I will round off the list with my nightly average of bathroom breaks. For the last three nights, I have counted how many times I have gotten up to pee from approximately 9 pm to 6 am. It seems the teeny tiny bladder syndrome has my up, on average, 15 times a night. FIFTEEN.
Not that I am complaining or anything. (sigh)
Well, I have made it to 31 weeks. I am now officially off work and on FMLA. Lots of resting and staying off my feet, which I really thought would help these nasty and infrequent contractions. But apparently my body is just doing it's thing to prepare at the mercy of my back and every pain threshold it can push. It seems like every day I sleep a little less, every day I feel a little less like myself than the day before, every day I question how much longer I can really do this. There is nothing like wanting to be happy and excited and positive about my final pregnancy and my little boys' impending birth - yet feeling so utterly miserable and exhausted and irritable. I really don't think pregnancy should feel like this.
I am now being monitored weekly for contractions. On Monday, while a few showed up on the monitor, they were spaced out and small, so they just looked for the normal accelerations in their heart rates and then checked my fluid and looked for "practice breathing" via ultrasound, all of which appears to be good. Even though I have been reading a lot, there has been a lot of television-watching on my end and I find myself wanting to change the channel when it has to do with birth defects or strange disorders of children. I do worry that something was "missed" during these many months of ultrasounds, but I am trying not to think about it and just tell myself, over and over, "They are going to healthy, they are going to healthy."
As for the placenta encapsulation, I finally sat down and discussed it with my doctor. I trust his opinion most of all and he did make a few points I wasn't able to have answered by the nutritionist. For example, my doc said that most of the hormones and nutrients would be lost or diminished during the drying out/cooking process. He also brought up the questions regarding procedure: how is it prepared? My close friend who did do it (and swore by it) had it prepared at her home since she birthed at home. I guess the worry about placental mix-up or whether or not the utensils were sanitized started to worry me more than anything. So, I am currently just researching some natural ways to alleviate possible PPD. In general, I think my entire attitude about this pregnancy is different, so I am hoping that will help me in the end. I am not afraid to ask for help, unlike during my recovery with Ainsley. I have made arrangements to have my father and stepmother come a few days after we are home to simply cook and clean and tend to Ainsley, which is a huge step on my part, if you know me. I know that I have to be healthy, both physically and mentally, for the well-being of my family, and I am going to fight to keep that my #1 priority during my recovery.
Overall, we are mostly ready, thanks to tons of donations and gifts from family and friends. Ainsley is very excited and said to me yesterday after preschool that "she missed her brothers" all day. Of course I went into the bathroom and cried. She is so sweet, I don't think we will have any issues whatsoever with her accepting them into our lives. And I know Mike and I will make her a priority during the process and not forget she needs her one-on-one time, too. I tentatively scheduled her birthday party at the end of March, a few weeks early, and am hoping my timing will work out and we won't have to change the date.
I have some great ultrasound pics of the boys, but my full name shows up in the pictures, so I am debating over whether I want that "out there". Not sure if it really matters, but I will think about posting them.
Too exhausted to blog anything of importance, plus . . . where is everyone?!?! Man, I must be boring lately. (sigh) So, passed the three-hour glucose tolerance nightmare with flying colors. In fact, my numbers were so low, the nurse was "confused" on why I had to do it anyway. (I thought I would suggest she NOT ever say that to a pregnant woman again, but I bit my tongue.) With some adjusting and playing with numbers, it looks like I will be going out on "house arrest" at the end of the month. That means March will hopefully be spent resting and keeping my feet up, so to speak, and April will bring my boys to meet us. Cross fingers. My placenta is still being stupid and fully covering my cervix, so time will tell. Not to mention the lovely amount of contractions I have been having lately, so I am on weekly monitoring from here on out. Cervix is still proving to be a steel trap, thankfully.
Life is just . . . moving along. Look for upcoming posts on placenta encapsulation. Yep, folks, I am not the crunchiest of Moms, but I have contacted a local nutritionist/herbalist who is going to be drying out/cooking my placentas and encapsulating them for me to take after the delivery so *maybe* I can avoid the dark, dreaded PPD. I have talked to a few others who have done it and swear it made the difference in their recoveries emotionally and mentally and I am all about being healthy for my children, not to mention myself. Grossed out? I welcome your thoughts. My husband put his hands over his ears and left the room quietly stating, "Do whatever you need to do, dear." :)