Thursday, November 17, 2005

The moment and more

(NOTE: sorry for any rambling or spelling mistakes or whatever... I'm delirious. I will not be able to write much in the coming days, but I wanted to give you all an update at this point.)

Our two baby boys were born 11/8 at 2:28PM and 2:29PM, at 34 weeks and 2 days. I went into labor the day after they took me off of the anti-contraction medicine. These babies were just not waiting. The labor seemed like indigestion, but I remember reading some accounts of people mistaking labor for indigestion so I called my doctor, and he said to come to the hospital to just get monitored. Once there, the contractions grew stronger, and within two hours I had dilated from 2 to 4 cm. I was therefore in "active labor." We got several opinions before deciding that a C-section would be best. Literally 4 hours after walking into the hospital thinking I would just be monitored, our babies were born.

The C-section was weird, but it was not bad at all. In true character of my pregnancy, I threw up as the operation was taking place. Love that vomiting! I didn't feel much tugging or anything weird. The worst parts were getting anesthesia spinally; my blood pressure dropping on occasion making me feel I would pass out; and thinking about how I had toes, feet, and legs but could not move them. The best parts were the miracle of my babies' birth and the sound of their cries upon entering the world; seeing SP holding one of our babies for the first time; and feeling proud that I got through a difficult pregnancy and the C-section. After the surgery was over, I was taken to a recovery room and then a hospital room. The pain was controlled well. The worst part of the whole experience was that I wasn't allowed to go see the babies in the NICU, where they were taken right after birth. The reason was that they keep a catheter in your bladder for 24 hours, so you can't get out of bed. I cried a lot that night.

The next day I was wheeled to the NICU, where I got to hold and feed my babies, and where I got information on their conditions. I can't tell you how good it felt to hold the babies and how perfect and beautiful they were (are) to me. I instantly felt like a mother. I don't know how to describe the feeling, other than to say that I felt like a magnet being pulled to them with such great primal force. In that moment, I could have cared less about what kind of birth I had, or even what kind of pregnancy. It suddenly became very clear that they were the reason for everything, so the details no longer mattered.

It turned out that a C-section was a very important thing to do. Little M, the top baby, was larger (5 lbs. 12 oz.) and breech, and the concern was that in pulling him out vaginally he might not have to space he needed and would become distressed. Well, it turned out that his lungs still had liquid in them, and this has led to some respiratory issues that we are now working on. Had we added distress to his underdeveloped lung problems, we could have been in real trouble. Little J's lungs were fine, despite his smaller size (5 lbs.). I guess he gobbled up all the steroid shots! His main issue has been apnea and heart rate drops. Both these lung and heart issues are very typical for premies, and the doctors say that they will grow out of them.

We do not know how long the babies will have to be in the NICU. It could be for a few more days, could be for a few more weeks. I've never had to live so "one day at a time." I was discharged on 11/12 and have been going to the hospital to spend the whole day ever since. I breast feed a lot (have tons of milk pumped and frozen, in case you need any) and change them, swaddle them, hold them,... all that good stuff. The few hours I'm at home are dedicated to sleep and milk pumping. You have to do pumping at frequent intervals so as not to get engorged. So far, feeding and pumping have both gone really well. It feels like a great way to be involved in my babies' lives right now. I thank God for them every day and LOVE spending time with them. But it's heartbreaking to leave at the end of the night, and I've broken down pretty badly on several occasions. I just feel so drawn to them, to love, comfort, and protect them, that it feels so incredibly wrong to leave them. I know they're in good hands, though, and they'll get better and better. They'll survive... it's SP and I who might not.

Please think of us and send us yours prayers and/or positive thoughts. SP and I can't wait to have our miracles home with us.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Am I glowing yet?

There are certain things that can happen during pregnancy and childbirth that those misty-lens commercials don't show. Did you ever notice that the women on ads for pregnancy tests or other pregnancy-related products are thin and small, with perfectly round basketball-like bellies? They never show the ridiculously huge bellies (like mine), women who were plus-size pre-pregnacy, women with lop-sided bellies, ligthening-like bright red stretchmarks,... . And why should they? Those things aren't delicate and therefore not commercially feminine. But what I'd like to know is, who ever categorized motherhood as delicate? For God's sake, a woman grunts, screams, and pushes to get a baby to tear through her vagina, or she has to be cut open with her guts out for all to see, in order to bring a child into this world. Delicate? I think not.

Before I am done being pregnant, I want to lay my cards out on the table. There are so many things that I have experienced or that friends have gone through that are not generally spoken of and are sometimes not even found in pregnancy books. So here it is. For each of these, I know 2 others people or more who have confided that they have also experienced these not-so-delicate things during pregnancy:
  • unpredictable and frequent belching
  • dandruff
  • excess facial hair
  • uncontrollable peeing on the bathroom floor during violent vomiting
  • excess sweating and b.o.
  • dried orange stuff (colostrum) stuck in one's nipples
And that is the short list. Plus, there are so many more things that people have told me about, but I don't want to post them here because I feel a moral obligation to stick with things that I myself have experienced, so as not to embarass anyone else. I guess we are not supposed to talk about these things because they are, again, not delicate.

But now to the most important part of this post, the answer to the title question: Am I glowing yet? Yes, I think I am and have been for quite some time. I am growing 2 babies- how could I not glow? Yes, I feel disgusting at times, especially after projectile vomiting. But a lot of the time I look at myself and my body and am quite amazed, and I will not let a few chin hairs obscure the big picture, thank you very much. Those basketball-bellied ladies in the misty television lens have nothing on me. Don't let them get to you, either. Afterall, they too may be puking their guts out in between takes.

Friday, November 04, 2005

They super-sized me

Well, the post-appointment verdict is that the babies did indeed grow A LOT. They were estimated at 4 lbs. 5 oz. two weeks ago. Granted, these are estimations and at least one out of the two measurements may have been inaccurate. But now Baby A is estimated at 5 lbs. (still with a gargantuan head) and Baby B is estimated at a whopping 6 lbs.! We were floored. The technician did the measurements, and the doctor read them. The doctor then came in and repeated some of Baby B's measurements himself because he just couldn't believe it. He said again that these are approximations, but it does seem that B went through a major growth spurt. So remember those days early in the week when I felt like total crap? Now we know who to blame it on. (Just kidding, sweet B - I know you're doing your best in there!) I am now carrying around 11 lbs. of baby and all their luggage.

I also found out that I'm between 1 and 2 centimeters dilated. We asked the doctor what this means for us. He said it means things are happening, but it's hard to predict how fast they'll go. I go off the medicine pump on Monday, and this could lead to labor or not. I am feeling ready, knowing that the babies are decent sizes. Even if they'd have to be in the hospital, it probably wouldn't be for long unless there is some unforeseen problem.

Now, there is a catch to all of this, a sort of disappointing one for me. Because B (the top one) is now so much bigger than A (the bottom one) and B is breech, it looks like we may have to have a C-section. Even though A's head is huge, I guess that doesn't make up for the fact that B is big all around. Usually as long as the bottom twin (A) is head-first, they can pull out B no matter what position B is in. But if B is significantly bigger than A, pulling B out by the feet is riskier because B's head could get stuck since A did not make an exceptional amount of space for the exitway.

It is petty, but honestly I didn't want a C-section. I wanted to give birth the old-fashioned way and have a touching story like so many women do. I wanted the babies to nurse as soon as they came out. I wanted SP to tell me to "push!" and "you're doing great!" But as SP so poignantly reminded me this morning, (1)I already have tons of war stories from this pregnancy, (2)he will still be there and we'll share the experience, and (3)once I see the babies, I won't care about how they came out. I guess I'm also concerned about caring for twins while healing from a section. I've already have 2 surgeries for ovarian problems, so I know I can heal, but I've never had 2 infants on my hands before. I want to breastfeed as much as possible, and that concerns me. SP and I have decided that we definitely want to hire a postpartum doula if I do indeed have a section, and that makes me feel more assured that things will be okay (well, except for our bank account, but what can you do?)

In the end, I mustn't lose sight of the fact that we have made it to 34 weeks by the end of today, and that's such a great accomplishment. We are so lucky too that the babies are a substantial size and are probably past most of the dangers of prematurity. Hell, we are so lucky to have gotten pregnant in the first place! It's getting close now, folks, and I must say that I can't wait to meet these two characters. We've had quite a time rooming together.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Sunday through Tuesday I felt awful: big and immobile, fatigued, and achy like I had the flu. Wednesday and today I felt a little better. I still feel big and fatigued but more mobile and much less achy. I know it's crazy, but I do think it had to do with growth. The symptoms were exactly the same as other times of growth in my pregnancy. If the bottom baby dropped, I wouldn't know it. It just doesn't feel like it's in a different position than before. Meanwhile, the upper baby is worming its way even further up, directly underneath my boobs as if it were a hiding place. I can see this one is not looking forward to facing the world! Very smart. It is so much safer and warmer inside.

Tomorrow we have a doctor appointment and scan in the late afternoon. We'll see if any dropping has occurred. I'll update when I can.