Saturday, December 20, 2008

The WRONG Kind of Digital

Last night dearest and I experienced our first soiree into the exciting world of Labor and Delivery. After an extremely insane week of work, my body had clearly drawn the line and responded with a bevy of contractions, particularly on Friday, to the point that it was getting uncomfortable and, frankly, a little alarming. When I came home and hit the couch, they slowed greatly but never came to a total halt and when, by Saturday afternoon, I was still having a couple an hour, I called the hospital triage to see what they wanted me to do. They, of course, said come in please, we will be happy to check you out. I was a little hesitant, I didn't really feel like I was in LABOR, but I did want to be sure that all of this contracting was not doing anything to my dear cervix, especially since we are supposed to go to South Florida in a couple of days. So in we went.

Our little local hospital is, in truth, a lovely place. The obstetrics ward was precious, so shiny and clean and quiet- we were the only ones there. The nurse was kind and funny and put me at ease. Well, she started to put me at ease, until she described what was going to happen, "We just want to monitor you for a little bit and be sure the babies are not stressing because of the contractions. You can change into this gown, we will check your cervix and we'll need a urine sample to rule out infection, so you are going to need a catheter."

Excuse me?

The world stopped.

I am no sissy. I have a scar on my neck from a point-blank paintball shooting, and I am rather proud of it. I gave myself 4 shots a day this summer. I survived a kidney stone. I really am ok with necessary pain. Truly. But a catheter? WHY? Can we just forget this whole thing, because that is SO not working for me.

I did not say that. I did manage to murmur "I'd really be thrilled to pee in a cup..." and made my very best puppy dog eyes at her. She hemmed and she hawed and she said, "Do you think you can give me a REALLY good sample?" I was like "YES! DEAR GOD! IT WILL BE THE MOST PERFECT URINE YOU HAVE EVER ANALYZED!!!!" Mercifully, she allowed me to pee in a cup. Which was a good and kind thing, because I can tell when I have a bladder infection and I knew I did not, and plus don't catheters GIVE you bladder infections?

Anyway, excellent urine sample obtained, gown on, now for the monitors. Easy, right? Ha! See, the monitors are all big, and because there are 2 babies, the plan was to get a heart monitor on each baby plus a contraction monitor on me so they can all monitor together. Except the problem with 23 week babies as opposed to the full termers they are used to, is that they still have enough room to get the hell AWAY from the heart monitor, which seemed to be exactly their plan. Actually that was plan B. Plan A was to ATTACK the monitor when it was put anywhere near them. I don't know what it was they did not like: the cold gel, the pressure from the monitor, the noise, but it became evident that the babies were INTENTIONALLY kicking the monitors with all their adorable might. This was making the nurse laugh, which of course was making me laugh, and the whole thing was turning into a giant three-ring circus. Eventually, after like 30 minutes, she managed to get a heart rate on both girls. Then she put the contraction monitor on. Mind you, I had not had a single contraction since the word "catheter" was muttered like 40 minutes ago (hey, maybe we found a cure for pre-term labor!). Then she started with the interview portion of our competition, featuring such exciting questions as: spent any time in jail in the past 2 years? ever gotten a positive result on an HIV test? diabetes? high blood pressure? exposure to measles, mumps, chicken pox? About halfway through I just told her to put me down for the most boring answer to every question, because I really had nothing exciting to share. She replied with "Oh, you would be surprised the answers we get sometimes..." and when she got to the "Have you had anything in your vagina in the past 24 hours?" question I REALLY wanted to reply with "A live weasel, 4 cumquats and a cinnamon candy cane" or something, just to keep things interesting.

By then it was 7:00 and time for the nurses to change shifts. So we said goodbye to Nurse Catheter and hello to Nurse Digital. Nurse Digital got the crummier end of the deal. First, she had to do the Fetal Fibronectin test, which is where they swab the cervix to be sure that you are not shedding a protein that would indicate that you are in fact in premature labor. I guess she looks at cervixes all the time, so maybe she doesn't really care. Then the waiting game began, monitoring contractions while waiting for the test results to come back. The monitor managed to pick one up here and there but nothing to write home about as far as I was concerned. By 8:00 the test came back negative (hooray!) and I figured we were out of there home free. Nurse Digital told us she was just going to call our doctor and let her know how things were, and she'd be right back. She returned and said "OK, all we need to do is a digital exam on your cervix and if it is still closed you guys are out of here!" I thought, "Yay! Just one more little thing, a digital exam, and we can go eat." (By this time Dearest was pretty hungry.) I waited for her to bring in the digital machine that she would use to do the digital exam. Instead, she sat on the edge of my bed. And put on a glove. And put a lot of goop on the fingers of the glove. And still I'm sitting there, like a trusting child, waiting for the digital device she was going to use. She told me, "Just relax, this is going to be a little uncomfortable," and still I was a little confused. It was the second or third time that she JAMMED me in the cervix with her fingers that I realized... "Oh THAT kind of digital? Like with your DIGITS. NOW I get it!" Ow ow ow ow ow... "So sorry dear. I know that's no fun. Good news, cervix seems to be closed. Doctor wants you to take it very easy, lots of fluids, let us know if things pick up again so we can check you out."

I'm thinking "Yeah, right lady. This evening started off with threat of catheter and ended with your digits prodding my cervix. I think next time I will just stay on the couch."

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All that Glitters...

This is, without a doubt, the best time of the year to be a Kindergarten teacher. There is one reason for that. You might think it is the magic of those innocent little children in breathless anticipation of Santa's arrival. That is very sweet and all, but the REAL reason this time of the year is so great is simple: the craft possibilities are nearly ENDLESS. And every craft REQUIRES glitter. It's a dream come true. This year, we have made letters to Santa (glitter), angel tree toppers (lots of glitter), handprint Christmas trees (sequins), Italian ornaments (gallons of glitter), footprint reindeer (ooh, no glitter, but the next best thing: googly eyes!), and gingerbread houses (glitter). The only downside of this glittery time of the year is that, as the leader of glitter-saturated projects, you come home with glitter in the most UNLIKELY places. Starting with your scalp and eyebrows. It's an X-rated snow globe in my shower every morning as yesterday's glitter goes down the drain. Blow your nose? Glitter. Take off your socks? Glitter. And the craziest of all, because BELIEVE ME I teach fully clothed, is the glitter in the bra. I am not alone in this festive discovery, Kindergarten teachers everywhere would be mistaken for exotic dancers were they to be strip searched this time of the year, so inexplicably saturated with glitter are our bodies.

In an extra show of holiday enthusiasm this year, I seem to be growing a white beard of my very own. Ho ho ho! It started with a tiny bit of white downiness in the sideburn area, and has continued to get more luxurious with each passing week. I understand this is the work of runaway hormones, and that additional facial hair is just one of those completely bizarre things that goes along with pregnancy, but between that and the round little belly that shakes when I laugh like a bowl full of jelly I am starting to wonder if I should try to hire myself out to the mall. "Have you been naughty or nice little boy? Ho ho ho!" Maybe the glitter I am covered in will add to my magical aura.

Sexy.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Owie

Things around here are getting more uncomfortable. Especially at night.

I can really relate to this little guy.

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Um. OK. That was a lie. Actually, the weather is quite nice.

But that's not my point.

My point is that fake snow is in my book a MAJOR MAJOR violation. I can not STAND all of the "cute, rustic" yard signs in people's yards here in Central Florida that say "Let it Snow!" The inflatable snowmen and the spray-on window frost are equally completely offensive to me. Dearest thinks I'm a bit oversensitive about it, since I now reject even snowflake wrapping paper or greeting cards down here. Also when our neighbors put up their front yard snowman I said I was going to encourage Coda to pee on it. And I won't even START to talk about Disney's fake snow machines, which in fact produce little tiny bubbles which, when falling, look fairly snow-like, but when landing on the tongue taste distinctly soap-like. Trust me. I know.

So maybe I am a little over the top about it. But fake snow just seems so... desperate. Depressing. Face it folks, you can put all the "Let it Snow" signs and little decorative sleds on your front porch but it AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. If some guy in Minnesota put a plastic palm tree and some pink flamingos in front of his house this time of the year, he would probably be taken away by the men in the white coats, or at the very least gawked at. It is no more likely that Minneapolis turn into a tropical paradise than it is for Orlando to be a winter wonderland. Let's just enjoy it for what it is, sunny and cool, and not try to pretend like we're something we're not.

Sorry. Just my serious pet peeve.



In baby news, we had an appointment today, and everything looks good! Both babies are growing beautifully, Sophie's weight was 1 lb., 3 oz, and her heart rate was 145 and Livi weighs 1 lb., 1 oz, with a heart rate of 143. Sophie is measuring a little ahead and Livi is right on track. I have certainly felt a lot more of Sophia's movements, and she was, as always, the more active during the ultrasound too. She was facing out, sucking on her toes and touching her face with her hands. We could really see her face and it was just too sweet. Olivia was snuggled in quietly, facing my spine, so even though we didn't get a good look at her face this time, we could tell she was cozy. I think she might be a night owl like her dad, because one of them actually woke me up in the middle of the night this week with their squirrelyness, and I am pretty sure it was Livi. It was a relief to see them and know they are ok and also to know that my cervix is still long and closed (because I KNOW you were just dying to hear the status of my cervix), I was a little worried about it with the contractions lately, but so far so good.

I will leave you this evening with some extreme Sophie cuteness. The first one is Soph waving hi, and the other one is her sucking on her own foot (it's a little blurry because she was moving). Aww...



Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oh. My. God.









I’m not Catholic. Never have been.

I did go to Catholic school for a little while. We lived in inner-city Detroit, and the public schools there in the 80’s were just not an option for us. So my folks sent me to a Catholic school in Grosse Point. I was the only non-Catholic kid there, at least as far as I knew. Nobody else was stuck in the pew when everyone went for communion on Wednesday mass. Everybody else there had grown up together, in their fancy suburbs: had gone to church together and school together for as long as they could remember. I was the non-Communion getting freak from the city. We each received a cross, which, in case of an emergency, was engraved with “I AM A CATHOLIC, PLEASE CALL A PRIEST.” I proudly showed mine to my folks when I got home from school that day, and asked them if I was allowed to wear it since I was, in fact, not a Catholic. My dad replied, “Honey, we should probably get you one that says ‘I am an Episcopalian, please call a bartender.’” My parents both started cracking up. I went to school the next day, marched up to my teacher, Sister Margaret, and announced to her, “My parents are going to get me a necklace that says “I am an Episcopalian, please call a bartender.” I grinned, and waited for her to have the same reaction that my folks had. All she said was, “Is that so?”

These days, if someone were to be so unfortunate to find my unconscious carcass somewhere, they would immediately call a Catholic Priest. Why, you ask? Because, despite my severe lack of Catholicism, I am covered in Catholic medals and trinkets. How the heck did this happen? It started when Dearest and I went to the Vatican when we were in Rome. It was, even for a heathen such as myself, awe-inspiring. Caught up in the excitement, at one of the many well placed gift-shops I bought myself a beautiful cross charm that was blessed by the Pope himself! I should never fall for that trick, Disney is the Mecca of well-placed gift shops, it seems so transparent there, but at the VATICAN? Surely the things they are selling THERE are different. Hmm. Anyway, I put the cross on a silver chain and have worn it since, as a reminder of our beautiful trip.

Then there are the medals. These are not my doing. We tried, as you know, for a long time to get pregnant, and people wanted to “help” in whatever way they could. So, since we had not invited them into our bedroom to offer us useful procreation tips, they had to resort to things like praying for us. Poor them. Anyway, my mom-in-law got for me a medallion with “Sancta Mater Anna,” the patron saint of mothers. Couldn’t hurt, I figured, plus my mom’s name is Ann, so it kinda works for me, so I put it on my necklace next to my cross. Then my friend Kel took a vacation to Saint Augustine, from which she brought me a medallion of “Madonna de la Leche,” AKA our Lady of the Milk. She is the patron saint of childbirth and breastfeeding. Mrs. La Leche’s medal came with instructions: it must be pinned to your bra. Fair enough. Couldn’t hurt, might help, right? Worst-case scenario, maybe it will make my boobs get bigger.

Well, I’m not really superstitious, but I am a creature of habit, so wearing this stuff has just become a part of what I do. I AM pregnant, though I am thinking the Reproductive Endocrinology team had more to do with that than Our Lady of anything. But you never know. So I religiously (totally non-religiously, actually) wear my Catholic paraphernalia. But if you find me unconscious somewhere, please do call a bartender.

This brings me to the point. (“You have a point?” you are asking yourself.) What we are going to do about my daughters’ religion. We don’t go to church. At all. We are both, truthfully, a little concerned about what organized religion can do to people, how it can claim to teach love and then exclude people: women, gays, those with other life experiences and views. How the Baptist church here spent more than a million dollars erecting a 199-foot cross, when I have a child in my class whose family sleeps in the truck on cold nights because their trailer has no heat. I am not claiming to be perfect. But I am kind and compassionate, and I know right from wrong, and I think my kids will too, even without Sunday School.

But.

I also know it’s not all about us. Dearest’s mom IS a REAL Catholic. And my Episcopal Dad would go to church every day if he could. They derive a lot of comfort and strength from their religions and I think that is great. They are two of the most upstanding, loving, empathetic people I know. And I know it’s really important to them that these girls be baptized and, at a minimum, exposed to some religion.

As of now, we are probably going to take the path of least resistance, the same as we did with our wedding. We will baptize the babies in a non-denominational church, maybe the same place we got married. Maybe my uncle, who is an Episcopal priest, will be able to do it, or maybe we will get some other Protestant minister to perform the ceremony. (The Catholics, you see, will not touch us with a ten-foot pole. The church by us would need me to get my first marriage annulled to the tune of about $1K, then I would need to convert ($3K when it’s said and done) and we would need to be tithing members in good standing for 2 years before they would do the baptism. Uh… no.) But if we do it as we imagine, it will be lovely, we will all feel a part of the day, and it will be a great opportunity for everyone to reflect on whatever forces they think came into play to get our two “miracle” babies to this earth.

After that, the vision gets a little more hazy. I guess my hope is to expose them to all types of religions and philosophies, helping them to formulate their own “moral compass” that allows them to treat others the way they would like to be treated because they really understand that we are made up of our experiences, good and bad, not because they are afraid of some mystery deity smiting them.

What would Jesus do if they were His daughters?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Lovely Lady Lumps...

Check it out!

OK, here is the 20 week belly shot, aka the reason why I feel like I might have been a candidate to be a balloon in the Macy's Parade this year.




No real news this week, starting to have a few contractions here and there, which the Dr. said was to be expected around this time. Nothing really in a pattern or anything.

Last night, Baby A (Sophie) apparently decided to do some remodeling on her side of the womb or something- I swear, she was hanging drapes and laying wall-to-wall carpeting in there. Dearest could plainly feel it from the outside, and the two of us sat there trying to figure out what body parts she was using to thump against my side. "Was that an elbow? Was that a butt? Was that a freaking Bobcat? Or a backhoe? Is she driving heavy equipment around in there? Doesn't she need a special license to do that?!?" It was pretty bizarre. So far from Baby B (Livi) all I'm feeling are rare dainty taps. 

So other than being a human construction sight, all is well. Don't you love the veins I am developing on my sides? I am so sexy I can barely stand it. Retch.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Boring Part

Clearly, the previous post was our Level 2 Ultrasound experience in a nutshell, and if there was anything else huge to note, I would have mentioned it. But, for posterity's sake, I feel like I should round out the experience with a more detailed explanation of our visit.

The Level 2 (aka "Anatomy Ultrasound") was scheduled at the big women and infant's hospital in downtown Orlando (not that the hospital is for big women, I'm trying to say it's a big hospital. For normal sized women. And tiny infants.), the place where we initially wanted to deliver and where, if the girls are premature or have any problems, we will probably wind up. The appointment was scheduled for 11 am, but they told us to arrive at 10:15 because there would be a lot of paperwork to fill out. We left around 8:30, stopped and ate a delicious breakfast, and got downtown at a little after 10. (A straight shot from our house to downtown Orlando takes about 40 minutes, just fyi.)

This hospital was AMAZING. Well, the lobby was at least. How can there BE so many pregnant women on this EARTH to fill this hospital? A year ago, when we were still struggling to conceive these babies, this would have been the most depressing place on earth for me. Round bellies everywhere you look. I went to use the restroom in the lobby, and I swear to you it was like a scene out of an improbable comedy-- 4 of us preggers people in there, all trying to navigate around each others bellies in a crowded bathroom. It was like a small parking lot with 4 big rigs all trying to drive around in it. It was like a game of tetris. I swear. 

Anyway, we cruised into the office at about 10:15, and started filling out paperwork. Then some robot who was thinly disguised as an actual woman asked us the requisite questions to confirm our identity, and by 10:45 I was weighed (124!), my blood pressure was taken (104 over something... really wish they would not tell me the numbers and would just give me a thumbs up or thumbs down, because I have no idea what it is SUPPOSED to be, so am never sure how to react. Relieved? Horrified? Guess if there is a problem they will tell me!) and the ultrasound tech (who was amazing by the way, and whose ID said that she is an RN which sounds so much more professional than "ultrasound tech" to me for some reason) was having a look.

Immediately, what has been the pattern in the past revealed itself. Baby A (now known as Sophia) was NOT particularly interested in our agenda of looking at her. No thank you, she clearly stated, I will be over here behind your spleen or something until you go away. She treated us to some interesting acrobatics and the ultrasound lady said "My goodness, you have a very very active baby here!" Yes, we have heard that before. It was a game of cat and mouse trying to get the measurements on this little girl, but she did- heart, spine, umbilical cord, brain, etc. She printed pics of all of the major parts for the actual doctor who had just appeared. The Doctor, another really nice lady, analyzed the anatomy pix while ultrasound lady tried to get a look at gender. It didn't take too long before she said "This one is a little girl!" 

Time to start on Baby B (Olivia). Same routine, much calmer baby. Took about half as long as Sophie's did because she was being pretty still and was more stretched out than her sis was. Again printed out all of the measurements for the doctor who studied them while we went on a gender hunt. This one was a little more tricky, because Livi, while cooperative, was a bit more modest than Sophie when it came to showing the goods. She had her legs crossed and she was staying that way, thank you very much. Finally, the ultrasound lady took the actual transducer (yes, I had to google "Parts of an Ultrasound Machine" to find out what that thing is called. Probe? Paddle? Sure as hell ain't a wand, I know those when I see them) anyway she took the transducer, pulled it back, and thumped the baby's actual butt with it. That was the weirdest feeling, because of course I am now watching her butt on the screen but I am FEELING the rest of her body reacting to getting whacked on the tush. Really odd. Anyway, that rude maneuver was all the persuasion she needed, she opened her legs to reveal... no boy parts. Another girl, we were told, for sure.

Now we are holding our breaths and looking at the doctor, who has 7 billion pictures of our kids... our daughters... in her hands. She finishes reviewing them and says "What I am looking at here is 2 perfectly healthy babies. They look perfect." Enormous sigh of relief. Perfect. They both weight around 12 oz., right where they need to be. The are both transverse- laying across my belly with their heads on my right and their feet on my left. Heart rates were normal. Down's odds from the quad screen came back at 1/300, which for multiples is pretty standard. 

They look great.

20 weeks tomorrow. That would be half way if this were a singleton pregnancy. As it stands it's MORE than halfway, which is incredible. By Christmas, these will be viable babies. Not that we are by any stretch ready to meet them: stay put until March please ladies!



Monday, November 24, 2008

Because Sometimes 4 Pictures are Worth a Million Words...











Baby  A: Sophia Katherine Fontana
























Baby B: Olivia Roselyn Fontana








Friday, November 21, 2008

Do these babies make me look fat?

The answer, apparently, is yes.

Look, I understand that there is an "old school" philosophy about being pregnant- that it's something that should be hidden and covered up. I am aware that people used to think that. I just thought those people were all dead already. Lucky me, I found one who is still alive, although her life was NEARLY cut short on Wednesday.

I can see the headlines now: "Pregnant Kindergarten Teacher Attacks Senior Citizen, turn to page 2A."

This charming co-worker of mine, as we walked out of a meeting on Wednesday, found it appropriate to comment on my size and wardrobe. The conversation went something like this:
Her: Wow, girl, you need to get some bigger shirts!
Me: This IS a bigger shirt.
Her: I mean some MATERNITY shirts!
Me: (growing agitated) This IS a maternity shirt. Wow, you really know how to raise a gal's self esteem!
Her: Well, I know you can't really tell from your perspective, but from here it's not pretty.
Me: (growling) I think you should stop talking now.
Her: Oh, I don't mean anything by it! Bye now!

Luckily for me there was an actual witness to this discussion, who promptly FELL into my classroom door laughing hysterically because she knew how mortified I was and how very close I had come to ripping that lady a new one. Usually when things like this happen to me there is no witness, so I was relieved that she had actually heard the exchange and that she also thought this woman's comments were WAY out of line.

I know I'm not getting any smaller here. I know people used to wear muu-muus to hide their bellies. Guess what? They don't anymore. Maternity clothes are more form fitting these days. For christ's sake, it was a knit henley from Old Navy Maternity, size medium. Not a tube top or something.

The best part of the story is that now whenever I am in a room with the rest of my team and the offender happens to walk in, they all start complimenting me on my wardrobe just to watch her squirm. They rule.

Another reason I am thinking that these babies make me look fat is because of the kids in my class. You know 5-year-olds, the filter is just not quite fully developed, and for that I absolutely adore them. One major work challenge as my girth has expanded has been tying the kids shoes, which I seem to spend approximately 3.5 hours a day doing. Truthfully, tying my OWN shoes is quite a feat anymore. Lately at school, I have resorted to asking my kids to put their foot up on a chair so I can tie their shoe. While I was groaning trying to tie this kid's shoe over my belly he looked right at me and in a very concerned voice said, "You know, Mrs. Fontana, junk food? Um, it can make you gain weight." Thank you dear. Thank you so much. Because that is all this is, 20 lbs of Cheetos. Now, thanks to your little public service announcement, I have seen the light and will be back to tying shoes on the floor in no time.

Finally, on the expanding waistline subject, this. I know this day has been coming for a long time, and it has arrived. I can no longer see my pubes. I am very sorry, dear readers, that you have to hear this, particularly if you are related to me, but there it is. Pube maintenance has become a completely blind endeavor the past couple of weeks, and from the feedback I have received from Dearest, the outcome is not pretty. But what am I supposed to do? Just let it go? I don't really want a wild pube jungle occurring, I'm pretty much anti-pube normally, and I really can't see lettin' 'em grow free when medical professionals are in that vicinity so often. What can I do? Hand grooming over to Dearest? Go to the nice little vietnamese ladies and let them wax the whole thing? Help me out here people, I am not going to see my pubes until SPRING!!!

I knew pregnant people got bigger, but I had no idea the many complexities that went along with the larger waist line. These are not things people tell you. I'm starting to see why.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Kicked Under the Table

When I was 15 years old, I got a tattoo. Did you know that about me? Well, it's the truth. I got a Phoenix, the bird of rebirth, rising from the ashes of a destroyed life. I felt like it was the perfect symbol for me. Because, when I was 15, I was really struggling with... um... my upper-middle class two parent household? Their insane demands that I go to SCHOOL and even tell them where I AM sometimes? The torture of just being generally MISUNDERSTOOD by EVERYONE because couldn't they SEE that Trent Reznor of "Nine Inch Nails" was the ONLY one who REALLY GOT me? Uh... maybe it was hormones. I'm truly not sure. All I know is that an abstract post-modern Phoenix tattoo (also the logo of the theatre company I was involved in, who at that time was preparing to stage a production of Dr. Faustus in which I was planning to shave my head and appear topless-- it's ART people, can't you SEE that?) made absolute sense to me as a mode of self-expression.

Now, not so much.

It's not that I give the tattoo much thought, truthfully. As I talked to my mom about it today, I pointed out that I have had that mark on my body for longer than I existed without it, so I'm pretty well used to it by now. It doesn't show when I am clothed, so it was not a disqualifier for anything I have wanted to do in my life, really. It's just kind of there, like a birthmark, or maybe a scar.

The only thing is this. Location, location, location. The placement of this particular tat seemed really super logical to 15-year-old me, and by that I mean it was somewhere that my parents couldn't see it. But hindsight being what it is, perhaps the hip/lower abdominal location was not exactly ideal. Because, my lovely phoenix, you see, is being encroached upon by my darling children, and it is starting to stretch. Dearest helpfully pointed out today when I got out of the shower that it now looks more like a coat hanger than a mythical bird. Crap. He's right. And I don't even have stretch marks yet. I have the feeling that it is only going to get more and more attractive as the next couple of months go by.

I told my mom (who finds the whole thing downright hysterical, in an "I told you so" kind of way) about my regrets about that angle of my rebellion. I also told her that I might plan a tattoo to put on my boob, one that will look BETTER as it stretches and eventually sags and droops like a deflated balloon. So if you have any design ideas that will look better as my boob eventually deflates, please pass them along to me.



We had a busy day today, but it was the really nice kind of busy. First, we met my Uncle Bob, who was in town for a conference, for lunch, which was lovely because he is just a nice guy and it's my philosophy that you should stay close to your family, if you are fortunate enough to have one, particularly to those members of your family who are not completely insane. It was great to catch up and chat uninterrupted, possibly for the last time in our lives, as we are about to have 2 kids and both of my uncle's kids are expecting babies this spring too!

A lot of people have been asking me lately if I am feeling the babies move yet, and the answer has been a resounding no until really the last couple of days. Lately, I am feeling them move and I have to admit it's pretty neat. A just feels more like a squirming, the classic "butterflies in the stomach" feeling, not any distinct kicking, and I feel him/her about every other day, maybe once a day. B, however, is a distinctive kicking feeling, like popcorn popping, right below my rib cage on the left. That one I feel pretty regularly, especially whenever I drink orange juice or eat two Mrs. Fields chocolate chip cookies at the mall. :) Clearly, the coconut shrimp at lunch today were a big hit, because B was tapping away under the table. :)


After that we ran some more little errands, hit the mall for a while. We went into Gap, even though I do not consider myself a Gap kind of person, they were having a sale on some maternity stuff so I picked up a cute shirt and tried on some bras. No comment on bras right now, other than to say that I am going to have to start wearing something to contain the bosoms at night, because they keep getting kinda under my armpits and getting squashed and waking me up, and believe me, for a formerly A-cup kinda girl, that is shocking every time. ANYWAY... so we went into the Gap, and to get to the maternity part you have to walk through the baby part, and I have to admit that they have some very cute stuff. Also a LOT of PINK. Like someone came in with a spray gun full of pepto-bismol and just covered about 70% of the store. Woah. Dearest is so much better adjusted about the potential girl thing, he even picked up a few things to show me that he liked. I am not quite there yet. Then the cutest thing happened. There was a real live ladybug on my shoulder, right there in the Baby Gap. I don't know what it means, but it did make me smile.

Now if I can just convince my girls not to get tattoos when they are 15. Help...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Well, Crud.

I was so fired up about today's ultrasound. I really didn't realize HOW fired up I was until it was over and I was standing in the parking lot of the Dr.'s office bawling my eyes out.

Here is, of course, the part where you think that something horrible has happened.

It has not.

The babies look fine. Really good, actually. They were moving all over the place, kind of two blurs that would occasionally whir across the screen. "Oh, there's a head...or that was a head, that thing that just went by, there," the Dr. would say. "Did you see that thigh bone? That white line that came up there for a minute and then went away, that was a thigh bone." She did get heart rates on both babies, they were in the 140's, right on track. She got enough measurements to determine that they are both growing really well. Baby A came in at 8 oz and B was right around 7 oz, exactly where they should be. But I guess I learned a valuable lesson on ultrasounds: don't drink a chocolate shake right before you go in there if you hope to get any kind of definitive answer as to what variety of baby you might be having.

Thus the reason for the sobbing in the parking lot.

I REALLY wanted to know. 

She did not see any boy parts. But, she said, not being able to see boy parts does not by any stretch mean you should go painting things pink right now. Which is good, because as I have certainly mentioned, I can not stand pink. The thought of 2 girls did make me feel a little panicky, I have to admit. That was the only outcome of this situation that could really really throw me for a loop. I am just not a girly girl. I was more of a wear my overalls and catch bugs barefoot kind of a girl. I guess there is no reason my girls have to be "princesses" either, they will certainly not be getting that kind of pressure from their mom. 

Anyway, no need to panic now, because while my Dr. is a very nice lady, she is not a very great ultrasonographer. So I just won't panic. I won't even spaz a little. I'm not. Right now. Freaking out, I mean. Because anything could still happen, right? Of course. So for that reason, I am completely relaxed and not at all upset. I bet.

Level 2 Ultrasound in 2 weeks. I will be holding my breath until then.

Also I will apparently be waiting another 2 weeks before I can go on sckoon.com and buy every baby item on there. Double triple crud.

Monday, November 3, 2008

My Body is NOT a Wonderland

Decidedly not. 

Don't get me wrong. I do not wish for the through-line of  this blog to be "Lindsay bitches about not being able to get pregnant and then bitches about being pregnant." I KNEW that, even though in my opinion I had to suffer more than most in order to achieve this pregnancy, that did not mean that I was somehow going to be immune to the stresses and discomforts that expectant mothers face. OK, maybe a little bit I hoped that I had gotten some of the suffering done up front and so I would breeze though. You can't really blame me for that, can you? But really, I appreciate how very lucky I have been- minimal "morning sickness," a subchorionic hematoma that (thus far) did not turn into a major crisis, and 2 little ones who seem to be growing and developing normally. So lucky to have so much to lose.

Well, wasn't that nice and inspirational? 

Now, on to how I'm really feeling.

Please, who made up this pregnancy glow b.s.? My complexion has never looked worse. My skin is so dry (and it is hard to have dry skin in FL where the humidity is about 90% all the time) it is literally flaking off, no matter what creme, balm, lotion, etc, I slather on. Not cute.

I am making progress in the weight department. I'm up to 121, which is pretty good, I think. I want to keep gaining at this rate, a couple of pounds a week, because of course I want to grow big beautiful babies. But sometimes it would appear that these big beautiful babies might be located in my thighs. I fully expected to have grown out of my pants by now, and by that I mean I would not be able to button them. What I did not anticipate was the not being able to pull my old favorite pair of jeans more than 6" above my knees. What is going on there? Hmm.

Now on to the baby bump. This part is not complaining. This is my mom demanding to see that I have, in fact, grown into all of those maternity clothes. If you do NOT want to see my bare stomach, it is time to avert your eyes. Really. Look away now.

The top picture is what my belly looked like prior to the egg retrieval, when I was giving myself three shots in the stomach a day. (So flat! Such a deep belly button! So... bruised!) The second one is belly at 9w, and the bottom one is belly at 16w. 


























Sunday, November 2, 2008

Promises Broken...

What seems like a very long time ago, Dearest and I looked each other in the eye and made meaningful promises to each other. No, I am not referring to the occasion of our wedding. I am referring to when he got his contract with The Mouse and therefore we were, for the first time in our relationship, going to have some serious expendable income. 

We promised, firstly, to travel. Since the whole having kids thing was not really working out for us, we took advantage of our prosperity and freedom and had some great adventures. We took a wandering road trip through Nashville, where we explored the Grand ol' Opry, Metropolis Illinois, stopping to admire the giant Superman statue and museum, St. Louis, where we went up in the arch and saw the Cards play in their last year at the old Busch Stadium, to Harlan, Iowa for the 4th of July. We spent some real quality time with my folks, then meandered home through Louisville and took a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory (so cool!), a side trip to the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky to visit the Maker's Mark Whisky Distillery (cooler than I can describe), and Atlanta to the Coca-Cola museum, and finally home. We drove to Washington DC and took the Blue Ridge Skyway home (beautiful). We went to NYC and saw 3 Broadway shows and took in a game at the old Yankee stadium. We took countless beach day and weekend trips. Not to mention 2 pilgrimages to the Sponge-O-Rama museum in Tarpon Springs, which deserves its own blog entry, if not its own website. We kept our promise. We travelled.

We bought a PS3 and iPhones. Those were not exactly a promise, except I think that Dearest promised me that when the 3G iPhone came out he was getting one no matter what I said, which is kind of a promise.

We promised to build ourselves a house that we loved with our own pool and hot tub. We did, and even though sometimes it is a lot to maintain and it seemed really big and empty this past year, I am glad we built it and I can't imagine squeezing 2 babies into our old little house. 

We promised never EVER EVER to go to the West Oaks Mall (aka the mall that time forgot) to see a movie again. The first time we promised this was when we noticed that they had put up big "No Weapons" signs featuring a picture of a handgun with the red circle/slash on the windows of the box office. NOT a good sign. Then we broke our promise, and had to sit through WallE with this... lovely... woman... on the phone next to us: "I'm watchin' WallE. It stupid. Naw, these two robots, they in lub an shit. Whatchu doin? Aw, yeah, I think I'll go to the club later. Nothin, just chillin. Aahight, I'll get wichu later." Then when she was done talking she handed the phone to her toddler who proceeded to wave the lit-up phone all over like she was at a rave. And it was really distracting. And Dearest wanted to tell her to shove it, but he was a little concerned about who might have been on the other end of the phone that she was meeting at the club later. Since we had forgotten our bullet proof vests this particular evening, he decided to let it slide.

Our final promise was to never again purchase furniture we had to assemble ourselves. We promised this to each other after we spent a solid week putting together 4 huge, beautiful bookcases for the loft, and we nearly killed each other. It was hell on earth. When it came time to pick out dining room furniture, we went so far as to ask "This is going to come completely put together, right? We will not be asked to do any assembly, correct?" And this was a very good promise indeed.

So WHY dear GOD did we just spend our whole weekend assembling two dressers and two cribs that came in SO MANY TINY PIECES??? WHY did we break our promise? I guess we are out of that "money is no longer an object" mindset and into the "how the hell are we going to survive on one income with 2 children???" mindset. So when we saw the sale Penneys was having on their baby furniture, and we could get a discount and free shipping on top of that, we just forgot about our promise. It was such a good deal, we surely would be happy to put it together because, well, it was a good deal! So put it together we did. We congratulated each other when we were done on not ripping each others' heads off. I don't think we ever once even spoke sharply to each other, even when we could not figure out how to get the drop-side onto crib number one or when we had to take the second dresser halfway apart because we put a piece in upside down because the directions were laughably vague. We held it together, like a real team, and I am proud of us.

But we are NEVER EVER buying furniture we have to assemble again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm A Believer (Kinda)

So last night I went to the Neil Diamond concert. "Well, Lindsay!" you must be saying right now, "I had no idea that you were a Neil Diamond fan!" That would be because, to be truthful, I am not a Neil Diamond fan. But Dearest's mom is, and we got tickets for us all to go. So there we were. I have to admit, the show was entertaining. It was in a giant arena, and we were on the floor, and when we got there I was starting to feel a little stressy: what if I have to pee 45 times? what if things get rowdy? what if everyone is standing up all night and I'm too tired? So you can see that I was really not at all familiar with the core of Neil's audience, most of whom are 60-70 years old. Things did not get rowdy. It was a sitting down concert. There was a band and an impressive lighting and audio rig, and little hot cocktail waitresses bringing drinks to those of us on the floor, whom I tried not to hate.  

I DID know that Neil was older, I knew that his first albums were in fact RECORDS, and that he has a song "HeartLight" that is about E.T. (yes it is!) which came out when I was about 4. At some point during dinner I made a comment about him being like 90 years old, in response to which my mom-in-law (who, mind you, is, not unlike Mary Poppins, Practically Perfect in Every Way) helpfully pointed out that he is the exact same age that she is. Oh. Oops.  And I did know "Sweet Caroline" and also "America," but that was about all the background knowledge I went in with. 

At first, I felt very old, going to see Neil Diamond. Well, he is like 90. Then we got there, and I felt very YOUNG seeing Neil Diamond, because looking around, we were really on the whipper-snapper side of the demographic. Then I started snickering, thinking about how my mom-in-law had seen him many times throughout the years and thinking about Dearest and I, like 65 years old, at an Incubus or Blink 182 concert. "Oh, we've see 'em 11 times! We were just kids the first time they came through Orlando! We love their greatest-hits album!" and they will come out on stage, all old, and everyone will comment that they look pretty good (like they did with Neil) and we will sit down the whole time and watch them and be taken back to our youth.

It was also funny to think that the twins just grew ear drums last week, so this was, technically, their first concert going experience. Wish I could feel them move so I could tell you if they enjoyed it or not. 

One of my favorite movies, What About Bob, has a great line: "There are two types of people in this world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't." As with all things, I kind of fall into the grey area in between. I don't dislike him, for sure. He seemed likeable enough. I did enjoy going to the show, and having the ENERGY to go to the show, but as for ol' Neil-y? Not sure if I'm A Believer.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Remind me Again How I am Qualified to do This...

And by this I mean teaching Kindergarten. Because there are some moments, the ones not covered in any textbook about teaching early elementary, that I wonder how it is possible that an actual Principal hired me, and let me be responsible for the education of a couple dozen five year olds. Sometimes... they just get me. 

Actual conversation between 2 of my kids, in line, on the way back from recess.
Fellow teacher steps out of teacher's lounge, Coke in hand.
 Little Boy: Oh look, Miss J has a Coke! My family is the kind of family who loves God and stuff, and we read the bible and say prayers and everything, and so we only buy sugar-free Coke.
 Little Girl: We love God and go to church, but my mom drinks regular Coke.
At this point, the two trusting, innocent children, look at each other and then at me. "Well?" their looks say, "Who is right?" I told them I had never asked God his opinion on soft drinks, and pretty much left it at that. Zoinks.

Last year, one of the kids in my class had a grandparent die, which lead to the ever-so-touchy-in -a-public-school-setting dialogue about exactly what happens when you die. The kids all tossed around their understandings of what happens: you go to heaven with God, you get to be an angel in the clouds, you go in a hole in the ground forever until the worms eat your guts (keep in mind I had 17 boys and 6 girls last year-- we talked about guts a lot). Then when they had all shared their ideas, they looked at me, perched up on high in my Cracker Barrel rocking chair like the oracle, and wanted the answer. Well? What happens, Mrs. F? Uh... help? I am the final authority in this moment. I told them, simply, that I have never been dead and so I am not exactly sure what happens. Once again, they were pacified (if not disappointed) with this answer.

Where I REALLY may have blown it was about a week ago when one of the little girls in my class came up and gave me a big hug. Keep in mind that their little heads are right at belly height. She looked up and me and said "Why is your belly getting so big Mrs. F?" and I said it. I know I shouldn't have, I knew it as it was coming out of my mouth. I went home and considered putting my teaching certificate in an envelope and mailing it back to the state with my apologies. I shouldn't have said it, and if I could take it back, I would. 

"I must have swallowed a watermelon seed!"

That is what I said. I know that was not the right thing to say, but please, someone, tell me what I SHOULD have said. Before the state finds out and I lose my insurance. 

I won't even MENTION last year's unpleasantness when I was introducing the concept of "symmetry" and one of the kids wanted to know when we were going to talk about the dead people. I was like what? The other kids echoed him: yeah, when do we talk about the skeletons and stuff? You know, in the symmetry? In the graves at the symmetry? Shit. I actually laughed out loud on that one.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Their Idea of Perfect

I read everybody's pregnancy-annoyance horror stories, and came to the conclusion that I am above it all. People touching the belly? Doesn't faze me. Commenting on my growing girth? Ain't it cute? Asking me if twins run in the family? I reply with a simple "nope" even though I know what they are getting at. Telling me twin pregnancy, labor, infancy stories with glum endings? Can't get me there- already read all that on the internet.

But the masses have come up with something that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I was blind-sided the first time it happened. And it has happened no less than a dozen times since.

Here comes the part where I sound really irrational.

People (could be the custodian at school, or the waiter at a restaurant, or even a casual friend) say "Oh, you are expecting? How exciting!" and of course I tell them that we are having twins. And, naturally, they ask if we know the gender yet. And I reply that it won't be long, probably in November. And they say "Oh, if it is one of each, that would be so PERFECT!!!" or "If you get a boy and a girl, you would have the PERFECT little family!!!!!"  

And something about that really bothers me.

Because, if I am having two sons, is that somehow less than perfect? I mean, I understand their point I guess, their desire for a genderly-balanced family (yes, I just made up that word, so what?), but I really don't feel that drive. I feel like my family is going to be perfect even if I have 14 sons or (gulp) 2 little girls. I understand people do gender-selection of embryos, we could have done it to for about $4K more, but I am SO UNSPEAKABLY grateful to have 2 beautiful, healthy fetuses (feti?) that I can't possibly think that things will be less than PERFECT if they are of the same gender. 

Dearest thinks I am over the top in my sensitivity about this subject, especially considering that I have NOT been bothered by most other things people say, and I'm sure he just chalks it up to hormones or something, and maybe a little part of him agrees that one of each would be just grand. But now I am riddled with this complex that I will somehow be letting everyone else down if we are carrying something other than a boy and a girl, and if they are the same gender, I am going to be watching people's reactions too closely when I tell them "two boys" or (gulp) "two girls." 

Good thing I am not a perfectionist. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Looooook into my Eyeeeesssss...

So here's the thing. I have always been the kind of person who, when having a conversation, has experienced the luxury of having the person to whom I am speaking look at my Actual Face whilst we are conversing. And it was not really something I gave a lot of thought to. I kind of enjoyed it, people looking at my Actual Face while we were communicating. But now... things have changed. I have heard others (particularly my friend D) complain about people looking at Parts Other than Face, particularly people of the male variety (just her luck!) while she is trying to make important points. I can see how, for her, that would be quite annoying. But I always thought it would just be so great to have BIG BOOBS that I would live with the small issue of people looking at Parts Other than Face while chatting. 

Well, now I have actual boobs. But they are not on display for all to see, as one might think. First of all, I teach 5-year-olds, so it would hardly be appropriate. Second of all, they are not beautiful lush bosom, they are like 2 veiny grapefruits that someone hot glued to my chest. Seriously, they are covered in these blue veins, and the skin is like translucent and they look like I had some unsuccessful breast enlargement procedure. Clearly they do not belong on my body.

But the problem is not my boobs. It is my little baby bump. I CAN NOT have a conversation with anyone looking at my Actual Face the past 2 weeks. Their eyes keep wandering down to the bump. Those I know will actually acknowledge what they are doing (In a "GOD you are getting big fast!" kind of a way) but others, not so much. And you know what? I kind of miss conversations where people looked at my Actual Face. This has come up a lot this week because of parent teacher conferences. I know parents are not thinking "Oh, it looks like she's expecting, how lovely for her!" they are thinking "Shit, if she's preggo, this is going to interrupt my kid's academics." I totally understand that. But what's funny is that I am not actually big enough for people to be 100% sure yet (because how mortifying for them if they say something and are wrong!) so they just stare at my bump.

Today, for the first time, the bump actually served me well. I had to stop at the store to buy puffy paint and cheetos (don't ask) and an older guy looked at the bump and let me go in line in front of him. So sweet! I'm not quite ready to start parking in those "Reserved for Expectant Mothers" spots at BJ's yet, but maybe before long...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Poem to Ponder

I've been, naturally, thinking a lot about parenting lately. At first I was obsessed with the survival-oriented technical details about how I am going to parent. How will I logistically function? What will I do if both babies need me at the same time? Will I love one more than the other? But lately, that thinking has turned a little more philosophical: How can I keep these kids safe without raising fearful children? How can I teach them to enjoy every moment when sometimes I am so wrapped up in the past and the future? How can I raise spiritual kids in this material world when I can be so out of touch with my own spirituality? This Mary Oliver poem really hit home with me. Does it speak to parenting, to spirituality, to living life for you?

The Summer Day

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear? 
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean--
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes. 
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another appointment under our (expanding) belts!

We are victoriously back from another OB appointment, and I will sleep much better tonight than I did last night. Everything went really well- the babies both measured big again (A at 14w5d and B at 14w4d) and their heart rates looked great (A at 146 and B at 148). And, as per usual, B was posing beautifully (so much so that the Dr did a 3-D shot of him/her) and A was completely uncooperative, mainly showing us his/her butt every time we tried to see its little face. Hmm. I gave A a big lecture, but it did not seem to make much of a difference. 

Also.

You knew there was an also, didn't you? 

Since A was so busy showing us its little butt, we got lots of money shots. And the Dr said, even though it is very early and please do not hold her to it, that she just might see a thing. And by thing she meant a BOY thing. :) But again, NO guarantee, as that little one was not still for a moment and it was hard for me to see much, but she said there might be a thing. Yay!

The other cool thing was that my mom in law and dad in law got to be there for the ultrasound, and my dad in law had never been in the room for an ultrasound before, so he was pretty blown away by the technology and by how much detail you could see on the babies. 

Speaking of seeing the babies...


B is upstairs, being photogenic. A is downstairs, doing backflips and bouncing off the walls as per usual.
Here is the 3-D of B, who was being quite cooperative and even gave us a wave when we were all peeking.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Let's Talk About my Privates!

But first, let's talk about my parents' visit. Because it was great. My dream of feeling miserable on the couch and being taken care of by my mom came true (complete with brown and orange blanket, which she brought from Iowa), and we stayed very busy with all manner of planning and preparation, including... wait for it... my first maternity clothes. Maybe to you this seems like no big thing, a pregnant woman buying maternity clothes, but to me it was huge. It was a public acceptance that all of this sticking my self with needles and getting intimately acquainted with the "dildo cam" might, at some point, have resulted in me being actually pregnant. And furthermore, that this pregnancy might do something CRAZY like continue, possibly even featuring a baby or two at the end. Again, if you have not struggled with month after month of dreams of having a family crashing down, the idea of getting pregnant, buying maternity clothes, and having a baby might not seem like the kind of thing that would inspire massive denial and pessimism. But to me, I think I may be standing at my childrens' high school graduation still not believing that I could have possibly ever gotten pregnant.

So it was great to be with my folks, who have never doubted that the IVF would work (what the heck else could happen?) and that this pregnancy would continue uncomplicated and result in happy healthy babies. I have to admit that there were moments (like in Babies.R.Us) when I felt like I was playing into the fantasy of  2 completely delusional people, but still it was fun. To think about real babies.

I felt a new dimension in my relationship with my mom, that's for sure. I always knew that there was a massive bond between women who have had kids, but, um, I have not really spent a lot of time trying to bond with other women, because generally I can't stand them, so it's not a connection I ever yearned for. But I was always aware of it. Never more so than 5 years ago at the birth of my nephew Jet. I will NEVER forget the moment he took his first breath, the moment that my mom and I saw him, and the distinct feeling at that moment that it was just my mom and my sister in the room. I was there, but I was suddenly a shadow. I was not someone who could possibly relate to the enormity of what had just happened. I was an aunt. Not a mom. I could not understand how they had suffered, how their hearts had been carried across the room by a nurse, because my heart had never left my body. At the time I just felt useless, like a fool. What advice could I give? What comfort? I have come to understand that there is a union between women who have had to endure the stress and passion involved in placing another soul on this earth. But even though I eventually understood it, I never thought I would be a part of it. It's another idea, like maternity clothes, that I will just have to get used to.
 
Now. On to my privates. Because I know you can't wait to hear about them. 

So since the embryo transfer, I have been on these progesterone suppositories. The first ones that I got from my RE were capsules. Like, with the plastic-y coating on the outside. Let me please tell you. Those things do not belong in your privates. But my Dr had other ideas, so I religiously shoved them up there, one each morning and night. The plastic coating probably dissolves beautifully in something like stomach acid, but it was very comfortable staying largely intact within my nether regions. The result was... well... have you ever seen a hamster shove his cheeks really full of those pellets? I think you know where I am going with this. To the point that I (WHO NEVER ask Doctors ANYTHING) actually e mailed my Dr and told him that I was really running out of space to cram these things and that some kind of shoe horn was about to be involved. He said "No, they dissolve slowly, it's what we want them to do, keep going." Oy. It got to the point that if I sneezed, three of them would shoot out like bbs. He insisted though, so I trucked on through weeks of that discomfort. 

Then... then I got referred out to my OB, who wanted me to stay on the progesterone. Hurrah. But, BUT, her pharmacy had a different deal. These are not plastic coated capsules, these are bullet-shaped cylinders of slime which must be refrigerated in order to maintain their shape. The GOOD news is, they sure do melt quick. The BAD news is, they sure do run down your leg when you least expect it. The first night, I must have gotten up 4 times because I was SURE something TERRIBLE was happening because STUFF was coming out of my CROTCH all night. Are you KIDDING me? I went from googling "Progesterone suppository won't dissolve" to googling "Progesterone suppository won't stop dripping" over night. Sigh. Guess I will stick with the crotch bullets until I hear otherwise from her. Why can't there be a middle ground?

Thus ends the writing about my privates for this evening. Go in peace.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bloaty and the Beast

 I never thought I would say this during pregnancy, but my stomach has actually gotten smaller, and I am feeling very happy about it. I was puffed up like a Macy's Day Parade balloon, under my bellybutton. I couldn't even see my toes. At first it was a little satisfying, getting big so fast, but I looked it up (you know me and research...) only to confirm that that bump had nothing to do with babies and that Dearest and I had been affectionately stroking retained water for the past 4 weeks. Anyway, the tide has started to go out and my upper belly is flattening out, to reveal a bump, much more likely to be baby related, above my pubic bone. Just a small bump, mind you, but I'm ok with that.

This book I am reading is all about carrying multiples to term and especially about the role nutrition plays in growing big, healthy, multiples. Lots of food for thought (so to speak), some of it a little alarming. The doctor who wrote the book recommends that a mom who starts a pregnancy with twins underweight (I'm 5'5" and was 108 when we conceived) eat 3500 calories a day and gain 25 lbs. by 20 weeks of pregnancy. Let's do the math here for a moment. Firstly, do you have ANY earthly idea how much 3500 calories IS? DEAR GOD! The night I read that part of the book, I wrote down everything I had eaten that day, looked up calorie values, and discovered that I eat about 1700 calories per day. That's not even HALF of what this lady wants me to eat. I put a lot of effort into the next few days, eating as much as I could, buying Ensure and drinking one of those every day, etc, and got up to 2200 calories. Still WAY short. Grr. And 25 POUNDS? WHAT? I will be 12 weeks Thursday and I have gained 3 pounds. 3. So...I have 22 to go in 8 weeks. Um... that's like 3 pounds a day. I don't even eat 3 pounds of food a day, so even if I never pooped between now and Thanksgiving, I still wouldn't make it.

But I WANT big, healthy babies. I would do anything to get them big and strong. I am just not sure how possible her goals are for someone like me who is not a huge eater to begin with whose favorite foods (rare beef, soft cheeses, cold cuts, corn dogs) are now all FORBIDDEN because of the pregnancy. Anybody out there have good advice on how to reach 3500 calories a day? Especially advice that includes Oreos?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ho-Hum

So, yeah, I stayed home. I'm not sure if it was the right move or not, I definitely do not feel up to snuff, mainly this sore throat, and I get a little woozy if I am on my feet for too long, but on the scale of 1-10 it's about a 3 and a half. I hate to waste precious sick days, and I keep thinking to myself that I could have made it through today, and tomorrow is Friday and then I could have had the weekend to recoup, but hopefully giving myself a chance to heal up without the barrage of new germs will be the way to go.

Also I have had this occasional stabbing... not really pain... pressure? above my pubic bone, which has me wondering. UTI? Certainly not unheard of for me. Very early contractions? Pretty common, even in the first trimester, from what I've read. Something else? Nothing? Tough to say. I guess if it stays the same (I sure notice it more when I'm on the couch than when I'm working, but I don't think it changes that much) I will ask the Doc about it on the 13th. I was thinking about going to doc-in-a-box to get it checked, but I'll pass for now. 

Anyway, no real news here again, just counting the days until the next ultrasound. 18 if you were wondering.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Could be worse...

I have a cold. Not a really bad cold, just a mild one so far, but it is not cool. I left sub plans for tomorrow on my desk, but I hate to call in for a small cold. I have to admit though, by the end of the day today I was ultra wiped out, even more than usual. I stuck it out, but I do not really want to push it and make myself worse. Hopefully when I wake up tomorrow it will be evident whether going in is the right thing to do. I don't really feel contagious, I never had a fever or anything, but with all the bugs I am exposed to, I hate to risk spreading it to the kids or picking up something worse because my immune system is shot.

Other than that, not a lot to report. Seems like the puking was the grand finale to my evening sickness, because that was the end of it, really. I am trying not to read to much into that, but you know me. I'm worrying again. 18 days seems like an eternity until the next ultrasound. Sis and I talked about those joints where you can buy 15 minutes of ultrasound time for like $100, and I have to admit it's tempting. Of course it's just recreational, not diagnostic, but I would sure feel better seeing those little hearts beating. Maybe when my folks are here. We'll see.
 
Happy to say that I will be 11w tomorrow. This first trimester is simultaneously flying by and dragging on. I won't really feel like I have graduated until my 13w ultrasound. Sorry for the boring post, but just wanted to say that I'm still here and no news is good news. 

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Please Pass the Sno-Bol

Nothing like getting your face really really close to your toilet to discover just how filthy it is. Eew. Well, that was me Thursday night. I had been so proud of myself, too. I was feeling really good Thursday, exhausted of course, but still, I had a little more of my energy during the day and I was so excited thinking about how close I am to the end of this trimester. And then.

I'm not sure if it was taking vitamins right before bed or what, but when I laid down at 9:00, I knew I was in trouble. Dearest knew it too, he could tell from my face, but I was determined to muscle through it and fall asleep, hoping I would be right as rain when I woke up. Not to be. I wound up praying to the porcelain god (for the first time this pregnancy) at about 9:04. Yucky. I sent Dan a text (modern equivalent of ringing a bell) and he came up. Of course I was a teary, sniffling, self-pitying mess, but he was so sweet, rubbing my back and asking if he could get me anything. He's great. It is only the second time in our nearly 6 year relationship that I have thrown up. The first time I was in the hospital so he was spared witnessing it.

Something about not feeling good in this pregnancy really makes me want my mom. I guess it's just one of those things...I'm pregnant and freaked out and usually so very healthy, and I just don't know HOW to feel miserable all of the time. Feeling so rotten the other night, I wanted to be curled up on the couch under that brown and orange crocheted blanket that we had when I was little, with Sesame Street on the TV and some 7-Up with a straw in it by my side, and my mom coming in every few minutes to check on me. I suppose the truth is this...I'm embarrassed by feeling rotten. I know Dearest is not going to pass judgement, but I want so badly for this to be a breeze, to walk away from it and say, "I was pregnant with twins and it was no problem!" Throwing up made me feel defeated. That's what brought on the tears more than anything. I felt like I lost, and I wanted my mom.

Sounds like a whiny little kid, doesn't it? And I'm about to be the mom in this household? How is that possible?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Kids are All Right

As per usual, my panic and dread was for no good reason. I have been cut off from reading negative things on the internet by the people who love me the most, all of whom saw me sliding into a hormone and stress induced depression last week and who intervened with a care-frontation of the first degree, in which they took turns calling me and speaking of the evils of the internet. Thanks guys. Whenever I have the urge to search for whatever I fear might be wrong with the babies now, I re direct to search for something more cheerful. Like puppies. So far it's working ok.

The appointment today went pretty well. It was great to see the babies on the big screen (they have about a 52" monitor, it's crazy after squinting to make out little jellybeans at the RE's office). I can not believe how much they look like... babies. For real. And how much they were moving! Baby A especially- that little guy was dancin' all over the place! (Hopefully they will be a better dancer than me, I am positively the worst.) Baby B was moving too, it looked like s/he was putting it's little hand in its mouth. How is it possible that I can not FEEL that? The most hysterical part was when we had them both on the screen, we were talking about Baby B and Baby A (I am not making this up) turned right toward the camera and WAVED. The ultrasound tech was like, "Did you see that? A is trying to get out attention down there!" We were all laughing, and it felt so good. To be looking at our babies and laughing.

The Dr. seemed pretty cool (young!?! or I am getting old?) and said things look great. Baby A measured 10w1d with a heart rate of 167, baby B was 9w5d with a heart rate of 176. I am 9w5d today, so B was right on track and A was a little ahead! She did have one small concern, I have a small subchorionic hematoma, in layman's terms a small blood clot on the periphery of Baby B's placenta. She said it is not uncommon, just something to watch to be sure it shrinks instead of grows. She said usually they heal themselves. Still. Also we talked to her about delivering at the reputable Win.nie Pal.mer hospital here in town, and her reaction was not what I expected. Part of the reason we changed ob's is that we wanted to deliver there--they have a crazy amazing NICU and they deliver like 50 babies there a day. It is supposed to be top-notch. She agreed it can be, but warned us that if you are anything other than VERY high risk to forget it. They have so many urgent cases there that if you are not in NEED of their services, you are pretty well brushed aside. I totally understood what she was saying, but I was really surprised. Our friends who had babies there all had amazing experiences. Then again, they were all very high risk. Hmm. Even MORE food for thought is what she said about working. I explained to her what I do and that I am on my feet pretty much all day. She said she would expect for me to call it quits around week 20. WHAT? Not that she is demanding it, just that with my small frame, she thinks I will be very uncomfortable and probably start contracting around that time, and that in her experience I will probably be ready to be off my feet. I expected her to say 28 weeks, I was hoping to make it through Christmas break. She said push for Thanksgiving and see how you feel. Of course the financial ramifications of this concept are very troubling, especially because I carry the insurance through my employer and was hoping to cling to it for
 as long as possible. Eek.

What? Enough boring talk? You want to see pictures? Well...ok. Just because I like ya.



Baby A. Um...upside down, head is to the left. Child would not hold still long enough to get a great shot.







Here's B, just chillin'. See its little hand?









The 2 of them, when A (on the bottom) was waving. So cute!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Used Parks Flo Lab 2100 Vascular Doppler Machine
Used Parks Flo Lab 2100 Vascular Doppler Machine

Look! It's on eBay! Buy It Now of only $5500! Who loves me enough to buy it for me?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ouch...

I don't know if I can stand waiting 5 more days for my OB appointment. This is the highest form of torture. I have considered going to the office with a mask on and demanding an ultrasound at gunpoint. Or maybe I could rob them of the whole machine. Think I'd make the news? 

The thing is this. I've been having these... abdominal pains. I'm trying not to over think it, which for me means I only think about it like 22.5 hours a day. I also have tried not to consult dr. google, and failed miserably at that as well. I had myself worked up into a good panicky lather this afternoon when sis called and told me I should look up round ligament pain. I did and gosh that is really what it sounds like... the ligaments holding up my uterus are stretching out and causing my discomfort. I guess it usually happens in the second trimester, but my body seems to be in overdrive, so it figures it might happen early. The cure: stay off your feet. HA! 

School is going pretty well, the kids are such a different dynamic from last year it is hard to believe. I am really blessed with a great bunch. Not that some of my kids last year were not great, it was just a very different... vibe. I was a lot different too, there is no denying that I am much more confident (and competent) this year, and I know the kids sense it. 

I was looking at that widget on the side, and thinking how much the babes have changed in just the last week. They don't have tails anymore! They have eyelids and earlobes! And they are starting to look like real human beings. Please, little ones, please be happy and healthy when we see you Tuesday!

Well, I am going to climb in the hot tub (turned down to a balmy 94 degrees, don't you worry) and try to soak my pain and stress away. 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Yays and Nays

The babies do not approve of:
-Chicken
-The smell of meat cooking
-The smell of fast food 
-Temperatures over 75 degrees
-Food of any sort after 4 pm
-Places other than the couch
-My bladder

The babies approve of:
-Malt-o-Meal  (Ain't heard of it? Then you ain't from the mid west! Mmm malty goodness...)

So thanks to my friend D who bought me a box (where did she find it?) of Malt-o-Meal like 2 years ago, and thanks to me for having it in the back of the pantry and digging for it this morning because it was the only thing that would do.
Malt-O-Meal, Original, 28 oz box

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Kickin' back at the 7-11

Well, yesterday found me in a situation I never really thought I would see.

I was chillin out in front of the 7-11.

I never considered myself the hangin at the 7-11 type. I might be the buy some gas at the 7-11 type. Or once in a blue moon the buy a slurpee at the 7-11 type. But I was pretty firmly the sneer at people who hang out in front of the 7-11 type. No longer.

See, what happened was this. My truck was making this noise. Kinda a chugga-chugga-whoosha-chugga noise. That's been going on for about a week. I didn't panic over it, but there was no denying a noise happening. So I was driving home from the chiropractor, thinking I would be home and on my couch early, and boy was I tired so that sounded great. I stopped at a light. First, my a/c went out, which in Florida in the summer is enough to make you want to ditch the car and hitchhike right there. I called my friend Kel, and as I was talking to her, black stinky smoke started coming out from under the hood. She said to pull over and she would send her hubby with the tow truck, so I did what seemed logical, I pulled into the 7-11.

Firstly, I was semi-mortified to be pulling into the station with my truck apparently ablaze and so so smelly. I jumped out and tried to pretend like it was not mine. There were some stares from the other people hangin out in front of the 7-11. Shit shit shit. I went in the store. I walked around. The lady at the counter (previously a hanger outer) asked me was that my truck because boy it was sure smelling like something was wrong. I admitted it was mine and told her a tow truck was on the way. "Good," she said, "because that thing really smells." Joy.

I went back outside. Here is where the chillin began. I chilled for a while, tried to act natural, leaned against the propane exchange cage. Considered what I would say if the parents of someone in my class showed up. Avoided eye contact. But it just was not working  for me. Suddenly I realized: I am kickin back in front of the 7-11. And I'm not even doing it right. Where is my 40 oz. and Camel Light? What is wrong with me?

So I went back in. And it occurred to me that I CAN'T have a Mad Dog and a smoke, I am pregnant. Although pregnant, smoking, and chillin at the 7-11 would have won the award. So I looked around for an alternative: beef jerky and a mountain dew? pre-packaged bake good and coffee? doritos and slurpee? Nothing felt right. I reluctantly grabbed a bottle of water and some chips. Boring. But you can't hang empty handed.

Back outside, I was really getting into it. I said "Whatsup" to everyone walking up, including the police officers. I sat down on the curb and looked at the pieces hanging under my car that weren't there before. And finally, I took a picture of myself:
Because odds of me ever kickin back in front of the 7-11 again are pretty low. 

The story has a happy ending: Kel's hubby arrived with his tow truck (he may as well have ridden in on a white horse) and Kel took me home. But I promise, I will never sneer at those who are hanging  out in front of the 7-11 again. They may just be a pregnant Kindergarten teacher who happens to like beef jerky who is just having "one of those days."

Sunday, August 31, 2008

My first craving...

At about 8:00 this morning, I would have SOLD my SOUL for a Pizzaburger and Chocolate Malt from the Dairy Sweet in Lake City, Iowa. 

Mmm...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Diagnosis: Viable Twin Pregnancy

Well, there you go.


I know, you want to see proof.
 How ya like them apples? It was so surreal, the Dr. came in, chatted us up, asked me how I am feeling (I said "Fine" because I just wanted to get to the ultrasound part, but Dearest was like "Tell him the truth, you are exhausted, hungry, and nauseous!" I was like "Oh, yeah. I am.") So of course the Dr. is totally laughing at my impatience with the whole banter. 

Anyway, he asked how many we thought stuck and I didn't know what to say. Do I look greedy if I say 2? Am I setting myself up for disappointment if I say 2? If I say 1 will he think I am not thrilled with the second one? I don't think I said anything. He took a quick peek and said "There are two in your future." Just like that. Then he browsed around a little more and said, "Here is the heartbeat of baby A. And here is baby B's heartbeat," Dearest was glued to the monitor and he just kept saying "Oh my God. I see it! I can totally see it!" We got to hear Baby A's heartbeat too, which was maybe the most amazing part. Baby B was kind of behind A and he couldn't get a good listen on that one, but there they were, flickering away in unison. Two tiny babies. In me. Woah.

That was about it. They both measured 9mm, normal, and the heartbeats were normal. We were given 2 little teddy bears wearing the logo of the fertility clinic and sent on our merry way. Up next: the actual obstetrician. We graduated!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

But I Never WANTED to be Popular!

As I had previously mentioned, it would appear that those who are close to us have been chatting and seem to be (through an elaborate game of telephone) aware of our situation and progress.

It would now appear that complete and total STRANGERS are ALSO flapping gums and our plight is now just short of being the headline story on the national news.

Example #1: I left my previous place of employment approximately 1 year ago. It is one of those places with a core crew that doesn't much change (these would be my friends) and a group of revolving people, many of whom have started since I left and who I do not know. Of the core crew at this stage, there are 3 people who Dearest and I have stayed close to (Dearest worked there for years as well). We will call these people D, A, and R (AKA JackHole). I told D about what was going on very early, before I even started the IVF cycle, and Dearest told A early too. We had no choice but to tell R (JackHole) as we socialize frequently which involves drinking which clearly I was not doing. Also I am friends with JackHole's wife and I did not mind talking to her about it. Long story short, Wonderful Friends A and D kept their lips together in regards to what was going on with us, where as JackHole apparently updated the ENTIRE crew, most of whom we don't know, on a frequent basis, including such valuable addendums as How Much it Costs and What His Opinion Is. All whilst being SHUSHED by A and D. I don't know why I care, if I worked there I likely would have talked about it, but somehow it's different when someone else is airing it, and I am feeling very vulnerable about the whole thing right now, so I am less than thrilled.

Example #2: Today at dismissal, I walked past the new AP, someone I do not know and have only seen in faculty meetings. I LITERALLY have never even said hello to him in the hall. When I walked by him today, he asked how the year was going, followed by asking me how I am FEELING. "Oh no," I thought, "no possible way that he is asking my how I am FEELING." I told him I'm fine thanks. THEN he said, "So, when do you find out?" "About what?" "You know, the pitter patter of little feet?" I looked at him, mouth agape, and blurted out "Oh my God, I don't even KNOW you!!!" He laughed (thankfully) and said "You're Mrs. F, right?" I said, "Uh, yeah..." and he said, "Oh, you are the talk of the office. You are practically on our daily 'To Be Discussed' agenda down there!" WHAT!!!?!  I told him that I am sad to hear that things are so boring in the office that the best they can do is discuss my reproductive life. He took it really well, told me that he and his wife did 3 cycles of IVF before his son came along, and turned out to be a pretty nice guy. But STILL!!! WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WHO GIVE A S--T ENOUGH TO GO TELL ADMINISTRATION???? Anyway, so much for my big unveiling to them in October. Apparently they know as much about my situation as I do.

I hate being popular.