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 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.