Sunday, March 29, 2009

It's the End of the World as We Know It

And I feel fine. No, really. Well, ok, maybe a little strange. Dearest and mom and I went to lunch today, and it was rather odd to have this huge… event… looming in the immediate future while watching the rest of the world go on with their normal, everyday lives. They are just pumping gas, talking about basketball, mowing their lawns. And tomorrow I am going to have major surgery that will result in the arrival of my children.

This anticipation reminds me so much of the day before the embryo transfer. It’s this huge, life-altering experience, but one that you have little to no control over. Once again, like the embryo transfer, I will be on the table under the lights taking the doctor’s word for how things are going and helplessly hoping for the best. I would be lying if I said I’m not a little concerned, but it is for the kids well-being, not mine. If I have a glitch in my recovery, at least I can understand it, but if something is wrong with one of the babies that requires intervention, there is no way to explain to them why they have been wrenched out of this warm, cozy, comfortable place into the cold bright world full of strange people poking at them. No way to tell them it’s for their own good. No way to let them know how much I love them.

So here’s hoping they emerge perfectly and can be promptly wrapped in a nice warm blanket and quietly cuddled, because the hippie in me still wants that experience for them, even though I know a natural unassisted water-birth in a dark room with a CD of whale sounds playing and patchouli scented incense burning is not exactly practical at this point. Also I don’t think I like patchouli.

Having mom here has been an enormous help, not to mention a lot of fun. I can’t imagine being any more ready for the girls’ arrival, and mom has really helped us put the last few pieces into place. It’s nice to have someone new to share the excitement with, and even though I am TOTALLY tired of being the sober one at the nightly wine fueled debates, it’s fun to have a different perspective and energy in the house. It was great last night to sit on the couch with mom on one side of me and Dearest on the other, all three of us talking to the babies and stroking the little parts that they pushed to the surface thanks to the Oreos I had eaten- here’s an elbow, what do you think that bump is? There went a foot, here are their little heads together, what do you suppose they are whispering about in there?

We decided unanimously at dinner tonight that tomorrow morning at 9:30 (I have to get to the hospital at 10) I will dramatically holler, “Honey, it’s time!” and then Dan will run down the stairs with no pants on, back over the garbage cans with the van, and drive halfway to the hospital without me. Just because we have not really had one ounce of spontaneity in this whole experience, and it seems like the thing to do. Although I guess the fact that we planned it also makes it non-spontaneous. Dammit.

So anyway, good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, tomorrow’s the day. A million thanks to everyone who have been a help and a support to Dearest and I on this journey. We love you and we’ll see you on the flip side. I’ll leave you with what I wrote for the first page of my pregnancy scrapbook:

I have not seen you yet. I do not know if your eyes are hazel like mine, or deep velvet brown like your fathers. I have not sniffed your head, buried my face in your sweet baby softness, or heard you laugh. I do not know what your favorite color is, whether you are a night owl or a morning person, what you will choose as a major in college. But I do know you. I have sung to you. I have protected and taken care of you the best way I know how. I’ve studied your movements in me, and I have stared for hours at your bony visages on the ultrasound pictures, trying to imagine the kind of babies you will be and the adults you will become. We have given you life, in the most literal sense of the word, but know that your very existence has given us life too. I look forward to growing, exploring, and sharing with you all this amazing world has to offer. Thank you for the joy you have brought me. I only hope that I am able to return the favor.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time Creeps, and then Suddenly it Flies

I've been thinking a lot lately about the future of this blog. There is a big push in the infertility community to separate blogs that address that issue from "parenthood" blogs, and yes, technically this blog did start out as a blog about our IVF experience. And I'm sure that I will be (at least temporarily) a "bad blogger" once the babies get here- probably I won't update enough, and when I do it will be about such riveting subjects as projectile vomiting and sleep deprivation. I have to be honest, I really like reading infertility blogs, while some of them are heartbreaking, a lot of them have a healthy amount of tongue-in-cheek wit that I can relate to. I have also found some "mommy blogs" that are so much more than that- they are also funny and beautiful and deep and I love reading them. But they are all mommy of toddler blogs. Mommy of infant blogs tend to bore me to tears. Am I a jerk for saying that? Am I destined to slip into that oblivion for a couple of years? Yuck. I guess once again it all ties into my fear of losing myself, of becoming Mommy and not being Lindsay anymore. I want to be a mommy, obviously. But I really don't want to become one-dimensional. And I have seen it happen. The blogs that are just all about "I am tired. But the baby is so wonderful," over and over and over, variations on the theme every day.

So what am I to do?

i thought about changing the name of the blog to Linz and the Twinz (cute, right?) but it's so NOT me. The idea of Long Way Around the Barn stands for so much more than our fertility struggles, it really speaks to the non-linear way everything in my life seems to unfold. So I'm keeping the title. And I'm going to resist slipping into "mommy blogging" oblivion. I will try to stay honest. Yes, I am sure that the posts will be largely about the girls and parenting, just as the posts were about IVF and then about pregnancy, but hopefully they will evolve into something more dimensional than "I'm tired. Babies are great."

It's worth a shot, right?

So stay tuned. I might get quiet here this next week, my mom is coming to help us get ready for the darlings and to keep us sane for the first couple of weeks after their arrival, so I will have someone here to entertain me. If anything news worthy happens though, I will be sure that myself or Dearest posts about it. For now, I'm hanging in there, and I am SO ready to not be lonely and stranded anymore. Huge hugs to those who have been supportive and involved, either through the internets or in real life, these past couple of months. Your calls, e mails, and visits, have given me something to look forward to in what has frequently been an isolating situation. Times like these I guess you find out who your real friends are, and I have had some surprises in both directions- people who I didn't think I was that close to who have made an extreme effort to stay in touch and be involved, and people who I thought would be there for me who have been nowhere to be found.

I also want to say something about Dearest while we are both still in our right minds. This whole thing, from the infertility to the IVF to the pregnancy, has been emotionally draining, but he has been there beside me for every single second, showing compassion, patience, and loyalty that has been above and beyond even my expectations for him. As my world has gotten smaller these past couple of months, focussing on taking care of myself and preparing for the kids, his world has gotten exponentially larger: having to deal more than his fair share of housework, financial management, hormonal and physical changes from a once consistent partner, and the anticipation of being a father at a time when the world is far from stable and predictable. As much as I am a touch weirded out about the fact that these babies are soon to be "public domain" after being my responsibility alone for these nine months, that reservation does not apply to Dearest. I can't WAIT for him to see these little creatures that are a combination of our blood, sweat, and tears. I hope we can keep our collective sense of humor, because I have a feeling that things are going to get more absurd rather than less. As we often say: if it was normal, it would be happening to someone other than us. So thanks, babe. You have a lot to be proud of. And I probably don't say it enough.

That's it for now. Just a few more hours and mom will be here and just a few more days and the kids will probably be here too. Where did the last nine months go...?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Another Day in L and D

I was so hungry at lunch time Tuesday that I bit into a piece of pizza that I knew was entirely too hot. And I burned my lip. Significantly. And now I look like I have the herpes. Or better yet, like I have a cigarette burn on my lower lip. So these babies are just going to have to wait to be born until this heals, because I can not have my daughters meeting me for the first time looking like I have lip leprosy or scorched myself with my crack pipe. They will probably take one glance at me and put themselves up for adoption. Lovely.

Yet another doctor's appointment today, now I will be there every week. The appointment went pretty well, although when I told them about the wicked but occasional contractions I have been having followed by the babies being very quiet for 30 minutes or so, the doctor suggested a trip "upstairs" to labor and delivery for a non-stress test. Poor Dearest, he was originally not going to go to the appointment at all, but he got some stuff moved around at work so that he could go, figuring it would just take an hour. Wrong-o! It is next to impossible to get two babies on the monitor simultaneously, or at least impossible to get my two stealth ninja escape-artist babies on the monitor. The poor nurse would get one, and then the other one would some how quietly slip out of my uterus, tiptoe down the hall, and head towards the cafeteria. Then we would find that baby, and the other baby would climb under my ribcage, up my spine, and into my skull. Or something. It literally took a TEAM of nurses poking, prodding, and cajoling the darlings into submission to get their hearts both on the monitor at the same time. I mean, my belly is only so big people, and the babies are nearing six pounds a piece, how far could they really go? Anyway, eventually we pinned 'em down, and managed to get them both traced for the requisite 20 minutes. By now it's been 3 hours since our adventure began. The good news is that they "passed" the non-stress test. I go back for my next one Tuesday.

Sophia's Heart Tracing:

Olivia's Heart Tracing:

Olivia's Profile:

The triage nurse in charge of the monitoring was great, and on the way out she gave me this:

My OWN biohazard! I KNOW! It RULES! OK, it's not really a biohazard. It's just the straps that held on the monitors, and since I am going to have several more of these stress tests, I get to have my OWN set! In a BIOHAZARD bag! Not really the kind of cute thing I can work into a scrapbook layout, but I am looking forward to going back Tuesday and when they are like, "Hang on, let us get out some straps for the monitors," I can be all, "That's ok, I actually travel with my own straps. I have them here in my BIOHAZARD bag."

There is one thing about this hospital that I think bears mentioning. I understand that the cafeteria in our little local-yokal hospital can not possibly compete with the big big downtown hospital, which had like a Starbucks, Freshens, etc etc in it, BUT there is no excuse for the condition of the vending machines there. Come ON. I don't ask for much in my vending machines, just Cheetos, Twix, and possibly Swiss Cake Rolls in a real high-end vending environment. THESE vending machines, at the hospital where I shall be giving birth, feature 4 types of beef jerky and 3 varieties of SunChips, one of which was Black Peppercorn Ranch. What? Also many kinds of "Captain's Wafers" featuring a variety of gritty fillings that are of no use to me. This is not good. Where are my Cheetos? Where is Little Debbie? And it's between a soda machine and one of those coffee machines that drops the cup and pours the coffee in. No juice? At the hospital? Hmmpf. So much for the instructions to pack lots of change in my hospital suitcase for the vending machines. Forget it.

This visit to L & D brought the reality of what is about to happen a bit closer. There were BABIES, ACTUAL BABIES in the nursery, and they were so so tiny, laying there in their little tiny diapers waving their little arms under the warmers, and something about seeing those babies made me go "Wow. Soon the little new babies in the nursery that everybody is oohing and aahing over are going to be MY babies. Crazy." Also we had to fill out forms for the birth certificates today, and there is a line that says "Mother's Name." I truly had to stop myself from writing MY mothers name. I am the mother. Something about writing my name on that line seems so huge. I am the mother. I pointed out to Dearest this evening that not only are we the mother and the father, we are also the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, AND Santa Claus. Woah. That's a lot of responsibility.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So it Begins...

Mmm hmm. Does it look to you like they are conspiring? Because it looks to ME like they are conspiring, noggins together, considering their next bold move as well as making long term plans to torture us. Heaven help me.

Sophia remains breech. She was, in fact, sitting in my pelvis, arms folded, shaking her head, as if to say "I ain't movin' and I AIN'T comin' out!" (Hmm, a grammar lesson is in immediate order if that's how she speaks.) They both have their heads about an inch under my ribcage on my right, and Liv goes down my left side, kind of breech-ish although I think she is still considered transverse.

The girls look fine, my blood pressure is creeping up but still in the ok zone, and my puffy ankles were poked at by many nurses, technicians, and the doctor. The doctor was very lovely and congratulatory, saying I had done a bang-up job gestating and this was a text book twin pregnancy. Very sweet and encouraging, but I can't help but think "Good job of doing what, exactly? Eating Oreos? I mean, really, how did I actively contribute to this exactly?" I did eat a lot of protein, and I did rest, but these were things my body DEMANDED. So good job to my body I guess.

Anyway, I know you want the stats on the ladies, so here you go:
Baby A: Sophia
Head Circumference: 30.2 cm
Abdominal Circumference: 30.7 cm
Femur Length: 7.5 cm
Estimated Weight: 5 lbs, 12 oz
Percentile: 45th

Baby B: Olivia
Head Circumference: 29.9 cm
Abdominal Circumference: 31.0 cm
Femur Length: 6.8 cm
Estimated Weight: 5 lbs, 7 oz
Percentile: 35th

So since I've gained 50 lbs, that means 11.5 lbs of babies and approximately 38.5 lbs of Oreos. Hooray!

In other news, we got a mini-van. We had been so proud of ourselves, the trucks were both paid off and we were facing parenthood with NO car payments. Yay us! Then we tried to install the car seats into the back of my Escape only to realize that putting a rear facing car seat behind the driver's seat only really worked if no one was actually driving. Because you have to put the seat up so far that Dearest could not possibly drive any length like that- he looked like a praying mantis all crammed in there with his knees up by his ears. And the front air bag does not turn off, so I can't sit in the back and have one baby in the front. So. What can you do? We shopped around and found a really good deal on a van. A van that is now leaking red stuff all over the driveway. But don't worry about that, we will get that taken care of this week.

As much as I am so ready to have these babies OUT (and believe me, I feel like my round ligaments could snap at any moment), there are still loose ends to tie up this week and next, so I'm hoping they stay put until at least the 24th. And if Sophia has any say, I have a feeling they aren't going anywhere soon.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

To-Do This Week

I wouldn’t call it nesting. I would call it Holy-Shit-There-is-so-Much-Stuff-I-Have-Not-Done-in-my-Life-That-Now-I-May-Never-Get-To-Do! Such as clean out the dryer vent and properly categorize my iTunes and wrestle an alligator and learn how to play the trombone! Also my MOTHER is coming here in a week and I must demonstrate to her by my high level of cleanliness and excessive organization that I am worthy of indoctrination into the Motherhood Society. Also there are so many things that I want to teach my daughters, such as how to speak Italian and change a serpentine belt and I HAVE NOT HAD TIME TO LEARN THESE THINGS, SO HOW CAN I BE EXPECTED TO TEACH THEM??? God, I am a terrible mother already.

You call it nesting. I call it panic attack.

The delivery is, inevitably, drawing nigh. I can truthfully say that I am not afraid. I don’t know why, it is probably going to be the biggest day of my life, and of course I want the babies to be healthy and my surgery to go off without a hitch, but for some reason I am not afraid. Granted, I am not afraid of medical stuff at all really, and I am also good in a crisis, although I tend to scream into my pillow after the dust settles. I am a bit leery of the recovery on top of the whole keeping two newborns alive SIMULTANEOUSLY but I will have lots of help from Dearest and Mom and Mom-in-law, so I’m sure I will muddle through.

I know I am supposed to have crazy freaky parenting dreams at this point as well, but I’m not. Truthfully, I am having some stress dreams, but my stress dreams were ALWAYS about school until I became a teacher and now they are ALWAYS about teaching. Odd. So lately I have had some dreams about going back to teach and my students being totally off-the-wall and impossible to get under control, and in one dream I even grabbed a kid’s arm and squeezed it and left a mark and in the dream I was like “Wonderful. Now I am going to totally get fired and have no insurance.” So I guess that’s where my very practical subconscious it at.

Still feeling pretty good, but it is a little alarming that everywhere I go people start boiling water and tearing up sheets and quoting Gone With the Wind the moment I walk in. Oh well.

Anyway, I know this is a short post, but that’s what I’ve got. Tomorrow we go to Winnie Palmer for another growth scan of the darlings, and I’m sure I will post a full report.

For now, I am off to practice the trombone and alphabetically arrange the canned goods.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My Bags are Packed...

But apparently my body LOVES being pregnant. Had my 34-week checkup, and I was determined to nail down a c-section date
(Sophie is still breech, so that's looking like the most likely scenario), hopefully sooner rather than later. My doctor's exuberant response was "You are doing such an AWESOME job, I don't want to go in after them until 38 weeks unless we have a reason to." Yippee. First I couldn't get pregnant, now I can't get un-pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I truly truly do want big healthy babies, and I totally get that the longer they stay in the better the outcome is, and I know there is only 7 days difference between 37 weeks and 38 weeks, it's just that April sounds SO far away. Maybe they will come before then, enthusiastic doctor says, and if they do, that's fine. We won't do anything to stop them. But we won't pursue them until April 2nd. *groan*

Anyway, she did have a point- other than being massive I am really doing fine. I try to get out at least once a day, just a run to the store or dry cleaners or chiropractor, whatever, to get out of the house. I am uncomfortable periodically, especially if Soph leans on my bladder or Liv gets up under the ribs, but over all I'm feeling ok. Well, there is this...

The "Franken-ankle" aka "Snausages" aka "Shrek Foot." I believe that my right foot now weighs more than my entire body weighed a mere 9 months ago.

Speaking of weight, here's the newest belly shot, not too much different in profile from a month ago, but what you can't see from this angle is that I am getting wider and the babies are certainly getting more crowded. I have accepted the fact that I am a freak show at this point, I rarely go anywhere without someone commenting on the belly, and when we got the twin stroller all assemble, I realized that I might as well get used to being a freak show, because if people have to comment on a belly, how are they not going to stop and ogle 2 actual babies? I mean look!

I know in this picture it looks like I am pushing the stroller into the pool. Swear that's not what is going on. I just didn't have an open enough space in my house to get a picture of the baby limo, and I sure as hell was not going to take that thing into the front yard, lest I trigger a stampede of well-meaning neighbors bearing casseroles thinking that the stroller was occupied.

Bonus photo: what I see when the dog tries to beg.