Friday, February 25, 2011

The Pregnant Elephant, aka Me

Well, it finally happened. Within the last week I have gone from comfy pregnant lady to feeling like a pregnant elephant. I am sore, tired, and just plain worn out. I am looking into pregnancy support belts - the more straps and elastics, the better. My belly was measuring 41cm last week, so I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm huge.

I have never been one to complain through pregnancy -- aches and pains are just part of the process. But, man, do I feel like I've taken a whiny pill in the last three days.

I've started plotting my errands so that I have the least amount of walking to do. And definitely the least amount of carrying, stooping, and crouching to do. I actually got groceries this week and refused to get dog food because I just didn't want to pick up the bag of food. I knew that Scott would be running to town at some point this week and could pick some up if needed. And we've resorted to giving the dogs Cheerios when we're REALLY out of food, so I was pretty sure they wouldn't starve. Turns out, they had plenty of food anyway, whew!

I've been walking by the laundry and pretending it doesn't exist. I don't mind folding and putting it away, but the last time I tried to carry a basket up from the basement to our bedroom, I felt like I'd run a mile. While carrying a manatee.

Forget scrubbing the bathtub. Or the floor -- I've been wiping up muddy dog prints by skating around on towel shoes. If it can get done from a standing position and requires lifting fewer than 10 pounds, I'm your gal. If not... well... I'm not your gal...

I kinda hate feeling like a weenie. But I hate feeling like a worried mama even more. I had a spell of Braxton-Hicks contractions on Wednesday evening that actually had me concerned. As in, concerned enough to chug 30 ounces of water and lay down to monitor them concerned. Thankfully, even though it felt like I'd had 5 contractions in the hour previous to monitoring, there were only two in the first hour of me lying down and one in the hour after that.

I assume that I just completely overdid it on Wednesday. As in, I worked, then got groceries and unloaded them, then picked up the kids, then came home and cleaned up dog barf while trying to give snacks to two very demanding children who must have worn their hollow legs. When I went upstairs to change out of my work clothes into something more comfy, I was followed by a daughter who insisted on picking out my shirt and socks, which made a three-minute clothing change into a 15 minute dose of frustration. At the end of which, a bawling boy-child came upstairs because he'd been asking me for more cheese crackers the whole time I was upstairs. Could I hear him? No. Did that matter to him? No. Did he like it when I reminded him that he was already holding a bowl and that he knew where the crackers were, so he could have gotten himself more crackers? No. More tears, and not just his.

By the time Scott came home, I was at my wit's end. And, apparently, my uterus agreed with me. I swear that every time Milo started moaning, I contracted. So I really didn't mind it when I banished myself to my bed to do some monitoring.

OK... 8.5 weeks to go... I can do this! I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Worst. Weekend. Ever.

Forgive me, dear blog, for I have been ignoring you. Not intentionally, but those big forces that are LIFE have been pulling me in many other directions and it has been a lo-o-o-ong week 'round these parts.

My loving and wonderful grandmother passed away at the age of 86 on Sunday, February 13. She was adored by her children and grandchildren and will be missed for a very long time. Her health had been deteriorating rapidly since Christmas, so I had made several unplanned trips to my hometown to visit her in the last two months. To be sure, I will miss her very much, but I know that the relationship I had with her was always positive and that there are absolutely no unresolved issues, so i am at peace with her passing. Love you, Grandma!

After much back and forth about a eulogy, my brother volunteered to read it, but only if no one else wanted to. Knowing what a tenderheart my brother is, I quickly said that I would do it because, even hugely pregnant, I was pretty sure that I could do it without falling apart. I accepted contributions from my brother, sister, and a cousin and started writing, just hoping that I would represent everyone and touch on all of the relationships my grandma had in her life. I knew it would be impossible to put in every memory and thought, but I hoped to give a good picture of someone so loved. And, I did not fall apart reading it, though I was nervous and nearly knocked the podium over with my belly.

Speaking of the belly, the girls had a growth spurt between weeks 26 and 28. I gained 3 pounds (for an overall gain of 9 pounds) and my belly went from 36cm to 41cm. My doctor joked, "You're due!" While at our appointment, we discussed a tubal ligation if I was already open and on the table for a c-section. If not, I think that Scott should have to take one for the team here since I'll have been pregnant five times and carried and delivered four children. We're definitely done.

Then, to top off the not-so-fun trip to my hometown for the funeral this weekend, my darling Milo came down with a case of strep throat. Poor kid was out of his mind with the fever, deliriously crying and saying things that made no sense -- like, "I need to clean the trees, they're such a mess!" Seems that my son runs a fever like I do. That means it doesn't need to get that high for him to be really out of it, poor baby. I slept next to him for two nights because we were in a hotel and he was confused.

He begged me to take a bath with him, so I did. Scott and Violet had run to Target to escape the hotel room, and when he returned, he came upon us in the tub -- Milo's sweaty little head resting on my huge belly as he snored and drooled all over me for approximately two hours. I think it took me almost that long to climb out of the tub...

So, yeah... I'll chalk that one up to Worst.Weekend.Ever. and hope that this week continues to improve.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Classics

Lots of life happening right now -- I suppose I could post about some or all of it, but I'm wiped, so I'll get around to it sometime.

First of all, the short blonde ones are fine, though they have yet another cold. Snot for everyone!! They have also been pleading to play outside in the mud (February thaw in Iowa), but I am refusing to let them on the grounds that I can't really get down to scrub the floor right now. I am also finding it difficult to sit on the floor to help Violet put together puzzles, to get off the couch an infinite number of times to help a child, and to tie my snow boots. Please, oh, please let the snowy weather be closer to done...

Valentine's Day has come and gone. We celebrated by having the popcorn party with the kids that didn't happen either Saturday or Sunday as planned. So, yes, we all had the oh-so-nutritious supper of popcorn, PB&J, string cheese, and applesauce. Followed by Wild Berry Skittles for dessert. To top off the romantic evening, Scott and I watched an episode of Phinease and Ferb in our pajamas before bed. Yeah, the kids were already asleep...

We took the opportunity to expose the kids to some classics this weekend. First up was "Annie." Violet was captivated any time the girls sang or danced. Milo said, "Why aren't there any boys?"

So we made up for the estrogen of "Annie" by watching "Peter Pan" with Kathy Rigby. Violet was uninterested because Tinkerbell didn't look like the cartoon and Milo offered the Lost Boys the following advice as they were tied up on the deck of the Jolly Roger watching Captain Hook prance about, "If it were me, I'd stab Captain hook right in the heart. If I knew where the heart was."

And yesterday morning, Milo was the first to the remote. I came upon him watching, of all things, the battle scene from the ancient filmed version of William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Because every five-year-old kid needs a dose of iambic pentameter to start off Valentine's Day...

Miss Violet has been making up stories to tell us. They usually involve at least one princess, a castle, and either a horse or a prince, depending on her mood. She vividly describes the princess's dress and hair, but is sketchy on the remainder of the plot. All of them start with "Once upon a time..." and conclude with the crazy-cute "bee end!"

And there's a stinger for ya...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

They Have Names!!

So Scott and I have decided on names for the twins. You might have thought it would be an agonizing decision, one we spun round and round like a pebble in a rock polisher, but somehow it wasn't.

When naming Milo, we hadn't made up our minds until about an hour after he was born. With Violet, I had told Scott how much I loved Violet and he said he loved Genevieve. At the 20 week ultrasound, as soon as the tech announced "Grandma will be happy -- it's a girl!" Scott, with tears in his eyes, touched my rounded belly and said, "Hello, Violet..."

And this time?

Well, after the initial shock of knowing that there are not one, but two girls on the way wore off (OK -- who am I kidding? That shock really hasn't quite worn off yet), we sat in the waiting room as the ultrasound tech burned a copy of our ultrasound to DVD. Scott sighed, "Two girls..."

He is one of those daddies who really stalls on discussing a name until he knows the gender of his progeny, but I don't function that way, so I had been making suggestions all along, "How about Nmn Kkl? or do you like Kkl Wsd better?"

Anyway, back in the waiting room he looked at me and asked, "So I guess we'll be having a Nmn and a Kkl, then?"

"Well, actually I thought about Nmn Kkl and Hgf Bvm." Hgf is a name Scott has loved for years and, while not my most exactest favorite, I do like it and how it flows with Milo, Violet, and Nmn.

"Oh! I hadn't thought of that... I like Nmn Kkl a lot and love Hgf, but I don't really like Bvm."

"How about Nmn Kkl and Hgf Thq?"

"I love it!"

And that, dear friends, is how we named the girls. In three minutes after my 18 week ultrasound. About 9 weeks ago.

Oh, did you think I was actually going to tell you what their names are? HA-hahahahaha... Nope -- that will have to be a surprise to you. Sorry! Feel free to submit your guesses -- unless you are one of my online mommy friends to whom I have already spilled the secret -- that's cheating! You're also not allowed to tell anyone I know in real life...

Here are some hints:
1. Both are girls names, no unisex
2. They aren't rhyme-y or match-y, but sound nice with Milo and Violet
3. I love them and Scott loves them, so even if you don't, keep yer trap shut!

Monday, February 7, 2011

27 Weeks Down, 11 to Go!

So I didn't post anything last week. Not sure why -- I think I was busy and there were snow days and I was adjusting to my part-time schedule and there were OB appointments and other stuff that filled in all of the cracks of the week like the snow that crept under my kitchen door and climbed into a little pyramid next to my dishwasher during last week's blizzard.

But I had a 27 week appointment for the twinlets! It consisted of me gulping the orange glucose drink, having an ultrasound, heading upstairs for an OB appointment, and back down for a blood draw.

And I was followed by a TV camera for most of it.


Yeah, you read that right. The hospital where I give birth buys local TV time a couple of times a year and airs a special devoted to one of their departments. The next one is going to be aired in May or June and will feature the Birth Care Center. And, as a loyal and respected employee at the Birth Care Center, my mother-in-law asked if they would be interested in following a family expecting twins for the special. And then suggested they contact us. After talking through the expectations of the piece, we agreed to do it, mostly as a fun keepsake for all of our kids. We'll be one of three families featured in the half-hour special.

So, anyway, I check into my appointment as per normal. Then I paused and said, "Umm... So X from the hospital and a cameraman are going to be showing up here any minute. They're here to film my ultrasound."

I have to admit that I felt a little goofy saying this, because I'm not a terribly important person in the grand scheme of all the things in the world, except maybe to my family. But even then, once I give the kids whatever they're asking for, my relative importance drops pretty fast.

I gestured over my shoulder to Scott, "Yeah, he's really Tom Cruise. We're just ducking in here to avoid the paparazzi."

The receptionist laughed and we headed to the waiting room, keeping a watchful eye on the door for our guests. I drank the orange stuff. It's not that bad -- personally, I'd do whatever I could to avoid throwing it up, because then you have to do the test all over again. Why do it twice if you don't have to?

Anyway, the crew shows up with a large cart of equipment. I notice them and guide them back to the ultrasound area, where our tech is pleasantly waiting. The other patients looked at me like I was an alien. Heck, who knows? Maybe I am.

They were filming documentary style, so all we did was have a normal ultrasound with a camera in the room for most of it. Thankfully, they stepped out shortly before the tech did the trans-vaginal portion to check my cervical length.

The results: Baby A was measuring 1 day behind, weighing 1lb 15oz. Baby B was measuring 4 days ahead, weighing 2lbs 4oz. My cervix is long (4cm) and showing no sign of funneling, which means that my physical structure is supporting the weight of my belly and the babies very well.

Upstairs for the OB appointment! My blood pressure was, once again, great. Even with the excitement of the camera crew and ultrasound, it was 122/76. Urine dip just fine, too. I lost a pound after the sinus infection, so my weight gain has been very modest -- 6-7 pounds. Considering that there's already 4 pounds of baby in there, plus two placentas and two amniotic sacs, I think I've lost weight. D'oh! It's not cause for worry unless the babies aren't growing, but that's so not the case, so no worries yet.

My doctor went over the ultrasound results and my physical results. Everything is currently perfect, so it was a typically fast and pleasant appointment.

This is where the film crew bid adieu, though they asked us to get in touch with them soon so they could do some filming in our nursery. Yeah, the one that isn't a nursery yet? There. This led us to a whirlwind of baby shopping and painting, with still more painting, sewing, and picture hanging to come.

I headed back down to the lab for my blood test. The poor phlebotomist couldn't get a vein in my left arm, so she drew from my right. Unfortunately, I did not pass the one-hour glucose tolerance test. So, on to the three-hour! Did that this morning and will let you know how it went down soon... Stop back for more!