Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's Time!

Well, I've reached that all-important 34 week point. Why is that such a huge deal? Because if I go into labor now, they won't stop it. Chances are that the babes would need only minimal NICU time.

That being said, I do not feel like I'll be going into labor any time soon. I'm still relatively comfortable (except at nighttime) and haven't had any more episodes of contractions. Both girls are head down and active and I am growing exponentially. Probably because I've been hittin' the ice cream. My next non-stress test, ultrasound, and appointment are on Thursday and I can't wait to see how big the girls are now.

So I think it's time to start a baby arrival pool! I will deliver at 38 weeks (April 25th or so) because my doc won't let the twins cook any longer than that. I think her normal call day is a Tuesday, which would be April 26th, so let's call that the last eligible day for this little wager, shall we?

Give me your best guesses! How about answering the following:
1. Birth date
2. Birth time
3. Length of labor (Milo's was 12 hours -- 6 active, Violet's was 7 hours -- 3 active)
4. Baby A's weight
5. Baby B's weight

If you are normally an anonymous commenter, leave me a clue in your comment so I can figure out who you are. Like, "Your cousin from Russia" or something. Or your name, if you aren't afraid -- that would make it much easier. Like, "Jana K." or whatever.

I don't have any prizes for y'all (my prizes are the baby girls I'll get to meet), but if you are the closest predictor, I'll make sure to pimp out your psychic ability to anyone who cares!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Stressful Non-Stress Test

It is the third time that the nurse has been in the triage room, frowning at the monitor. She chats for a moment, then says she's going to find the on-call doc to see how to proceed.

I turn to the monitor, watching the double tracings of my babies' heart rates. Baby A's line is yellow and it dances all over the monitor as she kicks and swishes away in there. Baby B's line is green and it holds steady, varying between the same 10 beats per minute a non-reactive stress test.

I am thoroughly convinced that this is just what Baby B does. All three times she's been on the monitor, her strip shows less reactivity, yet I can feel her moving, listen to her hiccups amplified by the monitor, and know that she really is fine.

But she's not giving them the data they need on the strip, so the doc orders a biophysical profile, which is an ultrasound that looks for certain things: practice breathing, movement, muscle tone, etc.

I am still relaxed, for the most part, but had made the mistake of texting back to Scott when he asked, "How do they look?"

I texted, "Baby A looks gorgeous. Baby B is being a stinker and avoiding the monitor."

Seconds later, "Is she in distress?"

"No, too calm. Might be sleeping."

We text back and forth and I can hear his anxiety in his keystrokes. He's not with me because he's going to pick Milo up from school and I can tell that he is very concerned that he isn't by my side. It doesn't seem to matter that I tell him that I think everything is fine, he interprets this as cavalier and calls his mother, the OB nurse of 35+ years, (who has seen the strips and agrees with me) for a more expert opinion. So my darling worried hubby is causing me more stress than the non-stress test was.

Finally the ultrasound tech arrives and she starts looking around to see what's up in there. The best news is that both babies are vertex (head-down). I was pretty sure that they were, based upon the placement of their hiccups over the last week or so. This is a huge relief to me -- as long as A stays head down, I'll be able to deliver vaginally, yay! There is nothing wrong with delivering by c-section, but I'd really like to avoid having surgery if at all possible. I am intimidated by the recovery, particularly when I have two other children at home who will need a mom.

As we watch the screen, it is clearly apparent why Baby B was difficult to monitor -- she had pretty much folded herself in half and turned so that her back was away from the probe, hiding and playing with her foot. Side note: cutest thing on ultrasound ever to watch her reach for her foot and play with her toes...

Both babies passed the biophysical profile 100%, so I was finally released to my OB appointment, after three and a half long hours. I joked that I was at the hospital for less time when I delivered Violet.

The OB appointment? Well, my regular doc was on vacation, so I saw another doc from the practice who was very complimentary on my history with this pregnancy. She asked, "Did you go full-term with your first two?"

"They were both born at 39 weeks, plus a few days, so yep!"

"You'll be going full-term this time around, too. Great job, mama!"

So now two out of two doctors think that the girls won't arrive until their time to be evicted. I'm guessing that at next week's appointment (34 weeks + 3 days), I'll be setting an induction date for just after Easter. That date is coming both too quickly and far too slowly for my liking...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Master Manipulator

My darling little Violet is swiftly on her way to becoming a master manipulator. I don't know if that is the function of a second child, or what, but she is getting darn good about worming her way into getting exactly what she wants. most of the time.

First of all, she plays up the extra sweet card. If Milo is having a rough moment, she pours on the charm, asking us, "Am I listening, Mommy?" or "Look, Mommy, I washed my hands." Stinker. Poor Milo has no chance because she is remarkably adept at figuring out what he's doing and making a 180 on us, doing the exact opposite.

As in he says, "I don't LIKE this rice with my taco."

She says, "I just love it -- it's yummy!" and then she takes a big bite to prove it.

I don't like the idea of having to compare and contrast my children. I don't think it is an effective way to discipline, nor do I like the way it puts one sibling in the negative role. In this case, it always seems to be Milo who is getting chided and chastised.

If I praise him, she's right there with a "I did it, too, Mommy! See, I was good, too!" so trying to compensate and help him out isn't working too well, either. Sigh...

On the whole, Milo really is a good kid and he doesn't deserve to feel like we prefer his sister or get after him constantly. I just don't quite know what to do here... I try to carve out some time with him each day, but he's a busy kid with his own agenda of stuff to do. This is good, I prefer it when my kids can keep themselves entertained and aren't constantly whining about being bored, but he's needing me less and less each day, I swear. As his reading ability grows, his need for me will dwindle -- except for feeding, clothing, and cleaning up after him. He's not a baby any more and is a very confident and successful schoolchild now. His capabilities are limited only by his imagination, which is quite large.

And, I guess, by his little sister's one-upmanship. Maybe it's a good thing that he's thrilled to be "the only kid boy" in the family, 'cuz he's about to be awash in a sea of girl...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Nine-Month Marathon

I sort of suddenly occurred to me that within the next five weeks I'm going to have four children.


And two of them are going to be stuck on my boobs for months. How lame is it that I'm totally excited that I got a script from my OB for a new breast pump? My old one was purchased when Milo was born and used approximately 600 times during Violet's first year. It's looking a little sad... But I get to go pick out a new one, yay!!

We're busy prepping our cloth diapers. I just ordered wet bags, diaper pail liners, and cloth diaper-safe diaper cream. The only diaper supplies left to order are the all-in-ones for daycare, and those won't be really necessary until daycare time this fall.

So, up until now my focus had really been on making this a healthy pregnancy and on keeping the wee lasses inside as long as possible. With a negative fetal fibronectin test, I'm pretty much assured to get to 34 weeks without pre-term labor. Since the ruckus of early last week, my contractions have subsided tremendously, to the point where I'm not tracking them by the hour anymore, but by larger chunks of time -- like three in four hours. Boy am I glad for that!!

But now? Well, we're past the concern of having micro-premies. We're getting ever closer to having babies that would need minimal NICU time. They're busy putting on weight and practicing breathing right now. In fact, all the practice breathing leads to hiccups on one or both sides of my belly most of the day, which cracks me up!

I'm not going to officially say that we're in the home stretch, but I can definitely see that finish line up ahead. I won't wish the babies out for amything because this is really and truly my last pregnancy and, knowing that, this last month is bittersweet.

I have developed one new symptom: my ankles have been swelling a bit. It might not be apparent to someone who rarely sees them, but I've got crazy narrow ankles normally and they're swollen for me. I didn't really retain water with Milo or Violet, so this is new for me. I've been boosting my fluid intake to try and flush it out, but it could just be that I'll have to deal with this until the end. Oh, well, one can't expect to measure 47 weeks pregnant with no water retention, huh? It probably means my weight gain at Thursday's OB appointment will be a little shocking, but, again, my weight gain total will be less than it was with my other kids, so I'm not really going to complain. I might be limping over that finish line, but I'm going to get there!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hey, Look! It's a Freakishly Huge Pregnant Lady!

Hey! It's Sunday. I don't normally post on a Sunday, but after a series of unfortunate events (none of them mine, naturally), I ended up sleeping up on the couch through a loud, loud thunderstorm. Which apparently scared the poop out of Tess. And onto my toy room floor, grrr... So after cleaning that up, I'm wide awake for the day.

I thought I'd show y'all what one might look like if one were 47 weeks pregnant with one baby. Or what I look like 32 weeks and 5 days pregnant with two. Since my doc seems pretty convinced I'll carry to term, I have decided that my ultimate goal is to beat her previous "biggest belly" record of 56cm. Which I will do if I continue to grow at a rate of 2cm per week -- I'll hit 57cm at 38 weeks, or eviction time.

I hope I don't spoil your brunch by posting this pic...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Barbie Lipstick

There is a book out there that I am dying to read. So, I guess if my doc puts me on bed rest tomorrow (not likely, despite the weekend contractions) I know for which book I'll be sending Scott to the bookstore:

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Frontlines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by Peggy Orenstein.

Why? I listened to a fabulous interview on NPR the other day and, given the recent girly-girl transformation Miss Violet has undergone, it seems like the book would speak to me, particularly since I'm shortly to become the mother of two more daughters.

I don't know that I am terribly concerned with Violet's princess/Polly Pocket/Barbie/My Little Pony/Lalaloopsie/Strawberry Shortcake fascination -- after all, I, too, owned Barbies and Strawberry Shortcakes and Cabbage Patch Dolls as a child and I'm not really an uber-girly girl. Yeah, I prefer to look put together over looking disheveled and homeless, but I've never had a mani or a pedi and my hair color (all of it) is *gasp* my own. How can I help it that auburn with blonde highlights is hot? That's the way it grows out of my head.

The small part of me that is concerned is mostly concerned about the future. Right now, Violet still lets me buy her clothes and generally doesn't have a fit about what she wears. Of course, I'm a total square and can't stand the prosti-tot look, so she does not own belly shirts, Daisy Dukes, or sassy little wedge sandals. Not gonna happen. She does have canvas Mary Janes with lavender rhinestones and flowers on them. She does have a pair of black fake Uggs. She does have chapstick, but it's colorless ad not shiny and she wears it to bed and when playing outside to prevent chapped lips. For the record, so does Milo -- well, the chapstick part. I think he might balk at rhinestoned shoes.

I don't dress like a hoochie-mama and my daughters are not going to dress like mini-hoochie-mamas. For me, it's not a body image thing -- I spent countless hours as a teen in front of a big ol' mirror watching myself dance in ballet class while wearing a leotard and tights. I know what my body looked like then and what it looks like now. Yeah, when I was in high school, I probably would have been cute in a micro-mini and baby T, but I had absolutely no interest in wearing that. I guess I preferred my brain and my personality to do my talking.

I can't say that I am a terribly modest person, either. Years of fast changes in the wings and group dressing rooms have pretty much stripped that from me (har, har). If everything that should be covered by undergarments is covered, I'm good to go. You might be scarred for life by seeing my web of stretch marks, but I'm not scared of them being seen.

It is going to be a tough road to navigate, I'm sure. I want my daughters to feel confident and empowered by the strength of their bodies without feeling the need to let their bodies do all of the talking for them. How do I teach that?

Given their genetics, none of my kids are going to be runway model-material. That was never a dream of mine, yet I surely do remember my sister and cousin having modeling aspirations. And as I was waiting outside Milo's classroom for his parent/teacher conference, I flipped through the class's "What I Want to Be When I Grow Up" book and at least four of the girls listed and drew fashion models as their choice career. *Thunk* (that was my jaw hitting the ground) Seriously?? These girls are a mere two years, or maybe three, older than Violet and ViVi has no clue what a fashion model is. Or what she wears -- and doesn't wear.

So, yeah. Be aware that one of these days, I will be reading Ms. Orenstein's book. I hope it doesn't depress me... But, if it does, I'll remember how Violet bid me goodnight last night:

Mom, you're so pretty! You're fashion style! You're Barbie lipstick with lots of shoes!

Really? I guess if Barbie lipstick needs a crane to get off the couch, wears nine-year-old loafers most days, and is happy to find a shirt that covers all of her belly...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Guess Where I Spent the Night Last Night?

Labor and Delivery...

Don't worry -- the girls are still in here!

I started contracting (painless) around 6:30 last night and was contracting every 20-25 minutes. Called Scott's mom (the OB nurse) for advice around 9:00, she suggested calling L & D, which I did. They had me page the on-call doc, who didn't get back to me. D'oh! By this time, I'd drunk nearly a gallon of water and was falling asleep on the couch and it seemed like the contractions had stopped, so we went to bed.

Woke up at 2:30 to pee (hello, gallon of water) and noticed I was contracting again. Laid there timing them and realized they hit every 10 minutes, which was way closer than I was comfortable with, so we called the kids' college-aged sitter to see if she'd come over. Sweetheart that she is, she was at our house in 15 minutes in the middle of the night.

Went in and got registered for the hospital (hadn't done that quite yet, oops!) and got hooked up to the monitors, where they could see contractions every 7-8 minutes. And two very lovely, reactive babies, which was great -- nurse (who was very pregnant and darn adorable) said they were both doing very well. Then, naturally, they went on the run and both flipped head down during the monitoring, LOL, so she had to chase them for a while.

They did the group B strep test, a fetal fibronectin test, and checked for amniotic rupture. My water had not broken (yay), my cervix was only .5cm dilated and not effaced at all (yay), the fetal fibronectin test was negative (yay!) and they sent me home.

I knew I wasn't in labor, bur preterm labor can be sneaky, so that's why I went in -- neither the doc nor the nurse thought I'd made a bad decision, especially because the chances for pre-term labor go up when carrying multiples.

I have my regular NST and appointment with my OB on Thursday and part of me is wondering if she's going to take me out of work. If she does, she does -- my supervisor is fine with that. With 6 weeks till full-term, 4 weeks till no likely NICU time, if I'm pulled from work I feel pretty good about what I've been able to do to this point.

I was running a low-grade fever part of the evening, pretty sure I caught whatever the kids had last week. Plus, with Scott gone all last week, it was darn stressful -- even with my mom helping out.

I had jokingly told the girls that they weren't allowed to come until Daddy got back, perhaps I should have been more specific...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Alex Trebek: Motivation?

IASoupMama: What is that which I am lacking.

I am really struggling this week with the urge to just sit on the couch and snooze. I really am -- that's all I want to do right now.

I don't know why. I'm actually more comfortable this week than I was two weeks ago. Yeah, I'm slooo-o-o-o-ow and even slower, but I don't really hurt and am not waddling or anything. I'm just wiped.

Could be because I'm still taking antibiotics for the walking pneumonia. Although, I've had enough doses that one would think my nasal congestion should have cleared by now, but nope! I'm still mouth-breathing and snoring when I sleep because the only thing my nose can do right now is smell things that make me want to gag. Like pork roast. Blech!

Could be that, once again, my kids are sick. They've been running low-grade fevers this week. Milo was diagnosed with an ear infection, but they haven't had any new symptoms other than the fever.

Could be that it seems to be easier for me to tank up on fluids when at home, so I drink lots of water at the end of the day, which equals lots of bathroom trips over night.

Could be that Scott's out of town this week, naturally, so even with help from my mom I am still the only parent in the house. And, of course, my darling short people save their bestest whining and demanding for mom.

Could be that I'm lugging around a 42cm belly. I'm actually pretty happy to be lugging it around because the alternative is babies born too early. Although, watch out all of you moms of singletons who are due in May and whose posts I read on an online forum -- if one more of you complains about how huge you are, I just might come through my computer monitor and deck you. Heaven forbid you be 31 weeks pregnant and measure 31 weeks pregnant... No one is comfy by the end of pregnancy, that's why we're all so ready to face labor. But you don't know uncomfortable until you get to carry a full-term belly for three months...

Could be that my office is so warm it puts me to sleep. Well, I probably wouldn't be falling asleep if I was getting enough sleep at other times in the day, but since I'm not, the tropical warmth of my office is doze-inducing. And damp-inducing as I notice when I wipe sweat from my upper lip.

Anyway... Perhaps I'll find that magic that is motivation again. Although, I might need to really search through napping to get there...

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Plague... The Plague...

Here's a riddle for you:

How many doctor's visits/calls in two weeks does it take to get a family of four (soon to be six) on the road to health and well being?

Answer: Four doctor's visits and two calls.

For some reason unbeknown to me, the plague of walking pneumonia has descended upon our mud-moated white farmhouse. Yes, all four of us are on antibiotics for this.


It started Sunday when Violet started coughing. The poor girl sounded like a squeak toy, but insisted that she felt fine. Scott thought his throat might have been a little sore, but he was just going to keep an eye on it, so we went about our normal Monday stuff, had a normal Monday supper and a normal Monday bedtime.

My pregnant self got up to use the toilet at about 11:15, I had been barely dozing since laying down for the night and figure that before I fell into a hard sleep, I'd use the bathroom one more time. On my way back to bed, I decided to check on the the Squeaker to see how she was.

Not good. Poor babe was burning up. I made a trip downstairs for the thermometer. Checked her temp and it was just below 101. Made another trip down the stairs for some ibuprofen, which she took like a champ, but requested a drink. Made a third trip down the stairs for some cool water. And then a fourth when she asked for something to eat (crackers).

I rocked her for a while, but she was a squirmy mess who wanted to smile at me and say, "I love you, mommy!" and not rest. Then she asked to sleep in my bed. Given that I hadn't really been to sleep yet and it was 12:30, I assented and we climbed into the big bed, where poor little fever girl proceeded to flop all over, to sit up and lay down repeatedly, and to finally ask to go downstairs.

Knowing that Scott (Mr. Ambien) would be useless for a while and would likely get grumpy by Miss Wiggly, I reluctantly bid farewell to my pillow and brought her downstairs, where we watched Netflix over the Wii until 3:30, at which point I decided that Mr. Ambien's medicine had been in his system long enough that he was past the point of uselessness and would now be able to take care of Miss Wiggly so I could sleep until the alarm rang out at 6:30. At 4:30, he brought her back to our bed, where she crashed and we all slept like sardines until I got up for work.

Fast forward a few hours and daddy took Miss Wiggly to the doctor, where she was the first diagnosed with the walking pneumonia. Then he went to an appointment for himself, where he was the second diagnosed with it. Apparently, though I wasn't at the doctor, I was diagnosed, too simply because the bug is so dang contagious and my darling daughter had spent a crazy amount of time breathing her sick breath all over me during the days preceding the doctor's visit. Milo was retroactively diagnosed after a call to his pediatrician, too, since his strep (diagnosed the week before by doctor #1) was gone and the wet cough he'd had before the strep was still lingering, despite a full course of antibiotics.

So that takes us to three doctor's visits and one call. Well, two, as the pediatrician's assistant had written our phone number down incorrectly and I had to call back the next day, confused when they said, "It rang busy three times last night and once this morning." What? We have caller ID. But when you read a 9 and a 1, you dial a number that doesn't exist...

The fourth doctor's visit? That would be my 30 week appointment. Where we had an ultrasound that revealed that Baby A is now 3lbs 6oz and breech and Baby B is 3lbs 12oz and transverse. I have gained another 2 pounds (11 total) and my blood pressure was ok -- not super, but considering the stress of the plague, I'll take it.

So, anyway, I'm ready to see some healthy people around here!