After years of infertility and IVF, we've finally seen light from the other side. I knew it could happen, but certainly didn't think it would be us ... our new life with twins. Gulp.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Confusion, Joy, and then Loss

"I'm driving home, and I'm almost at your exit. Can I stop in?"

I'm thrilled to get the call on my cell phone from my best, long-time friend. J and I are out walking the twins, and manage to get home in time to find Kristine waiting for us on the front porch. I know why she's here, the real reason. And while she wants to say hello and visit, there is an ulterior motive.

Two days before, I'd received a call from her, and she asked, "How did you know when you were pregnant?" She reported a "bubble" feeling in her belly, which is something I never felt. But hey, who can discount a woman's intuition? So I knew that she'd stopped off at the drugstore just prior to arriving at my house, and had a pregnancy test in her bag.

Ten minutes later, I'm knocking on the bathroom door, asking her if she was ever going to come out. I got a choked "Yea, I'm coming," and she emerged with a tight smirk on her face. I assume it's negative. "It's positive," she squeaked.

And she cried, and cried, and I hugged her tight, feeling the thrill of excitement. Her tears, however, were not of excitement. While Kristine absolutely wants to have children, she's not married, and the relationship with her long-term boyfriend has been full of challenges and problems of late. She's been questioning their future, and thinking about life without him.

We spent a lot of time talking about feelings of disillusionment, shame, embarrassment, and fear. "But do you know what?" she asked. "I would've been really sad if it was negative."

I sent her off with my excitement and understanding, and the promise of a phone call once she's broken the news to her boyfriend.

I think his reaction was as most men's would be, when surprised out of the blue by such monumental news. They had a tough Christmas with family, and she resolved to "not think about it" until she got home and had a visit with her doctor.

I knew she was keeping busy for the past few days, and wasn't worried that I hadn't heard from her. Until I got a phone call yesterday, and she told me she was bleeding. Badly. A phone call to her doctor confirmed what we both feared.

Honestly, I thought she might be somewhat relieved. But she is sad, so sad, for the baby she never asked for, didn't want right now, but would've been such a good mother to. I cried with her on the phone, wishing I could be there right by her side.

Once, many years ago, when J and I were just dating, I had a pregnancy scare, and took the morning after pill. I knew that I simply couldn't have a child at that point. Little did I know that I really couldn't have a kid, but I remember the immense panic that overwhelmed me. Panic at the prospect of a life I'd never envisioned, at that point.

I count myself lucky that I've never had a miscarriage, but I've had some seriously painful disappointments with failed infertility treatments. This is a disappointment that Kristine never expected to have. Being sad to have lost an unwanted pregnancy. I think this will be a life-altering, change-inducing experience for both Kristine and her boyfriend. I hope for the better. And I hope and pray that this will encourage them to plan their life together and make a plan for a family they want to have.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Okay, okay, okay, I was wrong. I know I said in my last post that I was finished with this blog. But as I went through the past few weeks, I kept thinking in posts. Thinking in words, instead of ideas. I'm going to recommit myself to this blog, and really try to get out the thoughts that sometimes suffocate my brain. Plus, the babies are sick of hearing me go on and on about subjects about which they know nothing! I've got a few ideas in the works ... letting it be, infertility in the late 1800s, and other stuff.

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Long Time Coming

It's been practically a month since I posted, and longer than that since I've found the time and inclination to write anything of any substance. In one way, it makes me sad; and in another, slightly relieved.

Relieved that I'm "moving on." Although I know, realistically, that noone really moves on from a life-changing experience, or series of, experiences. They are always with me, constantly in my thoughts, in musings of the past, in my daily life, and very much in thoughts of my future.

Every time a friend mentions she is going to start thinking about Baby #2, I automatically think, "Hmmm, guess that just means you're going to get wild one night with no birth control." I can't make, or hear, a casual comment like that in reference to my own life. Although sometimes, I am tricked into believing I'm just like everyone else. If you don't try for long enough, the reality smudges a bit.

Another friend, an IF friend, and I were talking about birth control. I said I was on the pill, even though it wasn't really necessary, and not even thinking, asked her if she was (she has a new baby, due to IUI, I believe). She was like "Heck, no! I want to have another one, asap."

I didn't even realize what I was asking, so smudged my memory can be somedays. And somedays, it makes me happy that I no longer dwell. That I'm looking forward with new attitude and hope. And other days, I long for the deep, burning desire to become pregnant, the anxiety and frazzled nerves, the anticipation, the focus. Life today is blurry and unfocused in many ways. I'm confident in my thoughts, both in my head and spoken aloud, that no, I'm not going to try for anymore. Not now, anyway. Give me a few years, and perhaps I'll feel different. Perhaps not.

But, wow, those experiences have made me the woman I am today. I am stronger and more resilient. I am more confident in myself, both in my physical ability and in my mental aptitudes. In some ways, I know more of what I want. Or less. But I'm able to weed through it all a bit better. I'm more compassionate; I've been through a hardship unlike any others in my life. I know where my weaknesses lie. I can do yogic breathing with the best of them.

So, I'm not moving on, or moving past. I think I'm moving parallel. Sideways, to another part of my life, and moving this very important part to the background, so other things can be in my foreground.

And in this time of thanksgiving and wishes for others, I hope that each and every one of you (if anyone's even left reading) find a happiness in your life that satisfies you. Whether you have a child right now, continue to keep trudging away at the doctors, appointments, wandings, stickings and whatnot; decide to stop trying for now or forever, I hope you can find a place and a state of being that fulfills you in some way.

Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for your well wishes over these few years I've been writing. I'll keep up with you all in the comments.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Still Here ...

but quiet lately. As a writer does, I constantly have thoughts, composed for print, floating around in my mind.

It's finding the time to put them to paper, or screen, that is my challenge. And finding motivation. I'm always pleased once I do it, but getting to that point is hard for me.

I've started to dream again. Throughout my pre-pregnancy angst, pregnancy, and sleepless nights of new parenthood, dreams took a backseat to brain-empty slumber. And it's a relief to have them back - they are wild and weird, sometimes related to my actual life, sometimes only a minute thread ties them to reality. I actually had a dream last night, about a fabulous house that we moved into, and as I woke up to shushh the babes, I laid down and wished to go back into my dream. It was that interesting. Of course, I didn't find my way down the path to that alternate reality, but I wanted to so badly.

The babies are simply delightful. Solid foods are entertaining, the doorway bouncer is hilarious, and noise-making and almost-crawling are daily occurances.

More to come. You know, once I get motivated.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Did I Get a WHAT?

I'm so angry. And maybe I shouldn't be, but boy, am I. So mad.

I am very lucky, regarding my home situation. As previously discussed, I closed my business, so that I could have the chance to stay home with the babes. Could be my only chance, blah, blah, blah. It's fine, and a decision I'm happy with. J has always been flexible in his job, and works from a home office. He travels about once a week or so, otherwise conducting his business from the office above the kitchen. Nicely sandwiched next to the nursery, so in effect, there is no way he can escape the three of us during the day.

We never specifically sat down and discussed how daily life would work once the babies arrived, perhaps this is because they arrived in such a chaotic storm so much earlier than expected, or perhaps we both thought it would just "work itself out." But I knew, and know now, that I would be the primary caretaker of the children, and J would pitch in as needed and as schedule permits. The first two months or so they were home was completly non-productive for J, professionally, because I was such a mess, and it really took two people to care for both the babies and for me. But things have evened out quite nicely. He'll come down to help with the feeds when he can, and I never pressure him to do so. He'll check in on them when they awake early from a nap, since he is literally ten steps away from their room, and I'm probably downstairs in the kitchen, or run off to the store.

I make a real effort to get us out of the house at least once, maybe twice, a day, so that he had total quiet time to work. Pretty much every day, without fail. Perhaps this is why every other entry on my credit card statement is from Target. Like I really need more socks/food storage containers/greeting cards/diapers (actually, I usually do need more of these!), but whatever.

So on Monday, as usual, we went over our weekly schedules. Of course, mine was quite exciting and included playgroup on Tuesday, dentist on Wednesday morning (very early, so as to not disturb J's schedule), pediatritian on Thursday for Synergis RSV vaccines, babysitter on Friday morning (as we do every week, so I can have some unencumbered out-of-the-house time). J's schedule is very light this week, and most work is happening at home.

I decided that I am going to bite the bullet and get myself to the hair salon for a real haircut and highlight. I'm dying for a real hairstyle, not just the long, all-one-length, boring hair that I've had since the babies were born. Six months. No haircut. This is a big deal for me. I simply haven't been able to decide what I wanted to do ... stay long and pull-back-able but have little actual "style" or do the Mommy-Cut, which I dread. No offence to those of you who may have the short Mommy-Cut. I dig it, and I actually had that cut for many years in my early twenties. When I had no desire to be a Mommy. But I digress.

I call my long-time stylist, fully expecting to book an appointment for a few weeks in the future, as he's usually quite busy. I'm thrilled when he has an opening on Wednesday afternoon (today!) I take the appointment, and realize I have to make a decision about what I really want my hair to look like. I'm thrilled, I'm psyched, I'm totally excited ... I'm going to be Me again!

I tell J. that evening that I've got an appointment scheduled for 1:30 (knowing he is able to watch the kids. And by the way, it's their naptime. Not tough.) and how excited I am. He turns to look at me and asks,

"Did you get a babysitter?"

Did I get a WHAT? The anger that came pouring over me what fiery hot, and just bubbled out of every freakin' pore on my skin. I practically bit his head off as I outlined all my arguments (as read above), haven't had a haircut for six months, is it too much to ask, blah, blah, blah.

I think it might be in some ways easier on me if he did have a traditional job out of the home, but I know that option wouldn't make me any happier. I wouldn't be able to rely on him for these last minute (but not a conflict for him, may I add) events, but it's not something I do often. Rarely, actually. I schedule anything personal for me in the early mornings, evenings, or on Friday mornings when we have a sitter. And I do like having him around. Sometimes. There are so many more issues revolving around that, but I'll save it for another time, another post.

I could just shoot him. It was a crappy evening, and we both spouted off about what we thought it would be like versus what it's actually like. Our life with babies, I mean. There is no real resolution, but I think I'm going to make an effort to be out of the house even more. Maybe sign us up for a music or gym class, I don't know.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Okay, It Was a 40-Minute Meal

I love this kind of night. Dinner-wise, I mean.

It was a busy weekend. The babies were baptized, we had a house full of people for brunch, which resulted in a weird disarray of strange foods in the fridge/freezer

What to make for dinner tonight?, I thought. I went through the fridge and threw out some nasty, spoiled stuff. Pawed through the freezer and found some frozen chicken, in a plastic bag. Is it breasts? Is it tenders? Is it even chicken?

Reaching under the sink to store a used baby bottle (until I put them all in the dishwasher in the evening), I spy a sack of red potatos that really should be used sooner rather than later. Now, preferably.

Vegetables are currently out-of-stock in this house, but I did find one decrepid lime and the leftover strawberries from this weekend. Well, you've gotta have something fresh, right?

I pull out one of my favorite easy cookbooks, and look under "chicken" in the index. And what do you know? There's a great recipe that includes the very few things that I actually do have on hand.

I rescue the wilting cilantro from it's new home in the trashcan (still bagged in plastic, no worries), throw in a few more ingredients, fire up the stove for boiling water and a grill pan, and I've got Cilantro/Lime/Honey Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, Smashed Potatos with Cream Cheese, and Rocky Road ice cream layered with sugary strawberries.

It's no gourmet menu, but for making something out of nothing, it was sure good.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sticky Situations

There has been a whole lotta talk out there about the ethics of IVF, about limitations on the number of embryos that can, and should, be transferred, the overwhelming increase in multiple births as a result, etc, etc.

I feel like I want to chime in, not because I'm suddenly thinking about this issue just now, but because it is foremost on my mind each and every time someone comments that I now have a "ready-made" family, or asks if I want to have more children. I think about it each time I hear or a friend, acquaintance, or perfect stranger, who is planning to do IVF.


I know, I know, hindsight is 20/20, and each individual is guided by his or her own very strong desires. And at the risk of being completely redundant to
Emmie's post (as my thoughts practically mirror hers), I just want to share my feelings on the matter.

We planned to transfer two embryos, knowing that twins were a possibility, but not a certainty. I know full well that I didn't care. I am young, healthy, and we believed the root of our problems to be male-factor. We fully expected to retrieve lots of eggs, do ICSI, have plenty of embryos to "save for later" to try again if it didn't work. We only retrieved nine eggs, and only six (I think. I'd have to check to be sure) were fertilized.

I think the top three were graded A, B, and B-. Our RE didn't feel that transferring two would bring success, and presented us with his opinion as I was laying half-naked on the table, ready for the transfer, having popped my Valium an hour before. Not the optimal time to be making a decision like this. Of course, I said to go for it. I wanted a baby, damnit.

It probably wasn't necessary. Probably two embryos would've sufficed and at least one would have implanted. I wish we'd been able to track which embryo didn't make it.

None of our leftover embryos survived to be frozen, and this only strengthened my resolve in our decision to transfer three.

Just as Emmie has said, I would not trade my precious children for anything. I would not take any of this back. I could not choose one over the other, and I am full aware of how lucky I am to have them both. But I would have preferred to have them one at a time.

I went into labor at 29 weeks, and again at 31, when they were born. They spent five weeks in the NICU. As I am aware, the cost of their stay was well into the six-digits. And they were pretty healthy, as far as preemies go. And I can't imagine how much my two weeks (one at 29 weeks, one after delivery) of hospitalization cost. I'm lucky I have decent insurance. Now add the bi-weekly doctors visits that happened for the first weeks home. Even more.

It's not just about the money. It's about having to make a decision of monumental importance, with minimal information, at one of the highest emotional levels possible. With hormones in flux. With desires raging.

I'm a researcher by nature. I read everything I could about infertility, IUIs, IVF, ICSI. In all that information, I never found much about the serious issues surrounding multiple births. Everyone I knew with twins seemed just fine! My RE, in our initial consultation, said "You know, the risk of multiple births does go up with IVF" (gestures to stack of photos of twins on his desk.) I smile enormously ... that doesn't seem so bad. That was it. Period.

I don't neglect the fact that there is some personal responsibility tied up in all this. It was my choice. And I chose to go for it. But I didn't really know all that much. And if I, who did a lot of information-seeking, didn't really know about the risks of multiple birth, what about the couple who does no research or real thinking about it, and just wants a child?

I vacillate back and forth when thinking about trying for another child. Which will not be happening soon, mind you. Could I really go through another IVF cycle, and transfer only one embryo? Knowing full well that it might not work? I'm lucky, I only had failed IUIs; my first IVF worked. And worked well.

And while I may want to try for another child, I can tell you point-blank, I do not want twins again. I don't want to compromise the health of more children, I don't want to compromise my own health. And I look forward to regular sleep. Sometime in my future.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

God Bless You, Sweet Beer Wench

J. and I went out to dinner with another couple last night, eating at one of ten or so select restaurants that offers a price fixe menu in support of our area food bank. It was a great chance to try a restaurant that we don't normally go to, and to get a great meal for a very reasonable price. Pretty much, the cost of our two dinners was equivilent to the fee we paid the babysitter so that we could have the opportunity to dine out, sans babies.

All in all, a great, if early evening. When J and I discovered that we'd only be out for two hours, and we'd told the sitter it would be three or four, we decided to go to a great hole-in-the-wall beer joint, right around the corner from our house. We used to go there with much more frequency, back in the day, and it's still one of my favorites for unpretentious atmosphere, and damn good beer.

We sat, ordered our beers, and commensed an intense discussion of the previous night's episode of HERO's, during which I had fallen asleep, much to my chagrin. When all of a sudden, bless her heart, the waitress comes back with a big smile on her face, and says to me, "You know, you look so young, I thought I should come check your ID."

This is so not the kind of place that checks IDs, unless you appear to be able to order off the children's menu (which does not exist, of course). The waitress, appearing quite young, seemed surprised when I told her I didn't have my license. I didn't even bring a wallet. It's been that long since I've been carded.

I gave her my most gracious smile, and told her that I really needed my beer, this was a big "night out" for me, I have six-month twins at home, I swear I live around the corner, I swear I'm 31, recite my SSN, etc. "Do you know any 20-year olds who would admit to having twins just to get a beer?" I asked.

She looked me over, up and down, in a very funny sort of way, and smiled as I told her she had just made my day. The beer arrived momentarily, and she told me that she was 33, and just starting to think about having kids. I told her to think good and hard, and she had all kinds of questions ... so sweet.

Of course, we only lasted for one beer. The prospect of a warm, cozy bed beckoned us homeward, where we found a slightly flustered sitter, and two babies quite unhappy because they'd only eaten two freaking ounces for dinner.

As we sat on the floor in the darkened nursery, the babies finishing off their bottles so far past their bedtime, I silently blessed that wonderful woman for making me feel like I might, just might, be someone other than who I think I am.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Delight and Fear

I used to make fun of my mother when she'd be overwhelmed by something we did, something we said, or just an emotion she had. I didn't get it. Now i'm overwhelmed. I realize I am so, so lucky, and the feeling of delight, pride in having this opportunity, and the fear it will somehow change, wash over me in waves.

I went over to another twin-mom's house a few months ago to pick up some extra formula (the low-birthweight, preemie stuff ... it gets expensive!) she no longer needed. A relative kept the kids at home during the day, and while I never asked questions or inquired any further, it was clear that one of the twins was quite developmentally delayed. His brother was toddling around while he laid on the floor, seemingly unable to do the same.

That morning, I'd had a serious breakdown. Sheer exhaustion, frustration, probably some PPD and uncertainty at how to live a life with two very needy babies, just home from the NICU, had me in hysterics. That morning, I threw myself on the bed, sobbing and moaning that I simply could not do this. I didn't want these babies, I wanted someone to take them away, I wanted my life back.

J., fed up with me and simply not understanding, told me to leave the house. Go out and get myself together, while he took care of the children. I decided to go to this woman's house to pick up the formula. Feeling sorry for myself when I arrived, I left with a completly different attitiude. One of gratitude and thankfulness for the healthy children I had been given.

Months have passed, the frustration and sleeplessness has ceased, but new challenges arise each and every day. Challenges with taking care of the babies, challenges with my new "mommy" identity (or lack there of), challenges with family, with fitting it all in. And some days, I feel down. Not the complete desperation of weeks and months past, but a general sadness and muted fear of the future.

Tonight I turned on Extreme Home Makeover. This show is always a tearjearker for me, no matter the situation. But tonight featured a family with a son with cerebral palsy. I don't know much about the disease, and I'm making some generalizations here, but he seemed so very disabled, and the family appeared as weary and exhausted as any I've seen. I watched this boy, his limbs disfigured, his body confined to a highly mechanized chair, and the parents that love him no matter. His face lit up when he was happy, the smile big, and some of the noises not unlike those that my babies make.

I thought about how my heart skips a beat when MyGirl or MyBoy makes a sweet sound, or how my body turns to mush when they turn to my voice and a wide smile spreads across their faces. When they master a new skill, I am filled with an overwhelming pride, as if I had just taught them.

I have years to look forward to with them, I have the anticipation of not only watching them sit up for the first time, eat food, and learn to crawl, but I will also help them with homework, talk to them about their boy/girlfriends, send them off to college, and hopefully, help them with their own children.

This family will never be able to do these things with their son. Quite possibly, those infant-like smiles and coos will be all they ever experience.

I feel simply overflowing with gratiude for this incredible chance to get to know my children. And I live in daily fear that something bad will happen to change our future. How do you get over the fear?

Freak Out

Off the pill, my body has been somewhat sporadic about regular periods, etc. On the pill, I'm clockwork. It ususally takes a crazy stressful situation to keep my from getting my period while on the pill.

Of course, I find it hilarious that I'm even on the pill, what with all the male-factor infertility that is going on in our lives. But I am, just in case. Because stranger things have happened before.

Last month was my first cycle back on the regular pill, and my period showed up on Tuesday like clockwork. This is a different month, and a week past my last pill. I'm on to the new pack with no period having made an appearance.

I'm sure it's nothing. Really, what are the odds? I did miss a pill this month, but quickly took two when I realized the mistake. More than anything, it's gotten me thinking What if?

If for some bewildering reason, the powers that be decide that I should have another baby, soon, I'll deal with it, and be happy. But to be honest, the timing would kind of suck. I'm just now feeling like my head is finally above water, and I'm excited about the good times to come. More importantly, I'm enjoying my full night's sleep, finally.

I'm feeling some resolution with the IF and all the treatments, and with my failing to hold onto the babies for more than 31 weeks. I kind of don't want to to open up old wounds again.

I have a friend who did IVF and conceived boy/girl twins (just like me). Her doctor told her "Don't even think about it, those ovaries are kaput. They'll never make a baby on their own."

Yep, guess what lady, with five month old twins, found herself pregnant? I don't think she's recovered yet (and it's two years later).

I just keep thinking how the babes are just over five months now ... what if? What if the previously-sluggish and uninterested sperm made an executive decision to kick it up a notch? What if they gathered the troops and said "Hey guys, this couple is starting to slow it down. Let's throw their lives into some real chaos!"

Don't get me wrong. I am grateful. I am beyond grateful ... I am bow-down-to-the-heavens--and-pledge-my-dying-alliegance-to-whatever-made-these-babies-possible kind of grateful. My babes have changed my life in the most positive and awe-inspiring way. Period.

But wow. Wouldn't that be a trip?

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Where's Olive?

It has been a looooong time since I have seen such a hilarious movie. So funny that I repeatedly hit J. over and over as I laughed. So funny my feet and legs were constantly moving up and down, up and down. The anticipation of an ending that I knew would be good, but I had no idea would be this good! You must go see.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Leading the Way

An interesting article in Newsw*ek about a female infertility researcher, who herself has had experiences with infertility and adoption.

"What causes infertility? Why do some people make few or poor quality reproductive cells? It's a genetic black box. If you look at the controversy surrounding human embryonic-stem-cell research, so much of it is because we don't understand what life is."

Isn't that the truth. A nd if we did "understand" what life is, from a scientific viewpoint, could we, from a societal persepective, ever decide where/when life begins?

"This subject matters to me so much. I see infertility as a major health problem, not a minor inconvenience. It greatly impacts a couple's entire quality of life."

I like that she uses the term "inconvenience," because that really is how most others (regular fertile people, the medical and insurance industries) seem to view it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Shameless Photo Op

I've never posted pics of the babes here, for a few reasons. First, I'm deathly afraid of being outed to the real world. The blog world is a totally different place from my real world. And second, when the babes were new and very young, they looked like preemies. They were gaunt and skinny, and while beautiful to me, I didn't want any pity or "Oh, aren't they teeny!" I get that enough in real life.

These babies blow me away by every little thing they do, by how they grow, and by the cool developments they make every day. They're making sweet noises now, are so full of smiles I can't get them to eat, and are getting better about holding their heads up (although they still HATE tummy time.)

So with that, I present to you a few shameless photos. Feel free to ooohhh and ahhhh to your heart's content. It's never too much for me. But I am going to take the pictures down in a few days. Enjoy.

( photos removed )

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Nervous Jitters

I was nervous as I got in the car, nervous as I parked, and still so as I approached the hospital. I was headed to my hospital, our hospital, for a meeting this evening. Although I've been back twice to drop off/pick up things, I knew that tonight, I'd have to walk through the lobby where I spent so many hours killing time and waiting to meet family and freiends, wind through the halls that I'd seen at all hours of days and night, pass by the cafeteria and vending machines where I half-heartedly nourished myself during the five weeks of misery, while my babies grew and slept in the NICU.

I'm not sure why I was nervous, perhaps at the anticipation of memories I hoped I'd moved past. Not wanting to be sad. For me, that hospital does not bring feelings of joy and delight. It brings dread and anxiousness.

As I walked down the hall where my meeting was held, a trio of women in scrubs and white coats stood at the end. A smile immediatly filled my face, and I impatiently stood in line to sign in, etc., just waiting to move past, towards that trio.

It was the NICU director, the neonatologist who discharged my babes, and by far, my favorite NICU nurse. (They were there to give a presentation.) This is the nurse who helped me breastfeed the babies long before the doctors gave the official okay. The one who took pictures of my babies taking their first "bucket baths" to use in her in-service presentation. The one who gently reminded J that Mother's Day was coming up, and that it was important that he celebrate it with me (and coached him on a wonderful gift.)

I approached them, only intending to tell them thank you, for the care with which they treated J and me, and for the tender care they gave my children. I didn't expect them to remember me. But I was so delighted when they did. They greeted me with smiles and hugs (well, a handshake from the doctor...she was never so warm and fuzzy!), questions about the babies, and about us. I did tell them thank you, and how much their service meant to me. It felt good. It felt like closure and joy, all wrapped up into one.

The NICU is celebrating a big anniversary, and is having a "reunion" this weekend. I was wishy-washy about going, but now, I think we must. The ladies insisted.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cheezy Goodness

Bet you thought this post would be some sappy goodness about my gorgeous babes. You would be wrong, although they continue to be fabulous!

While, and right before, I was pregnant, I really got into cooking. For a number of reasons: I had a fairly new (recently renovated) kitchen, and I realized I needed to USE it. I thought "I'm going to have a kid someday, so I should learn how to whip up some food!" I got tired of J's cooking (although he's quite good). It was an excuse to buy more magazines.

I got pretty decent, and now feel quite comfortable preparing a meal for the two of us. I can do a dinner party, but prefer to have help from J. with that. I have a few good dishes in my back pocket that I can whip up with ease. And now I have shelves and shelves of cooking magazines. Love them.

Obviously, as soon as I went on bedrest, cooking went out the window. And I've not picked it up again until now. In the early baby days, we had enough frozen and fresh meals brought over by friends to last for quite a while. A few folks gave us weeks of prepared meals from a chef service (we still have one week left!) Then I was so busy with not sleeping, breastfeeding, pumping, not sleeping, etc. that J. just took over kitchen duties. He was so good to me - I would've eaten nothing if not for him (that was a double negative ... so sorry!) And it's just carried over, and I realized I miss cooking. I seem to have more manageable pockets of time now, so I'm determined to figure it out.

I told J. that after church today, I needed some time on my own (read: You take care of the babies) to run some baby-free errands, including the grocery store. It's hard to shop for groceries with two babies in your cart. Trust me on that one.

When I returned, I set to work in the kitchen. Cheddar, gruyere, yummy delishiousness. A friend made this for us in post-baby haze, and I've been dying to make it. It lived up. It's a huge recipe ... now I've got lots in the freezer. But I'm not sharing.


On a side note, fertility related. I bumped into a friend while out running my errands. I'd spoken to her husband last week while she was out of town, and he told me they were (10 weeks) expecting (second child). When I relayed my congrats, she told me she had a miscarriage. I was horrified ... here we were in a very public place, and I felt so out of sorts.

I think that I acted appropriatly, and quickly told her how sorry I was. She didn't seem outwardly upset, perhaps because she's dealt with it, or is good at faking. I don't think they had any troubles with the first one, not that it really matters). She made a funny comment about trying again is always the fun part (yea, for some of you, I wanted to say ... just teasingly of course). But I still left feeling badly. Partially for her, partially for me, somehow not just knowing that something bad had happened.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Update from the World of Infertility

I got exciting news last night. One of the dearest, most caring people I know has a 13-year old son, product of their second IVF attempt. For years, they have had four frozen embryos, and have been conflicted about what to do with them. I suspect a bit of a back and forth between the desire to have more children and questioning the morality of not using the frozen embryos.

She is 41 years old, and has decided that now is the time. If it works, fabulous and scary things await, and if it doesn't, she's at peace with the fact that she's done the right thing, and can be content with her family as is. I am so proud of her for making a scary decision, and so excited at the prospect.

* * * * * * *

About a month back, I got a letter from Dr. Pleasant, the RE, congratulating me on the birth of the babes. I meant to save it to post here, but can't seem to put my hands on it (go figure!)

He told me, at my last visit, to please let him know when the babies are born. "How sweet," I thought. "He cares!" He then went on to explain that it's very important for them to track the live births of those conceived in their clinic. For the statistics, you know.

So I sent him a baby announcement and photo. Because I wanted my babies to be part of the pile that he shares with prospective parents in their consult. When he says, "And of course, you know that many, many people who conceive using IVF will end up with multiples." As he holds up a photo of someone's gorgeous, drool-inducing babies. Mine?

Anyway, the letter. I can't remember the exact wording, but I was surprised at the sappiness of it all, and it ended with an invitation to please bring the babies around to visit the office. Oh, and to please contact them if they can be of any additional service (more babies, perhaps? Not anytime soon.)

While it's lovely to express an interest, I just thought it kind of odd for then to invite us to the office. There is nothing more I would have hated, as a patient, than to see a momma stroll on in with her babies, the objects of my obsession and ultimate desire; a reminder of what I didn't have. I never did see any babies, over all of my many visits.

How about a baby-reunion open house, instead?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

We were WRONGED, I tell you!

I sit here trying to catch up on my blog reading, and MyBoy and MyGirl are the height of cheap entertainment.

MyGirl is trying hard, between farts, to flip herself from back to belly. This is a feat that she has been hard at work on for a few weeks now, and many a times, we will find her in the morning, rotated around in a rather contorted and arched-back position that tells us, yes, she tried, but didn't quite make it over. Presently, she works hard, gets about three-quarters of the way over, and stops for respite breathing and hand sucking.

MyBoy is looking quite hip in his boy-striped onsie with khaki cargo shorts. It's getting a bit cooler, so I'm taking that as an excuse to put the babes in real clothes ... actual tops and bottoms. I love them just a little bit more when they are dressed cutely. Is that bad of me? Anyway, he sucks contentedly on his pacifier, and pretends to twirls his non-existent hair. This is a trait picked up from his father, who has even less hair than he, but still makes that twisty motion on his own head, and if I'm lucky, on mine.

Oh! oh! she's almost over ... hips over ... wait for it ... face smushed against blanket ... grunts and cries...and she rests. Oh well. I just want to push her over, and say "Hurrah! Look what you did!!" I see this being a problem in my future.

Do you perhaps remember an oh-so-cool dance move entitled "The sprinkler," wherein the groovy one puts one arm bent, hand on head, and the other extended out to her side? She then makes a pulsing movement, thus imitating a lawn-watering apparatus? MyBoy does this with great style ... more than his drunken-at-a-frat-party-mom ever did.

Anyway, I was reading a post over at OvaGirl's and it reminded me of a recent incident over which I am still fuming!!!

J and I are brunch kind of people. Before babes, during the making of babes, and most certainly, after babes. They are still small enough to be portable, and can sleep long enough to allow us to finish a meal, if the timing is precise. We are also church-going folks, so we usually hit the brunch spots at their most crowded, or once the crowds have gone home. We are good customers ... we are polite, we eat a lot, and we tip well.

A few weeks ago, we come home from church, change, feed the babes to ensure an optimal mood, strap on the Bjorns, and head out for a neighborhood restaurant. A restaurant that we have had both bad, and good, experiences at. And one that we have taken the babies to previously. With no problems.

We enter with delight, seeing that there are about three empty tables. After noone speaks to us for a few moments (and this is a 12-table restaurant ... not big, people), we head towards the bar. Where biaatch-hostess looks us over and says, "Yeees?" with disdain.

"Ummm, we'd like a table. To eat. Brunch, you know."

"Ohhh," she says. "Yea, we just took our last few reservations, so those tables are taken. And we're not taking any more walk-ins."

We were stunned and walked out without any of the snappy retorts that we came up with a few blocks later. First, they don't take brunch reservations. Or they certainly never did before. And who is to say that just because we have gorgeous, well-fed and well-behaved babies strapped to our chests, does that not mean that our money is not as good as everyone elses, and our bellys as growly?

Mind you, I would never take children that can talk, move on their own, or be upwardly mobile, to this restaurant. It's not that kind of place, and I totally respect that it's an "adult" kind of cafe. But come on! Sleeping infants? Without a cumbersome stroller? Give me a break.

So, we hoofed it five blocks over to a great Tex-Mex place that was more than happy to seat us in their non-smoking room, and while brunch was fine, it just wasn't the same, and we were left with a bad taste in our mouths.

I then proceeded to tell a group of girlfriends, who promised they they too, would show up at the cafe with their babies in tow, and see what kind of reception they got. Hummmph.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Please Cover the Offending Belly

I actually went to the gym yesterday. And the day before. And I did okay. I expected to have absoluly no cardiovascular strength at all, since it's been six months since my last visit, but I did okay. I guess all the trips up and down our very steep steps with two babies, umpteen times a day, has worked in my favor. But not the point of my entry today ...

Two machines down is a fit, pregnant woman, working away on the eliptical trainer. It's hot, she's hot (who isn't during pregnancy during August?), and she lifts up her baggy tank top to allow some air to hit her belly. It feels good, so she leaves it up, and keeps on moving.

A sixty-some woman, walking through the gym on her way to the tennis court mind you - not even working out, comes over, and proceeds to tell Mom-to-Be that it's entirely inappropriate for her to be exposing herself like that. It's offensive, etc., etc., etc. To which MTB replies that, number one, she's hot, and isn't it great that she's trying to keep herself fit and heathy for her baby, and number two, it's a gym, it's not like she's in a restaurant or anything. And noone else seems to be offended. To which we all smile and roll our eyes at her.

The very polite, but fueled, back-and-forth continues, MTB pulls down her shirt to get the damn lady to leave. And a few minutes later, after we've all discussed it and sided with her, she pulls her shirt back up. It's hot.

I wore tight shirts to the gym when I was pregnant ... they were more comfortable. There are plenty of very fit and well-endowed women who simply wear sports bras. No complaints here. It's a gym - a place that exists solely for the betterment of the human body. What gives?

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Birthday

It's been four months since these little babes have entered our lives in a real and physical way, and I couldn't have possibly imagined how our lives would have changed. It is a whole new world: a world about them and not us; a world about survival, not indulgence; and a world about giving, not taking.

Every single emotion that has surfaced in this time has been intense. Nothing has been partial, or gentle or simple. Feelings are exemplified and multiplied - joy is immense, and despair is, at times, intolerable. I get through each high and each low by knowing that, for better or worse, this phase/time/behavior will not last forever and will be quick to depart, so it's best not to dwell on it, or conversely, to savor every moment of it.

They are beautiful and growing well.

MyBoy is almost 13 pounds. His brown hair is falling out and being replaced by reddish strands. His mouth makes the perfect "O," and when he sticks out his tongue, it has a little divet right in the middle. He favors the right side of his head, so it's getting really flat. We turn it every chance, and do stretching exercises every day. He hates it. He is a lovebug, and wants to be cuddled as much as possible, and is pudgy enough to have beautiful creases in his fat legs. His belly is enormous, in relationship to the rest of his body, and he loves to eat.

MyGirl is 9 1/2 pounds, and a powerhouse. She can practically stand up, with assistance, and looks all around her, quickly back and forth, up and down. If she's laying down, her legs are moving, moving, moving, as if sprinting towards a finish line. She still has little hair, but it's blondish, and her fair complexion gives way to little red splotches here and there. She's a finicky eater, and would clearly rather be doing anything but. Perhaps it's the crazy gas that propels her forward. I forsee intense times in her future.

We lay (lie? laid? I can never remember!) on the floor today, and I looked at them with disbelief that they were mine. And have been for four months. I wondered aloud, what kind of people will you become? Will you read books, like your mother, or prefer movies, like your dad? Will you let me walk with you to school, or will you be embarrassed and make me drop you off down the block? Who will be your first kiss? Who will you take on your first date? Will you be competitive and athletic? Will you be sensitive? Will you be boisterous and loud?

The future is enormous, and has arms outstretched, beckoning us to come in.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Boob News, The Final Chapter

The last time I pumped was yesterday at 12:30 p.m. (and only the left side at that, for just five minutes). It's some 20 hours later, and while uncomfortable, I'm not in agony.

Sleeping was difficult this morning, as both sides were really, really tender and kind of hard. But not crazy-engorged-rock-hard. I've stopped taking the mini-pill that I'd been on for the past few months (laughable, the fact that I am at risk of getting pregnant on my own, but I'd hate to be one of those "Oops! It's amazing that an infertile suddenly fell pregnant!" pregnancies right now) , and started on the regular, full-strength pill. Which apparently can help dry up your milk. I'm taking Tylenol for the pain, and I'm going to see if I can stick it out through the afternoon with out pumping.

There is enough in the freezer to get me through to the babes official 4-month birthday, my original goal.

It. Could. Be. Over. Yahoo! And a little sad. But YAHOO!

I got lots of good advice and encouragement to keep this up as far as I did, and I thank everyone who helped me stick it out.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Good Morning, Babies

A few thoughts that have been running rampant through my mind this morning ...


While it can be a difficult thing to do, it is best to accept the fact that my day will begin early ... much earlier ... than I would ever possibly desire.

For weeks, I fought the early morning feed, which happens between 6 and 7 a.m. I'd sludge through it groggily, and attempt to put the babes back to bed immediatly. I'd be immediatly frustrated, because they wouldn't want to go back to sleep, and therefore, I couldn't either. I'd fight the waking of the day, tooth and nail.

I'm learning to simply accept the early morning. The babies are actually quite alert and giggly in the early hours - they are fun to play with after their feed. So I'll take them downstairs for their meal, put them in their bouncies, and the them watch me as I wash bottles, make myself something to eat, and put on a pot of coffee. Oh, that blessed pot of coffee.

Yes, my day is longer, but they were tired enough to go down to nap afterwards that I got to shower AND blow dry my hair. Which is a non-existant luxury these days, to which my rat's nest can attest. Because we have a date this afternoon. A play date. Our fourth ... more to come on that later.


Back to bouncies. I thought everyone knew about bouncy seats, but apparantly they are a new phenomenon, familiar only to those of us who have born children within the past ten years or so. Older releatives and friends find them amazing.

As does our very best bachelor friend. He spent the weekend with us, out of town at the in-laws, and was simply enamoured with the concept of a seat that vibrates! Wow! They should make those for adults!

To which we replied, oh yes, they do. And we just got one for the office. It was intended to soothe the backs of aching parents (actually, it was just cheap, and we needed an office chair), but amazingly, it does double duty. Sit down with a screaming baby, and shhhhhhushhh! Peace returns. At least momentarily.


And back to screaming babies. I am continually amazed at the ability of one baby to sleep through the bloody-murder screaming of another. We have finally seperated them into two cribs, which makes me a little sad, but it was necessary as they were kicking helicopter twirls around each other. MyBoy just woke up from morning nap, with cries that would wake the dead. I fixed the problem (milky-snot out of the nose - bad mommy for not burping very well), and tried to shush. The cries return, louder than ever, while MyGirl sleeps soundly, just three feet away, not a care in the world. Alleluia.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Decision Time

I think that a decision I've been having a hard time making is being made for me.

I knew from the beginning of my parenting career that I wanted to breastfeed. Add twins and an extended NICU stay to that equasion, and things get more complicated. I never had any intentions of making it to a year, but thought I'd do it as long as I could. Which ended up being a shorter time - until the babies were about three months old - but, honestly, I began hating everything about it, including the children attached to my boobs.

I enjoyed the one-on-one closeness of nursing an individual baby, but doing so simply overwhelmed me to the point of chaos. I miss it a little bit, looking down at my child, knowing that he or she is surviving off of what she is taking from me, bit by bit. That I could give that to them is huge.

I was adept at pumping, having done it, eight to ten times a day since the very first day of life. And I had friends who'd exclusively pumped, no breastfeeding. So I made the switch. And it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would, and afforded me a bit - a very tiny bit - more freedom. But what you gain in freedom, you give in time. Not only must you spend the time feeding the milk to the babies, you must additionally take the time to pump it, which adds up to hours and hours a day.

It's been a month since I started pumping full time. I've tried herbs, medications, and other ways to increase a milk supply that has never been enough to keep up with the needs of two growing babies. Four months old, four months old ... that has been my mantra. If I can make it to four months old, I'll have done my duty, I'll have done well for my children.

For the first day in ages, I woke up this morning, and didn't NEED to pump. I wasn't engorged, I wasn't in pain. I didn't have to wake up before the babies first feed to pump. It was wonderful. And three hours later, I pumped, but not because my body needed to. Again, I find myself at a scheduled pump time, and I'm trying, but not a whole lot is coming out.

We're at three months and three weeks.

I don't know that I'll make it to four months. There is a little bit in the freezer, and I could probably continue to squeeze out a little more, but do I want to?

I know how much back and forth there is about breastfeeding, and I don't want to get into a discussion about the merits of breastfeeding vs. formula, but let me reiterate that this is a very hard decision to make. I feel the need to take care of my babies in the best way possible, but one way to do that is by being a saner, happier person myself. I think I've reached the end.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

How'd They Know?

There must be something built into the frame of early childhood development that is triggered when mom is at her breaking point. Something clicks in the infant's head, some synapses fire off and connect, and when mom is about to have a total meltdown, cuteness ensues.

MyGirl is a smiling, kicking machine. She runs her legs like she's racing for the Boston Marathon, pat, pat, pat, thump, thump, thump. All the time with a smile on her face. More than a smile. A Joker-like grin, with tiny little points turned up at the edges.

And MyBoy, such a doll, a virtual Victrola of unique noises. His cries are so "newborn" like, and sometimes sound like a mewing kitten or a distressed goat. Squeek, squuuueeek. Ahh, but when he eats, the most satisfied gulps turn into a sign of complete contentedness. Ahhhhhh. Thank you, mom, for keeping that bottle tilted at just the right angle so I can finish every. last. drop. Ahhhhh hhhh.

And lest I jinx it by evening mentioning it to anyone besides my husband, the nights are better. We're talking about one night feed, not two. Depending on how you look at it. But now, bedtime is after the 7 p.m. feeding, we feed them sleepy at 10, and I go to bed, bless my dear hubby. He's been sleeping out here on the couch so that he can appease them when they fuss, and has had one nighttime feedings between 2:30 to 4:30, depending. Then I'm up by six, since my boobs wake me up, screaming "Juice me, Juice me!" And a feeding soon follows, which I'm trying to hold off till 7 a.m.

So it's no 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. just yet, but we're getting there. And wow, does sleep make a big difference in your outlook the next day.


I did go see the counselor today, and it was good. While I had no problem bursting into tears and telling her what I thought my problems were, and from where they stem, I did find it just a little uncomfortable delving into the "why do you feel that way" kind of questions. But it was good.

I understand now that, just like we can grieve the death of a loved one, it's perfectly acceptable to grieve the loss of an experience, of a dream, of a vision in your life. And that's what I've been doing. Perhaps not in the most healthy ways, but I've been grieving the loss of the conception, pregnancy and birth experiences I thought and subconsciously dreamed that I would have.

I've always known I am a bit of a micromanager, a control freak. Not crazy out of control, but it's definelty there, lurking under the surface. And all of these situations, in addition to the babies early birth, hospitalization, leaving my business and job, crazy babies with hectic needs, etc. have left me in a place where I feel I have no control. So I'm thinking about ways I can regain a bit of control in my own life.


Enough of the psychobable. I left the appointment feeling confident, renewed, and forward-looking.

apparently I wasn't backward-looking enough, because I went straight to a friend's house, and promptly mowed down her mailbox with my stupid SUV. Should've kept the fun little VW. Grrrr rrrrrrrr.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Me, Yes Me

I can't believe I'm doing it, but Wednesday, I'm going to see a therapist. Psychiatrist. Counselor. I'm not sure of the exact designation, but Wednesday at 2, I will be in her chair. And I'm scared.

The past three or four weeks have been a blur for me. I'm so completely exhausted, subsisting on 3-4 hours of sleep per night and virtually none during the day. I'm not enjoying my babies the way I should be. I feed them, and wish they would just go to sleep. I'm jealous of other people's babies, who coo, reach out, laugh, and return the affection that their mothers give. I'm jealous of the mothers who have it so in control. Who laugh through their exhaustion. I'm jealous of the mothers with one baby.

I'm resentful of my husband, who helps so extraordinarily, and doesn't seem to be affected either way by the exhaustion.

I'm still caught up in the angst about infertility, IVF, bedrest, premature labor, NICU, etc.

I'm unable to ask for help, since I did quit my job after all. Since I did want these babies so badly.

So Wednesday, I'll hash it out and see how that goes.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Boob Status and Other Fun Topics!

As it stands now, I've become a pumper. Yes, I've nursed the babies, separately, when I've felt like it, but it's really just to make me feel good. They're not sticking around to get the full feed, and honestly, I am tired of the battle. I don't want to battle with my babies and continue the negative vibe I feel when trying to breastfeed them, when there are other ways to get the job done.

So when I'm feeling like I need some 'us' bonding time (or there is screaming that has no end in sight), I'll give up the boob. But otherwise, I'm hooked up to my juicer before or after each daytime feeding and at least twice during the night. And it's okay. I feel so much more confident about how much my babes are eating, and I find comfort in a measurement of ounces, as opposed to minutes.

I've increased their formula feeds from the mandated two for overnight to three, either replacing the breastmilk evening feed or the wee hours of the morning feed. My thought in doing this is that (1) I'm still not making enough milk - more on this later and (2) perhaps heavier formula on their bellies might encourage longer sleep cycles at night.

In regards to (2) above, it's a big N-O. These babes do not sleep more than two hours in the nighttime. I've done all the recommended things to help them sort night from day, and NOTHING WORKS. My mom keeps reminding me to be patient, that although they are more than three months old, their adjusted age is just over one month. And who expects a one-month-old to sleep through the night? Well, a new friend with a three week old cringes with shame whenever I speak of the long, long nights, as her little dumpling has been sleeping seven or so nighttime hours since the very beginning. It can't last, I have to believe. Sleep deprivation is a topic for another time. Another night when I find myself at the laptop at 3 a.m.

I finished my 10-day prescription of Reglan, and I think it had a minimal effect. I'm going to call the doctor tomorrow, and ask for one more refill. I'm not sure how much good it will do, production-wise, but I need the encouragement to keep going with the breastfeeding/pumping.

I'm really, really loosing steam. The devil on my shoulder whispers Formula is so easy. It doesn't double my feeding time like pumping does. And it's good for them, right? What's the harm?

The angel on the other shoulder reminds me why I started breastfeeding in the first place. It's the healthiest thing for your babies. They had a rough start...why wouldn't you want to do this for them? You're not working...what else do you really have to do but take care of these babies in the best way possible? Stick through the challenge.

I'm currently telling myself that I need to stick it out to their four months. Which, incidentally, coincides with my pump rental, which expires the second of each month. I haven't bought a pump, as I can't decide what I'm gong to do. I'm hoping that I'll get to four months, and convince myself to go to five. But for now, I'm just going to work towards that one goal.


I've heard my fair share of horrible getting pregnant/infertility as*vice during the past few years. Just relax ... go on vacation ... start the adoption process ... stand on your head... then you'll get pregnant.

And now I can't help but share a few pearls of wisdom I've received during the challenges of this past month:

Why don't we put some maple syrup on your nipple? That should get the baby to latch on.

Your poor daughter is just screaming so loud ... wouldn't the doctor write you a prescription for some phenobarbitol? We used to put it in your father's bottle to calm him down.

My doctor told me that I was too anxious, too nervous. And that my anxiety and nervousness would be transferred to the baby through my breastmilk. That's why I couldn't breastfeed.

Okay, so they're all from older people, but still! Come on!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

G-Orgeous, If I Do Say So Myself

I was this close (hold thumb and index finger right next to each other) to posting a pic of my gorgeous babies, but I am entirely too paranoid about "outing" myself and my little ones. No one in my "real life" knows about this blog, and I'd like to keep it that way.

So I show you today just part of my little ones. I admire these hands daily and love the way strong, miniature fingers clasp
onto mine as if there is nothing else out there in the world of any more importance.


A big, huge congratulations to Alex on the exciting and sudden arrival of Alejandra. G-orgeous, too!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

He May Be Your Husband ...

...but he doesn't know everything.

So, if your husband, who has many, many years of cooler-packing experience, assures you that you can absolutly keep your hard-earned breastmilk frozen in a well-packed cooler over the course of three days, don't believe him.

Because he is wrong.

And when he thinks it's not a big deal that you arrive home after your weekend away to unpack the extra breastmilk that you didn't end up needing, only to find it totally thawed, you have my permission to thwap him over the head with whatever blunt object is closest. Hard.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Boob News, Part 2

Ugggg. I'm so freakin' frustrated.

Yesterday I did a pumping 'yield,' in which, beginning at the midnight feeding I fed them bottled breast milk, and pumped. I did this all day, for six feedings (they regularly get 1 bottle of breast milk, and two feedings of formula overnight).

MyBoy drank a total of 28 3/4 oz and MyGirl ate 26 1/2 oz.

And I pumped 26 ounces.

It doesn't take an advanced degree to do this math. I make enough milk to feed one baby, not two. I know that pumping doesn't produce quite as much as nursing does, but when you've got one week sucker, I bet it all evens out.

My conversation with the nurse practitioner/lactation consultant was uninspiring, to say the least. I was hoping for some "You can do this!" kind of encouragement, but none came through. She pretty much said that they were right on track for the amount they were needing to eat, but yep, it appears that I'm not making much milk. And what would I like to do, I ask.

I told her that I want this to work, I want to stick it out for at least another month. So she told me to go ahead and call my OB for a prescription for Reglan, and to basically cross my fingers.

So, I'll start the Reglan tonight, and see if it helps produce more milk, which I hope will in turn help the babies feed more regularly and continuously, thereby helping them to sleep more than one hour at a time. Or am I asking too much?

I'm going to think about my other option:

  • Pump exclusively and bottle feed both. It's hard work, I know, but I'm so uneasy not knowing if they are getting enough nourishment.
  • Pumping just for MyGirl, and continuing to nurse MyBoy.
  • Keep going with this will-they-or-won't -they-eat nursing thing, and supplement with bottles when necessary.
  • Quit altogether and go to formula.

I'm so lost, I really don't know what to do, and I know there is no magic answer. A lot of this is a control thing with me ... I felt like breastfeeding is the one part of this conception/pregnancy/birth/childraising that I can control. And I'm learning that I can't.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Life, The New & Improved Version

Seven a.m. was a wonderful wake-up time yesterday, considering it's been mostly 5:30 or 6:00 in the past. A nice, relaxed feeding ended with a bit of crying, but not too awfully much. Into the carseats they went, I put on my shorts and t-shirt, and out came the Snap N Go.

I load up my cell phone, a few dollars, a granola bar and a yogurt drink. We've taken to heading about ten blocks down to the market, where I pick up a cup of coffee and a bottle of water. On the way to the market, I pass a cute, independent coffee shop/internet cafe, which I would prefer to pop into, but the steps leading up to the one narrow, heavy wood door preclude my entrance with a double stroller. A few blocks later, I peek into the under-construction Starbuc*s, and delightfully notice that the entrance has one wide, pull out door with no stairs and a slight ramp up into the shop.

While I'm all about supporting the local businesses, having been a local retail business owner myself, I do love me some Starbuc*s, and look forward to parking myself in there on Wednesday mornings when our city free weekly is published. It always makes for interesting reading over a decaf skim latte.

My walking route has changed drastically since the pre-babies days. I choose streets carefully, based on whether they have the ramps down the sidewalks, as opposed to straight curb-into-street. Otherwise, each block intersection requires a slick move where I run around to the front of my stroller, pick it up and plop the front wheels in the street, return to the back, push it across the street, and repeat the move to get it back up onto the sidewalk.

I also choose streets based on the condition of the sidewalk. Many of the streets in our Victorian-era neighborhood are brick, and have shifted much over the years. Those streets are out. Some blocks and streets have concrete sidewalks that have shifted so much due to tree roots that they are almost impossible with a stroller. Unless you have a rugged-wheeled jogger, which I do not, since I don't jog and make no pretentiousness that I do!!

We probably went around two miles this morning. As we began, just before 8:00 a.m., the neighborhood was quiet. We passed dog walkers, a few older women running, and lots of construction workers getting their days started. As we neared home, we encountered more business people and leisurely walkers. Buses and sirens filled the main street where we live, and the noise increased. We pulled up to the house, gathered the unread newspapers that have been piling up on the porch, and sat for a few, savoring the emerging morning.

This is my life. It's different, but good different.

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While I'm on the subject, let me address the stroller issue. It's a hot topic among moms-to-be and moms. A stroller becomes such a personal choice... everyone has an opinion and a preference. For some, it's a functional, necessary item; to others, it's an in-your-face status symbol.

Since before I was pregnant, I've always despised the double-wide strollers, mostly because I would see mothers struggle endlessly trying to maneuver them into my boutique. I harrumphed as I was stuck behind them on a crowded street, deeming the parent driving a selfish space-taker-upper (not outloud of course).

So when I discovered I had twins coming, I knew that the double-wide just wouldn't work for me. Plus, I wanted a stroller that would take carseats, and would last us once the kids got bigger. After much research and comparison, I decided on
this one:

Excited about the many fun things it does, I ordered it and it didn't arrive till well after the babies were here, which was fine since they were still in the hospital. We've used it a few times, with the seats in full recline mode. It's a monster ... it has a freaking steering wheel for god's sake!!

In addition, a friend offered up her sister's
Snap N Go Double, which has proven quite handy. I keep it in the back of my car, and use it a lot for out-and-about trips.

A few weeks ago, Peg Perego called to ask, oh-so-innocently, if we'd been having any trouble with our big stroller. Noooooooo... I replied...Might I be expecting some?? Apparently there is an issue with the front wheels. Ummm, they keep falling off. Nice.

We opted to return the stroller to Peg Perego so that they could replace the wheels with the new ones they are currently fabricating. And in the meantime, for our troubles, they sent us
this one as a fill-in.

I, who said I'd never drive a double-wide stroller, have quite enjoyed it on the few outings we've taken. The babes are still a bit small for it, and are much more combo in their carseats, but I can see how it will be handy. But I promise, I swear, that I will be a responsible driver, never hogging more than my share of the sidewalk, never knocking over store displays, and never making it a hindrance to others. But wow, it is kind of fun. You didn't hear it from me.

A friend with twins once warned me that I would become a stoller connoisseur. I thought, no...I'll just have my one handy-dandy tandem that'll get me around just fine. Look at me now, it's like I've hit the stroller jackpot! The babies are just three months, and I am three strollers into it. Truth be told, I'm contemplating the addition of a
single umbrella stroller (small and cheap!), so that I can sling/Bjorn one baby and push the other, which would be so much easier for shopping, etc. Hmmm.....

Monday, July 24, 2006

Boob News

I knew that breastfeeding was not going to be easy. I knew that breastfeeding twins would be even more difficult. But I had no idea how hard, and how limiting it is on your life. But I'm trying, and really want to make it work. I don't have any expectations that I'll be nursing toddlers by any means, but I'd like to make it to six months.

I started nursing the twins when they were about three weeks (I'll have to check the diary/log I kept in the NICU). The neonatologists weren't very interested in me nursing them, as they were more concerned with tracking the babies' intake by bottle. They didn't discourage it for the future, and meetings with the lactation consultants helped me to keep motivated with the monotonous pumping. But the NICU nurses, oh those sneaky nurses, were so encouraging.

We started doing kangaroo care at about two (?) weeks, and around three weeks, one of the nurses said, "While you're back there, why don't you just give it a try. We won't tell." So that's how we started, and progressed over the next few weeks to one or two scheduled breastfeeds, per baby, per day.

Each was challenging, as the babies had to learn the complicated routine of breathe, suck, swallow, and do this continuously. I vacillated back and forth on a daily basis about who was getting the hang of it best. One day I'd be convinced the MyGirl was the nursing champ, and the next day, she'd have forgotten how, and MyBoy would be sucking away. I never got to nurse them together in the NICU, and I wish it's something I'd insisted on.

But we got the hang of it when they came home at 5 1/2 weeks. I started feeding them separately, but soon after realized the time saving benefits of tandem nursing, so jumped right into that. I was overwhelmed, but knowing that I had two formula feedings per day gave me just enough respite to keep going. I continued pumping, usually five to eight times a day, including two times at night.

MyBoy does a very college-boy-like move, where he opens his mouth and shakes it back and forth in front of my boobs. If he could, he'd make a noise like "Bwwwwhhhhhhwwwhhhh!!" He's always been what they call a "vigorous" feeder, and I've been able to depend on him to get the job done.

MyGirl, on the other hand, is more timid? She was slow to gain weight, and so with the help of the nurse practitioner/lactation consultant at the pediatrian's office, we've been trying to decipher what her problem is. We've come up with the following answers. Of course, it's all a crapshoot, as she can't talk to tell us what's wrong:
  • Acid Reflux - She cries often during and after her feedings, and is a prodigious spitter-upper. She's been on Zanta*c for the past few weeks, and it's been no better. Today we have a new course of treatment ...
  • Inability to deal with strong letdown - My left side produces twice as much as my right, and it seemed, for a while, that she was overwhelmed by the strong flow from the left side. But she figured it out, and seems to cope fine. Except ...
  • Quitting after 7-10 minutes - From this clue, we think perhaps she likes the strong letdown, and doesn't want to deal with the work required to get the rest of the milk out.

We've been supplementing her with a 2 oz bottle after two feeds a day, and juggling the two babies nursing, post-nursing bottles, and pumping. And in the past two weeks or so, I feel my supply diminishing. My pumpings are less, and both babies are eating less vigorously.

At our doctor's appointment today, MyBoy weighed in at 8 lb 14 oz, which is great! MyGirl tipped the scales at 7 lb 8 oz, which is just okay, not keeping up with the 1/2 to 1 oz. per day gain that they want to see.

The nurse practitioner/lactation consultant we've been working with doesn't seem too concerned, but I just know that something isn't right. So here's the plan for now:

  • Tomorrow I will do all bottle feedings, and pump at the same times in order to determine my true yield, and if it's keeping up with the babies needs. I suspect it is not.
  • I will call the nurse practitioner/lactation consultant Wednesday with the results. We discussed a prescription for Reglan, which has the side effect of increased production. If she thinks it's needed, I can ask my OB for a prescription. I may do it anyway.
  • I've been drinking the MothersMilk tea, which is supposed to promote milk production. I don't notice a difference, but I'll keep at it.
  • I bought a bottle of fenugreek (an herbal supplement, also supposed to increase production) today, and will give it a go.

Grrrrrrrr... this is so freaking frustrating. I'm ready to throw in the towel, but I just don't feel like I've given it quite enough effort.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Sushi, Clementines, and Baby Brainwashing

Oh it's been crazy. My nights are full of crying (theirs and mine) and despair that it will never "get better," and my days are a completely different universe, full of sweet babies, outings, and unending optimism. To sum it up, we're still trying to get MyGirl to nurse with some gusto, but she is gaining weight, despite my every-three-hour frustrations and pleadings ... We've been to baby and mom yoga, which was really fun and can't wait to go back ... I've actually scheduled a babysitter (first time non-grandparent sitter) for this Saturday and am sooooo nervous ... Overall, all is well.

I've had so many thoughts running through my mind this past week ... here's the roundup:


Sometimes My Boy sounds like a goat. Sometimes he sounds like a screaming baby. But when the wails get to a level unrecognizable by the human ear, the sound/word his noises most resemble is "

Uuuuuuuuuuuunnnaaagiiiiiiiiii!! Just try it. Say it outloud. Say it with force. Yep, that's the noise my baby makes. "
UNAGI, Mommy!! Unagi!!!"

Let alone that Unagi is Japanese eel, and I'm not really a sushi fan. But UNAGI is the battle cry of My Boy.

And when times get tough, and he's screeching away with tears rolling down his cheeks, alternately tearing on my last nerve and endearing him to me forever, I look down at his gorgeous mouth and bright blue eyes and whisper softly, "Unagi, baby. That's right. Unagi."


I like to sing. IÂ’m fairly certain that IÂ’m not so stellar, but I enjoy it nonetheless. So IÂ’ve enjoyed singing to the babes, some nursery rhymes, some hymns, some radio songs, sometimes ridiculous stuff I make up. When I sought out the lyrics to lullabys I thought I knew, I was so freaking surprised when I
came across this. I thought it was a sweet little ditty, but not so. I'm feeling a bit creepy singing it!


So many onsies, so many cute sayings. What you come to realize is that those sweet phrases are not there to tell the rest of the world how cute and wonderful your baby is.

They're printed there so that when your baby or babies are screaming, puking and pooping all over you and all you want to do is throw your head back and scream, you'll look down at them and say,

"You know what, you really are Cute as a Button. "

"Yes, I really do Love You Love You Love You."

"True, when you spit up all over my freshly changed shirt, you are Kissable."

"Oh sweet baby, I know that you don't mean to drive me to destruction. I Love Mommy, too. Thank you."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

What makes 21 hours a day of wakefulness totally worth it

My Girl's foray into the bathtub today resulted in virtually the same result as her brother's attempt earlier in the week. Poop in the pool. Just as we were getting all sudzed up, the explosion totally spoiled the water, and therefore, the very calming bath I was praying for.

I whip her out and pour fresh water all over her, quickly wrapping her up in a clean diaper and towel. I was so disappointed that the bath was cut short ... I was hoping it would calm her into lala land. And then I saw it .. the baby massage oil. Just a small bottle, part of a gift set given to us by a friend. And I thought "What girl doesn't like a good rubdown to ease off into sleepytime?" I know that everytime I get a massage I wake up refreshed in pile of my own drool.

Wow. She loooooooved it. I mean Big Time-all the milk you can drink-fresh diaper-cuddled on-daddy's-chest-kind of loved it. I started rubbing her belly, and then down her arms, down her legs, the palms of her hands and the soles of her feet. My personal favorite massage move is having my toes rubbed and squeezed, so I gave her a go at it, and she proved to be a momma's girl .

Her eyes kind of opened wide, surprised at such good sensations so soon after such angry ones. She wiggled round, but not in a fussy manner, in more of an "Oooh yea, right...there" manner. She smiled real smiles (I'm convinced it wasn't the gassy smile I'm accustomed to) and her glossy pink skin moved smoothly under my fingers and hands.

How nice to give her something that has such obviously pleasurable results. That was the reminder I needed as to why this is all worth it.

Monday, July 10, 2006


Bargaining is a part of everyday life. We do it at work, whether negotiating a contract or convincing co-workers to pick the Chinese restaurant over the sandwich stand for lunch. It happens at home – bribing your kids to pick up their clothes with threats of grounding, or going back and forth with your husband about which couch really would look better in the living room.

I reached a new low in bargaining with my husband today. Sexual bribery for childcare. If you don’t want to read about the world of post-baby sex, turn back now.

Let’s set the scene … it’s a lovely Monday morning at my home. Luckily, J works from home, so when an emergency or other calamity occurs, he’s just a scream away. I’ve fed the babies, and have given My Girl a nice calming bath that she really enjoyed. One clean baby down, one to go. I’m undressing My Boy, and have just cleaned his bum and put away the dirty diaper. Last time I bathed him, he pooped in the tub, so this time, I took preventative action: a good talking to.

As we walked to the tub, ready to go and full of sudsy water, I asked My Boy if he would kindly refrain from pooping in the pool, that we’d already had such a nice morning, and let’s keep it that way. We sit down on the toilet, just next to the tub, with My Boy on my lap as we prepare to dive in. And then it happens.

He did obey my instructions and decided to go ahead and get the poop done before bathing. So he pooped in my lap.

I shriek in horror, at the drippy, seedy mess that’s all over my blue sweatpants and slowly leaking towards my clean bathroom floor. Luckily, J is just one room over, and he comes to my rescue and takes the little pipsqueak from me, so I can get myself out of the nasty pants.

Which brings me to the beginning of my shameful saga. I can’t bear to put off the bath, being that the water is ready and My Boy is most definelety in need of some additional cleansing. So I just pull off my pants, wash my hands, and run down the hall to pop them in the washer. I go ahead and give My Boy a rubdown, making sure to clean the poop out of the creases where it has embedded itself. I wrap him up in his sweet blue hooded towel, and take him out to visit Daddy.

While I’m overwhelmed by the absolute sweetness of this newly clean little being, Daddy is clearly fascinated by half-naked Mommy, freshly splashed with water and poop.

It’s obvious where his mind is, and he makes it known to me. To which I quickly reply, without even thinking about it, “Fine. But only, only if you’ll take them so I can take a shower afterwards.”

And it was a great shower. I took my time. Then I did my makeup (when's the last time that happened?), blew my hair dry, picked out clothes. Took my sweet time, I did.

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What’s the worst thing you’ve ever bargained for with sex? C’mon, you know you've done it, too..