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.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Where do you roam?

We're in the midst of thinking about our first real family vacation with babies. We've done trips to the beach, trips to see family, trips to weddings and such, but no real vacation, just the four of us.

Here are the parameters: We'd like to go in May, for 4-7 days, depending. We'd like it to be a city or town that is walkable (read: stroller-able). The babies will be just over one. A city/town that has enough to do of interest (we love wandering and exploring, eating, museums and galleries, outdoor fun, etc), but perhaps not too much that we'll be so disappointed that we have to return to the hotel for mid-afternoon naps. Restaurants where toddlers will be, if not welcomed with open arms, not shunned.

Our thoughts as of right now, are Seattle, New York .... I'm drawing a blank.

Where are your favorite cities and towns?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Cheese Stands Alone

In this case, the crab. Poor crab, noone wants him. They'd rather fight over the frog.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Is 5:45 too early for wine?

I'm counting down the minutes (42) until the last bottle of the day, and the blessed, blessed moment when I can put these sweet darlin's down to bed, wash the chicken-noodle puree off my pants, jump into the tub, and loll off into a blissful sleep by the light of Sunday night television.

Good God, it's been one of those days. He must be getting some teeth, and he's certainly trying to crawl. MyBoy was up at {interruption: must go pick up all the mini plastic balls MyBoy has thrown off his exersaucer. Must attend to MyGirl in her johnny-jumper and wind her up so she can unwind with smiles and giggles. Oh no...not working. Screaming all around. LOUD.}

Anyway, MyBoy was up at least once an hour from two a.m. until seven a.m. J went to attend to him once (clearly he heard my screaming yesterday morning when I awoke, again, to MyBoy's early morning displeasure, to find him - J - asleep on the basement couch. NOT FAIR I told him), and I most of the other times. Which was lovely when we were supposed to be at church early for rehearsal at 8:15. I sent J ahead, and I made it there closer to 9, totally missing rehearsal, but had both babies fed, dressed, and with somewhat pleasant attitudes.

35 minutes to go. I'm sure J will arrive home at precisely 39 minutes. He's just like that.

Church was lovely, and as I took the babies home and got them fed, I thought about the nice leisurely walk we might all take up to the grocery store to get some essentials, and them stop off at our favorite pizza restaurant for a yummy slice. It was chilly outside, but the walk was good for all of us. Until we arrived at said restaurant, and read the sign with dismay. SUNDAY HOURS: 3-11 p.m. So, a freezer pizza it was, and a very, very quick walk home to attend to our starving adult bellies.

{oh, god, my head is splitting, and everyone is SCREAMING. I'm going to get the wine.}

Thank goodness there's only one glass left. Who knows what might happen if the bottle was full?

The afternoon has been full of some fun, but mostly discontent on the parts of these two pint-sized Mighty Mouths. We've dropped the third nap of the day, and it's times like these that I can tell they're, ummm, having some "problems" adjusting to the new schedule. If you want to call it that.

30 minutes to go.

I took some measurements and made a list of some items I'm hoping to get on Friday, when I take a short road trip to one of my favorite places on Earth. It is truly a paradise, full of delightful plastic and particleboard things I don't need, but the opportunity to leave the babes with a sitter so I can take a mini shopping extravaganza is just overwhelming me with excitement. I must start perusing the catalog to prepare.

Damn, wish I had another bottle of wine. I bet the babes wish I did too, because my evil glances are not going over well with them. Am I horrible that I wish, wish, wish for their bedtime? So that it can be my bedtime too???

It's Sunday. Aren't husbands supposed to be around on Sundays? You know, so it can be a day of rest. For me?

I can no longer pretend to ignore the screaming. Must go rescue the Mighty Mouths and continue studying pre-game coverage on the Red Carpet. Ta ta!

22 minutes and counting.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

No Rest for the Weary

Perhaps it's a form of reverse discrimination, but I always make strong assumptions that if you have twins (or more), you must have been through infertility treatments. Or done fertility as I hear some people referring to it.

I know, I know, it's not true. I have friends with twins created a la natural, I have friends with twins created in the lab. But still, anytime I meet someone new or hear of someone with twins, I just think, "Ahh.. one of us."

Last week, I participated in a focus group, sponsored by a local hospital group. The subject was the multiple birth experience, including any antenatal care, the actual birth, and postnatal care. Most of the women in the group were part of the local m*thers of m*ltiples group, and were acquainted with each other. When the facilitator asked the group of fifteen or so how many did fertility (I really dislike that phrase), I was surprised to be one of only THREE who raised my hand.

I really just kind of thought that more of these pregnancies would've involved ART. Or perhaps this type of group (m*thers of m*ltiples) doesn't attract us infertile types, who prefer to hang out with our friends inside the computer. (I'll admit it, I've been a few times, and never really feel like these are "my people." But to each his own.)

It's so odd, the assumptions one makes. I am often frustrated and insulted when people, including perfect strangers, deign to ask me if I did ART/IVF. It's none of their business. Yet I'm not ashamed or embarrassed. I'll certainly tell the truth if I think it really matters to the person asking, but not if I think they are asking for their own gratuitous knowledge.

But here I am, making reverse assumptions, even though I know intellectually that they are incorrect. I'm not sure why I do it ... perhaps looking for solidarity among those who are so few and far between. Or just quiet about it all.

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

The compulsions are overwhelming, consuming, and keeping all those involved from sleeping.

I wish it was something crazy or sexy, but no, the problem is crawling and standing.

I'm so frustrated right now, I am ready to tear my hair out. Or the very sweet little mohawk that adorns the head of MyGirl.

During waking hours, she is all over the place crawling, standing, pulling up, hanging. If it's available to climb, she's all over it. Naptime is another story. I'll but both babies down when they show signs of tiredness (which is usually around the same time). MyBoy is super - a cuddle from me, a snuggle from BlueBear, and all is well. Butt is up in the air and sleep is near.

MyGirl also displays sweet affections towards PinkBear and kisses from momma. A sly grin as I turn, and she's off! Pulling up and peering through the spindles into brother's crib, trying out all of her new vocalizations. I leave, thinking after a few minutes, she'll tire herself out, and finally sleep. It goes on and on. And on. Today for 45 minutes. She'll pull up, hanging onto the spindles, eventually screaming because she is so tired, but doesn't know how to detach herself and get down. I'll lay her down, eyes will immediately close as she tries to wiggle herself into a comfortable position. But no more than one minute later, she's back at it. This vicious cycle goes on and on. And in between each cycle, she wakes up her brother, who is luckily able to return to la-la land with a few shushes and pats from me, but isn't really having a restful nap.

I was so good getting them onto a regular schedule when we were just breast/bottle feeding. They were like clockwork, and food and naps (three a day) were always on time. Now that they are eating food, as well as bottles, and we're down to two naps a day, things have just gone to pot. It's only been two weeks since we dropped the third nap, and we are still trying to figure out a new schedule. But I am frustrated to all ends.

Is the inability to stop crawling/standing/pulling just a normal part of the developmental cycle. If I could hear her thoughts, I think they would go something like this:

"Must ... keep ... trying" (pant, pant) "Must ... pull ... to top ... of crib" (pant, pant) "Must ... watch ... brother ... must ... disturb ... brother" (pant, pant) "No pain ... no ... gain .... Must .... keep ... trying ....."

Edited to add:

Of course, I find a completely appropriate answer to my question at the bottom of this Ask Moxie post. I should've just checked there first. Such a font of knowledge...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Then, Now, and Someday

A few months back, when I was feeling desperate, exhausted, and unhappy that my life as I knew it was over, I made a list. Two lists actually. Things I could do now. And things I could do again in the future.

On the “now” list was obvious child-related things like “take care of the twins as best I can,” “stimulate their development,” “meet up with friends and babies” and the like. Real easy-going ideas. Also included were me-focused things like “read a book I’ve always wanted to finish,” “take twins to nursery at gym and work out,” “try out new recipes,” etc.

My “future” list included enrolling in a pottery class, something I did for years and loved. Travel with my new family. Consider career options.

Obviously, these are things I knew in my head, but seeing them written out on paper gave me some structure to my despair, and reminded me that, yes, a future does exist.

Last week I began one of the “do-nows” that I’d been avoiding … I started taking tennis lessons. Well, a beginners clinic, but some sort of instruction, nonetheless.

We joined a club last fall, just as I began the IVF cycle, and the doctor’s instructions include no vigorous exercise and no potentially body-impacting sports. Of course, I stuck with those instructions through the duration of my pregnancy. You know, to avoid premature labor or complications. Fat lotta good that did me.

Anyway, I’ve been twice, and I love it.

And I especially love the just-graduated-from-college tennis pro.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

We're Movin' On Up ...

MyGirl that is. She is moving up my leg, moving up the side of the crib, moving up the couch, a pile of pillows, the coffee table, pretty much anything she can curl her grabby little fingers around. It's totally endearing to see her try so hard, and amazing to me that she packs so much muscle into her tiny 14 pound frame. The girl is solid, that's for sure. And she's got her daddy's legs, which makes me insanely jealous. What I would give for his skinny knees and muscled calves. Anyway.

She is all over the place, between crawling, downward dogging, one-arm-pushup-ing, and pulling up, which is certainly making naptime a challenge. No matter how tired, no matter how long she's been rubbing at her eyes, as soon as I plop her ever-so-gently down in the crib, her eyes light up as she sees the bars, and before I know it, I've got a little prisoner with her hands clenched up by her head and eyes peering through her cell to the other side. This typically goes on for 15 or 20 minutes, usually with a spill or two (forward and backward), as she hasn't figured how to get herself down from standing position.

Back to the rubbing eyes...I find it so interesting that they've completely morphed out of yawning as an indicator of tiredness. I used to watch them like hawks, making sure, as the BabyWhisp*rer advised, to get them in bed by yawn number three. I rarely see a yawn these days, at eight and a half months old. It's tiny, curled fists, rubbing at drooping eyes. I wonder why the change. You don't really see adults rub their eyes as much as yawning. Wouldn't we look like boardrooms and classrooms full of infants, all rubbing and rubbing?

MyBoy is mastering the military low belly crawl. He sees a favorite toy or person in front of him, and his eyes light up. He labors so intently and slowly to get to his goal, favoring his left arm forward...throw the arm over, pull, pull, pull ... throw the arm over, pull, pull, pull ... throw the arm over, pull, pull, pull ... Wash, rinse, repeat. His new favorite game is to sit on his bottom, and pull himself up on my outstretch fingers. I try hard not to pull him myself, but to let him muscle himself up, which is often a humorous sight, as his sweet legs and feet sometime seem to be in the way of his efforts.

And yes, he was the lucky recipient of his mother's legs, which feature solid yet chubby thighs, practically non-existent knees, and again, chubby ankles. Thankles. Kankles. Whatever you want to call them. I pray he stretches out a bit, and takes some exercise pointers from Dad.

I'm working on sippy cups right now. They are great for chewing, great for tossing, but of negligible use for drinking. I've found a little success by feeding them by bottle, then pulling out the bottle and putting in the sippy cup. They'll drink, rather awkwardly, for a few sucks (with me holding of course, which is totally NOT the point), and then grab the cup and fling it around wildly. All the while screaming for their milk. In the bottle. Which they won't really hold enough to support a full bottle, but will gladly wrap their fingers around with enough strength to pull it away. I wished for the day when they would be strong enough to hold their bottles, and surprisingly, now I'm wishing for the days when they just lay there so quietly and ate. All in the past.

But these days are great, too. I bundled them up in new (Christmas gifts) fleece-lined jeans and fuzzy hoodies this morning, since it was finally cold. (See photo above. Those jeans are not figure flattering, are they??) We headed out for a walk, since I heard it was going to rain today, and knew we'd be stuck inside most of the day. We strolled to the coffee shop, had a minute to recharge and warm up, and then hit the sidewalks.

Not five minutes later, there were big, poofy, white flakes of snow drifting down from above. The flakes got smaller, then eventually dissipated (they did come back later). It made for a glorious way to start the day. Although MyGirl and MyBoy were rather nonplussed about the wet snow and didn't seem to understand why I was making such a big deal out of it. Nor did the construction worker we passed by, the lady walking her dog, or the other kids who were on their way into school. Well, they probably did.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Family Ties

The diaper pail works, but scents still do escape. The cat used to indiscriminatly pee (crossing fingers to hope that it stays that way). I'm very sensitive to the fact that yes, at times, my home has not smelled like a rose recently. In addition, I live on a very busy street in the city, so opening my windows is simply not an option.

So, am I to be offended that my MIL (who keeps a very, very, very clean house and abhors the concept of animals in the home) gave me a frangrance lamp, with the comment that it would be great in my first-floor powder room? (Yes, the cat has peed here in the past and the diaper pail resides in this room.)

Am I to believe that this is a backhanded "hint" that my house stinks? Or was she just being really kind, thinking that I'd like this beautiful bauble. And it does match my bathroom.

I am such a paranoid daughter in law. Why do I even ask?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Now Playing

I'll admit it. I watch a lot of television. I looooove me some TV. Partially I like the actual programming, but when alone with two babies, it's nice to have some adult conversation. Even if it's a conversation between two people inside the black box. Whatever.

I've seen many promos for BabyFirstTV, a channel created just for your baby! The nation's first channel for babies! Aparently, it's new to our area, and they're trying to round up subscribers. Just $9.99 a month! I cringe everytime it airs, as I think "Good God, we have two hundred some channels -- if I want my babies to watch TV, I think there's something I could find." And if there's a channel that I subscribe to for the sole purpose of entertaining my babies, I'm going to feel like I need to really use it.

So here it is, a lazy MLK day, and I"m laying on the couch, flipping back and forth as the babes nap. (Thank God. It was a long night with my wheezing, hacking, miserable little boy. And an early a.m. trip to the doctor's office.) As I watch two designers transform a med student's quarters from Junky to Funky, I scroll down a few channels.

Black silhouette figures rock back and forth on the screen. Silhouette stars twinkle and flip above. A silhouette moon rotates and twists. It's positivly mesmerizing and freakishly arts-and-crafts. I am an unintentional and unwitting subscriber to BabyFirst TV.

I am going to do my best to NOT plop the babes on the floor in front of this very, um, unique, viewing opportunity. Hmmmm...maybe I can learn to cut out my own silhouettes and stage a fun little show myself. Or not.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Is She? Isn't She?

I'm confused. Is she an OB/GYN, a surgeon, a neonatologist, or a pediatrician? And can one be all at once?

Now, I realize that an OB is also a surgeon. I first came upon this knowledge as I lay half-drugged on the operating table and my OB/GYN said, rather frantically and loudly "Get another surgeon. Get another surgeon now. We need another surgeon here." To which the reply was "It's five a.m., there are no other surgeons here now." And all went along just swimmingly.

But anyway, I'm a bit confused about the esteemed Doctor Addison Shepard. She sees women for prenatal care, she delivers babies, she treats babies in the NICU, and then, she operates on them as well.

Just seems like a whole lot for one lady to take care of.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Year In Review

2006 was partly good, doubly great, and a little bit horrible, all wrapped up with a big bow. Cheers!

January: I spent Saturday at a wonderful baby shower for a
dear old friend.

February: Many thanks for your
thoughts and comments a few months ago about the home vs. work dilemma.

March: Wow, I've been gone a long time. I hadn't realized how long it had been since I'd written, and I'm remiss that I have no totally thrilling and exciting news to share.

April: Who knew that a Sunday, at home on bedrest (and therefore no different than any other day of the week) could be so exciting? And it's only 3:45!

May: It was totally unexpected, but deep down inside, I think I knew, but was in denial.

June: The arrival of the babies' Social Security cards leaves me with an odd question.

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

August: 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.

September: It has been a looooong time since I have seen such a
hilarious movie.

October: 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.November: Still Here ... but quiet lately.

November: Still here ... but quiet lately.

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

Monday, January 01, 2007

Lock up your sons. My girl can move!

And she crawls!

MyGirl took her first tentative “steps” right before Christmas, and now she is a master. She focuses on a goal (AKA a book, plastic gizmo, mom’s leather boot), extends her tounge as far down her chin as possible, and moves forward. She is compact and strong, full of energy and curiosity. We’ve installed a baby gate where most vital, and stuck all the horrible plastic outlet covers in place.

In addition to crawling, she is beginning to assume some elementary yoga poses. Beginning with Downward Dog:

She then magically morphs into a modified triangle pose (with her torso a bit closer to the ground and arm not quite so high!):

Who knows what might be next? She’s good, I tell you.