16 weeks, 4 days: The mother of updates

October 15, 2013 § 32 Comments

I’ve been gathering words in my head for you for weeks.

I won’t get to all of it now. I tried, actually. I wrote about twice as much, and it read as manic and tangential, so I had to cut the rest for a future post.

But, before I focus, one other thing. I have exactly 1000 comments on my blog exactly right now. That is incredible. I am humbled beyond belief. Thank you eachofyou for caring about me. Such community there is in this community. Such love. And also, I feel like I should take a picture of it. It’s like how you feel when you happen to look at the clock and it’s 11:11 or 12:34.

Ok, let’s get to it, eh?

October is my favorite month of the year. It holds some of my favorite time-limited sensory experiences – the briskness of cool wind combined with warm sun on my skin, the smells of woodstoves and decaying leaves (gifts from the Earth to our senses), the taste of roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, the weight of heavy blankets and sweaters and wool beanies on your body, the knowledge of the year turning on its heels to leave us. And, holy hell, the colors. Oh, the colors.

Since beginning graduate school in 2008, October always seems to turn out to be the busiest month of the year. I typically cozy up during the weekends and work, rarely taking the opportunity to experience the gift of the season.

I’m trying to do it differently this time. However.

October 2013 is the month of madness, and late September was a preparation for October. And this, my friends, is why I seem to have disappeared a bit. I’m still reading and cheering you on, but I realize my comments have been scattered and my own posts sparse. I apologize.

Here’s the thing, though. In the month of October, I will be proposing my dissertation, applying for internships (a much larger undertaking than it sounds), and turning 30. And, if we decide to find out the sexes of these two sweet babes, we may be squeezing that in as well. It is a BIGBIG month. My dissertation proposal is on Thursday (wish me luck, friends), and I have one of the fathers of my field on my committee. I am shaking in my boots even thinking about it. Last night I dreamed that I was eating a bowl of saucy pasta during my presentation, and I kept pausing to slurp up huge bites which then left me unable to answer any of the questions posed to me. And these internship applications? Let me just say that this is the part of my program that is given the highest rank for its ability to induce anxiety. Most people choose not to propose their dissertation and apply for internship in the same month, but I’m a bit of a procrastinator. So here I am. If you know me, you know that I do not get things done quickly, but I get them done very very well.

Anyway. As a result of this monster of a month, I’m going to shoot some pregnancy related bullet points at you. Once things get back to normal, I will return to proper paragraphs and structural soundness. Deal?

1) All of the sudden, I have a belly. Two weekends ago, the Artsy Engineer and one of our closest friends, Fritz, who was visiting from Philadelphia for a wedding, kept teasing me by telling me that I had Who-body. You know, from Whoville? The kind Horton hears?

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I get it. Skinny arms and legs and this little tummy pouch. But I personally think that at the time I actually looked more like another Dr. Suess’ most famous characters. This lovable guy.

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Sir Grinch

But that was two weeks ago. Now, all of the sudden, I no longer look like I’m packing beer gut. I look pregnant. Andandand, my belly button is already nearly flat. Sunday, one of my yoga instructors became the first to ask me if I was pregnant. After class, he pointed at my belly and said (a little uncertainly, because, you know, what if you’re wrong!), “Is that a baby in there?” It melted me. First, I splurge on a membership to a really nice yoga studio, where I fall in love with every single one of my teachers. Everysingleone. Most are women, but this happens to be a man. A young one. He’s probably in his early to mid-20s. His voice during practice is like a calming blanket. And I melt under his hands whenever he makes adjustments to my poses. Second, it was just, well, incredibly special to realize that I am noticeably pregnant. I’ve been diligently taking bump photos every week or two and I’ll eventually be starting an official bump page, but for now, here’s a little unofficial taste taken this past weekend at around 16 weeks.

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16 weeks exactly.

All of the sudden, I am becoming one of those pregnant ladies in the grocery store that I used to smile/scowl at. As warm of a feeling this is, it comes with these little stabs of guilt. I pass couples who aren’t carting kids around and I wonder. Am I making her hurt?

2) Remember how I decided not to buy a doppler? Well, I panicked one night (less than a week after that post was written) and, without hesitation or much additional thought, bought a doppler. Hunted one down on craigslist and hounded the poor woman until she agreed to let me drive over at 8 o’clock at night and pick it up from her house. I don’t use it very often. Maybe once a week, give or take. It was really easy to find both heart beats at first, because my uterus was low and they were small and I knew exactly where to look. Now it’s a bit harder to find both. And, I know that, so I look for them less often, try to rely on that faith in nature and in my body, and when I do look for them and have trouble finding them, I don’t love it, but I also don’t freak out. I put the doppler away and I try again a few hours later. Easy. (LIES)

3) I had my NT scan. I can’t believe it was three weeks ago. I’m ashamed that it was three weeks ago and I haven’t reported on it. Is it even news? Do you even care anymore? Probably not, but I’ll proceed anyway. First of all, I was terrified (as usual), but not as terrified as I would have been if I had not had my first OB appointment a week before. My OB is of the lovely variety who gives a quickie ultrasound for twins to listen for heart beats, because he wants to be absolutely positive that he is listening to both and not just to one reflected off of a wall or something. Thank my stars for him. But one week later, I’m at the NT scan. It lasted an hour and a half. An hour and a half of laying in a dimly lit room with a big, beautiful flatscreen TV positioned high on the wall in front of me.

And you guys. When the live image popped up on the screen, it was all of Baby B. And Baby B had the hiccups. And then Baby B stretched its little legs out like it was straight chilling. Exactly like I do on road trips when I stretch my legs out on the dash like this. My mom used to get annoyed with me because I would leave toe prints on the inside of the windshield, but now Artsy Engineer just cleans them off without a word. Yup. He loves me. Anyway, when we switched over to Baby A, it had its little arm bent and its five fingers extended. It looked like it was trying to work its tiny little thumb up to its mouth.

And because I’m all about images this week, here are a two of each of the babes. They caught both babies doing the adorable things described above in pictures for me, and I will include them on the Inmates’ page. But for now, here are the babes and their best profile shots.

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Baby B. Heart, bum, knees, toes.

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Baby A was snuggled in and not really up for photos. But the profile. Those lips.

Looking at their faces right now, I want to hold them in my hands. I want to kiss their lips and noses. I want to run my finger lightly over their faces to help them relax like my dad did with me when I was a child. I’ve looked at these pictures at least 25 times in the last three weeks, but typing this right now is the first time they – these two, my Inmates – have brought tears of love to my eyes. I’ll be honest with you guys. I have had a difficult time really connecting with these guys. Yes, I’m 16 and a half weeks and I talk about wanting to meet them and we purchased our first item for the nursery and my body is changing, but up to now, the protective armor has seemed still solidly snapped into place. There are babies in there and their skulls are the size of apricots right now (incredible) and I love those ideas, but have I developed an attachment to these particular children? I don’t know. I think these present tears indicate that I’m getting closer. I cried when I first heard their heart beats, but was that love or was that relief?

And, on that note, I cannot end today’s post without recognizing that today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I need to acknowledge the pregnancy that I lost and the ones that many of you have lost. I am so sorry. So so sorry. No one should have to experience this. And especially sorry for those who have lost more than one. Because my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage, I have spent this new pregnancy in fear that I will be a sufferer of repeat pregnancy loss. Why? Because every one of these women started with one. Despite evidence to the contrary, I still fear this. And I also fear the increased risks of preterm labor and infant mortality that come with multiple gestation. Desperately at times and at times blunt and mildly.

But as I sit here and think of these babies inside of me, I have to keep repeating the words borrowed by a sisterfriend in the blog world: This is its own pregnancy.

Do twins run in your family?

September 30, 2013 § 29 Comments

Over the last few days, the Artsy Engineer and I have told our friends and a number of coworkers about our pregnancy. I cannot conceal my expanding stomach very well anymore, and we were riding the wave all of last week from the most incredible ultrasound I’ve ever had. I promise I will post about this ultrasound soon, but for now, I want to talk about people’s reactions to my pregnancy.

After ohmygodhowwonderful! the first thing out of everyone’s mouth has been, Do twins run in your family!??

Now, for some reason, I was not initially prepared for this at all. I guess I kind of assumed that people would be aware that infertility exists (WHAT? PEOPLE CAN’T GET PREGNANT?!!) and that they would, therefore, know that twins often means infertility and thus refrain from asking questions that would put me in a position to talk about my uterus.

I would have escaped this if I’d only had one in there, for sure. But no dice.

My response to this comment has surprised me, though. I have found it impossible to answer them with a simple little lie. Nope! Weird, right? would often be easier. But, as much as I want it to, that statement just won’t seem come out of my mouth.

See, I do not want to be one of those people who perpetuates the myth that everyone can knocked up. And the myth that getting pregnant means glitter and rainbows and fresh-smelling babies for all. I don’t want to contribute to the silence and the stigma. This may be a semi-anonymous blog, but that’s only because I’m a paranoid woman who watches too many crime reality shows (and by too many, I mean any), and I don’t want some weirdie to find me online and stalk me and cut me up into little pieces. (If you’re out there, weirdie, eff off. Cut up your own self.) It is not because I want to talk about my infertility without anyone actually knowing about my infertility.

But that doesn’t mean that I have, up until now, shouted my empty womb from the rooftops. It was no secret at work and among my friends that we wanted babies years ago. In fact, our voiced justification of our marriage after 7 years of living together in sin as “domestic partners” was that we figured we might as well make things easier on ourselves and do things in order. So when people started asking how it was going or when people mentioned babies, I told them. It sucks. It’s going shittily, actually. We’ve been trying for 18 months and I’ve had a miscarriage and it’s been expensive and black hole distracting and heartbreaking. I didn’t realize this, but apparently it happens to 1 in 8 of us, and I happen to be one of the lucky ones. But I’m fine. Really, I’m fine.

Now, my response to the twin question is similar. So. Do twins run the family?

Yes, they do actually. My husband’s great grandmother was one of three sets of twins born to his great great grandmother (and a member of the only set that survived), and his grandmother had twin siblings who died at childbirth. BUT, that’s not the side of the family that makes any difference genetically. It’s got to be on the woman’s side to have an impact. These particular twins are the result of fertility treatments, because my husband and I had a hard time getting pregnant. But we have had it relatively easy. There are so many women who go through so much more. I barely skimmed the surface.

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AE’s great grandmother is the adorable little one looking offscreen just to the right of his greatgreat grandmother. When she got older, everyone called her Mother Jill (even though her name was not Jill). She turns into the warmest-looking grandmother I’ve ever seen in a picture.

And, you know, I walk away from those conversations with my head held high, feeling incredibly proud of myself. A simple “nope” would have been easier. I’ve wanted to say it every single time. But instead, my brain has gone against my will and has chosen to blurt out the truth. Our truth. The truth about us.

12 weeks, 3 days: Pants, you are my worst enemy

September 16, 2013 § 22 Comments

Best part about dissertation writing days spent at home?

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And, for those of you still interested, I decided against the fetal doppler for now. I’m starting to feel more at ease, and maybe I should just leave well enough alone. I’m just not willing to bring anything new into the picture that might add to the anxiety that seems to be currently starting to slip away. No setbacks welcomed here.

Also, two of you lovelies commented on the topic of faith. Now, if you’ve read this blog at all, you probably know that I am not a religious person. JulieB said that she has come to appreciate “faith in a secular context as a great mental strength to develop.” And I can get behind this. So, this is what I’m working on right now. Faith in my body. Faith in these babies. After infertility and pregnancy loss, I’m trying to redevelop that faith that this body I have here is capable of sustaining pregnancy and bearing these babes. Seems impossible. But I have to keep reminding myself that so far the evidence is strongly in my favor.

My first OB appointment is on Thursday, and I have my first trimester screen and NT scan exactly one week from today. Best news of the week is that we decided to take Thursday and Friday off and drive 18 hours round trip this past weekend to tell my grandparents about the babies in person. My grandmother cried and cried. And then she forgot and I got to tell her again and she cried and cried some more.

Oh, and there is another highlight. I am definitely sporting a very small bump. Noticeable only when nekkid. But, guys. There is no mistaking it. I’m thickening like bread dough. In fact, last Wednesday I decided to LEAVE WORK EARLY because the waistline of my skirt was too tight.

Hence the UNzippered action.

I WANT TO HEAR YOU, BABIES!

September 10, 2013 § 27 Comments

I have had a fetal doppler occupying my ebay watch list for the last month or so, but I’ve been able to avoid it buying it because of any number of reasons. For example. The babies are too low, too small, and it might get confusing with two. Most importantly, though, I will very likely have a hard time finding them at times and LOSE MY FREAKING MIND.

But. I do want to hear them. I want to be able to listen to them. Imagining them in there is good, but the heart beats would make it so much more real. And, probably equally as much (spoken like a true subfertile, or whatever), I want the reassurance. I am a sucker for reassurance these days.

I just don’t want this thing to cause more tears of fear than tears of tenderness. Like, right now, I am feeling pretty good about the fact that there are two live babies inside of me. But if I were to pull out a doppler and be unable to find them, it isn’t too hard to imagine that that feeling good would turn into feeling not so good. Feeling really neuroticallyhorribleawfulterrifiedhysterical.

But, again, on the other hand, if I had one I could hear them. Probably every day. I could pull the doppler out when Artsy Engineer and I are sitting on the couch after dinner, doing our down time thing, and they could join us for a little while. So maybe it’s worth it.

So, I don’t know, guys. PROCEED TO CHECKOUT or DELETE FROM CART?

The whole twins thing

September 8, 2013 § 31 Comments

I’ve been promising a post dedicated to my response to the fact that I am pregnant with two babies for awhile now.

First, though. Thanks for all of your reassurance about the babies being okay while I was in Stage III. And, more importantly, the decision to buy the minivan. I’ve been driving it for a couple of days now. And, let me tell you. That thing is P.I.M.P. I have not regretted that decision for a minute. I am going to be so baller.

And the babies. The Artsy Engineer really wanted to bake the cookies, so we did. He also picked out a thank you card and wrote a really clever and appreciative note to the staff. (He is a clever man.) We did, however, cover our asses and left everything outside of the clinic hiding behind some plants in case something went wrong and we had to keep our naive optimism hidden. But it was unnecessary. The babies are continuing to do well. They’re on track. Beat beat beating away. Heart rates are still within normal limits. Baby A’s was 180 and Baby B’s was 168. (When we were leaving, one of the administrative assistants insisted that it must be a girl and a boy because of this. Whatever. Just give them to me healthy and happy.) Baby B was kicking its little legs around and waving its arms. Nobody wanted to hold still for measurements or photos. I added the photos to the Inmates’ page anyway. Note: If you look at the picture, tell me that my uterus (or whatever the name is for that visible lighter layer that surrounds each amniotic sac.. if you know I’d be interested) does not look like a swan’s neck encircling the babies. Anyway, I think they pick up on all of the stress hormone coursing through my veins and see it as a cue to go nuts. (SO GLAD my job means that I am aware of the fact that in utero cortisol exposure is associated with right amygdala volume, susceptibility to affective problems in childhood, glucocorticoid secretion in adulthood, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Among other things. So awesome that I will be doing the bulk of my dissertation and going on internship interviews during the course of this pregnancy. Good luck, babies!!!) The nurses actually gave us a little gift, as well. A pair of monkey stuffed animals. Incredibly sweet and pretty surreal. Real objects of comfort for my real live babies who will (please please) be here in March.

But the twin thing. I promised to talk about the twin thing. And K over at the cork & stork blog made a direct request, so I figure it’s time to get on it.

Let me start by saying that I have never been one of those people who wanted twins. Never thought they’d be especially cute. I actually always kind of felt a little bad for twins and their families. So much work for the parents! You don’t get your own birthday! Etc, etc. In fact, when we were discussing options for paying for IVF, the biggest reason we were wary of the shared risk program was that it necessitated the transfer of two embryos (if there were two). I know that there are benefits to twins, too. There is always a playmate around. A teammate. A confidante. And I get two babies! That part is nothing but perfect.

But, when I found out it was two, my reaction was not all tinsel and snowflakes. I cried with love when I heard each of their hearts beat in turn, yes. I was enamored with each of them instantly. But the whole TWINS thing? Gahhh.

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My reaction was initially not all that different to my reaction to these two.

Truthfully, I don’t even like the term, which is why you haven’t really seen my use it in this space. The Artsy Engineer and I substituted the term the babies from the beginning. The word twins implies an entity. And the word for one member of this pair, a twin, always made me think that the person was not whole or complete or individual by him or herself. So, we have twins, yes. But I prefer to think of it as we are having two babies. At once.

Put my lexical quirkiness aside, and there are other concerns that linger.

1) Health. Mine and the babies. Straight talk. There is more risk for them. And more risk for me. And I don’t like this at all.

2) Money. Money will not always be a thing for us. I get that. I will not make bank, by any means, when I finally get myself a real grown up job, but I will make our living more comfortable. For now, though, we get by on a single income brought in by a state employee in addition to help from my parents for big purchases (like minivans and the down payment on the house). We are going to be soooo broke next year. We have some idealistic remedies for this that may or may not pan out, like cloth diapers and breastfeeding. But there will still need to be either daycare OR my husband taking a year off of work and doing the stay-at-home-dad thing while I make a whopping 20 grand while on internship and supplement with student loans.

3) The individual bond with the babies and their own individuality from one another. This sounds silly, but I have a hard time picturing how I will have as strong of a bond with each of these children as I would if I were to only have one child. I won’t be able to spend nearly as much one on one time with Baby A and Baby B. Will that affect my bond with them? Perhaps this concern is unfounded. I don’t know. I’ve never had children. Maybe it would even be a good thing in that it’s nearly impossible to be a helicopter parent of twins. I just can’t divide my attention and devote it fully to two children at once. Maybe they will grow up being a little less spoiled and a little less certain of their place in the center of the universe. Which has got to be a good thing. Also, I will not dress these children alike. When they are old enough to know the difference, they will have their own things.

4) My sanity. This is probably naive, too. But I always thought I’d be one of those parents who maintain her own individuality while also becoming a mom. I am passionate about many things. I don’t want to lose myself in my children and talk or think of nothing else. Do I want to be a mom? Yes. And the family is the most important of my values. But I don’t want to lose my Self. I don’t want to lose my relationship with husband. I don’t want to lose my spark and brightness. And when it comes down to it, it’s simply going to be more work with two than it would be with one. I know this. Can we handle it? Definitely. Will it always be with grace? Nope. But my husband is a hands-on kind of dude. I have no doubt that he will parent as much as I parent. This will surely help.

5) My stomach. Here’s the thing. I’ve always been thin. Not unhealthily thin. But on the very low end of normal,healthy weight kind of thin. When you’ve always been thin, certain things happen. You hear about it from others. A lot. In middle school I was lovingly teased for my knees being the thickest part of my legs. During puberty, this morphed into backhanded ‘compliments’ from friends and acquaintances in the locker room during gym class. Things like, “ugh, i hate you” or “ugh, i wish i was skinny so could pull off those [insert clothing item here].” They were always said with a tone of disdain and a bit of an exaggerated glare that was meant to be cute but actually made me feel kind of bad on the inside. And I never knew how to respond to that sort of thing. I still don’t. I thought this would end with the end of college, maybe. But it turns out that it’s not just teenagers who do this. Adults do it, too. And let me tell you what happens when people around you place so much attention on the object that is your body. You start paying more attention to the object that is your body. Thinness becomes part of your identity. Just like blonde hair might. And, I wont lie. I’m a little more vain than I’d care to admit. I like my thinness. I like my flat stomach. Do I think curves are beautiful? And bellies on women? ABSOLUTELY. But they aren’t my body. This is hard for me to say out loud. It’s really embarrassing, actually. I love bodies, in general. And they don’t have to be perfect bodies for me to see beauty in them. But do I love the fact that I will develop what they apparently refer to as “twin skin”? I don’t have to answer that question because Google it. Do I love the fact that I probably won’t wear a bikini again? Effno.

Now.

Do I wish my two babies were one? Absolutely not. I love them each. I would be devastated if we lost either of them. I want both of these babies in our lives. And, while I don’t do the whole religion thing, I feel so blessed by the universe. So very grateful.

As an aside, I cannot wait to see my dad’s face light up when he meets them for the first time. His response was positively glowing when I told him about the two. I believe he just said, “perfect, Lentil.” My dad is a pediatric ICU doctor. Children love him and he loves them back. He’s the kind of doctor who brings water guns into the hospital to make kids laugh. Unfortunately, most of the kids he treats are so sick, they can’t play back. But he does it nonetheless, because he knows even a weak smile can make a difference. He also has this thing with the mother/child bond. He actually knows a ton of research on this subject. And he collects art depicting it as well, especially Native American depictions. So, yeah. Artsy Engineer and I cannot wait to make him a grandparent and to have him around our babes as long as nature allows it.

This may be the wordiest post I’ve ever written, so you’re welcome. Also, please kick my ass in comments if this sounds unappreciative or insensitive to my infertile sisters still in the trenches. I mean. I wrote a whole paragraph about what the babies may do to my stomach, for godsake. I am so very hypersensitive to all of that. In fact, sometimes I don’t post because of it. So I avoid, which is definitely not the way to do it either. I don’t know. There is no published etiquette for this sort of thing. If there were, I would have hunted it down and devoured it already.

When will I be able to breath again?

September 3, 2013 § 43 Comments

Being pregnant after infertility is really just very weird.

It is definitely not what I thought it would be. Which was pure unadulterated relief. Joy. Heavy, happy sighs. Floating of baby names and predictions of gender. And joy. And relief.

That was clearly very naive of me. It is all of those things. At times. But it is also some other really not so nice things.

My faith in this pregnancy can be understood as coming in three stages.

Stage I: Right after an ultrasound, I feel on top of the fucking world. Like life could not improve if I won the lottery and my family could live forever and I could travel and not work feel no stress ever again. This is obviously the best stage. And, consequently, the time when I am most excited and can get absolutely no work done. I fill my day with googling things like “twins AND sense of self” and “side-by-side versus tandem double strollers” and “baby carrying twins.” It is bliss. I’d live there forever if I could.

Stage II: And then after a few days, I start having nightmares. I mentioned these before. But, guys. They are so bad. I do fine during the day, but at night I dream of dead babies. Dead babies sliding out of me when I pee, disastrous dead baby ultrasounds, stillbirths. I’m able to snap myself out of it when I wake up. I can keep the monsters at bay during the day. I continue my google frenzy. And then I go to sleep again. And the icebabies cometh. This is happening about 4 times a week.

Stage III: Finally, as the next ultrasound draws near, I can’t even control the fear during the day. I’m certain I’ve spent the last weeks kidding myself. There are no more babies in there.

It’s such a confusing rollercoaster. Right now I’m in Stage III. My last appointment with my RE is tomorrow. It is the day I am supposed to ‘graduate.’ I am going to predict a few things. I will not sleep tonight. I will shake during my drive in. And I will have ridiculously high blood pressure when I get there. The Artsy Engineer and I talked about baking some of my grandpa’s oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the nurses and other staff and taking them with us tomorrow, but I don’t know if I can do it. What if we come in carrying cookies and everything they represent (e.g., optimism, hope, ease) and come out with no babies? I don’t think I could manage the pity I would feel (imagined or otherwise) from the providers. She even brought cookies. Poor dear.

In true fashion, though, I am at least trying to fight this beast tooth and nail. I want so badly to enjoy this pregnancy. It may, after all, be the only one I have.

So, we did some crazy stuff over the last couple of weeks.

First, we started belly pictures. I think all I have right now is bloat, but my stomach is definitely not as flat as it was a month ago and I know it’s going to ‘show’ faster than a singleton pregnancy, so I want to document this progression. I’ll be 11 weeks on Friday, after all. Second, I went maternity shopping with my mom this weekend, who was visiting from out of town. If these twins continue to grow, I will need these clothes faster than most. I didn’t really want to buy any, but I have very few friends who have been pregnant and none who live in the area. And my mom was really excited about it. I may not get to see her again before I start needing stretchier pants, so I let caution to the wind and went with it. It was frightening. And exhausting. I used a prosthetic belly while trying on a couple of items, which was waaay WEIRD. We were there for nearly 2.5 hours. And I came home in significant enough pain that I was having a hard time walking without wincing (and I have a pretty high pain tolerance). Pretty sure it was coming from my uterosacral ligaments around my tailbone, but I can’t be sure.

And third (this is the real kicker), we bought a new car. We needed it. Both of our cars have nearly 200,000 miles on them. And my car is breaking down regularly. It was time. What I did not think it was time for was the type of car we went with. Get this. We bought a minivan. An 2011 Odyssey with only 20,000 miles on it. For a steal.

I thought I was years (possibly a lifetime) away from a minivan. But, listen. I am about to have 2 kids (positive thoughts), I have two dogs who come with us everywhere, and we drive all over the country to visit family. More than anyone else I know. I’m talking 16-24 hour one way trips. Comfort and ease are crucial.

We were first thinking we’d go with a wagon. But then we looked at the size of the double strollers. Those suckers come up to my husband’s nips (folded up). They are enormous. There is no way we could fit stroller and dogs. Or stroller and groceries. Or a stroller and anything else. I was shocked. So, naturally, we moved up to thinking we’d get an SUV. But holy gas mileage! And, really, many of them didn’t have too much more space than the wagon. And they’re expensive!

Then I test drove a minivan. And I was like, alright, Lentil. This car is perfect. It will carry your shit comfortably. It gets 28 miles to the gallon. It drives more like a car than a boat. You hate driving boats. You can WALK into the back seat and feed your babies while driving across the country.

I realized that the only thing that was not perfect about this van was, well, that it was a van. You know what I’m talking about. The van image includes the mom jeans, the food stains, those horrible stick figure family decals on cars (my reaction to which Things That Hurt Me in My Soul describes perfectly). Which is so silly. But still. I’m still in my 20s (for another month and a half). Am I really at the point where I am considering buying a minivan? Me? But I’m hip! I go to shows and love beer. I eat pretentious foodie food and make my own household products and shop at consignment stores. I DO NOT drive minivans.

But, really. Does a woman piling out of a luxury SUV with a couple of kids and a husband carrying two diaper bags look hip? No. Definitely not. It isn’t the car that determines the hipness. So, who am I kidding? The reality of the situation is that we will become a family of 4 (please please, universe) overnight. In March. And I’m pretty sure all I’m going to care about at that point is making the day-to-day things simpler and more convenient. So a minivan it is. We pick it up from the seller on Thursday morning. And I’m actually incredibly excited about the car and pleased with the decision. Unreal. Maybe I’ll even post a pic. You guys can help me think of names for it. And, if push comes to shove (har har), it has plenty of room for this.

Still pregnant: 9w6d

August 22, 2013 § 33 Comments

Being away at the cottage on the lake with 35 family members was definitely THE way to pass time post-bleeding and pre-ultrasound. Truthfully, I stopped worrying entirely. I just forgot about it. And it probably helped that I was obviously nauseated for the first time in this pregnancy starting on Saturday. I’m back to feeling fine now, but Saturday and Sunday were a incredibly uncomfortable. In fact, the only time when I didn’t feel like I was a 7 out of 10 on the nausea scale when a 7.5 would include violent vomiting was when I was physically shoving food in my mouth. The act of eating was the single thing I could do to relieve it, but as soon as I was done chewing, it was back. Very strange. Anyway, I was relaxed enough to spend 4 hours shivering and crashing repeated into the water while trying to learn how to windsurf. So, yeah. I’d say I was feeling pretty decent.

It was really difficult not to tell my extended family. We get to see everyone together like this once a year. My mom is the oldest of 6, and I have somewhere around 18 cousins on that side (I’m feeling too lazy to count on my fingers). I’m the oldest. The youngest are a pair of 9 year old identical twin boys. It would have been so nice to be able to share the news in person. But we just weren’t ready.

Yesterday’s ultrasound was easy and fast and very much a relief. Pre-scan, while I was failing to provide a urine sample (I can’t force a pee when I’m anxious to save my life) and taking a nervous poo instead, the nurse told Artsy Engineer that this ultrasound was huuuge. He was sweating bullets by the time I got back to the room. But, guys, everything is fine. Inmates 122 and 124, as Artsy Engineer has coined them, are growing as they should. They were 20mm and 19.5mm, respectively. Nearly an inch. We got to hear the heartbeats again and they were so incredibly fast it scared me. According to the RE, everything is within normal limits, so I will trust her, but they were both around 180, which seems on the high end. They looked like a mix between gummy bears and gingerbread mean, so god knows who their parents are. When I look closely at the ultrasound photos, I feel like I can make out faces, which is very likely my imagination. Kind of like identifying objects in the clouds. But, seriously, they all of the sudden look like they could become real humans and it’s so weird/cool. And. Get this. They took turns wiggling. They were still while the RE was taking their measurements, but then when she was going back to snap some quick photos for us, Baby A started wiggling. And then Baby B joined in. It was, well, surreal. I don’t think I have any other words for it.

I also scheduled with a real OB, but that appointment is still a month out, when I’ll be nearly 13 weeks. I’ll have one more at the fertility clinic in two weeks before my relationship with them comes to an end. I’m strangely a little bit sad about it.

I will write another post soon about all of the thoughts we’ve been fielding about having two babies. I’ve already caught Artsy Engineer googling double strollers. And the other day, while he was at work (strange because, unlike me, when he’s at work, he is strictly business and does nothing but work), he sent me an email with a link to a site about the logistics of cloth diapering twins. But in actuality, in addition to the pure joy I’m experiencing at the idea that we get to meet at once two people who come entirely from my self and the person I love most in this world, I’m also having quite a lot of worries about carrying/birthing/parenting twins. So that will have to wait for another day.

And, finally, I started a new page for ultrasound photos. I want to document and share these babies, but I am also terrified to do so. It’s like the ultimate baby clothes buying in early pregnancy no-no.

Ah well. Screw it. I’m doing it.

Roadtripping

August 15, 2013 § 12 Comments

Because this fear hangover (thank you, Sarah, for giving this feeling a name) has me a bit loopy and because I’ve been in the car for 5 hours, I’m going to indulge in a touch of photographic self-centeredness. Or. A touch more self-centeredness, given that this is, in fact, an entire blog devoted to my Self. Gahh. When I say that outloud it makes me feel a little silly.

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my dear driver

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bony bare kicks

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baby B and baby A at last week's ultrasound (6w4d)

Ok. I swear I’ll stop clogging your feed now.

Relief, perhaps?

August 15, 2013 § 22 Comments

But not the ultimate. No ultrasound this morning.

The bleeding stopped as abruptly as it started. The red turned lighter, then to a light brown. And within the hours it was completely gone. No cramping. Clean toilet paper. Nothing.

The nurse sounded relieved and optimistic when I called her this morning. She told me that brief bleeding without cramping or clots is not a cause for concern. She said that the progesterone suppositories I’ve been using for 6 weeks now can make the cervix especially sensitive. And according to my research, twins can mean more progesterone, which can mean now bleeding. The nurse said that this type of brief bleeding could happen here and there throughout the pregnancy and that it could mean nothing. I believe her. (And I believe all of you, my dear dear sisterfri.) But with reservations.

Since last week’s incredibly surprising ultrasound, I have experienced a vast smorgasbord of thoughts and emotions about carrying and caring for two children. Most of them were lovely lovely thoughts. And, I think reasonably, a couple were on the holy shit spectrum. But nearly all of them were drenched in this sticky, warm optimism that came from god knows where. I really didn’t seriously question the continued development of these babies. It was such an awesome feeling.

So. Have I jumped to being terrified that this pregnancy is over? No, though I was last night. Waking up to no more blood has left me hopeful.

But. Holy shit. The blissful curtain of optimism is gone. I’ve been knocked down a solid several rungs on the ladder. I’ve got nothing but faith in my body (the one that up to now has SUCKED at all things related to babymaking) to rely on until my scheduled ultrasound on Tuesday morning. I’m on my way to Canada now for our family reunion, and I’m really glad to be going. There will be about 40 people there, and the alternative¬† (my dissertation) is a sorry distraction by comparison.

Thank you, dearly, for all of your sweet words over the last 24 hours. And for sharing in our shock and surprise at the two babies news. What a freaking rollercoaster, you guys.

I was going to write a post about all of my scattered and excited twin thoughts over the last week

August 14, 2013 § 35 Comments

But now, all of the sudden, I’m bleeding.

The nurse at the RE’s office told me to hang tight. Do nothing. Stay off my feet. Put on a maxi and monitor it and then call them when they open at 7 AM tomorrow to update them. We’re supposed to be leaving at 5 AM tomorrow morning for a family reunion about 8 hours away and not getting back until Sunday.

This is so shitty. And I can’t stop crying.