Monday, December 29, 2008

Back to the mines

So, I did it. I called Smirky's office this morning for the first time in more than a year. It was funny, actually. I really didn't know what to say. The receptionist--the sweetest woman in the world--answered the phone and I stammered:

Um...er...I don't know if you remember me, but, well, um, I got pregnant a year ago June thanks to you and had twins 9 months ago. Well, um....er....I...well, um, I have two frozen blastocysts and we'd like to come in for a consultation because, well, I guess....well, I mean, we're thinking about trying for another.

Yeah. I'm graceful under pressure.

Despite my incoherence, I did manage to book an appointment for next Thursday.

NEXT Thursday.

Holy sh*t.

I know it doesn't mean we're doing something next Friday so I don't need to totally panic yet, but it does mean we're moving forward. Or talking about moving forward. On Thursday.

Tonight at dinner I asked hubby, "so, really, you're ready to add ANOTHER child to this equation?"

"Yeah! I really think I am!"

Wow. What, not enough chaos in our lives right now, then?

But, that's the kind of optimistic thinking that could really get me in trouble, frankly. I mean, I'm already talking as if deciding to "try" means that we'll get to take home a real, live baby in the imminent future.

It's cute how naive I've gotten again, isn't it?

Of course, all of this talk is really premature given that I haven't had AF since June of '07. Yeah, that's right. Since my IVF cycle.

Is that normal?! The stickies are more than 9 months old. Don't get me wrong, I'm LOVING the hiatus. I don't miss her ugly mug one bit. But still. I can't help but wonder: is something amiss?

I'll definitely update after my visit to Smirky's office. I still can't say I really know what I think of all this. I guess my biggest fear is getting drawn back into the vortex of cycling and HPTs, OPKs, betas, shots, waiting, wondering, hoping, and disappointment.

But, one step at a time. I'll just talk to Smirky and figure out what this whole FET entails and how long after I get AF for the first time we need to wait before diving in.

Madness. Happy madness (for now), but madness nonetheless.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Feeding time at the zoo

I haven't posted much about breastfeeding. Mostly because there isn't much to post. It's gone reasonably well. Sure, there are twin moms out there who have had even more success. Hats off to them! But what I've settled into mostly works for me.

I never breastfed exclusively. Almost, but never exclusively. In the beginning I would supplement with maybe an ounce or two here and there (mostly with Sweet Potato), nothing much. By the time the stickies were a bit older, I would supplement with a bottle at night, but breastfed the rest of the day. Then, not too long after I went back to work, I was almost exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. You see, I would breastfeed both babies in the morning--which was my absolute favorite time of day with them--but then would pump and bottle feed for the rest of the day.

Frankly, it was just easier. I was at work all day, so had no choice then. And, when I got home, trying to breastfeed both of them before bed was something I had long since stopped--it was too complicated and too tenuous. I wanted to make sure they both got great feeds before bed, and depending on the last time I pumped or fed, my supply at night wasn't enough to satiate both. (They stickies have been eating 8-10 ounces at a sitting for a while. I generally pump 6-8 ounces at a sitting, which is only enough to satiate one, and barely that.)

But, by pumping all day, including two to three times after they go to bed, I've been able to maintain a supply that gets them 75-90% of what they eat during the day, depending on the day. (The days either one goes on a tear, they get more formula.)

I'm pretty proud of what I've done so far. The stickies will be 9 months old next week and are thriving. I take some small amount of pride in the fact that that might have something to do with getting so much breast milk for so long. I'm not saying that they wouldn't be doing great without it, and I am making NO judgment call on anyone who doesn't, particularly because I didn't suffer through supply or latching issues, or any other of the myriad things that would have definitely caused me to stop earlier. Rather, I'm just proud that, because it's been relatively easy, I've kept it going.

But, as you might expect, it's getting tough. Sweet Potato has already weaned himself. He stopped showing any interest in the morning breastfeed several weeks ago. I was adamant about NOT fighting to breastfeed. That doesn't feel good to either of us. So, I let him wean himself and we exclusively bottle feed him (mostly breast milk).

Monkey Girl and I still really enjoy our morning feed, though. It's a really special mother-daughter time that I know I'll treasure forever. But, I fear that it, too, might be close to coming to an end. I worry. There have been a couple of days this week when I had to pump before she got up and couldn't feed. I worry that too many of those days will lead her to wean herself, too. Then I'll have nothing. I'll be exclusively pumping. I'm not ready for that.

I realize that it's still really good for them (to pump and feed breast milk). But selfishly, I want to maintain that morning feed for as long as I can. It's the last real physical attachment I have to either of the stickies at this point and I'm not ready to give that up.

You see, among other things, giving it up would be like a larger symbol of leaving the baby stage. Something that I'm at once both really excited and sad for. Excited because they get more and more fun every day. Sad because this has been such a magical and wonderful stage and I really can't believe it's coming to a close. I want to savor every last second; to sip it slowly like a fine wine because, given our history and the fact that since we were blessed with twins, I can't see going down the treatment road again if the FET doesn't work, I don't really know if we'll be lucky enough to have another.

And so tomorrow, I'm going to do everything in my power to breastfeed Monkey Girl. And I'm going to hope she lingers a little longer than usual. I'm going to treasure every touch of her hand on my skin and on my face. I'm going to drink in her beautiful scent and I'm going to savor the way she looks up at me with her beautiful big blue eyes.

And I'm going to hope that time slows down, just this once.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Remembering

It's not the same, I know, but today will always hold a special place in my heart. If things had gone according to plan, we'd be celebrating the second birthday of the the baby I lost in my first miscarriage.

There is no question that sweet potato and monkey girl take the sting out of this year's anniversary. It's not sad this year as much as it is bittersweet. But it is a reminder of everything that we went through.

I can so clearly remember two years ago the pain I felt. We were several months past miscarriage. We had gone to the RE for the first time for a first round of tests and realized that nothing was "wrong." You know, other than the fact that we had gotten pregnant, lost the baby, then couldn't seem to get pregnant again.

I remember how much pressure I had put on the holidays that year--I just kept telling myself that as long as I was pregnant by the holidays, everything would be okay.

Needless to say, I wasn't pregnant. Hubby and I got in a big fight on December 4 that year. He thought I was taking it too hard, and I thought he was being too flip about it. I remember the fight SO. CLEARLY. And I can remember the pain and the desperation I felt. That day, two years ago, I really felt, perhaps for the first time, that this journey might actually not end happily. I realized that, for some, eventually taking home a baby isn't a foregone conclusion, and that we might be among that group.

In the midst of the most painful months, I can remember hubby and I talking and saying that, if someone just told us that it would take us X months to get pregnant, but that we would, indeed, have children, it would be easier to go through IF. The certainty of knowing that it would ultimately work was all we needed.

In hindsight, that's absolutely true. Looking back, it doesn't seem like it took that long to get pregnant after that first "due date." I mean, 16 months after the miscarriage and 8 months after the due date, the stickies nestled in for the long haul. I now see how lucky we were that that happened so quickly. At the time, though, that didn't feel quick. It felt raw, interminable, painful.

But now? Well, now here I sit. I have a half-decorated tree and two extra stockings hung. I don't know if we'll ever find time to finish putting the ornaments up, but I don't care. My house has never looked more chaotic, but it's never felt fuller.

And, while I'm not saying that everything happens for a reason, I can say that the joy I feel right now makes the pain we went through somehow okay. I mean, I would do anything for monkey girl and sweet potato, and that journey did bring them to me. I know we're lucky in that way. I know there are far too many people who haven't gotten the light at the end of the tunnel, and my heart breaks for you.

So, on this December 4, in honor of everyone having a tough holiday season, I want to remember the one we lost. And I wish everyone joy that will dull the aches that right now are so intense.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

S*x and the CIty

So I was lying in bed, mindlessly reading my US Weekly, and discovered that they are thinking of making a sequel to S@x and the City: The Movie.

Did anyone else see the first? Was it me or was it not AWFUL? Seriously. It was impressively bad. I mean, I was expecting chick-flick bad. You know, the kind of bad where we all recognize it's not great cinema, but it's fun to watch with your girlfriends.

But SATC didn't even qualify as that. One of my best friends was up for the weekend, hubby had made himself scarce. We broke open a bottle of wine and ordered it up on Apple TV. Then, we sat through an excruciatingly painful hour and a half and I wondered how it was that I could enjoy the series so much when I hated the movie so viciously.

And now they are making ANOTHER. And we all know that sequels are far worse than the original. (Except The G*dfather. Or so I hear, I've never actually seen it.)

Anyhow, it just sounds awful to me. They've already made each of the four women an absolute caricature of her role in the series, I can't imagine what that's going to look like in the next movie. Worse, I suppose. I hope SJP has the good sense not to do it...

In other news...well...there's really not much. The stickies are 7.5 months old. The crawling thing is old news by now, I guess, though it still amazes me how fast they are. And they pull up. They're like little adult babies. They eat like crazy, too, though still seem like little peanuts to me. I guess they're just burning off a crazy amount of energy each day.

We haven't really talked much more about January. (You know, that hubby was talking about transferring the sticksicles in January? Yeah. That.) I suspect we won't do it that early. I'm not really feeling ready to jump into that again. I suspect we'll wait until at least the stickies' first birthday, if for no other reason than to really be able to enjoy it without adding any complications to the mix.

I have to say I have really mixed feelings about going into the TTC world again. I mean, we hit the jackpot. Two beautiful, healthy babies: a boy and a girl. Isn't that when you're supposed to cut your losses? I'm just so afriad something bad might happen that would put a damper on our happiness, you know?

And, the thing is, I'm really happy right now. Tired? Of course. Stressed? No question. But happy. I love monkey girl and sweet potato so much. Hubby and I have, I think, settled into parenthood really nicely. (Sure, we can be kind of a disaster, but in all the normal ways. Nothing out-of-the ordinary, which in my mind is the definition of success, you know?)

So, we'll see what happens.

My last thought is a bit bittersweet. I don't know if you've been feeling this way, but it seems to me that so many of my bloggy friends have either stopped blogging altogether, or post so infrequently. (Yes, I realize I fall into that category.) It makes me sad. This blog was such a huge part of my journey to parenthood and now I feel like a chapter of it is closing. And, the thing is, irl, I keep in touch with my closest friends. I don't just drift apart. So, it's kind of weird to have online friends who know more intimate details about parts of my journey than real-life friends who I'll likely just never talk to again.

I guess in one way it's kind of beautiful. These wonderful women were brought into my life at exactly the moment I needed them and provided the support I needed. But, still. When I surfed over to Anna's blog this week and read that she would no longer be blogging, it was definitely kind of sad.

Wishing you the best, my friend! I hope that our paths cross again.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Crawling and colds

Yes, that’s right, my 6 month old babies are crawling. Well, Sweet Potato is full-on crawling. Monkey Girl is almost there. She’s got forward motion and can get from point A to point B, but it’s not technically a crawl yet.

Oh, and sweet potato has started pulling up as well.

Did I mention these children are 6 months old?

Holy sh*t, we’re in trouble.

I of course ran out to BRU to get gates. Ironically, I ran into a couple who had twins. The twins were snuggled nicely into their car seats, riding in the double snap n go. I thought to myself, “I remember those days, when we could take the kids on errands like that. Back in those months where they’d sleep anywhere and didn't want to be on the move every. waking. moment.”

So, as I gazed at the one was snoozing away, and the other placidly looking around. I asked, “oh, how old?”

“6 months.”

Huh??

I don't know what you've experienced, but the two six month olds I know are a.) in bed by 6:30 (frequently by 6:00) every night and b.) if they were awake, they'd be crawling all over BRU, not happily looking around from their carseats.

I'm not complaining. They're super-fun. We went to the aquarium last weekend and they actually really enjoyed it. Sweet potato particularly loved the frogs. And monkey girl pet a starfish. So, I'm glad they're moving into an age when they can really enjoy things.

But you better believe that the gates are going up this weekend!

In other news, my two sweet little babies have the beginnings of their first cold. You know who gave it to them? Me.

Crap. I suck.

I just hope it isn't too bad. I know they have to get sick eventually, but it makes me so sad.

*sigh*

But, to leave us on a high note, look how big they've gotten!

Monday, September 22, 2008

6 months

The stickies are six months old. Wow. Can you believe that? What a long, strange trip it’s been!

I could give you a long-winded explanation for my absence for the past month, but the reality is that it’s just been busy. Work, bla, bla, bla. You get it. And it’s not that interesting.

I desperately want to quit and just hang out with hubby and the kiddos. But, you know, we’d still have to pay bills and stuff, and haven’t worked out how exactly that would happen sans my (our) income. We did buy a lottery ticket today, though, so it’s not like we’re not doing anything to make it happen.

On the more interesting side, monkey girl and sweet potato are fabulous. Here’s what's new(ish):

1. Swimming. Yes, that’s right, we take swimming lessons with the stickies every Saturday morning. They are SO. MUCH. FUN. Monkey girl and sweet potato were a bit scared at first, but they really get into it. Monkey girl, in particular. She’s going to be a fish, I can already tell. We had to toss them to the instructor this Saturday and let their heads go under water (eek!!), and she took it like a champ. I was so impressed (especially given how traumatized I was by the whole thing...)

2. They are so freaking active. They’ve been rolling all around for ages, and are now literally almost crawling. Sweet Potato started effectively crawling backwards a few weeks ago. Since then he’s been rocking back and forth on his hands and knees, gaining strength everyday. And now he’s even added forward motion to the mix. It’s not actual crawling. It’s more like getting up on his hands and knees and thrusting himself forward. But, it does get him to those hard to reach toys.

Monkey girl is not far behind. She never really did the backwards crawling thing, but is also rocking back and forth. And she’s rolling all around to get from point A to point B. We can't take our eyes off them. Just the other day, sweet potato was on the activity mat in the middle of the floor. I went to warm a bottle and turned my back for maybe a minute. When I turned back around he was all the way on the other side of the floor. He had been eyeing the dog's leash and had figured out a way to get across the room to grab it.

So, yeah. It seems like pretty soon we’re going to have babies going every which way. Must. Babyproof. IMMEDIATELY.

3. They had their 6-month appointment today. The shots broke my heart, as usual. They cried. I cried. It was a mess. But, they took it like champs. I now keep them on a strict tylen0l regimen after shots to take the edge off--it makes a HUGE difference.

But, it was a big day: monkey girl has officially surpassed sweet potato in weight for the first time ever. She’s 15lbs 6 oz to his 15lbs 1oz. Well done, girl! He’s still bested her in height, though, by about ¼ inch. They’re both growing really well and are healthy, so we’re all happy.

4. Eating “solids.” Monkey girl and sweet potato have been eating “solids” since just after their 4-month appointment. (Though, I have trouble calling the mush solid, but you get it.) Sweet potato eats it up—he LOVES it. Monkey girl…not so much. She always makes a face that makes it look like we’re inflicting some strange breed of torture on her. She’s coming along, slowly but surely though. She definitely likes oatmeal better than rice cereal, and she seemed to like carrots. I’m thinking she’ll really take to fruit once we introduce that, so I’m kind of excited about that. We shall see!

5. Stranger anxiety has set in. It’s not terrible, but when strangers—grandparents among them—decide to launch a full-frontal attack the SECOND we walk in a door, the stickies lose it.

I can’t blame them, really, I’d lose it if 50 strange-looking relatives were all up in my grill the second I woke up from a nap or walked into a strange house. But people don’t get that. In fact, they make it worse. They get in the kids’ faces then, when monkey girl and sweet potato start to cry, they get up in their faces MORE trying to “cheer them up.” It both irritates me and makes me feel bad. Particularly when it’s hubby’s mom. The babies always cry when she picks them up. Of course, she’s the biggest “get in their face” culprit, so it doesn’t particularly surprise me, but I do feel badly when it happens.

That’s about it. But, for the first time in a while, it’s more than enough. I’m still bursting with love for these little ones. More and more every day. They amaze me. I’m so proud of them and love spending time with them. We’re very lucky, and we tell each other as much every night before we go to bed.

Oh, (she mentions casually), and hubby wants to transfer the sticksicles in January.

January!

I haven’t had time to even process what that would mean… I just don’t know that I will have it in me to jump back into TTC. Or even pregnancy, should we even get that lucky again.

I can't even think about it now. (Which I'm sure means that we will not be doing anything of the sort in four months. But, it does mean that we're not too far off from starting these conversations again. I feel fortunate that the conversations will be SO DIFFERENT this time around, but wow.)

To be continued...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Daddy's Little Architect

I know several bloggers more eloquent than I have quite rationally ranted against the horribly sexist clothing that seems to be the only option for our daughters. I join them in their fury--it's MADDENING that the only options for our girls are frilly, pink, and princess-themed.

But, while I remain frilly-averse, I've sort of gotten used to the pink thing. On the one hand, monkey girl looks super cute in hot pink. But also, she's got a firey personality and I'm certain that she's wearing pink with a deep sense of irony.

What continues to really get me, though, is that I can't find much for my little girl that isn't princess themed. This pisses me off on so many levels. First, my daughter is five months old--she quite literally has her whole life ahead of her. She has nothing but potential, and yet the best that we can hope for, apparently, is that she grow up to be a helpless, defenseless, submissive, PRINCESS. That she aspire to nothing more than waiting idly by for a knight in shining armor who will come and sweep her off her feet. And if that prince never comes, well, I guess we're supposed to believe she doesn't live happily ever after? That her life is somehow incomplete?

Are you fucking kidding me, people?

So, because I've had it, I went on a rant to a poor unsuspecting soul who had the audacity to buy a bib with a picture of a frog prince on the front and which said "princess" across the top. (Sorry, mom.)

And, right after my rant, I started to mentally go through all of the bibs and onesies we've gotten and realized that, while I have a few for sweet potato that say things like "daddy's little helper," or "dad's team," none that were bought specifically for monkey girl had her as anything but passive and submissive.*

So, I went online tonight and bought her this. I'm thinking of getting a whole damn clothing line of my own to match--no princess themes allowed. Who's with me?














*Yes, I do of course dress monkey girl in some of the other clothes. But I know that they weren't intended for her, and the intent still irks me, even if I'm working around it on my own.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cosmic want ad

As I think anyone who’s been reading knows, since the stickies were born, I’ve struggled quite a bit with this whole work/life balance issue. And, I was talking to my friend C last night and telling her how conflicted I’ve been feeling about being back at work and about I can’t seem to figure out what I really want. (Do I want to just go part time? Look for another job? Stick it out and just set clearer boundaries? Etc.)

She said that when she was struggling through some similar issues, she read a book that suggested writing a cosmic want ad—a list of all of the things you want out of life, no holds barred. (She included “have clear skin,” for example, on hers.) She explained that it was a really cathartic exercise for her, that it helped her sort through some things, and that, surprisingly, she’s gotten almost all of them.

So, in lieu of a real update, which I promise will be forthcoming (August has been a NIGHTMARE at work, but is finally starting to settle down, so I’ll be able to get back online a bit more), here is my cosmic want ad.

Okay, universe, your turn. Now let’s see what you can do!

Wanted

I want a job that pays what I make now (or more ☺), where I enjoy as much responsibility and respect as I have, but where I have to work no more than 60 percent time.
I want to have enough money saved that monkey girl and sweet potato never want for anything, can go to college wherever they want, and so that hubby and I don’t have to stress in our retirement.
I want to not have to worry about money.
I want to get back in shape.
I want to find a haircut that I just love.
I want to find some kick-ass shoes and get rid of my boring old ones.
I want to get back into the classroom for at least another few years before the end of my career.
I want monkey girl and sweet potato to know that, despite whatever pressure they might feel from society, they can do whatever they want and whatever they set their minds to.
I want monkey girl and sweet potato to grow up happy and healthy, and I want them to know and to feel with every fiber of their being how loved they are, how special they are, and how lucky we feel to have them in our lives.
I want monkey girl and sweet potato to grow up knowing that it’s more important to be nice, thoughtful, giving, and caring of others than it is to be financially successful.
I want monkey girl and sweet potato to know what a great dad they have, and to know how much I love him.
I want to learn how to curb my temper and not take my moods out on the people I love the most.
I want monkey girl to grow up in a household where she feels removed from all of the societal pressure for her to look and act a certain way. Ditto for sweet potato.
I want to be an example for monkey girl and sweet potato of a strong and independent woman, and I want them both to have respect for all of the women in our family who have worked so hard for the good of others.
20 years from now, I want to remember what it feels like to walk through the door after a day at work and see my babies’ faces light up, as if there was nothing they wanted more in the world than to see their mom.
I want to make time to go to on vacation with my family every summer, and to do nothing but spend time together.
I want my parents to see monkey girl and sweet potato graduate from college and get married, should they choose to do so.
I want hubby to know that there’s nobody I’d rather spend my life with.
I want my brother to know how much he’s meant in my life, and I want him to play a big part in my kids’ lives.
I want to learn to let go.
I want to make sure I don’t let my busy schedule get in the way of my close friendships, which mean the world to me.
I want the courage to surrender my own ambition, without compromising myself, and to never look back.

What would your cosmic want ad look like?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Worst. Sleep. Ever.

Sweet Potato: “Hey, Monkey Girl! Did you notice how smug mom and dad are getting about our sleeping? It’s like they just expect us to sleep from, say, 7:30 until 5:30am. I think it’s time to start training them to play with us in the middle of the night.”

Monkey Girl: *suck, suck, suck*

Sweet Potato: MOOONKEEEY GIIIIRRRL!

MG: Huh? Oh. What now, SP?

SP: Fine, you don’t have to help, but I’m waking mom and dad up Right. Now!

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

MG: You know they’re already onto thus crying/fussing thing. You need to throw something else into the mix.

SP: Good point. Did I tell you? I learned this new trick that really freaks them out. I flip onto my stomach in the crib so that I’m face down in the sheets. Mom always picks me up. It’s great fun. Watch!

Flip.

WAAAAAAAAAAAA! WAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

(Mom enters. Freaks out as predicted, and flips sweet potato.)

SP: See! Now, watch, I’m going to do it again.

MG: I’m bored with this game. Good night.

SP: WAAAAAAAAAAA!

Flip.

Freak out.

Repeat.

Flash forward to 2:00am

SP: okay, I’ve tortured them enough. I’m going to sleep.

MG: Great! My turn!

Flash forward to 3:45am.

MG: okay, now I’m tired.

SP: but now I’m HUNGRY! WAAAAAAAAA!

*************************
This reenactment has been brought to you by the Children Against Parental Sleep Council of America.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ten Twin-Mom Commandments (as told by Sticky)

  1. If you spend money on something that buys you a week’s worth of sanity in the first few months, it was NOT a waste of money. I don’t care what anyone says.

  2. If at all possible, for the sake of sanity, have your partner get up for every feeding with you. There is nothing worse than juggling two crying babies at 3:30am…for the fourth time…when sleep deprived. (I still turn to hubby when Monkey Girl or Sweet Potato wakes up and say, “Monkey Girl is up. It’s your turn to get her.” He wondered once when it was my turn. I told him I’d happily get up and change her when I could come and pass him/her right off to him to feed for god-knows-how-long.)

  3. Sometimes babies cry. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent. (I have to repeat this mantra in my head. Frequently. I'm hoping it'll stick.)

  4. When losing your mind during the evening fussy period…which can seem interminable around two and a half months when you hear the cries of your babies in stereo and fewer people are around to help than when they were first born, see #3 above.

  5. If you never fold or put away another article of clothing for as long as you live, it’ll be okay. Think of all the room you’ll save on dressers and hangers.

  6. When, at a time when you haven’t pieced together more than three hours of sleep at a time for god-only-knows-how-long, someone regales you with stories of how their babies slept through the night beginning at six weeks, you are totally within your rights to throttle them. A jury of twin moms will completely understand.

  7. Read as many books on parenting and sleep habits as you want, but don’t hesitate to use them as kindling when you can’t afford to heat the house anymore because you just HAD to buy that extra swing because it was the only contraption that kept your lovelies quiet for more than 60 seconds and you just. needed. two. (See also #1 above.)

  8. Don’t make yourself feel guilty if you gave more attention to one in any given day. Your love and attention will be equally showered on both in the long run.

  9. Redefine your expectations of what a productive day looks like. If you get a shower and a full meal in, well then you’re my hero.

  10. Don’t listen to people who tell you it won’t get better until the twins are two, or three, or in high school. First of all, who the hell does that help? And, second of all, as far as I can tell, it gets better everyday, with every smile and every belly laugh. I have no doubt it’ll never be easy, but, as they say, nothing worthwhile ever is.*
*I should preface #10, however, by saying that I live in fear of the day when they’re both super mobile and go in opposite directions at a million miles an hour wreaking havoc in every corner of the house. I caught a glimpse this weekend when Sweet Potato flipped over face-down in his swing (yes, while strapped in—I don’t get this at all!) at the same time that Monkey girl pulled a giant blanket off the couch on top of her. I didn’t know who to try to save first and I’m pretty sure the SIDS police was notified and I’m now on permanent watch.

Also, happy transfer day, stickies! It's been a year since you've been officially entrusted to my care. I hope I've done you proud. You've certainly exceeded all of my expectations since the start. :-)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The beginning...

Hmmmm…what to post.

There’s a lot bubbing around in my head, but none of it makes its way coherently onto a page.

I’m back at work now, so that’s big. And exhausting. It’s funny, I always used to think I was tired after a week's work before. Man did I not know from tired. I also didn’t realize how much work I used to do from home. I have so many meetings and calls during the day that I would put in a few hours of actual work when I got home at night or on the weekends. Now that I am otherwise occupied with something far more fun and interesting for a good portion of the evening, and now that I’m tired as all get out and don’t want to look at work after the kids go to bed, I realize how reliant on that time I was because I am BEHIND!

But, all of that is really insignificant compared to the bigger picture. That is, one year ago today I got my fertilization report. 7-8 of 10 eggs fertilized. One of those seven is spitting up on hubby as we speak. The other is cracking herself up in her swing.

*sigh*

One thing that’s been occurring to me lately is that, while the stickies have been around for less than half of the time I was actually pregnant, the pregnancy itself seems like a blip. In retrospect, it seems like such an insignificant part of my life, though I know it wasn’t. I mean, for so long I thought of not much else. Then during the pregnancy, it seemed to drag on forever—like an endless waiting game. And now? Now I barely give it a fleeting thought. Ditto for the c-section and everything that went along with it. I remember that it did hurt, but I can’t remember the pain at all. And I can barely piece together what those four days in the hospital were like; it was such a blur.

But, here we are. And you know, it’s funny. I’ve been thinking about the fact that, when asked, most parents will cite the day their kids are born as the most important of their lives. If you asked me on that day, I’m sure I would have given you the same answer, but more because I intellectually understood the importance of the day rather than because I felt its weight. (On the contrary, I think all I could really feel was overwhelmed. And, frankly, confused. “Wait—these are OURS?”) Now I understand. The reason people say the day their kids are born was the best or most important of their lives is not necessarily because of that day itself. Rather, it’s because that’s the day that you can point to and say, "well, that’s when this all began."

For IVF patients, though, I wonder, is the day they’re born more momentous somehow than the day of your retrieval? Or the day you got the fertilization report? Or the transfer? Because today, on this one-year anniversary of the fertilization report, I find myself wondering, in retrospect, whether it wasn’t a year ago yesterday that was the most important of my life. Or a year ago Thursday when we said, somewhat flippantly, "okay, let's transfer two."

After all, wasn’t that truly the beginning?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Milestones

Sweet Potato rolled over today. He ROLLED OVER. And Monkey Girl pulled herself forward on her activity mat. And they're both grabbing toys and holding their heads up so well. It's insane how quickly they change and grow. I'm so proud.

And you know what all of this made me realize? I realized I'm going to be one of those parents. You know the ones; they're convinced their children are so fabulously advanced and delightful and wonderful?

Except, of course, in my case it's true. They are truly delightful children.* See?










*Biased? Me? Okay...maybe just a bit... :-)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Growing up and away…

I was reading Serenity’s latest post about remembering, and something really struck me. In one of her last lines she said, “as we celebrate every milestone, he grows away from me.” As I read that line, I cried.

And as I thought more about it, I realize that I feel like I’m crying a lot more now than I have in the past, even more than I did throughout our struggles with infertility. But this crying is so very different.

Now I cry because my heart is so full, it’s almost constantly ready to burst. I started to tear up yesterday when both Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato grabbed their first toy. They just reached right out and grabbed a hold of it and took it out of my hands. It was such a sweet moment—you could almost see them learning and their little brains working as they stared so intently at this tiny ring; as they batted it a few times as if to see if it were really there; and as they wrapped their tiny little fingers around it and took it away. And I was so proud of them it was almost silly.

And I start to get all teary when I just think about their future milestones. I’m reduced to tears when I think about buying Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato their first ice cream cone and seeing their eyes light up when they go to the beach for the first time.

And I cry when I think about the first time they’re not going to be invited to a birthday party, and the first time their feelings are going get hurt by another person from whom I won’t be able to protect them.

I cry when I think about establishing those sweet traditions that are going to arise organically from the monotony of day-to-day life and that I probably won’t even realize how much I’ll treasure until much, much later.

But, Serenity’s right. All of these milestones will help Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato develop a sense of independence. And I know that I’ll be so proud of them; so proud to watch them grow up and need me less and less. But at the same time, I know that as they get older and need me less and less, and when they are embarrassed by my hugs and kisses and want me to drop them off a block away from school, I know I’m going to desperately miss these early days. These days when their little faces just light up when I come over to give them a kiss. These days when they want nothing more than to smoosh with me all day long.

And so, for the first time in my life, I both can’t wait to experience all of their firsts, but also wish that I could pause time to really cherish every single second I have with them right now.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Awkward conversations

It turns out that this couple--you remember, the ones with the giant inflatable stork?--had their second child about three weeks before the stickies. And, we've run into her and her husband quite a bit on our walks with doggie...and, well, it turns out we've got a lot in common and we've started to get friendly. To the point where I think we might hang out.

How long do you think before I tell them that I almost mutilated their stork in a fit of infertility-induced rage?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Anonymous

I got my first hostile anonymous comment today. (The first comment in the post below, for anyone interested in checking it out.) It’s funny—it was such a personal attack on my parenting that you’d think I’d be upset by it. But I’m really not. Both because the comment showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the post I had written and because this person doesn’t have the faintest clue who I am or what kinds of parents hubby and I are. And, more than that, I get that by writing a public blog I open myself up to this kind of malice.

And, frankly, I’ve seen worse. In a previous job, I wrote Op-Eds on a fiercely debated topic, and let me tell you, people can be vicious when you’re engaged in a public, heated debate. I remember once getting a personal phone call from a high-ranking government official who called me just to bitch me out about a piece I had written. I think I was 27 at the time. I think he would have been embarrassed to realize he was getting all worked up by nothing more than a young punk with a computer.

Now that I think about it, actually, I guess I started to subject myself to such scrutiny at a fairly young age. I can remember reading a New York Times article about feminism when I was a senior in college that got me really fired up. So much so that I wrote a letter to the editor, and it got published. When I returned to my dorm about a week later, I had a handwritten letter from some old man who’d attended my alma mater in the dark ages. He wrote me a four-page letter just to bitch me out, to tell me that a woman’s place was in the home, and to tell me that I’d never find a man. I still have that letter—my first piece of creepy and argumentative hate mail, I suppose.

But, today’s comment got me to thinking about how judgmental people are when it comes to parenting and infertility. I mean, the evil letters and calls I got when I wrote these other Op-Eds and letters to the editor made somehow more sense to me. I was purposefully engaging in the public debate on a hot-button issue for the express purpose of trying to persuade people. On this blog, however, I’m not trying to persuade anyone of anything. I’m merely cataloging my journey, my struggles. And so, when, cloaked in a veil of anonymity, someone without any knowledge of me takes the time to comment only to tell me I’m a bad parent, I’m left wondering, what’s the point? Not to help, surely, since the tone and substance of the comment didn’t offer anything worthwhile—no helpful suggestions or even assvice.

It’s curious, having a blog sometimes, isn’t it? We open ourselves up to criticism and scrutiny. But, I suppose there is some comfort. After all, as Ego surmises in Ratatouille (by far my favorite P1xar flic):

“In many ways, the work of a critic is easy. We risk very little yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and their selves to our judgment. We thrive on negative criticism, which is fun to write and to read, but the bitter truth we critics must face is that, in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”

That’s of course, even truer of anonymous criticism…

Who’s the boss?

I’m a total geek. And a little OCD to boot. So, it should come as no surprise that I read a lot of books on raising kids, particularly on establishing good sleeping habits. Unfortunately, what I’m realizing is that, other than protecting them from overstimulation (see our utter meltdown below), it seems that these kids are going to fall into a schedule all on their own, and the best I can do is let it happen.

Take this morning for example. You see, yesterday my parents took care of Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato while I was at a half-day meeting at work. (Yes, I’m still on unpaid maternity leave. More on that crap later.) I tried to explain to them what we’re trying to do by trying to follow Dr. Weissbl*th’s “Hea1thy Habits” tips. i.e., watching for drowsy signs and soothing the kids to sleep when they start to get tired, motionless sleep, not keeping them up for more than 1-2 hours at a time, etc. And I explained that we’re trying to ease them into a schedule of three naps—one somewhere around 9:00, another somewhere around lunchtime, and a final late afternoon nap.

Unfortunately, something got lost in the translation. My parents took that to mean nap them in their swings (with the swings on) from 8:45 until after noon.

Now, if they slept that long on their own, then obviously they were tired, and there’s not much we can do. But, the fact that the swing was on the whole time makes me think that we kept them asleep when they otherwise might have woken up to eat, etc. Plus, according to W*issbluth’s sleep bible, that kind of sleep is far less than ideal, so they probably didn’t get the restorative sleep they really needed.

Then, since my parents had them pseudo-napping in their swing until lunchtime, their afternoon nap got all kinds of screwed up. And they basically didn’t sleep again until bedtime, with the exception of a tiny catnap. The result? Evening meltdowns.

The thing is, the reason I’m really trying to get their naps right is that I don’t want our primary interactions with our kids when we go back to work to be evening meltdowns. That just sounds stressful and upsetting to me. Well, that and having overtired kids is a disaster. Both hubby and I really need our sleep, so I expect that the stickies will be similar. (Sweet Potato, especially. He really gets cranky when he’s tired. Monkey Girl—other than when she’s EXHAUSTED, is the freaking happiest baby in the world.)

So, last night I decided that for the rest of the week I was going to work really hard to get this nap thing right, to see how it worked, so I could give more specific guidance to my parents and the nanny next week when I’m back at work. And, my obliging wee ones slept until 6:00am this morning (after going to bed at 8:00—we’re so f’ing spoiled I can hardly stand it). So, I fed them and at 7:00am thought, “I’m going to take them on a walk with the dog and play with them a bit and try to push their morning nap to as close to 9:00am as I can.

But then, both kids fell fast asleep on the walk. When we got home at 7:30 I thought, “well, we’ll just put them down for a few minutes and I’m sure they’ll wake right up. They always do.”

They’ve been asleep ever since. Proving yet again that I’m not in control here and that, they are going to fall into their own patterns in spite of what I’m doing.

So, perhaps I should just pay better attention to them, make sure not to get them overtired, and let the chips fall where they may, huh? They’re going to continually test my inner geek/inner planner. ☺

Oops…8:25 and they’re both waking up. Let’s see how the rest of the day goes.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

M-E-L-T-D-O-W-N (Updated)

I’ve said this before, and I assume I’ll say in an infinitesimal number of times to come, but, just when we think we’ve gotten some things figured out, the stickies show us who’s boss.

Well, that’s not fair. Actually, just when we get all smug that we’ve gotten things figured out, we screw it up. Royally.

Today started out beautifully. Last night was the perfect night. We got both stickies in bed after a good solid feed. And, when we put them to bed, neither uttered a single peep. Neither a fuss nor a cry. For EIGHT solid hours. Not only that, but my mother was here. So, after we fed them both at 5am, we were able to put them back down and pass the monitor to my mom, who took over until their next feed. So, in all, we were able to piece together nine hours of sleep. It was magical.

Of course, then we started to screw everything up, one small decision at a time. You see, first of all, when my mom is watching the kids, there’s definitely the potential of overstimulation. She is not great about putting them down for naps when they’re starting to display signs of tiredness, both because I think she enjoys playing with them and because I think she lives in fear of the dual meltdown. So, if they start to fuss when she puts them down, she immediately gets them back. (This is of course not a great idea—sometimes they’ll fuss a little, then fall fast asleep. And picking them up stimulates them, rather than soothes them, and so they miss a nap.)

This alone wouldn’t be a big deal. We could have taken over at 9am and gotten things back on track. But, instead we got up. I fed them again. We played with them a little. Monkey Girl fell asleep—she was clearly exhausted—but Sweet Potato did not. Then, hubby decided he wanted to take a quick trip up to his parents. So, around noon, we fed them both again, jumped in the car, and headed up. (We had to wake up Monkey Girl to do this. Something my gut told me not to do. Always listen to your gut. Damnit.)

That was the catastrophic mistake. You see, hubby’s parents’ house is the single most stimulating place on earth. His mom is fairly manic and loves playing with kids. (She used to wake her own children up from naps because she was bored and wanted to play with them.) So, since the kids were already slightly overtired and plenty stimulated from the morning, this was the worst place to go.

But, we decided to add insult to injury with every decision throughout the day. You see, we have a new nighttime routine that’s been going pretty well. We give the kids a bath and a good long feed, followed by a soothing ritual, then right to bed. And, we try to do this and get them in bed somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30, unless they’ve had a late afternoon/early evening nap. But, today, we didn’t even end up leaving hubby’s parents’ until 5:30, which meant we didn’t get home until 6:30—not nearly enough time to get two overtired and wired kids to bed in an hour. And at this point, Monkey Girl basically hadn’t slept all day and was constantly on the verge of a total and complete meltdown. (I kept trying to put her down, but someone kept picking her up. It was maddening.)

Needless to say, by the time we got home, both kids were in full-on meltdown mode. And it just got worse and worse. They were hungry, but exhausted. They breastfed, but wouldn’t take their bottle supplement, which they really need at this point in the evening.

We finally put them down at 8:00ish, but I know they didn’t eat enough. They were just too tired and trying to feed them—whether on the breast or the bottle—was restarting screaming fits because all they wanted to do at this point was go to sleep. (Of course, sleep was eluding them as well, so we kept getting confused: were they crying because they were tired or hungry? It’s tough to tell when the answer is clearly, “both,” but when they keep fighting one for the other.)

We finally gave up on feeding them—it was clear they needed to sleep before they ate again. So, we were finally able to soothe them to sleep. Unfortunately, now I fear we’re headed for a night where they both wake up every hour and a half. Sweet Potato has already woken up once at 9:30 to eat. (But, again, he was too tired to take more than just enough to put him back to sleep, so I assume he’ll be up again soon.) And, I’m fully expecting Monkey Girl to follow suit, though of course on a slightly different schedule, just to ensure we don’t get any sleep. (Serves us right, huh?)

*sigh*

Let’s just chalk this up to a learning experience and *hope* that we don’t act so flip with the napping/feeding routine in the future!

UPDATE: Two quick things. One: I love my kids. Despite our total and complete failure to get them to nap and eat appropriately yesterday, they slept like champs. Both until 5:30am. They are superstars. Unfortunately, I was so wound up from the horrible evening (and my contribution to it) that I slept like crap. Helas...

Two: As if I needed more evidence, I clearly don't know what the hell I'm doing as a mom. Thank god these kids are apparently too little to realize my utter and complete failures. Man, am I ever in for it when they get older if we aren't careful, though! :-)

Friday, June 06, 2008

A different world

I have this cousin, let’s call her the single most fertile person in the world. She got pregnant with her first child the MONTH her husband has his vasectomy reversed. The same month! That was just a couple of months before our first miscarriage, and at the beginning of our infertility journey.

Flash forward two plus years to this May. We’re at the stickies’ christening and she casually mentions to me that they want to start trying for number two in December, because they’d like to have a baby next fall.

“So, you’re assuming you’re going to get pregnant the first month trying again.”

“Well, yeah. We’re counting on it.”

“Even though you’re 35 and it could take, oh, I don’t know, more that one wild night to get pregnant.”

“*blink* *blink* Well, anyhow, it’s probably a moot point because we probably got pregnant last night.”

“huh?”

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure we got pregnant last night because we forgot to use anything.”

Flash forward 14 days.

“Hi, sticky! So, yeah, we’re pregnant. I wanted to wait to tell you until the doctor confirmed it.* I knew that was going to happen. I’m so annoyed because I really didn’t want to be seven months pregnant at my brother’s wedding in the fall.”

“Yeah, it can be tough when things don’t go exactly as planned, huh?”

Just wow…it’s a different world, huh?

*I’m not sure what she meant by “wait” to tell me. HPTs aren’t always even positive that damn early!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Part of the "in" crowd

Among the posts I’ve been meaning to write is a rant about my neighborhood. You see, when hubby and I moved from DC, we ended up in a nice, suburban neighborhood chock full of lots of families with small children. (Truthfully, I wanted something a little more urban feeling, but this was the compromise we ended up with.) All in all, we’re very happy with our home and our neighborhood, despite the fact that I think people used to see us as the creepy couple with no kids. I didn’t realize how strange it would feel to live in suburbia and not have kids. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, or if it was just because we were struggling with infertility the entire time, but we really felt like fish out of water. At least in our neighborhood, we are pretty much the only house that didn’t—and still does not—have a swing set in the backyard. It’s all a little Stepford, if you ask me.

Anyhow, we’ve lived here for more than two years. And, in that two years, exactly two families have gone out of their way to introduce themselves to us—the family next door and the one across the street. Everyone else has completely, utterly ignored our existence. Despite the fact that we have a dog who we walk twice a day, everyday. So, it’s not the case that we’ve been holed up in our house being antisocial.

During all of those months of infertility and heartbreak, I would tell hubby that, if we ever were blessed with a child, I was certain that people were going to start talking to us. And that, if that were the case, it was going to royally piss me off. Like, what, we’re untouchable peons unless we have kids? Bite me.

Well, boy was I ever right. Now that the stickies have arrived, people are coming out of the woodwork to introduce themselves. On our twice daily walks now, people come out of their houses to introduce themselves and congratulate us, etc. But, what’s more, almost every single one of them says something along the lines of, “We had always seen you both walking your dog, but then only saw hubby for a while. Now we know what happened!”

Interesting. So, you knew that we were your neighbors. You saw us walking our dog everyday. You were even sometimes out at the same time as we were. But NEVER until we had kids did you bother to talk to us.

Of course, I don’t know if that’s better or worse than our neighbor who lives, I kid you not, two doors down, who actually said to us, “oh, did you just move into the neighborhood?” Nope. We’ve lived here almost two and a half years. “Oh, well this must be the first time you’re out and about.” Again, nope. Two years we’ve been here. And we’ve been out and about twice a day everyday for those two years—in rain, snow, sunshine, whathaveyou. But thanks for being so neighborly and welcoming us into the ‘hood!

All the attention really irks me now, I have to say. I feel like we’re in one of those painful teen beat movies and I’m the geek who just got the makeover (read: lost the glasses) and now it’s okay to talk to me. And, the attention from the neighbors rings as hollow in reality as in those movies.

Man do I miss the city sometimes…

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tough decisions

On this beautiful Memorial Day, hubby and I just spent some time watching a slideshow of photos of the stickies. The photos brought me to tears. On the one hand, I can't believe how big they've gotten. They've grown out of their newborn outfits and diapers, their head control is getting better and better by the day, and their smiles. Oh, their smiles. I melt. I mean, look at this:


And, something occured to me this morning. It occured to me as I sat on a conference call. On this beautiful day. During the UNPAID portion of my maternity leave. What occured to me is this: I hate my job. Or, at least, I don't love it. Not nearly enough to justify allowing it to keep me away from these beautiful little kids for a minute longer than I have to. And in the pre-sticky era, I was away from home a lot. I worked long hours, and spent way more time battling traffic--sometimes as much as five hours of traffic a day--than I will have the stomach for now. So today, after the conference call (which I swear was a repeat of a conversation I've had ten zillion times over the past three years), I came downstairs and told hubby I wanted to leave my job. I told him that I just don't have it in me to, for the fourth year in a row, have the same conversations, manage virtually the same projects, defend the same decisions, and do the same things day in and day out. All while someone else raises my kids. Kids it took us so long to have.

Unfortunately, we need my salary. We can't make ends meet without it. Not only that, the stickies and I are all on my insurance. And we need to be. If we were to be insured under hubby's plan it would cost us a prohibitive $1,400/month. (His job sucks. They pay for 0% of any family member's insurance. It's so crappy and un-family friendly, I could scream.) So, for me to leave work--or even to take a pay cut--we'd have to add $16K after taxes to the total amount of money we'd be losing out on. And we just can't afford that.

And so I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, and I just don't know what to do. Do I try to convince my current employer to let me go part time, knowing that I can't do my current job part-time? (And knowing how impossible it is to cut back when people across the organization already know you as the go-to person for certain projects.) Do I look for another job? Do I just try to cut back on hours or travel in my current position (knowing it will compromise my ability to do the job)?

I hate having to make these decisions, these trade offs. Why can't we all just be independently wealthy?*

*I recognize having money comes with problems of its own. But man right now it seems like it would make things easier!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

It's the sleep deprivation talking...

Just when we thought we were getting things figured out, Sweet Potato and Monkey Girl throw monkey wrenches into our systems. First, over the past week or so, Sweet Potato has started a new nighttime fussiness routine. This is more than a little upsetting, not just because it's heartbreaking not to be able to soothe your own child, but also because from everything I've read, fussiness is supposed to peak at six weeks and then get better. Sadly, it seems that Sweet Potato hasn't read the books, because his has been getting worse, not better, and the stickies are about eight and a half weeks now.

*sigh*

And, if that wasn't bad enough, last night's dual meltdown was an exhausting, utter and complete disaster. One or both babies essentially screamed bloody murder from 6:00pm until 11:00. And we were powerless to stop it the entire time.

Then, because their nighttime routines were so f'ed up, Sweet Potato woke up at 12:45, and Monkey Girl at 2-something, which meant that we couldn't string together a stretch of sleep of more than just over and hour all night. (Basically, unless they get to almost 3am, we're in for it because they never sleep as long after they go back to bed as the do during the "first" sleep of the night.) And that was the second night in the row that one of them woke up early and frequently. And the thing is, it's not like a "good" night sleep involves getting a full night's rest anyway, so after two nights like that, I'm pretty sure I'm starting to hallucinate. (Wait, was that a purple elephant outside of my window??)

And, the fact that, around the third hour of screaming I really start to loose my sense of humor just makes me feel like a crap mother. I mean, not only can I not soothe my children, but now I'm losing my patience? I suck.

But, can someone tell me who was the mastermind that decided that humans would start their lives with no ability to communicate (well, that is, except the blood curdling screams of an inconsolable infant who can't express what's making him or her so sad) and limited ability to sleep more than a few short hours at a time? Because either one of these things in isolation wouldn't be so hard to deal with, I don't think. I mean, sleep deprivation--it ain't fun, but we've all been there and could cope. And inconsolable crying? Well, I think if I were getting more sleep I think my patience level wouldn't feel so fried.

But, taken together, well, they test the limits of even the most sainted mother. Which I'm not.

I should say that, on the upside, Sweet Potato had at least one rock star night's sleep--8 and a half hours! (And another 7-hour stretch.) So, I feel like we might be getting *close* to turning a sleep corner. Now, if we could just get Monkey Girl to sleep longer! And if we can get Sweet Potato to replicate that sleep more often--then we'd be in business.

Of course, I confess that I got nowhere near 8 hours sleep despite Sweet Potato's rock star stretch both because Monkey Girl didn't sleep well that night and because after about his 5th hour sleeping, I woke up every 15 minutes or so to make sure he was still breathing.

So, yeah. I'm a little paranoid.

Thankfully, they're a very forgiving pair and don't seem to notice when I can't make it all better. In fact, they are both having longer alert period and are smiling up a storm at us. It's the best feeling in the world. Of course, it breaks my heart that one day they're going to push my hugs away and make me drop them off a block away to avoid the embarrassment. But, in the meantime, it's really fun to be able to play with them, and to see them smile and coo back. I mean, does it get cuter?

Friday, April 25, 2008

*Insert impossibly clever title here*

I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post. It really seems like only a day and a half. (Sure, that’s probably because I’ve only slept about 8 hours since then, so all of the days are just blending together, but whatever.)

The real shame is that, since my last post, I’ve thought of about a million updates for you—all wonderfully insightful and witty and otherwise brilliant. Unfortunately, because I haven’t been able to get my act together to write them down while they’re fresh in my mind, Poof! they’re gone. And the world will never know the genius that was…

So, in the way of a less witty and intelligent update, here it goes:

1. It turns out that having twins is hard. Really hard. I know what you’re thinking—we waited a freaking month to hear that having two kids is hard?! I’m never coming back again. But the thing is, it isn’t a cliché—it really is hard. Especially when they’re both crying and you feel powerless to stop it. And the funny thing is, everyone--our pediatrician, my lactation doc, our parents, random people we meet on the street--all tell us how well we're handling it. That we seem really calm "for twin parents." I can only imagine the disasters they see, then, because I'm constantly operating on almost zero sleep, have spit up on my clothes and in my hair, and panic when it looks like both babies are getting fussy at the same time.

Speaking of both babies getting fussy at the same time--it's super stressful. Sweet Potato has a cry that would absolutely break your heart. It’s like he is the saddest boy in the world and he just needs love. And the worst thing is when he’s crying like that and Monkey Girl starts to cry. She actually has tears. And seeing them stream down her face is equally heartbreaking. All I want to do is make them better, but I haven’t mastered the art of comforting two babies at once. If there are twin moms out there who have tips on how to comfort both babies at the same time, please share the secrets, because pretty soon hubby will be back at work full time and I’m on my own. And I’m scared about it.

The good news is that we’ve discovered the joy of excursions. Sure, it tires us out to be on the move all day, but when the babies are in motion, they’re calm. Asleep even. So, in addition to our daily dog walks, we take one excursion a day. And it makes me feel almost human on those days when I’ve strung together only three hours of sleep in total.

2. In the first week or so after delivery, I watched the weight fall off and thought, “how hard could this possibly be?” I dropped about 35 lbs of my 55 lb weight gain almost immediately and got all smug that I’d be back to my pre-transfer weight in no time. And now the scale is stuck and I’m realizing that I might have to actually cut out the B*n & J*rry’s and C0stco chocolate chunk cookies* if I want to drop the last 18. I’m not overly worried about it—I get that it will take a while—but I have to admit that it smarts a bit when the cashier at the B*st Buy asks me if I know what I’m having and I have to explain that I’m not, actually, pregnant anymore. *sigh*

3. I hate to say it, but I don’t miss being pregnant. I think I’m supposed to, but I just don’t. I am really enjoying being able to cut my toenails and sleep on my back. And I’m LOVING taking long walks again with the stickies and the dog. (The absolutely gorgeous weather we’ve been having doesn’t hurt either…) And I really love not having to rely on ultrasounds and dopplers to know how my babies are doing. For me, pregnancy was merely a means to an end. An end at which I’ve happily arrived.

4. I had my four week postpartum appointment last week and it looks like all’s well. I’ll be cleared to take baths, swim, and exercise after six weeks. (So, I guess I’ll have no excuse not to get started on dropping those 18lbs, huh?) Like so many infertile new moms, I had a good long laugh when my doc talked to me about birth control. “Start by using condoms right away. You need to be careful.” Ha! Ha! (doubles over laughing) Oh, wait. My bad. You were serious. Yeah, okay, I’ll go back to condoms. *wink, wink*

I mean, come on, if there’s one good thing about not being able to get pregnant without medical intervention, isn’t it that I don’t have to endure the nuisance of condoms ever again? Give me a break.

5. Breastfeeding twins is complicated on every level. On the one hand, if they’re both hungry at once, it’s hard to feed them together. I almost never do it. So, when you flip to those pages in your pregnancy books that show pictures of calm women nursing twins effortlessly by using the “football hold,” know that it’s a sham. It’s really hard. First of all, when they’re both attached to your breasts, you don’t have a free hand to help relatch one of them when they come off (or start hurting you), which they eventually will. Second, you can’t tend to one to burp him or her, etc. with the other is attached to you. (Or, I can’t anyway. Again, any dexterous twin moms out there with tips, I’m all ears.) Third, when they go on their tear where they’re both feeding every 2-2.5 hours, all you do is feed them. Literally. It’s all you do. And finally, without some serious dedication to feeding and pumping All. Day. Long. it’s really hard to build your supply up enough to avoid supplementing, particularly at night when the supply is lowest.

And, frankly, since breast milk is more easily digested, babies wake up hungry more often on breastmilk alone. So, I don’t really mind giving 10-20 cc’s of formula before bed in the hopes of getting, say, one three-hour stretch of sleep. (PS—that rarely happens, though, even with the supplementing, unless you fall asleep immediately when their heads hit the pillow. Oh, and only if they happen to be on the same feeding schedule at bedtime. It’s all very complicated…)

6. Yesterday was our anniversary. Four years. Of course, this year all we could muster the energy to do is go to the local brewery for a quick sandwich then come home to try to sleep (ha, ha!), but still. I wouldn’t have it any other way. ☺

Okay...babies crying...must go nurse. Moo. ☺

*For those of you who didn’t know, C0stco has THE BEST chocolate chip cookies in the world. Seriously, best ever. Pick some up today.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Quick updates and Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato

I feel like I have much to say, but little time to say it. And, because it’s been too long since my last post, here are a few un- (or semi-) related updates:

1. C-Section: Thankfully the c-section went pretty well. The spinal wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d anticipated, but it was definitely weird to be numb like that. I have to say that it probably did detract just a bit from the birth experience. It was weird to be behind a curtain, unable to move, and to hear my babies’ first cries. But, they quickly washed them up and brought them over to me. And hubby was able to hold them and I was able to touch and kiss them right away. It was definitely a surreal moment.

2. Recovery: Things have been going pretty well, all things considered. There’s no question that the first couple of days are hard. And, everything you’ve heard about getting up and moving around is right on the money—it helps immensely, even though it feels a bit torturous as you’re going through it. And the pain isn’t awful and remarkably does diminish noticeably with every passing day. Saturday was the worst day—but the only one I was on perc*cet (sp?). Since they I have only been on motrin and advil. And now I only take that just a little. I’m not quite 100% yet, but I’m a lot better and really looking forward to the weather getting nicer and being able to take nice long walks with the stickies and the dog again.

But, to all of you out there who may have a c-section in the future, here’s a tip from me to you—don’t let your bladder get too full when you’re recovering. This is a little known tip that nobody ever talks about (or that nobody every told me in any case), but let me tell you, it ain’t fun. I fell asleep for more than three hours one night after drinking a ton of water. When I woke up to go to the bathroom, I can’t tell you how much having a full bladder hurt! YIKES! And, it took a while after going to feel better. No fun. I wish someone had warned me.

3. The Stickies, aka Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato: So, now that the stickies have met the world—and shown their very distinct personalities—I’m going to have to refer to them by something other than the stickies. So, from now on you’ll likely be hearing about the adventures of monkey girl and sweet potato. Monkey girl because, well, my beautiful little girl looks and stretches like a cute little monkey. (We had actually bought them stuffed animals before they were born—a monkey for the boy and a giraffe for the girl—and we had to switch them. She really has monkey-like qualities.) Sweet potato because our little boy is always balled up like a little sack of potatoes. It’s so funny how different they are, even at just over a week old.

In any case, they are both beautiful and I love them. I definitely still stare at them wondering, “did you really come out of ME?” It’s so strange. And, they look and act NOTHING alike. It’s really funny. Monkey girl has so much hair! And it’s coiffed in this adorable little pixie cut—I mean, it’s got little spiky layers and everything. It’s really too funny. Sweet potato has hubby’s little round head and much more olive skin. (And hubby’s hair…or semi-lack thereof. ☺) It’s amazing to think how differently your genes can mix together and what they can produce.

4. Being a parent: I always knew that being a parent was going to feel overwhelming. And it does, but not in the way I expected. I thought that midnight feedings and sleep deprivation would be at the heart of it. But really, that stuff—the “process” stuff—is manageable. Sure, we’re tired. But the really exhausting and hard to get used to part is being so emotionally invested and “on” all of the time, and in a way I’ve never experienced before in my life. It really is true that your life is no longer your own. And, while I’m happy to devote myself to these wonderful new arrivals, it definitely happens fast and furious and can feel a little overwhelming. At 8:26 on Friday morning, I was thinking about how the spinal was affecting me—whether I could breathe right or whether something was going to make me feel weird. Then, suddenly, none of that really mattered. At 8:27am, when I heard Monkey Girl cry for the first time, the only reason I cared about how the spinal was affecting me was because I knew how much these two little beings needed me. It wasn’t about me anymore; it was about Monkey Girl and Sweet Potato.

I know that there will be a time when it doesn’t feel quite as intense as it does right now, but for the moment, it definitely feels overwhelming to know that I’ve been blessed with such an enormous responsibility.

5. This blog: Now that I’ve officially crossed over to the other side, the nature of this blog is going to change, if only to acknowledge the continuation of my journey. To be sure, I’m (we’re) still infertile. But, for the foreseeable future at least, there will be an increased focus on babies and … well, parenthood, I guess? I say this more for me than for you. I think you all know that I sometimes feel funny about talking about pregnancy or babies because I don’t want to make anyone in the trenches feel frustrated or upset. But, to be true to myself and to our journey, I’m going to try to be as open about where I am now as I was when I was cycling, etc.

6. On Hospitals: I’m going to have to write a much longer post about this, but I have to say that my four days in the hospital were less than ideal. I found the nurses, in particular, to be wildly inconsistent. A few were remarkable—really wonderfully helpful and supportive. Some were just overbearing and annoying, and one made me so angry I’m actually filling a complaint at the hospital. (Long story short, the evening of my c-section, without warning, she was checking my bleeding and started forcefully pressing down on my uterus. It was excruciating and I was begging her to stop, which she only did when hubby leap off the couch to come over and stop her. It was awful. She also let my IV run dry and gave us terrible breastfeeding advice. She’s on my sh*t list, to say the least…)

It was really interesting, though. I’ve never spent any time at the hospital before, and it was a weird feeling. It’s a very paternalistic place to be and I was so happy to be discharged and able to just come home and start to muddle through these early days on our own.

So, that’s the update for now. Most of all, thank you all for your wonderful words of congratulations and well wishes. It really means the world to me. ☺

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Welcome, Stickies!


The stickies arrived, healthy and crying up a storm (a good thing!) at 8:27 and 8:28am Friday. They are beautiful and perfect and I love them more than I every thought imaginable.

I'm definitely sore from the c-section, but hopefully it won't take too long to get better.

I'll post more later, but wanted to pass along the news. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your support throughout this entire journey. I'm overwhelmed and so appreciative.

Thank you!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The panic sets in...

I can’t believe that, if all goes according to plan, in 3 days or less, I’ll be a mom.

And I really mean that I can’t believe it. It all just seems so unbelievably surreal. I’ve just barely gotten used to this whole being pregnant thing, and now I find myself woefully unprepared for the next step. I guess that's what happens when seeds of doubt are sown into your mind for so very long.

Don't get me wrong, I’m not saying that the pregnancy went quickly. On the contrary, there are parts of it that dragged on for what seemed like an eternity. The night in the ER and the days after the hematoma were the worst. And the third trimester—at least the first part of it—seemed to drag on forever.

But now? Now I can’t believe there are only 3 days left. And the thing is; I’m terrified. Seriously petrified to my core. All of the sudden I feel like I’m on the precipice of the biggest change of my life and I feel totally and completely unprepared. I mean, in less than a week, I will have two little beings who are going to rely on me for everything. Food, water, changing, discipline, decisions, cleaning, education. Literally, everything. And they’re going to grow, god willing! They’ll have little personalities and they’ll get into trouble and they’ll fall into danger. And it’s all on my shoulders to protect them. (Okay, not all on my shoulders—mine and hubby’s—but still…)

And, the thing is, moms know everything. But I DON’T know everything. So, how can I possibly be a mom?

And, the other thing is, there will be TWO little beings looking to me to care for them. What if I screw up? Both of them?

And even before we get to the point where I can screw them up, I have to get them out. I'm scared of that, too. I'm scared that something will go wrong between now and then, or that something will go wrong during delivery. I think we’ve all seen so much heartache—especially lately—that no matter how close we are to delivery, and no matter how things look, we know how important and how precious every day is.

The other thing is, because they both seem so darned comfy in there, it looks like I'm headed for a c-section on Friday. Granted, I was petrified of both--c-section or vaginal--but now I'm focusing my fears on what appears to be the inevitable surgery. And, I realize it's ridiculous, but the thing that freaks me out the most (other than the possibility of something going wrong with the stickies) is the anesthesia. I hate being numb. Hell, I get my teeth drilled at the dentist without novocaine because I hate it so much. (That and I have a pretty darned high tolerance for pain.)

Trust me, I'm not saying that I want to try this without anesthesia, but the idea of being numb and out of control from the nipples down (yes, that's how the nurse explained it to me) is kind of scary. Particularly because I'm prone to anxiety and the way I ward the panic attacks off is by taking a nice, deep breath. Something I won't be able to do with the spinal numbing me from the chest down.

AH!

I think I've reached full-on panic mode.

Oh, and the other thing, I feel selfish that this is what I'm worried about. I found out yesterday that, after the stickies are born, they get taken to the nursery. Hubby can either go with them or stay with me. And, I asked him to stay with me. Does that already make me a bad mom? I mean, wouldn't a mom only be concerned with her children?

Must. Stop. Obsessing!

I know I'll be fine--people do this everyday--but I just had to get my fears out there. (Although, if anyone has any (preferably not horrifying) c-section stories (or can tell me what breathing felt like under the spinal), I'm all ears.)

Alternatively, if anyone has some good relaxation tips that don't all involve breathing (so I don't focus too much of feeling like I'm short of breath...) I'd take those, too.

(Truthfully, I'd also actually welcome a good, clean kick in the pants that says, "you're overthinking this, Sticky. You'll be focused on the stickies, and it'll all be fine...")

Saturday, March 15, 2008

No babies yet, but the countdown is on...

37 weeks 2 days and no signs of any progress. I’m barely dilated (less than 1 cm), and just a little bit effaced.

You know, I spent so long worry about delivering early, it just didn’t occur to me that I’d be nearing 38 weeks with no signs of labor whatsoever. Life’s funny, huh?

I did have another u/s on Thursday and it looks like the stickies are 6lbs 8oz and 6lbs 10oz, respectively. There is a pretty big margin for error right now with the measurements, but it looks like they’re still thriving and growing. In fact, they still seem to be tracking at the 50th percentile for singletons, which is great. So, if I do go all the way to next Friday (um, yeah, that’s 6 days from now. We’re not talking about that right now…) they’ll have a great shot at being close to (or even more than) 7lbs. That would be really exciting—it would help them sleep better, eat better, etc. Go, l’il sticky buns!

In other news, it turns out that the internal exam they do to see just how dilated and effaced you are is the most g-damn uncomfortable and invasive procedure I’ve ever had to sit through. And I’ve been through an HSG, four IUIs, egg retrieval, transfer, and more transvaginal ultrasounds than I know what to do with. I swear to god I almost drop-kicked the f’ing ob when he said—for the THIRD time—just relax your legs, just relax your LEGS.

If my belly were any smaller, I would have shot up, yanked his pen1s, and told him to relax his f’ing legs. He’d better watch his back at my follow up appointment after delivery is all I have to say.

Other than that, no real news. I’m really hoping I go into labor on my own before Friday; it’s my only chance to avoid a c-section, and I’d at least like the chance for a vaginal birth. But, no matter what, I’m not going to stress. I’m just hoping that whatever happens, the stickies come out healthy and happy—that’s all I really care about. ☺

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The bonus round

I’m three hours away from being 36 weeks pregnant. From everything I’ve read, 36 weeks is “term” for twins. Term! Our perinatologist says that everyday after tomorrow is just a “gift,” a bonus, if you will.

Kind of exciting to be in the bonus round!

We’re now taking bets on when the stickies will arrive. My MIL has bet on tomorrow. It’s a bold bet given that I’m not having a single sign of impending labor, but whatever. Everybody else is betting on the week leading up to the 21st (my scheduled c-section date). So, now I guess we just wait and see.

At 36 weeks, I can definitely tell that my body is reaching the end of its ability to keep these little guys inside—my ankles are swelling when I’m just sitting around doing nothing. And doing ANYTHING that involves being out of the house is just exhausting. And I don’t think I’ve had skin this itchy in my life. We’re lathering that stretch mark oil on my belly multiple times a day. Not so much because I think it will help with the stretch marks, but rather because it’s the only thing greasy enough to hydrate my poor, overly stretched skin.

All of these minor* discomforts have also gotten me thinking more and more about all of the things that I am looking forward to about my post-pregnancy days. No, I’m not talking about cuddling with the stickies or taking home babies—though I am excited beyond words to do both. Nope, I’m talking about all of those daily things that I took for granted everyday of my adult life and that, post-pregnancy, I vow to enjoy every chance I get. Including:

5. Knowing when I need a bikini wax. I can’t tell you the last time I was able to see that area, but it’s been months. And, I can’t imagine the jungle that has developed, but can only imagine it’s hideous. And I feel powerless to stop it—not only because I can’t do a damn thing about it myself (without potentially subjecting myself to some very unpleasant cuts and scrapes), but because I fear I’ll scare the hell out of the poor esthetician I’ll get stuck with if I try to get some professional help.

4. Cutting my own toenails. Yup, just can’t do it anymore. I got a pedicure this weekend—THANK GOD—and now I just have to hope they don’t grow too overwhelmingly long before I deliver.

3. Not weighing almost 200lbs. There’s really nothing else to say about this one. I know it’s probably un-PC or something and I should be all one and zen with my pregnant body, but the truth is I miss having a more agile body and just being….well…smaller.

2. Walking. It used to be so easy. I’d leap off the couch or out of bed, and effortlessly stroll wherever it was I needed to go—to the kitchen, to the bathroom, etc. Now, I need a crane to get me up. And, once up, a journey of 10 steps seems like the length of a marathon. Whenever I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I actually negotiate with myself about whether it would be more uncomfortable to get up and walk to the bathroom or just wait it out for a little longer. It’s ridiculous, I realize, but what can you do…

1. Rolling over in bed. In my pre-pregnancy days, I used to flop all around—from my back to my stomach to a side. I used to glide through the smooshy sheets with nary a care and smoosh up against hubby without any struggles at all. Now, every time I need to change position, I wake up. I then have to deliberately reposition myself before I try to go back to sleep. (And, those back and stomach positions—my favorites, I might add—LONG gone.)

So, there you have it. I wish I had something more interesting or inspiring to report, but I think I'm losing brain cells by the day. (Apparently I should have been taking more DHA, huh?) In the meantime, no matter what lies ahead in the upcoming weeks, please wish us luck that the delivery is problem-free and that the stickies are healthy and happy!

*They really are minor. I’ve been very lucky with this pregnancy and am very grateful. I’m just reaching that “holy shit, is it possible that I might get bigger?!”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Milestones...

I feel like, since I started BCPs last June, I’ve tracked this IVF and this pregnancy in terms of milestones—hurdles that, once reached, seemed meaningless and insignificant compared to those that lay ahead. It’s almost made me feel secretly ungrateful—like I couldn’t be happy for where I was. Rather, I’ve always looked forward to see where I could be and worried that I wouldn’t get there.

I can only imagine how annoyingly frustrating that must be/have been to those of you in the trenches. But, for better or for worse, that fear, or disbelief, or worry, has been front and center since the beginning.

Today feels a little different, though. Today, I am 34 weeks pregnant. My Ob tells me that I’ve reached the point where, were I to show signs of labor, they’d just let me deliver; they wouldn’t do a thing to stop it.

Sure, we’d like them to stay put for another month. But, it seems that today marks the point at which, if the stickies are that eager to meet us, doctors have every reason to believe that they would have just as good a chance as anyone of leading trouble-free, healthy lives.

Of course, I know that is no guarantee that things can’t go south. But really, that’s life. Things could go south at any point in our and in these babies’ lives. And the thing is, while I’ll never stop worrying about them and about their well being, I can’t let that worry consume me indefinitely.

And so, for some reason, crossing this milestone today is helping make this real and is helping me rise above my fear, if only a bit. I’m beginning to see that four weeks—maximum!—is not a lot of time to put the finishing touches on my maternity leave plan. I’m beginning to see the need for the pediatricians we’ve started to interview. And I’ve started to realize that it’s not completely ridiculous to put car seats in the back seat of our (tiny) car.

And, as I realize that we need these plans, it’s allowing me to start focusing on actually meeting the stickies and holding them in my arms. In fact, this morning, as hubby and I lay in bed before we got up, I pictured waking up one morning in the not-too-distant future and bringing our two little babies into bed with us and snuggling together. As a family.

And that made me really happy.

Monday, February 18, 2008

More on "that" room

I actually have much to update you on--from a maddening MIL story to why my office's "new" insurance company is the bane of my existence to a general stickies update (in short, all's well). But because we're glued to the TV to see if Obama is going to seal the deal with tonight's primary, I'll just share the latest photos of "that" room. It frightens and excites me more and more each day that, assuming all goes according to plan*, in just over 4 weeks or less these two cribs will be filled with beautiful little stickies. It's still so hard to wrap my mind around.

But, here's the evolution of the room. I'm really excited about how it's coming together.


(Hubby's mom actually made those quilts. They're awfully cute.)


(This is now the most comfortable chair in the house. I L-O-V-E it. We purposefully got a color that matched our living room so that, when it's time to move the glider from "that" room, we can just move it downstairs.)

What you can't see in the cribs are these:


I saw these two t-shirts when we were visiting Hubby's sister in the fall but I was, of course, nowhere near ready to buy them. So, SIL bought them for us for our shower, which was so thoughtful. (And she knitted those caps, too.) Very cute.

Note that there's nothing on the walls yet. We've been waiting to get the last of the furniture to see how it all came together. And we couldn't decide what "theme" to go with. We didn't want anything too gendered or over the top. We thought about a French theme, but it seemed too complicated to pull together. Hubby really wanted a jungle theme, but we struggled to find jungle themed stuff that wasn't over the top. But then I found this painting, which I picked up for hubby today. It's going to go on the center of the wall above the cribs. We're very excited; it's super cute.
The rest of it, we may purposely leave empty and get some shelving and put photos up. I'm a big photo person, so it would make sense.

In other news, Belly Laughs just brought home her three newborn boys. She was just two weeks ahead of me in her IVF cycle, so I've been following her journey pretty closely--particularly since she found out, after being told she was having two that there were actually three in there--and am so happy for her. Congrats, Belly to you and your boys!

* Yes, I still put that caveat in all the time. But, my optimism truly does grow everyday. So, keep your fingers crossed for me that things continue to go well and that we're blessed with two beautiful stickies sometime in March.