Monday, January 21, 2008

Updates and baby showers

I feel like there’s much to share from the past several days.

First, thankfully, I did pass my glucose screening. (Hooray!) I’m both glad to not have to take the 3-hour version and that I’m in the clear of GD.

But—there’s always a but, isn’t there?—they did discover when they did my bloodwork that my iron is low. I can’t say I’m shocked. I’ve basically never eaten red meat in my life. Not for any reason other than that I’ve always hated just about all meats. I can remember sitting at the dinner table for hours as a kid. My mom and dad would be desperate for me to eat just ONE BITE of steak or something, and I wouldn’t do it. I would sit there and have a staring contest with the meat until finally, after a LONG time, my parents would give up. (Oh, yeah, I’m really stubborn, too, in case that wasn’t obvious. ☺)

I do get iron from other sources—enriched cereal, black beans, leafy greens, etc. But, lately I’ve been having a hard time eating all of the things I’m supposed to be. (I guess it must be because the stickies are getting big and not leaving a lot of room for my stomach. At least I hear that’s what happens. All I know is that I’m not all that hungry anymore.)

Anyhow, the point is that I wasn’t shocked. And the doctors aren’t that concerned. But, I do have to take an iron supplement twice a day, which isn’t going to help the….um…digestive system, if you know what I mean.

A small price to pay, to be sure…

In other news, in an effort to try to track my bp at home after my last peri appointment, I got a bp monitor, and the pressure has been nice and low ever since that incident. Sure, I have been working from home since then, so that could be helping, but my ob/gyn thinks that it was most likely just a fluke. I still need to take it easy, to be safe, but they’re not overly worried about it, which is great. Actually, what the ob said was, “You were with Dr. XX, weren’t you?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact.”

“Yeah, we’re thinking of taking that bp cuff away from her,” she joked. “She’s constantly sending people to L&D with high blood pressure, and they never display any other symptoms—or bp again—outside of her office.”

I don’t know how true that is, but I’m happy they aren’t too concerned. (And that my bp was fine at my appointment on Thursday.) The true test will be at my next u/s with my peri, which is slated for a week from today. Fingers crossed that the stickies’ growth is on track and the bp is still low!

And, the big non-medical-related news is that I had my shower Saturday. Me and J. Lo, apparently. It went really well, though I admit to being exhausted afterwards. I generally hate showers—mine and others’—but I think people had a pretty good time. And, most importantly, my wonderful friends made sure to speed up the opening of the presents so that there was a limit to the enforced ooo-ing and ahh-ing. And everyone was wonderfully generous—the stickies are going to be very spoiled with love from all of our families and friends. We’re really very lucky, and yesterday was a nice reminder of that.

But, wow. I had my shower. That means I have all of this….well, all of this BABY stuff. It seems SO surreal! This is really starting to settle in…g-d willing, we might actually bring home TWO babies in just a matter of weeks. Wow. And holy sh*t!

The other thing that is making the reality sink in a bit more is that I’ve joined a moms of multiples group. Right now I’ve only been involved on the listserve, but it’s VERY active. And, based on the traffic and questions I've seen, I’m really realizing just how unbelievably overwhelming it’s going to be, especially at first. One woman, who just gave birth to premature twins two weeks ago, posted that it takes her and her husband 2 hours to feed the babies. And that the babies need to be fed every three hours. So she basically hasn’t slept in two weeks. But, what she’s really worried about is what the hell she’s going to do when her husband goes back to work next week.

The Moms were all wonderfully supportive—they offered all kinds of advice, but were basically like, “yeah, you’re not going to sleep for a good long while. But, we promise, this too shall pass.”

So, yeah. I'm scared. I mean, there's no way to prepare for what lies in store, no matter how "ready" we are.

Of course, I'm really excited to be here. Thrilled. But I suppose excitement and terror go hand in hand, really.

And, really, this intersection of excitement and terror isn't such a bad place to be. :-)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Glucose screening and fear

This morning was the oh-so-fun 1-hour glucose screening. It actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be--I thought I'd be dizzy and lightheaded and nauseous. Turns out I was only nauseous, and not as much as I would have thought I'd be.

But, I have to say, I hope to GOD I don't fail it, because I'm pretty sure the 3-hour version would be awful. (And, more importantly, because I hope I don't have gestational diabetes...)

Today I'm 28-weeks. Wow. I'm still stunned by that. You'd think the awe would wear off, but it doesn't. And, while I can't say that the idea of bringing home the stickies feels any more real, the idea of having the stickies--i.e. the actual hospital experience--is. I know that sounds ridiculous, and I wish I could explain it better, but there it is.

And, now that I've been thinking more about labor and delivery, I'm starting to freak out a bit. You see, I've basically prepared myself for the fact that I'll most likely have to have a c-section. (In the practice I go to, almost 75% of twins are delivered surgically.) And I'm really scared of that. Isn't that silly? It's, in theory, the easier of the two routes to give birth. But, the idea of having what is basically major surgery--and of being AWAKE for that surgery--scares the bejeezes out of me.

I may have mentioned this before, but I'm prone to anxiety. It's not terrible--I definitely cope with it really well--but my biggest trigger is feeling like I'm not the one in control. I remember I started to get really nervous right before my egg retrieval. I was laying on the bed and doctors and nurses were scurrying about all around me and the anesthesiologist had my left arm attached to all kinds of IVs and I was hooked up to a monitor that allowed me to hear my heartbeat. And I knew I couldn't even sit up and the surroundings felt so unfamiliar and scary that I started to get a little upset.

Thankfully, the IV sedation kicked in early enough that I just drifted off to sleep.

But for a c-section, I will feel the same way, except that added to it will be the fact that I will be numb from the waist down (I hate feeling numb) and that I won't understand anything that's happening. And that I'll know they're cutting into me. And that scares me. How will I know if the stickies are okay? And, I won't be able to get up when they're born. I'll just have to lie there and wait for them to finish me while my babies are whisked away to be taken care of.

And, it all terrifies me.

I realize that it's too early to think about all of this, and that it ultimately doesn't matter how scared I am; I'll just have to suck it up. But still.

Ridiculous, I realize.

In other news--while I was at the hospital today for the screening, they had me pre-register for...well, for delivery, I guess. It was easy--all I had to do was sign three papers. The first was easy; I just had to sign a form saying that I consent to have them treat me.

But, then I had to sign two of the same forms for the stickies saying that I consented to have the hospital treat them. And, on those two, I had to sign the line for the "responsible party." And on the line asking my relationship, I wrote "Mother."

I'm tearing up even just writing this now, thinking that this might be real.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Sobering reality

We went back to L&D this morning for a non-stress test and bp check. Everything went fine. My bp was normal--no more spikes--and the stickies looked good during the non-stress test. (Whatever that means--I think they just track the heartbeats during those, right? I wasn't quite clear what they were looking for.) So, I'm hopeful that things will be okay. But I'm taking it easy, just like the doctor ordered.

On the way into my appointment, though, hubby and I were reminded yet again of how cruel life can be.

The nurse came out to get us out of the waiting room and brought us over to the entrance to L&D. There was a young man--our age--standing there, looking really confused and out of it.

"Are you a dad?" the nurse asked?

"Um....well, I guess no," the man stammered.

The nurse was clearly looking at him for some explanation of why he was just hanging around the door, then. Finally she said, "well, who are you then?"

"We just lost our baby."

My heart absolutely broke for him. He didn't even know how to answer the "are you a dad" question. How could he know? What could he do?

The nurse obviously felt awful. I've never seen someone open a door so quickly in my life and she very kindly escorted him to wherever he needed to go. It must have just happened, because another nurse, who'd obviously been crying, came over to hug him.

I just wanted to tell him how sorry I was. And I wanted to hide my pregnant belly from his eyes to spare him any more unnecessary pain.

Why? That's all I want to know. Why does pain like that have to exist? Why do people have to wander around L&D--a place that is supposed to be filled with so much joy for so many people--and be filled with such emptiness and sorrow. You almost wish there was another place for this poor dad and his poor wife to go. Somewhere where he didn't have to see pregnant women and nurseries and new, celebrating families.

I don't know who he was. And I don't know who his wife is. But wherever they are, I wish them much peace.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

27 week peri appointment

Thursday marked 27 weeks--can you believe that? 27 weeks? I never thought I'd be 27 weeks pregnant. It still seems so strange. I know there's still a lot of time to go--ideally about 10 uneventful weeks--but I feel so fortunate to be this far.

Of course, lest I start to get too comfortable with things, yesterday was just slightly more eventful than I would have hoped. I had a regularly scheduled peri appointment at 1:45, so worked in the morning before I headed out. I had a bunch of meetings, but nothing too out of the ordinary. Except that during one of the meetings I started to feel a little "off." Nothing dramatic, maybe a little lightheaded. So, I went to get some water and a banana and was off to my next meeting. Again, during the next meeting, I started to feel the same sort of "off-ness," so I politely excused myself and had hubby pick me up early to take me to my appointment.

I should preface all of this by saying that I was exhausted when I woke up. So, mostly I was chalking up my off feelings to being really tired.

Anyhow, I went to the scan and things looked great. The stickies each weighed 2lbs 4oz and all of their fluid levels, etc. looked great.

When the doctor asked how I was feeling, though, I mentioned that I had been feeling fine, but that that morning I was feeling a little off. She asked the requisite questions--had I eaten breakfast, had I had enough water, etc. Then she said she'd do a quick blood pressure check at the end of the appointment to make sure that looked fine.

I should also mention that I have a slight tendency towards anxiety and that I get particularly anxious if I think something is medically wrong. So, I wasn't terribly surprised when my blood pressure reading was borderline high. Of course, it did freak the peri out sufficiently that she sent me to L&D for tests and blood pressure monitoring for the rest of the afternoon.

The nurses in L&D were wonderful--they set me up with movies and ice cream (got to love that!) and checked my blood pressure several times (all normal) and took my blood to run a bunch of tests. Everything came back normal. But, I guess the elevated blood pressure sufficiently freaked the peri and my OB enough that they recommended I start working from home from here on out. They're not yet saying bedrest, but it sounds like, if I have another episode of high blood pressure, it won't be too far behind.

So, for anyone who might know something about high blood pressure readings, does anybody know how troubled I should be by this episode? (By the way, the initial high reading was something like 140/85, which the peri said was "borderline high.") Is this a pretty good indicator of things to come? Any suggestions for how I can ward off anything worse?

So that's the news from sticky-land. And here's hoping that I don't have another high reading, and that the stickies continue to thrive for the next 10 weeks!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Janet Jackson on fertility

Janet Jackson Loves Her 'Baby-Making Songs'

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 02, 2008 03:45 PM EST

"You don't know how many people come up to me and say, 'This child was conceived listening to you,' " Jackson, 41, tells Extra from the set of her new music video, "Feedback," in an interview set to air Wednesday night.

Ugh. On so many levels, ugh. I mean, does People sink to new lows with their pregnancy stories everyday?

Oh and, Janet, I can't say whether you made the difference for us because, well, I wasn't there when the stickies were conceived. I'll be sure to ask the embryologist though to see if I can give you any more useless information to share with the world...