Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ripley's first 2 weeks

In the hospital.

With her abuela.

With her tata.

The best place to sleep.

She likes awake time with Dad.


Love her ducktail :)

Miss Crankypants.

Sweetest girl ever.




Tuesday, December 13, 2011

One Little.

Sunday
Sunday night the babies were super active. I had Braxton Hicks contractions again, but the girls were so rumble tumble that I dismissed it. I even took a little video of my tummy because it was so bouncy.



The Clinic
The next morning D had off work. He made me an English muffin with cream cheese and grapes for breakfast before we headed to my Monday NST. I have so many appointments and he doesn't get to accompany me very often, so its great when he can.

We got to the clinic, climbed the stairs and checked in. When the nurse called me she was as friendly as ever. We smiled and spoke and she commented to D how great it was that I could still get around so easily. We went into the exam room and I climbed onto the table, exposed my belly, and got all jelled and monitored. She moved the wand over my tummy, starting with Baby A as usual. When she got to baby B she paused and excused herself. She came back with my doctor. Something seemed wrong. My doc, who is usually chatty and friendly was all business. The mood had changed, and I was scared. I called D up from his chair and he held my hand. The doctor ran the wand over Baby B and the scan was so still. She shook her head. She was crying. I didn't understand. The nurse was crying. The doctor looked at me and plainly said: There's no heartbeat.

Another doctor came in. Everyone in the room was crying as D and I stood there stunned. I was so confused. I asked what it meant, and the doctor looked at me and said, we lost her, sometimes that happens and we don't know why. She has no heartbeat, your baby is dead. Then she hugged me.
Mia Colores Russell, my daughter, half of my beautiful twins, my worry, my fighter, was dead.

The nurse came and hugged me. I looked at D and he looked as in shock as I was. All of this happened in 10-15 minutes. They told me to head to the hospital, I was going to be induced. They were all still crying and hugging me. Was I crying? How could she be dead? Just like that, no warning, nothing felt different, there wasn't a sign or pain. D and I walked to the car and I started to cry. What had just happened?

The drive to the hospital was a blur. D and I continued to cry. It was all so surreal, It had all happened too quickly. I called our family. There was so little to say. All I knew was that we lost Mia and we had to go to the hospital to induce labor. Tears flowed as I went over the last couple of days. I had just seen her on the monitor on Saturday. She was moving on Sunday. My belly had been tight, should I have gone in again? I was so aware that one side of my belly was so still, I kept poking it to make her wiggle. Baby A was still there, kicking and moving. I held both of them tight.

The Hospital
We got to the hospital in less than half an hour. I think it was 10:30 am. D parked and came around to help me out of the car. I remember leaning on him and crying. He reached around and undid my necklace and put it in the car (At the time I had a realty check: I'm at the hospital. One of my girls is dead. He has to take off my jewelry because I might have surgery. One of my girls is alive.). We held hands tightly to Labor and Delivery. It seemed so strange to check in, confirming things like our address and my birth date. People all around us being checked in for routine monitoring like I had two days before. There was a matter-of-factness to it all. Why wasn't I on a gurney being rushed to surgery to save her? Why was it such a simple truth? We were led to our room and the nurse was the first at the hospital to give me sympathy for my loss.

There was paper work and IV's and a whole bag of blood work. D asked if I or Baby A were in any danger (at that moment we were not). They asked if wanted a Cesarean, I asked if I could have another ultrasound. They did that first. This time I really looked. There she was, little Mia, still as can be. The space that held her heart was no longer pulsating and beating, it just looked like and empty hole, motionless.
Everyone spoke in very calm hushed voices. The doctors and nurses kept touching me, rubbing my leg or squeezing my hand. They told us there was a sign on the door to indicate loss. They kept saying things like "when there's a demise". A lot of them were also quite emotional. I could hear their voices cracking and see water in their eyes. I kept thinking, aren't they supposed to be the strong ones? They said it was unusual to lose a twin so late into the pregnancy. I think that was part of my shock too. I had spent the last six months passing milestones with my guard up and prepared for the worse. But the girls kept growing and doing well. I got passed the testing, the viability date, and the big huge 36 weeks. Even the docs reassured me that after 36 weeks there was almost a guarantee of safety. Mia had even turned so my ideal birth was in focus. I had let out my breath and felt safe and confident. I had let my guard down. We were all wrong.

I had to change my focus to Baby A and her safety. I could still feel her moving inside me. My rock star still had to be born. Was she aware that her sister was dead next to her? Was she ok, would she be? Would she know that she was a twin? Could I make her feel special and not lonely? Would she forgive me for being an over-protective mother from here on out? So many worries.

We had to make a decision, C-section or Induction? None of this was going as planned or hoped. C-section or Induction? Induction.

Induction
The first exam revealed that I was 3cm dilated and 50% effaced. They started me on a Pitocin drip. Everything I'd seen or read about Pitocin prepared me for contractions that would be false and stronger. I was determined that I could still do it without pain medication. I just had to focus and relax my body. I also had to come to grips that I was limited in movement. I wasn't allowed to walk farther than the bathroom, and even when I did that it was accompanied and they measured my urine.

People kept coming in and out. New nurses. Doctors asking if I wanted an autopsy. People asking my pain level (which was still a 0). The social worker informing us of our options. (Did you know that if you choose cremation through the hospital they keep the remains? I didn't ever wanna know that). My brother in law came by with our hospital bags. Friends started to drop by to lend support (the thought of company seemed overwhelming to me at first, but they helped keep me focused on labor instead of loss). The shifts changed and I met new nurses and doctors. The second nurse wrote the girls' names on a dry erase board and under the first baby she drew a smiley face, under Mia's she drew a sad face. In between the people I watched the heart monitor on Ripley and how she reacted to each surge. We all watched. When I turned my head I could see pine branches outside the window swaying in the wind, the world was still spinning.

My mom and auntie arrived from Arizona around 10pm. I was only 4cm and 80% effaced. The Pit was up to a 16. There were two doctors on the night shift. One was pushing the epidural and the other wanted to manually break my bag of waters. My body felt like it was all wrong. Everything felt forced, it wasn't time to labor yet. I tried to help by standing and moving my hips, and by bouncing on a labor ball. The contractions were getting very strong. D lightly tickled my neck to help me through them. The doctors kept coming in and were insistent. They said if I let them break the water my hormones could help the Pit speed my dilation. Finally, around 2am I caved. The doctor placed her hand inside me (which was already painful because of the contractions), and then inserted what looked like a crochet hook and started scraping around. Not pleasant. After a minute or so there was a gush of liquid. My insides were achy. The doctor was pleased.

After that things got harder. I felt delirious. My body was so exhausted from grieving all day and now there was only pain and the moments in between to catch my breath. There was also a violent shaking. Before that I could breath and relax my muscles, but each shake seemed to tense me even more. Everyone in the room tried to help me. Massaging my back and hips, holding my hand. D lent me his body so I could lean and rest. I hit my first wall. I asked for non-spinal pain control options and the doctors took that as a cue to start their campaign. They explained that since I was still at 4cm they were going keep the Pit around 20, they also said that when it was time to birth Mia there "might" be a possibility for way more pain if they had to manipulate her into the birthing canal at all. They said the Epidural would help me relax and allow me to rest. I was so tired. I looked up at D, and he said he'd support any decision. I could see his worry and his exhaustion. The doctors looked so eager and determined. I gave them the ok.

Saying yes to the Epidural absolutely defeated me. I knew that the labor was now completely out of my control. Everything went into motion after that. The anesthetist came in so fast I swear he was waiting outside the door. The room cleared so D and I could face it together. I was so disappointed in myself. I sat over the edge of the bed and leaned against him crying. The contractions were still terrible and the shaking was making it scarier. I have met three people who spoke about Epidural side affects. From spine pain to headaches and pelvic ache. How could a giant needle go in accurately if I was so shaky? The needle went in and I tried to breathe. There was instant pain in specific areas. I was also having a really strong contraction. I asked the guy to stop, I begged the guy to stop, I looked at D and he told the guy to stop. I could hear the irritation in the anesthetist's voice. He said the faster he could go the sooner I wouldn't have pain. I took the moment to breathe through it and gather myself before him continued. By the time he taped me up and finished I felt like I didn't have any fight left in me. D laid me down and the nurse informed me that I was now officially bedridden and she would have to insert a catheter. I gave into it, and in some time I fell asleep. It was about 4am.

Labor
When I woke up the room was dark and quiet. There were four people sleeping around me, D, my mom, auntie, and our best man. They had all stayed up with me, so once I fell asleep also took a break. It felt so nice to have things quiet. I could only hear the soft heartbeat in the background. It was still dark outside. The doctors came in to check me again and I was 10cm dilated, 100% effaced and at a station 2. It was time to push.

My final nurse came on shift. Theresa. She was great. I was tired and sore, I had spent the day before crying and I had only had ice chips in almost 24 hours. She was the perfect combination of sympathy and encouragement. The new doctor came in and Theresa was so excited that she was on shift that it eased me. The sun came up and I could see the Pine branches again.

I started pushing around 9am. I was no longer in pain, but the whole positioning was awkward. D was on one side and my mom on the other. Their arms created my stir-ups as they lifted my feet and bent my knees in towards my head. With each contraction I had to grab onto the back of my thighs and put my chin to chest as I tried to push the baby out. Even though it felt like I was pushing with every muscle Theresa said I needed much more. Eventually I asked if I could try different positions. I tried pushing lying down, but it felt like I needed gravity. The nurse put up a bar and I tried to lift myself into a squat, but with the Epidural my legs weren't any help and my arms could only support me for a couple of tries. All I wanted was a stool or something to sit on so I could push downwards.

I went back to the stir-up position when I began to feel a pain in my leg. I hadn't used the "gimme more Epi" button because I didn't want to interfere with the Pit. I could feel the contractions a bit, but just enough to know when to push and go with it. The leg pain came with the contractions. Suddenly like a charlie horse. It circled my hip and shot down my thigh. I felt that if it was a muscle cramp I could stretch it. The next thing I knew I was on all fours on top of the bed trying to push and stretch all at the same time. The pain was suddenly searing. I lost all focus on everything. I couldn't push, I couldn't think, with each contraction the room would go white, I know I was moaning, I may have been yelling. The shakes came back. They thought the baby's head may have trapped a nerve. D told me that all the doctors and nurses looked perplexed and concerned. He also said it was then that he was afraid that he might lose all of us and he'd have to go home alone. They called in the anesthesiologist (who Dan now refers to as "the Bozo" because he spent a lot of time just watching me and discussing the situation with his assistant). I was writhing. . He adjusted my catheter and gave me more medicine. He also put the Epi button into my hand and told me to use it more often.

When the meds kicked in I rolled onto my back again. I had hit my second wall. I was so exhausted. Even though the babies' head was visible I didn't think I had it in me to continue. I felt like even if I could have managed to deliver the baby, the fact that I had to go through the same process again with Mia was heartbreaking. I have never before felt so hopeless. I rolled on my side and stopped pushing. I looked at D and said I was ready for surgery. He was so encouraging, he said I was so close and that I was strong and he had faith in me. Theresa was a cheerleader, telling me that she had every confidence that I could do it on my own. She called the doctor in.

For 9 months I have been hearing Cesarean for twins. C-section, C-section, C-section. My nurse's favorite doctor came in and said that I could have a surgery if I wanted to, but then she began to tell me all the reasons why I shouldn't. The conversation is a blur, but I remember thinking that everything she was saying was what I believed in. I knew why I shouldn't have surgery, but I didn't know if I had anything left. I now think of her as my shining ray of light. She removed everyone from the room, dimmed the lights and let me rest of 20 minutes before I had to make a decision.

Birth
I woke up in a daze. The nurse came in and I quietly said that I would push. I had no energy. I bent my knees and she called in for people to help me raise them, but I said no. I let the waves pass over me and pushed when I could feel them. In between I went back to sleep. D was so worried, he'd ask, "Are you still with us? Stay with me." Then I'd push again. Slowly, calmly. It was all I could muster. Eventually my strength began to regenerate. Everyone started cheering me on again. I was back into the stir-up position and my pushing got better. There was only one time that I lost my temper. Everyone kept saying "you're almost there!" and every time I moaned D would empathize and say "I know, I know". After a couple of hours of this I finally said "You're all lying to me! I'm not almost there, you've been saying that forever. And D, you don't know anything!". That one moment has given my family the only inside joke from the whole experience.

I pushed for 5 hours before the first baby came out. Ripley Mia Russell was born around 2pm on Tuesday. The poor thing had been stuck in my canal for all that time with the cord wrapped around her throat and but was fine. My rockstar. They put her on my chest and I held her. Too spent to cry I just looked at her, not wanting to let go. That is, until the pain came back.




The last doc I had on shift was very calm and quiet. She stood over me almost meditatively as Mia made her way down into position. I was so achy and tired. The movement was uncomfortable but not too painful. Then the leg cramp came again. It was just as bad as before. Nurses were handing me the Epidural button to push. The head charge nurse, Connie, called for the anesthesiologist again. When an anesthetist came instead she was not happy. I lay there listening to the commotion and grabbing my hip while D tried to massage every spot on my leg I pointed to. Finally the guy gave me a narcotic since Mia was beyond harm. No name to the drug - just narcotic. It took a few minutes, but the drug finally kicked in. The pushes seemed much easier, and since there wasn't any risk everything was more relaxed. There weren't any monitors, just the sound of the room and my blood pressure cuff (which after two days had left quite a few welts on my arm). After just an hour Mia came out.




They handed her to me right away. She was exactly like her sister. But she was so still and limp. A part of me had been holding onto a last shred of hope that she really was ok. But she was spiritless. I filled up with grief. I would never know her beyond that day. We would never know how special it would be to see the girls grow up together - little mirrors of each other. I stroked her little hands and feet, looked at her little lips and cheeks. She was perfect. How could someone that had grown so well against lots of odds just fade overnight? I didn't understand. I don't know if I will ever understand.

The charge nurse went beyond duty that evening. After I had handed Mia to her she cleaned her off and dressed her. She left her in a bassinet so the many visitors could see her and she could be real to them as well. She also took lots of pictures of her and made us a memento box for us to take home. It was the kindest act.


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

It has been a week since we were told Mia had passed. Ripley is so beautiful and amazing to me. I am worried about her safety and very much aware of fragility. I have already apologized to her since she will be completely overprotected. I already find myself spoiling her more than I would have ever allowed myself if there were two.
Its difficult to be filled with joy and sorrow all at once. All we can do is give all our love to Ripley and let the tears come when they do.

-drea

Ripley Mia Russell, born December 6th, 2011.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

37 weeks

I did it - 6 days of appointments in a row, and I survived! Haha.
My Glucose test was excruciatingly boring, but so worth it when my test results showed no signs of gestational diabetes at all!
Thursday's NST exam was the usual, Baby B was non-responsive, so they scheduled another appointment for me on Saturday at the hospital. I went in after all my morning errands and even though she wasn't responsive on the strip, she was moving and kicking and practicing her breathing - all the good things the docs look for. They babies also still have great fluid and look wonderful overall.
The next milestone for me is 38 weeks. At that point they want to induce labor. Something about the babies getting too big and a possibility of running out of amniotic fluid. I've been having some small cramps in the morning, so maybe I won't even have to deal with induction at all. We'll see what the week brings...

Besides all the appointments I have still been working and doing my day to day routine. Yesterday I got to go to my twin group's Christmas party. It was so great seeing all the little ones in one place! Two couples with younger babies were using the Snap N Go stroller that we decided on, so it was great to see that in action. They were also very encouraging and positive about the first few months. Main advice: a solid routine is key.
Here's a pic of Santa time, so many twins!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The week of appointments continues.

Today was Radiology. Unfortunately my appointment was early which meant I had to be out of the house by 7 to make it to the hospital by 8:30. Gotta love grid lock.

Best news: Baby B has turned! Both girls are head down!!! Yay yay yay, super dance of joy! This gives me the highest chance of a natural birth. Now I'm crossing my fingers that they stay that way!

The babies were measured today too. Baby A is a whopping 6.8 pounds! She is a whole 3 days ahead of growth rate based on the due date. Baby B is smaller at 5.10 pounds. Which I think for a twin is awesome, but she's in the 19th percentile, so they almost used it as a reason to keep me in the hospital today - but lucky for me, I got to go home!

I am so happy that these girls are growing well and hanging in there. Yay for happy babies! Thanks to everyone for their support, advice and encouragement. Lots of love sent to all of you.

Two more appointments to go this week: NST and Glucose test. Then the weekend off!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Rollercoaster

Today my docs visit was cake. Easy peasy. The heartbeats were strong, the babies were reactive. All my stats are good (despite the fact that I have to take another 3-hour Glucose on Friday, just for double checking).

Officially I am 50% effaced and 1 cm dilated. Which in "official doc voice" probably means no time soon. Good happy thoughts.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Goodness Gracious




I have four doctors appointments this week. Four. That much I can handle, but the further along I get it seems like there are more false alarms. That drives me bonkers. I am all for what's best for the girls, but it seems like every time there is the smallest glitch they not only want to send me in for more monitoring, but they also try to prepare me for the dreaded C word. I have full faith in these babies to make it through a natural delivery, but none of the professionals seem to.

Today I went in for my Monday morning Non-Stress Test at 9am. As usual, Baby A responded immediately, but Baby B was sleepy. Mostly she manages to squeek by the test and I don't have to do anything else, but today that was not the case (which I kinda think was my fault because I didn't have breakfast beforehand to help wake her up). Her little heartbeat dipped down a few times which put up a red flag. The nurse thought maybe she was laying on the cord. My doc came by and put in the order for me to go down to Zion for additional monitoring. She also was fairly convinced that since I am now past 36 weeks (full term for twins), that they would just book me for a Cesarean today. Pouty face.

I figure the only thing I can do in these situations is remain calm and take things as they come. So I called D and told him not to worry, then I drove the 40 min to the hospital. Labor and Delivery was packed when I arrived at 11ish. They didn't seem concerned with rushing me into a room, and it took almost an hour before I was hooked up to anything. All the nurses were sweet and thanked me for my patience, but each one of them said the same thing: Oh! You've made it to 36 weeks! That's so good, when is your C-Section scheduled?
Ugh.

It really bothers me that Cesareans are so common place that no one even assumes that I'd attempt a vaginal birth. Isn't this what my body is made for?

Thankfully, Baby B's heart was nice and strong. She was also responsive when the doctor on duty came in. I was released and finally got home to D (and food!), by 2:30.

Three more appointments to go this week. I am crossing my fingers (and toes) that they are routine and will not take forever.

Again - I have full faith in these babies. Together we can do it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

35 weeks

One whole week before the girls are considered full term!

Doctor stats: My perinatologist thinks I look great and is very impressed with my pregnancy. Despite all the worry I really have had a great time with it. And I think I'm even enjoying it more now that I'm on the home stretch and it seems like most of the doctor doom and gloom is over. Happy stats: Thyroid, Iron, Glucose all look good. Based on the last measurements Baby A is weighing in at 6 pounds and Baby B is a good 5, pure awesomeness for twins! No wonder my belly feels so giant and tight - there's 11 pounds of baby in there!
My scheduled visits: I have Non-Stress tests every Monday and Friday, and various other appointments sprinkled in between. The docs seem to think that the girls will come at any time, but I hope they stick around till December, I'd love them to be able to be born and not have any NICU time!

Mommy training: I have started going to two groups: La Leche League and Moms of Multiples. La Leche is for breast feeding support - which I really hope will not be the nightmare that it has been made out to be. The Moms of Multiples is nice because its all women in my area that have twins themselves. Its great to meet with them and share experiences. Its amazing to me that birthing/child rearing is done by so many but really is a unique and individualized experience.
I am also reading three books at the moment: Hypnobirthing, Journey into Motherhood, and Mothering Multiples. I'm excited about Hypnobirthing since I didn't take any birthing classes. I like the idea of a self-induced hypnosis that's like meditation. I think anytime I've ever had pain I manage it by breathing and relaxing my mind and body together - so as I read I hope the book will just help me get better at that.
The Journey into Motherhood book is all about natural births. Having twins I feel like everyone s already on super high alert. I have had so many doc visits and extra tests and ultrasounds already. I know that when labor happens we'll have to do our part to convince the hospital that things really can be ok with twins. I really want a non-medicated vaginal birth. Actually - full on truth - I'd have all the drugs and c-sections in the world if their were no risks, but there are so many. And based on lots of reading and two fabulous documentaries (Business of Being Born and Pregnant in America), I've realized that my fear of medical bullying is not mine alone.
My goal is to let the girls work with my body and come as they want. I understand that there might be complications, and I will do whatever is necessary to keep them safe, but I am not willing to schedule a c-section for no reason. Basically I'm gonna go with the flow (and cross my fingers that the doc on duty when I check in is flexible and not on a tight schedule).

Babies, babies, babies: My world has been consumed with them! Maybe its cause I'm such a nerd, but I feel like I need to read and prepare and over-prepare and double check again! At the same time I'm a procrastinator, so there are things that need to be done that haven't been started. Oh! Vicious Cycle! :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Not your typical Friday night.

These girls keep me on my toes! The night before last I started to feel my tummy tighten. I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks now so I didn't think anything of it, until it didn't get softer. Ever.
The night was uncomfortable and the next day my tummy was still hard. It wasn't painful, and I could still feel the girls moving about, so I kept trying different things to soften it. After noon or so I decided to call my doc. They didn't seem worried as long as I wasn't in pain and there was movement, so they advised me to relax and drink lots of fluid.
By the time dinner was finished I decided to call again. This time I spoke with a mid-wife and she wanted me to come in immediately. 7pm and off to the hospital. Not my ideal Friday night.
We drove the 40 minutes down to Zion and found our way through the hospital maze. Dan had to laugh at me cause I insisted on going up the stairs - all three flights (I have this thing about elevators. Just seems that I'd be pushing my luck by hopping into one. 8 months pregnant, possibly in labor, and I had to pee - it's like a sitcom plot line!)
They admitted me and began to monitor the babies right away. The heartbeats looked fine, but the contractions were kinda fast and frequent. The nurse was actually surprised that they weren't painful. By the time the doctor came in, she was in labor mode. At thirty four weeks they weren't gonna stop things if the girls were ready. Uh oh!
Fortunately, they let the monitors talk, and they gave me lots of water. After an hour or so everything had calmed down. I didn't even need the shot of Tribultaline to slow down the contractions. Sigh o' relief.
So first big hospital scare is out of the way. Lets not plan on having any others!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

8 months



Once again, can't imagine getting any bigger! But, everyday I savor having them in my belly.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Halloween

Yay! I survived Halloween! I had a stress test in the morning, Radiology in the afternoon, and about 10 blocks of Trick O' Treating that evening. Gold stars for me all around!



(the old woman who swallowed the fly)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

31 weeks

I have a feeling these last two months are gonna be a challenge. Each day that the girls get bigger I can feel more pressure on my pelvis and my back. Today's ultrasound revealed that they are jockeying for head position - each one wants to be first out! I am happy that they are still head down, but wowsers does it make me sore.
My doc is very confident in my pregnancy. She thinks I look great for 31 weeks (which is very reassuring since I really have no idea how this pre-mama thing should feel). General stats: Thyroid: good. Blood pressure: good. Diabetes: negative (but borderline). Sugars and proteins: good. Cervical length: good. Dilation: none. Shiny gold star for my body!
Downsides to 3rd trimester: I feel full most of the time (regardless of how much I eat), I can't seem to lie flat without getting nauseous, my back hurts for the latter half of each day, and I'm very round. Besides that I can't really be bitchy. Also, I am 100% thankful that I am not on bed rest. Yay for mobility!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Onesies here, onesies there...

When I found out I was pregnant I psyched myself up for all the usual things: morning sickness, back-ache, swollen feet - what I didn't prepare for were the other curve balls. Like colds and allergies without medication.
I just got back from my last Tucson visit before the girls come. I grew up in the desert and was so excited to see everyone and have my first baby shower. The one thing I forgot? I'm allergic to dust. No problem when I could pop Claritin everyday. But without it? Holy sniffling, sneezing and coughing batman! Despite utilizing every tissue in sight I had a great time, and the shower was lots o' fun.
Everyone was super generous and we got some of the cutest things! Lots and lots of pink, onesies, matching outfits, diapers and toys! I was overwhelmed by all the stuff, but the scary thing is - we still need more! I love you babies (even if you have turned me into a breeding consumer!)


Monday, October 3, 2011

Shopaholic

I am not a shopper. I am the type that goes to the store, knows what i need and buys it. If something else happens to catch my eye while I'm there, then maybe I'll snatch that too. But the mall, random wanderings at target, window shopping for fun? Not me. Or very rarely me. So this whole "register for the babies" thing is quite the challenge.

I've been doing my research. I googled must-have lists and got the basics down. Onesies, burp cloths, socks - all the basics are covered. Things that are snagging me? All the big stuff! We live in a 3-bedroom apartment that's great for us so far, but two new bodies really are a challenge! Once you factor in all the things they need as well - I am already getting claustrophobic. So these are my picks for the bare minimum of things we need (and as a first time mama, I could be completely wrong about it all!)

Crib vs no-crib.
We have decided on a co-sleeper to start off with. I am gonna try to breastfeed, so having them in the room seems like a good idea. Our pick: Arms reach co-sleeper:


The dilemma? How long will they fit in it? Our temp solution. A pack-n-play along side the co-sleeper. That way, they can both be in the room for night feedings.
Our pick: Graco Travel Lite Crib


These two sound great for now. Especially since I wanna keep a guest room for as long as possible. But what happens when they get bigger? I can't imagine two full size cribs. Maybe I'll be all wise and knowing by that point. Ya think?

Stroller.
We were at Babies R' Us the other day looking at these gargantuan things called double strollers, and the guy that was helping us put it simply, "The problem is, you're having twins. Things would be so much easier if you were just having one." Exactly.
Double strollers come in every shape and size: tandem, side-by-side, small wheels, big wheels, convertibles - I swear they have one out there with a hot tub built in! And mostly - they are huge! Smart Cars are smaller. The price tags are hefty too. My faves were up in the $700 bracket. That seems like so much (especially when car seats alone are almost $200). Crazy talk.
My temporary solution? Avoid the situation. I know, not a real solve, but my brain can't handle it. So I reached for a bridge. A car seat stroller frame that lasts until the kiddos are about 22 pounds. By then they should be sitting up and we can buy a sleeker side-by-side stroller that isn't ginormous.
Our pick: Baby Trend Snap N Go


Baby bouncer.

This one seems like it should be easy. Baby bouncer. A seat for the baby. Nothing fancy right? Uh-huh, sure.
Living in the US I have gotten used to the whole, bigger is better, more is more, concept. But, even though I'm used to it, I don't necessarily buy into it. I like space, I hate clutter. I am ready for the baby explosion in the apt. But there are things that can be avoided. Things like this:

Not too gaudy. But times that by two. The space is getting smaller.
There are a lot of things that I love. Especially sleek European designs, but to go along with that style comes the price tag again. So while I love love love the Bjorn Babysitter Bouncer (for just under $200):



I will most likely compromise with something like this (for about $40):


Baby Carrier:

I went to Babies by the Sea the other day and walked around wearing two stuffed penguins in the K'tan. This is a gift I'm gonna give myself!


Diapers:

I have decided on cloth diapers. Crazy? Perhaps. Better for babies and environment? Most definitely. Unfortunately this is not an a or b world. It's not: cloth vs. disposable. It's cloth vs. disposable, then cloth options a-z(million).
To get D on board I decided on All-In-Ones, which are the most like disposable diapers. I am now looking into different places to buy them, because like everything else I fancy, these cloth things aren't cheap!. Almost $30 a diaper (but hopefully I will be using them throughout the whole diaper-stage, so the cost will be worth it). So far Bum Genius, GroVia, and Bummis seem to be at the head of the pack. However, there are some really cute Etsy items too. Too many options!




Overwhelming, and I have a feeling I'm over thinking it. So far we have two car seats, maybe we could just leave it at that?

In non-shopping news: My glucose results are in and I am diabetes free! However, my fasting level was borderline, so I am on extra exercise for now. Half an hour after every meal.
Today I am taking my last pre-baby flight to Tucson. I am excited to see everyone. I love the ocean, but yay for mountains!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Doctor, doctor



A much better visit this time. Whew. My regular Ob really does a good job at calming my nerves.
The babies are both head down again and the heartbeats look great. Relief relief relief.

I also did a 3-hr glucose test. I have a high rate of diabetes in my family, so I'm triple hoping that the tests come out ok.

I have another break between appointments while I go to Tucson for my bab(ies) shower. Registering for the little ones has been a pain and a half - man they need a lot of things! Super excited to see my family and friends though. Last trip before babies!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not so fun.




The last two appointments were no fun at all. Monday I had Radiology scheduled. The only time I could get was at 8:40am so that meant leaving the house around 7 to be stuck in gridlock for an hour. I finally got there (with a whole five minutes to spare) and managed not to pee my pants since you must have a full bladder for the test. 32oz of water plus two babies is a bit much for my belly (no mater what size it is!). The test began, and all the measurements went quickly and smoothly until they got to Baby B. She has a tendency to curl into a little ball when they want to look at her and makes it hard for them to see all the necessary parts. None of the techs have been able to monitor her R Outflow Valve in her heart yet. Monday's tech was having the same problem. So I got up, walked around, touched my toes, twisted and bent and tried to get the little babe to move. No luck. Another tech was called in and proceeded to push his weight on my belly to bully Baby into moving. It hurt. He apologized, but continued to push and pinch to get the view. By the end of it I don't even know if he was successful. I went home wondering if I was gonna show bruises the next day.

Tuesday I woke up sore, but without bruises. I headed down to Zion again for my Perinatology visit. At least the appointment was at 10am so it only took 40 minutes to get there. My doc was very nice, she will be with me until delivery. She went through the whole twin breakdown (basically anything that can go wrong with a baby has a double chance with twins). Then she went to look at the girls. Baby A was still head down and all stretched out. Her heart also sounded nice and strong. Baby B had moved. She is now head up and curled into the tiniest ball under my rib cage. When the doc went to check her heart it was very slow. She had me turn on my side and the rate came up to normal. But it was enough to concern her. She called up to Labor and Delivery and told them I was coming up for monitoring. The doc then explained to me that if the heart rate wasn't stable to be prepared to be admitted and get ready for steroids. This way, if they decided to deliver the babies then and there they would have help with lung development. Scary. I stayed calm. The babies were hooked up for about an hour and a half, and the L&D doc said they looked great and strong. I got to go home.

My tummy is still sore. I wonder if Baby B is truly ok after being manhandled by the male tech. She was doing fine until she got bullied. And now she still hasn't uncurled. I am taking it easy and feeling for her kicks and happy that I have a bit of a rest before I go back to the doc.

Friday, September 16, 2011

With every heartbeat.



Ahh, finally over my cold! Now I can continue my day-to-day with a new found respect for DayQuil, NyQuil and every other cold remedy.

26 weeks! Woot! Got to hear the heartbeats again today. They sounded all sweet and strong. Both babies are head down right now and I'm wishing on every star that they stay that way! Come on vaginal birth! We can do it!

I have two appointments next week at the Kaiser Zion hospital. That's where my delivery will be. I am hoping traffic isn't too bad, because we are in the heart of suburbia (North County San Diego), and Zion is down towards the stadium (which can be 20min or over an hour depending). By the time I go into labor I'm gonna have to plead with the girls for non-gridlock hours, think it'll work?

Besides all the doc appointments I am booking my last trip before the births. I'm headed to my hometown of Tucson, AZ for my baby shower. I was hoping to wait till November so I wouldn't jinx anything, but 29 weeks is supposed to be the safe zone. The tentative date is Oct 5th - which means I have to register! Goodness, I have an idea of certain things, but really - nothing definite!

Oh babies. Three months left. Wow.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Big Badda Belly



Wow! 24 weeks and I can't believe how big I am! Actually, I'm fine with how big I am, I can't believe I'm gonna get bigger! It's strange seeing people who are having singletons, they are all so much smaller than me. When I tell people my due date they are shocked until I say - I have twins, there are two! Really. I am not just a hippo. Promise.
This week I added to the fun of being a whale by getting a cold. Boo hiss. I am resting, and drinking lots of fluids, but that's about it. Everyday I try to convince myself that I'm getting better. Let's hope that today its true.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

22 Weeks



Baby update: Baby A is 1 pound 1 oz and Baby B is 8 ounces. They both have a heartrate of 139 and we have to set up an Echo for B in the next two weeks because she rolls up like a pill bug anytime they try to look at her. Lots of wiggles as usual and many smiles for me. (This video is backwards today: Baby B first and Baby A second)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

3D Video



Kinda creepy, kinda sweet. The babies definitely have to bake longer! I heard their cute lil heartbeats and everything is just zooming along. Perinatal appointment on Thursday and then off to a new HMO. New docs, new facilities, new new new. Whew, here we go again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

...and then he kissed me.




We had always talked about marriage, but the girls sped that process along. The wedding was lovely. Two of our good friends, David and Lorena shared their backyard in Cardiff where we had a small simple ceremony.
I never expected to be a pregnant bride. The dress was the hardest to find. But Modish Maternity in La Jolla rescued with a comfy wrap dress that was perfect. Besides not being able to indulge in the champagne toast or too much dancing, being pregnant didn't impede my fun at all. It was a perfect night with friends and family.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hungry Hungry Hippo

The food cravings have officially kicked in. Goodness gracious.
I have to admit, I have not had the best nutrition/eating habits in my life. I've never really known true hunger, so I could go a day a skip most meals. Or when I was busy I'd just stock up on Ensure and have one if I started to get a headache. Not the best for my body.
Since I've been pregnant I have been sure to eat regularly and healthily. I am lucky that I didn't get the first trimester morning sickness, but there are definitely foods I steer clear from. Mostly greasy things or stuff that is overly spiced (red pasta sauce seems to be on that list). However, these last couple of weeks have changed all of that.
I am hungry. Officially. This morning I started with an English muffin and cream cheese with fruit. Not enough. The girls want more. Snack snack snack. What's worse? Craving anything that's mentioned. I see anything and I want it. Fish and chips, potato skins, chocolate mousse, oh my! The worst is hamburgers.
I am not a fast-food connoisseur at all. But right now I could eat a fast-food hamburger and fries everyday. It's ridiculous! I've tried substituting veggie burgers to no avail. Its not what they want. Just typing this I can hear the grumblies starting. I am holding onto my will power to eat healthily regardless of what the babies want, but man oh man, nothing sounds better than giving in. :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

18 weeks and a sigh of relief



Today is my 35th birthday and I got the best present ever - two wonderful girls in my belly! My AFP test came back with great results. There are no markers for Downs or Spina Bifida, so my doctor agrees that we can safely pass on the amnio for now!
Yay for healthy girls! Baby A is a champ at 9 ounces and B is a close second at 8. I'm doing a happy birthday celebration dance and keeping those positive thoughts flowing. Happiness. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Docs of DOOM

I needed a few days to recover from my last doc visit. It was my first with the Perinatal department, and even though I went in with high expectations (and hoping to know the genders), I emerged a crushed ball o' worry.
The visit itself was fine. D got to see the first ultrasound of the babies and the heartbeats were great. Baby A is weighing in at 6 ounces, and Baby B is a little bit smaller at 4. The babies spent most of the time driving the tech bananas by curling into little fetal balls, but it was all very cute and fun to watch. An hour later, cue the doc.
She took about 2 minutes to tell me the babies looked great and healthy. The next 20 minutes was a hand-out filled discussion on the perils of twin pregnancies. Downs, Edwards, fetal deaths, and the list went on and on. The worst part was the docs insistence that I needed to make a decision on an amnio there and then (after informing me that its a 1 in 200 chance for baby death). Trauma, trauma, trauma.
I let a weekend pass and my anxiety has dwindled again. I'm gonna focus on the whole "the babies are healthy" aspect for now. I know the docs have to open your eyes to all the risks, but wow, I hope that doesn't scare the bejeezus out of me every time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wiggle twins



Pics are one thing, but actually seeing the little ones move is so great! Still don't know what the sexes are, but I'm still crossing my fingers for a girl in the mix somewhere :)

PS - It is difficult to film while laying on the table!

(If you can't see the vid here is the link to YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xR0th2aBM8)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot Hot Heat



Wow! Just returned to the cool ocean breeze from the crazy heat of Arizona. I know its my home town and all, but 110 degrees is crazy ridiculous!
Despite the heat I got to see lots of friends and family and it made this whole preggo thing all the more real. I also finally got my baby bump! They pushed out almost over night and it actually looks like I'm expecting. I do feel way bigger than I thought I would, but I have to keep telling myself there are two little ones in there, Im supposed to be big.
The heat also brought out the evilness of swelling. My feet and hands were especially sausage-like. Heels are now a thing of the past, sad sad face for this shorty girl. It looks like they are shrinking back to normal since I'm out of the furnace, but I'm sure it was only a preview for things to come.
Another big milestone on my visit: my first trip to the Maternity sections! Big tent shopping all the way ;) I was still super swollen so the fitting rooms were not fun at all, but my mom and auntie were there and very encouraging. I got lots of dresses, some pants and leggins, and one little black dress for anything fancy. Im thinking these will take me through term, but after googling 9 month twin bellies, Im not too sure! Here's to wishful thinking...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Heartbeat

I got to hear a heartbeat today :) I'm not quite 12 weeks yet, so the midwife was surprised even to hear one. Cant wait to hear the other. I have an appointment with the twin doc on Thursday, maybe then!

Other updates: everything looks good. Just a little anemic, but I have new iron pills to give me more strength than Popeye with his spinach.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Aliens scratching on my belly!

I'm almost at the three month mark. So far everything has been great, but yesterday I got my first wake-up call. As I was getting into the shower I noticed purple little lines on my belly, stretch marks!, my body is no longer mine! There are even more today, and I have to say, I'm kinda freaking out a bit. For vanity's sake I'm gonna have to run out and get every cocoa butter, vitamin E, skin elixir out there, because it seriously looks like the babies are trying to claw their way through my skin. My tummy has barely grown at all yet, what am I gonna do when they're close to term?! Be nice to mommy babies, please! :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Two babies!




Based on my age and a couple of irregular births in my family I was sent to the Ultrasound tech at only 9 weeks. I was so very excited to see the baby (notice, singular, bab-Y). With a little surprise in her voice, the tech said, oh! you didn't tell me you're having twins. And there they were, up on the screen, babies, plural. Complete and utter shock.

While I smiled and cried and repeatedly said two, two babies, over and over, the tech took all the measurements, etc. They are the same size (despite the pic, Baby A is already a camera lover), and they have their own sacs and placentas. I got to see them wiggle and their little hearts beat, which I'm sure is amazing to everyone, but I am completely in awe.

We've had just over a week to let it sink in, and now I am scouring the web for advice and help and baby things for two. Mostly I keep taking lots of naps and deep breaths, we are gonna have a great ride.