Let’s Get Real

Overwhelmed

 

I debated whether I should write this post.  First off, let me start by saying that I’m not ‘outwardly’ religious, meaning I won’t preach to you, I won’t try to argue with you, I don’t go to church (though we may want that to change for the babies) and I rarely talk about prayer and things of the like.  Second, we seem to live in a culture that has more depression than ever, yet no one wants to talk about it and especially not in the pregnancy/mommy world.  I have not been diagnosed with depression or anything like that, but after yesterday I feel myself slipping into this place that I don’t recognize.  It’s been a long time since I felt like this – like since middle school (which is a post for another time, maybe even for a different blog).  Yesterday when I was in the hospital, I got teary-eyed once and my husband helped to calm me down.  I think I was mostly in shock at everything that was happening.  Though I will say, when I got up yesterday morning, I just had this aching feeling that we were going to be making a hospital visit.  Anyway, I came home last night, texted our moms and my sister-in-law and wrote a blog post.  The rest of the night went on like it normally does.

This morning I woke up at 4:20 am – anyone who is or has been pregnant can understand this.  I then laid in bed from 4:25 – 9:25 (with one more pee break in between), but not a wink of sleep.  I have so many things racing through my brain.  I was feeling low, really low.  It’s only gotten worse throughout the day.  I keep thinking: have I caused this, is this because I haven’t enjoyed every ounce of my pregnancy so far, were the doctors right to tell us that we should only transfer 1 embryo, is my cervix the issue or is it that there are two babies and not much room, could I have prevented this, is it because I rarely take my vitamins since they make me feel sick, please let them stay put until 36 weeks, if they can’t stay put please, please don’t take them from me.  I shed a few tears this morning and at different points during the day, but tried to hold back because I don’t want to upset my husband or totally fall apart.  Stress isn’t good for the babies, but how the hell do you not stress about this?  After eventually getting up and starting the day, my husband was working on a shelf for the nursery closet.  I snuck in while he was in the garage and just glided away in our glider.  I stared at the book ledges that are already full of books, the cribs that are set up (minus mattresses and sheets and whatnot), the area rug on the ground and the baby books I received in the mail, from a still unknown sender.  Tears welled up in my eyes.  How long would it be before my babies would be using this room?  If born prematurely, how long would they have beds in the NICU vs. beds at home where they belong?  What kind of complications could they face if they came now, or next week, or at 30 weeks or 32?  Could they survive if they came now?  Do I have any control over any of this?  Will I even know if I go into pre-term labor since the symptoms can be a bit different from regular labor and since I’ve never done this before?  All of these things are weighing heavily on me today.

I’ve never prayed as much in my life as I have since right before beginning our IVF cycle.  I try to keep them short, as I know there are people out there with ‘real’ problems who probably need more help than I could ever understand.  And, they’re pretty much always the same prayers.  At this point it’s something like, “Please help these babies to grow big, strong and healthy.  Please let them stay in as long as possible, like to 36+ weeks.  Please keep our family safe.”  Short, sweet, to the point.  I don’t know if I’m doing it right, but that’s what I do.    I truly believe that through this process we have not been alone.  Prayers have already been answered.  IVF being possible, my hormone levels rising and then holding steady so our cycle wasn’t cancelled, getting pregnant, finding out it was two babies and getting us this far.  So this is what I do when I enter a dark place – I pray and I hope that I’m heard and that these babies are going to be okay.

I realize this method doesn’t work for everyone, but what I want this blog post to say is that depression or signs of sadness during pregnancy and mommyhood are a lot more common than people like to admit.  Do what you need to do to pull yourself out of a slump.  Call a doctor, friend or family member.  Don’t struggle alone.  Open up and be truthful about your journey because it isn’t all rainbows and fairytales.  You are not alone.  I am not alone.

I also have to thank a very special group of women, whom I’ve never actually met in person.  The ‘trying-to-conceive’ community (mostly on instagram, but a few have found me through my blog too) has been a huge support.  Everyone is sending their well-wishes, happy thoughts, prayers and their own scary stories that turned out to have happy endings.  I couldn’t do this without all of you.  You know just what I’m going through.  I feel your love, and your support.  So thank you, thank you, thank you!

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It’s too soon babies, too soon!

Hospital 26 6 Jan 29 Collage

Today started out like any other day, I woke up a million times during the night and got my best sleep between 7:30-9:30 am.  I had a follow-up appointment today to check and see if my cervix had continued to shorten or if it was holding steady at 2-2.3.  When the scan began, I saw immediately that not only was my cervix even shorter but now there was funneling (when the cervix begins to open from the inside).  I asked the tech, “Is that funneling?”  She hesitated to respond, since that is really the doctors job, but she finally confirmed that it was.  To cheer me up she started to get some 3D scans of the babies faces, which I wasn’t expecting at all.  The doctor came in a little bit later and told me the bad news, in two weeks my cervix had gone from a 2 to a 1.5.  Which maybe doesn’t seem like a lot but I believe these are measured in centimeters and since it shouldn’t have shortened at all yet, half a centimeter along with funneling is not the best sign.  When pregnant with twins, especially as a first pregnancy, there’s really no way to tell how my body will respond and whether my cervix is just prone to shortening or whether it’s because I’m carrying two babies, or if it means labor is imminent.  She sent me to the hospital to determine if I was showing any real signs of labor, as a precaution.  So naturally we left the office and headed to the McDonald’s drive-thru before heading to the hospital.

3D US Collage

Twin A (on the left), Twin B (on the right)

 

We valet parked at the hospital and headed up to Labor and Deliver, which we had never been to before because our hospital tour isn’t scheduled until the end of February.  I guess that’s useless now.  They checked me into triage and hooked me up to monitors.  They were monitoring the babies heartbeats which were perfect, and were measuring me to see if I was showing any signs of labor or contractions.  Luckily I wasn’t.  They checked my cervix twice while we were there to make sure there was no change to it from the time I arrived.  The doctors made the decision to administer my first round of steroids to help the babies lungs along, just as a precaution.  I will have to return tomorrow to have the second dose.   If the babies stay in another two weeks after that, we can do a second round of the steroids to help the babies along even more.  They also decided to start me on progesterone as it has shown to be effective in reducing preterm labor for singleton pregnancies, though there’s no data to support it helping with twins, we figured since the side effects are low and I’ve been on progesterone before (for IVF) that it certainly couldn’t hurt.  I’ll be returning to the OB on Monday for another follow up and to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor on Thursday for yet another cervix check.  We are hopeful that my body will keep it together.  I’m really hoping to make it to 36 weeks which is the beginning of April, but we shall see!  It is reassuring to know that our hospital has a great NICU and should things get really hairy, being centrally located on the East Coast gives us access to other great hospitals should we or the babies need to be transferred, but hopefully nothing will come of that thought!

After leaving the hospital, my husband took me to Ice Cream World, because he’s the greatest husband ever.  And the best thing happened…they were also selling GIRL SCOUT COOKIES!  On top of ice cream, we also picked up three boxes of cookies.  It was just what I needed to cheer me up.

So that was my day…

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My Registry Must Haves

Twin Registry Must Haves

 

Expecting twins can be a little overwhelming.  On top of that, they’re my first babies and so I’m totally clueless.  After talking with my sister-in-law who has an 18-month-old and doing research via other blogs, I knew there were some items I ‘had to have’ and some items that were just wants and some that are a total shot in the dark.

Knowing that my family is throwing me a shower and that everyone is so excited for us, I knew everyone would want to help out.  I tried to find safe, stylish items that were also affordable.  With some things – I’m talking to you stroller and car seat manufacturer’s – there is no ‘inexpensive’ option.  And obviously, you wouldn’t want to skimp on either of those items since they need to be super safe for babies.

Here is what I came up with for my twin registry must haves.

1.  Cloth Diapers – while I know this isn’t a good option for everyone, I will be a stay at home mom and it’ll be easier for me to throw in a load of laundry than to pack up two babies and drive to the store every time I run out. After much research, I’ve chosen Bumgenius 4.0 all-in-one diapers (both newborn and one-size diapers). I want the newborn diapers since our babies will likely be smaller at birth and stay small a little bit longer than singleton babies.

2.  Bumbos – I’ve heard mixed reviews on the bumbo seats from other moms.  Some love them and depend on them and others haven’t found much use for them.  I plan to use them so that I can take a shower (and just put the babies in their seats on the floor outside my glass shower), while the babies are taking baths but not quite stable enough to sit up on their own the entire time, and when mommy just needs to have her hands free.

3.  My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow – this particular nursing pillow can be used when tandem feeding twins, which is what I plan to do more often than not.  The quicker I can get them both fed and back to sleep, the more sleep I can get!  (or at least that’s what I’m hoping for)

4.  Baby Jogger City Mini Double – this stroller is a side-by-side, which some people don’t like, but I do.  It’s the ‘mini’ version so it fits through a standard size door.  It also folds really easily.  After test driving strollers when we were like 3 days pregnant, or something like that, we knew we needed something compact, lightweight and easy to maneuver since I’ll likely be using it a lot on my own.  And as far as strollers go, while I had sticker shock, it’s one of the most affordable, highly-rated, double strollers around.  The other thing to consider is that because this stroller is compact, it cannot accommodate two car seats at the same time.  They do sell compact prams for infants to lay flat in the stroller.

5.  Changing Pad – this changing pad is a little on the pricey side, however, it doesn’t need a cover and easily cleans.  It’s been used in hospitals and doctors offices and gets really great reviews.  Being a slight germaphobe, knowing I can just lysol off any poop blow-outs instead of having to wash a cover and worry that the poop germs already made their home inside my foam changing pad, will help me sleep at night.

6.  Bottles – I chose this bottle option, even though I’m planning to do a lot of breast feeding, it’ll be helpful to have someone else be able to feed them every now and then.  This bottle is designed to imitate the ‘real deal’ and it’s sold at Target, so it’s for me!

7.  Crib – cribs can get so expensive.  Do I love the look of a really pricey Restoration Hardware crib?  Sure I do, but I just simply cannot justify it.  Then after doing research on multiple blogs, I kept seeing this super simple, wooden crib and found that it’s from Ikea!  It’s very affordable, can be adjusted to two levels, one side comes off to turn into a toddler bed and fits regular crib sized mattresses.  These were generously gifted to me from my mom, and because she’s concerned our babies won’t know what colors are – because I LOVE neutrals – we are working on a little project to add color to the crib rungs/spindles to get this sort of look only without this kind of price tag.

8.  Rock n’ Play – this is an item that my sister-in-law received at her shower.  It wasn’t something she registered for and initially we thought it would be something she wouldn’t use, and then my littlest nephew was born.  He slept in this at the beginning as he wasn’t quite ready for the big, wide world of his crib just yet and he slept in this when he travelled.  She told me it was one of the items I ‘must’ get.

9.  Baby Book – for all our memories and keepsakes.   I stumbled upon this one at Anthropologie and thought it was really cute.

10.  Teething necklace – I’m not real comfortable with the idea of teething necklaces for my babies to wear.  I just fear it breaking and them choking on the little pieces, but that doesn’t mean that mommy can’t wear a necklace that the babies can play with and chew on.

11.  Baby Monitor – when it comes to a baby monitor, at first, I wasn’t going to get anything fancy.  Their room is right across the hall from ours.  After watching my nephew a few times, I found myself just staring at the little screen watching him sleep, checking to make sure he was still breathing and just taking in all of the cuteness.  Then we found this monitor, which can zoom and pan the room.  It comes with a second camera (and you can add up to four) for if/when the babies move into separate rooms.  It is pricey, but not a whole lot more than some of the single camera monitors.

12.  Noise Machine – I chose the Baby Shusher because it’s gotten really great reviews.  It can sit on a dresser top, next to a crib, can be thrown in a stroller or next to the car seat.

13.  Car Seats – this can be one of the most overwhelming items to do research on. There are so many brands and options, newborn car seats, convertible car seats, the list goes on.  For me, I wanted a convertible car seat that could fit tiny babies (this one goes as low as 4lbs) and will convert all the way up into a booster seat when the kids are older.  So I will only need one car seat per child, forever, period, that’s it.  Also, Maxi Cosi is said to have lightweight car seats compared to some others that can get really, really heavy.  Since I’ll have two, this is important.

14.  4 Moms Rockaroo Baby Swing – There are a ton of baby swings out there, but this one is all the rage.  It gets really great reviews, and even though this is the lower model, I think it will help me out just fine.

15.  Play Mat – there are a million play mats out there for babies as well.  I wanted one that wasn’t extra loud or bright and that I could add toys to and fit both babies underneath (at least at the beginning).  Ikea won again!

16.  Diaper Bag – this is another place where options are vast, ranging from designer to affordable, stylish to basic, leather to canvas, bright to neutral, tote vs. cross body vs. backpack and so many more.  Of course I was really attracted to a leather version that converted from a tote, to a cross body bag and to a backpack but spending $200+ seemed kind of ridiculous.  I found this one, at Target, and I love the color of the bag and love the color of the inside and changing pad.  I don’t need designer, I just need it to hold diapers, a change of clothes and some bottles and toys.

Those are my must haves, but trust me when I say I have so much more on my registry.  There are so many little things that are needed that you forget about until you have to put a registry together.  One more note about my registry is that I decided to have it through BabyList and not register at any actual stores.  So far, I haven’t heard any complaints about this and it allows me to add things from any website making it easier on me to not have to settle.  It also shows where the item is the lowest price so that anyone being so generous as to buy us something can get the very best deal!

Sorry that this post is so long!  After the babies are born I’ll be sure to do an update to let you know about which items I actually use most often and if there’s any I would forgo if I could do it all over.

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New Year’s Resolutions

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Most other blogs covered their New Year’s resolutions already, but it’s still January so I figured what the heck.  When I thought, at the end of last year, what my goals were for 2015 only one word came to mind: survive.  2014 was quite the year.  It was filled with struggle, disappointment, dark days, hope, tears and overwhelming happiness.  As we look ahead, I know this year is going to be the most difficult I’ve experienced yet.  We need to survive the rest of this pregnancy, which has taken a bit of a scary turn, but hopefully my damn cervix stays shut.  We need to survive labor and delivery, in whatever form it comes.  We need to survive new parenthood and twin babies.  We need to survive becoming a one-income family with 6 mouths to feed (counting the pups).  So above all else, we just need to survive.

On top of that, there are definitely a few other things I’d like to accomplish.  I’ve been an obsessive planner my whole life.  Though when looking back, little to none of those ‘life plans’ ever worked out the way I expected.  I want to take a step back from planning and just let life happen.  This is going to be hard for me.  I almost want to plan out how to not plan.  You see?  I’m obsessed.

Another goal is to simplify.  I’ve been trying to declutter my house since before the end of the year.  We have boxes of old papers, old trinkets and a bunch of other junk that we moved into the house with and some we’ve acquired since living here.  I want it all gone.  Zero extra clutter, but it’s fricken impossible!  I’m trying my best and will soon be moving on to our closets, getting a mail/bill system set up, the nursery and organizing the office even more than I already have.  I’ve been decluttering digitally too.  I have been unsubscribing from the majority of emails that come through.  It’s weird to check your email in the morning and see nothing new, but it’s refreshing.

One last resolution is to ‘let it go’.  I realize that song is so last year, but the meaning is something I should’ve figured out a long time ago.  I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my day – nothing illegal but educationally, financially, career wise, with relationships and friendships.  There’s nothing I can do to change any of that, but it haunts me constantly.  I get really down on myself for not knowing better, or for knowing better and making the mistakes anyway or for not thinking things through.  It’s time I let that all go.  It isn’t helping me to dwell on the past.

This is a lofty list of resolutions for me, especially to take on in the biggest year of my life so far.  I’ve always been one to do everything all at once, so here’s to taking it all on in 2015!

p.s. these photos are from Lauren Fair Photography from our engagement shoot back in 2012 (we were engaged on NYE inside the Tiffany & Co. in Atlantic City so we recreated NYE for our shoot).

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Let’s play catch-up

Self Portrait Maternity Jan 8 2015 255Well, it’s been 12 weeks since I blogged last….ooops!  I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant, with twins.  I have no real excuse.  I started this blog in hopes to bring awareness to infertility.  It evolved and became somewhat of a piece of hope for others who are trying-to-conceive.  I feel as if I’ve let those people down by not keeping up with it, but I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt that aside from having to do IVF and the costs and sacrifices that come along with that, this was fairly ‘easy’ for us.  But, I’ve got to get over it.  We’ll talk about that in my next post about New Year’s resolutions.

At 16 weeks, I had an early anatomy scan with the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor.  Both babies looked really good and were measuring well.  However, we discovered that Baby B’s umbilical cord inserted into the side of their placenta instead of the center, which is called velamentous insertion.  The doctor pushed this off as no big deal, just that we would need to keep an eye on their size because it could cause growth delays/restrictions.  DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT google this.  Google is the devil.  It led me straight to all kinds of horror stories about stillborns if the placenta/cord gets to the cervix before the baby.  My OB assured me at my next appointment that our biggest concern is growth restrictions but that we were more likely to have those restrictions in either baby because they’re twins and just not enough room in my womb than as a direct result of this cord issue.  I felt better.

At about 18 weeks, I started to feel movement (what I think was Baby A but I actually have no clue what I’m talking about).  The movements, kicks and punches have only increased in frequency and intensity.  I think that Baby B sticks their little foot out to stretch out their legs and it pops out of my tummy and stays that way for a good long time…super comfortable for me.

At 20 weeks I had a regular anatomy scan.  Everything looked good.  The babies are so super active that it was hard to get all of the proper measurements but after nearly two hours of ultrasounds we got everything we needed.

At 22 weeks I had an echocardiogram on the babies, which is standard procedure for when you conceive with IVF.  Apparently heart defects are more common in IVF babies.  This was another long scan, and the babies weren’t quite cooperating so it took another two hours, but their hearts look great!

Today, at my 24 week appointment, I was supposed to have the last of my ‘cervix checks’.  However, this pregnancy couldn’t go that smoothly, right?  As soon as the tech began to look at my cervix, I could see that it looked different on the screen from what it has looked like previously.  My cervix has begun to shorten.  It’s still long enough to not be considered ‘critical’.  I’ve been instructed to take it easy and not do anything outside of normal daily activity.  I’m not sure how I can take it easier than I’ve been doing except to scale back the housework I do (sorry hubby) or at least space it out and take lots of breaks.  I’ll be checked again in two weeks to see if there have been any changes.  The doctor did say though that this means my chances of making it to 36-37 weeks are now declining.   We may meet these babies sooner than expected.  I’m hoping not before 35 weeks.  On the plus side, the babies look great.  Baby A is about 1lb 6oz and Baby B is 1lb 9oz.  I’m pretty stoked that Baby B is heavier as that helps calm any of my fears of growth restrictions.

So for now I’ll be relaxing and reading my new baby books and eating oreos.  I’m sorry again for my absence but now you’re all caught up on what’s happening with the babies.  More to come on resolutions and nursery planning soon.

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