Thursday, July 13, 2017

My batteries need recharged

Ten years ago my energy was "zapped" because I couldn't recharge my batteries by getting up and moving around. This week my energy is zapped because I haven't had the chance to sit and rest!

33 weeks
Date: 07/13/2007
The news from the ultrasound this week is good. Our baby girl is 4 lb. 10 oz. Our baby boy is 4 lb. 12 oz. So even though I haven't gained much weight in the last month, the twins have done their job!

Life on bed rest has been an adjustment. I've become slightly addicted to Dr. Phil, and I've learned how to accept and ask for help from friends and family. Rick has learned to balance demands of home and work (good practice for the upcoming months) as he takes care of me and many of the chores/errands I can no longer do.

My energy is zapped, mainly, I think, because I cannot be active in any way. In essence, I can't recharge my batteries by moving around, and my body is suffering physically as well. However, it's all for a good reason, and it's only temporary, so I can make it!

My doctor has prescribed weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests. I have them scheduled through the next month - maybe by the time my appointments run out, we'll have two little ones at home with us!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Going to the mailbox

I just heard the mail truck drive down the street.  I'm going to log off my computer and go to the mailbox.

Ten years ago today...


And see memory from July 6 for a more complete story.

On another note, I'm really glad we transitioned out of the third person status updates.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Looking Longingly at the Sunshine

Today I spent most of the day inside the "castle," in my new office, emptying boxes and digging through my inbox, already more than 100 deep.  At around 2:30, I realized I was hungry, and I decided to take a stroll downtown, where I happened upon a farmer's market.  I found some lunch and basked in the sunshine before returning to my computer.



Ten years ago I yearned for sunshine.


I had been on bedrest for a week, moving only from my bed to the couch each morning and back again each night.  My hubby, who had enjoyed his first weekend of bedrest away at a bachelor party, had been smacked in the face with what it meant to have his wife incapacitated.  I wasn't a good cook, but I had been responsible for most of the household chores - grocery shopping, cooking,  and laundry among the top three.  All of these crashed onto his plate instantaneously.  His frustration coupled with my boredom and frustration were making things pretty un-fun in the house.  

Sometime in the week after I posted this note on Facebook, he told me he wanted to go to Atlantic City with his friends.  "I just need to get out of this house," he said.

I looked at him incredulously.

"I JUST WANT TO GO TO THE MAILBOX!"  I yelled.  I had asked my doctor the day before if that would be ok.  She told me no.

So today I didn't hesitate when I had the chance to walk outside for a bit.  I've spent enough time for a decade of looking longingly at the sunshine outside.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thinking Back a Decade


When I became pregnant, I started a semi-public journal of my pregnancy on a site called Babysites, which I was surprised to find out still exists today (in the same form it did back then).  It wasn't until 2009 that I switched to Blogger to document my life as a working twinmom.  Nearly two years of thoughts and reflections were archived to a CD when I made that switch, and I thought in honor of my little family's ten year anniversary, I'd repost those blog entries here, to archive them with the rest of my kids' life.  After all, this blog is really for them.

I didn't think of this idea until today, so I've missed about 6 months that I will post as a whole collection in the near future.  But for today and the rest of the posts, I'll aim to publish exactly ten years later.

Yesterday I posted that I was waiting.  I wrote that post purely from memories evoked by an "on this day" status that popped up on Facebook.  Today, I went back into the Babysites journal, and I smiled at my description of my little boy.  Ten years later, he still challenges me - when he isn't asking me to cuddle with him.  :)

A few other memories sparked by the picture and the post below - see Snoogle on the floor?  I loved Snoogle.  I loved him so much that I donated him to another twinmom when she was pregnant.  I regret that decision.  I miss Snoogle.  I may have to buy a new one.

I had honestly forgotten that I had a mole removed that week.  Lying on the table on my back for such an extended period of time was pure torture.  When I was pregnant, I saw my acupuncturist once per week, and as soon as I started growing a belly, which was kind of late in my pregnancy considering I had twins  (I threw up most everything I ate for over 20 weeks), she treated me on my side.  I simply couldn't lie on my back.  Often, the babies would settle on a nerve that would make me feel faint, break out in a cold sweat, and basically incapacitate me.  It happened twice while I was driving, and I had to pull over, but it was most likely to happen when I lay on my back.  So I never did.  That day on the surgery table for my mole was unbearable.

And finally, the day I wrote this post, Rick flew to Atlanta for his best friend's bachelor party.  It was a difficult decision, as the doctor had told us it was possible that I wouldn't make it through the weekend without going into labor.  My parents stayed with me, and my dad finished putting together the cribs (which, I'll admit, I had been working on myself earlier that week...sigh).  I can't attest to what Rick was feeling while away, but I imagine he couldn't focus on the party events as much as he was thinking about his wife and babies!

And now, on to my real-time thinking.  Tune in for the Week 33 update and my associated memories!





Adventures in week 31
Date: 06/29/2007
This week started roughly with some minor pains – and I will spare you the details of that – and has progressively gotten worse.

Wednesday night, I spent five hours in the hospital with some major pain and pre-term contractions. Since I am only 31 weeks, this was quite a problem. They monitored me, gave me some shots to stop the contractions, and sent me home at a little after 2 in the morning. Thursday and Friday I had to get two shots to help develop the babies’ lungs, just in case they decide to come in the next week.

The big, and not surprising news, is that my doctor has put me on official bed rest. I have limited movement around the house, but I can’t leave except for doctor’s appointments. As you know, this is going to be VERY hard for me, especially with so much on my to-do list before the babies come.

On top of all this, I found a bad-looking mole last week on the underside of my right breast. If you know my history, you know that I have had several pre-cancerous moles removed over the years, and this one had all the signs of needing to be removed. Because of its location, I needed to have this done quickly so that I had time to heal before the babies came (I kinda need these things to be healthy in order to feed my kids!). The doctor shaved it last Friday and sent it for tests. A long story short – the entire mole had to be removed immediately. So this week I’ve also had surgery to remove the mole (a 7 cm. scar with 17 stiches on the outside - I guess there goes any chance of a playboy shoot for me. Ha ha.).


So….

The babies are fine. I’m doing ok. But it has been a rough week. There isn't much to update on the babies' growth. The ultrasound they conducted on Thursday focused on their anatomy, specifically whether they were breathing enough to give them the shot that will help develop their lungs.

Both the sonographer and my doctor said they are growing well.

An interesting fact - they have both been very active, and while we were being monitored in the hospital, they spent a lot of time kicking the monitors. We could hear their movements even more than their heartbeats. The nurses asked me if I ever got any sleep because these babies were so active.

Additionally, the ultrasound showed that the boy has moved from his last position. However, instead of moving into the space in the lower left of the uterus (which any intelligent child would have done, making himself head down and easily delivered), he decided to do a 180 flip. So he is still transverse, but now his head is on the right side of my body rather than the left. And he's pushing so far up into my lungs that the sonographer asked me if it was possible for me to breathe. His positioning tends to give me a sharp pain, very much like a side-stitch you might get while running, in my rib cage area. I think this little boy is gonna be a stinker.


Thanks for your messages and thoughts. Keep praying for us.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Waiting...

Me, approximately when I went on bedrest
Ten years ago I felt some funny pains in my belly (that's a nice way of saying I felt it in all the pregnant woman parts).  My husband was out that night, playing poker, and I was watching the Mets, who were having a good year.  Just the day before I had posted on Facebook that I was looking forward to going to PA to see my parents and swim in their pool.  For any twinmoms out there, you can imagine how nice pool floating would be with a 30 week twin belly.

I ignored the first round of cramping, chalking it up to something I ate, and turned over to the other side of the couch.  A few minutes later, the second round came.  I called my husband.  He told me to call the doctor if it happened again.  A few minutes later, I was on the phone with my doctor, who told me to "GET TO THE HOSPITAL!"  I heard the all-caps in her voice.

My husband was over an hour away, and my neighbors were not answering their phone.  Always determined, I found my car keys, and waddled to the car - a standard transmission.  I wasn't sure if I could actually drive to the hospital, but since Uber hadn't been invented yet, I had only one choice...

Thankfully, my neighbors pulled into their driveway just as I reached my car parked on the curb.  They rushed me to the ER, and the nurses took me to the maternity ward, where for hours I lay on my back, an incredibly uncomfortable position for a rather pregnant twinmom.

Diagnosis - pre-term labor.

Remedy - shots to develop the babies lungs and BEDREST!

I spent the rest of that very hot pre-Netflix summer in my bed and on my couch, watching a great run by the Mets and a ton of Gilmore Girls and Dr. Phil.  I waited, anxious and bored.  I was waiting for my pain to be over.  I was waiting for a hopefully healthy birth.  I was waiting to start the next phase of life. A woman who had run, run, run all her life was suddenly sidelined.

It was, perhaps, the most humbling experience of my life, and I know it transformed me - as well as my husband who changed from a work-focused professional into a father who changed diapers, starting at day 1.  By taking care of me, he understood what it meant to put someone else first.  By allowing him (and others) to take care of me, I learned to ask for help when I needed it.

Today while I think back a decade, I am waiting for my kids to come home from camp.  Just like then, I yearn to see them and to hold them.  Fortunately today I can walk in the sunshine, watch my Netflix, and know that they are healthy and happy kiddos.  I'm not anxious - I know that this time away is good for all of us - and I'm not bored.  I'm just waiting, which is a good thing, both then and now.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My Last NYC Commute

I have big news to share, news that is predicated by a conversation with my children.  As I shared with them the possibility of my taking a new job, from the backseat of the car, they asked me really insightful questions.  Taking in my honest answers, my son said, "Mama, I think you should go for it."  I trust them, and I trust my gut.

So after 11 years at Fordham, I will be moving to Drew University, where I will be director of teacher education.  This move means big changes for our family, all of them good, but it also means leaving a place that has been formative to me.

This week, I completed my last semester at Fordham, and I reflected on "place."  I've left several places in my life, all of them churning emotions in me.  From my high school, to my college, to my parents' home, to my first apartment and house with my husband, to the high school where I taught, place has always mattered to me.  This week, I asked why.  I share my reflection on leaving this most recent place in this digital story.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Tweenlife

When my kids entered 3rd grade, I made them stop bathing together. I took the advice of my mentor twinmoms that age 8 was the dividing line for B/G twins. My daughter's response underscored their innocence:

"Awww, I'm never going to be able to play in the bathtub with my brother again?"

Both of them didn't understand, but for the most part, they accepted the new rule.

Of course, to be honest, we are a very open family, and everyone is using everyone else's bathroom all the time. No one seems to notice a naked butt passing through now and again, and I'm constantly being interrupted in the bathroom. We still live in innocence.

Tonight my bath was interrupted first by my daughter, who couldn't sleep because of some girl trouble at school. "Can I talk to you about something?" she asked.  I listened.  I counseled. I  sent her back to bed.

A few sips of wine minutes later, my son walked in the room. I nonchalantly covered myself, as he said, "Can I talk to you about something?"

He proceeded to tell me about some boy struggles at school, so very different than what my daughter had just described. And as he shared that a boy in his class was using foul language, which he knew was wrong, he described a conversation that included hand gestures and the word "sex." Perhaps this one isolated moment wouldn't have piqued his curiosity but to my dismay serendipitously, another friend used similar hand motions and the same word (SEX) on the bus. He couldn't sleep because he had no idea what they were talking about.  And he is a curious creature.  He wanted to know.

Guided by my own parents, I have always taken the stance that I answer my children's questions honestly - within their cognitive understanding.  The first time they asked me where babies came from (when they were tots), I told them that they grew in a woman's tummy, and I showed them pictures of my expanding belly.  The next time, a few years later, I explained that it takes a man and a woman to make a baby, but that families come in all forms and babies are made in many ways.  But this question from my son tonight was different.  My son asked me specifically what "sex" meant.  And he did this while I was naked in the bathtub.

So naturally I said, "This is a big conversation.  Do you really want to know?"

"Yes," he replied, his face ensuring to me that he did, in fact, really want to know.

"Then I need to get dressed. Go ask Daddy to meet us."

So what is the cognitive truth to a 9-year-old who has seen the puberty video "Always changing, always growing" and who is inquisitive by nature?

My spur of the moment decision was - it's the truth.  And together the three of us sat, my little boy, my incredibly uncomfortable hubby, and me, while I tried to tell him that truth.

I asked my son if he ever wondered where babies came from.  He answered with his own theory - "They are dropped out of the sky, which is why they don't remember anything."

My husband and I looked at each other.

"Who told you that? That's not the truth."

He responded, "It's my theory.  Because babies don't remember anything."

A little bit proud of his answer, I continued, "Well, babies are made in a couple of ways.  I've told you before it takes a man and a woman.  The woman gives eggs (I pointed to my ovaries) and a man gives sperm, which is made in his penis."

"Not true," said my hubby, who, though incredibly uncomfortable, decided to enter the conversation as a fact checker.

"Testicles," I corrected.  "But it comes out of his penis."  My hubby nodded approvingly.

My son looked inquisitively at me.

I continued.  "So to make a baby, you can take the eggs out of the woman and the sperm out of a man and mix it in a dish."

"And the baby grows in a dish?!?!?" he asked.

"No, you put the mixture back in a mama," I replied, trying hard to meet him on his cognitive level.

"Ok," he said, seeming to make sense of the science.

"Or..." I hinted....  "The man and the woman could make it together without the dish."

"How?" he wondered.

"Well, what's different between a man and a woman?"

"Their privates," he answered, smiling shyly.

"Yes, so think about it.  What do the hand motions you showed us earlier mean?"

He looked at me.  As the realization hit, his face transformed into a mixture of horror and disbelief.  He burst out laughing (sobbing?) and couldn't control himself.  "You mean????" he stuttered, unable to control the laughter/sobbing, unable to ask the question.

"Are you ok?  my husband said.  "BREATHE...."

He continued to laugh, his entire body convulsing, his face pressed into his hands.  And then finally he looked at us.

"It's just.... so.... GROSS!" my little boy exclaimed.

My hubby and I exchanged relieved glances, and I went on to explain that sex is something that people who love each other do to make a baby, and it's not something for children to do and/or talk about.  He assured me he has never used those hand gestures and that he wouldn't say anything to anyone else about it.

Of course, then he asked the all important question in this conversation -

"How was I made?"

For the first time, being able to say my kids were made in a petri dish didn't feel awkward.  It gave me a sigh of relief.  I'm pretty sure he thinks his parents have never had sex, which allows us him to keep our innocence just a bit longer.

Of course, now I have to initiate "the conversation" with his twin sister - because I want her to hear it from me, not from her brother, or from the boys on the bus.  And in order to do this, I need to accept, as my mom has been telling me recently, that I've entered TweenLife.  I need to embrace this moment between innocence and experience - and just keep hoping that they continue to talk to me, to ask me questions, and that I'm strong enough to tell them the truth.