Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Building relationships, then and now

I love watching my kids play with their dad.  Weekends are filled with games in the yard, just the three of them or any combination of two.  

I also love my alone time with the kids, which usually happens in the car or running errands.  

It seems some things haven't changed...


One month update
Date: 09/12/2007
Today was the first day that Megan, Ryan, and Mama ventured out together - ALONE! We attended a special "twin mom" meeting of the local La Leche group, and then we went to Old Navy, where I maneuvered the double stroller in and out of the aisles and the dressing room. I'm in between my old wardrobe and my maternity wardrobe, and I'm headed to a wedding for the weekend, so I needed to find a few things to wear. The babies were very good for the entire trip. But Mama is beat...


As noted in Tim's analysis of their weight gain (see previous journal), both babies continue to eat well and gain weight. Both are also developing their eyesight. There is nothing I like better than making eye contact. Ryan has just started wanting to focus on me while we are nursing. It is very sweet. Megan loves to play the "eye game" with her Daddy. He moves his head from left to right, and she follows with her eyes and by turning her head. Both love to play the "faces game", and we just know there are purposeful smiles hiding in their eyes and on their lips. Any day now we hope to be able to report their first real smiles.


Our biggest news is that Ryan had surgery the other day. He is now a circumcized little boy, and I'm happy to report that he has developed a nice, high arc in his peeing - at least he did early this morning when he hit Mama and then the rest of the items on the changing table. We had a good laugh as we cleared the table and cleaned every item individually.


Megan is still fond of looking in the mirror, and Ryan has developed a liking for this game too. The other day during tummy time, I caught them talking to each other and trying to move closer together. They continue to make us smile every day.

Though we have both taken some time away from them (babysitting provided by G&G Turner), we are planning to spend our first night without the twins this weekend. Granna and Grampa (Hawley) will hold down the fort. We are lucky that we have such good babies and such wonderful grandparents who can confidently care for two.

Monday, September 11, 2017

A growing village

Our babies were born smaller than we had anticipated, and like all babies, they dropped weight quickly in the hospital.  During my time on bedrest, I read a lot about breast feeding - and EVERYTHING I could find about nursing twins (which wasn't much back then) - and both my husband and I were committed to giving them mother's milk and not formula, no matter how much we felt pressured in the hospital.

We struggled to help my son latch the first few days, and my husband grew increasingly nervous about his weight.  I encouraged him to call the local La Leche League leader, whom I had contacted the week before to let her know my situation and to ask for advice.  My husband called Marcy, and with desperation in his voice, explained that our son had not eaten.  Within an hour another local LLL leader, Lisa, was in our hospital room.  A short time later, Marcy arrived.  With their help and the lactation consultant's, we were able to formulate a plan:  My husband would feed our baby milk from his finger, and we would be patient with the latch.


In just the first few days of our children's lives, we had called in the village, and they came to the rescue.  A week later, both kids were back to their birth weights, and even though G-Pa's weight analysis below hasn't come true, Ryan was 16 pounds on his 6 months birthday, fed solely on breast milk.  Marcy and Lisa, who selflessly came to aid a family they had never met, are still part of my village.

My village has grown over the last decade, and I'm always thankful for those who come to my rescue.  The end of August this year was challenging as I found myself without child care during the last week before school, which coincided with the start of my semester at my new job.  Thankfully, I have moms (and dads) in my village who were willing to host my children for a full day, and it all worked out.

With thanks to everyone in my village over the last ten years, and a happy new school year!


Tim's weight analysis
Date: 09/11/2007
Weigh ins:
August 17 ( ten days old) back up to their birth weights of 5 # 9 oz. for Megan and 5 # 1 oz. for Ryan.

August 23- they were 6# 2 oz. and 5# 10 oz. A gain of 9 oz. each over six days for 1.5 oz. average per day.

September 4 - they far exceeded my over/under of 7 and 6.5 pounds, weighing in at 7#7 oz. and 6#15 oz. They both gained 21 oz. over only 12 days for a daily ave. of 1.75 oz.

In summary:

Megan and Ryan both gained 30 oz. over only 18 days for daily average of 1.67 oz.

They are averaging a gain of 1 pound every 10 days.

Looking to the future:
If they keep up this pace then they both will be in the 39-40 pound range next August 7. This pace will also get them to around 180 pounds by their fifth birthday.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Sleep deprived

My baby girl still struggles to sleep. She asked me the other day, "Mama, when you can't sleep, what strategies do you use?" I'll have to show her the strategies we used for her when she was just a few weeks old!

Grunts, groans, and growing
Date: 08/25/2007
We can't believe how much Megan and Ryan are changing and growing each day. They weighed in with a 9 oz. gain each, Megan at 6 lb. 2 oz. and Ryan at 5 lb. 10 oz. The doctor examined them and assured us that they were both "keepers." We already knew that, of course.

Megan has a penchant for grunting, and we are constantly trying to figure out whether she is passing gas or just talking to us. We had a rough night earlier this week when Mama and Megan stayed up all night together. But the next night we tried several remedies. We swaddled her tighter; we gave her Mylicon (for gas); we used the "in the womb" noise on our Sound Sleeper machine; and we co-bedded her with Ryan. We aren't sure which of these tricks worked, but she was much happier the next night. She has definitely begun to notice her brother. When we put them together (and both are actually awake), she stares at him intently, focusing her eyes on his. She also "talks" to him, and hits him in the head. He has yet to reciprocate.

Ryan, aka "Face," continues to make us laugh with his expressions. His daddy is particularly adept at mimicking him, which makes Mama laugh even harder.

Mama's steri-strips came off this week, and her incision is looking healthy. She took the twins for a walk around the street in the stroller today, and Ryan and Megan had the chance to meet several neighbors. Mama was happy to exercise, even though it was just a slow walk, for the first time in many months.

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Family for a decade


It's hard to believe that we have been a family for over 10 years. Megan and Ryan are two people with their own personalities... and they are still the friends they were on day 12. Our hearts melted every time we glimpsed their twin connection, as in the picture above, and we still see that today. Though they have grown, some things stay the same...

Our first week at home
Date: 08/18/2007
It's hard to believe that we have been a family for 12 days. Megan and Ryan are two little people with their own personalities, some aspects of which are captured in pictures.



Ryan is very expressive, and Rick enjoys mimicking his many facial expressions. Megan is rather placid. Both are very alert when they are awake, and both have found their lungs, which they like to show off whenever we change their diapers. Rick takes care of most of diaper duty, and he makes me laugh with his stories of what happens on the changing table. He tells our family that the average number of diapers needed per change is 1.75. Ryan has the record with 6 for one changing.


Big milestones we noticed this week - both babies have turned their heads from side to side when we give them tummy time, and both can clearly focus on our faces. Though we have caught them each with a thumb in the mouth, we can't brag that they actually KNOW they have a thumb and that they can suck it.


Ryan has learned to regulate his temperature, a concern we had while we were in the hospital. Though the nurses put him under a warming lamp, we found that Kangaroo Care (where the baby lies on mom or dad, skin to skin) worked much better for him. During our first few days at home, we used this skin to skin contact to heat our Ry-guy up. Now that he can regulate his own body heat, we still cuddle chest to chest, but just for closeness and bonding.


Our biggest news is that both Ryan and Megan have weighed in at their birth weights. As of Friday (8/17) they reached this goal, realizing our efforts focused on solely breastfeeding this week. We worked hard on latching in the hospital, so when we came home, the process was much easier. We feed approximately every 2.5 to 3 hours; the first hour of the cycle encompasses the feeding and changing, and any remaining time is allocated to sleeping (for the babies at least). Rick and I are getting solid naps at night, and sometimes we grab a nap during the day too. We are also trying to catch up on the "to-do" list, and Rick has been working modified hours this week. We will have to adjust the schedule next week when he returns to work full time.


Granna (Mom Hawley) has been staying with us and helping us maintain our sanity. She takes care of nearly all of the household needs (laundry, cooking, etc) and is always willing to hold a baby (or two) when we need an extra set of hands. Grampa (Pop Hawley) has visited, as have Grandma (Mom Turner) and Pop-pop (Dad Turner).


We celebrated Rick's and my dad's birthday with a mini-party, and the twins wore special outfits. They are still growing into the premie sizes (as you can see from the pics), but we think they are adorable.

Thanks for all of your good wishes. We are truly blessed and happy to have our whole family home together.



Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Have you ever been hit by a duck?

Last week, before we went on vacation, I ordered five small rugs from a major retailer.  They didn't have them in stock, so I had them sent to my home, free of charge.  I expected them to arrive today, so I was surprised to see on our external video cam that they had been delivered last week.  I was excited to get home today to try them out in our space, and I was even more surprised to see that additional rugs had been delivered yesterday!  My hubby, tired from our travel, rolled his eyes at me.  "Why did you order so many rugs?" he asked.  I wondered if I had made a mistake in the order, and I piled the additional rugs inside the house.

This evening, as I walked outside to gather some items that were drying in the sun, I burst into laughing tears when I saw that UPS had delivered a pile of rugs on the driveway. I now have TWENTY rugs piled on my floor.


When I called customer service to ask them to stop sending me rugs, the gentleman on the other end of the phone had a hard time believing what I was telling him.  I wanted to explain that this wasn't the oddest thing that had happened to me in the last two days...


We were coming to the end of a lovely week in Florida, where we had spent two days at the Kennedy Space Center, followed by five days at Disney World.  We explored the new Pandora at Animal Kingdom and rode the BEST. RIDE. EVER - Flight of Passage.  We saw the new Happily Ever After fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, and marveled at the transformation of the castle.  We spent a week with family, including a big surprise visit from Uncle Matt, who lives in California.  Basically, it had been a kiddo paradise vacation, which we were culminating with a walk to the gift shop at Epcot to spend some birthday money.

On the way back to the hotel, my kids and I separated from my mom, who wanted to do a little more shopping.  The three of us held hands, chatting happily about our trip and wondering how many steps my Fitbit would track during our walk to the Beach Club. As we crossed into the World Showcase, we turned right and continued our banter.  And then...

BAM!

My head exploded, as I heard my son scream, "What happened?"

I think I replied, "What happened?" and then my daughter yelled, "A duck!"

Through my foggy vision, I saw a duck on the ground in front of me, but it didn't register.  All I wanted to do was to get out of the walkway as my kids yelled, "Mama, are you ok?"

I didn't know.  I couldn't comprehend what had happened, what was happening, or what I needed to do.  I sat down, stars in my eyes and pain exploding through my jaw and across my head.  Someone, a passerby, asked me if I needed help.  I asked her what happened, if I was bleeding.

"You were hit by a duck," she said.

(Seriously, I burst out laughing just now as I wrote that sentence.  It's okay if you laugh too.)

"Is there duck on my face?" I asked.  I couldn't feel anything but dampness, which I realized later were the tears streaming down.

My daughter called my mom.

"Granna, we need you.  Mama got hit by a duck."  (Yep, I laughed again.)

My mom thought we were playing a joke on her until she heard the urgency in my little girl's voice.

The good samaritans brought a cast member who tried to ask me whether I wanted to go to first aid.  I couldn't think.  The pain was intense, and my mind was foggy.  My mom arrived, asking me if I was ok.  "I don't know," I responded.  "I don't think I can walk anywhere."

The cast member called the paramedics, and as she explained our location, she tried to explain what had happened.  

"Um, she was walking across World Showcase, and..."

"I was hit by a duck!" I finished for her.  I laugh-cried along with the rest of the onlookers.  

Eventually the paramedics came, gave me an icepack, and told me to stay away from flying birds. 

As I waited for a wheelchariot to take me across the park, I asked the cast members present how often this kind of thing happened.  Because of course this kind of thing would happen, right?

"I've never heard of it before," she responded.  And we all burst out laughing again.  It really hurt to laugh, but I couldn't help it.

Behind us, a flock of ducks relaxed in the shade.  One of them has the right hook of Muhammad Ali.  He or she definitely got a TKO.


My family has an incredible amount of duck jokes now, and I think we will be finishing many sentences with "mama got hit by a duck."  We definitely have new material to add to our family lore.

And perhaps this story is why I can't stop laughing about the TWENTY rugs piled in my hall.

When that last delivery of rugs arrived tonight, my husband gave me "the look" that meant he was about to yell.  

"You cannot get mad at me for this!" I exclaimed.  "That would be like getting mad at me for being hit by a duck!"  And yes, I burst out laughing.  I think, perhaps, I always will.

Monday, August 7, 2017

TwinMama for a Decade



They're Here!
Date: 08/07/2007The Turner Twins have arrived!

I will be updating this site with pictures and journals as the twins grow. Feel free to visit again! If you would like to be informed when I make updates to the site, send me a message and I will add you to the automatic notification list. Members of the list receive an email every time I add pictures or journal entries.

Megan Elizabeth5 lbs. 9oz.18.5 inches
Ryan Thomas5 lbs. 1 oz.19 inches
Megan and Ryan were born on Tuesday, August 7, at 10:21 and 10:23 AM, respectively.
Ten years ago I held my babies on my chest for the first time, and they fit perfectly.  They still do today - though rarely at the same time.  :)  In honor of their tenth birthday, I'm posting all of the back entries for the Babysites (March 1 - June 13, 2007).  From that point forward, I have posted - and will continue to post - the entries on the day they were originally published, ten years later.



It's a boy AND a girl
Date: 03/01/2007
Today marks 14 weeks, and even though I am officially into my second trimester, I'm still fighting the nausea. Everyone tells me that it should go away "any day now," but the books tell me that morning sickness with multiples can last for a while. Every day I wake up and ask Rick, "Is today the day?" So far the answer has been, "nope."


We learned yesterday that we are expecting both a boy and a girl. We were able to find this information out early and for surely because of the CVS testing we opted to undergo. This test eased our minds about severe chromosomal disorders and gave us an early peek at the genders. It's nice to be certain (ultrasounds are only "guesses" while genetic tests are conclusive), and we are begining the name debate! We'll be sure to let people know when we decide on any! If it's anything like our wedding song decision, we'll make it about one week before the twins arrive. Ha ha.


So I'm giving this site a try because I don't want to be one of those mothers that sends out emails with pictures attached, thus clogging up inboxes of my friends and family who would rather not see every pose of my children taking their first bath. Let me know if you think it will be interesting to you and worth my time to update it. Hopefully I will find the time to keep everyone informed once the twins are born! Feel free to give me feedback on this particular site as a communication tool.

Thanks!


19 weeks
Date: 04/07/2007
This entry is especially for Grandpa Tim, who I know is looking for an update!

Today we spent 2.5 hours in Babies-R-Us, selecting items for the babies. Amazingly, we didn't argue at all! Currently we are registered at www.babiesrus.com (where most of the items we need can be found) and Destination Baby (www.destination-baby.com). We will be adding one more registry at Pottery Barn Kids, where we will be purchasing most of the playroom furniture.

So far we have ordered the nursery furniture (the Dutailier, Madison collection in cognac) from Destination Baby, and we have cleared the "stuff" out of the two rooms we will be using for the nursery and playroom.

As for the status of the little ones, the last ultrasound showed that they were developing normally. We will spend two hours at the hospital in about a week and a half for the anatomical scan. The sonographer will scan each baby for about an hour to determine abnormalities in anatomical growth.

I feel bigger every day, and though I am not battling the nausea like I was, physically the pregnancy is becoming more demanding. I'm sure there will be much more to come in the next few months!


20 week ultrasound
Date: 04/22/2007
This week I spent nearly two hours on my back as the doctors evaluated both babies. Rick watched on the monitor as they measured every bone to assess their growth. Everything looks good so far!


Our son is currently 15 ounces and our daughter is 14 ounces. Unfortunately, neither would pose nicely for their picture, so we don't have a good sonogram update for our baby album!


Learning to Diaper a Doll
Date: 04/29/2007
Good morning. It's another early one for me. Sometimes the babies wake me up and keep me up for a few hours during the night. I imagine it's all in preparation for the time to come...

Yesterday Rick and I attended a Baby Basics class at the hospital. We learned about newborns, what happens in the hospital and basic care when they come home. Rick successfully diapered and swaddled our baby doll! From what he tells me, this was his first attempt at diapering. It was easy, he said, because the arms and legs stayed in one place! I think he'll do fine with the real thing, however.

There is important new information about SIDS that all caregivers need to know. Times have changed, and babies now sleep on their backs. You can read other information here: http://www.nichd.nih.gov/sids/

I've ordered both sets of grandparents the brochure specifically marketed to grandparents, and as soon as it arrives, I'll forward it along.


I posted my 5-month (20 week) side picture, but it's already a little out of date. I was taking these pictures once a month, but I am expanding so rapidly now that I might have to take weekly pics to keep track of the changes!


6 months and counting down the days
Date: 05/11/2007
We've hit the 6 month mark, which, I guess, officially puts me in the third trimester. There's not much to report. Physically I'm hanging in there. Each day seems to bring new pains - right now it's my upper legs, glutes, and hips. I haven't hurt this much in my legs since I was doing double sessions of soccer. Actually, I think this pain is worse. Rick tries to massage the area for me, but I usually end up screaming. Last night I asked him if labor would be more intense than the pain he was causing me while he rubbed my legs!

Mentally I'm pretty prepared. I've read twins books, baby books, labor books. I've taken the classes. Right now I feel like I can't really prepare any more - it's time to jump in and learn on the job, so to speak! Of course, now I just have to wait a few months to be able to do it. With the semester winding down at Fordham, my schedule is lightening up, which everyone else says is a good thing because it will allow me to rest. However, for me the downtime will be interminable, I fear. I imagine I will keep myself busy, however.


We are slowly collecting baby items as people generously send things our way. One of Rick's clients made homemade baby blankets, and a few of my students gave me gifts as well. The nursery that Mom, Pop, and I cleaned out not long ago is already filling with more stuff! We're hoping the furniture arrives in early July so we can put it all together.


Ultrasound
Date: 05/15/2007
Today's ultrasound showed everything normal. Our girl is 1 lb. 10 oz. and our boy is 1 lb. 12 oz.


Lately, I have been able to feel the boy kicking, rolling, punching, and otherwise moving quite frequently - the girl less so. I asked the sonographer if it made sense based on their positions that I would feel the boy more than the girl. She said that it could be the case - or that the boy is just more active. We might have an athlete on our hands!


Showers
Date: 05/23/2007
Whew. Two showers, a trip to PA and back, and a LOT of wonderful presents to put away! I'm tired!

I posted a few pics from the showers for those who might be interested. As for an update...


My doctor is VERY happy with my progress. Our baby girl is in the 62nd percentile and our son the 73rd percentile for their growth. So even though I haven't gained all the weight I should, they are doing very well, especially for twins. My doc says the ultrasounds look great, and she is especially happy that I am done with work. She tells me to take it easy, so I think I'll keep enjoying the pampering everyone has been laying on me recently. I know it won't last for much longer.


Over 7 months!
Date: 06/13/2007
The babies are growing and so am I! Both were estimated at 2 lb. 15 oz. today on the sonogram. Now I know where the weight I gained these past few weeks has gone! They have shifted positions slightly; the boy is transverse across the top of the uterus, and the girl is head-down the right side. Silly kids - there's lots of room on the lower left side where they could stretch out, it would seem!

Rick and I attended a friend's wedding in Baltimore recently, and it was tough for me physically. I spent our tour of the aquarium in a wheelchair (Rick is a very good driver, by the way), and despite trying to rest throughout the weekend, it was stressful for my body. Sunday night after we returned home, I experienced strong and frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions. My doctor warned me to TAKE IT EASY! I'm following instructions now as I spend most days on the couch in my living room.

Mom and Pop came to paint the playroom this past weekend, and we expect to have the nursery furniture delivered in the next week or so. I guess this is what they call the nesting phase???


The babies are constantly active, kicking, pushing, rolling, looking for room in there. They like music and sugar, and it's fun to feel them "dance."




See the next Babysites entry here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

36 weeks and almost cooked



36 weeks and almost cooked
Date: 08/04/2007
Lots of big news to share this week -

I went to my doctor's appointment prepared to beg her to induce me within the next week. I have been painfully uncomfortable as my belly has stretched to beyond its capacity. As the instructor of our childbirth class would say, "This condo is maxed out!" Though I am not usually one to back down from a physical challenge easily, each day has been getting harder and harder - to walk, to sit, to lie down, to sleep. If it had been a matter of discomfort, I would simply "suck it up." But the pain has been less than tolerable. I wanted my doctor to tell me when the "law of diminishing returns" kicked in. In other words, when was the benefit to the babies of staying inside not worth the continued deterioration of my physical state - both now and post partum.

Luckily, I didn't have to say a word to my doctor. As soon as she walked in the door, she said, "Here's the deal...."

Apparently, our son has still not settled into one position. His last few ultrasounds have seen him move from breech to transverse positions, and the doctor is concerned that he will continue to move around. Though our daughter is head down and ready to go, if I tried to deliver her naturally, there is the possibility that the boy could turn breech - and get stuck. This would mean both a natural AND a c-section delivery, a state everyone (me especially) wants to avoid at all costs. So, the doctor has recommended a c-section.

So...

Early next week, we will welcome the twins to the family!

The other big news is that this week's ultrasound estimated them at 6 lb. 4 oz (girl) and 6 lb. 5 oz (boy). Though these estimates can be up to a pound off in either direction, I have a good feeling that I reached my goal of getting both babies to 6 lbs. We'll see what that scale says next week!

My doctor has suggested that Rick and I go out to dinner to enjoy our last night alone together, but until then, I'm still resting. Let's face it - at this point, it's difficult for me to do much else. Walking to the kitchen from the couch is like gearing up for a marathon!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Ever have fire ants crawling all over you?

In reading my decade old post from Week 35 of my twin pregnancy, I vividly recalled developing PUPPS.  Over the years I've described it as feeling like fire ants were crawling all over me, biting without mercy.  As big as I was those last few months, I stretched a lot during my summer bedrest, and stretch marks finally decided to show up in week 35.  Along with them came the most intense rash I've ever had.  Along with it came misery.

The doctor told me it was kind of like an allergic reaction to the male fetus.  Seventy percent of PUPPS sufferers are carrying boys, and the medical community theorizes it is the male DNA messing with the mother's system.  Given the current state of affairs in my home - with a nearly ten year old boy and his father, who clearly shares his DNA - I have no doubt that's what it was.  Messing with Mama.

It took nearly all my strength to get through week 35, and I didn't have much left after a hot July, when the air conditioning just couldn't keep up, on bedrest.  I had spent every day waddling downstairs to the couch, with the only semblance of a schedule to help me through the days being

  • Gilmore Girls at 11 (a repeat of the one that aired the night before)
  • Dr. Phil at 3
  • Gilmore Girls at 5
  • The Mets at whatever time they aired
David Wright and Jose Reyes were my heroes.  They gave me some excitement every day.  My husband and I had kept the babies' names a secret after we finally decided on them, and my father-in-law was convinced that I was going to name my son after my favorite Mets player.  On the way home from my last hospital monitoring appointment, he sneakily asked me who my favorite player was, trying to figure out the name!  




35 weeks
Date: 07/28/2007
Well, for those of you who have been monitoring the belly pics, I officially cover the dresser, regardless of how close I stand to the wall or how much I arch my back! I measure 42 inches around (I was 37 inches at the shower), and I am stretched to capacity. The stretch marks finally came in this past week (yuk), and my belly hurts constantly. Hurts and itches...

At the ultrasound this week the doctor told us that our babies scored a "16." This is good since the max score is 8. Ha ha. They also told us that it is increasingly difficult to get accurate growth/weight for twins, so we don't expect another approximated weight until the babies are born. At the rate I am growing and putting on weight, however, I wouldn't be surprised if they are both at least 6 lbs.

The monitoring is grueling for me. For the non-stress tests I have to lay on my back strapped to three monitors until we can see a steady reading of the babies heartbeats. Unfortunately, both of our kids are rather active (which is probably part of the reason I don't sleep anymore), and getting this steady reading is sometimes difficult. The ultrasounds are also hard because I am on my back AND they press down on my tender belly.

I realized the other day that when my dad and I go backpacking, he only lets me carry about 30-35 pounds in my ergonomic pack, which straps beautifully to my back. Now, however, I've got about 40 lbs strapped to my belly! Not so great for my posture or my weakened muscles.

So I am ready for the babies to come. I'm hoping they make it to the 36 week mark and then decide to give their Mama a break and enter the world as happy babies. I can dream, right?

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.