bad blogger

Thanks for all your kind comments.
All follow-ups so far were, thankfully, uninteresting. There is stuff to think about for the future, difficult stuff – but for now, I’m trying to focus on other things.

Something odd happened, something I’ve been wanting to write about but didn’t quite know how, or find/take the time. And now it is late again and I should go to sleep, as I have an early appointment tomorrow morning.

Something snapped me awake from the blur I had been in – after the twins died, after having SB, after a great work and life situation turned sour in the aftermath of our loss. I still can’t quite pinpoint what it was, and for a while I wondered whether it even was that diagnosis, reminding me how much I want to live, and all the things I want to do. But time might have been a significant component, time passed after losing the twins, time passed (and some sleep gained) after the taxing time of taking care of a newborn turned baby turned toddler.

In any case, I have been active and busy, working more and harder and with great excitement. (This may seem strange to you, but I think this is how I roll – I pour myself into stuff I care about. Including but not limited to work.) Still with a good balance of SB time, but noticeably different.

Speaking of SB, she is amazing. Speaking in full sentences in two languages, now officially more proficient in her active vocabulary than I am in my passive (for a few words, anyway – it is very odd to have your toddler speak a language you can’t understand).

But the bad blogger award isn’t for any of these. You see, tomorrow I’m going for a baseline ultrasound, to see if we’re good to move forward with a FET next month. To see if I can stop the Lupron injections (I’m really no good at doing them…) and start patches.

Still nursing a little bit, though much less. Traveling to the other end of the world next month, hence the opportunity. And SB keeps asking for a brother, which breaks my heart a little every time.

#MicroblogMondays: musings between boxes

  • Today we unpacked a set of binders bought years ago, to finally file away various papers before putting them into moving boxes. Talk about procrastination.
  • I worry that my poor baby will feel neglected, given how many other things her parents have to do, there’s not all that much playing going on. Realistically, this means she occupies herself on the floor for 5-20min, the complains about being bored or hungry or a wet diaper or having thrown the current favorite toy out of reach. So we come pick her up / change her / find a new toy or just hold her for a while, until she’s ready to play by herself again for a bit. And we do long nursing-cuddle-sessions. So rationally, I suppose it could be worse, but still, I feel bad about it.
  • For a break from all the packing, we’ll take a trip to island-that-will-soon-be-on-the-other-end-of-the-world. Any suggestions for floatation devices for small babies? Of course she won’t be in the water without one of us immediately with her, but I’d still feel better if something helped her stay afloat.

More MicroblogMondays

#MicroblogMondays: neighborhood walks

A new bakery opened up recently not too far from here, and conveniently just two blocks south of Frowny Girl’s place. Their pastries are incredible, as if straight out of France. Sometimes on the weekends SB and I get up early and take a nice long walk, picking up croissants and enjoying the quiet early morning scenery while H gets to sleep in.

Without SB I doubt I would actually get out of bed this early, even though once outside I really enjoy it. And one might even claim the extra steps (plus carrying her in the wrap) could help me lose the last few kilos of this pregnancy, and then those of the twin pregnancy – if it wasn’t for the pastries…

IMG_4175

More MicroblogMondays

Thankful

What a difference a year makes. It is hard to imagine that this time last year I was still physically recovering from the loss of A&C, let alone trying to cope with the emotional aspects. Now I’m cluster-feeding a little person who seems to be having a difficult day (we alternate between the easy and the more difficult ones). Would it be nice to have taken a shower or had breakfast by mid-day? Sure. Does it matter? Not really. I even snuck in a quick yoga practice (weird priorities, you may think… but in my usual timeline, yoga happens before showering and breakfast…)

The picture below gives a pretty good summary. I’m eternally grateful that we got to take home our little Strawberry, and that she is thriving. Her real name means “dark”, matching her eyes, which are blue-gray and looking at the world more alert each day.

IMG_0036.JPG

The blanket is a gift from a dear blog friend, who sadly has also experienced the loss of two babies. I’m grateful for all the support I received online from all of you, as well as for the people in my life who stepped forward asking about the twins and sharing their own stories.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the blanket has two stars. For A&C. I’m thankful for every minute I had with them and everything they taught and are continuing to teach me. I also miss them terribly. SB’s middle name means “little sister” in their honor.

I’m thankful for a team of doctors who know how to get me pregnant and keep me pregnant for long enough, all the way to full term! Grateful that, given a healthy embryo and some extra progesterone, my body knows just what to do. Thankful for what appears to be one of the easiest possible birth experiences, leading to a healthy living baby in my arms.

And so many other things. I’m still amazed how different my life is just a year later, and it is my hope that, if this Thanksgiving was hard for you, the coming month may bring the sort of change you’ve been longing for.

night and day – a birth story

Truth be told, I was not unhappy about the prospect of getting induced. At a (low-key) party the Friday before SB was born, a friend who had a baby last year told me about how she and many of her fellow birthing class moms had bad experiences with it and would decline an induction next time round… and I’m sure there’s something to it, but also, my baseline for “terrible experience” is leaving the hospital without my babies. I’d take any physical discomfort over that. Plus, the total lack of control I had over C’s bag of water breaking and her birth a few days later must have left deeper scars than I’m aware of, and so I welcomed the thought of experiencing all this in a much more controlled environment.

But then the next day I woke up and had what I can best describe as cervix cramps. They weren’t really painful, so I wasn’t sure if they were productive, but once I bothered to time them I was a little surprised that they came every 5 minutes. A few weeks earlier, my doctor had told me that – once I was full term – if I had contractions every 5 minutes for at least an hour I should head to L&D. But these “contractions” (I didn’t even feel anything contracting) felt way too weak, and somehow I was paranoid of being sent home for not being sufficiently dilated – it just seemed too much hassle to head over to the hospital only to be told to go back. Despite grand plans of what I wanted to do before the planned induction I didn’t feel like doing much during the day, so we just hung out, went for a short walk, re-packed the hospital bag and timed contractions every now and then. Initially even timing them wasn’t easy, as I wasn’t necessarily sure something was a contraction until it was nearing its peak – to give you an idea of how not-strong they were. Gradually they grew more intense, but I could still comfortably talk through them even when they were 3min apart. Then, less comfortably but still talking. This was probably around 9pm and I called L&D, to get their opinion. They didn’t seem too interested in the spacing (perhaps because I was the one who was calling, and clearly still able to communicate?) and concluded I was probably in early labor. As I wasn’t planning to get an epidural, they recommended I stay home, but call again or come in once the contractions got too much to talk through.

We started to play a game, but now things were picking up and I had trouble concentrating on my moves. Around 10 we decided to go to the hospital, though until we had everything assembled and were ready to head out it was probably 10:30. Walking towards the car, I felt something moist come out of my vagina – first I thought my water may have broken, but there were no huge amounts of fluid (irrationally I was worried about making a mess in the car…) On the upside, if it was my waters that’d mean we’d get admitted regardless of how dilated I was.

By now contractions were intense enough that I closed my eyes to breathe through them. Initially I thought about counting how many contractions it took to get to the hospital, but quickly gave up. Many, despite streets being empty. Yet we got there without anything exciting happening.

The way from the hospital entrance to L&D never seemed to take longer, what with stopping every 2-3min to get through a contraction. Except for a few nurses the place was strangely deserted. I was assigned a triage room and asked for a urine sample. Once I went to the bathroom I saw that the moisture from earlier had been the mucus plug. Cleaning myself enough to give a clean-catch sample took 3 fairly painful contractions (maybe I just shouldn’t have bothered). H had been getting worried why it took me so long, while I was glad about anything I didn’t need to do or explain. Back in the room they put me on monitors – I was grateful to hear SB’s heartbeat, because with all the contractions I’d had a hard time feeling her move around that day. We’d been promised a doctor would be in, but that took a while. I started to feel lots of pressure with the contractions, which were coming every 2 minutes and quite intense. H went to find the nurses again – somehow they didn’t know where the doctors were (?!) but perhaps his insistence helped, because 5-10 minutes later a nice young doctor that I’d met at a previous testing appointment came in. She checked me and was, I think, a little surprised to find that I was 8-9cm dilated and that my amniotic sac was still intact but bulging out – this probably explained all the pressure I was feeling. Her supervisor came to also check me and reached the same conclusion. Now the plan was to get me into a labor room as soon as possible and break the bag there – once it broke, the baby might come out rather quickly, they thought. Just a quick ultrasound first to make sure baby was still head down (she was).

My right leg really hurt even with light pressure on it, so I was glad when the nurse offered to wheel me into the labor room. (So much for my plans of being active during labor.) I think it may have been the same room as where A&C were born, while H thinks it was the room next door, albeit with identical layout. (And his account on such details is probably more reliable here ;) The familiarity was strange, basically the only difference seemed to be that it was pitch black outside now, and that I was rather hazy from the contractions – although I am glad that my birthing class taught me to pay attention to the times between contractions, when there is no pain, and to rest during those.

The question of pain relief came up again – the options were an IV analgesic that would have to be discontinued 30min before delivery (because it makes the baby drugged and sleepy, too) or laughing gas (N2O), which dissipates from the body so quickly that it can be used through delivery. Worried that the last part might be the most painful, I wasn’t particularly interested in pain relief I’d have to discontinue before long, plus I was wondering how they’d figure out when “half an hour before birth” would be. So N2O it was. They gave me a mask to push onto my face whenever I needed it, and take off once the contraction was over. It did dampen the pain somewhat, although I could definitely still feel everything. Subjectively, the main drawback was that this occupied my left hand, and they were busy poking an IV into the other, so that I had no free hand to hold my husband’s.

Still in search of ways to relax, I asked soon after this whether I could go into the tub. The nurses probably gave me a skeptical look, but I was too busy to care. I could, I was told, but the N2O couldn’t. And I’d have to get out when it looked like I was about to deliver (they don’t do water births, sadly). So they started filling up the tub. The next contraction was so intense that I moaned. Once it was over, I announced that perhaps I wasn’t going to get into the tub after all. Everyone agreed.

Around this time the doctor came back in, with her equipment to break the amniotic sac. She was getting ready, preparing to intervene after the next contraction was over. I was feeling more and more pressure and the urge to push, but was told not do. At the peak of the next contraction, the amniotic sac broke from all the pressure. For a short moment, relief, then again lots of pressure. It must be her head, I thought. And indeed, with that same contraction, Strawberry Baby’s head emerged from my body.

H later told me that he, along with one of the nurses, was the first to see her head. The young doctor was saying “wait, not so fast” and frantically trying to put on her second glove. There was a call on the intercom and, when I “came back” into the room, suddenly there were a dozen people or more, including the midwife who was present for A’s delivery and the doctor whom I saw in my twin pregnancy. And someone else.

All the pressure was gone. After what felt like a few anxious seconds I heard SB cry, then they put her on my chest. Surreal is the closest I can come to describe it. A moment ago I had still been pregnant. It wasn’t even 1am, we had been at the hospital for at most two hours. And yet here she was, my precious little girl.

MilkyLeaks

My pajamas and sheets are milk-stained – whenever one breast feeds, the other lets down some milk in solidarity.

Earlier this week I went through what I think was a bout of mastitis, with fever and chills and generally feeling miserable. My MFM’s nurse, who’s also a lactation consultant, sent in a prescription for antibiotics but encouraged me to try and get the ducts unclogged manually. Heat didn’t seem to help, but ice packs did. It had been the same when my milk came in after we lost A&C, though I only remembered after the fact. And while I was physically much more uncomfortable this time, I can assure you that it’s much better with a baby to drink the milk. (Not that you’d have any doubts.) We just spent the whole morning in bed, snuggling and sleeping.

Yesterday I hit the point where I’m starting to realize why people don’t get anything done with a newborn in the house. SB seems to be sleeping less already (do they really grow up this fast?) so while I had grand plans of writing up the birth story and making myself something nice for dinner, I held and nursed my baby, cleaned up poop from more fabrics than I care to remember, ran laundry and ate granola. And cried a little about not having gotten to experience any of this with A&C, about how much I love this little girl, and with generally being overwhelmed. (This tends to happen 1-2x per day. It lasts a few minutes and then I’m better again.) So, while wonderful, it’s not exactly easy. But still wonderful.