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Dear Emma and Ellie—
Today is a big day for all of us. Today you are two months old. Today I went back to work for the first time (albeit for half a day and I’m off next week…nevertheless, it counts). Today I feel like we’re closing the chapter on much of your newborn lives and moving on to true infancy.
I cannot tell you how many times I have questioned whether I can handle leaving you two to go back to work and to go back to school. It’s not that I am so attached to you I die if you’re not around. Believe me, nap time is my savior. You’ll understand that when you’re older. But even when I go for a sanity stroll around Target, all I can think about is what you need…what you want…what you’re doing. I have so many things I want to accomplish in this life, but none of them will happen again without your touch on it.
You’ve changed so much in the past month let alone the past two months. I was looking at your newborn pictures the other day and couldn’t believe the strangers from my past I saw there. You two are inching towards being twice the size you were when you were born. Your eyes are open far more often. You smile. You move about. You notice things….including each other.
Sometimes when I go to sleep I have dreams about a life without you. Oddly, before I had you, I’d dream of you in my life. But now when I wake up I’m not greeted with sadness of loss, but happiness of having you…even if I wake up because you’re screaming and hungry or wet or in distress. You’re the shock to the system that I needed.
I’m still learning to find my identity both as a mother and as a person from here on out. I never thought I’d look back on any part of your life and mourn it’s passing…I always wanted you to grow and talk and learn. But I get the melloncholly that accompanies progress for mothers now. It’s not that I want to keep you that way. It’s that I was so privileged to be there for that brief moment in time that I’m sad it has passed.
To say i love you would be an understatement. You two are my life. You come first. Cold meals and less sleep are small prices to pay for that.
I thought you might like to know what you are like at two months old.
You are precocious. I can see you trying to figure out the world around you. Language is not far off for you. I can see you already trying to add to the conversation. Everything is new and exciting and you make the most adorable cooing noise when you’re intrigued that anyone has ever heard.
But you’re not afraid to throw some shade my way…or anyone’s way. I’ve seen you give side eye and the looks of being unimpressed more than once. It’s quite amusing and I can’t wait to hear what you really think about the world around you.
Your Uncle Andy mentioned a couple of weeks ago that you look like Nana, your Grandpa’s mama. She left us six and a half years ago. I always thought you looked like Grandpa’s dad, my Grandpa. But i think your uncle might be on to something. No matter how you look at it, you’re the comfort of days past wrapped up in everything that can be in the future.
Right now you’re starting to fuss. You fuss a lot these days. It’s that time of your life. As frustrating as it can be, keep fussing, child. Get what you want and don’t take no for an answer.
Child, slow down. Just last night I was changing you on the ottoman after your bath and as I was trying to put on your diaper, you rolled from your back to your stomach. ”Too soon,” I thought. I didn’t think it was going to happen at first. But it seemed like the right thing to do to let you try. Lo and behold, you did it. I know it was only once, but you’ve rolled from your stomach to your side and your back to your side before, so this wasn’t that fluke-ish. You have a grasp that would challenge the strongest man alive. It’s only a matter of time before you start wiggling your way about this world.
You will always be my warrior child. This month your reflux and stomach issues got the best of you. We’ve seen three doctors to get some answers. It’s clearly worse than regular baby reflux, but just how much worse is up for debate…as is the treatment. Your cry will move mountains, trust me…no offense, but it’s shrill and forces people to move. Those lungs will serve you well. Maybe the rapid breathing at birth was because your lungs were just that good.
I discovered you like the fleece sleepers…something I’d never like. So I went out and bought you a few more. I think you like being bundled up in a cold room. It seems to bring you more sleep. And even though most babies with reflux like sleeping in some sort of elevated fashion, you don’t sleep well unless you’re flat on a bed. Defying convention already.
It’s funny, when I see your sister looking at things I think she’s questioning their existence. When I see you looking at things, I see you wanting to know how they work and how you can interact with them.
Till next month, my little engineer…
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Having a baby is rough. Having two babies is very rough. I have no comparison, but everyone who has done both tells me that the first three months with twins is extremely difficult compared to one (not that it’s easy with one, but the demand issue is different).
I’ve been asked why I’m not freaking out on various occasions by various people. There are two answers: (1) I have freaked out multiple times; but mostly (2) I realized that freaking out is getting me nowhere and usually only makes things worse.
I have had several people comment to me in the past two weeks that I am so calm for a new mother of multiples. I’ve taken them to the chiropractor alone twice, the pediatrician alone once and even brought them with me to the OB. Each time, someone has commented about how I seem so calm for a new mother of twins and how it’s amazing I can get them out alone. At first it came from a trusted source of someone who knows me well enough that I could honestly respond. Yes, I freak out but getting them out and about isn’t what I freak about. The second and third times, though I simply gave what has become my stock answer…I really don’t have the luxury of freaking out.
Part of that is self imposed. You can’t go through infertility for years, end up with the kids you wanted and then feel comfortable complaining about it. Call it being a martyr, but it’s hard to justify. Every single time I dream about a full night’s sleep or a relaxing night out, I remember all of those nights I dreamt of these girls and all the nights out that I always knew i’d trade for them.
But part of that is i just don’t have time to freak out. Or energy. Or the mental capacity. I have to learn to get them around now because they’re small and I need to learn my way before they’re all over the place. That’s my stock answer, and it’s true. If I wait another month to get acclimated to being alone with them, I’m going to have bigger issues.
Here’s what I freak out about:
Ellie has bad reflux and seems to have breathing issues that go along with it. The Zantac was helping but I’m wondering if it isn’t helping anymore.
Emma has her mother’s IBS right off the bat and even with the expensive hypoallergenic formula, still has issues pooping and i can tell it pisses her off. Meanwhile, her sister is a shit machine.
Brooklyn the Dog is pent up inside the house many days in a row without real release. I’d have someone come and walk her other than me but I know she won’t leave the house unless i go with her right now. She’s all on patrol about the babies.
The Mister keeps getting headaches. I keep getting headaches that I know are in response to hormonal changes and the muscular stress of carrying around two babies. Chiropractic helps, but it’s not a cure-all for my headaches right now. They’re fading over time, though.
I will have to go back to work in less than a month. I plan on using some vacation right away after that to string this out a bit but the whole thing gives me panic attacks up and down. If this job were my dream job or even one I genuinely enjoyed 40% of the time, I don’t think it’d be this hard. But it was always meant to be a placeholder job. The place holding has just taken more time than previously thought. I’m also going to ask to work part time which may be a huge issue or a non issue. I have an unpredictable boss.
So yes, I freak out. I freak out when they’re both crying unconsolably and The Mister has gone to the store. I freak out when I do something that unintentionally hurts them in any small way out of ignorance or exhaustion. I freak out when it’s 5:34 pm and i haven’t really gotten dressed or brushed my teeth.
I just don’t freak out about taking them places because god knows we could all use the fresh air. The minute the weather breaks we’re going to walk the hell out of this neighborhood. I can’t take this cabin fever on top of endless days and nights much longer.
But then this new life seems to suit me in many ways. I think when the nerves calm down from the whole “THIS IS ALL SO NEW” and the “WE DON’T SLEEP LONGER THAN THREE HOURS AT A TIME” routine is over, the dust will settle and I’ll be okay. There will always be issues. There will always be miscommunications. But this is the life I wanted and I’m so happy to have it…I just have to make it through each day. And the weirdest things give me pleasure these days, like washing bottles or folding baby clothes.
I freak out. But I guess I just hide it well.
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Jesus H. Murphy, is it really 20 weeks and 5 days? Almost 21 weeks? As in, I’m past the half point for any pregnancy, but for mine I’m WELL past it?
And that is the constant state in which I find myself lately. Being pregnant with twins makes it that much more poignant. A singleton pregnancy normally can plan on going 38-40 weeks. I can’t make any such plans. It’s 38 at the latest, but likely not even that far.
This means that I’ve had a lot of come to Jesus meetings with myself about things I need to be doing. There are the basics about needing to go register (though I started an Amazon registry a few weeks ago, I need to do a Babys R Us one). I put the shower date into my calendar. Then there are the things that need to get done around the house as in organizing things, getting a new rug for the living room, fixing the back door from where Brooklyn tore it up last year.
It’s enough to give me an anxiety attack, so I try to mentally tackle the problems one at a time to avoid that. Mostly because I can’t take my anxiety meds right now and I know that I’d need to.
Speaking of…the ultrasound tech seemed to think both were girls at our last ultrasound. While I’m excited no matter what, we were both hoping for one of each. The Mister was concerned that girls wouldn’t like to do stuff with him. I had to reassure him that it wasn’t the case at all. In fact, I did more stuff with my dad as a kid than I did with my mom…at least that I can recall.
As I said, I’m happy no matter what the sexes are. The ultrasound tech wasn’t certain, so when we go back in a couple of weeks, they’ll confirm it. This gave The Mister some false hope, I think. But I’m pretty certain they’re girls. And as much as I’d take whatever I got, two girls seems a lot better to me than two boys.
They weren’t able to get some of the measurements of the heart and kidneys that they wanted at the ultrasound because of placement of the babies and placement of one of the placentas. Also, they kept squirming around as if they were trying to hide things. Figures. The doctor had checked off that she wanted an echocardiogram of them (which I didn’t even know was possible), but I didn’t tell them that when I called so we had to reschedule for that anyhow. They said it was too early for them to do it last week anyhow, so that’s fine. We have another scan—2 hours—scheduled for 10/9/12.
So much more I have to plan out…but much of it depends on other people or things. But I think I need to be honest with the doctor this time that I’m feeling ill equipped to handle a full workload much longer. That is one of my biggest concerns. I’d rather go on a reduced schedule now and be able to work longer overall than go out all together earlier than I’d want.
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As of today I am 13 weeks and 4 days pregnant.
Let that sink in for a minute. Yeah, I’m having a hard time doing that as well.
I have an appointment at the regular OB’s office on Friday. I’m anxious as hell for it to get here. Between being sick and having that blood drawn last week, I just need to know that things are alright. By all accounts they should be—I’m still having stomach issues, still tired, still achey in all the right places. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was nervous as hell.
I thought getting to the second trimester would be a relief. So far it’s been kind of nerve wracking.
I bought a doppler for at home use. This might have been a bad decision. I’m fat…I’m a size 26 fat. Hearing heartbeats through a doppler might not even be possible on a doctor’s equipment for a few more weeks. I thought I found a heartbeat the other night only to realize that it was actually mine that was being picked up through an artery. At least I’m pretty sure it was.
I had a twinge Sunday night and I almost called the doctor the next morning. It wasn’t anything bad. It was actually probably more stretching of the uterus. But I think I’m getting anxious. Until I can feel these things move around, I’m going to be anxious as all hell.
So many things going through my mind now. When to tell the general public is one of them. 13 weeks 4 days is more than adequate for most people to announce pregnancies. But is that okay for me? And if not, then when will be? And then again, many people I really care about knowing already know…so does it matter at this point?
I can usually try to calm these anxieties. I just figured I’d get them out there and see what you all thought. One day I’ll relax. It just won’t be for a very long time.
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Last week when I went to the MFM doctor, he raised a slight concern that these twins might still be identical, just that they happened to split everything very early. Knowing my experience with identical twins, he wanted an in-depth ultrasound to ensure they were fraternal.
That was this morning.
it was awesome. Yes, they are fraternal and both have their own placenta (big deal…seriously…as Joe Biden would say “this is a big fucking deal”). And best of all, they were MOVING AROUND during the ultrasound. I think we woke them up because they seemed to be a bit awnry. One even raised her/his fist at me as if to say “WHY ARE YOU IN HERE SO EARLY?!!?” Right on, kid. Right on.
According to the MFM my due date is February 8th, not 9th. Thus according to that, I will be twelve weeks on Friday. I’m in this weird state of disbelief and awe that I’ve made it this far.
But this morning…for a brief period of time…I felt like everything was going to be okay. Maybe not perfect, but okay. And I breathed out a giant sigh of relief.
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My first appointment at the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) doctor is in two hours. I’m excited, but I’m stressed. I have a feeling this kind of nervousness is just going to be par for the course for the rest of my pregnancy. There’s not much I can do about it other than ride it out.
Also, in regard to the rash, the OB thinks it’s yeast related but is a bit baffled as to why it’s occurring in spots not prone to yeast (and those prone to it are fine). She gave me a new gel to use. Of course the pharmacy had to special order it. Ugh. But the samples she gave me seemed to help some so once I get on a regular schedule with it, I have high hopes.
Now only if my stomach would stop turning.
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In terms of updating this. Well, there are other things I could improve upon in life, but you know what I mean.
Saturday will officially be 10 weeks. I’m kind of in a bit of denial. The miscarriage with the identical twins last year happened sometime in the 8th week (I found out in the 9th week). I’ve passed that point, but I’m not out of the woods by any means. Nevertheless, seeing these twins’ heartbeats on the ultrasound monitor earlier this week made all the difference in the world for my psyche. If nothing else, I beat my own best record. That’s got to count for something. When I get to 10 weeks and stop taking the Crinone, I think I’ll hit another mark of nervousness.
Luckily (kind of), I have an appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) doctors on the 19th. That will be able to help ease my mind as I’m certain they’ll be doing an ultrasound while I’m there. And although some people don’t want all of these ultrasounds, they really put my mind at ease in a way that nothing else can. At least not yet. When we’re able to finally hear heartbeats without ultrasounds maybe that will change. Such is the curse of the infertility and pregnancy loss survivor.
I’m feeling alright. Still having stomach issues, but nothing that I can’t handle in the long run. I’m apparently super sensitive to the sun right now as I got sunburned up north this past weekend…wearing SPF 60 sunscreen. The exhaustion comes and goes. It’s never truly gone or normal, but it gets better and worse in severity.
My legs hurt and ache a lot. Just a heavy feeling. It eases up if I stretch, so I’m pretty sure it’s just stuff growing down there. And I feel that, too. The uterine muscles stretching is a weird sensation. It hurts but it’s not a horrible hurt. It doesn’t last long at least.
I’m still not able to eat a ton. In fact, since the last time I was at the allergist’s office for an actual appointment (April or May), I have lost 20+ pounds. Since I went to the OB a couple of weeks ago, I’ve lost 4. Not exactly the direction things need to be headed. The doctor wasn’t too worried about it yet, but we did decide to add a nutrition shake. I haven’t gotten that yet.
So much happening and yet I spend most days in front of my computer zoned out because it’s all too much. Sometimes I get a brief window of energy in the afternoon. Today is not one of those days. I’m just going to ride it out until 5 and try again tomorrow.
Oh, and if you’re around me…don’t make or eat chicken. It is the worst smell ever. EVER.
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Last week’s news that I had a MTHFR mutation was apparently exactly what I needed to hear. Don’t get me wrong, it sucks to have yet another thing to contend with in this infertility journey, but I feel vindicated in some way. It’s like a curtain has lifted and I’m able to focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past.
IVF is one of those things that nothing can truly prepare you for no matter how much you read or research or anything. Not that it’s bad to do those things, but the stress that you go through physically and mentally is indescribable. When you succeed at IVF, it feels like all of that was worthwhile and that you’ve finally done something right. Having a miscarriage after IVF is like a snap back to reality where you are convinced that nothing can go right ever again.
I had so much hope going into IVF in February and March. I was done with hoping and onto believing. It was GOING to happen. And by hard work and chance and luck it did. It was hard to convince myself that it was actually a success at first. I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall. Every single time we went for an ultrasound or a blood draw, I was just waiting for them to tell me something was wrong.
Until that last time. Somehow, I finally managed to convince myself that this was going to happen for me after all.
And then it didn’t.
That kind of weirdly reassuring disappointment is hard to bounce back from. And although I knew there had to be some reason for it, all I could think was “that just figures.” I was so blinded by my disappointment and grief that I couldn’t even get to the part where I was asking the right questions. And when the karotyping came back as perfectly normal, I started placing a lot of the burden on myself for any little thing I may have done wrong. It wasn’t intentional and some of it wasn’t even done consciously. It certainly wasn’t right, but there was no way I could stop.
We went into June/July’s FET with some hope, but to be honest I was just going through the motions. It was as if treatment was a job and I was just coming in, punching my time card and going home. There were a few glimmers of commitment here and there, but I never had the will power that I had the first time around. I was still blaming myself for everything that had happened.
I wasn’t ready.
When the FET turned into another (albeit much earlier) loss, I was not only grieving again, but I was angry and frustrated and unable to ask anything other than WHY. And apparently the WHY is what I needed to be pushing for all along.
Last week, the MTHFR mutation revelation wasn’t great in that I was happy I had some other potential infertility cause. It was great in that I finally had the answer I was looking for. Now maybe my losses were more complicated than just that, but maybe they weren’t. And now I have things to do and a plan in place.
And more than that, I have some distance between me and that place of grief and despair that I occupied for so long this year. About a month ago, a co-worker had a baby and I was forced to look at this newborn’s picture and hear about how the mother and baby were doing. All I could think about at that point was how much I missed my babies that never were.
I wasn’t ready to move on because I hadn’t yet found any answers as to why they weren’t still with me.
I wasn’t ready to move on because I hadn’t come to terms with what had happened.
I wasn’t ready to move on because I wasn’t ready to let myself believe again.
It seemed to me that believing again was somehow betraying their memories. It’s silly and makes no sense, but that’s the distinct feeling I had every time I tried to muster up some strength. I just wasn’t able to identify it until now…until the spot in the rearview mirror became smaller and smaller in the distance.
I will never fully lose sight of those losses. They were too jarring to the soul for me to forget. But in the past couple of weeks, and the past week in particular, I’ve been able to start putting together a plan for the future and actually be excited about it again. I still have a few more steps to take emotionally, but I don’t feel like I’m being rushed to take them.
And while I still miss my babies, my embryos, more than I can even explain, I can now differentiate that pain from the pain of infertility in general. A month ago I could care less about being a mother, I just wanted to be a mother to my twins. I wasn’t ready to move forward because all I wanted was to have them back. Now, though I’d love to have them back, I feel like my soul is comforted by the fact that I have found my way back to wanting to be a mother in general again…that there’s room in my heart once again to risk it all at another chance at this dream.
It doesn’t mean I still don’t have tears. It just means that I’m able to see through them a bit more clearly now and start to believe again.
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We got the results from the karotyping this morning. Two genetically normal girls. Just as I had suspected on both counts. The sex thing I knew in my heart while I was pregnant even. But the genetically normal part I suspected because in my life nothing is an easy answer…and if they had been genetically abnormal that would be an easy answer…so they weren’t. Which means it could have been anything. We’ll never really know.
I’m taking the news better than I thought I would. I’m hoping that I’m not just holding it in until I break. But I haven’t felt much like crying.
Even with the conference situation (which may or may not be happening now…I wish my boss would get his act together), we’re still on for FET. I just may have to be on birth control for shorter or longer to work around it, depending on when I get my period. And although I wasn’t confident about it yesterday, I’m feeling much more so today. I seem to think it stems from getting some closure regardless of whether or not we got any answers. At least we’re not still waiting for the results, putting us in this limbo.
I still wonder if there was something that I did wrong or failed to do. I guess that kind of thinking can’t be helped. But, in the end, I guess the psychic was right about at least one thing—that these souls were just not meant for this world. While I am past the part of fighting the truth in that statement, I’m still not happy about it. I never will be. But in the rationality that comes with some distance from the trauma, I know that I can’t fight the reality of the situation anymore. So I’ve stopped trying.
After the miscarriage, I bought this cheap little baby brag book at Target and put all of the ultrasound pictures in there. The Mister didn’t understand why I was keeping them. I guess to him they were more a signal of hurt and pain than of love. But those were the only pictures I’d get of my two daughters that never were. I don’t intend on looking over them every day…maybe even ever…but I like the thought of them being there and having a spot in my life even if I never got to have a place in theirs.
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