Thursday, May 31, 2007

this is a guest post and you know what that means...

Jennifer woke up to no Internet access and no cable today and was laying there talking to Nicole on the phone and trying to figure out if she could take codeine for the hand pain...

when her water broke all over the couch!!!

Since I was at work and had the phone on vibrate, I am not sure when the message is from but I am thinking it was this morning around 10. So... maybe there will be an update sometime tonight or tomorrow. I will certainly do my best to keep everyone posted!

Looks like Baby B went head down because she wanted to get this party started!

Guest Poster

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

It's Done

I’m home and convalescing. That was pretty intense. I seriously thought it would be this quick and easy in-office kind of thing. But it was full-on surgery in an operating room with me in a gown and hair net and booties. I had to take out my earrings and contacts. The surgery itself lasted about 40 minutes, which is like an eternity when you are 37 weeks pregnant and laying on your back. They removed the PG and then they wrapped up my hand, so I can’t even see the sutures. I have to keep my hand all bandaged up and elevated for 5 days. And in 10 days, the sutures come out.

I am so glad it is gone. Sadly, there is a 50 percent chance of it returning, since my hormones are all screwy. However, if I deliver in the next week, the chances of it returning go way down. So let’s hope for a delivery.

In fun news, Baby B got the memo and is now head down. So it is time to strike while the iron is hot: I am ready to talk inducing. Is that so wrong? I really am having a hard time getting around. Just going to the bathroom in the middle of the night is a struggle. Walking, rather waddling, is difficult. I have no appetite, except for things like toasted almond bars. If these babies are cooked, then I am done too.

OK, that’s all for now because I can’t type with one hand anymore. And, as usual, I need to sleep. Phone calls will have to wait till tomorrow.

Pictured above are two cute dresses that Nicole’s manager gave us. She bought them in London, which makes them infinitely more charming.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


*Bonus link to PG pictures

I scheduled a follow-up with the hand doctor for Wednesday, but fear and panic over the weekend got me to change my appointment to today. I was pretty close to 1.) going to the ER yesterday to get this growth removed or 2.) getting out an exacto knife and slicing the thing off myself. I had a full-on breakdown over it last night, crying ridiculously from the discomfort and fear. As far as pyogenic granulomas go, this one is a superstar, in a class of its own. Most are a couple of centimeters across. Mine is over 20. Its growth rate is so rapid that it is alarming. Of course, I fear that it could be something worse. Letting this thing just keep growing…I just can’t do that.

But cooler heads (Nicole’s) prevailed. I called the doctor first thing in the morning and begged for a slot today. They were very accommodating (perhaps they heard the fear in my voice?) and put me in for late morning. Nicole was able to leave work and come with me, to act as moral support/my voice/a steady and calm force in case I fell apart, which is quite likely these days.

I am so happy to report that tomorrow I will be going in for hand surgery and removing this thing. I am so happy I could cry. And I am so relieved that I don’t even care that this doctor isn’t covered by my insurance.

The PG has more than doubled in size in less than a week, and it has gone from unsightly and annoying to quite painful and frightening-looking. My doctor—who has the best bedside manner in the world—was upfront: He said that it could continue to grow if we just left it on my palm, due to pregnancy hormones. I talked about the pain I was feeling and about my fear of being able to take care of two babies with one hand, since the other hand has to be elevated by my shoulder to minimize the stabbing pain. And it is not just babies—it is hard for me to do anything with my left hand at all. He was looking at it very carefully and I could see his mind working. I was on the cusp of my seat. If he said to wait until after birth to deal with it, that was Nicole's cue to step in and insist it be removed (she would need to do the talking as I am sure I would be crying). But it didn't come to that: He agreed that it was time to remove it.

Caveat: There is a chance that it will return, but if that is the case, we will just remove it again. I’ll take my chances. I will take the pain of removal. I just want it gone.

Surgery is tomorrow. It will take about an hour from start to finish (from prep time to bandaging). I also have a sonogram and NST tomorrow. So tomorrow will be a long day at the hospital.

For those of you who are truly curious what this is all about and want to see a picture, I posted a couple on my old picture site (I so need to update my pictures). It is not for the weak of heart/stomach. It shows what it looked like last night. Click here if you want to see what I have been whining about. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Pictured above: The famous hospital pain scale. I am definitely not in dire straights, but I am not exactly a smiley face either.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's Come To This

I am lounging around home in a tank top and underwear, eating toasted almond bars and watching woman-scorned Lifetime movies. I am just so tired and hot and lazy. But I did make it outside today. This morning, Nicole and I ventured out in the empty city to do some shopping, tolerable only because we drove. We also picked up the babies’ car seats, which were at our friends’ apartment, and installed them. Nothing says “You are really having two babies” like two car seats in the back seat. Surreal. You would *think* by now I would have no doubt about this, but still, it is unbelievable to me. When I catch a glimpse of myself in window on the street, I have a hard time processing that that is me, pregnant.

However, said seat installation started talks of a bigger purchase. Not too long ago, I told Nicole that I thought we would have to someday [soon] think about getting a bigger car. We have two cars, and neither are especially twin-friendly. One is a two-seater, which obviously can accommodate zero kids. And the other can accommodate both car seats, but then nobody else. Nicole insisted that we would be fine, at least for another year or two. She was adamant, so certain that she was right, that our car would be Just Fine. Flash forward to today: We install the car seats, get back into the car and Nicole drives immediately to the car dealership. Sometimes she needs to see things for herself! We are very specific about what we want, car-wise, and are only looking at two different cars. Both are not mini-vans (not ready for that step). Both seat seven. And both have crappy mileage, which makes me feel awful, in that ruining-the-universe kind of way. But I have nieces and nephews to think about. And I recycle, so that makes up for it, right?!

The rest of the day was spent on the couch.

The PG is still looking pretty scary and seems to be getting a little bigger. I am counting the minutes till Wednesday’s appointment. I need this thing off. I am still worried that it could be something scarier than just a PG. Of course, 99 percent of what I read reassures me, but it is that one site, the one that mentions that some cancers can mimic PGs, that I choose to believe. Why does the mind choose to worry? I like to think of it as anticipating every outcome and preparing.

My new concern is what if removing the PG means that I need to go on antibiotics, which could mean that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed? My friend Jen brought this valid point up, and since her husband is a doctor, I take her opinion to be completely medically valid. If I had to chose, what would I do? Obviously, I want to say that I would choose to let the PG grow so I can breastfeed. But the thing is, the PG is really painful. Typically, they grow to the size of a pea, but mine is the size of a grape. If my hand drops below my heart, it feels like it is being stabbed, as the blood rushes to it. I can’t use the hand really for anything right now, which is going to make taking care of the twins really hard. I know that there are people who have had much worse conditions and managed to care for their baby. But to me, this PG is too new for me to have developed appropriate coping strategies. And I have never taken care of two newborns full-time. Ever. I hope I am lucky enough that this will be the worst health issue I ever have. But right now, it is really stressing me out.

So onto a less stressful topic: Nicole Tidbit No. 3:

Movies: Nicole’s tastes in movies is completely opposite of mine, literally on the opposite side of the movie spectrum. When we first started dating, I think she hid this side of her a bit. We would watch movies like Mulholland Drive and other Serious Dramas, and she seemed fine with that. But slowly she revealed her true colors. My first clue was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She loved this show passionately, which always seemed dichotomous to me: Madam Executive/Miss Serious who goes off to work by day and relaxes with Buffy by night. It just didn’t quite fit.

After the Buffy adjustment period, she let it all come out. Now our Tivo list is filled with such gems as Frankenfish, about a genetically-altered fish that preys on people, and Blood Surf, about a genetically-altered crocodile that preys on people, and Octopus, about a genetically-altered octopus that preys on people. They don’t always have to be about aquatic animals: They can also be about land-dwelling, genetically-altered animals, aliens, the Bermuda Triangle, genetically-altered people, monsters (including ghosts, zombies and vampires) and the Undead. Or Star Trek people. Relaxing with her on the couch on lazy Sunday afternoons can be difficult: I will be on the cusp of sleep, all comfy cozy, when I will be jarred awake by the sound of a skull being crushed by a giant anaconda or a woman screaming as she is chased by a chainsaw-wielding madman (yes, she LOVES horror movies) or the distinctive sound of blood splatter. The thing is, not only can I not watch violence, I can’t even listen to it. I am pretty much the biggest wimp when it comes to those things.

However, I am fully aware of the glass house I live in. After all, I love cheesy Lifetime movies. But I am specific about which ones: I don’t like the feel-good comedies or happy-go-lucky ones; I only like the woman-scorned ones. These movies move up to the top of my must-see list if they star Melissa Gilbert (a.k.a. Laura Ingalls), Tori Spelling or Meredith Baxter Birney.

Breaking news on the CNN ticker: There are 218 days left in 2007.

Pictured above is our coat closet. Nicole cleaned it out in a cleaning frenzy this weekend. The best part is that empty shelf: Her goal is to have things completely emptied out. My goal is just to have things neat and organized! I have no idea what will go in all that emptiness, but I am sure we will find something. Right now it holds a box of seashells and a box of mini-umbrellas. Below that is me at 37 weeks. When will the growing madness end? See that grimace on my face? That is because my hand is below my heart and that stabbing feeling is back....

Friday, May 25, 2007

Enough About Me....

One day home and truthfully, my life isn’t much different than it was in the hospital. I know I keep saying this, but I am astonished at how my energy levels are dropping by the day. Today, I had to work up the inertia just to take out the recycling. By “take out,” I mean bring it down the hall. Not a difficult task, yet it felt like moving mountains to me. I thought long and hard about showering, because that entails so many tasks that I don’t excel at, like bending and reaching and dressing myself. If I drop the soap one more time in the shower…..

I woke up in the middle of the night thinking maybe I was starting to go into labor. I was really nauseous and having contractions and I felt pain in my back and pressure on my cervix. Now each and every one of these symptoms can be easily explained and justified. Maybe my dinner made me sick to my stomach (spicy Thai rice) and the back pain could be from how I was sitting on the couch. Cervix pain could be Baby A and the contractions, well, what else can my uterus do these days? Still, I was up from 2:00 am till almost 6:00. And even though everyone says that you’ll know when you are in labor, why do I have the feeling I won’t?

The PG is getting bigger, much to my consternation. The doctor said it could get bigger—maybe even double in size—but I thought/hoped/prayed that won’t happen. Ha. I am still all stressed about the cancer thing. Lots of websites indicate that certain cancers mimic PGs and the only way to be certain is to biopsy it. The fact that it keeps growing just freaks me out. I know I shouldn’t worry, but, well, I’m the worrying type. Wednesday (appointment day with hand surgeon) can’t come soon enough. I have lots of pictures and I will try to upload them later and post a link for those of you who really want to see it.

It occurred to me that I never completed the Seven Things About Me meme that I was tagged for. Since my life is pretty much an open book, I think I will write seven things about Nicole instead. After all, she is an extension of me. And she can’t defend herself, so this can be fun! I won’t get to all seven in one post, but let’s get started:

1. Sleeping Habits: If Nicole could go to bed at 7:30 pm, she would. She loves her sleep, which is diametrically opposed to me, as I am happy with five hours a night. Most nights she is in bed by 9:30, but there are nights when she heads off much earlier than that under the guise of “reading,” but in reality, she just goes to sleep. She can’t sleep unless the bedroom closet door is completely closed. And she can’t sleep without white noise as provided by an antique fan that sits in the corner of our room. This rickety thing isn’t not child- or adult-safe. The cord looks like it is going to burn up any day now. And there is only an insinuation of a cage covering it, so if you walk by it too close your pajamas/clothes will be sucked into it, making a horrifyingly loud noise akin to jet engines. I try to convince her to get a newer, safer fan—perhaps something old-fashioned looking from Restorat.ion—but she refuses. She is attached to the fan and I fear even toddling children won’t convince her to get a new one. Nicole is also prone to night not-quite terrors. She will wake up in the middle of the night yelling about crabs coming down from the ceiling and such. Sometimes she will just jump out of bed and run to the door. I have learned that engaging her in conversation will only make things worse, so the best thing to do is coax her back to bed and ignore her when she speaks in tongues. She recalls none of it in the morning.

2. Food Excitement: Nicole experiences Food Excitement on a semi-regular basis. This means that her mood is considerably brightened when the prospect of certain foods are in her near future. How this manifests itself: Quick hand claps, hopping up and down, and kisses for me. Foods that almost always induce food excitement include: black and white milkshakes, chocolate chip cookies, Carvel ice cream, Mister Softee, cupcakes and homemade cakes with a glass of milk. “Real” foods like sushi or hamburgers or pasta or pizza can cause food excitement too, but there has to be a considerable length of time between meals and true hunger pains. About once a year, Chinese food and buffalo wings will cause FE, which will almost immediately lead to Food Remorse.

I just heard Nicole open the freezer for an ice-cream sandwich. I just had a toasted almond bar. It was Old School Ice Cream Night in our house.

Three through Seven to come….

Pictured above is my bandaged, zombie-like hand. The bandage cushions the PG, but it is still hard for me to grip or hold anything. Ugh.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Free At Last

I am home sweet home. It feels so good to be back. Thank you all for your messages, concern and good vibes. I’ll admit I was remiss in getting Nicole to update my blog, and I know how nerve-wracking it is when people delay between posts, especially when their last post is something like “I am going to a hospital now.”

But Nicole was running herself ragged, being Shirley MacLaine to my Debra Winger in the classic Terms of Endearment. She was running around getting my medicines and such. She had to help me do things like shower, because I couldn’t really use either of my hands. And in between it all, she had to bring me food and entertainment, while also squeezing in work. She stayed with me every night past her own bedtime and even missed the season finale of her favorite new show, Heroes (it is Tivo’d, so all is not lost). How could I possibly add one more item to her list? However, I learned the lesson that we need to come up with a good updating strategy for when the babies are born, since it seems like there is no wireless internet access at my hospital.

My heart really goes out to all of those people who are on bed rest in hospitals. It’s one of those things that I think you really need to experience to understand (although some people have a much more attuned sense of empathy than others). My friend Jen was in the hospital for weeks before she delivered her twins (early). I now have a taste of how annoying it must have been for her. There are so many people in the Blog World who are in hospitals right now on bed rest, for much longer than I was. I am so lucky to be sprung after a mere six days. I am looking forward tonight to getting some sleep. The dark secret about hospital stays is that you never get any rest because people are constantly coming in to check on you. I never really understood that until I lived it. Tonight, the only thing waking me up will be my bladder.

Here is the latest: I did six days on the antibiotic IV, which should knock any MSRA out of my system. I have an appointment with the infectious disease doctor next Thursday to follow up. The staph never went systemic, so the babies are both fine (knock on wood).

The pyogenic granuloma (or: pyogenic granular…same thing) is still going strong…meaning, it got a little bigger and while it isn’t painful like a sprained ankle or a broken bone, it does hurt a bit, kinda like the way a cold sore hurts. And it throbs. When we take off the gauze, we can watch it pulse up and down! It has a life of its own. And maybe its own heartbeat. Nicole just called it Baby C.

We have been taking pictures of it every day, but I won’t post those, as some people might not want to see it. However, I found a picture of one online: click on this link and scroll about halfway down. Mine looks almost exactly like the one on the far left, except it is a little bigger and it is on my palm. To protect it, since it bleeds like a gunshot wound if it is even slightly tapped, I have to wrap my hand in gauze like a mummy.

I will see Dr. Soap Opera Star (the hand surgeon) next Wednesday. He said he wants to wait till after the babies are born to remove it (because there is a 40 percent chance of growing back) but I stressed how difficult it will be for me to hit the ground running with twins when I have one hand that I can’t really use for much. As it is now, I can really hold anything, grasp anything or do much with my left hand, with this growth in the middle of it. He said we can talk about removal next week. In the meantime, it just might start going down a little on its own. We’ll see. I am trying not to look a it because it is disturbing, and no matter how many times I remind myself that it is just a pyogenic granular, I can’t help but get a wee bit freaked out, because it seems so wrong for something like that to grow so quickly and so large. Sometimes I just want to twist it off to make it go away.

After being released, I had a growth sonogram upstairs at the hospital. Here are the stats: Baby A is still head down and weighs 6 pounds 7 ounces (a nice gain from her last measurement of 5 lbs 2 ounces). Baby B is still in the penthouse, stretched across my entire top of uterus like she owns the joint, and now weighs 7 pounds 4 ounces, which means she grew almost a pound in two weeks. Of course, there is an error of margin here, but it could go either way. Allow me to say this: There is almost 14 pounds of baby in there and it has ceased to be comfortable. And I am only 36 weeks and 4 days. But I am grateful that the babies seem to be thriving. What more can I ask for?

I spoke with Dr. Nothing Bothers Her and, in keeping with her special name, nothing bothers her. She said that she thinks I can try for a vaginal delivery, since Baby A is head down. A C-section at this point would be elective. Again, I feel rather ambivalent about this: I can see positives and negatives to either exit strategy, and my doctor is willing to do what I want. But I don’t know what I want. My doctor said she would let me get to 38.5 or 39 weeks before doing any sort of inducing. But at 38 weeks I think I might get aggressive about doing some of those old wive’s tales/tricks. To wit: I will tweak my own nipp.les while walking on a treadmill for hours and drinking balsamic vinegar. At the very least I will entertain my fellow gym-goers. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated, because these babies act like they have no intentions of going anywhere any time soon.

And now I have quite a few blogs read! The good thing about being computer-less for a week is the fact that I am so looking forward to catching up on everyone’s lives. I had Nicole give Riley updates, but beyond that, I have a lot of reading to do.

Pictured above is Baby A, in profile. Baby B has her back to us, so no picture of her!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Quite the Cliffhanger...

I’m still in the hospital and alas, I have no internet access. I’ve been here for the past four days. On Saturday, my hand wound seemed to take a turn for the worse. I won’t go into details because some people might be a little put off. Suffice it to say that several doctors have taken pictures of my hand growth and have commented how they have never seen anything quite like it in real life. Truth is, I haven’t either and I am not thrilled that it is growing (and keeps growing, seemingly without abatement) from my palm.

My official diagnosis: I have a pyogenic granular with a MRSA infection. The granular is a wound that is overgrown: To put it simply (as some of the doctors explained to me), basically my body keeps resending the “heal me here” signal, so my body is paying way too much attention to this one little area. As a result, the skin keeps building in a tumor-like way. So what I have now is something that looks like a pinky tip growing out of my palm. On top of that, there is a staph infection in it. This staph infection is resistant to most antibiotics, so I need to get IV antibiotics. And that is how I ended up here.

Back to Saturday…. even though it is only a few blocks away, we took a cab to the hospital. We went up to the labor and delivery floor, but was quickly escorted out and told that I won’t be staying on that floor, near all the pregnant moms and newborn babies, since I had an infectious disease. Instead, I was set up in a room on a regular floor, next to other infectious patients.

The good news is, because of the MRSA, I was given my own plague room. There are two doors: You open the main door and enter a little vestibule, where you can don your haz-mat suits, gloves and masks. Through another door is my area. I feel so lucky not to have a roommate.

In the beginning, I was treated as if I was a threat to society. The first nurse who came in to take my vitals was dressed in full-on haz-mat gear: Gloves on her hands; a plastic suit; a mouth mask. It seems strange, since Nicole is sitting right next to me without a stitch of protective covering, and she is fine. And they let my brother and SIL and niece and nephew visit later without blinking an eye. My infected hand is completely covered, and unless I unwrap it and rub said wound on other people’s open cuts or sores, then most people will be alright. But still, I understand the precautions. MRSA is considered a “superbug” and it can be dangerous to people with weakened immune systems, aka everyone in a hospital. Now that it is being treated, it is not infectious anymore.

There is an endless parade of doctors and specialists coming in here. Nurses come in to check my vitals. Different nurses come in check the babies’ heartbeats (even in the middle of the night, when I am soundly sleeping). Techs come in to do non-tress tests. Nurses come in to hook up the IV drips to the line in my arm. Someone comes in with a tray of food, which I keep telling them not to do, since Nicole is picking meals up for us. Someone else comes in to change the sheets. People randomly show up with ice or pillowcases. They come in at all hours of the night. Like last night, when my temperature was checked at 1:30 in the morning. There is no resting in a hospital, which seems a bit ironic. The good news is, I am under the care of six doctors: Three hand surgeons; one infectious disease doctor; an ob/gyn resident and my ob/gyn. I feel very well taken care of.

I was given an amb.ien on that first night to help me sleep, and it was the best sleep I have had in a long time. Nicole slept over, contorted in a chair with her head resting on the windowsill. I felt awful and kept trying to get her to go home, but she refused. In the long run, I am grateful, since I am not a fan of spending nights without her and I have never spent a night in a hospital before. We spend up to a week apart when she is away on business, but that seems different: She is in some hotel somewhere and I am home in our bed. Now, she is alone in our bed and I am alone in a sterile hospital room. Not fun.

So this is the basic run-down of my infection: pyogenic granulars occur during pregnancies when hormones are running amuck. They usually resolve on their own after birth. If they don’t, they can be surgically removed, but they won’t do that while a woman is pregnant because it will just grow back. The best part is that these growths usually appear on your face (75 percent of the time), so I am lucky indeed that it is on my palm. One doctor, who looks like Anderso.n Coo.per, asked permission to photograph it (my hand wound is gonna be famous!). Another doctor was so excited to see it and commented how it was the largest and best specimen she has even seen. Most doctors marvel at it, filled with wonder and glee. It is that impressive.

Meanwhile, the IV drip is taking care (hopefully) of the staph infection, but the doctors agree I need a full-course of antibiotics, which means six days. And that means I will be here until Thursday. I have friends visiting every day and am racking up cell phone minutes with others, so I am far from bored. Nicole comes after work and stays till the sun goes down. And so many people have had much longer hospital stays for much worse reasons, so I really can’t complain. And, as my friend Jen reminds me, the goal is healthy babies. I am so grateful that this all has turned out to be a giant pain in the ass (hand), but the babies and I will be fine. Still, some good vibes can’t hurt, right?

Some random, fun moments so far:

• One nurse looked at my hand wound and asked if I was sure I wasn’t stung by an animal, possibly a lobster? (Um, yeah…pretty sure it didn’t have a run-in with a lobster).

• A nurse’s aide brought me a jug of water and 28 plastic cups. 28. Does she think I am having a party in here or something? Who needs 28 cups?

• The appetizer on last night’s dinner was “cranberry juice.” Today’s breakfast included a corn muffin that tasted like fish. Tonight’s appetizer was pineapple juice. Thank goodness good food is a block away!

• Hand surgeons are apparently quite good-looking. As I mentioned, one looked like Ander.son Coo.per and the other looks like a soap opera star. I was actually a bit embarrassed by the Pop-Tart crumbs on my tank top when he came in!

• One nurse asked if it was okay to pray for me and the babies. I said “of course,” and she came around the side of the bed, grabbed my hand and launched into prayer. I had no idea that it was going to happen right then and there. When she paused for more than four seconds, I took that as a signal that it was over and said an “amen?” I am not particularly religious in any conventional way so I was definitely a fish out of water with that whole thing. It was very sweet though, of the nurse. She also prayed for the doctors to have wisdom in treating me. I like how she covered all the bases.

• Nicole and the window: We have a lovely western view from the hospital window, overlooking the Hudson and lots of apartment buildings, and Nicole can spend hours staring out it and making comments like “I wonder why that flag is a half-staff” and “The lights are coming on” or “Those people still have their Christmas decorations up.” All of these comments are delivered in a very serious and contemplative way. I’m not surprised about her window fascination: It reminds me of our apartment: I put a stool in front of the window in the kitchen and every day, which she is brushing her teeth she goes and sits on the stool and stares out the window. She will sit in that stool at other times during the day and night, staring at the street below. She is like a cat with a new carpeted cat castle or whatever those things are called.

• A nurse WOKE ME UP last night at 12:30 a.m. and asked if I wanted a sleeping pill. I was asleep….logic dictates that I do not need a sleeping pill. Or, at the very least, I managed to get to sleep already so maybe the pill isn’t necessary.

• There are beautiful sunsets over the Hudson from my window.

So I will be out of the loop till Thursday! I am having Nicole read me baby Riley updates, and I am so happy that everything seems to be going so well! I can’t wait to catch up on everyone else’s lives/news/updates. I am officially going through Other People’s Blogs’ withdrawal!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Checking In

The hand wound is getting worse, not better. We just went to the doctor and spoke with the ob/gyn and I am being admitted to the hospital now to get IV antibiotics to treat this nasty infection (latest diagnosis: something granuola with MSRA). It is still localized, thank goodness. But I am glad finally everyone agrees with me that we shouldn’t just wait till Monday to see the ID doctor and e shoudln't be waiting for this to invade my bloodstream. I am packing a bag (ugh) and checking in now. I’m bringing my computer and hope I can use it. Otherwise, I will have to talk Nicole through updates. No talk over having the babies yet; we have to see how I respond to the meds first. Ugh again.

Please think all sorts of positive thoughts.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Oh, The Drama/Irony of It All (….and introducing a new doctor: Dr. Infectious Disease)

I went back to Dr. Hand today, with a slight spring in my step because I thought that maybe just maybe the hand wound was looking better. It seemed a little smaller and it looked like it as drying up. So I go into the office, relax in the super-comfortable reclining chair and Dr. Hand comes in. I unwrap my hand like a Christmas present and he inspects it carefully and pronounces that he thinks the base looks smaller but the height looks taller. Kinda like a volcano. He then explains a little more about my test results. It is a staph infection on my palm that is MRSA, which stands for methicillin resistant Staph aureus. That means the course of antibiotics I just took three times a day for a week did nothing. And that this infection ill not respond to many antibiotics. So far it is localized and not systemic. That is good. If it becomes systemic then the babies are at risk to get it.

Then I spent the next hour waiting in the room by myself, reclined in the chair (pregnancy privilege, I believe) while Dr. Hand spoke with Dr. Nothing Bothers her (ob/gyn) and Dr. Infectious Disease (new) and Dr. Primary Care. Four doctors talking about me. Wow. A bit of a doctor networking miracle, considering all that they have to do, which kind of made me think that this is a little more serious than I want it to be.

The following has been established:

• I need to see an infectious disease doctor who practices at my delivery hospital.
• I may need to be treated with IV antibiotics that the babies shouldn’t be exposed to. That means we (ell, they) need to decide if I can hold off on treating this infection until after the babies are born in two or three weeks or if the babies need to be born sooner so I can be treated sooner.
• I might be able to be treated with other meds; Dr. Infectious needs to make that call.
• My infection is not systemic right now but it can become systemic at any point.
• If I get chills, a fever, redness in the palm or pain in the palm or heat (?) in the palm I need to go to the ER immediately.
• We can’t ignore this and hope it goes away (I asked) and we can’t just cut this thing off of my palm (I asked that, too).
• Will the babies be affected? That was my only question. The only response I have gotten: Right no, no, but we don’t want this infection in your system. OK, I got that part. But what does THAT mean?? And shouldn’t we test the rest of my system (other non-infected tissue) to make sure it hasn’t indeed spread? What would/could happen? What is the worst case scenario? Would the babies become carriers? Would they deal with staph infections for the rest of their lives? Or is there a worse possible outcome?

Dr. Infectious is on jury duty so my appointment isn’t until Monday. So much for today or Friday. Ugh. If anyone has a good excuse to skip jury duty (not that I condone skipping JD, but for this doctor I selfishly do) it is an infectious disease doctor. Sample dialogue: “Why can’t you serve?” “I treat infectious diseases.” “You’re dismissed.” Simple. I asked if it is ok to wait till then and Dr. Hand and Dr. Nothing Bothers Her both said it as fine. Unless, of course, the infection becomes systemic. Comforting. This, of course, rattles me and makes me want to run to the ER now. I don’t want to wait. I want to take care of this now now now. Too bad I didn’t think that way a month ago.

There is that part of me that is just so angry with myself because I let this happen. I rarely go to the doctor when I should. I learned the (bad) lesson early in life to suck up the pain. And boy do I. All the time. That is why I walked around in severe ectopic pain for three months. Or go to work sick (yes, I know how irresponsible and selfish that is, since I can get others sick). Or go to the gym with a high fever. I just assume that I am overreacting to pain/illness/discomfort and carry on. I also have a high tolerance for pain. It runs in the family: My brother is the same way.

But the thing is, I feel like what kind of mother am I? I watched this hand thing get bigger and uglier and did nothing for weeks. Nothing. I didn’t even really cover it with a band aid. I didn’t put any cream on it because I am not thrilled about using any meds while pregnant, even ones deemed 100 percent safe. And by the time I get my ass to a doctor it is a staph infection. And now I need serious medicine. Oh, the irony and the drama.

In cute news, the babies passed their non-stress test. I, on the other hand, am apparently having many contractions. Who knew. The nurse asked if I felt any pain and I laughed. Not such an easy question for me. No, I think. Maybe. Yes? She mentioned it could be pain in my back or lower abdomen. Funny because I did have back pain a week ago. Or was it three days ago? But it is gone now. And it was tolerable. But would someone else find it tolerable? That is the question. The nurse asked if I had an internal exam and I laughed again. No, Dr. Nothing Bothers Her has not checked my cervix or done an internal because everything with me is Just Fine. Well, that is, until it is not Just Fine. But I digress…this is supposed to be happy fun things.

Onto the biophysical. I had the most amazing tech, who narrated everything in a calming and comforting Polish accent. She showed me Baby A, sucking on her fingers! With chubby cheeks! And a nose! And chubby lips! The tech pronounced her cute and I have to agree. Baby B is stretched across my uterus like she owns the place. No fetal position for her. Her head is all the way under my right breast and her butt is about three feet away (just a little hyperbole) and her feet dangle along my left side. It really gave me perspective about how big these babies are. Baby A, on the other hand, is all tucked up in a little ball on top of my cervix. Baby B also poked Baby A in the butt. They were kicking and pushing and doing cute in utero things. There is plenty of fluid and all else checks out as it should, thank goodness.

Monday I see Dr. Infectious. Then off to Dr. Nothing Bothers Her to talk exit strategy (which might change abruptly now, in light of this lovely infection) and then off for another non-stress test. So I will be at the hospital all day and I will have lots of news on Monday.

Speaking of news, here is some great news. A baby is going to be born this weekend!

Pictured above is my chubby-cheeked and adorable niece Skye.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Staph Stuff

You know it isn’t great news when your doctor calls you and instead of telling you your test results right of the bat, he asks you how you are feeling. My hand doctor called yesterday, and before launching into my test results (for the abscess on my palm) he asks me how I am feeling. Any fever? Fatigue? Is the wound getting better or worse? Is it hot, itchy or red? I assured him I had none of those things and he told me I tested positive for a staph bacteria. So this thing in my hand is a staph infection. Apparently, I must have had an open cut on my hand that became wildly infected.

I am a little confused. As usual, when test results or medical news are delivered to me without the benefit of having a second set of ears then I tend to not be entirely clear on my diagnosis. I think it is because I go into a sort of tunnel,and tune out the doctor and listen to my own personal dialogue of What Does This Mean? I am so busy trying to figure out how this affects my fertility or trying to conceive or the next cycle or, now, the babies, that I am not listening properly and not dutifully asking for the proper spellings of the Latin names. He tested some fluid from the abscess, but he said that there is a chance that the bacteria grew in the lab because of optimal growing conditions (?) and not because it was actually in my palm. So maybe it is not a staph infection? Also, a friend who is a certified wound care specialist (who knew these titles existed!) told me that the doctor should have tested the tissue around the wound to see if that was infected.

What is clear right now is that it is not systemic. In other words, it hasn’t traveled into my body and reached the babies. I asked Dr. Hand three different ways if the babies will be fine and he said yes. The issue at hand (no pun intended) is finding antibiotics that will treat this that are safe for the baby. For that he wants me to see an infectious disease doctor. This makes no sense to me, since even I can use the internet to determine what medicines are safe for pregnant people. So why a new doctor?

Dr. Hand is so confident all will be fine that he didn’t want to change my Thursday appointment for that day. He told me to just come in on Thursday and we will take it from there. Nicole can’t come in with me because she has back-to-back meetings so I need to navigate these Latin-named waters myself. So till Thursday, I am keeping the palm covered in gauze, I am taking my antibiotics that probably aren’t doing their job (staph resistant) and I am putting on the cream twice a day. And wallowing a bit.

I called Dr. Nothing Bothers Her and she echoed that it was weird that I needed to see any other doctor. She too assured me the babies are/will be fine, but was quite firm in telling me that I needed to be treated because this is the sort of thing that can be life-threatening if it gets out of hand (again, no pun intended). I don’t think I am at death’s door and frankly I don’t care about any of this and how it relates to me. All I care about is making sure these babies are safe. I assume if there was any real danger to the babies, my doctor would take them out right away. After all, I am so close to 36 weeks and the babies are nice and chunky and hopefully ready to come out.

Still, it is this sort of drama that just gets me on edge. I know that for this entire pregnancy I have been nervous and scared about everything. I haven’t exactly been the picture of calm and Zen. Most people would stop worrying if their doctor said to stop worrying, but for me, worry is like an unstoppable force. I am trying to be even keel about this and just wait till my appointment tomorrow and not let worst case scenarios get the best of me.

Pictured above is my hand wound, taken on Sunday, compared with the hand of a Discovery Channel television show fisherman.

Monday, May 14, 2007


The babies passed their non stress test, thank goodness. I had a hard time feeling their kicks but apparently they were moving the entire time. I had some minor contractions but nothing to write home about. But I passed (or, the babies passed) and that is all that matters.

And my appointment with Dr. Nothing Bothers Her was quick and painless. She checked their heartbeats (still beating) and I asked when we would talk exit plans. With one foot out the door, she said next week. Between now and then I have another scan to check amniotic fluid and growth, but not weight…which is annoying. And then I start the appointment rounds all over again on Monday.

I know it sounds silly, but this awful hand wound I have makes me nervous. It is a blood blister that turned into an ulcer or an abscess or something. My hand doctor said abscess I think, but, to be honest, I don’t know what the difference between ulcer and abscess is anyway. I am on antibiotics and using a special cream twice a day but I am afraid of it getting infected (it is covered with gauze all the time now) and I am afraid of that infection hurting the babies. I asked the hand doctor four times in four different ways in one appointment if that would happen and he said no. So I am trying not to worry, but it doesn’t seem to be getting better. In fact, it popped again yesterday when I was foolish enough to take one golf swing. It’s like this blister took two steps forward and now one step back again. The hand doctor said it could take up to two weeks to heal. Ugh.

Last night I learned a lesson about eating too much. Nicole made spaghetti and turkey meatballs. I had a reasonable portion of it, and should have stopped there but then decided to have four more meatballs because they were really good. And then, an hour later, I ate the toffee bar that she bought for me. In between, I had tons of water and a glass of chocolate milk. I spent the rest of the night feeling like I was going to throw up. I knew I shouldn’t have so much, but part of me was thinking Grow, Baby A, Grow and the other part of me was thinking, yum…meatballs.

I woke up this morning still feeling stuffed. But I thought I’d make chocolate chip cookies for Nicole. I opted against it when I realized that we didn’t have enough brown sugar and when I realized standing up was a bit of a pain in the back. Later I heard that today is National Chocolate Chip Day. What a weird coincidence! And my neighbor, who is a moderately famous chef, will be on M*rtha Stew*rt tomorrow to make his chocolate chip cookies. I plan to watch and steal his recipe and pass it off as my own. That will be my Tuesday excitement.

Pictured above, the swing that broke the healing blister. I took a close-up of my blister with a macro lens to send to a friend in the medical field, but I’ll spare you all that gory shot!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Home Stretch?

These days, I cry daily. Maybe it’s the hormones or just me being my typical emotional self, but everything just makes me cry. Last night I couldn’t stop crying because I kept thinking how awful it will be when we get older (hopefully) and one of us dies, leaving the other alone. I imagined Nicole sleeping alone in a bed and that pushed me over the edge. I cry because I am afraid I won’t be a good mother. Or because I am afraid of how much my (our) life (lives) is (are) going to change. I know we are ready— we’ve had that conversation about how we wanted our lives to stop being about just us and how we were ready for this—but still, it is a scary, scary thing. I want so much to raise these two babies and for them to say that they had great moms and great childhoods. While we were trying to conceive, I tried so hard to have strength, patience and faith. Looks like I still need a bit of those things.

Happy Mother’s Day to all, including those who have lost their babies and to those who are on the roller coaster and still waiting. Last year, I spent this holiday recovering emotionally from an IVF chemical and mourning the upcoming passing of my first due date. Two years ago, my SIL wished me a happy mother’s day because, she said, I am like another mother to my niece and nephew. Three years ago, I was convinced that I would get pregnant my first or second IUI. (Ha!) If someone told me this year I would be pregnant, I never would have believed it.

Tomorrow I have a doctor’s appointment and another non-stress test to make sure all is okay in there. Needless to say I am a little worried. I hope Dr. Nothing Bothers Her will entertain me and talk about end game this time. I want the babies to stay in as long as it takes to make them healthy but if they are ready by, say, 37 weeks, then so am I. Sorta. Uncomfortable is way too hollow of a word to describe how I am feeling these days. Back pain is my latest ailment. That, combined with my sore joints and extra-large belly makes getting up from a sitting position almost impossible. Even still, despite this pain, the control freak side of me likes having these babies inside. That way I can keep tabs on them at all times. And I’ll miss their constant companionship.

Pictured above is me…and my hand wound….at 35 weeks. I cannot believe we have made it this far. Are we really in the home stretch?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Weights and Waits

First, thank you everyone for talking me down from my self-created ledge. Your comments, as always, are a safety net, and show me once again just how important this invisible community really is.

Deep down I realize this issues isn’t critical yet. After all, this bizarre weight measurement is just a baseline, and we need a couple more measurements before we label this an “issue.” Fear always takes the reins with me and I immediately assume that this isn’t a one-off kind of thing, but rather the beginning of a huge problem. But we just have to wait and see (great...another chance for me to prove just how impatient I am).

Of course, G**gle has lead me to stories of one twin crushing another twin in utero. And partial placental abruption causing weight slow-downs and other horrifying outcomes. I keep thinking about Baby A, who is way down now by my cervix, weighing just over 5 pounds. And then there is Baby B, a full six and a half pounds, already bigger than my niece when she was born (maybe bigger than another niece before she was born too) laying on top of her. It make me feel like I should spend as much time as possible on my back, in case gravity exacerbates this issue. Or maybe I should eat a lot more. I just don’t know. I have a doctor appointment on Monday and a non stress test so hopefully I will have a little more reassurance. Dr. Nothing Bothers Her (who is slightly concerned, which concerns me) said not to worry; if there is an issue at all they will just go in and take the babies out right away. Umm…..that makes me worry! I’m 35 weeks tomorrow, and I just wish these last weeks could be stress-free because, the truth is, I still worry worry worry.

My nephew slept over. He came with Nicole and me to my department graduation celebration last night. This will be his last sleepover for a long time, I think. He sleeps on a blow up mattress right next to me, and likes me to hold his hand until he falls asleep. It is very cute. We will take him home today and I will most likely spend the rest of the weekend in a relaxed state. Laying down just feels best these days.

Pictured above is my niece on the day she was born. She is smaller than Baby B if, of course, sonogram measurements are to be believed, which I think we established they can’t always be believed. But still. And I wonder how many people will see this picture and think I delivered already!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Unscheduled Drama Wednesday and Thursday’s Marathon of Doctors' Appointments*

*twin mom inputs desperately needed

It has been a fast and furious couple of days. Yesterday I went to see a doctor about a blood blister. It is on my palm, an awful spot because it keeps breaking open (in the shower, at night, while doing the dishes) and then it bleeds like a puncture wound. It started to look a little grosser and bigger, so Nicole made an appointment for me with her doctor. I went in with the expectation of some advice like “There, there, silly, worried girl, keep it clean, put on some Neosporin and try not to pop it.” Instead, I got panic-y doctor who said it had become cystic and needed to be removed immediately. So I had to go to a dermatologist right away, who said it was now an ulcer or sorts and that it didn’t need to be removed, but needed to be treated with antibiotics immediately to prevet infection.

Flash forward to today, when I go to meet the one doctor in my practice who I haven’t meet (my first of three appointments today), and I check with him to see if it was okay to take the antibiotics that were prescribed for me. He said absolutely, and to start them immediately, because if this thing becomes infected, it will infect the babies and that would be “bad news.” I pressed him on what that meant, but he just repeated that I need to start the pills and cream. Ugh. Now I am worried that it is infected. They took some blood so I will know in a week if an infection has started. But, the general consensus I got was that it didn’t look infected *yet* to the two doctors who examined it at doctor appointment No. 2 yesterday. So that is Drama No. 1.

And then today. First I had the non-stress test and both babies passed. That should be reassuring, but in light of Part II of the day, I am concerned. Then I had a growth exam, and this is when things get a little strange. I am 34 weeks and 4 days and Baby A weighs 5 pounds 2 ounces and Baby B weighs 6 pounds 7 ounces. (By the way, average for a singleton right now is about 5 lb. 9 oz.) This struck me as quite strange, as it is such a w-i-d-e difference between the two babies. At 32 weeks 2 days they were 4 pounds 12 ounces and 4 pounds 11 ounces. In fact, each time these two babies were weighed they were within an ounce or two of each other. And now, this.

Right now, Baby A is in the 50 th percentile and Baby B is in the 80th percentile. My doctor came in and told me she doesn’t *think* it is an issue because they are both well within a normal range, but, at the same time, she said we need to keep an eye on this and make sure there isn’t a problem. I asked what it could mean/what kind of problem/what is the worst that would happen and she wouldn’t fall into that trap. (Foiled again.) Is this IUGR? Or something more serious like the beginnings of placental abruption? Is it normal for one baby to have a growth spurt and the other to lag behind? After all, they are not identical and why can’t they be different weights? Nothing else seems to be wrong.

They have their own feeding stations (placentas, umbilical cords) so it would seem that they might have moments of one getting more than the other. I just don’t know. And while my calm doctor isn’t too concerned, she seems concerned enough to want to monitor this. So anyone out there who has hosted two babies at once (you know who you are), did this happen to you at all? Am I being my typical nervous self? Should I calm down?

I know I am too nervous for my own god and that I tend to worry worry worry no matter what. My doctor, I am certain, would have been much more aggressive had she thought that there was a big issue going on here. That is what I keep telling myself. But my next weight measurement is 14 days away. That is so long from now.

Pictured above...three leaf clovers with maybe a four leaf clover in the mix? I still need all the luck I can get.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What A Difference a Year Can Make

Amazing how tings can change in a year. Yesterday I pulled out of the inner recesses of my closet a summer-y bag that I haven’t used since, well, last summer. As I was throwing in my sunglasses and wallet and various things, I noticed a little bulge in the pocket. It was a tampon. Now this in itself in not a very electrifying discovery, but it sorta is a snapshot of where I was the last time I used this bag. And here I am, a year later, tampon-less and pregnant. I get these sort of little reminders every day that I should be grateful.

All went well at yesterday’s appointment. Baby A is head down, as usual, and Baby B is transverse again. I heard both heart beats and we actually saw one of the babies’ practice breathing! That was exciting to see! Dr. It Doesn’t Bother Me did the strep test, and I will get those results in a couple of days. My blood pressure is 94 over 70, which is higher than I usually am but still below average. On an even more exciting note, we talked not so much about end game but rather about meeting all the doctors in the practice in case I go into labor when my doctor isn’t on. I remember my doctor telling me about this way back when in the very beginning and I had that refrain in my head “Yeah, if we even GET that far.” And now, here we are, at 34 weeks, getting closer, meeting all the doctors. My doctor says there is still time for the babies to move (how?) so it is too early to decide is this is a C-section or vaginal delivery. My next appointment (measuring the babies and a non stress test) is Thursday.

I got tagged for a meme! In this particular one, I am supposed to reveal 7 things about myself. I’m not quite sure what angle I am supposed to take here so I will stall for a day or two while I collect my thoughts (and read other people’s)! Do I offer up deep, dark secrets that not even some of my closest friends know? Or do I take the more benign route? The thing about the blog world is that it is in a way anonymous. I like the fact that I can be completely honest and that I have been able to share exactly what is on my mind, without fear of judgment. Sometimes I leave out names because you never know who is reading your words and my goal is not to hurt anyone, just to tell my own story. And I am very much an open book, and always have been. But there are some things that we all hold back. Can I reveal some, say, not-so-flattering or hidden things about myself and still feel protected by my cocoon of semi-anonymity? Can I scratch the surface of other things that I need to get off my chest? Decisions, decisions….

This is why I am awul with memes! I overthink them!

Pictured above is the beach, in honor of the upcoming summer.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

This House Is Cleeeee-an*

My mother came in for the weekend to help me spring clean. She came in on Friday and we spent that entire day cleaning the kitchen. Every cabinet, drawer, shelf, hutch and rack was wiped, cleaned, disinfected and organized. The fridge was emptied and cleaned. The stove was cleaned. The chair bottoms were re-felted. The floor was polished. Our kitchen could model now, it is that beautiful.

I literally couldn’t have done this alone, so I am very grateful that my mother came in to help. Bonus: She alleviated the load bit for Nicole, who has her hands full with her full-time job. In theory, I should be doing this myself, since being home is my full-time job, but I am not up to it these days. Oh-so-simple little things are such a chore for me. I think long and hard if it is worth the trip from the living room to the kitchen when I am thirsty. If I sit on the couch to watch TV and the remote isn’t near me, I don’t watch TV. If I drop something on the floor I literally spend 20 seconds debating if it is worth it or not to bend down and pick up. If it was worth it to pick up, I kick said object to another location so I can sit on a chair and then lean over to pick it up and then rest for five minutes. And given the chance, I can pack in three naps a day.

But this weekend, I think I pushed myself a little too hard. I’ve never been very good at setting limits. But by the end of this cleaning frenzy, I was just spent. I felt guilty taking little breaks when my mother was working away so I just kept working. And now I am paying for it. When I stand up, I feel like my bones and joints take an additional 20 seconds to realize they are not in take-it-easy mode anymore. By the time they catch up, I’m usually ready to crumple into a rest position again. If I continue my walk (and I am using the word “walk” loosely) I’m in full-waddle mode. As long as I am registering complaints, I have cankles and am also suffering from severe carpal tunnel. I literally can’t bend some of my fingers when I wake up in the morning. They are like claws. It takes about a half hour for the extreme pain to subside and then I deal with low to moderate pain for the rest of the day. Thank goodness I am a hunt-and-peck typer or the computer would be off-limits.

And for those of you who measure your expanding bellies, mine is almost 48 inches around at its widest part! That’s four feet, at 34 weeks. I wonder how much more it can grow!

But despite all of these issues, I am happy that they are all related to baby-making. I never really appreciated my body or strength until these two little beings showed me who’s boss. From the time they were the size of a period at the end of a sentence, they ruled my universe. It is the first lesson of many that I will learn from them, I’m sure.

I have my appointment with Dr. It Doesn’t Bother Me tomorrow, and I am hoping we will be able to talk about what happens next. But tonight, what happens next for me is Carvel ice cream from the freezer. Just doing my duty to add more inches….

Pictured above is our baby shrine, which my mother started to dismantle (gasp!) over the weekend until my panic-y cries stopped her in her tracks. The shrine includes:
• The hospital bracelet I wore at the transfer
• The lighting sticks I used to light candles at a local church
• A picture of Nicole, which was safety pinned in my gown a transfer
• A picture of Leif and Skye, also safety pinned in my gown at transfer
• A religious medal given to me by my twin mom friend Jen
• A beautiful ruby ring that my SIL gave me that belonged to her mother
• Three leaves, one for each embryo, collected from our good-luck-fertility tree in Central Park on my way to the transfer
• There area also a few good luck pennies

* Above title is a reference to Poltergeist.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Does This Ultrasound Make Me Look Fat?

First, I had the ultrasound. The technician was nice, but all-business and not very chatty. Baby A is head-down, ready to go Baby B is completely breech. I asked how much they weigh and the tech said she wasn’t checking that today. Then this lovely conversation emerged:

Me: But they look nice and chubby, right?
Tech: Of course they are chubby! After all, look at their mommy. Nice and…uh…solid. [And then she mumbled something about me not being slight or slim, I missed the exact word.]

That hissing sound you hear is my self-esteem deflating like a balloon. I think I’ll save the bulk of these rantings for another post, but let me just say this: I really, really don’t like it when people make flippant or pithy comments about my weight or size. I know she didn’t mean anything by it, but still. I, like many women, have a few issues with body image. My weight can fluctuate up and down, and it has dramatically during the TTC process, considering all the meds I was taking, etc. I have an obese aunt (over 400 pounds) and my grandmother was obese as well. That gives me some perspective in terms of weight and size, but it hasn’t stopped me from dabbling in unhealthy eating habits and flirting with compulsive exercise and yo-yo-ing with the best of them. I am my own worst critic, so the last thing need is anyone saying anything to me. It just really gets to me.

And that wasn’t the only comment today. On my way to the appointment, a man slowed down and leaned out of the window of his shiny black, souped-up Mercedes and yelled to me, as I was waiting with a group of others on the corner of 56th to cross the street, “Looking big” and not in a nice, enchanted sort of way. The women near me scowled in solidarity and the men, well, just looked at me. I wanted to melt into the sidewalk.

I promised myself I wasn’t going to obsess over weight and exercise if I got pregnant. And I am not. I am proud that my body isn’t betraying me or these babies. I am amazed that it can stretch to accommodate these two lives. I don’t look at the scale at weigh-ins and I am not busy figuring out how long to will take me to get back into shape. And now, especially with two girls coming, I need to keep this in check. The last thing I want to bequeath to these two girls is food/body issues. And I am in general doing ok, but when things like this happen, I am that dieting fourth-grader who is starving herself because she feels too fat. Or that eighth-grader who weighs herself 10 times a day (exhaling deeply, because extra air in lungs translates to extra weight on the scale) and uses averaged weight to determine whether or not I deserve to eat dinner. Or the twenty-something who would go to the gym before work and after work, skipping lunch in the middle and smoking like a chimney throughout it all, all in the name of looking good in a pair of jeans. Good times.

Enough about that for now. Back to the ultrasound.

The doctor-on-duty on Wednesdays in the Fetal Evaluation Unit is my doctor. My doctor came to the door during the u/s (she couldn’t see me) and asked the tech if she was ready for her. The tech said no, and that she would be done in a few minutes. My doctor disappeared, then returned maybe two minutes later and just waked in and when she saw me she told the tech to stop the exam because I am fine and these babies are fine. And just like that the wand was whipped off my stomach and my Baby View TV was turned off. It kinda annoyed me because, while I appreciate her optimism and confidence, I prefer to lean on the side of please-let’s-be-thorough. Every time I see my doctor her attitude is all is well, let’s cut corners and get outta here. I don’t doubt her expertise and her experience, but I am a teensy bit of a worrier in general and I would appreciate just a modicum of hand-holding. I am, after all, 33 weeks. Can we take a few more minutes?

Next was the non-stress test and the babies both did just fine. Baby B was moving non stop and then she got the hiccups. Baby A was a little quieter but she performed as well. I tried to get specifics (did their heart rates accelerate at least 15 beats for at least 15 seconds? Did they accelerate too much? Or too little) but the tech just kept telling me it was all fine. She then pointed out on my print out where I was having contractions. Guess what: we're not going to worry about that. I’m back a week from now for more of the same.

I am so relieved and grateful hat this was a positive baby day though. I didn't even mind that I spent two-and-a-half hours there all together.

Pictured above are my extremes: On top is me at a low weight. And on bottom is me at a high weight (thanks to four months of clomid and other fertility meds and, well, less exercise and more eating). My true weight settles somewhere in between. It’s hard to post these pictures, which is why I am doing it. To me, these pictures represent manifestations of issues with body, control, exercise and food. I can’t deny it: I still have a ways to go to slay these body issue demons.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Non-Stress Stress

I should be taking my first non-stress test tomorrow. I say “should” because I am not technically scheduled for it but my doctor wants me to have it done. Since she is the doctor-on-duty in the ultrasound division on Wednesdays, she can make this happen. So first an ultrasound, with a growth and fluid check and then the test.

Of course I am all worried about this seemingly simple test. Naturally I turned to G**gle to find out what this was all about. It’s straightforward: A machine will monitor the babies’ heartbeats for an extended period of time. Most important is that the babies’ heartbeats accelerate at least 15 beats above baseline for at least 15 seconds. I have named this the 15/15 goal. If this happens twice within 20 minutes, the test is considered “reactive.” That means they pass. If this does not happen at least twice within 20 minutes the test is considered “nonreactive.” A nonreactive test result might mean nothing at all. Or it could mean there is a problem with oxygen or the placenta.

These babies are overachievers already so I would like to think that they will pass with flying colors. But I am still very nervous. We have come so far and have been through so much. I always say I am waiting for the other shoe to drop (where did this expression come from?) and so I think “what if this is the other shoe?” Why can’t I be one of those people who don’t worry their entire pregnancy?

Other test news: I find out if I passed my final graduation project on Wednesday too. This is a culmination of the past two-and-a-half-years of grad school. I feel fairly confident that I did indeed pass, but, again, I don’t take these things for granted. It will be quite a relief to get that Pass stamp.

But if I had to choose which test I wanted to pass tomorrow, obviously there is no question which test I would choose.

Pictured above is my niece with a flashlight. I feel a little bit like her today because there is an electrician here trying to fix the hall light without tearing apart the ceiling so I am acting as apprentice and holding a flashlight for him, much like this. But not nearly as cute.