Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Baby Book: 8 Months

Somehow I missed 7 months, because life has just been too busy. I love every minute with these guys (with the possible exception of the last half hour before bath time at night!). Here's observations 2 days shy of 8 months actual, 6 adjusted.

  • A's first tooth has come in, just before the 8 month mark.
  • He can pass toys between hands, but doesn't often do so.
  • He can now roll all the way over, although he still forgets sometimes and is unhappy to be stuck on his tummy!
  • A is able to support his own body weight while standing up, if you help him balance. 
  • He has the greatest grin, and the happiest I've ever seen him was when DH asked him to 'help' fold laundry and piled clean socks on top of him. He giggled and squirmed and gnawed on the socks and the memory of that simple activity will bring me joy for a long time. 
  • He's the more laid back, happy baby, although his 'I'm unhappy whine' and 'Saddest Baby in the World' face continue to make themselves known. 
  • He's gone from sleeping 10.5-11.5 hours to sleeping 9.5. 
  • He'll eat bananas, but he makes a face that clearly says "WTF did you just put in my mouth? Could I have a burp cloth instead, please?"
  • Here's A, plotting his next move.

  • T remains our curious one.
  • T has figured out how to pass toys between both hands, how to hold different toys in different hands, and how to use her hands (and feet) to grab objects that want to move away from her, like balloons.
  • T figured out how to roll all the way over the same day her brother did.
  • She will routinely roll to her side just enough to grab a toy, then go back to her back to play. She likes to 'sit up' in your lap and observe the world.
  • T still loves being in the carrier, and especially loves going for walks in it. Her little head bobs back and forth from side to side as she tries to take in everything. 
  • T's smile is coming out more and more. If she's in the right mood, you can make her giggle by blowing raspberries at her, and she'll almost always blow them back.
  • T really enjoys bananas and likes to feed herself with the spoon. She's great at that. 
  • T figured out the jumper and there is no place on earth that makes her happier. She'll jump for as long as you'll leave her in it. Now her reach is better, she can also press the button and 'play' music in the jumper. It can't be real understanding, but if you ask her to play music for you, she'll push the button. 
  • Here's T, in her jumper.

Monday, October 7, 2019


In August DH got a referral for the big V. He asked me if there was any reason to bank sperm before the surgery, since that ship will have sailed afterward. I know what my answer should be, but I hesitated.

If I was to wake up today and see two lines on a pregnancy test, I'd be happy. So my question to myself is: why?

I *think* it's because actually being a mom has been awesome. Because I'm so enjoying all of the 'firsts' that we're having with these babies, and I'm sad that they'll be our only firsts. Because I'm sad I've already hit some 'lasts:' the last nap snuggle with A on the sofa, the last time breastfeeding, the last time sitting with T on my legs after a bottle hearing her 'talk' happily to me. I loved two of those things.

Two lines would mean an in-pregnancy TAC, though. It would mean risking loss and the NICU again. It would mean risking the physical hell I went through after my c-section again. It would mean that I'd go from feeling like I can never quite give enough attention to each child because the other needs me to feeling like there's no way in h*ll I can give everyone the attention I'd like to give! It would probably mean an extra 4+ years of work to offset childcare and college costs.

Let's get real here, too. After my second post c-section hysteroscopy, my uterus was filled with scar tissue. The ultrasound images were so bad that I could see all the scarring. I'll be 40 in not that many days. I won't go through treatments again, because I won't risk twins again or spend that kind of money. So two lines would mean a genuine miracle, which I gave up on when Quinn arrived four days short of minimum viability.

Writing all of this down, my head knows what the right decision for our family is, and that decision doesn't involve banking anything. My heart is still hesitating. I told DH I was hesitating. I told him why I was hesitating.

Turns out, he's hesitating too, for the same reasons.

I'm not sure where we go from here. Maybe NTNP once my period returns. I hear rumors that unprotected sex leads to pregnancy. I'll probably just wind up with more early losses, but so long as the hesitation remains, I guess I'm willing to take that risk. We'll see where DH falls when the time comes.

I typed this post up, then life got in the way and I wasn't able to post it for several weeks. And in that time, something has changed that's leaving me spinning. My corporate 2020 benefits came out. And my employer is now offering infertility coverage, that, according to the brochure, would allow me to go straight to IVF. AND, for the first time in 2020, my clinic is covered!

I don't know the dollar limits, but if IVF was covered, we wouldn't have to risk twins again. And if it was covered, there wouldn't be the same financial pressure. There are my two objections to more treatments, gone.

I feel like this might change everything. Or the limits might be so low it would change nothing. Or I might be too old for my clinic now. Or, or, or, or. . .   Did I mention I'm spinning? So much to consider and discuss with DH.

Monday, September 2, 2019

10 weeks, 2 pounds

Grief is an odd thing, reminding me of shadows cast by the trees in our yard as the day progresses: the form changes constantly, but often returns to familiar patterns.

Since A and T's arrival, my grief over losing Alexis, Zoe, and Quinn hasn't gone away. In some ways, it's actually intensified. What has gone away is the fear and the heartbreak of the possibility of a life without living children. That worry and that grief, which were huge, are memories. Today I have so much joy from interacting with A and T. Watching them grow and discover their world is amazing.

At the same time, I feel my grief has grown, shifted back to something closer to how I felt shortly after my later losses. That's because I suddenly understand exactly what Alexis, Zoe, and Quinn missed. Seeing what my living children get to experience and knowing that their big sisters never got that opportunity makes me understand what they missed. Back then, I felt intense grief because I'd just lost a dream for their lives and mine. That intensity faded over time. Now it's more acute again, as I know, truly know, what I was losing, when I lost them.

I also struggle with the knowledge that Quinn was born at 21 weeks, 3 days and A and T were born at 31 weeks 4 days. Quinn was just under a pound, A and T were about three and a half. Ten weeks. Ten weeks and two pounds is all that separates healthy, happy children from crushing loss. Two pounds - that's less than almost anything you could buy at Costco. It's lighter than a pair of shoes. It's nothing, and yet it was literally everything. Ten weeks? While the 8 weeks of T's NICU stay were long in some ways, they went by in a flash. How could something so minuscule as 10 weeks and 2 pounds be so life altering? I want to find some sense in it, some meaning, but there isn't any. The sense is that three equally minuscule fiber bands around my cervix were also life altering, but in a positive way.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Baby Book: 6 Months

We hit 6 months today, and the babies are growing and developing. In honor of the one year anniversary of her positive beta, T learned to blow raspberries a few weekends ago. She's pretty funny. Most of her 'talking' she does with huge smiles and great happiness. Raspberries, on the other hand, are serious business. The fact that she's so serious and intent makes it even funnier when she lets out a huge long string of 'BRAAAPPP!'-sounding raspberries. At one point, I was sitting on one side of the couch feeding A, and a good five or six long raspberries came from the other side of the couch where DH was holding T. I assumed it was DH, but nope, all T!

T can also now roll over onto her side from her back, and in fact get her hips all the way down. She hasn't quite gotten over her shoulders yet, though. A occasionally rolls back to front, but it's sporadic.

T is getting good at grabbing hanging toys with both hands and bringing things to her mouth. Both kids love hugging their burp cloths and chewing on them. We often have to "fight" the babies to get burp clothes out of their mouths so we can put bottles in! T has started holding onto her bottle along with whoever is feeding her, although she hasn't quite figured out the difference between pushing away and pulling toward! She spends most of a a feed pushing the bottle away from her, but gets very unhappy if you let the nipple leave her mouth!

A is doing a great job of sitting up on our laps with minimal assistance. He has fantastic neck control. T, on the other hand, tends to lean over to her right repeatedly and isn't so great with her neck. A will give us his huge grin if we let him 'fly' on our shins while we lay on our backs. He's getting SO tall. We had to raise the straps for both car seats, and we probably should have done so earlier.

As of August 8, both are sleeping 10-12 hours. That's huge, although not as huge as the earlier leap from 2-3 to 8! We installed blackout blinds and sleep trained starting on the 17th. The first night, no crying. The second and third, about 2 minutes. The fourth? A good hour of one or the other, but never both, making their "I'm not happy" warbling. We'll see how the future goes.

Bath time is still a hugely mixed bag. After being ok with it for weeks, T went through a week+ long period of screaming her heart out the moment we set her down on the towel to dry her. We experimented with drying her sitting up: gut curdling screams. We experimented with getting the towel right next to the tub so there was no chance of getting cold: screaming until her entire tiny body turned red. We experimented with different towels: still sounded like a banshee had invaded. Finally we tried pulling the plug and letting the tub drain around her before drying her off. Happiness. Her brother, on the other hand? If you let him sit in the tub while it drains, you get body-wracking sobs. Apparently they're different kids!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Waking Up

As I move further out from the twins' birth, and as I come closer to feeling physically healthy again, I find myself increasingly sad that I'll never get to experience a "normal" pregnancy. Let's start with the obvious: I'll never be pregnant again. I had my TAC removed. As of my last ultrasound, my uterus is filled with new scar tissue. I'll turn 40 in less than 60 days. I only want 2 kids. Another pregnancy is not in the cards. Even if it was, there's approximately 0.02% chance of it being pleasant and normal.

I'm sad that I didn't get to enjoy A & T's pregnancy. Most things in my life, if they didn't go well the first time, I knew I could work hard and get a 'do over'. I trained for and rode a bike century in 2015. It was an awful experience. But it's ok, because I know I will someday train for and ride another, and with what I've learned it will go better. Hitting closer to home, my earlier pregnancies didn't end well, so I kept slogging through it and was somehow lucky enough to get to living children.

This pregnancy though, was awful. I had two weeks of enjoyment before the hyperemsis, combined with the crappy first ultrasound, just crushed any happiness. I was so sick I couldn't remotely enjoy being pregnant. Once the vomiting stopped, the nausea was still there up until the horrible rib pain started. Then the babies came too soon and I didn't get to hold them. I was scared for them. I got separated from them for days, and I had weeks of agonizing pain. There was absolutely no time that I got to enjoy being pregnant, or enjoy the early days of motherhood. Unlike that bike century, there's no do-again this time.

I don't feel motivated to 'get over' some of the grief in my life. My grief over losing the girls, I'm ok having that as a part of me. But this grief over a pleasant pregnancy and newborn experience? It's holding me down and I'm not ok with it. I want to move on. I felt a huge sense of relief when we scattered the girls' ashes and spent some time memorializing them. So I'll learn from that. I'm going to have a funeral for my dream of a normal pregnancy. A wake, perhaps. I'll get some good food, some good wine, and toast to that lovely dream. .  . and then let it go. It's a dream that deserves a nice send off, and I deserve the closure that send off can provide. So please, raise a glass with me to the passing of a dream.

Monday, August 5, 2019

A New Strength

Welcome to Microblog Mondays! Want to learn more and read more? Head over to Stirrup Queens for the details!

Later this month, my husband and I will have been married for 13 years. We've known each other for 22. We have been through a lot. Three houses. Years of long distance. Cross-country moves. Business ownership. Layoffs. Deaths in the family. Births in the family. Health scares and fertility treatments. Much can happen in 22 years, and much has happened. Now, 22 years in, I am more in love with him than ever, and more proud of and impressed by him as well.

When pondering kids, my last great worry was our marriage. I didn't want children if they would risk our marriage. I hear from so many people how hard babies are on relationships. I didn't want to damage mine. I have not. DH is the most amazing father and partner that I could hope for. For many years, I was the type-A planner and do-er of things. DH . . . wasn't. In the last four years, my health, physical and mental, has forced me to stop being the do-er. Rather than let life go by un-done, DH has stepped in and not only picked up my slack, but gone so far beyond in keeping our lives moving it's amazing. He's thoughtful and planful and takes care of things while caring for people far better than I could. During the years between my first MC and A and T's birth, he's been the responsible one and he's been there for me emotionally, too. 

Now, with the babies here, I am even more in awe of him. While in the hospital, he was diving in first, learning everything he could from the nurses. He changed diapers and took temperatures and gave first baths. When I was in too much pain to visit more than twice a day, he lived in the chair in their bay, one hand gently touching them (the most contact we were allowed to have) to calm them after cares and feedings. When we were allowed to do skin to skin, he was the first to hold Tess, after offering me the chance. From then on, he'd stay up until all hours of the night holding them if that's what was needed to calm them. Now that we're home, I've joked that DH will need the sleep training, as he's the one with the propensity to snuggle a baby rather than put him or her back in the crib!

The joy he takes in interacting with the babies is utter and in turn raises my own happiness. I honestly can not believe how lucky I am to have him as my husband and T and A's father. I never would have guessed that kids would make my marriage stronger, but seeing him care for the babies and me in every sense possible has done exactly that.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Baby Book: 5 Months

The babies are approaching six months old, four adjusted. Overall, they're doing fantastic. I chronicled my pregnancy by week so I'd have some record. I thought I'd do the same for the babies, by month. It'll be the electronic equivalent of a baby book. Some big observations:

Both are sleeping 8 - 10 hours a night most nights and started at 4 months actual/2 adjusted. Yes, I am bragging. 
Both have an inconsistent nap schedule, despite our best efforts. Neither is what I'd call a good napper. Yes, I am sad.
Both are eating 800-1000 ml/day.
Both are smiling and enjoy spending time with 'their' people. Nothing makes me happier than getting home to big smiles from them.
Both love balloons and spending time on their 'jungle' gym mat.
Both are ambivalent about going on walks in the stroller.

A is on the verge of rolling over. He can get from either his front or his back onto his side, where he gets stuck on his arm. If you push him over it, he freaks out and cries.
A is the happier baby. He'll smile more readily and for longer than his sister. In general, he will be happy in someone's arms longer than she will.
A is just starting to 'talk' now. He has fewer sounds, and tends to grunt and whine more.
A is the more deliberate eater, and the heavy dripper. A burp cloth is always needed under his chin when feeding him.
A found his thumb/hand well before T did, and started drooling first.
A dislikes the carrier, and likes the car seat only when the car is moving.
A sleeps fewer hours overnight, but often falls asleep shortly after the bedtime routine is done.

T is our big 'talker'. She found her cooing/phonemes much earlier than A. She's got a huge range of phonemes.
T has also found the 'little girl shriek'. My colleagues tell me this will last until about age 12. Please send ear plugs.
T has figured out how to use her hands, and can grab and tug on toys and balloon strings.
T is the more serious baby. She has a fabulous smile, but she'll want more time in her chair and less time being held compared to her brother.
T likes peeing on me during bath time. Every blasted night. Please send wine.
T enjoys being with me in the carrier and will fall asleep almost every time.
T is the better eater. She'll finish faster and more, and rarely leaves anything behind.
T sleeps longer overnight, but takes much longer to go down. That said, she can self soothe herself at naptime, just not at bedtime.

The differences and similarities are really fascinating. Their coloring remains very different. T has slightly darker skin, dark hair, and I'm pretty sure her eyes will be brown. A has more fair, sensitive skin. He's about as blond as they come and it appears he'll have blue eyes. Here are the two of them. I'm pretty sure A's whispering in T's ear, "Don't tell them it was me who drooled on your jumper!"