As Ready As I Can Be

I’m close to 38 weeks now.  I probably should capture how my feelings have changed over the last few weeks as it’s been significant.  Originally I thought it would be great to go as long as possible.  At the same time I got so many messages that twins came early, I was more worried about not be ready in time.  I have also felt during the entire pregnancy that I could manage the physical issues so I wasn’t worried about how long I might go.  But in this last week, there is a distinct change.

One, was the realization that soon G’s sister would be coming to visit, including her brother’s family which was not expected.  While her brother will just be a short visit and stay at a hotel, her sister is planning to stay a month and hopefully help out with the babies.  I finally started thinking about the logistics of “What happens if I go into labor while she’s here at home? Is she or I going to feel comfortable listening to me moan and cry for hours? Do I need to start wearing clothes when I wake up in the middle of the night to sleep on the recliner? …”  Seriously, these have been major concerns.

Second, and more importantly, my blood pressure and swelling has been creeping up. I am taking at least one or two naps a day even though I manage to generally sleep 7-8 hours at night.  Between naps, I am still mostly non-functional and just sit in the recliner with my computer.  The swelling is my legs is significant and has probably caused my recent 10-15lbs of weight gain.  Now, my right hand is starting to get numbness as the swelling is slowly spreading to my wrists.

Today I took my blood pressure at the pharmacy and got 140 / 80.  To me, this is the sign that despite wanting to just let things play out on their own time, I may need to be more proactive.  I don’t want to let the blood pressure keep creeping up and then end up being induced in the hospital.  So my plan tomorrow at the midwives is to ask for a membrane sweep.  Another compromise as I start to face the balancing act between “letting nature takes its course” and “avoiding the bad courses in nature.”

I’m getting more sensitive to discussions about birth decisions and preferences.  I’m on a Facebook group about birthing multiples naturally and some comments make me cringe.  There is a range of people from those who are well-read and advocating for reasonable lower-risk procedures (e.g. vaginal birth when twin A is head down) and then there are those who think all things remotely medical are unnecessary (e.g. Vitamin K shot).  Regardless of someone’s views on Vitamin K shots, it was the argument they made—“how could our creator design babies such that they need Vitamin K shots?”—that frustrated me.  I wonder how this person rationalizes miscarriages, birth defects, and all the other unfortunate outcomes that can and do happen.  The extremist viewpoint that “natural must be good” bother me as I am trying to work with care providers in reassuring them that I am not crazy and will not make irrational decisions like sacrificing the babies because I don’t believe in x procedure.  At the same time, I’m trying to do whatever I can to set up the stage for a birth where I can actually experience birth.  I don’t want to avoid the pain and end up in a strange disassociation of feeling perfectly aware of 10 people staring at me spread-eagle and naked.  Nor do I want to be handed a baby which I don’t know where it came from.

It’s not always easy for me to get in touch with my feelings.  Honestly, babies still look kinda alien to me and I am nervous about whether I will feel an immediate connection or whether I’ll have to patiently grow into it.  I actually want to feel the birth and the pain that comes with it in order to stimulate that bonding early on.

The only thing that holds me back from wanting to go into labor now is just the uncertainty of what lies around the corner.  Pregnancy is so familiar to me now.  It’s awkward carrying 60 extra pounds but I have figured out how to do it.  I have perfected my scheme for getting out of bed; I can manage the agony of switching sides at night; I expect to wake up at least 5 times or more each time to pee.  I really have no idea of what expect once they are born.

However I am trying to let that uncertainty be and my body is certainly nudging me to just move forward.  So I guess in the end, I am ready as I can ever be.

 

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All in good time

I’m nearly to 35 weeks!  I am quite pleased that I can be at this point.  G is continuing to reiterate they need to stay put until Jun 22 (39 weeks?!).

I started my leave from work last Friday.  It wasn’t really that I felt I couldn’t go on, but instead that I just needed to let go so I could focus on this next big step.  There have been a lot of personal errands and baby prep I have been slow to get to.  So long as I am working, my headspace is always thinking about projects and team management.  I also didn’t want to get myself to the point where I was truly suffering at work.

Physically, I am noticing some new changes.  My feet started swelling a week ago.  I finally know what Braxton Hicks contractions are.  It helped that my doula (aka sister-in-law) was over talking with us one night and pointed it out when I was absent-mindedly poking at my hard stomach.  Since then, I can finally recognize the stomach tightening is different than babies moving.  I am over 45 pounds of weight gain which surprises me as I don’t feel like I have upped my calorie intake that much.  But I guess the regular snacking on fruit does add up especially with this new metabolism that hoards every calorie.  My fundal height was 43cm earlier this week.  You could easily mistake me for an overdue singleton birth.  Thankfully, so far no one has given me cliche lines (“You look like you’re going to burst!”).  I still walk relatively normal too. A point of pride that G reminds me is somewhat like pregnancy-denial.

But this week was the first time I really started to feel a sense of urgency.  Like I need to make sure all the critical stuff is settled because I can no longer be sure how much longer I have left.  I finally committed to sorting out the sleeping solution once and for all.  Today we picked up the full-size crib, tomorrow is a mini crib which we’ll use initially for co-sleeping the twins next to the bed.  Later we can graduate to the full-size crib in the second bedroom, and then some combination of the mini/full.

I got another cold this last month, luckily not as bad as the second (yes, three colds total, really?!).  However, it seems it won’t completely go away.  Two weeks later and I still am congested with a little bit of a sore throat at times.

I will say this for sure: I haven’t hit any proverbial wall.  I still want to keep the babies where they are.  Sleeping is getting a bit harder with the belly weight but everything is manageable.  So long as that’s the case and the babies are doing well, I’m in no rush.

Letting go of plans

I thought I would write more.  I also thought our kitty would be all healed by now.  Three weeks ago, we went into the clinic with a sinking feeling as we knew she was still limping too much.  The X-rays and exam didn’t really give us much answers.  The surgeon who usually could give us a good recommendation was also at a bit of a loss.  We had to face a sad realization that despite four months of our intensive care and effort, she might not heal completely.  In the surgeon’s view, only another surgery would be able to fully stabilize the joint and fix the limp.  I was choked up all day, while G was quite calm and said it would be best for us to accept how things are.  I am normally the logical one but in some of the most difficult times, it seems only G is the one who can speak the truth.  She reminded me our cat is 10 years old now and we’re going to have to face letting her go at some point.  We have to consider her quality of life and risks of surgery. These are the things I could always say for someone else’s situation but yet for mine, I could only cry.

That night we let her out of her pen so she could sleep with us and put out her whole box of toys.  She slept with us for a week straight all night long.  Once she felt she got caught up on all the missed time, she went back to her usual routine of sleeping (mostly) in her own bed.  She is still limping, but she has almost all of her normal life back.  We are also finally able to sleep through the night, except for her occasional wake up call if we miss our alarm clock.  And of course for me, I still wake up multiple times to pee.  But seriously, I am getting some of my best sleep in months.  Ironic it’s during the third trimester.

I am now 31 weeks.  The belly grew rapidly in the 20-something weeks.  I probably read too many internet forums about the horrors of twin pregnancy.  I slowed down more but also kept wondering when the other shoe was really going to drop.  Would I have to quite work early like everyone else seemed to say?  Was I going to “hit the wall” with unbearable back, hip, all-body pain?  Were the babies going to be suddenly born as micro-premies?  None of that happened, at least not in the second trimester. 🙂

On the up side of expecting the worse, I felt incredibly lucky when nothing bad happened.  I still feel lucky because I am still working and still walking around.  I don’t have any chronic pains and look forward to crawling into my special bed “cloud” at night.  I have a full body pregnancy pillow with a thick duvet and special pillow for my head that fits right in the nook of my neck.  Oh, and I got a memory foam topper a few weeks ago when I noticed my hip hurting a bit at night.  Like the pillow, I am so thankful I didn’t hesitate on that bit of self-care.  Also returned a glider chair I bought for a fully reclining chair when I realized that it’s more important I have a decent chair right now than worrying about trying to put babies to sleep.

Another bit of good news is that we finally found the right obstetrician.  We knew after the first meeting with the first doctor, there was no way we could continue on.  I tried to do another appointment just to give me peace and not have crying in the toilet my last memory of him.  There is one other doctor that everyone recommends for twins but our midwives tempered our expectations a bit.  I was still expecting her to give me some standard hospital policy lines.  But we met her and the experience was entirely different.  She already knew some of my concerns and stepped through them with me one-by-one explaining the medical rational and working out how I could take alternative approaches.  It was exactly what I wanted from the beginning.  Even the “non-negotiable” topic of the operating room, she took it up with the hospital admins and assured me afterwards that I had the freedom to deny it for delivery.  Although I don’t want to get overly optimistic that everything will go just as I imagine, I feel so much more confident that she can help me find a nice compromise in having a hospital birth.

I am now feeling that it’s time to wrap up the planning and prepping.  However there is still a big gap between what I want to finish and what’s actually done.  I find the advice and stories of others so irrelevant at times!  How do you pack a hospital bag when you still need to use that stuff everyday?  How do we install the car seats when we still need the cargo space to move some furniture items like the crib and bookcases?  How do I buy nursing bras and pump accessories when I have no idea what size I’ll end up being?

My plan this weekend was to get several house and personal finance things in order.  I didn’t really make progress on that at all.  But I did have two nice walks with G with a meal out and some swim time.  Perhaps I should just be grateful for that.

“It’s going to be really hard”

When dreaming of being pregnant before, I had visions of enjoying each milestone and being immersed in the experience.  I guess most people who’ve been through it before are slightly amused at that idea.  For many, pregnancy is not easy to “enjoy” and for many others, the rest of life gets too much in the way to linger over the pregnancy.  I have certainly fell into that latter camp for the last couple months.  The pregnancy is still going smooth, but our cat has been suffering immensely and we’ve been suffering right with her.

Today was supposed to be her last check-up where she’d be back to normal.  Instead, she had another surgery today and is back in a cast for the next 5 weeks minimum.  If that sounds awful, after all the other things we’ve been through, it was unexpectedly a better day than we were anticipating.  At least this should be the final surgery and at least the root cause of our problems (infection from the implant) should be addressed now.  We have made it through two and half months of constant nightly wakings, constant anxiety that she’s safe, several incidents of feeling we failed, and unable to leave the house for more than 6 hours at a time.  People have said (with good intentions I suppose) it’s like training for kids.  It may be true that we’re learning more about ourselves, how to care for a living creature who you cannot rationalize with, and having to work together.  But it’s also an immense amount of stress at a time when we already had enough on our plate.  We’re trying to stay healthy mentally and physically because we’ve haven’t even gotten started on our next big challenge.  But there are honestly some really bad days.

Meanwhile, pregnancy is starting to become harder to ignore.  My belly is now obviously pregnant and I feel it constantly.  At 19 weeks or so I started getting rib pains which was mostly likely from one of the babies’ head.  After a couple weeks the acute pains stopped but the right ribs are still constantly tender.  My upper back gets tired out some days and I got a pregnancy pillow, also at 19 weeks, because I realized there was no point in putting it off.  I didn’t want to stop biking to work so early but I had to admit walking back to my bike one night that I was struggling too much.  While I could push through many things before, I feel I shouldn’t be doing that to my body right now.  I’ve started swimming instead, but only once a week.  I could not give up a minute more of my sleep in the morning with the crappy pregnancy sleep I have and the regularly wake-ups to help the cat at night.  I also can usually only make it to the sofa after I come home from work.  So weekdays are just about surviving the day.

I’d like to think at some point I’ll swim at least three times a week.  But I’ll just have to go at the pace I can. I’ve also learned to swim slow.  My third session, I was so wound up about getting exercise I pushed myself too fast.  When I got out of the pool, I started getting dizzy and my vision narrowed to a tunnel.  I made it a few steps to the change room and slumped against the wall, then squatted down until I could get my bearings again.  It was a bit scary because I have fainted before and I knew I didn’t want to fall down on the hard tile floor.  Since then I have tried to swim as slow and deliberate as possible.  Maybe at least my form will get better in the process.

I also met with my supposed obstetrician for the first time.  I went in optimistic having heard great things about him and proceeded to have the worst conversation imaginable.  I was so desperate to get out of that office at the end because the only thing I wanted to do was go to the washroom and cry (which is exactly what I did after I left).  How did it go so wrong?  He started off with the four major risks of twin pregnancy.  He listed them as if they were givens.  On gestational diabetes, I interjected and asked if it’s really such a concern for me given my health and low-sugar diet.  “It has nothing to do with your diet, ” he brushed away my comment before I could even end the sentence.  “But do I really need to take that glucose test?” I pressed. Like a fish flopping, he responded off-handedly, “Oh no, you could totally skip it.”  My forehead furrowed confused by these contradictory messages.  Once he finished his spiel on all the things that could go wrong, I brought up my intention to have a low-intervention birth as the midwives who have worked with him advised I do.  That begun the what could only be described as trying to “set me straight” on all these things that were not negotiable.  The first up was the operating room delivery.  I said I had talked to someone who recently gave birth to twins with him and didn’t do it in the OR.  I mentioned the midwives said this was negotiable.  His response, “I know who you are talking about and that will never happen again, I got hell for that.  The midwives are wrong.”  He banged on the table for emphasis.

Ok, I get that there are things out of his control too.  But then I probed for some comfort that maybe the OR could be made a bit more conductive to birth, “Does that mean bright lights, could they be dim–”  He deadpanned, “Oh, it’s bright lights of course.  And there will two nurses, two pediatricians, an anesthesiologist, …” I guess he listed off ten or so people.  I talked of my other concerns about avoiding epidural. “We recommend all twin pregnancies have epidural.”  I asked, “Is that because of the concern you may need to turn the second baby?”  He went on to tell an anecdote of a women fighting him on the table with his hand up her uterus without epidural and how much he never wants to do that again.  (Now it’s “scaring me straight”?) I asked, “If I was to do an epidural, what about ‘walking epidural’?  “There’s no such thing as a walking epidural.” I think there was more table banging around this point.  I brought up my concerns about bonding without getting a chance to talk about what that looks like to me when he injected, again, “Oh sure there will be skin-to-skin.”  At a certain point, I just had nightmare visions of Monty Python’s Meaning of Life and blurted out, “Have you seen the Monty Python skit?”  He chuckled, “The machine that goes ‘beep’, yeah.”  I thought maybe my roundabout approach to connect would lead to him sobering up and clarifying that in all seriousness it wouldn’t be like that.  It didn’t.

Do I even need to mention that his receptionist has a perpetual scowl and pissy attitude in every interaction?  Ironically I went back to the person I knew who had him for her birth and the midwives and they all admitted that he has a tendency to make a bad first impression.  I wish I got that warning earlier.  Despite them trying to reassure me he really gets better, I feel it’s too late.  I cringe of the idea of his hands on me.  Meanwhile, G and I have been meeting regularly with another doctor: our cat’s surgeon.  The day after I had this terrible interaction with the obstetrician we had an appointment with the surgeon after hearing via a messenger that “The implant might be too big and need to be removed.”  We were besides ourselves before the appointment and I was preparing to battle with him questions about why he had made such a poor judgement.  Yet he came into the room with us, scooted up close and looked into our eyes and talked honestly about the situation.  I asked questions and he listened fully and he answered them and addressed my root concerns.  By the end of the meeting, I was convinced he was doing everything possible for us and he truly understood the pain we were going through.  I even joked with him I wish he could deliver my twins and he made a wish for us that we’d have a boy and girl.  That overjoyed G of course who was wishing for the same thing (I’ll share the results in my next post, stay tuned!).

G mentioned to me tonight that at the first meeting with our cat’s surgeon he had said, “The recovery is going to be really hard for you two because of the rules you have to follow.  Your job is far worse then mine, I’ll go in for an hour and be done and you have a long 8-10 weeks ahead of you.”  She was at first upset at him saying it would be so hard.  But now she realizes how right he was to warn us.  I appreciated how he phrased it actually and respected what he was trying to say from the beginning.  Funny that I think the obstetrician was trying to say the same thing, except that his delivery fell apart entirely on us.

So, we’re going to try to see another obstetrician who is a woman and has a better reputation for compassion, even though she probably isn’t going to have any more of a “liberal” stance on these issues.  Nevertheless, I have another appointment with the current banging-on-the-table obstetrician the day after tomorrow.  I am not exactly sure what to make of it.  I scheduled the follow up at the first appointment just because I didn’t want to come right out and say I was done with him.  Now, even though I think it’s a given he won’t be my doctor, I am following through with it because I know he’s on the same oncall rotation of the other doctor we are looking at so I may not be able to avoid him entirely.  Somehow I want to uncover this other side of him that made so many other people say good things about him, just so I don’t have to live in fear of seeing him again.  I have no idea on how to do that though.

 

 

Healthy and managing ok

A month after our cat’s accident and a string of challenging days later, I’m hopeful that things are getting back on track.  In this process, I haven’t forgotten that I am pregnant but I have realized it’s been mostly in the back of my mind rather than the front.

I guess the good news there is that the pregnancy has continued to be pretty easy and manageable.  Fatigue has probably gotten better these last few weeks, but it’s hard to say because I also had a cold and am waking up at all times of the night to take care of the cat.  The fact that I have survived it makes me think it’s better, but I’ve still been going to bed early most nights.  I don’t feel as “icky” at nighttime as I did back in weeks 7-11.  It wasn’t nausea so much as indigestion.  However I still have some food pickiness.  For instance, I don’t like green onions or chicken these days even though I enjoyed those foods fine before pregnancy.  Generally I can still eat a lot of foods, including my usual things that others turn their noses up at (tripe, tendon, tongue, etc.).

My belly is definitely starting to grow although my weight is the same.  We had a NT scan in December and got the results at our last midwife appointment: everything is normal.  It was great to have one less worry!  We still have some blood screen pending but I’m feeling confident it will probably be ok too.  We’ve heard the heart beats again and they are good and strong.  I guess some point soon I’ll be feeling movement too.

With all the reading of pregnancy stories I have done, I have realized I’m generally only hearing people’s exceptional stories or detailed symptom breakdowns.  So perhaps I expected more problems for myself then need be.  Now I feel amazed realizing my body is designed to handle pregnancy and the rest of life pretty well.  At least for now!  I do wonder how I will feel when the weight and size of my belly really start to pile on.  I am certainly going to try to get back into more of an exercise routine, as that fell by the wayside in the last month.  I miss biking to work and morning runs, and I think some more exercise now will help me make it through the challenging parts at the end of pregnancy.

Emotionally, I think I’ve generally accepted I am having twins.  I bought my first real baby purchase on Boxing Day: two Ergo carriers.  After being couped up in the house with the cat, I know that the most important thing after the kids are here will be to have some freedom to get outside when we can.  I am looking seriously at a double stroller next.

Whereas before I had a very specific vision of a natural home birth and intense one-on-one bonding over those early weeks afterwards, I have tried to loosen my grip on that view a bit.  When I hear twin stories now, I focus on the part where the parents survived.  Not looking for some amazing accomplishment or fantastically smooth birth to newborn story, just “everyone is healthy now and they are managing ok” is the happy ending I want to hear.

I like watching G’s evolution in this process too.  She often talks about the babies and what they want or are doing at any given moment.  She asks to kiss them goodnight.  She imagines them as two punk rockers creating their own band later in life.  She refers to them as “A and B” right now as we still have no idea where to begin with names.  She is, of course, scared like me at times.   But I know it’s good that we’re acknowledging it and getting some of the fears out now rather than later.  We’re also working on co-parenting skills by taking turns caring for the kitty and discussing how best to gently control her uncontrollable desire to lick her wounds.   Even with some rough days, we’ve been managing ok.  And we’re over our colds and the cat is slowly getting better, so everyone is getting healthier now too.

Life is suffering

We survived the move, but not unscathed.  Except for the usual stress of coordinating a move, the actual logistics went pretty smoothly.  But two days after the move, just as I went back to work for the first time from the new house, I got a phone call from home.  G was in tears and I couldn’t make out what had happened except that the cat was hurt and G was bleeding.  I rushed out to find a taxi which wasn’t as easy as I would imagine it should be downtown.  When I got home, I heard the cat howling in the bathroom and G’s arm covered with bites.  Our beloved kitty, “our first child” as we think of her, was on the bathroom counter unable to walk on her left hind leg.  I finally was able to piece together the story from G: she had tried to jump down from the dresser but got her back leg caught in the handle.  G ran over to save her when she heard her cries, but of course the kitty being in excruciating pain lashed out at her as she tried to unhook her broken foot from the handle.  Miraculously I managed to get her to jump into her carrier without anyone getting hurt in the process.  We got a taxi off to the vet clinic listening to her pained cries.  Up until this point, I had been quite level-headed and cool while G was beside herself.  But the moment we got the clinic and I was given the intake form I began to breakdown.  Hot tears falling down my cheeks as I asked the clinic to give her painkillers as soon as possible.

She was taken back for an immediate exam and we gave the go-ahead for sedatives and painkillers so they could get X-rays.  Meanwhile they were concerned about G’s bites getting infected and advised she go to the ER immediately for antibiotics.  So I spent the next two hours sitting in the waiting room for results.  G had to walk through the snow alone to the nearest hospital.  As the hours past I was starving but didn’t dare leave my seat.  I mostly sat there thinking and waiting.  I watched another woman come in with a elderly Chihuahua who also looked besides herself.  She was teary and in a daze.  I helped her with the tea maker as I had struggled with it earlier. I overheard her talking about her sleepless night with her dog and earlier hospital visits.

The vet finally had the results but G was still at the hospital.  The diagnosis was not a broken leg as I had feared but instead she had tore the ligaments in her foot which was no trivial matter either.  The vet summed it up for me: she would need surgery or else live with chronic pain without use of her leg.  Unfortunately it was Friday and the earliest surgery date would be Monday.  The recommendation would be to splint it and have us take care of her during the weekend.  I felt overwhelmed at the thought of us being alone trying to take care of a cat with a very strong will.  I asked about other options which was hospitalization at a very high price and constant sedation because she was deemed a difficult patient.  So I made up my mind that we would take her home.  I waited for G to come back and she brought me food which I scarfed down having missed my usual lunch.  After spending nearly all day at the clinic, our kitty was finally bandaged up and ready to go home.  We couldn’t get a taxi home for the life of us and after an hour we got a carshare instead.

We got home not knowing where to begin.  Where could we find a safe spot for her?  We finally settled on the guest bathroom and let her out but realized quickly the situation were going to be messy.  There was no safe way to open the door in and out with her wandering around inside.  I ended up sitting on the toilet monitoring her as she was thoroughly disoriented and upset.  G on the the other side of the door provided essentials like more food for me and more towels for the kitty whenever we could safely open the door a crack.  We strategize about what to do.  She gave me my laptop and I started searching for pet enclosures.  I figured out we could get a dog play pen at a local petstore and sent her out to buy it while she gave me another banana and water to survive in the bathroom.  After probably another 2 hours of being trapped in the bathroom with a still traumatized cat, G was back and I executed the next step of the plan: setting up the pen at one end of the hallway and barricading the other side so we could gently corral her into it.  It worked and we set it up with her favorite bed and a litter pan.  She calmed down a bit more once she saw she was back in the living room.  I set up vigil on the sofa next to her.  The first night was the roughest.  She woke up frequently and tried to escape more than once.  I tried to get her to take water and painkillers from a syringe.  Bit by bit we started to figure out how to best take care of her. After a couple nights, I realized with pride that we were doing a far better job at keeping her happy than what the hospital would have been able to do.

On Monday she had her surgery and it’s been a week now since then.  She’s continuing to do well and making progress.  I continue to sleep on the sofa next to her but now most of the time I am waking up because I need to pee and not because of her.  I have wondered a lot if this is a taste of what my life is going to be like next year. While I feel this experience has made me more confident in taking care of another creature’s every need, I also feel scared at just how fragile my heart is.  And thinking about the rough events of the last few years, I have given up waiting for the suffering to end.  As G told me in the car on the way home with our kitty, life is suffering.

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Making a home

We’ve made it 10 weeks now.  I won’t say it’s been fast, it’s not.  The work week is a long countdown and Thursday evening is the moment I start to see a glimmer of hope that I’m going to make it all the way through.  Thankfully work itself is in one of the downtimes where there is generally very little stress or deadlines to worry about.  Weekends continue to be about recharging myself before Monday comes.  But now I also have had to manage a few more tasks: we’re moving homes soon!

The decision to move came up quite suddenly.  It’s funny that when I heard about people getting pregnant and making major life changes, I always wondered how they could manage that.  Of all the times to take risks, why would they pick one of the most difficult times? Apparently it’s because the alternative is far more risky.

G and I talked out the housing situation one Saturday while walking to brunch.  If we stayed in our current one bedroom until we have the babies, we could technically manage it for a little bit.  It would be hard to cram all the baby stuff in but, yes, perhaps.  However, once they start getting older—3 months? 6 months?—I’m sure things would start to get more complicated.  Where are they going to safely crawl around with the big desk in the living room?  Are we really going to co-sleep with them in the same room indefinitely?  Of course at some point we’d have to move and then how would we look for new place with two kids in tow?  And how successful will that application we’re signing with two crying kids be in one of the most competitive rental markets of North America?   So we agreed we’d have to move before we have the kids and doing the math of my pregnancy, the sooner the better.   By that evening we were looking online and the next day we went to a showing.  We got extremely lucky because we only saw one place we were truly interested in and we got it.

Sometimes I have worried that it’s too good to be true.  But then I try to remind myself how hard we’ve worked to get this point: having a solid credit history, having good income, having good references.  When we first started in Canada 7 years ago, we had none of the above.

So now I understand how pregnancy can embolden people to make major decisions, quickly, and rise to the occasion.  Of course, that said, I am taking shortcuts.  Most of the work I’ve done so far involves making phone calls and agreeing to pay money for someone else to do the heavy lifting.  Hoping I can make this as smooth and easy move possible.

Holy Sheep

ultrasound

To many people that image probably looks like a blurry blob of nothingness.  This was actually my first ultrasound at 7 weeks, 5 days.  Well, the moment I saw this I knew it meant I was having twins.  Indeed there are two gestational sacs there with two embryos measuring at exactly the right size for their age.  Heart beats are at 150 and 157.  It’s official, this pregnancy is real.  G was over the moon when she heard it was twins.  Her dream come true as she said.  I was happy to know everything was healthy.

But it’s also time to slowly open up that box of fears I was avoiding.

It seems that for each day since the ultrasound I have had another moment of “oh god, and what about…”  I’m not that short but I have a short torso so I googled up tons of stories and images (!) of petite women having twins.  I’ve already watched YouTube videos of tandem breastfeeding.  I’ve pulled up research articles on the risks of Vanishing Twin Syndrome.  I have felt a huge pang of sadness that home birth is totally out of the question.  And even after seeing a virtual tour of the local women’s hospital which has a good reputation for natural births, I still feel sad. I finally googled for “easy twins pregnancy” after reading so many negative things.

I think I am making progress at accepting this, but I feel like it’s going to take a long time.  I felt one boost this week when we met up with an old friend who has two kids now.  We told her our big news and she was completely shocked.  She looked at me and couldn’t believed I looked so normal yet pregnant with twins.  She asked how I was feeling and I honestly could say “Not too bad, just a bit tired but not really sick.”  She was still flabbergasted and said, “You’re superwoman!”  It was a really nice thing to hear and helped me realize that things are going really well right now.  This is a easy twins pregnancy right now.  I should enjoy that for however long it lasts.

G also made me laugh the other night.  She teased me for being smart and said it’s because I have three brains now.  She continued to think and added… “three hearts too!”  I quipped “and six kidneys!”  We looked at each other with our eyes raised…and she mused “6 arms..You’re almost an octopus!”  and I thought more about the biggest possible numbers “30…no, 60 fingers and toes!!!”  Holy sheep, this is odd.

This week we’re having the first midwife appointment.  Next week is another ultrasound.  And there is more big news just around the corner…for my next blog post.

Reality leveling up

I have made it to seven weeks now.  This week I am so grateful Friday was a holiday because that’s about when nausea and fatigue started to bump up to the next level.  In this three-day weekend, my greatest achievements were getting out for two runs and a walk each day.  Other than that, I’ve just stayed on the bed or sofa.  I feel similar to post-flu after the fever has worn off but the tiredness and moody stomach is still lingering on.  I just hope that I can get up tomorrow and still make it through a full work day.  And then repeat that four more days…

This coming week is also the day of our big appointment: the first ultrasound.  I don’t want to overthink it, but eager to get to it.  I want to get that dose of reality so I can start coping however I need to.

In short, I am terribly bored but too tired to do anything.  Even my crocheting has taken a break because I feel too dizzy to focus on it.  So I mostly watch short YouTube videos or drift off mindlessly with the computer nearby.  And it’s 9pm now, so that means it’s bedtime for me…

Not as bad as I feared but still fearing worse

I am off the roller-coaster of two week waits but have started on another type of wait.  I am officially 6 weeks pregnant this weekend.  I thought the time would fly by on excitement and daydreams.  But in fact it’s been a slow plod through each day with gratitude at the end of each day I get through.

Tiredness is creeping in more frequently and earlier.  I am happy I am keeping up my usual work schedule, but I guess that is only possible with disciplining my sleep.  I go to bed early (typically 9pm instead of my usual 11pm).  I invariably wake up in the middle of the night to pee and then find myself lying on the bed unable to sleep.  It’s true monkey mind with intruding thoughts of work I have no intention of doing in the middle of the night.  I normally never have this experience unless I am severely jet lagged.  I manage because I refuse to look at the clock or do anything else besides close my eyes and lie there.  It always feels like it will never end and I’ll end up being wide-awake until morning.  But eventually I find myself waiting up to the dim light outside and realizing that I must have fallen asleep at some point in the middle of the night.

I have two big worries right now to manage.  The first is that the pregnancy symptoms are going to get unbearable.  In particular, I worry that the tiredness is going to get much worse and nausea is just around the corner.  For now, each day that I get through without feeling that I was debilitated by fatigue, I say thanks.   I have hardly felt any nausea so far; today was the first that I felt some hints of it.  I suppose if this changes for the worse shortly, I can be forever thankful for the two weeks I wasn’t nauseous.

My second concern is whether pregnancy is going to be a single healthy baby.  However I feel I have kept most negative thoughts of what could possibly go wrong out of my mind.  I do not listen or read miscarriage stories, I don’t search PubMed for rare pregnancy complications, and I don’t dwell on each twinge.  (Those are all things I would normally do if it wasn’t for my new-found self-awareness of mental health preservation.)  In fact, I was amused at myself one night where I woke up with mild cramping and my mind started running with worries.  My rational part finally woke up and realized that I seem to get cramps when I need to pee.  Sure enough that simple act seemed to calm mind and body down.  So I guess I am managing the anxiety, which is good because sometimes I get anxious about managing my anxiety.

'I developed an anxiety disorder googling my health problem symptoms and getting 50 illness I could have.'

The ultrasound is not until Nov 16 and I know that it’s going to be crucial we see a heartbeat that day.  No matter how I try to remind myself of the big picture, the day is already a significant date.  It’s a turning point and I hate to imagine what turning back would be like.  I try to avoid worrying about the worse case scenario and dwell on lesser problems like twins.  There’s a whole other box of fears packed up there but I’ll leave that closed for now.

G came back home this last week from HK and I was so relieved having her back.  Before she came home, I started having flashbacks to last year when I got in a bike accident while she was in HK caring for her ailing father.  My right arm was banged up pretty bad and I had to manage the house while working full-time.  I wondered if the fatigue would get to that point before she came back home.  Ironically it’s during these times that I seem to go out of my way to prove to myself I am still capable.  Last year it was making pumpkin pie from scratch with one arm and this year it was cleaning the house thoroughly in a day.

Besides having an extra hand at home, it’s also wonderful to be with G in person as we take off on the pregnancy journey.  This weekend we told my brother’s family which was our first big announcement.  It was great to finally share the burden of that excitement and nervousness to others.  I feel relief knowing there are at least some people I won’t have to put on a face to when things are tough.  And on that note, each week at work is always a countdown for me now.  I feel myself channelling much of my energy to just keeping up my usual routine during the work day.  Leaving to work in the morning, I feel myself taking a deep inhale and coming home exhaling that long held breath.  Meanwhile I am quietly lining up my successor and quietly calculating my weeks of pregnancy as I plan meetings, travel, and deadlines.

So this is my experience at 6 weeks: not as bad as I feared but still fearing worse.