17 Weeks

I somewhat casually mentioned I was pregnant a while ago in this post, and since then I haven’t said a word about it! It’s a different experience this second time around.

I’m pregnant with one baby, not two. I’m crossing all of my fingers that this pregnancy is smooth and doesn’t have, you know, 11 weeks of bedrest (4 in the hospital) and preterm labor at 28, 31, and 34 weeks. Doctors have no way of knowing why I went into labor so early and why my cervix was so short at 23 weeks (which is how this whole thing happened in the first place). Was it because I was carrying twins? Or do I have a cervix issue? And they don’t know. So even though everything in this pregnancy so far has been “normal”, they are taking a few precautions, which I’m grateful for.

I’m receiving the progesterone shot every week, starting this past week. Yes, the one I used to get from my husband right after IVF, every night for the first like 10 weeks. I can’t say I missed having a bruised backside and the sensation of a five-inch needle puncturing my skin, BUT, some studies have shown that progesterone staves off preterm labor. And for even that small chance, I’ll manage these shots just fine. In addition to the shots, every other week they’ll also measure my cervix. This past week was my first time doing that as well. An unexpected perk is that I got an extra ultrasound to see the little nugget. The tech wasn’t checking the baby, but it was a nice surprise. At this point, my cervix is normal (4.1). And so right now, all is well. These precautions may not help or prevent anything, but it’s totally worth a shot.

Other than the constant worry in the back of my mind about bedrest and preterm labor, I’m chugging along fine enough. The nasty nausea has mostly dissipated (except when I’m hungry, thirsty, and tired) and I’m growing a nice bump. I’m super tired at night, and don’t do well the next day if I’m not sleeping by 10:00pm.  I can’t say I’m not whiny about my food restrictions. Besides the basic pregnancy restrictions (boiled deli meat? No thanks), I’m also gluten- and sugar-free too. These restrictions didn’t bother me for the like, 7 years I’ve been gluten-free, and even the almost one year I’ve been sugar-free, but when I’m pregnant….I just want fresh bread and ice cream. And I don’t think that’s unreasonable. No treats for this mama. Sigh.

We’ve told the twins about this baby, but other than knowing it’s in my stomach, they don’t get it. Nor do they particularly care. I do get frequent “baby belly” hugs, which is cute. Sometimes, I’m able to spend time with them and honestly forget I’m pregnant. I can’t think about a little growing baby when I’ve got screaming toddlers at the dinner table. But at the same time, bending over to change diapers on the floor or pick up a screaming 30 pound child or going up and down the stairs to do laundry, put down for nap, wake up for nap, etc – those things tire me out REAL quick. It’s hard to slow life down and take it easy when you have toddler twins.

Speaking of them, other than those meal meltdowns, they’re both doing very well. Their speech is absolutely unreal to me. My husband goes to work on Saturday mornings, so I always spend that time reconnecting with the twins after a long week at work.

This morning, I turned on their “toddler radio” Pandora station after breakfast, and they played nicely while I cleaned the house a bit. C asked for me to hold her when my favorite song came on (“You are my sunshine” – Elizabeth Mitchell version), and we sang and danced. B helped me vaccuum, his little toy version cranking alongside mine. Saturday mornings (when tantrum-free) are exactly what I need to recharge.

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After I cleaned, we made goop (cornstarch and water), and the twins loved it. B surprised me by finally, finally getting messy. He actually stuck his entire hand in it for a long time, squeezing and letting it drip. He’s never done that before. Progress!

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In addition to all of this craziness, I’m trying to get my new blog up and running but I’m copying and pasting many old posts from this blog there first, which is very time consuming and hard to do when I’m in bed so early every night! Baby steps.

 

27 weeks

Thank you for the comments I’ve gotten in the past few weeks – they are always comforting to read! I’m continuing to cruise along on bed rest. Being on the couch all day long doesn’t bother me; being bored doesn’t bother me. It’s worrying about weird aches and pains and counting contractions that bothers me.

After 3 “events” yesterday – a shower, a quick check-up appointment, and a dinner guest I haven’t seen in a while (my father) – I had a ton of Braxton hicks/contractions. A ton. I hemmed and hawed about taking a trip to the hospital at 10:00 at night but knew that most of them were caused by too much activity, even when I was still on the couch. When people come over or I talk on the phone for a while – my body isn’t still. It’s not calm. And then I get contractions. It is very frustrating – I really seem to need to hibernate in order to keep still. Anyway, last night I finally just decided to go to bed and see how it goes from there. They eventually stopped and it’s been much quieter today. Because I’m still, and not talking. It’s just one of those things – I keep pushing my own boundaries, making “exceptions”, like I hadn’t seen my father in a month. But apparently I pay for it later and it’s nerve-wracking.

On Friday I have a cervix check and an NST (non-stress test). Except it’s actually very stressful! The Braxton hicks “count” towards the 4-an hour rule and I get them so easily, like when the nurse puts the belts on my stomach. Yes, touching my stomach causes them. So I never feel like it’s an accurate representation of my real contractions. Bleh. But I will be really happy next Monday, when I make it to 28 weeks. Big milestone.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to take pictures of my sweet puppies from my spot on the couch. Riley actually spent a few minutes in the room with me for a mini-nap before heading off to the bedroom. Sadie curled in for a snuggle session, as she usually does.

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Contractions and dehydration

I’m smirking right now because I just did a google search on how much water pregnant women need to drink a day. I posed the question because the majority of my contractions ( or BH, whatever they are) occur within the first 3 hours after waking up. I have chalked it up to being dehydrated, hungry, and having a full bladder. I also assume dehydration because once the day really gets going and I’m drinking water in full force, I have to get up and pee every hour, if not every 45-50 minutes. But in those first few hours after waking, an hour and a half can go by and I don’t need to get up.

SO, in the interest of finding out what else I can do to keep these contractions at bay, I did a google search about dehydration causing contractions. Yes, it’s a real thing and I knew that already. But what surprised me were the comments from women. “I don’t understand, I drink 64 oz a day!” Or the fact that a doctor told a woman she needed to drink 2 liters a day, and the woman was astounded.

Math is not my strong suit, so I googled how many ounces were in a liter. Answer? About 33 oz. So, a 2 liter bottle of soda has 66 oz give or take. Okay, so that’s how much one doctor recommended. I did see, in another extreme example, a doctor said drink 5 liters of water for a few days, then go down to 3.

Maybe I shouldn’t be smirking – maybe I should be concerned. I have this jug I got at CVS, and it holds 2.2 liters, or 74 oz. I am drinking 3 of them a day. 3. I have to. 74 times 3 – 222 oz a day. 3 soda bottles – 6 liters. And this doesn’t count the 2 mugs of prune juice I drink a day or the occasional juice box. (Yes, I drink Juicy Juice and color with markers – come at me.)

With all this liquid, I still have contractions. Once the day really gets going and I’m hydrated, they are once every few hours. Until I talk on the phone. Or someone comes over. Or I have to pee. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells (mentally of course) trying to keep these at bay. And when I first was smirking about these complaining women, now I’m wishing I was in their shoes and only had to drink one of these jugs. It’s hard to know if I’m doing this right.

The other bad time of day for contractions (other than with guests, etc.) is at night, an hour before bed or so. My legs get SO antsy – they have a mind of their own and start practically convulsing. It’s like they (the muscles) are dying a slow death and severely twitch to remind me that, if I let them, they’d be more than willing to run the 100 meter hurdles. It’s like I drank a big caffeinated coffee. It is quite annoying. I try to control them and of course I don’t get up, but inevitably I have a few contractions while I’m trying to stop myself from rolling around on this couch. I’ve still not had 4 or more contractions in an hour, but I continue to write down every one I have. Whoever said bed rest was “restful”? No one who has ever been on it, obviously.

Contractions are annoying, worrying about babies all day is mentally draining, and bed rest sucks and while I have other topics in my head, this’ll do for now.

At least Sadie enjoys puppy bed rest. Someone in this house needs to! (Riley has left the room and more than likely made a nest with my bed comforter, but I’m confident she also doesn’t mind.)

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26 weeks

26 weeks today and I’m happy to have reached that milestone. Every Monday hereafter with the twins still cooking is a good Monday.

That said, today was not a great day. The past couple days in fact have seen an increase in contractions. Not more than 4 an hour, so not enough for a hospital visit. But even two an hour doesn’t make me happy. I figured out last night that if I chug water before bed, I have way fewer contractions in the transition from couch to bed and then from bed to couch in the morning. Not to mention trying to get comfortable in the bed. The night before saw many contractions and I decided to try the water trick. Not that I wasn’t drinking a TON already. But now it’s my daily mission to get in as close to 2 gallons a day as I can, with a quarter of a gallon in the last hour before bed. But man, chugging water when you’re not thirsty and are reclined sucks. It’s not comfortable at all, and I can’t exactly walk it off. It creates lots of indigestion. However, it really seemed to help last night.

Which was why I thought today would be a good day. I didn’t have many morning contractions at all and felt pretty good, so I even showered. And shaved. But then, around 11:00am, a mama housefly somewhere in my house gave birth (how freaking disgusting is that) and I was swarmed. I had to get up, I had no choice. I got up many, many times more than I should’ve, and not only did I stand up, I swatted at flies, stretching and reaching. I killed 10. 10. For the record, we have a clean house. I don’t know why this happened, except to say that it happened one day about a year ago. All of a sudden there were like 20 house flies and my husband had to go on a killing spree. After that it never happened again, until today. Luckily it was 10 and not 20. But as I was laying there, feeling trapped on bed rest with swarming flies, I knew I couldn’t just ignore it. They were dive-bombing my lunch. It was SO gross. Poor Riley was terrified of my swatting and the buzzing and she hid in the other room, shaking for hours.

After the fly escapades, I definitely had more contractions and overall discomfort. Now, many hours later, standing up to go to the bathroom is extremely uncomfortable with heaviness. It just sucks. So it’s not a comfortable night.

I can get past that, but it is nights like these that do make me nervous, that make me inevitably think about having these twins soon. Really, really early. Micro preemies. And then I start worrying about everything that comes with that so I take another gulp of water and try to move on. When I’m feeling great, it’s completely the opposite and I envision myself making it to term with these little guys. So it all depends. In one day’s time I can go from positive to negative. It can really be hour by hour.

We are postponing my shower (emails/letters going out shortly). I’m disappointed yet happy at the same time. It will be after the babies are born and should be far enough away for me to have recovered. It’s all a shot in the dark anyway, so I really don’t know what to expect. I do know that there was no way to have my shower in 3 weeks, as it was originally scheduled. I probably wouldn’t even be able to go, as I get contractions from simply talking and having a conversation. And so I had a selfish moment – this is my shower, most likely the only one I’ll ever have, and dammit, I sure would like to attend it. With the new plan I’ll hopefully be able to attend it but it’s still not the same. No games guessing babies’ names, no cute maternity dress where I can have that pregnant “glow” – not that I’ve had it so far – no excitement over babies who aren’t here yet. It’s a minor thing in the long run; the twins’ health is by far more important. But still, on a superficial level, after going through infertility, I’m sad that even this part of the journey – the last trimester (and then some) – couldn’t go as normal, like most other’s journeys do. Maybe I should’ve known better! But I was really looking forward to a normal shower. That said, this plan is as close to normal as it gets. Certainly more normal than me skipping my own shower and like skyping in or something. No thank you.

So that’s where I stand today. I picked up coloring this weekend – yes, really. Adult coloring. I made my mom a picture for Mother’s Day and then signed it with my non-writing hand so it looked like a preschooler made it. Sometimes, with this helplessness, that’s what I feel like! But I did get some shiny new markers (purple’s my favorite).

Also, prune juice? Actually NOT gross! Mix with apple juice, heat it up – I’ll take it over actual prunes any day. A couple mugs of it a day plus endless produce and maybe I can solve one of my issues!

Home again

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It looks like the dogs are really hating the couch rest, don’t you think?

Thank goodness they behave when it’s just me at home alone. Sadie paws at the door when it’s a beautiful day because she wants to lay in the sun, but otherwise what you just saw is what I get. Poor things don’t get much exercise anymore. But they are really cute.

The summary of today’s appointment is this:

I am at home on bed rest, as opposed to in the hospital, as long as my contractions stay irregular, no matter what my short cervix length is. If my cervix does get super short or nonexistent (it’s holding out at 1.3 cm), then I’ll no doubt be having regular contractions and will need to be hospitalized.

This is actually good news, especially since my cervix isn’t any shorter than it was last week, but the bad news is that I am contracting. They are still irregular overall, but I can feel them. They are now strong enough for me to have figured out what they feel like. In my non-stress test today, I had only two, but 10 minutes apart. They sent me home, but these contractions make me really nervous. And I seem to get them from talking, getting stressed out, being in the car, and eating. So I’m keeping track and praying they stay irregular. And I’m keeping still and not talking much. It just sucks.

In other news, I am also concerned that I’m not gaining enough weight. Again, I’m not petite here. My starting weight (after losing 7 pounds with first trimester nausea) was 140. But I’ve still only gained 15 pounds or so, and I’m 25 weeks with twins! Not only that, my stomach since being on couch rest has shrunk at least in half. It is the smallest bump. I could probably put on a sweatshirt and you wouldn’t know I’m pregnant. It’s such a drastic difference in two weeks and I don’t like it. 6 months pregnant with twins – I should be quite large, right? What’s up with that? Doctors aren’t concerned or even thinking about it. I just want the babies to have the healthiest weight possible when born. I never had trouble gaining tons of weight with my thyroid problem – now is not the time to all of a sudden be slim.

New and old worries – not every day is like this but today it is.

25 weeks, bed rest week #2

It’s a new week. I’ve been cranking on this bed rest thing and plan to keep going in the same way. It’s also Teacher Appreciation Week.

Not that I need any appreciation, but at my school, our PTO really does this up – last year I was showered with my favorite foods, flowers and school supplies all week. It was over the top and really quite awesome. I believe that today, Monday, is “wear your teacher’s favorite color” day. My students are just finding out this morning, through a letter I wrote to them, that I’m not coming back at all. I surely hope they weren’t all seriously counting on me showing up today and therefore, all wearing purple. I do feel bad about leaving them so suddenly and I hope wearing purple is the most they do. I really don’t want any gifts whatsoever. Today is also the day they got their permanent sub, someone they’ve never met. Hopefully by the end of the week they’ll all have adjusted to the transition.

I’ve heard that the first two weeks of bed rest are the worst, as you mentally transition to life laying down (or reclined), you stop doing anything for yourself, and your muscles turn to jello. I’ve got a few more days of this second week and I have definitely come around, mentally. I have a little “schedule” – once I’m up and settled on the couch for the day, when my husband goes to work, I watch the “Today” show, catch up on email, blogs, etc. Later I will do some reading, and at 1:00 when the soaps come on, I watch one of my own shows. Then I watch “The Talk”, and by the time it’s over, my mother stops over to take out the dogs. I spend ten minutes outside on my deck reclined, and after my mother leaves, the dogs crash again on the couch, I watch “Ellen”, and then my husband is home. There – how’s that for a thrilling routine?

That’s not to say I’m all cheery over here – I’m generally not, actually. For someone who has never been on it, the term “bed rest” is this mysterious condition where you get to put your feet up all day. And while yes, my feet are up, there’s so much more people don’t consider. It’s not a “rest” at all. I have to keep STILL. Is not like I can lift some weights or turn and do anything without getting “tightenings” – still not sure if they are real contractions or not. It’s not like I can plop the laptop on my stomach (I wouldn’t do that anyway) and do anything I would normally do. Like I said, my body needs to be calm, I need to lay back as far as is comfortable for as long as I can, and I need to try to keep contractions at bay. You never realize how often you use your stomach muscles, just to talk to someone, for instance. Every time I’m on the phone I have at least one.

Legs don’t get shaved, hair doesn’t get brushed, and showers are not often. Doing those things causes me to #1 – sit up straight, putting pressure on my cervix which is bad and #2 – use my stomach muscles, causing contractions. I timed my shower the other day from leaving the couch to finding it again. With washing my hair, it was between 15-20 minutes. Too long! And I can really feel it in my stomach and uterus – very heavy and tight. Not good.

So I guess I’m still in this place where I feel vulnerable. Especially physically. As it is, I’m having trouble with family visiting, not to mention anyone else. They come in quiet, I can’t see them enter, and I’m sprawled back. Feels like I’ve been in a horrible tragedy and they are tip-toeing around me as not to disturb. I feel like the guest in my own house and there is a huge elephant in the room. No, I don’t want to make small talk about any good books I’m reading. No, I also don’t want to talk about the rest of life coming up like everything’s normal. Not to mention being seen in the laying down position looking like crap. I haven’t gotten past that part yet, and so I really just would rather do this on my own. No one needs to see the bottom of my socks, or my bra straps hanging out. Who wants to eat dinner on the couch, because I’m not coming to the table. As you can see, I’m still working on this.

I have discovered, though, the wonders of baby center’s bed rest club online. A bunch of other women in a similar position as me, some better off, some worse off, all asking questions and talking. It’s nice.

As long as my short cervix and occasional contractions are my only issue, this is something I can do. It’s manageable.

This commercial happened this morning. I found it quite funny.

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Small victory #1

I should’ve just blogged yesterday.

Yesterday’s appointment actually was one small victory, at least until next week at least. It was what I was hoping for. My cervix did shorten a little, as I had a feeling it would after only one week of bed rest. Its lowest measurement was a 1.3, rather than last week’s 1.6. At this point, I’m glad I still have a cervix.

Then it was time for the contraction machine – and that, I knew, would be the key to going home or checking in. She hooked me up for about 40 minutes, including hookups for the twins’ heartbeats. I swear both babies spent the 40 minutes just kicking the crap out of their hookups. As for the contractions, I had two. My stomach tightened as it has been, mostly in the front and right sides. I’ve been keeping track of these and I was thinking I was doomed for a hospital stay. When the nurse came to check on my results, she asked if I had felt anything, and I told her yes, I had two. “There’s nothing on your chart,” she said. Those weren’t contractions. They weren’t?? Then I throw up my hands. I thought I finally had figured out what they are. Clearly not. Right when she was taking off the monitor she said, “you might be having a small one now.” I felt nothing whatsoever. It makes it quite hard to monitor contractions at home when what you thought they were, they aren’t. And the fact that I may not even feel the real ones yet doesn’t help. So that’s irritating. I also got my first steroid shot for the babies’ lungs. The good news? I got to go home for another week of home bed rest, rather than a hospital stay. A small victory, but I’ll take it!

I say I should’ve blogged yesterday because I was in a better mood :-p Last night I started having some lower abdominal cramping, which yes, I know is yet another sign of preterm labor. However, I quickly found out that (TMI ahead) it was all poop related. I’m completely constipated, I had the impacted stool again, etc. And I’m pretty sure enemas are now out, so I spent the night tossing and turning, feeling sick, because I couldn’t go to the bathroom. So after a night of no sleep (what’s up with restless leg syndrome??) today I’m dragging. I am going for my second steroid shot soon so I will ask then about the constipation. Can I take a warm bath at least?

This all brings me to a new line of thought – I am so completely obsessed with preterm labor symptoms that I seem to be taken aback with regular pregnancy symptoms. I forget about this, because my mind is on one thing only. A couple things I have noticed recently, which I think fall under the category of regular pregnancy symptoms include: an increase of nausea and disinterest in food. What, is this the first trimester all over again? Thank goodness I still have Zofran. But food is not sounding good. Not at all. Just fruit and yogurt. And too much dairy gives me constipation, so endless ice cream is out. I’m concerned because I’m therefore not eating a whole lot and I’m only hovering around a 15 pound weight gain. At 24 weeks. With twins. What do I do? No one has said I haven’t gained enough, though a nurse commented yesterday how small I am. Listen – fellow bedresters- is this a thing?? My stomach shrank. A lot. That last picture I posted – my stomach is like half that size. Either something bad happened, or I was never that big in the first place and that was all pressure and gravity. But seriously, my stomach definitely shrank a lot. I’m not a petite person either – my body doesn’t seem the type that would be all tiny when pregnant, especially with more than one baby. Blah.

So constipation, nausea, weight gain issues – pregnancy symptoms are still here. I’m grateful for that and I’ll take it all if it means the twins stay in longer. But I like to be on top of the things I can control, since there is so much I can’t control. Any thoughts?

And finally, my brain isn’t bored on bed rest. This isn’t a comfortable, relaxing vacation. However, does anyone have any book, tv series, or movie suggestions? I’m a novel, fiction kind of girl. I’m hoping for a long stay on this couch and have access to Kindle books, HBO, Netflix, etc.

Okay, off to my next steroid shot.