20 Weeks and Gender Reveal!

I am 20 weeks today, and we had our second trimester scan a few days ago. Both babies were healthy, cervix looked good, no issues! And now, for the big reveal, we are having……

a BOY and a GIRL!! I am SO. excited.

When I was younger, and just assumed I’d conceive and have babies like it was nobody’s business, I didn’t want to know the sex of my first baby. It seemed like a nice surprise in the moment of giving birth, no need for rushing a good surprise, and for some people, I think that’s accurate. My own opinion changed, though, for 2 reasons. First of all, because I’m having twins. I mean – I don’t know, having two girls versus two boys is quite different and for my Type A personality, I don’t know if I could handle not knowing two babies’ sexes. More than that, though, my opinion changed going through infertility. After all the “surprises” of negative tests and failed Clomid cycles, IUI’s, etc., this was one surprise I didn’t want to wait for anymore. I think I’ve been in a state of denial the past 20 weeks, though it’s been letting up slowly but surely. It was never a denial of, “This can’t be happening to me”, because it’s been the #1 thing I’ve wanted since I can remember, and I was fully aware that it was, in fact, happening. It was more like this fear that if I got too excited, I’d take it for granted that I actually was pregnant, and if I took it for granted, it might just all go away. Totally irrational, but I think that’s what it was.

So instead, I vowed not to take it for granted, and therefore spent every waking minute thinking about it, which 1) caused unnecessary worry quite often, and 2) filled me with this overwhelming feeling that I couldn’t handle, making me more introverted and slightly cranky. People wanted to talk about it and ask me questions and I found myself not even wanting to think about the answers because my brain could not process the whole idea. Now, 20 weeks in, I’ve processed the fact of my twin pregnancy more than I have yet, not that it’s 100%, but that may not happen until they’re born. Anyway, I knew finding out the sexes would be the smartest thing I could do for myself, because it makes it more real and allows me to picture my future family. This has worked, and since the scan, my worries have mostly gone out the window (for a limited time, I’m sure). I can’t stop looking at the pictures and checking their little 3-D faces (I swear boy looks like my husband).

Like I’m said, I’m still not 100% there. In my own head and with my husband, I’m in total baby mode and loving how that feels. Out loud, though, I’m still not totally ready to pour out my emotions to anyone. This poor coworker of mine – I kind of snapped at her the other day for no reason. Actually, that happens a lot lately and it feels my internal filter has stopped working and needs a deep cleansing (very sorry, friends!). But one person in particular made a comment to me as I was heading back to my classroom during an assembly to grab a snack. She said, “Go get some food – gotta feed those babies!” And that just didn’t feel comfortable – it felt weird, like my stomach is see-through and everyone focuses on just them, when they are still so small and not here yet. And also, eating is just not something I want to be…public. I don’t know. Don’t watch me eat. Don’t tell me to have another candy because I’m eating for 3. That wasn’t this coworker – lots of people have started in on those comments. Moving on…so I said, “Feed babies? I’m feeding ME!” (In my head I was muttering something along the lines of the babies being too young to enjoy my yogurt.) And in retrospect….that was unnecessary. I’m working on that. I’m very aware that people whom I don’t know THAT well (not friends and family) are just excited for me, and therefore want to know every answer to all their questions. They also stare at my stomach before they meet my eyes, which is creepy. The whole concept is still kind of weird. It’s like when guys stare at your chest before they look at your face, except my chest has never been more than a “nearly A” cup so that never happened to me. I’m not used to it. So, yeah, I’m not 100% there yet. But coming along.

With that said, I’m a horrible liar, and therefore feel this need to answer everyone’s questions honestly when really, I don’t need to do that. The question of names is being asked, and while I don’t mind my friends and family knowing where we stand, the idea of telling everyone I know bothers me and so, I’m not doing it. We think we have the names. But I have no idea what the next <20 weeks will bring, and I don’t want a name locked down out loud only for it to change, or for someone to make a comment, or whatever. But I don’t lie well, like I said. So I’ve mentioned what we think the names are, with the comment that it could and probably will change. The one thing I’m not comfortable doing is referring to the babies by the names we are thinking about. I feel like it’s way too early for that, and in addition, it just…again, makes me uncomfortable. When they’re out, that’s when they’ll have their names. Until then, they are a baby boy and a baby girl. My fear is that in telling people what we think the names will be, they will start calling them that. You know, “How are _____ and ______ doing?” If that happens, I might cringe and actually say, please don’t call them that. Which is rude, it’s just…I’m not there.

And it’s nice to have at least ONE secret. IVF was so public. My emotions were so public. I couldn’t hide being pregnant for long. I didn’t hide the sexes. So the names are the one thing I get to keep to myself, with my husband and I rattling around different names and ideas and knowing that we don’t have to share them with the world. I like that feeling. So, I don’t plan on referring to them by what we think their names will be, at least for quite a while, both in blog world and real life, and I’m just praying no one else does either. But “boy and girl” are boring, too. I’m reminded of Robin who affectionately called her babies in utero “Apple and Banana” for Baby A and Baby B, which I thought was super-cute. Belle calls her baby “Chicken” and Sunny calls hers “Bagel”.  So catchy! I’m trying to think of names that start with B and G.

Biscuit and Gravy? Blueberry and Grape? Beans and Granola? (Kidding…)

Ooh, or what about animals?

B – Bug, Bear, Bat, Badger, Boar, Beagle…. G – Goat, Goose, Goldfish, Gecko, Gopher… Hmmm… Badger and Gopher? Bug and Goat?

What do you think? I need two cute nicknames…

I still have moments of “panic” daily, usually along the lines of “What if….” and it’s something that I know I can’t control. Drink lots of water, put your feet up and rest, and that’s all you can do. I’m more than halfway there and am so excited about making it to the finish line.

Braxton hicks and irrational worries

It’s always something! I come here to ask my pregnancy questions because I seem to have so many! Every week, it’s something new. A lot of people I know who have been pregnant frequently say, “I never had that” symptom, so I wonder why I seem to be experiencing every single one! But I’m not complaining, as if this is just what happens, I’m good with that. The issue is more of a worry.

As an aside, worrying has been something I’ve taken to extremes in the past few weeks. I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but found all that unnecessary anxiety drastically reduced when I stopped living with my parents and moved in with my husband, who doesn’t worry for anything. So I’m not thrilled to find this renewed and ridiculous anxiousness back in my life. Sure, random pregnancy pains and aches cause some of it – but I know I’ve lost my mind because the random worrying thoughts aren’t all pregnancy related! I find myself worrying about my husband driving to work, my dogs choking on treats, one dog in particular who has been throwing up most mornings right when she first gets up, I assume the worst. Someone doesn’t respond to my text right away – cue worry. Basically, with every little thing that happens, I’ve been blowing it up in my head as this huge disaster and worrying about it. This is not fun. This is also not normal for me. At least it hasn’t been in many years. I’m assuming these have something to do with pregnancy hormones and this is just what my brain is doing with them. Either way, I’m fully aware of how irrational the thoughts are, so there’s a lot of talking myself off the ledge.

Back to the pregnancy symptoms, because this is my first pregnancy and I’m also having twins, the renewed anxiousness doesn’t help matters. I’m working on it.

I believe I had my first Braxton Hicks in bed this morning. My stomach got super tight and hard right next to my belly button. I was feeling around and the tightness was not my whole stomach, but more like a ball. It did go away but not until getting out of bed and moving around. I know these are supposed to be normal but it still freaked me out a bit. I also know dehydration can cause them, and I hadn’t had anything to drink since last night. So that made sense. I also might be extra dehydrated because I’ve gotten my first “illness” while pregnant. Not a huge deal, but a super nasty cold and some aches and chills that come and go. Today is already a little better. Of course, there’s not much you can take while pregnant, so Tylenol has been it. Not being able to breathe through your nose, though, sucks, and I’m sure adds to dehydration. I wonder if blowing your nose too hard and too often can cause BH? :-p Finally, I’ve also officially experienced heartburn and that’s not fun either. Two nights ago I had to pace around the house for hours after eating and I really just wanted to sit down! It didn’t go away until I fell asleep. I think I ate too much, too fast. There are just so many rules! I frequently forget things like eating slower and less. Get more protein, drink more water, eat more veggies. These things are always in my head. See? Excess worrying.

In regards to a happy pregnancy symptom, I do believe I’ve felt the first flutterings in there. They are more like little popping bubbles or small taps. I always have to stop and think if they are gas related. But I think I can now tell the difference! So that’s exciting. Our big appointment is a week and a half away, and we are very excited about that as well. I’m still having these moments where I realize, again, this is actually happening, and these little pears are somehow going to exit my body and we are going to bring them home. The thought sometimes makes me feel nauseous/dizzy.

I do kind of wonder, do other pregnant people experience all these things and just don’t mention them? Or am I really that abnormal to be experiencing basically every pregnancy symptom possible?

17 weeks, pears and prunes

I have had so many random pregnancy-related thoughts rolling around recently that I decided it must be time for a new post. First, an update:

We had our normal OB checkup yesterday, which I was a bit anxious to have, because the last check-in I did was at 12.5 weeks, and here I am today at 17. Still had two heartbeats, though the doctor didn’t look at the bpm (just curious….as we’ve been following a pattern of one at 170 and the other at 140 this whole time!). This time, the heartbeats sounded much closer together in speed. I normally don’t buy old wives’ tales, but this one about the heart rates has stuck with me. We shall see – only 2.5 more weeks until the big appointment!

Otherwise, the check-up yesterday was again, pretty pointless. Tell me this – is that the point of these appointments? Just for you to read off your list of probably common questions, the doctor says something basic, like “drink more water” or, “keep doing what you’re doing” and you’re out the door? Because I mentioned the constipation, again. I rattled off what I’m currently doing: Miralax daily (not a full dose, it gives me pains), 4 Colace a day, 8ish prunes a day, lots of water, veggies and fruits, 2 probiotics a day…I think that covers it. And I had to do a third enema last week.

I’m just going to say – I don’t really mind enemas. I don’t use a whole bottle, first of all. But the act of having one is not an issue. Cleaning out the pipes is well worth examining the dog hair on our bathroom rug for a few minutes (we really should vacuum more). The rest of the night, though, I feel pretty crappy (pun intended). Funny story – after this last enema, I didn’t think I was – done, so I used a bit more. And nothing happened. Because I was, in fact, done. So, at the dinner table I found out what happens when you put in more water than you need. Let’s just say I had an emergency run to the bathroom, not in time, and my husband had a good laugh. And the trash was taken out. I’ve learned my lesson.

I’m not saying that the enema is the answer, because I know it’s not, and the doctors aren’t satisfied with that being my “solution”. However, I have tried everything they have suggested, and as someone who has IBS, I’m not exactly surprised I have an issue. The doctor yesterday suggested I maybe check out a gastro doctor. I’m not sure it’s necessary, but if it continues, I guess I may have to go that route. What will they do for me? There’s no magic solution, or I would’ve had it already. So the poop woes continue.

I almost wrote a post the other night and then decided to see what happens. I think, for two nights in a row, I experienced heartburn. Or acid reflux. What’s the difference? See, I’ve never had either one. But they both were after dinner, a little while after as I sat on the reclined couch. A big lump in my throat, a heaviness in my chest…it didn’t burn exactly. It felt like when you go running outside in the winter. You come back inside and your lungs hurt. That’s what it felt like. It was pretty miserable. I think that is what it was, and to avoid it, I’ve taken to not sitting on the couch after dinner. I’m trying to walk off the meal. And Tums and Zantac. But it was weird.

And I could probably go on and on, thinking up every little ache and pain I’ve experienced lately, more because I keep wanting to know, “Is this normal?” But I’m not going to do that. I imagine being pregnant a second time is a lot less worrisome and stressful, because you’ve felt the weird pains before and you know what’s what. Now, I just never know.

One thing I do know is that my chest has taken up a mind of its own. I was always an A cup size, and now…not so much. But I don’t exactly know what size I am, or how much bigger I will get, so I borrowed a friend’s bra, and this is how she had it for me the next day:

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(No, the kids hadn’t arrived yet.) It’s a C-cup and it was a little big. So I guess I’m not there yet. But goodness.

Speaking of school, it seems everyone I work with now knows, as I sort of let the rumor float around, rather than make a big announcement. I’m still happy with the way that went down. The weird things now are the people who come up to me to “confirm” the rumor who aren’t – happy for me. Well, they might be, but they are the people who want to know for gossip’s sake, and luckily I managed to hold them off so they were the last to know. You can totally tell the difference between someone who’s happy for you and someone who’s judging you. I don’t mind, it’s kind of funny. But one in particular seemed upset she was the last to know, even though I didn’t personally tell many people at all. She wasn’t even happy for me! She just wanted in on the gossip. Yuck. And the weird questions have started, and this one (from a relative!) – “Are you drinking?” Um, no. “Well I wasn’t sure, because you came in (to the party) carrying a bottle of wine. So I thought you might be drinking it.” I believe I said, “I’m not stupid, you know.” Nope – just carrying the bottle because my husband’s hands were full! I should’ve said, “Yes, I drink a bottle a night. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?”

I’ve been cranking on the registry and very happy with the choices I’ve made. My decisions start with research from the “Baby Bargains” book, and then for big ticket items, I further research them on Consumer Reports, and then check Amazon, as my registry is on there. So far, most big decisions have been made, including car seats, the stroller, high chairs, cribs, and that sort of thing. I do start to panic when I see these prices for 2. I’m not getting everything doubled, and after the shower I’ll try to buy used off ebay and Craigslist for the things I didn’t get – but not everything should be used. Many of those big expensive items should be new. I hate to be selfish but I hope I have a big shower.

One of my coworkers told me to eat “anything that starts with a ‘p'” to ward off digestion issues. So it’s time for my afternoon “pear and prune” snack.

Full moon?

Or something? Or something…I don’t know what’s been going on but it makes me want a vacation and a cold drink, neither of which are happening anytime soon.

It’s a stressful time, I guess, at this point in the year. First of all, my school is gearing up to give our yearly standardized tests, and the preparation behind this goes on for months, everyone is just a little on edge, and waiting for it all to be over. So I’m sure that has something to do with this, even though I didn’t think I was thinking too much about it. There’s been a lot of “Did you remember to -” oh shoot, nope. “Did you tell so and so about -” whoops, forgot that too. Too much on my plate at the moment! There are a few other stressful/irritating things going on at work as well, but they won’t be mentioned here. Put it this way – this time of year, I feel like I’m giving 150% of myself daily and it’s tiring.

Then my dogs have been acting weird. Sadie did get an eye infection after coming back from doggy camp a few weeks ago, but I don’t think that’s it. We got these new treats for them – nothing major, just a treat, and since the weekend, Sadie has choked once, gagged and coughed many times, thrown up and had vomit stuck up her nose, leading to wheezing, and then Riley this morning woke me at 6 (they come in our bed at 5am) with the sound of her throwing up UNDER the sheets. Luckily I threw her out just in time. Nothing like doggy vomit to get you out of bed quick. I don’t know if all this was due to the new treats, but they were both eating them. Regardless, I’ve kind of been on edge and nervous about them and promptly threw the cookies out. Hopefully that solves the problems.

So then, I told my students today that I was pregnant. I have a very challenging class of fifth graders this year, and I was kind of dreading telling them. I knew it would be uncomfortable. But see, I’m out of tops that “hide” this stomach. It’s not hide-able. So I figured I might as well get it over with. My big reveal went something like this: “Boys and girls, it’s 9:20, so put your whiteboards down, by the way I’m pregnant with twins, and line up for music.” Okay, so it wasn’t my best. I was very embarrassed for whatever reason. I’m sure I turned bright red. The kids’ first reaction was shock – no one said anything at all, and then I repeated myself, slower, and a few girls clapped and were totally appropriate, and everyone else – I don’t know. I heard one boy say, “That was random,” and another boy said to me, “Well, this is kind of awkward.” I knew it would be for them. I was just happy never to speak of it again. As the day went on, they kept staring at my stomach. I tried to suck it in. However, some kids came around in terms of their comfort level, and even though I told them it wasn’t up for discussion, I was asked if I knew if they were boys or girls, and if I would tell them when I knew. One boy suggested I put some names on the board and have a class vote. So it was a little better, with even a few girls saying they were happy for me. Until the end of the day, when one of my students apparently said to a few kids something along the lines of, “I knew she and her husband did it.” A girl told him he was nasty and then told me. Regardless, that was exactly what I didn’t want to happen. How can 10 year olds concentrate and learn when they are thinking/realizing how I came to be pregnant?? I don’t want to be seen in their eyes that way! Little do they know how wrong they are….

These stressors need a break. In happier pregnancy news, my nausea is pretty much gone, which is wonderful. The constipation issue has gone from an F to a C. A combo of so many prunes, veggies, fruits, colace, and a little bit of Miralax have helped. So I’ll take that.

However, what’s with the endless cold symptoms? Super dry, itchy skin, chapped lips that look terrible and gross, and never-ending sneezes, itchy ears, nose, throat, etc. I feel fine otherwise but it’s annoying. Or do you think it might have to do with the mold I discovered on my bedroom ceiling this morning? Yeah, not good. Add it to the list. It’s pretty extensive and needs to be taken care of ASAP. I certainly can’t bring two infants in the room that way. Also our heaters upstairs need to be fixed. I think my house is falling apart.

One of the underlying issues here is that, the more I talk about being pregnant, and the more people I tell, the more I realize, there’s not much I can keep to myself anymore. The secret is out and I’m very “public” (though not on Facebook), and it kind of makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like to be the talk of the town. I like my privacy. And I don’t want to jinx anything.

This is my picture, my first one. I don’t do smiley face stomach pictures. At least not yet. So instead you get to see my super sexy fleece cozy pants. That is a 14.5 week stomach, and I’m two days shy of 16 weeks. So I’ve only gotten bigger. And all my shirts are cotton and kind of tight. Hence why I shared my news today. I’m over-the-top excited about every little aspect of this. Except now I’ve shared it with a million people. I’m used to keeping my emotions in public at bay, but this thing is so personal and I am so incredibly excited, and it’s all a weird feeling.

Anyway, here you go! 16 weeks is almost here!

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It has to come out: A Poop Post

Warning: This post is about poop. I was really not going to go there, mostly because there are people who read this who know me in real life and that could be just plain awkward. But I’m desperate. So, I’m telling you now, if you don’t want to hear the details of my poop life or wouldn’t be able to look at me the same way again, I will not be offended if you just press “delete” right now. Seriously.

Still with me? I’m writing out of pain, misery and desperation. And you guys might have the answers. Help!

So let’s back up. In my last post I complained of a very tight and hard stomach. I thought it was just a growing gut. In fact, I looked more pregnant that day than I have yet. That was the day my staff figured out I was pregnant. No, they were not Braxton Hicks, though thank you for that comment, Robin! It wasn’t coming and going, just a permanent feeling of fullness and a hard stomach.

Well. That night, right before dinner, all of a sudden I thought I might have to go to the bathroom. Up until this point, going to the bathroom was never pretty, just a little bit here and there and very hard (sorry for the TMI, this is just the beginning). I was considering anything a success. To cut to the chase, I ended up sitting there with the most excruciating pain I’ve felt in – maybe years. It was all right there and it wouldn’t come out. I started feeling super nauseous, got the shakes, my hands got tingly – I was going to pass out from the pain. I did the most disgusting thing in the world, I had to go in and physically remove the pieces that were right there that hurt so bad. That’s freaking nasty. So then when I knew I wouldn’t pass out anymore, I went to the couch. I had a fleet enema on hand (a staple in everyone’s bathroom, right?) and after calling the doctor on call, used it. She recommended a Dulcolax suppository first as it is more gentle, but I had the enema in my house and decided to go for it. 20 minutes later, and weeks’ worth of backup was – helped. Gross. The pain was so bad that night I never ate dinner. The doctor on call was the same doctor who told me at my last appointment to drink lots of water to fix the problem. She was not helpful, but the enema was the right move that night. It was the worst.

The next day I called the office looking for some actual advice. The nurse I spoke to was more helpful – she told me to try stopping my fiber pills (6 psyllium husks a day) and to take more stool softeners (from one 3 times a day to two twice a day). She said after 3-4 days if I still hadn’t gone (like really gone) to take a Dulcolax pill and that should help.

Now it’s today, Saturday. I’ve stopped all fiber pills since Tuesday, taken two colace stool softeners twice a day, and since I hadn’t gone, took a Dulcolax last night. Today, I woke up with pains, lots of them as I imagine things were moving around in there, but nothing would come out. I had to do the enema, again. Now I’m flushed out, again, and frustrated. This is no way to live!

I will call the doctor again on Tuesday, but first I thought I’d ask you guys if you had any suggestions. First though, let me tell you what I’ve already tried:

-I have IBS (which is no doubt contributing to this), of which the old solution was psyllium husks (which comes in either pill form or is the same thing as Metamucil. Doesn’t work anymore.
-Miralax doesn’t work for me with the IBS, so that’s out. I used to try it often before being pregnant.
-I drink an insane amount of water. If that doctor tells me to drink more water one more time I’m going to pop her in the face. Bottle after bottle, all day long. It’s all I drink.
-Truth be told, I have not been consuming a ton of fruits and veggies lately, as the nausea wasn’t liking that. That said, I’ve been bringing it back, and with IBS, there’s a lot of pain and things moving around but that’s it.
-The stool softeners. Lots of them.
-Now the Dulcolax. Movement in there, nothing but pain comes out.
-tried a little caffeine in a little coffee. Nope.
-Hot tea
-lots of walking
-I’m about to try prunes but I’m thinking it won’t be a miracle worker.
– I already take probiotics.
-I don’t take the prenatal (doctor approved as long as I take folic acid), so it’s not iron.

I guess what it comes down to is this – in my opinion, this isn’t an ordinary case of constipation. It’s in my genes (my mother had Diverticulitis due to years of constipation and even now with very little colon left, she still has constipation), I have IBS, and I’m pregnant. The normal water and fruits and vegetables trick doesn’t make me satisfied. I need something more, something that helps this pain it causes. My mother tells me that when she was pregnant she did a hot water enema once a week the whole time. The doctor said the hot water wouldn’t work (I asked). As long as the enemas are safe, I guess I don’t mind. But it’s already been twice in less than a week, and in between those times, my stomach is hard, full, and in pain. Plus, enemas clean you out, but they don’t solve the problem. Yes, I suppose I’m officially complaining. But it is, for sure, the most painful side effect of being pregnant yet. Oh, happy second trimester to me! The best present would be….poop.

Any suggestions?