Thursday, November 20, 2014

My babies turned ONE!

I find it so hard to say ... that my babies are ONE YEAR OLD. It snuck up on me, despite being home with them for the first 9 1/2 months of that time. Suddenly, my babies are no longer ___ months old ... they've entered the ____ YEARS old phase.

They are amazing. I look at them daily and am in awe of them. Their curiosity, their giggles, the interest, their love. Sometimes I stare at them on the baby monitor while they sleep - so sweet and perfect. My babies. They're ONE.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I want to be your mom

Months ago, Katie Couric apparently did a piece on donor egg (I did not see it and have not seen it). She had a couple on the show whose family was made complete by the use of donor eggs. She had the donor on to meet the family ... and (as I understand it), called the donor the "mom."

This raised quite a stink in the donor community. I had no idea about her show or the stink until I read a fellow bloggers post about it and then talked to her in real life about it (she is a friend of mine here). Turns out we were on totally opposite sides of it: she believes the donor is some sort of "mom" and I firmly believe the donor is just that, a donor. I find myself indebted to our donor, but no more than if she had given me a kidney do I feel like she is a part of my life or my family more than the cells that she gave so I could grow a couple of babies.

Without realizing it, I have been ruminating on this for a while. It has been turning over in the back of my mind. I haven't been able to rectify one issue (an issue that my bloggie friend brought up): if I am the mom because I grew the babies, then who is the mom in a surrogate situation? I have a friend who used two separate surrogates to bring her two sons home and there is no doubt in my mind that my FRIEND is the MOM and the surrogates were just vessels who helped her get her sons home (her sons are her DNA). But ... if I believe that I am my babies' mom because I grew them, then how too do I think my friend is their mom because they are her eggs grown in someone else (my situation exactly, kind of)???

Fast forward. A friend's husband was adopted and just found his birth mother in July of this year. She found him, actually, and they met this week. There was great joy in their household as he met his birthmother for the first time (he never actually met her at his birth because she didn't want to see or hold him so he was taken straight away). Some of us had questions about his relationship with his adoptive parents and whether the birthmother in the picture would change that at all. NO, was my friend's answer. Her husband's parents are his parents, and his birthmother appearing does not change that. He loves his parents and always will. He will never run away from them to connect with his birth family. But he is glad to know his genetics and to have a medical history.

Early early this morning as my brain was turning as it only can at 4:30 in the morning in the dark with the peaceful rain on the roof I made this decision: your mom is who WANTS to be your mom.

Being a mom is a title earned. It is a privilege. It is an honor. And it has to be something that one wants. This realization, this decision made things clear.

In my friend-who-used-surrogates situation: <SHE> is the mom because <SHE> wants to be the mom
In my situation: <I> am the mom because <I> want to be
In my friend-whose-husband-is-adopted situation: his mom is his mom and his birth mom might join and earn that role (and it sounds like she wants it and has always wanted it but for a very different situation back in the 70s) but that remains to be seen - but it is possible to have two moms!

It all made sense to me. It took away fears and concerns and doubt. All of which stem from that initial stupid conversation about whether I am or the donor is my babies' mom. Seems clear to me now that <I> am their mom, no questions asked.

The end.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

There. Is. A. HEARTBEAT!

The surprise of the day is that there is a heartbeat! I'm 7 weeks today and there was ... is ... a strong heartbeat of 148 bpm!

They wanted to do a vag cam ultrasound but I politely declined. I got enough out of today to see the heartbeat. Fetus ... baby?? ... is measuring around 6w5-6w6, but she wanted to do the vag cam because the belly ultrasound this early on isn't accurate. Sorry, I don't need more. I saw enough.




Friday, October 17, 2014


Wednesday's experience really shook me. I hadn't expected that low a number and it made me really upset. I was "100% sure this is over" is a text I sent to Million and Tonisha. I was sure it was over. I had cramping that felt like Braxton Hicks and that left me hunched over as I walked. I felt like my uterus was falling out. And then the number. A doubling time from Monday's beta of 312 hours. OH. MY. GOD. That can't be good. I was "100% sure" it was over.

Thursday, while sitting in my office, it dawned on me that I could know more if I got a 3rd beta from the clinic that drew my blood on Friday and then Monday. Same lab, so the number would be accurate as compared to the other betas. I called the advice nurse, explained the cramping (did not mention the other beta!) and that I was "100% sure" it was over.

I was told I could come in for a beta. They'd be happy to have me come in, in fact. I happened to have driven that day so I jumped in my car and sped off to the clinic.

A "short" two hours later, I got the call: 20,896. As compared to Monday's beta, that is a doubling time of 82 hours. And that doubling time is dead on where it needs to be for a beta over 6,000.

The nurse - whom I got to know very well over the course of my twin pregnancy - told me she even ran it past the doc and he was pleased with the number. She said "you're not out of the woods yet, but things are looking good." (I am trying not to read anything into the "you're not out of the woods" part. Uggg.)

I went from feeling exhausted from being "100% sure this is over" to being exhausted from still being pregnant.

The beta I was meant to have today? Million convinced me not to go. She was right. It would give me no further information. Instead, around the time the beta was scheduled for (8:45am), I had a terrible 20 second bout of nausea.

I'll take that as a sign that - FOR NOW - I remain pregnant.

OB is giving me an early ultrasound ... that is set for Tuesday. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014



Not looking good. That's a doubling time of 312 hours. Uh oh.

I will add that my OB said "things look good" (she sent that message through the nurse who called me). I think she is just trying to protect me. I called asking for an early ultrasound.

Final beta on Friday.

Monday, October 13, 2014


Still going up! Beta today was a good number - 11,954 (Friday's was 4499).

I have never ever ever been this far pregnant with my own eggs. Yes, this far is "only" 6 weeks tomorrow, but still uncharted territory for me.

I had chemicals - I never made it past my missed period before my betas were already on the plummet with those. My ectopic was caught and terminated by 5&4 (or 5&2).

So today ... 5&6 ... is new terrain for my body. I called my MFM and my OB to ask whether I should get on a low dose progesterone, just for "shits and giggles" and to play things safe. Should hear back soon, I hope. But even if I don't hear back or am told "no," my decision is to just let nature take its course on this one.

Ultrasound set for 10/28. We'll see what happens between now and then, and on that day.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Our journey to a family consisted of:

3 chemicals
1 ectopic
1 failure of an IVF cycle using my own eggs
1 failure of a donor egg IVF cycle that resulted in a 9 week miscarriage
1 beautiful perfect donor egg IVF cycle that resulted in the precious, perfect, amazing identical twin girls just going down for a nap in the other room (but a loss, because both embryos started growing but one stopped while the other split).

Today, one week and one day shy of their 11 month birthday, I got a call. From our former MFM office. With an hcg beta blood test result.

I am pregnant.



Approximately - because I have NO idea when I ovulated - 5 1/2 weeks pregnant.

I don't know how. Well, I do know the "how" details, but I can't believe the "how" details.

Since peeing on two sticks yesterday and seeing the pregnant line show up before the control line, I have done some research. My Google topics included "pregnant after donor egg IVF." Turns out there is some blossoming but limited research on the idea that women who go through IVF - even a failed cycle - are more likely to get pregnant in the next 6 years than if they don't do an IVF cycle - again, this includes a failed IVF cycle. The research suggests that something about being pregnant "teaches" the body what to do. This is especially the case in women with PCOS, the idea being that being pregnant gives the endometrium a break so the many months post partum, the body is ready to be pregnant again.

Truly fascinating stuff.

The part that being pregnant CANNOT teach a body is about increasing egg quality.

So ... I go back for the standard second blood draw on Monday. Then an ultrasound. And then, should we get that far - we never ever ever have been even this far with my own eggs - we will do genetic screening and the materni21T test (or something like that).

For now. HOLY SHIT I AM PREGNANT. I am "that person." Sleeping donor egg twins (well, they're not quite sleeping, more like squealing and chatting and talking and NOT sleeping) next door and a "bun in the oven."


Friday, August 15, 2014

Nursery / diaper bag essentials

Totally random post, but I remember when I was about to become a mom, I sent an email to my two SiLs asking them "what do you put in your diaper bag?" It was probably a silly question to them but they responded kindly and told me. I thought I would write it out for all upcoming moms so you know what to put in your diaper bag (and some nursery arrangement essentials).

I am not a stuff person. My diaper bag for my twins is small, a singleton size in fact. It's by Skip Hop and I love it.

In it (some things are double because I have two babies):

--- two extra pairs of pants
--- two sets of baby socks (in case they get cold)
--- two extra onesies (long sleeved because if it's really that hot, they can either not wear pants or not wear a onesie at all)
--- travel diaper wipes (about 4 of the slim 10-piece packs)
--- about 6 diapers
--- diaper cream
--- a travel change pad
--- a burp cloth or two
--- a few random small toys they don't usually use but are there just in case
--- a small thing of hand sanitizer
--- (just added, now that they're older) ties that connect toys to high chairs so if dropped they aren't lost
--- two bibs
--- their medical insurance card (just in case)

For the nursery, I have only one suggestion:

Have anything and everything you might need in a diaper explosion emergency RIGHT AT YOUR CHANGE STATION. Most people have drawers under their change pad. In those drawers, you want things that you will need in an instant, things you don't want to have to walk across the room for if you have a diaper explosion and poop is literally everywhere and you need a full change of everything nearby. Such as:

--- diapers and wipes (I always have two extra packets of wipes in the drawer and restock immediately - this way, if I use the last wipe in a diaper explosion, I am guaranteed to find more in the drawer)
--- onesies
--- pants
--- pyjamas (in case your explosion happens at night!)
--- diaper rash cream (again, in case you run out)

On our change table, we have a big thing of hand sanitizer. We bought it in November and it's not even a quarter gone, so we don't use it very often. But when we have had poop explosions and have used a diaper wipe to clean the poop off our hands, it sure is nice to use the hand sanitizer before touching a baby!

We also have a couple of small toys on our change table. Our girls are 9 months old (almost) and are crawling and starting to stand up. They do not want to be on their backs, so they try to roll onto their tummies every. single. diaper. change. A toy handy keeps them distracted and on their backs for the few seconds we need to finish up putting a diaper back on!

And, PLEASE, get into the habit of one cardinal rule: never ever ever leave your baby on the change table for even a second. Start this on day 1 when they are just little blobs who just lie there (also, little blobs who just lie there sometimes startle and could fall off). But if you get into the habit of never EVER doing it for even a second, when your baby suddenly rolls for the first time, you won't have to retrain yourself. Seriously, institute it and demand it of anyone who ever ever changes your baby.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I really do mean it, I wouldn't change a thing

Met a friend at the park yesterday. She had her adorable 3 month old son with her. We got to talking and she asked something about how I made the decision to go DE.

I was honest - you've heard it before: how I wanted the shot at experiencing pregnancy and that was more important to me than silly DNA.

I got home from our playdate. With my girls. My daughters. The lights of my life. And I hugged them and smelled them and felt their silky soft cheek skin against mine while they snuggled (before squirming and wriggling). They nursed, as they always do before their nap time, and I stroked their heads. I watched as their long eyelashed lids became heavy and they started to doze off. I tickled them to keep them awake. I took them into their room and put them down for their much-deserved nap. I watched them on the monitor while they giggled and cooed and rolled around and fell asleep.

And then I sat down.

And I focused on how full my heart felt and how wide my smile was.

I told my friend yesterday that I wouldn't change a thing - even their DNA - if I could. And that is true. I told her that I am not hoping for a spontaneous pregnancy (with my own DNA). And that is true. (truth be told I am terrified of a spontaneous pregnancy for a shit ton of reasons, not all physical) I told her that I think of our two frozen embryos as "my kids" and "my kids' siblings." And that is true.

I would not change a thing. Not a damn thing. Even if I was given the option of two perfect, loving, cute, sweet ID twin girls who happen to share my DNA. Nope. Not even then.

My heart, my family, my life is full. Overflowing, in fact.

The end.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Adjusting for prematurity

When my babies were born at 35&4, I had heard the term "adjusting for prematurity" a lot. My attitude towards it: "awww hell no!" especially when my girls came out screaming and pink and healthy and needed no NICU time.

This attitude continued for a while. At our 3 month check up, they were 5% weight ... unless we adjusted, in which case they were 85% weight. But I did not want to adjust. So I went home with babies on the 5th percentile line.

When both of my daughters rolled over at exactly the 4 month mark, I sent an email with the video I captured saying "don't you label me a preemie!" (our pediatrician had told me at the 3 month check up that most babies roll at or by 4 months but she didn't expect ours to because they were a month early).

But then I started paying attention to two friends who had more-than-full-term babies. One was born at 41 weeks and the other at 42 weeks.

Those babies had FIVE and SIX extra weeks of womb time than my girls. And you know what, they are more advanced than my girls. Not my adjusted girls. But my born-at-35&4 girls.

When I was in hospital waiting to deliver, everyone kept saying (even my OB) "every extra day in the womb means you skip 2 NICU days." Why? Well, babies belong in the womb until at least 40 weeks and they develop faster in their natural habitat. So if they come early - even 4 weeks early and pink and screaming and healthy - they have still missed out on some key womb time.

It's why my babies had trouble nursing - they had not learned the important suck-swallow-breathe mechanism that comes ... wait for it ... in the last month of gestation.

It's why my babies came out with a layer of thick dark hair all over them. That stuff sheds off ... wait for it ... in the last month-plus of gestation.

I have come to think about it this way: if I was told I had a biology course from September to May and that I would have a final exam on all material covered in those months, but then I was out sick the whole month of May, well, I would not have as much information or knowledge as someone who was in school the month of May. I'm not dumber. I just missed some key learning time. And, likely, it would take me more time to try to learn the stuff on my own than by being taught it in a classroom of peers. The metaphor kind of falls apart at the "of peers" statement except that I did carry twins. Ha!

Anyway, I am now totally ok with adjusting. My girls are still hitting most milestones right when a full term baby hits them, but I don't expect them to, and I certainly do not expect them to be where my friends' 41 and 42 week babies are (one is standing on her own at 11 months and about to walk).

That's all!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Added a "Twins (or more) blogs!" list

Being a twin mom (or a mom to more than twins!) can be very isolating. And I suspect it is very different from being a mom to a singleton (at least that is what I have noticed). Having two babies often means being less willing / able / brave to go places. Breastfeeding two babies means never (at least I never do it!) breastfeeding in public because I always tandem breastfeed. So while I get out of the house each and every day, I take walking trips and schedule the trips between meals. We go tons of places because we live very urban, but we are always home for the next meal. It will be that way until I am done breastfeeding.

As such, I don't go to restaurants and to the mall or for a walk along the riverfront with friends who have one baby.

So it can be isolating.

And having twins *usually* means they came a bit (if not a lot) early so it's hard to stop comparing their developmental milestones with those of a singleton who was full term or even a week or two late (it makes a different, I have noticed, and plan on blogging about that later).

Anyway, I started a blog list of blogs written by moms (or dads!) of multiples. I've added a bunch but if you follow my blog and don't see yours there, please stick it in the comment section so I can add it.

I am very very very outspoken amongst moms of multiples I know here that we need each other because of how damn crazy it is to have more than one baby. I think it would be great to have an online list of other twin moms, even if it's just to check in online and read a blog of someone else doing what you're doing!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Breastfeeding. Is. HARD!

We took so many classes preparing for these babies. We took infant CPR. We took a 4-night class on childbirth that talked about breastfeeding. We took a twins-specific class that talked about breastfeeding twins / multiples.

At none of these classes - and both the childbirth class and the twins class were taught by lactation consultants - and NONE of these classes did anyone ever mention how. damn. HARD. breastfeeding is.

Sure, at one of the childbirth classes a woman asked about having an alcoholic drink while breastfeeding. She mentioned "should I pump and dump" as part of her question.

The response: No, as long as you don't feel tipsy, you're fine to breastfeed.

Do you want to know what the response *should* have been??

First of all, fireworks and party streamers should have shot out of the lactation consultant's ass.

Then, from atop her speaking pedestal, she should have said:


This response should have been followed by:

BREASTFEEDING IS HARD. Really REALLY REALLY hard. You know those movies you see where beautiful women have their beautiful babies brought to them for a quick and easy latch and a full meal immediately? Well, that probably won't happen.

Instead, you'll have one or more of the following happen. Not necessarily all at once, and not necessarily at the beginning. But you probably will deal with one or more of the following:

--- raw, sore nipples
--- bleeding nipples
--- thrush (on your nipples and / or in baby's mouth)
--- tongue tie / lip tie (baby's condition, easily fixable but often overlooked)
--- low supply / no supply
--- preemie who is too sleepy to latch and / or suck hard
--- preemie who hasn't learned how to suck / swallow / breathe yet
--- a fussy baby who can't deal with either (1) your low supply or (2) your fast flow so s/he chokes
--- food allergies with your baby so s/he is literally allergic to your breast milk (and you will have to cut out almost everything in your diet to slowly add it back in to hopefully see what the problem is)

If you have low supply and you want to build it up, you'll have to do something like this (if you're hard core about it, which I was):

Step 1: nurse baby
Step 2: supplement baby (with bottle of formula or previously-pumped liquid gold)
Step 3: pass baby off to someone or leave baby sleeping while you furiously pump after every. fucking. nursing session.
Step 4: repeat. repeat. repeat.

You get it.

If you're lucky, which I was, your body will respond to the message you're desperately trying to send and you will start to produce more. But it doesn't happen overnight. I was pumping 8-10 times a day since day 1 and it wasn't until week 6 or 7 that I was producing enough breast milk to feed both babies.

Many women, however, are not so lucky. They sweat and cry and perhaps bleed trying to get more milk but it never happens.

And nobody mentioned this to me: as a final punch to the gut on its way out of dodge, infertility can cause problems with breastfeeding and supply. Mother f'er!

This question was asked at most classes: "Who plans on breastfeeding?" Most, if not all (this is Portland, Oregon after all!), women raised their hands. You know what should have come next?

Same fireworks and streamers, same pedestal. Then: WELL YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO.

Or you might get so upset and stressed that you quit after a short period of time.

And even if you are so diligent about breastfeeding and pumping, you might STILL have to become best friends with Gerber or Similac or some other formula company because you will need it.

I have mentioned it here before. I threatened to quit breastfeeding no less than 6 times a day, probably more, the first few weeks. The monotony of it. The regularity of it. The stress of it. The only reason I am still - at almost 8 months post partum - breastfeeding is that my darling husband helped me / urged me / pushed me to continue. He had a right to express what he wanted for his babies, and it was that they get breast milk.

I am glad I continued.

Even still, though, some days I cannot wait to quit and think I'll quit tomorrow / next week / next month / when I go back to work on September 2. Other days, I think "oh, I can totally do this until they're 2 years old."

People. Breastfeeding is a total mindfuck and chances are your insurance company will NOT cover an in-home lactation consultant's support.

That said, if you have the funds (or if you don't, ask for it at your showers / from your family), get an in-home lactation consultant to come in.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Travling with infants - in bullet form

Started this MONTHS ago. Don't want to bother finishing it now so am publishing it.

Here are some thoughts about traveling with infants. We took our 6 week 1 day old infants from Portland to Australia and back again. Total, they each took 10 flights, the longest which was 12 1/2 hours, the shortest was 1 hour.

  • pack as LIGHTLY as you can for the airplane - seriously, you do not want to have to deal with more than you need. Check as much, even if it costs you extra.
  • planning on pumping on the flight? Get a window seat if you can so you get extra privacy. Wear a cardigan or button down shirt that you can use as a shield and put on backwards over your pump equipment once you're set up. And put your pump bag on the tray table for extra privacy.
  • bring a SMALL cooler bag and ask the flight attendants for ice.
  • stay hydrated. Drink way more than you need. Tell the flight attendants that you're nursing and will be bothering them for water constantly, could they please just give you a bottle. I was given so many bottles of water (and I still got horribly dehydrated - which made my milk supply take a hit).
  • bring packages of electrolytes to add to your water - will help with hydration.
  • using a wrap to carry your baby? Reconsider the Moby. It's awesome, but it takes so much space and time to put on properly. Most airlines will make you take baby out of the Moby and into a baby seatbelt. And international airports won't let you walk through security with baby in a wrap (the US airports DO allow you to go through with baby in a wrap that has no metal on it). The Ergo works as does the BabyHawk MeiTai. 
  • consider offering to buy your seatmate a drink. The person will probably decline, but good will is offered and the person will be nice to you.
  • remember that most everyone on the plane is a stranger you'll never see again so if your baby is crying or fussy, who the F cares! Worry about calming your baby and ignore any bad looks you get. If someone says something stupid to you like "can't you stop your baby from crying?" respond with "don't you think I would if I could?" Fortunately, we didn't have to deal with this at all because our babies did not cry even once, but I was fully prepared to go mama bear on any dumb ass.
  • stupid US airlines don't allow families to board early. So consider paying extra to get priority boarding and extra leg room. It'll be worth it!
  • Going through customs somewhere? Both when we entered Australia and re-entered the US, we found someone with authority and said "we have ___ week old twins. We'd rather them not be exposed to all these germs and this long wait. Can you please help us get to the front of the line?" Both times, we were escorted to the VERY front of the looooong line and got through immigration in about 10 minutes total. Again, go mama / papa bear.
  • Are you nursing? If you are, or even if you aren't / don't want to in public, bring a pacifier to help baby on the ascent and descent.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The first few weeks

This is rather late, given that our babies are 7 1/2 months old, but I wanted to write about the first few weeks of being home with newborn twins. It. Was. CRAZY. Seriously. Neither hubby nor I really remember those first few weeks. We've talked about "what was it like?" or "were we really awake that much?" and we settle on "I don't remember, but it was nuts."

Our girls were 4 weeks early and even though we were blessed with big babies (5 pounds 9 ounces for baby A and 6 pounds 4 ounces or baby B) and NO nicu time needed, they were still preemie babies. Our lactation consultant had us on a grueling schedule: feed them every 2 1/2 hours. And she had them on a very limited amount because babies that tiny don't need tons of food. Each feed took us over an hour (I nursed for about 20 minutes, with or without the SNS, and then we did bottles. I would then pump for 15 or so minutes, sometimes longer, to "send a message to my body that more milk was needed." At first, I would get 15 ccs. Over time, I had enough that my babies were entirely breast milk fed, and by about 8 weeks, I had some leftover at the end of the day that stayed in the fridge. I never ever got to freezing my own milk, but I was proud to have entirely breast milk fed twins.

So, back to the schedule. Most times, because they were preemie, we'd wake them up for a feed. And have to keep them awake for a feed (tickle them, blow on them, strip them of clothes so they weren't too warm). We had live-in help for the first 8 weeks in the form of grandparents.

I rented a scale so I knew how much the babies were transferring and I'd know how much to supplement them by way of a bottle (of formula at the beginning or breast milk over time). Each baby would get weighed, then a grandparent would  pass me one baby, then another. Using the nipple shields, I'd get them both latched. They'd nurse for as long as we'd let them, but only efficiently for the first 10 minutes we learned (the scale told us a lot of things). Then a grandparent and my hubby would take a baby and I'd get a few minutes off. Then I'd start the pumping process. And this is where amnesia set in. I don't remember what else happened. I don't remember when I napped or when I showered or when I ate. The same applies for every adult in the house: when did we do these self-care things?

The nights were tough. The babies were still eating ever 2 1/2 to 3 hours hours. From day 1, they slept in their nursery, in one co-sleeper. They were swaddled and tucked up next to each other. We were too nervous leaving them in there alone, so one adult slept in there with them at all times. We took shifts. My hubby usually took the shift from 9pm to about 1am. My mum would help him with the feed just before she went to bed, that would end around 10pm. Then hubby would sleep in there with them on camping pads on the floor. He'd wake me up for their feed that happened around 1am. We'd feed them together (I'd nurse then we'd bottle together) and then he would shuffle off to bed. He'd sleep through until about 8am. I would take the shift from 2am to about 5am, at which point, my mother would wake up. She'd help with that feed and then I would shuffle off to bed to sleep until about 8am or so. She'd sit up with the babies (it was her time to sit with them either in their co-sleeper or on her lap and she'd watch tv on her iPad). Then the day would start over again. It. Was. Nuts.

We had a meal train for the first 6 weeks (until we left for Australia) and there were days when (1) we'd get to dinner time and panic because we didn't know what to make, forgetting entirely that we had meal train. We were just that tired that we didn't remember meal train. Or, (2) someone would show up with a meal and we would not expect them because we had no idea that it was dinner time. The days just slipped away, blending into each other. They were each a patchwork of individual minutes somehow loosely sewed together to appear to be a day.

I cried so much those first few weeks. And I threatened to quit breastfeeding so so so much (another post on breastfeeding coming your way). The hormones from giving birth was raging and the sleep deprivation (the same thing that causes people to admit to heinous crimes they never committed and the same tactic used against prisoners of war) was overwhelming. And then there was the feeling of gratitude of being a new mom along with the feeling of sadness to my friends still in the infertility trenches. Slowly, my hormones got under control and I stopped threatening to quit breastfeeding. The ONLY reason I continued breastfeeding (and still AM breastfeeding) is my husband. He urged me to continue, one meal at a time. I did. It was hard. We fought. I pushed him for making me feel pushed. But in the long run, I am glad I continued. Breastfeeding is not for everyone, but for us, it is good.

The first few weeks home, my hubby was paranoid of all things dirt / dust. We live with two cats and a dog, so pet hair is inevitable. He had my mother (because she had free hands more than the two of us) on a rather grueling cleaning schedule. She did love it, but it was overwhelming to me so eventually, I put a stop to it. She vacuumed probably twice a day and mopped the floors every day. We were doing baby laundry twice a day (now I do it every couple of days and we use a lot more items so twice daily was too much - but we didn't know it at the time). There was a list of daily chores that needed to be done, including feeding / watering the chickens, walking the dog, feeding the  cats / the dog, changing the cat litter. Rarely did we get to the store for more than a few items and we relied on the generosity of friends and loved ones to bring us dinner - so we got at least one decent meal a day.

Then there were the bottles, nipple shields, SNS tubes and the pump parts. A never-ending mound of plastic and silicone that grew in the kitchen until someone brave tackled it. The pump parts got changed every few hours / pumps. The nipple shields got washed after every use, as did the bottles.

My mother was a true blessing. Whenever I turned around, before I knew I needed it, she had a snack (almonds, apple slices with peanut butter, cheese and crackers) waiting for me as well as a GIANT bottle of ice water. I certainly was well proteined and well hydrated!

There were a few changing of the guards - my mother was with us from their birth on November 18 through Thanksgiving, at which point my hubby's dad and step-mom arrived for 5 days. Then my mother came back through December 26. My hubby's mom and step-dad arrived on Christmas day and stayed through New Years. We then left for Australia, where my dad and step-mum picked up the responsibilities. We got home at the end of January and for the first time in almost 10 weeks, were home alone with the babies.

We never ever ever could have gotten through those first 10 weeks without live-in help. To anyone reading this who is expecting multiples, consider having live-in help. The more-than-one-baby thing is just NUTS at first.

By the time 10 weeks rolled around, we were grateful for the time to ourselves.

And then we missed the help and thankfully, grandparents and uncles / aunts made long weekend trips to visit. For the most part, that meant good breaks for us. Someone else held babies while we (mainly me) had time without being touched. Time to shower a long showed without the door open to hear babies. Time to walk the dog without worrying about being gone too long.

People have often said - and I say to my friend with triplets - "I don't know how you do it." But for us, it was all we knew. These are our first babies, so we have never done the new parent thing with one baby. We have nothing to compare it to, so we just did what we had to do. And I suspect that is what parents of triplets / quads or parents with toddlers and then twins do - just do what they have to do. We had no choice but to get through each and every day. Each and every hour. Each and every feed. Each and every minute. And get through it we did.

At almost 8 months postpartum, we have beautiful, healthy, thriving babies. They are hitting milestones and growing and changing on a daily basis. Whenever we see our pediatrician, she remarks "they are just perfect." We certainly think so.

Life is much calmer now. For the most part, we have a schedule. It's still a rigorous one that involves multiple feeds a day, naps, bedtime, bathing two babies, playtime, starting solids But it works and it's our life and we love it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

I'm baaaack!

Sometime in February, I think it was, I spilled water on the keyboard of our 2007 Mac laptop. It sizzled and hissed and I knew it was over. Our faithful computer was dead. I maaaay have been holding a baby at the time and I maaaay have been distracted. Oops! Well, this 4th of July weekend we finally replaced our laptop. We have iPhones and iPads at home so we weren't really in the dark ages this long, but I certainly did miss a real keyboard. Typing a blog entry on an iPad or iphone - especially with newborn twins - was just NOT going to work for me. So here I am, poised to get back into blogging. I'm not sure where to start, but I know I will get started somewhere, and I'll get started soon.

Thanks for your patience!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

"Could it be your period?" Again!

So many of you blog about your hiatus from your period. Your beloved seven to eleven months period / pad / tampon free. After having a textbook perfect, 28 day cycle since I was about 13, I was ready for my deserved break. But it didn't come!

You'll remember I blogged about calling my healthcare provider from Australia because I thought I was hemorrhaging. The on-call doctor asked "could it be your period?" and stunned me into silence. Had not even thought about that, since I was only 7 weeks post-partum and breastfeeding my babies. Sure, at that point, they weren't both entirely breast fed, but I was breastfeeding and pumping enough and often enough to entirely feed one baby (if I had only one) so I figured my body would know that.

Nope. Period came.

A friend suggested that maybe I wouldn't get another period for a while.

Nope. 27 days later, my period showed up again.

And three weeks after that, it was baaaaaack! I almost worried I was pregnant, due to the intense cramping a few days before hand. I don't get cramping. At least I used not.

Now, 15 1/2 weeks post-partum with two ENTIRELY breastfed babies, my period is threatening (by way of cramping) to come again.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Where oh where do I pump?

I'm keeping a running list of all the unusual places I've pumped. I am firmly committed to breast milk feeding these babies, so I pump wherever and whenever I have to.

Here goes:
  • Flight from San Francisco to Auckland (and return)
  • Flight from Auckland to Melbourne (and return) 
  • Flight from Melbourne to Brisbane (and return)
  • Portland International Airport
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Auckland, New Zealand Airport
  • Melbourne, Australia Airport
  • Brisbane, Australia Airport
  • Gladstone, Australia Airport
  • the back of a BMW
  • the passenger seat of an Audi
  • the driver's seat of my Subaru
  • the backseat of my Subaru
  • walking down the street pushing my stroller after my OB appointment (I looked like Madonna in the late 90s with a crazy pointed bra!) (my favorite on this list!)
  • in bed
  • in my bathroom
  • on the floor in my living room while the babies do kick and tummy time
  • at my dining room table (while typing this up!)
  • the bathtub
And recently:

  • my office at work
  • an unused jury room in the courthouse I work in

Thursday, February 6, 2014

DE - from the other side

It was suggested to me by a friend and fellow blogger that I write a blog post about donor eggs from the "other side." Now that I have donor egg babies, how do I feel?

The answer is simple: like a mommy.

Most moments - scratch that, 99.9% of moments - I don't even think about them being donor egg babies. It just doesn't come up in my mind or my heart or my soul. These are my babies. My body grew them and birthed them. My body recovered from the 9 month experience (scratch that: the FOUR YEAR experience). My body feeds them. And they gaze up into my eyes and smile and coo and fall asleep, my body cherishes them. These are my daughters, no doubt about it. And when people tell me "they have your eyes" (because, honestly, they do!), my heart sings. When my own mother told me that they look like me, we both almost cried. That they don't have my DNA is simply a technicality, not worthy of much thought. This process helped me realize that making a baby takes more than just having sex and converging DNA. It takes daily consideration for what mom eats while growing baby (and, for me, it was really intense because of the single placenta and TTTS risk). It takes careful planning and attention to detail. It takes love and patience and longing. DNA is, thanks to modern medicine, an afterthought. And, thanks to epigenetics, these babies have more of me than I used to think possible. My body was responsible for switching on and off certain genomes. My body made and grew these babies, and it did it well. My body responds to their needs and as of about a month ago, they are both 100% breas milk fed babies.

As I sit here, typing this between spells of checking on sleeping babies, with the Portland snow storm happening outside our beautiful front picture window, my last day of FMLA leave being tomorrow and my first day of official "leave of absence" until September (read: unemployment!) begins Monday, you know what I am NOT thinking about? Well, you know. My heart is full, my family is complete, my life is amazing, and my babies are as mine as they could ever be.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Almost 11 weeks have passed

Finding time to do anything for myself, let along blog, is really hard with newborn twins. That said, we managed to fly to Australia with them! They got their 6 week inoculations and we boarded a plane the next day. My whole family is from Australia and my grandma was very sick. It has been a dream of mine for 4 years to the month that she would get to meet great grandbabies. Realizing we didn't have much time, we decided to do the unthinkable - and take the babies to Australia. They met her and 10 days later, she died. It was remarkable and I cannot help but think that the universe helped a little and the babies knew they had to come early and be healthy. Had they come on their due date or even been only 2 weeks early as opposed to 4 weeks, I'm just not sure my grandma could have held on.

The babies were AMAZING and didn't cry once the whole time. Seriously, I'm not kidding. And they didn't get so much as a cold or cough. Tough little suckers!

What else? Oh, the babies are entirely breastmilk fed! I am really proud of that. They don't transfer great from the breast, so I do what is known as the "triple feed" - nurse them, then bottle feed them what I pumped the previous time, then pump for the next feed. My mantra is two fold: "this is only temporary" and "my friends still in the trenches would kill for this opportunity." I actually love it and love feeding them, as exhausting as it is.

My hubby went back to work this week and it has been actually really enjoyable. I like having the day entirely to myself to schedule and do as things come up. Being in Australia (read: summer!) gave us the confidence to get outside with the babies daily. Now that we're home, I've committed to getting out for a long walk once a day. So far, it has happened and I feel great!

What else? Oh, I called my on call provider from Australia because I was bleeding suddenly a few days after arriving in Australia. I worried I was hemorrhaging. I explained my symptoms and the doc said "are you sure it's not your period?" There was radio silence on my end. Neither my hubby nor I (nor my family I confided in) had even considered that! I was only 7 weeks post partum and nursing two babies! Turns out my body really likes to recover quickly. Was it my period? I wondered until this week when, 26 days later, IT CAME AGAIN!

Apparently my body and nature think I can handle another baby?! God forbid I was a fertile (who had time for sex!) and I might have three under one year old. EEK! Fortunately, I have little to zero chance of that happening.

OK, babies just woke up from their nap with their dad. Gotta go!