Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Help and Support

Lets talk about support. I have been in the hospital now for 4 weeks straight! In those 4 weeks I have never received more offers of help in my life! Between my military family, most of which I barely know very well, offering to care for my daughter and come to the hospital to keep me company to my parents and Joe's parents dropping everything to come to my house and help clean and maintain it and care for Adrianna (and feed my husband). I am so very lucky to have such a great support system. Some of my friends have even come to the hospital just to chat for a few hours, how nice to have regular girl talk :)

Anyway, as my time being pregnant comes close to ending I have started to think about what life will be like with 3 kids 3 and under....two of which will be newborns. I am never one that likes to ask for help. I actually really hate asking for help unless I really need to, emergency situations and such. I am pretty sure that is why I ended up on hospital bed rest, I didn't ask for help nor did I listen to my body when it would tell me to slow down. I would go food shopping and think "it should be fine to carry all of these bags in myself, it is only a few steps away." You guys, I even carried cases of water 2 weeks before going into preterm labor! That did happen, and I should have never done that. We wont talk about other things I did throughout my pregnancy because, well...my OB has a facebook and I am afraid she will read this ;). Point is, I should have asked for or accepted help when offered. As moms, I feel like we grade ourselves on that kind of shit, "I raised 4 kids and I never needed help and I home-schooled, home birthed and my kids never watch TV and I still nurse my toddler who latched on from the moment they were born." Just because I don't do these things doesn't mean I am less of a mother. I am perfectly perfect for my kids and my husband.  I have learned the hard way that help is nothing to be ashamed of. I am making it a point to accept help once the twinkies (I'm back to calling them twinkies, I am not mad at them anymore for misbehaving lol) arrive. My mom has been with Adrianna for about 4 weeks while I have been in the hospital and my MIL is here for about 1 week to give my mom a break. Once the twinkies are here, my mom will be back for maybe a week or so then it is just Joe and I until June 26th....then my 16 y/o cousin is coming in from out of town to be the relief. She will be helping me with everything, mainly keeping Adrianna company while we are tending to the twinkies and prepping our house for the move to VA in the middle of July. I am so glad to have all of this help. I am sure if we need my MIL or mother at any point they will gladly drop what they are doing and come our way. I don't anticipate needing meals made or anything like my wonderful military community likes to do, but I will not be turning away any form of help. I am done feeling bad for looking "weak" because I can't be supermom and handle it all on my own. This includes my feelings after birth.

With Adrianna, I had more than just the baby blues. I was down right depressed for a period of time. I did a great job faking it, but I had never felt more alone than I did during her first 6 months or so. I would cry throughout the day, had no motivation to do anything (I would force myself to tidy up the house but I never really went anywhere for 3-4 months), I couldn't sleep at night because I thought for sure Adrianna would stop breathing if I wasn't alert and attentive to her. It was miserable. Once she hit about 5-6 months I did some research and found a mommy and me gym class called Little Gym and it was seriously my saving grace! For the first time as a new mom I interacted with other new moms going through the same hardships of raising a newborn, it was fantastic. I will never forget the first time I brought Adrianna to a restaurant for lunch by myself. She was about 6.5 months old and it was after a little gym class, we went to Panera together and I juggled pushing the stroller around people and tables and getting my food/finding a table. It was hard and exhausting but felt so good once I settled in. Since that day, I began taking Adrianna out to run errands with me. They weren't always smooth, she once threw up EVERYWHERE at a Starbucks, pooped all up her back and on a shopping cart at a Target, I mean it was hard! But it felt good when I was able to accomplish what I need to during the day all while juggling a baby. Now, I am faced with twins. Will I have the same feelings again? Am I going to cry all day long, be stuck at home or stay up all night obsessing over their breathing? Chances are, that may happen again. I don't want it to but it probably will. I have had so much anxiety throughout this whole pregnancy. Now during my hospital stay I have the worst thoughts run through my mind...scary morbid thoughts. What if I die during labor, how will Adrianna handle not having me around forever? What if one of the babies die, will Adrianna keep asking for the other baby because she is so used to there being two babies in my belly? Will one be sick? Will one have Downs? Are the nurses sure they are getting two different babies when they check the heartbeats every night? Why do I think this way??? It is so frustrating because I feel out of control when these thoughts enter my mind, I feel like I can't breath or I just cry myself to sleep. It isn't healthy. So I suspect I will be just as anxious when the twinkies are home with me. Difference is, I will NOT be afraid to ask for help. I will tell the pediatrician the truth when she asks me how I am feeling (she would ask me multiple times whenever I brought Adrianna in to see her and I would lie every time). I will be honest with my OB when asked how I am handling things. I will talk to my husband more about these feelings and not try to hide them, there is nothing to be ashamed of. I hope I can resolve these feelings without medication. I hope that once the babies I will be so over the moon happy there will be no room for these crazy irrational thoughts and feelings. I will be paying more attention to caring for myself as well as them though, healthy me equals better mommy for them, all 3 of my babies :)

BTW, eviction date for the twinkies....JUNE 5TH!!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Still Here....Preterm Labor Day 20

Still pregnant. And I suppose I should be happy about that. I am, but my being stuck in this hospital is altering my thoughts on this. I don't know what it is about being stuck in the hospital that makes you think delusional things, like it would totally ok for your baby(ies) to be born at 31 weeks because technology and modern medicine can keep them healthy. I might sound like a horrible mom when I, at this very moment, pray that my water breaks and we can just get the ball rolling with this labor and delivery thing...at 33 weeks gestation that I am right now. The truth is, I need for my babies to be as healthy as possible which means not delivering until closer to 37 weeks. The ugly truth is that I pray my water breaks every time I go to the bathroom so we can get the ball rolling on this delivery and I can meet my babies and get on with my normal life. Don't call me selfish and don't judge. If you have never been stuck in a hospital in "preterm labor" not able to leave you will never know the agony....if you have gone past your due date you might have an idea of what I am feeling...minus the fact that my babies will be premature and require a NICU stay. Honestly, this blows. I am trying to keep positive but I am slowly losing my mind. I am trying not to give up but I am reaching my breaking point. I woke up this morning though and was surprised to see my belly, not because I forgot I was pregnant but because it was significantly bigger than it was on Monday.
Monday. The smile is fake you guys. I cried in the shower that morning
This morning. See, I'm not kidding you guys! It's not pretty. 
How much more can my poor belly stretch! Actually, I am kind of curious.

Not much has changed since my last update. I am sitting at 33 weeks 5 days (or 6 or 4 depending on who you speak to here) and am still 5-6 cm dilated with absolutely no change whatsoever. Nothing. Not even braxton hicks. My ultrasound this week showed improvement in baby A's fluid levels which is actually fantastic news. I have been worried about her. With her placenta failing and her fluid levels low I was worried something might happen to her. Both babies look fantastic in their non-stress tests, NST, (a test where they strap you up to a monitor, listen and track the fetal heart rates for accels and leveling out during active periods of movement and look for decels or for contractions and reaction to contractions). They have me doing an NST every day to make sure they remain as healthy as possible and they always look fantastic on the monitor. It is reassuring to say the least. My next ultrasound is a growth scan, which they do every two weeks, where they will measure the approximate weights of the babies. I am anxious because if baby A has not grown much, which is likely, they might not let me be pregnant much longer. I am not even sure what to feel. Ready to be done, scared for my tiny little baby, nervous. I don't know. This all goes down this coming Monday so either things will remain the same or I might be blogging some crazy birth story soon. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

10 Things I will NOT miss about pregnancy

I hoped and prayed for this pregnancy. I longed for that positive pregnancy test. As I near the end and get ready to meet the twins soon I can't stop thinking of the things I will not miss about pregnancy, or maybe specifically this pregnancy.

10. Constant peeing. I have had a personal relationship with the toilet and toilet paper since about 10 weeks along. The big difference between this pregnancy and my pregnancy with Adrianna was that I stopped having the urge to pee every hour around the second trimester. I still get up about every half hour now to pee. It's annoying

9. Hunger. Sounds funny but I am tired of being hungry all.the.time. I hate having to cook food for myself 5-6 times a day, not like I make big meals each time but even making a sandwich gets tedious after a while. I always have to make sure I eat before I go anywhere instead of just winging it like I usually do. Annoying

8. Sleep Issues. Whether it is lack of sleep or feeling sleepy, it really interferes with your daily life. Poor Adrianna has to deal with a lethargic mommy all day and poor Joe has to deal with a talkative wife all night because there are very important topics to discuss at 2am...like nursery decor, boiling bottles etc. haha.

7. Waddling. You know, the pregnancy waddle.Even if I don't want to waddle, the pressure I feel on my hips forces me to do so. And most of the time I get the pity look from anyone that watches me waddle while walking with Adrianna...strangers just make an "aww poor you" face and it's awkward.

6. Pubic Bone Pain. I had never experienced this with Adrianna but boy is it painful. Let me explain...the pubic bone is really two bones on each side that meet in the middle and during pregnancy gets soft and ready to separate during child birth. Totally normal. Except for some women, the softening happens too early and the bones are very soft and begin separating a tiny bit way before delivery. The minute I hit 20 weeks this pain began and let me tell you; when you have to brace yourself to walk up stairs, turn over in bed, or even worse put on pants because the pain is unbearable, you long for the days where you felt normal and never had aches like this.

5. Anxiety. I have been nervous about this pregnancy since the moment I found out I was pregnant. It got worse when we found out we were expecting twins. I had a hard time feeling happy about my pregnancy and I tried really hard to enjoy this special time. I would blog, take pictures of my growing belly, but even though the positive comments were good to read from friends on social media like Facebook or Instagram, none made me feel happy. I figured if I expose my pregnancy to the world that it would feel more real in my mind. It didn't really work out that way but I am so glad I have documented so many details of this pregnancy. I prayed to hit the 12 week mark. I prayed to hit viability at 24 weeks, I prayed to hit 30 weeks and here I am now praying that they are healthy enough to be born soon since I am on hospital bed rest and baby A is not growing so well. I am currently praying baby A makes it through all of this scary unknown. I hate unknowns. I trust my OB, she reassures me that baby A is doing well and that she would not let anything happen to her. I have to let go and trust in others and in God, I have had to do this throughout the whole pregnancy and I am ready to stop being anxious.

4. All of the attention. Not from friends and family, more so the attention from strangers. People I don't know feel the need to comment on how I must be ready to pop, on how my daughter is going to be jealous, on how I shouldn't be lifting this or doing that, how twins are so hard and double the work and how I will be super busy blah blah blah. All of this coming from friends and family is not annoying, this coming from strangers is annoying. One other thing is also just being the center of attention within my family as well. I love how much they care and how happy they all are but I have always hated being the center of attention in a baby shower, heck I hated that feeling during my own wedding! I'm just a fairly shy person, though most people don't see that about me. I try to work through my shyness and I force myself into social situations where there are people I may not know. I am much less shy than I was a number of years ago.

3. All of the doctor appointments! I see an OB, endocrinologist, nutritionist, get lab work done monthly and sometimes twice a month, maternal fetal medicine (high risk OB) and all of these range from every two weeks to every month. Sometimes I have appointments with one of these every week and end up at an appointment 2-3 times a week for a full month. It is a lot to handle. Plus, I have to take Adrianna along most times. She behaves pretty well but it is a lot of work. Especially if one of these appointments is early in the morning, like at 8am. I am ready to be done seeing a doctor for myself. I know my babies will have a ton of appointments in their first few weeks and months but I can handle that....I think.

2. Feeling BIG! I can't get off the couch without rolling off first, tie my shoes or put on my socks without help or a huge struggle, stand for long periods of time, talk without getting out of breath (yes talking makes me have to catch my breath), walk for long periods of time, eat without feeling sooooo full almost immediately, shave comfortably in the shower (worst thing ever! some parts I can't even reach, yikes!), even trying to wipe after using the bathroom is near impossible (don't worry, I make every attempt to do this successfully and I haven't failed yet lol). It makes you feel helpless. My belly is much bigger than with Adrianna so these things are much more noticeable. I am on bed rest currently because of preterm labor, I am pretty sure it is because my uterus is so big my body is confused and thinks I am full term.

1. The number one thing I will not miss about being pregnant is....I don't really have one. I realize that all of the things I listed are horrible and have made these past 8 months hard and uncomfortable. The truth is, I WILL miss being pregnant. I feel like I have been jipped(sp?) because I will never experience a full term pregnancy, or an 8 lb baby, or the feeling of having a baby placed right on your chest right after that last excruciating push. Ok, many of you who have experienced the 8 lb baby and going past your due date must think I am crazy but I promise you...if you ever experience pregnancy ending sooner than expected you will know just how it feels to miss not having a baby in you when you thought you had just a few more weeks of kicks and jolts within left....a few more weeks just you and your baby and you don't have to share them. It is so much easier to care for a baby within than to care for them when they are born, at least that is my opinion. I may be done with this pregnancy mentally, so over bed rest and ready to meet my twinkies, but a part of me is very sad that it went by so fast and I don't feel like I got the chance to fully savor my last pregnancy ever. This will likely be the last time I will experience growing a life from within. I will, however, continue to plead my case to my husband because I am crazy enough to be contemplating a #4 even though #2&3 aren't even here yet. I LOVE to HATE being pregnant. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eventful few days

I just wanted to jot down some of what has happened in the last few days. It has been a crazy turn of events, I could never imagine this would be the way my Monday morning would begin.

Lets start with the week of April 22nd. We were preparing for our last trip to NY so I was busy cleaning a bit, running errands and packing. We were due to leave on that Wednesday. On Tuesday I decided I would go to Target to do a little shopping for my hospital bag...ya know, just in case I went into labor while in NY. It was my biggest fear. I stocked up on essentials and later that night packed everything in my overnight bag along with a baby picture of Adrianna, so I could compare her to her sisters when they are born...like going down memory lane :) The week and weekend came and went without much excitement. On Sunday my nephew had his first birthday party and we were also due to go home the same day. During the party, where I spent most of the day sitting, I had a couple of really painful contractions. They were a little unnerving but I refused to let anyone know I was in pain. I did not want to go to the hospital in NY, besides I had an appointment with my MFM doctor the next day. I made through the car ride home without anymore contractions, well I had some but they were about 15-20 minutes apart and didn't hurt at all...more like Braxton Hicks. That night we arrived home late and after unpacking the car we promptly collapsed on our nice comfy bed. We did take my mom with us, considering I was told that I should start taking it easy and I needed help with Adrianna. At around 1AM I began to cough, choking on my own stomach acid (always wonderful) and then it happened...I threw up all over my bathroom! I aimed for the bath tub, don't ask. After cleaning I fell asleep and woke up around 6AM with stomach pain. It was more muscle pain than anything, understandable since I blew chunks the night before. I ate breakfast, did a little craft shopping and headed to my MFM appointment.

I had my scan, nothing out of the ordinary. It took about 2 hours which always happens when I have scans. It is hard to get two babies to cooperate in an ultrasound! After my scan I always have an internal cervical scan to check the length of my cervix. When I saw the numbers on the screen, I knew it was not good news. The doctor comes in and talks a little about how baby A is still measuring a little smaller than her sister and how she has lower fluid levels as well. The doctor mentioned that my cervix was measuring smaller than the previous week and asked if I had been having contractions. I said yes. She decided it would be best to send me to labor and delivery so I could be monitored for a few hours just in case. Well, thank goodness she decided to do that! When I arrived at L&D, I was put on monitors, given water and told to just hang tight. After a few minutes the doctor came in to check my cervix for any change since my cervical length was short. I was one fingertip dilated, barely 1 cm. About a half an hour went by and I was feeling contractions. They were about 10-15 minutes apart and were a little painful. The nurse would come in and would ask whether or not I was having a contraction, kind of like testing me, and I was right every time. They decided to check me again and I was 1-2 cm dilated! My OB was called and told that I was dilating. She said she would come in and check me in about an hour. In the mean time I was given an IV and was drinking more water as well. Still contracting, this time more like every 7-10 minutes. By the time my OB arrived and checked me I was 3 cm dilated! This was way more progress than they were comfortable with! I am only 31 weeks and their NICU doesn't care for babies younger than 32 weeks. It was then that the decision was made to take me by ambulance to Tufts Medical Center in Boston in case I delivered the babies that night.

The ambulance ride was quite interesting. It was like feeling helpless and defenseless. I appreciate all the work EMT and paramedics do, it is a scary job! There was a new guy on the ambulance training and he was being quizzed while we were on our way to Boston. He was asked what the first major concern would be if I had to deliver my twins in the ambulance. That poor 22 year old's face went pale white, it was kind of funny (only because I most certainly was not in danger of delivering on the ambulance). Apparently the correct answer would be that they would need to call for two more ambulances because they don't have the capacity to care for 3 humans out of one ambulance. Good to know. Well we arrived at Tufts and I was taken to a dark and scary L&D room where I was quickly settled and given 2 mL drip of magnesium sulfate (a strong muscle relaxer) to try and stop contractions. It was not working! I was contracting every 5 minutes and was at this point 5-6 cm dilates and 50% effaced with +1 presentation (head of baby A was right at my cervix)! Scary!!! My drip was upped to 2.5 (I could barely see straight) and prep was being done to deliver me. I was going to have these babies that night at the rate I was going. After an hour I actually began to contract less. It became less and less until finally I only felt slight tightening, sort of like the BH I was having that did not really call for concern. My labor was successfully stopped overnight, at 5-6 cm dilated. Amazing. This is where I am now...this far dilated, +3 station (Baby A's head is way back up into the uterus) and still about 50% effaced (thinned out). I was taken off of the magnesium drip last night at around 5pm. It really wont have much of an affect on stopping labor progression any more at this point and since it makes you feel horrible (heart palpitations, nasal drip, hot flashes, constipation  possible fluid in lungs, inability to eat or walk well, nausea) it makes no sense to continue being on the medicine. If I go into labor before 32 weeks again they will start it again only because apparently it has a positive effect on baby brain development when faced with pre term delivery. I was also given 2 steroid shots to help mature the lungs of the babies, which I am now past the 24 hour window of its fullest effect. This means that I have officially done all I can do to give my babies the best chance of a healthy start to life. I have met some wonderful nurses in my short stay here and have even heard two babies being born. Made me cry of course. I was moved to an ante-partum room where I am able to shower, move around freely and watch TV. I can't leave the L&D floor or walk around the halls because of how far dilated I am. I also will likely not be sent home if I don't have contractions because the chances of me lasting more than a week at the point I am in is very extremely rare. I am upset that my OB cannot deliver me. I am upset I can't deliver at Winchester Hospital. I am upset that the nurses and doctors I feel most comfortable with, the main reason we wanted to have another baby while stationed here at Hanscom, will in fact not be caring for me in these last few weeks of my pregnancy. This is just another plan from God. A test to see how resilient we are maybe? If we can handle pre-term twins in a setting that is unfamiliar and a little scary we can handle packing, moving to VA, potty training Adrianna, and settling into our new home with the twins in tow with no issues. Please, let this be the last test of our resilience, I don't know how much more we can handle and I don't want to find out. But maybe, hopefully a few weeks out but looks like sometime next week, I will be posting a welcome to the world entry for Victoria and Isabella! Scary, am I ready to be a mother again?