Twin Hijinx

Generally, I post entries about topics that I would never say out loud and certainly not in polite company.  Today is kind of a rant about the difference between a singleton and a multiple pregnancy.  So, feel free to skip it.  It’s just nice to vent a little when you can’t to anyone in real life.

Now, I’ve never been pregnant before.  So I really have no comparison between a singleton and multiple pregnancy.  But I am 42 years old with depression, plantar fasciitis and severe degenerative disc disease in the low back that I’m told cannot be fixed with surgery.  I’ve tried to wean off of the Cymbalta that treats the depression and back pain simultaneously, but was only able to go from 120mg to 60mg before the depression got the best of me – so I’m stuck at 90mg.  This is a bit subtherapeutic for my back, but it’s a sacrifice I feel I need to make for the health of my little men.  So, we were actually happy that on our first chance, it was a multiple pregnancy.  I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this twice…and at an even more advanced age no less.

I’m an idiot.

From the beginning, this pregnancy has been very hard on me.  When it was triplets during the first trimester, the fatigue and nausea were debilitating.  Oh, and don’t forget the nearly daily migraines for which I could not take my beloved Imitrex.  We were so thankful that I had new job where I could sit with my feet up a good amount of the time.  One of  my coworkers recently expressed her amazement at how well I was doing because “we thought you’d be on bedrest by 13 weeks.”  I was living on vitamin B and Unisom, force feeding myself whatever I could choke down.

After I lost the triplet at the end of first trimester/beginning of second trimester, things improved immensely.  I figured I finally entered that golden bliss that was known as second trimester.  Yeah, with multiples, not so much.  Once I could eat again, I realized that the boys had rearranged my internal organs so that my stomach was about 1/5th the size.  So, the reflux, gas and burning of third trimester had already thoroughly established themselves.

Aside from that, the boys have grown very quickly – both consistently measuring larger than the average singleton AND I have consistently measured more than the 6 weeks ahead that twin mothers usually do.  At this point, I am 10 weeks ahead.  Their quick growth has caused a good amount of pain.  A muscle under my right breast separated and my right back ribs are strained to the point of ligament damage.  For a while, I had horrible hip pain from the round ligament stretching, but now it’s due to the relaxin.  So, I can’t sleep on my right, my left, my belly or my back.  I’m about to buy a hover bed…or a magician to levitate me.

As far as physical size, I’ve gained over 40 pounds and have gone from a Medium to an XL and those are starting to get tight.  I’m on my second set of maternity scrubs at work.  I don’t believe they make them in XXL, so I’m kind of SOL.

 

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Two nights ago, I woke up at midnight for…the same thing every pregnant woman wakes up for…and had some significant pain to the right lower abdomen.  I went to the bathroom to verify that there was no bleeding and no fluid leakage, then went back to bed, able to support my belly and minimize the pain.  By 2:30am, the pain was pretty intense.  I went back to the bathroom…nothing.  The pain was constant and I couldn’t straighten up.  It didn’t seem like contractions, but as this is exactly where the placentas lie, and one is low lying, I figured it was time to wake up DH and toddle off to the hospital.  I knew how it would turn out, but felt it was completely irresponsible not to go.

DH dressed in his work clothes, which made me giggle internally.  I knew darn well this would last until way passed the start of work.  Oh, the naivete of the male partner.

In the end, I was diagnosed with dehydration (I looked at my urinalysis, and that is not the case) and contractions (I watched the monitor and I had exactly 2 in the 6 hours I was there).  That was enough to buy me an IV.  Then, some OR staff walked in and asked if I was the one going for C-section.  I’m sure my eyes got comically wide as this was definitely NOT on my plan for today.  I’m scheduled for 4/8 and not a moment sooner, thank you very much.  Yeah, they were in the wrong room.  Not a great confidence builder, in my opinion.

When the doctor came in to discharge me, I asked what was up with this pain I was having.  She blamed it on the growth of the twins and shooed me out.

Oh, and my favorite part was the night nurse nagging me about scratching  my belly.  “Look, you’re making little blood trails.  You don’t want an ugly belly!  You need to use lotion.”  I restrained myself very admirably.  I wanted to scratch her face off.  Number 1, I use cocoa butter twice a day and I use so much, all my clothes and bedding are stained with the stuff.  Number 2, I’m fat and hideous.  What are a few scratches going to do to my bikini modeling career at this point? F-U, woman. F-U.

Well, the pain is still there but less intense.  Oh, and it’s on the left side as well now.  Yet another ligament injury, I suspect, from the rapid growth.  I have NO IDEA how moms of high order multiples do it.  I am so miserable I find myself in the bathroom crying in pain at least 2-3 times a week at work.

So, comments from coworkers that have made me want to turn into a banshee:

  1. I have a reacher for things that I drop because I detest asking people for help.  I have it labeled “Tara’s Reacher” and “Mr. Grabby”…mostly because a coworker handed it to a patient thinking it was her version of a cane.  One of my less-than-subtle coworkers asked why I needed it. “You’re pregnant, not disabled.”  Cue Look of Death.
  2. The same coworker said to me just the other day, “you don’t even look pregnant”.  I beg to differ.  I’ve been wearing an XXL men’s winter coat that masks my body shape and makes me look like I’m a smuggler.  Strangers have commented on my being pregnant WHILE IN THAT COAT.  I’ve had complete strangers touch my belly while in my scrubs and ask about the baby.
  3. The other woman at work who is on her third pregnancy, 2 weeks ahead of me and is carrying twin girls, keeps insisting that she’s bigger than me and I don’t even look pregnant.  I want to tell her that this is because she’s still squeezing into her size S scrubs and, as I mentioned before, I’ve upgraded to an XL that is QUICKLY getting too tight.  I like to hide as much of my figure as I can, especially since I’m now in a 38G bra with extenders.

Why does this bother me?  Probably because it is immensely difficult for me to deal with the reflux, the extreme shortness of breath (especially when baby B crawls up into my ribcage for a nap away from his brother), the overwhelming fatigue that causes me to sleep all day long when I’m at home, the pitting edema to my legs despite the compression stockings I use daily, and the continuous, nagging pain that never goes away and won’t until these little guys are in cribs.  To deal with this, my age and my bad back carrying 40+ pounds extra AND work 10 hour shifts full-time is quite a feat and I feel belittled when told that I don’t even look pregnant.  Plus, I feel like people are comparing my pregnancy to their singleton pregnancies they had when they were younger, fitter and stronger.  I want them to walk a mile in my now size 10 shoes (from 8.5) before they open their mouths.

Or I should just remember my hormones are raging and chill the F out.

 

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26 week milestone

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Today we’re officially 26 weeks…me and the boys.  They could be born today and have a 80-90% chance of surviving.  This decreases my anxiety quite a bit, but, as I’ve read, we IVF Mom’s tend to worry more than other Moms every single step of the way.  We’ve been through enough heartbreak and tragedy that we do not take any of this journey for granted.  That being said, I’m having a lot of fun.

They have gone from little butterfly kickers to rabid weasels tied in a pillow case.  They are actually PAINFUL.  One likes to cuddle up into my ribs and decrease my lung capacity to half and the other thinks Bertha (my uterus) is his personal DoJo.  I have gone from a little paunchy to freaking humongous.  I no longer fit into my size 10 pants at one point, so I brought out the 12s.  I no longer fit into the 12s, so I bought size large maternity clothes from thrift shops.  I have now OUTGROWN MY #@^$% MATERNITY CLOTHES and have had to buy a new set in XL.  Apparently, my ass is pregnant too.  There’s a set of twins back there, presumably girls, just to keep things balanced.  And, speaking of “balanced”, there’s no such thing in pregnancy.  I am truly a T-rex, just flailing around, running into everything, knocking stuff off tables and shelves, then just staring at said items. “What falls to the floor, stays on the floor.”  My hubby told me to stand up straight for our last couple of belly pictures, so I had to look in the mirror to see what he was talking about.  I straightened my low back to a normal bend and promptly fell forward.

Sleeping is always an adventure.  I run a humidifier because the pregnancy congestion makes me mouth breath and snore otherwise.  I have a full bottle of Gaviscon in arm’s reach for the deluge of acid that likes to sit in my esophagus.  (There’s actually a bottle in every room at this point.)  Then, I have 5 pillows that need repositioning whenever I turn.  I tried one of those big pregnancy “U-shaped” pillows, but the shape and bulkiness is just not flexible enough for my needs.  Now, let’s talk about the turning in bed. I’ve started sleeping on what a nurse would call a “draw sheet” so that I can pull on it and help myself turn.  Otherwise, I’m just a turtle on its back.  Don’t want to have to wake up hubby to help.  He’ll get his turn at sleep deprivation when the boys come.

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But, with every hardship and every pain, I just smile and thank the boys for being there and being healthy.  How can I complain?

CVS

My previous post reminded me that I neglected to tell the wonderful, amazing, Fun-Time story of my CVS.

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It was heavily suggested that due to my age, we go through CVS to make sure there were no genetic problems with any of the little guys.  “But, we had PGS,” I countered.  Aaaaand, he countered back that PGS is not 100% accurate and he’s seen babies diagnosed with Down’s after PGS.  So, we chose a clinician out of Chicago (60 miles away) who is credited with bringing CVS to the United States from Europe.  According to reviews online, people seem to like him.  It seemed like a no-brainer.

My first red flag was that I requested pre-procedure instructions, which they happily provided:

  1. Be here 15 minutes early.

So…yeah.  Highly informative.

We rode the train in on procedure day, walked the 10 blocks to the office and presented ourselves at the front desk.  They asked me for a urine sample, which I HAPPILY provided, then went back.  They ultrasounded the boys for a good long time, trying to locate their little placentas.  How this is possible is beyond me.  I did very much enjoy this as I got to see my 2 inch long babies squirming around, practicing karate and one guy was actually bobbing up and down like he was on a trampoline (and then fell to the bottom of the amniotic sack like a rock at the bottom of a pool).  What I very much did not enjoy was their conversation.  I heard a good deal about the vacation that Mr. and Mrs. MD were about to take.  And about the packing.  And about the plane tickets.  “Did you drink water today?  Your bladder’s empty.”  (Remember those great pre-procedure instructions?  Oh, and remember they had me give a urine sample up front?)  And, dear God, what was that awful pain?  “Relax.  It’s just a CVS.  That doesn’t hurt.”

Did you seriously just jab me in the coochy with a catheter, then suck out part of my uterus…with no warning…and no explanation…then chastise me for being nervous and in pain?!  Seriously?!

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Then the REAL fun began.  Remember, we’re talking about 3 placentas that needed to be sampled.  So, we moved onto the right abdominal site.  It may help to explain that I’ve had some residual pain to that right side ever since the third IVF cycle.  That stimulation seemed to really bother my right ovary, then during the retrieval, my bladder was perforated.  It’s been bothering me ever since.

So, he injected “lidocaine”, which did not burn at all and made me think he accidentally used saline.  “I’ll take the 18 gauge.”  I’ll remind y’all, I’m a former ER nurse.  That’s the needle size used for traumas, anyone heavily bleeding, or drunk people who have pissed you off.  The information quickly sunk in that he was going to shove a 3 foot long pointy branch into my delicate lady parts.

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Now, I’ve had some pain in my life.  I’ve had steroid injections to both feet and PRP injections to the elbow.  Those hurt like a Mother, leaving me unable to use said body part for several days.  But I  controlled myself, stayed still and let the doctor do his thing.  This was something Completely. Different.  First off, he was very interested in his conversation…about himself.  So, I can totally understand why he didn’t think to explain what he was doing or WARN ME HE WAS ABOUT TO SUDDENLY JAB THAT F#$%ING NEEDLE AS HARD AND FAST AS HE COULD THROUGH MY UTERINE WALL!  I’ll admit it.  I screamed, and my legs bent up.  “That hurt?!  You have to stay still.  Put your legs down.”

So, DH did what he could to comfort me while I wept through the rest of the procedure, knowing that this was only sample 2 of 3.  Honestly, had he not been there, I would have gotten off that ultrasound table and walked out, never to return.  Everything I read on the internet advised me that this was an uncomfortable procedure that caused mild, tolerable pain.  This was definitely NOT that.

Thankfully, there was probably a reason for that pain over there, because the left side was not terrible.  Firstly, I now knew that he was going to JAB suddenly.  Secondly, I did not have preexisting pain there.

So, the procedure came to a conclusion, we looked at the boys again to make sure there were no deleterious effects from the procedure, then the ultrasound tech put little kissy shaped band-aides over the gaping puncture wounds.  …AND this was the extent of my post-procedure instructions.

Then came the fun trip – 10 blocks, to the train station, with Bertha (the uterus.  Get it.  BIRTHa?) cramping up a storm the whole time.  Thanks for the recovery time, guys.  That was special.

So, in the event I am ever faced with this procedure again, I’m thinking I’ll pass.  Thanks but no thanks.  And I’ll certainly never go back to this septuagenarian with unstable hands again.

Tell Me This is Sarcasm

…please.

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More like:

Monday: Drag self to work and try not to fall asleep at any point.

Tuesday: Drag self to work and try not to fall asleep at any point.

Wednesday: Drag self to work and try not to fall asleep at any point.

Thursday: Drag self to work and try not to fall asleep at any point.

Friday: Drag self to work and try not to fall asleep at any point.

Saturday and Sunday: Wash whatever laundry is ABSOLUTELY needed in the coming week, then sleep the rest of the day.

Terrakna’s Unsolicited Pregnancy Advice and Observations

Weight gain:

I’ve worked very hard throughout my lifetime to maintain a healthy weight.  To purposely try to GAIN weight is quite unsettling…especially since I still have my weight loss goals up on the white board in the kitchen.  So, I have chosen to blame the children.  “Man, you chub-os gained 2 pounds this week.  You guys have NO impulse-control.”  Alternately, I can just look in my WAY overstuffed bra and know, “Ah, THAT’S where all that poundage is going!”

Nausea:

No joke here.  Take vitamin B6 and ginger AROUND THE CLOCK, not just as needed.  I accidentally skipped a morning dose, probably because I had been feeling so well and wasn’t thinking about it, and felt like death warmed over for the entire day.

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By the way, my saving grace some days, Clementine Izze.  Check it out y’all.  It’s like crack to me on those really tough days.

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Eating:

You can read all the advice you want about eating high protein and nutrient packed foods.  The fact is, you get to a point where either you eat what calls to you, or you starve to death.  In a fit of self-righteousness, I bought a package of whole wheat bagels, only to have a horrible attack of nausea the morning I made one.  The taste of the whole wheat, which I’ve never enjoyed, made me wish I could curl up beside the toilet and never come out of the bathroom again.  Salads?  Yeah, right.  Some days I’m lucky I can get down whatever rare food is barely tolerable to me.  Last night it was tuna tetrazzini.  The night before that, spaghetti with meat sauce.  The night before that, mustard pretzels and mint Girl Scout cookies.  Sometimes, it’s just gummy bears and sandwiches (ice cream sandwiches).  DON’T JUDGE ME!

Rest:

“What did you do today?”  DH asks on my days off.  Generally, I sleep all day because the fatigue is nearly debilitating some days and I NEED to keep up my strength to get to work.  Can’t start calling in “tired”.  So, my answer to this question is, invariably, “I spent the day growing three humans FROM SCRATCH.  What did YOU do?!”

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Insomnia:

Yeah.  I’m exhausted all the time, but can’t sleep at night after about 2am. WTF?  My solution: Pinterest.  Lots of Pinterest.