Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Week 28 1/2

Well, things are looking a lot sunnier around here!  

Can you stand that picture?  I cannot stop laughing every time I see it.  I do know of one friend in particular, ahem, Brian, who has real issues with belly buttons, who finds this picture pure torture.  But it feels like making lemonade of of lemons to me.  

Yes, that is the scar from last year's colon resectioning surgery.  It's actually grown about an inch during this pregnancy.  I thought it would get thicker, but instead it's just getting longer.  Lovely.

Things are truly going as well as can be expected around here.  My doctor has released me from 24/7 Anita-sitting.  My parents are down here and, I have to say, that's been a blast. I am unfortunately working their booties off, but I am enjoying their company and Conor fairly levitates every time he sees them.  

I am having a couple of contractions a day, but nothing that the doctors find worrisome.  I've also figured out the difference between contractions (hardness from top to bottom of the ute) and Braxton-Hicks (softness in one or more parts of the ute). I'm pretty sure Squiggle has turned head down.  I can feel his back on the outside of my belly and his kicks have changed directions.  Of course, we'll find out Monday when I go back in for my level II ultrasound at the high risk doctors.  

But otherwise, I'm keeping off my feet most of the time and trying to get some school work done for the end of the semester.  It's funny, I don't really think the picture below is that much bigger than the one last month.  Maybe your impression differers.

However this one is the one Dave says I look enormous in.  I agree.  And we still have 8 more weeks to go.  I will achieve whale status, I promise. 

There are other things going on.  We are awaiting the revision of the appraisal of our remodel.  We objected strongly to the appraisal (from an apparently junior appraiser) that rated our house $100/sq ft cheaper than a very similar remodel for a house 3 blocks from us on a lot 1/3 the size of ours.  Actually, they had left that house off their comps and instead used comps from a high crime area 1.5 miles from our house.  We were not amused.  The phrase "legal action" may have been used.  

In any case, life moves on and we expect (more)  good news from our appraiser and the doctors very soon.  Time to go down and chat with the parents.  I really have been running them ragged and I really enjoy our afternoon chats.  

And of course it's been 30 minutes and I have to pee.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Report From the Bed

Admit it:  you think bedrest would be fun.  It sounds very appealing when life is hectic to be told by the doctor to get off one's feet and hang out, usually in front of the TV, and have folks wait on you hand and feet.  You would think this, that is, if you've never been on bedrest.  

Bedrest, in reality, sucks mightily.  My mom and dad, and of course Dave, and of course, many neighbors are helping out.  But here are a few surprising things:

*Daytime TV is worthless.  In one day, you can catch up on the marathon America's next top model or the Law & Order: SUV special abusive car victim's marathon of freaking you out and you're pretty much done with daytime TV.  I am actually finding work to be a delightful distraction from any daytime TV.  

*Many women have to lie on their side the whole time.  I get to recline and can more easily use my computer.  It still sucks. My lower back is not amused.  My knees are achey.  And my calves notice the lack of exercise in any form.  

*And to be all day in bed and then to "go to bed" really, really, sucks.  

So enough of the whinging on.  The babies are doing great.  I'm having a few contractions and a few more Braxton-Hicks.  No bleeding though and the swelling in my legs has gone completely down.  They even look skinny right now!  (You know they must have looked fat if I now think they look skinny)

The best news of all is that although they have it written down as complete placenta previa on my hospital chart, the official doctor's report is marginal placenta previa.  This is GREAT news.  The chances of my bleeding out or Peanut dying are much, much less with marginal instead of complete previa.  (The placenta only touches the cervix; it doesn't cover it)  

So yeah, the worrisome parts are looking better now. It's just the lying here that's going to be tough.  Fortunatetly, I have papers to grade, a book chatper to write, and a few things to review to keep me busy.  I would like to get the papers and the chapter done so I can read more fun things and take a few naps.  All this lying down is actually tiring.  

More on some new  remodel drama later.  We're still moving from Point A to Point B, it is just not even close to a straight line.  

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Update from L'Hopital

Well, when one is not on bedrest, one might imagine it's fun. And honestly, it's better than a smack in the head. But it's not nearly as pleasant as one would think in the middle of the busy, hellish part of the semester.

So everything continues to look good. I'm at the very end of spotting and it's not "fresh blood," if you know what I mean. The doc-of-the-day thinks I should be out of here tomorrow, but she also said they want me to not be spotting at all. I think there's a real shot of that. I'm also having about one contraction a day, which is fantastic. My body continues to be happy about having the babies in here, and I think we have a good chance of going 36 weeks plus.

I've also been really lucky and had some really good friends stop by and visit. It really says a lot about my friends who take time out of their busy lives to stop by and chat and catch up. It's a big reminder to me to make that extra effort to stop by and see friends when they are laid up, too. (You should do so, too. But you probably already do and I'm a lesser friend than you all are)

But otherwise, bedrest is quite literally a pain in the butt. I have to find out tomorrow if I can sit up in regular chair at a table when I go home. The good news is that I don't have to be flat on my back, which would suck in a horrible shit-ass way. So reclining is better than that. But my tailbone is sore. Sitting up at a table just sounds so nice right now.

And thank god(dess), I'm not a picky eater. They are really trying hard around here to make sure there is enough food that I like for me to eat. That may have come from the first morning I was hear when I used the words "starving" and pointed out that if I hadn't just had a bowl of cornflakes, I would have "knocked the nursing assistant down and gnawed on her arm." Since then, they've been brining me tons of high protein snacks, lots of fruit, and other assorted snacks. My room fridge is actually full!

I had planned on blogging sometime in the future about following the Hypnobabies natural birthing program. I was actually about 3 weeks into the 5 week program and had just bought a Sansa Fuze MP3 player (LOVE IT! and $50 cheaper if you buy the black one instead of the white one) to practice my lessons without hypnotizing the whole house into a easy, painfree birthing process. In any case, I've been telling all docs how much I want a vaginal birth, and I was going to start pushing the unmedicated part at my next visit.

Before I get to the point of this whole story (yes, there is one!), I have say the self-hypnosis part is really cool. You get to a point of deep relaxation and she has you test whether you can move certain body parts, and you can't. And then ironically, 5 minutes later, she tells you to move them and you totally do without effort. Weird. Except, of course, there is the time that Dave came in and I had fallen asleep during my practice and as the instructor kept saying "Open you eyes, open your eyes" and drooling, with my mouth open, I continued to snore. Ehhh. Whatever.

So the point: I've been very focused on a vaginal birth and I was really going to push non-medicated. And the moment they said placent previa, I knew we were doing a c-section, and I didn't get upset or mourn the difference for a millisecond. It was not at all that I "secretly wanted" a c-section. I still don't want one. But my understanding is that if this had happened 100 years ago, when doctors really didn't do c-sections, the probably of both Baby A and I bleeding out and dying was pretty damn high. Now, the maternal death rate is really low at about .03%. Hooray at how low that is, but it's the only pregnancy complication, I've ever seen with an actual estimate.

The doctors and nurses were very wary of telling me about the c-section despite the fact that I'd already figured out. But I'm not going to wail and cry if I open a door and find a brick wall behind it. What the hell use is that? The most important thing is that the babies and I all three live and are healthy. A vaginal birth is completely off the table. Now, my goals are to go at least 36 weeks and to deliver the fattest, most mature babies that I can.

And I think it's going to happen. I bought the hypnobabies track for stopping premature labor. I'm not in premature labor, but the twins make it more likely my ute is going to be irritated and have contractions and we don't want any contractions with the previa. So, we'll hyp-no-tize my ute into being calm and keeping those babies healthy.

You'd be surprised how powerful the hypnosis visualizations can be.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

From the Hospital

Well, that certainly sounds dramatic.  Things are actually fine, but there are complications.  

I woke up this morning and went to the potty and I  had blood 6 inch diameter circle of blood in my pajamas in a part which made it clear where it had come from. I called out to Dave "This is not good!  There's a problem!  We need to call the doctor!"

I reached the triage nurse and eventually the order was given to come into Labor and Delivery at the hospital.  We dropped Conor off at some friends whose son goes to the same school as Conor and went to the hospital.  In one of the happiest blurry sights (I left my glasses at home) I've ever kind of seen, I saw my OB at the L&D desk:  today is his day at the hospital.  

They hooked me up to the monitor and both babies heartbeats were great and they were both quite active.  I was having minimal uterine movement, and it looked more like at "irritated uterus" than contractions.  

My main concern at this point was that my membranes had ruptured.  At 27 weeks, this would be a Not Good Thing.  The doctor did an internal exam and did not see any leakage and a manual check of my cervix link showed that it was still long and closed.  A bonus is that he was so far up my coochie, he aslo checked out my sinuses and found them healthy, too.  

In the next happiest sight I've seen during an unexpected visit to the hospital, my high risk doctor walked in the door with an u/s.  I love this doctor, too.  And pretty soon, he and his nurse figured out the problem:  placenta previa.  At my level II u/s, they thought it looked low, but at the last check up, we didn't notice anything bad.  However, now, it looks low and over/near my cervix.  I'm really not sure whether it's complete or marginal, but it's low.  And Baby A is really transverse low, probably because she can't get her head down past the placenta to be headed towards my cervix.  

Besides that not-so-great news, the babies look great.  It seems like the bleeding has stopped.  And if we can keep it from bleeding again and the placenta stays in the same place, the goal is to get to 36 weeks and do a c-section.  I'd like a little longer, but we're going to have to see what we can do with that negotiation.  If the placenta moves (which may be unlikely considering how far along we are), we may be able to go longer.  

I still have  some blood in my "vault."  Yes, that's apparently the medical term for the inside of your hooha.  Your "vault."  Shouldn't there be a lock and key to my vault?  The first thing I thought of was my "Chamber of Secrets" although depending on my mood, it could be my chamber of horrors.  

In any case, there is blood still in my vault, so I'm still spotting, but no one is worried.  I'm in the hospital for a couple of days for observations so that they can be assured I've stopped bleeding.  And then I'm on bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy.  

Ironic, eh?  Well, the babies are doing great in size.  And the Dr. Luke diet improves everything EXCEPT for placental previa, which is a pretty random thing anyway.  To be honest, what I'm most concerned about is eating enough here.  I inhaled lunch and had a snack of chicken noodle soup.  Dr. Luke would have a hissy fit if she saw how little I had eaten today.  Now, more than ever, I need these babies to have as much weight on them as possible.  

I hope I can leave the hospital this weekend.  And I hope I don't have to come back again until it's time to give birth.  9 weeks folks.  that's the new minimum I want to go.  (Originally, it was 11 weeks minimum, but 9 is the new 11).

And I need  a pillow.  Food and a pillow.  But the babies are both ok.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being a Psychologist

One of the nice things about being a psych professor is having colleagues who know a lot about human cognition and behavior.  A good friend/colleague pointed out yesterday that the twins don't understand there are two of them in my belly. It takes a long time for infants (much less babies in utero) to understand that there is a world apart from them.  Infants don't understand that they end at the boundaries of their body and the rest of the world starts then.

What that means, we figured out, is that the twins probably "think" about each other as part of themselves.  There is not this "other baby" in here with me.  There is  "me",  and sometimes I kick myelf in the head or I take up too much space and squash myself and sometimes, I can cuddle with myself.

But it certainly explains why twins should share the same bassinet in the hospital and why they sleep better  beside each when they are still newborns/infants.  Otherwise, they are missing half of themselves.  

Friday, April 03, 2009

24 weeks

I forgot to update my blog with my latest belly shot.  At this point, I'm 24 1/2 weeks measuring 32 weeks.  I'm still getting bigger by the day.

The Politics of Childbirth

I've been through this once before.  The "this" I'm referring to is the politics and, essentially, the judgments of giving birth.  We had a wonderful doula before and want to use a doula again.  A good friend of mine has recently become a doula, but her mother has some serious health issues and I am either not selfish enough to demand that she give her full attention to me or too selfish that I want it.  Our doula for Conor's birth will be on vacation during the twins likely time to pop out, so she can't commit to fully being there, either.  

So we've been looking for a new doula.  I have to admit, right off the bat, that my tolerance for annoying things is very low right now.  I just can't be bothered with bullshit lately.  It makes me cuss (more than usual).  

So I've spoken with two doulas who are members of the Local Doula Network (LDN).  I'm not going to name names or name organizations, so the LDN is not a real group.  I also don't want to offend anyone in the area who absolutely loves their experiences with this group.  To be quite honest, if I was having a singleton, they would fit right in with my goals.  But I'm not having a singleton.  And some of the statements I've been hearing could be  interpretted as dogmatic.  I'm sure in a less pregnant state, that would not be the case, but I actually do not agree that the *only* way I can have a vaginal birth with twins is to have a home birth.  After 8 miscarriages, I am not giving birth to my twins at home.  I want a hospital birth.  Besides, 50% of twins are delivered vaginally in a hospital.    I can explain the difference between 50% and 100% if you need me to, but it will only make me much, much more annoyed.  

I assume that most professionals (OBs and doulas alike) are trying to do the best they can. I fully understand that professionals view their jobs through particular lenses, which may not be the same lens I view the world through.  But that alone does not make them evil incarnate.  And people who automatically assume that others are GOING TO DO BAD THINGS, because of their gender, ethnicity, country of origin, or PROFESSION, annoy me in the best of circumstances.  Now, it makes me likely to open up a can of twin pregnancy whoop ass on them. 

So I would argue that the premise that I can only have a vaginal delivery at home is false.  In addition, do you know how rare a twin pregnancy is?  1 in 87 births are twins.  Do you know the current probability of being an adult and being in prison in the US is?  1 in 33.  You're more likely to be in prison than to give birth to twins.  Even if you account for both a mom and dad (2/87), you're still more likely to be in prison than to be a parent giving birth to twins this year.  

So, let's go back to the home birth option.  A doula and/or a midwife would have to see well over 150 births to see 2 sets of twins being born. At 24 a year (two births a month), they would need over 6 years of experience to attend two twin births.  There is no way in bloody hell that I am going to be the first twin birth someone has every attended.  You are effing kidding me.  And for someone to push a home birth for  me feels to me like they are working off their own agenda (to see a home twin birth) than to help me have the birth I want to have.  

So what birth do I want to have?

1)  I want a vaginal birth.  Baby A is already head down and my primary OB has been trained in vaginal breeches.  So even if Baby B stays breech now or after Baby A pops out (the second twin will somtimtes turn after Baby A leaves), I believe I have a real option of having a vaginal delivery of my twins.  

2)  I want a vaginal birth because I want to be able to breastfeed as easily as possible.  Vaginal births help one's body know more quickly that it's time to make milk.  Even if I have to have a c-section for the second, my body will already know from the vaginal delivery to pump up the jam.  (or whatever)

3)  I'd rather have an unmedicated birth, but I'm willing to give on this.  If they did have to do a c-section for the second baby and I wasn't using an epidural, they'd have to put me completely out.  The delay in starting breastfeeding and bonding would bother me.  

4)  Instead, I want to labor as much as I can at home and perhaps I could even bypass the whole problem by popping the babies out before there was a chance for an epidural or a c-section.

Things I know that are going to be sucky for me giving birth at a hospital:  I'm going to have to deliver in the OR.  I hope I can labor in a regular room, because I would hate to spend 4-6 hours in a cold, sterile OR.  Bleah.  It is more likely they will push for a c-section early on.  However, with my doula and my primary OB, I believe I will get the support I need.

But still the main goal is a vaginal delivery of (at least) Baby A, no NICU time for either baby, and two healthy twins coming home with me 48 hours after delivery.  

All of those options seem reasonable.  And they seem reasonably likely in a hospital.  To say otherwise and imply that I am wrong and I don't know what I'm talking about is likely to let you hear a stream of words and phrases you didn't think pregnant woman could say outside of an unmedicated labor.  You don't want to go there.   

And, BTW, we do have a doula.  She is not going on vacation this year and she works as a childbirth educator at the hospital we are going to use.  She will help us find the right nurses to meet our goals and she thinks a vaginal delivery is quite possible.  So, phhht.  

Don't annoy me for stupid reasons.  It doesn't help anyone.  :-)