Wednesday, November 23, 2011

You know you're tired when...

I work in the "penthouse" of my office building (a hilarious term considering people regularly smoke/drink/fight/sleep in our stairwell and there's fresh urine in the elevator at least once a week) and the bottom floor is a dialysis clinic. Every day, I walk in and out past their large picture windows and look in at the rows of turquoise vinyl-covered recliners, each surrounded by a dozen pieces of medical equipment and a 9-inch television monitor on a retractable arm. And every day this week, I have thought "Man, if only I had kidney failure, someone would make me sit in one place with my feet up and my own tv for several hours a day, several days a week. I'd probably even get a blanket with no pet hair on it." True story.

I am in that part of pregnancy where you are so exhausted to the core of your being that you feel like you could sleep for the next 1000 years and still be tired. My body aches from it. M has been awesome, picking up all kinds of slack around the house while I lay useless on the couch, but I still have a full-time job that is an 11 on the stress meter right now, two more weeks of a 3-hour class to teach (including a final assignment to grade 24 copies of), time-sensitive tasks to complete for two separate boards/committees (not that I'm doing any of the things I'm supposed to be doing for either), and a toddler to feed, bathe, clothe and care for. It's a lot, and I'm looking forward to having a few days off.

I have so much more I want to write about, but I have GOT to get some things crossed off my list at work. More over the weekend, I hope. If not, I want to say now how thankful I am for all of my blog friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate it. I hope your holiday is warm and joyful!

Friday, November 18, 2011

and... exhale

2 beautiful heartbeats = 1 very relieved mama

I would say two relieved mamas, but M informed me this afternoon that she never doubted for a moment that the babies were fine. Ah, the enviable un-damaged outlook!

One of the babies started the scan by flipping around wildly, then relaxed to a steady stream of punches and kicks. The other was cool as a cucumber the whole time. The NP and I have a difference of opinion about which baby was which (A or B). She's not an ultrasound expert and admitted she couldn't really tell where they were placed in the uterus. I have even less experience reading ultrasounds, but I have seen THESE babies two more times than she has, and I also know that Baby B has been our big acrobat thus far.

Appointments are every two weeks for now. That is a welcome change from the one month wait between reassurances with E! First trimester screen will be in the next 2-3 weeks too, if the MFM can fit me in. The NP was a little concerned that we're calling too late to get an appointment in time, but we'll see. Have to call there in a few minutes and hope something works out.

I feel like I've been holding my breath for the past week and a half and I can finally let it out. So, so grateful to have seen those little hearts beating away. At least for today, our surreal and amazing journey continues.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

quick update

Thank you for all the reassuring comments on my last post. It's amazing how much comfort others' words and experiences can bring.

I felt awful all day yesterday - probably stayed up too late the night before, stressing and blogging - so that relieved some of my worries as well. Next objective is to start enjoying the breaks in The Sick when they come along rather than stressing about the underlying cause of them. I'm afraid that's easier said than done, but I'm gonna give it a go.

Thanks for the doppler feedback, too. I am still on the fence. I think I'm going to try to wait for my appointment on the 18th and see how much trouble my doctor has. If she finds them easily, maybe I'll be able to as well. If she struggles, that might be a rabbit hole I'm better off avoiding. I wish I knew someone locally who had one I could borrow just to try it out, but I can't think of anyone who might. We haven't spilled the news on FB yet, but maybe once we do, I can put out the call. :-)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Back in Crazytown

Nobody will be more relieved than I will when I finally start feeling fetal movement. Well, except M. Oh, and every last person who reads this blog. This post started out in my head with some sort of a logical flow, but it seems to have turned into a disorganized jumble of Crazy, which is probably more fitting to my mood anyway.

My confidence after last week's "perfect" scan lasted a couple of wonderfully blissful days before it started slipping through my fingers. By Friday evening, the fear had wrapped it's ice cold fingers around my heart again. I became sure that one of the babies was gone. Problem is, I'm in the no-mans-land between the RE's office and regular prenatal care, and my first appointment with my OB isn't until 11/18. Nowhere to turn for help. And what would they do for me even if I had someone to call? Neither provider offers daily peace of mind ultrasounds that I'm aware of.

I spent time I didn't have on Saturday and Sunday googling symptoms disappearing around 9 weeks (I know, I know...) and what I found just scared me all the more. Nearly every post I came across where someone mentioned their symptoms going away included the qualifier that they were still ravenously hungry, and that's the one thing that is consistently MIA around these parts. All weekend, I was "normal hungry" at best, and ate primarily because it was time to do so, not because I felt I needed to. This is a far cry from the 5-6 meals a day I desperately required to feel remotely human during weeks 6 through 8. I still feel pregnant most of the time, but I feel pregnant with one instead of two. The first few weeks were so intense and... different... but now I just feel the same as I did with E - kinda hungry, kinda queasy, kinda tired, kinda heartburn-y, and kinda normal sometimes too. Really, all of the symptoms I'm left with could just be from the progesterone. I swear that my belly bump is smaller today. And, after weeks of practically falling asleep at my desk at 2pm, I worked an hour late tonight because M and E were out together. It's 10pm now and I'm still not all that tired.

Also of concern:
  • I have been having really, really strong cramping every night and occasionally during the days as well. Everything I read says not to be alarmed by cramps unless they are accompanied by bleeding, but I have the PIO to keep that from happening. What if the PIO is standing in the way of my body communicating what has happened? 
  • I am under huge, crazy amounts of stress right now. I'm dealing with a personnel nightmare at Job #1 that reduced me to tears today and that isn't going away without further stress and discomfort on my part. I'm also behind on everything else at Job #1 because of all the time and energy I've had to divert to said personnel issue over the past week. I'm about 20 hours behind on grading an assignment for Job #2 that I'm supposed to be returning to students tomorrow (not gonna happen). I can't seem to pick up the critical and time-sensitive balls I've dropped for a committee I chair for E's school (more on this later?) and I have outright abandoned my last two month's worth of responsibilities as Secretary of a community board I sit on. I hate feeling so behind. It stresses my Type A personality way the fuck out. And then I feel bad for being stressed, because that's the last thing I or the babies need right now.
On the flip side:
  • I know that cramping can be normal, especially with twin pregnancies. I remember having cramps with E (earlier though, not this late) where I thought "there is NO WAY a fetus can survive this" and yet he did. My weekend affair with Dr. Google DID reassure me on one thing: The star-spangled, dizzying pains that would seize one side of my uterus for 10-15 seconds at a time were round ligament spasms - totally normal. Interestingly, since finding out what they were and thus being less petrified of them, they seemed to have stopped.
  • I know that stress alone does not kill babies. If it did, we would not need abortion clinics because no unwanted pregnancy could ever survive the amount of stress and anguish its mother experiences while making her decision and pursuing her right to choose. If it did, women would never be able to sustain pregnancies through tragic life events, such as the unexpected loss of a spouse or parent, and yet, women do. I know that babies can hang on through the most seemingly hostile of biochemical environments. I also know that sometimes they do not survive in even the most serene and welcoming ones. Wait, this is supposed to be a positive bullet point.
I am way more anxious at this point of pregnancy than I was with E. I don't know if it's being older and having witnessed more loss since then, feeling more vulnerable with two beating hearts at stake, or something else, but I hope it's a case of double the hormones equaling double the crazy. One can dream, right? One other note of optimism is that I walked into my office's kitchen this morning and the smell of the breakfast someone had prepared there made me gag. The violent reaction both startled and reassured me, but both the feeling and the reassurance were fleeting.

As part of my internet meanderings of the weekend, I trolled various blog rolls to locate every twin pregnancy blog I could find. I figured out how old their children are now and counted backward to find the first trimester section of their archives. I learned that I am in good company. It seems that nearly every twin mom-to-be, at least those who have gone through infertility along the way, experiences one or more periods of being utterly certain it's all over. And yet, in every blog I found, those intuitions turned out to be incorrect. Seeing that helped, and is a big part of why I wanted to write this post even though I'm sure it's annoying to read.

I'm thinking of renting a doppler. I considered one early on in my pregnancy with E but then decided against it after my own OB had a very difficult time locating his heartbeat at one of my appointments. If she couldn't find his heartbeat using her expertise and professional-grade equipment, what hope did I have? I resisted a week at a time and, finally, was able to feel regular movement so it became a moot point. This time around, I feel so anxious and so worried and so sure that something is wrong, I kind of don't see how it could make things worse. I have realistic expectations - I know that I might not always be able to find one or both heartbeats, and that even when I can, it might take a while to do so. I think I could chalk any difficulties up to user and/or machine error and not panic myself further. I could be wrong. But oh.... What if I could find a heartbeat or two? What if it could be that simple to quiet the scary voices in my head? In my weekend tour de blogs, I read at least a hundred dopper pro/con comments as well, including lots of (1) I got one and loved it and here's why or (2) I feel good about my decision not to get one and here's why comments. I even found a comment of my own on tbean's blog - comment category #2, obviously. What I didn't see were any comments of people saying they got one and wished they hadn't. Anyone feel that way and care to share? Or want to offer any recommendations of dopplers they found to be really effective in case I can't resist?

I know that the odds are in my favor. There is a reason seeing the heartbeat is considered a major milestone. Our chances of a miscarriage are low, statistically. But statistics are only so comforting in a high-stakes, all-or-nothing situation like this one. Our chances of miscarriage may be in the single digits, but if we find ourselves on the wrong side of the odds, the heartbreak will be experienced at 100%.

Good grief, this is a mess of a post. My ability to survive the first trimester is seriously in question. If you are still reading, thanks. And also, sorry. I'll be 10 weeks on Friday. Feel free to join in the countdown to the return of my (relative) sanity.