May 10, 2010
Mekate just wrote a post wondering when her pregnancy will truly feel real.
For me it was so incremental, or rather it happened in fits and starts. Every time I would see the fetuses on ultrasound it would become a little more real. It felt more real once strangers started noticing that I was pregnant (which didn’t happen until almost the time I went on bedrest, so I didn’t get much of it). It was decidedly more real once I reached viability. It was all too real when I was in an ambulance trying to stop preterm labor, and when I was drugged up attached to catheters and IVs.
But it wasn’t really real until the birth, the moment I heard Burrito cry.
I have moments of unreality still, when I wonder if they really are mine. I mean, I know they are, and Tamale looks just like me (and Burrito looks just like DH) so who else’s babies could they be, but in a cosmic sense I wonder how they ever got here, how my luck finally changed.
A few days ago I took them for a walk and an unfamiliar neighbor was in his yard gardening. For a moment I felt like I was playing house, as if I was babysitting someone else’s kids and he might see us and haha mistake me for their mother. Like when DH’s siblings were little and people would mistake them for our kids. “I hope that neighbor looks at us and thinks that these are my babies.”
What I don’t know is whether this unreality is exclusive to those who had trouble becoming parents, or whether everyone feels this way. “You may tell yourself this is not my beautiful house; You may tell yourself this is not my beautiful wife.” Maybe everyone feels like they’re playing house sometimes. Maybe everyone has a hard time assuming new identities: grown-up, single person, married person, TTC person, infertile person, pregnant person, parent person.
Or maybe it’s just us.
(And don’t get me started on Mother’s Day. All I will say, to those with and without children, with and without mothers: I hope your Mother’s Day didn’t suck.)
February 10, 2010
It has been far too long since I participated in Show and Tell. This particular object is also long overdue.
Earlier this week, I showed you the act-of-faith mobile that we bought for our theoretical baby just a couple of days after my first beta from Perfunctory IUI #7. First, I’d like to follow up on that post. The view that I depicted had all of the pieces lined up. FYI, here’s what it looks like when a breeze is blowing and the components spin independently. Burrito and Tamale seem to like looking at it whether it’s lined up or jumbled.
The other act-of-faith purchase during that trip was a rattle. We were in the ancient synagogue in Barcelona, itself an incredibly special place. It is the oldest synagogue in Europe. It’s just two rooms underground. Everyone forgot it was a synagogue for a few hundred years and instead it was being used for various purposes including a storage closet. The first day we tried to visit, we got there after closing time because it was so hard to find because it’s just a little door on a random street.
When we finally made it inside the next day, we were treated to the cutest little tour of two rooms. Sort of like visiting someone’s studio apartment and being given a 10-minute tour, if that studio apartment had been built almost 2000 years ago. We wanted to support their grassroots attempt to preserve history — they don’t even have an entrance fee — but their gift shop was beyond tiny. I have more stuff on top of my TV than they have in their gift shop. (I really should tidy the top of my TV…)
Among the few items for sale was a rattle with some Hebrew letters and Judaic symbols. There was no price tag, so they made up a number. We shrugged and paid them happily.
Burrito and Tamale aren’t yet at the stage where they play with rattles, but it’s getting close. I’m not sure what they’ll think of this rattle compared to all of their other toys, but to me it’s very special.
December 3, 2009
Wiseguy from Woman Anyone? comes through yet again with an unprecedented 11 Intelligentsia appearances.
Kristen from Dragondreamer’s Lair is back for #8.
Photogrl from Not the Path I Chose returns for lucky #7.
Jill from All Aboard the Pity Boat makes her sixth appearance.
Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV is back for #5.
Mel from Stirrup Queens three-peats.
A from Are You Kidding Me? makes her first Intelligentsia appearance.
People who have read my birth story know that it ended well, but that it got pretty dodgy for a while. Until recently, I thought I knew everything there was to know about that dodginess.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to a close friend of DH’s, who is also my close friend, about the whole birth experience. He said something about the babies having been in danger.
Me: They were never in danger. I was the only one in danger. They were always fine.
Friend: That’s not what DH said.
Friend: He said the doctors pulled him aside and said that he could lose you and the babies. They didn’t want to upset you so they only told him.
Me: I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t think that’s true.
Friend: Oh. I guess you weren’t supposed to know. Don’t tell him I said anything.
When I finally asked DH about it, he said the friend was totally mistaken, and that nothing like that happened. My memory accurately reflected the events of the birth. Phew.
This game of broken telephone raised a question in my mind. If we had all been in danger, would I have wanted to know?
I’ve had general anesthesia three times in my life: when my wisdom teeth were removed, IVF #1, and IVF #2. When you’re unconscious, you have no idea what is going on until everything is over. Good or bad, you are oblivious.
With the spinal anesthesia during my C-section, I was completely awake and alert. I couldn’t see what they were doing, but I could hear — and feel! — plenty. Before the “we need to talk” conversation, I could sense that something was going on. But, never having had a C-section before, who was I to say what was normal. Anyway, I was quite distracted trying to catch glimpses of my babies. By the time I sensed a shift in the tone of the room, Burrito and Tamale were out of my body and reportedly doing fine.
Until I saw the babies and was told they were healthy, I didn’t fully believe that I’d end up with two real live babies. I was prepared for all sorts of contingencies, but I never anticipated a scenario in which information could be withheld from me.
Given how I dealt with the “we need to do a hysterectomy to stop your hemorrhaging” talk, I think I would have handled any negative information about the babies reasonably well. I am certainly the kind of person who wants to know everything that’s going on. Presumably there are times when it seems medically indicated to withhold information: for example, if raising your blood pressure would compromise your health at that moment. Otherwise, personally I’d rather know everything that’s going on. False alarm? No problem. True alarm? I certainly don’t want to be the last to know.
What about you?
Would you rather know that something bad might possibly happen, or would you rather get information only when there’s certainty of a good or bad outcome?
December 2, 2009
Wait, what? Is that title right? Yes it is!
A recent post from Gracie in Brooklyn about uterine massage reminded me that I never blogged about the fertility massages I used to get. Gracie’s post is the first blog I’ve ever seen talk about it. I was always surprised that no one in the entire IF blogosphere ever mentioned it.
I had no idea that fertility massage existed until I saw it offered at my acupuncture clinic. So, as a public service, I’ll tell you what I experienced, and you can decide whether to see if you can find a practitioner in your area. There aren’t many, unfortunately. I suppose that if you have a massage therapist that you already like and trust, you could ask him/her to incorporate some of the techniques.
The “fertility” part combined several massage techniques:
- uterine massage, in which the uterus is massaged very deeply — strangely pleasant, as Gracie describes
- femoral massage, which fans of Randine Lewis’s book The Infertility Cure may recall, in which the circulation in the femoral artery is temporarily blocked to pool the blood in the uterus
- reflexology on points specific to the reproductive organs
- lymphatic drainage, which I’ve never fully understood so can’t really explain to you
These techniques are primarily focused on increasing blood flow to the uterus. Some women do have fertility problems caused by restricted uterine blood flow, and for them, fertility massage would be perfect. Because my fertility problems are unexplained, it’s not clear whether increasing blood flow would do anything, and I can’t say whether fertility massage actually did anything to help me conceive. I can say that I enjoyed fertility massage even more than acupuncture, and infinitely more than anything that involved my RE.
As someone with chronic back problems, it was wonderful to be able to justify spending money on frequent massages. By my skewed logic, I rarely spend money for my own well-being, but with anything that involved TTC, I spent money hand over fist.
Postscript (mentions pregnancy and babies): I had so many fertility massages that the massage therapist and I became friends. I continued to see the same woman for prenatal massage. When I was hospitalized, she drove almost an hour to visit me in the hospital and to massage me for free. I have seen her for massage a couple of times since giving birth, and in addition to the usual, she has been massaging the site of my C-section to reduce scar tissue (which never would have occurred to me; I thought I’d just have a lumpy scar forever). We also brought Burrito and Tamale for a class she taught in infant massage. At the class I saw a woman from my old infertility support group. Her baby is a month older than B & T, and we traded parenting tricks and massaged our babies. Full circle.
November 12, 2009
(Note: Pregnancy and babies discussed.)
In addition to breastfeeding difficulties, the other big component of the hard time I’ve been having is some sort of hormonal baby blues. Much of the time I’m fine, but every few days for a few hours I’m not fine at all.
Right after giving birth it was more obviously hormonal, and I’d burst into tears at the slightest provocation. For example, almost any song. Or a particularly nostalgic Sesame Street clip on YouTube. (Seriously, when that happened, I knew I’d totally lost my mind.)
After the first week, there has been less crying. Instead, I either feel fine, or I feel desperate and forlorn. Thankfully, much more of the former than the latter. The main things that have been setting me off have been:
- Breastfeeding difficulties
- Being overwhelmed, generally by my inability to manage more than an hour of work per week or by dealing with two screaming babies on my own (which rarely happens — the alone part and the both screaming part — but oh boy, when it does…)
- And, shockingly, thoughts of pregnancy
Before becoming pregnant, I wanted to have biological children but pregnancy itself wasn’t that important to me. When I was finally pregnant, I was so thrilled that I cherished every moment I could; even the difficulties like debilitating fatigue and hospitalization were special in their own way. Both before and during pregnancy, I reserved the right to consider additional children later.
Now, simultaneously I want nothing to do with future pregnancies or children and I also burst into tears mourning the absence of those pregnancies and children. Pregnancy kicked my ass, birth almost killed me, and I can’t even manage the two children I have. I have no business trying for or having more children — if I could even get pregnant again, which is almost impossible without treatments, which we’ve sworn never to do again. I’ve shed more than my share of tears over BFNs. TTC turned my life upside down for 7 years. Yet…
The yearning hits me at random times. Tidying up papers and finding an ultrasound photo, and realizing that I’ll never have a 3D ultrasound image of any baby because the Burrito and the Tamale were never in the right positions in the womb. Watching one of them move their legs now, thinking about how the kick would feel if they were still inside, and realizing that I’ll never feel another fetus kick. Jiggling the jelly that is my new abdomen, and remembering my beautiful pregnant belly. Looking at my now full-term babies (39 weeks gestation!), and wondering how it would have been to carry a baby anywhere close to full term, to hold that baby right away instead of touching it for a minute through a window in an incubator, and to go home with that baby instead of spending weeks in the NICU.
I think what gets to me most isn’t that I won’t experience these things again (or for the first time).
What gets to me is that I don’t have the option.
Most of the time now I couldn’t be happier, but sometimes I couldn’t be sadder. Who knew.
How important was/is the experience of pregnancy, as opposed to the baby itself, to you?
October 22, 2009
As I mentioned in last week’s BBBB post, one of the biggest surprises since the Burrito and the Tamale were born has been the changes I’ve seen in their father.
Normally, DH is a highly emotional guy — mostly when it comes to unimportant things. When he watches sports on TV, his yelling has been known to send pets and neighbors running for cover. He shows uncommon enthusiasm in response to new flavors of ice cream and sunny days. Don’t even get me started on what happens when he sees a puppy.
In terms of negative emotion, he is usually very even-keeled. He gets worked up over abstract issues like government encroachment on civil liberties, but if something unpleasant happens to him personally, it’s like water off a duck’s back.
He is fiercely loyal and effusive when it comes to me and his friends, but less so with family.
His high levels of energy and emotion have made it all the more bizarre that over 7 years of infertility, he was almost always calm to the point of being blasé. He’d get riled up about the money or about minor inconveniences, but the big picture didn’t seem to bother him the way that it got to me. There were hints, but, like the physical toll of the treatments, most of the emotional toll seemed to fall on me.
During the pregnancy, he was phenomenal as far as helping me during the months of 1st trimester immobility and 3rd trimester home and hospital bedrest. But, when it came to the babies, I was disappointed at his lack of enthusiasm. The correct response to, “Do you want to feel the baby kick?” is “Yes!” Instead, he often answered, “I guess,” or even, “No thanks, not right now.” Instead of cooing at cute baby items, he questioned the cost. During every minute of each ultrasound my eyes were as wide as a kid’s on Christmas morning. Being in a dark room for an hour made DH sleepy.
I didn’t question what kind of father he’d be nor the kind of husband he’s been all along, but, during a supposedly happy time for which we’d worked so long and so hard, I found his reactions (or lack thereof) disheartening.
And then the babies were born, and all of the emotion burst out. Not the screaming-at-the-TV emotion, but the sweet, joyful, loving emotion that I fell in love with, a decade and a half ago. He marveled at the Tamale’s resemblance to me, chuckled at the Burrito’s antics, told them sweetly about the cat waiting for them at home, made up songs to sing to them in the NICU.
When I pointed out the contrast between his pre- and post-birth reactions to the babies, DH said, “We weren’t counting our chickens before they hatched. I didn’t want to get too attached. Now they are here, and I can love them.”
When I pointed out the contrast between his effusive reaction to the babies and his stoicism during infertility, he said, “Infertility was depressing! If I’d showed emotion then, it would only have been bad emotions.”
7.5 years of DH’s guarded emotions during IF and pregnancy in exchange for singing and dancing through the house for the next couple of decades? Not a bargain I expected to make, but I’ll take it.
How has your partner reacted to infertility/loss? Is this consistent with your partner’s typical style of emotional expression?
Note: Here is the birth story people have been requesting. It also involves a major infertility turning point. And, it is very long — you may want to grab a snack and get comfortable.
So it looks like the magnesium did its job.
Recap: A week ago Tuesday, rehospitalized at 33w0d due to further cervical dilation (5cm). Given another course of steroid shots for the babies’ lungs, and put on mag to hold off labor until the steroids could take effect. Tuesday night, had lots of very strong contractions (up to 7/10 pain level, which is almost unheard of for me) 4 minutes apart, but cervix didn’t change further.
Wednesday, contractions slowed then stopped. No notable contractions or cervical change through Friday morning when mag was discontinued.
Friday morning, mag is stopped. Friday morning and afternoon, no contractions. Lower back, which has been hurting steadily for quite a while, starts hurting more.
Friday early evening, contractions resume. Not wanting to be deprived of food and drink for no reason, as I had been on Tuesday night for half a day, I decide to eat my dinner first then report contractions. The model patient rebels a bit. Hungry + thirsty + contractions = crankier than I intend to be.
I ate dinner, then reported the contractions. Monitor showed contractions 4 minutes apart. They weren’t as painful as those on Tuesday (more like 5/10 pain), but I definitely felt them. Cervix still at 5cm.
Throughout the past month+, DH had slept in my hospital room only the first night of each hospitalization, then visited during the day every 2 or 3 days. Most recently, he’d slept over on Tuesday night, left on Wednesday, then hadn’t returned until Friday night. He thought that the discontinuation of mag was as good a time to stay over as any, because I was at higher risk of delivering. This would be the first time he’d voluntarily slept in the hospital with me. He worked late on Friday and arrived well after dinner and the start of contractions. Because my cervix was unchanged, “contractions! come here right now” became “finish your work, see you later.”
He arrived, we hung out for a few hours, and we decided to go to bed around midnight. We wanted to watch a bit of TV before going to sleep. Halfway through the show, I had to pee.
Then something else started coming out. Something pink. Something that was not urine.
The nurse and resident quickly concluded that it was amniotic fluid. Baby A’s water had broken. Fluid continued to trickle then flow then pause then trickle then flow over several hours — such a bizarre feeling. How much fluid could there possibly be in one amniotic sac?
Previously, the perinatologist had told me that further cervical dilation would buy me a quick c-section, but that breaking my water at 5cm dilation would buy me an even quicker c-section. Once my water had broken, urgent could become emergency very quickly. (Remember this part.)
DH packed up my room and we were whisked away to Labor and Delivery.
They said that the resident and attending were occupied with another birth, but that we’d deliver soon.
My contractions got stronger and closer together.
Stronger and closer together.
We waited. What the hell?
A second vaginal birth jumped the queue. Hmm, remember how my water breaking was supposed to constitute a near-emergency?
We waited. Both very sleepy, but it was no time to sleep.
Finally, with my contractions 2 minutes apart and extremely painful (no pain meds on board, some combination of my being a trooper and it being “any minute now”), the nurse announced that both births were finished. I didn’t get to the pushing part, but no one can ever say that my c-section didn’t involve full-blown labor. When contractions are 2 minutes apart, that means that it’s 2 minutes between the peak of each contraction. The respite between the end of one contraction and the start of the next was less than a minute. The limits of my iron pain tolerance were being tested and pushed to the limit.
Finally, it was time. I headed to the OR first for anesthesia while DH was asked to wait. The anesthesiology resident attempted to place the spinal in the midst of my almost constant contractions. Just sitting up in the right position was reeeeally difficult. I got seriously pissed when I heard the anesthesiology attending tell the resident, “You blew the space.” I remembered reading that nowadays, the dreaded spinal headaches are rare and usually only happen if they keep blowing the space and have to do multiple sticks. Luckily, the second try worked. If he had blown it a second time, I was prepared to tell the resident he was incompetent and should step aside. I was also prepared to tell him that I liked the other two anesthesia residents I’d met before much better, and that he was ugly.
With the spinal in place, they started to prep me, and I lost track of the dozen people in the room. I’d never met the OB attending before, but I knew the OB/MFM resident well.
Eventually DH joined us in his gown, shower cap, and mask. He is not the type to peek behind the curtain, but he could still see plenty.
More than 3 hours after my water broke, the babies emerged quite quickly. A, the boy, Burrito, came first. He had the most fabulous loud cry. They showed him to us, and he looked big and perfect. A real baby. A real baby! The neonatologists went to work on him, but not much was needed. From the first moment he was breathing room air and was just perfect.
B, the girl, Tamale, came two minutes later. Her cry was weaker. They bagged her, but she seemed to be doing okay. Also a real baby. We had two babies! All of my Dead Baby Thoughts had been unfounded, and all of the fears of severe prematurity at 26w and 28w had not come to fruition. They were alive, and apparently healthy, and so beautiful.
From my vantage point, I could see Burrito’s station very well, but couldn’t see Tamale. DH was able to see Tamale quite well, as well as some of what the doctors were doing to me. As the doctors started to work on putting me back together, I was so grateful to be distracted with views of Burrito and DH’s reports about Tamale. When I met with the neonatologist at 29w, he’d said that they might immediately whisk the babies away. The fact that the babies were still in the room seemed like a very good sign. It exquisitely seemed like forever, but was about 10 minutes, that I just watched the hustle and bustle and caught glimpses of my baby. DH, despite declaring years ahead of time that he wouldn’t feel comfortable, cut both of their cords. I was proud of him.
According to the time stamp on the photos, 13 minutes after Burrito’s birth, they brought him over to me to look at and touch for a few moments — longer than I was expecting. Was this really my baby? I knew they hadn’t smuggled any babies into the OR, and there were witnesses who saw these babies come out of me, so they must be mine. After I touched and kissed Burrito, DH held him for a minute. They said that Tamale wasn’t ready to be held, but that we could see her soon in the NICU.
Meanwhile DH could see the activity level around my abdomen growing.
Here comes the part relevant to infertility.
The babies were still in the room and I was still wonderfully distracted when the OB attending interrupted. In a very calm but clear voice (thereby telling me that the situation was serious but that he was trying not to freak me out), he said:
BabySmiling, we need to talk about what’s going on. We’re trying to finish up, but it’s not going as planned. B’s placenta was what’s called accreta. Her placenta is attached very deeply to your uterus, and it is so deep that it even goes beyond the uterus. This is very rare, but it is more common with multiples. We have been trying to remove the placenta and control the bleeding, but it’s not working. We may need to do a hysterectomy. This would mean that you couldn’t have any more children. We will try everything we can, but right now it’s looking like we will need to remove your uterus. You will still have your ovaries, so you won’t go into menopause, but you won’t be able to have more children. You have also lost a lot of blood, so we will need to transfuse you.
Here is the golden moment when 7 years of infertility came to a head.
DH and I looked at each other. In one split second it felt like three things occurred as we made eye contact: taking in what the doctor said, asking the other’s opinion, and simultaneous agreement. It felt like we both shrugged with our eyes. Here is what went through my head.
- Oh. Wow.
- Hey, it’s like Abby on ER. She lost her uterus during childbirth too.
- I guess this settles the conversation about having more babies.
- It’s fine, I can live with that. At least we don’t have to use contraception, and I never have to wonder or take a pregnancy test or cry over a BFN.
- This will make a really good blog post.
- Huh, I bet most people would be really upset right now. Abby on ER was really upset, even though she didn’t want that baby in the first place. I’m fine with it.
- DH looks fine with it.
- Those pesky placentas! First A’s was previa, and now B’s is accreta.
- Technically I could have more children via surrogacy, but I know what the doctor means.
- No surrogacy, these two are enough.
- Thank G-d the babies are okay. They both seem to be doing so well!
- Little does he know, even if I have a uterus I probably can’t have more children.
- I’m so glad the babies are still in the room for me to have something to watch while this goes on.
- The doctor probably wants an answer.
The way it looked to everyone else: Doctor finishes speaking, DH and I look at each other, and we both say something to the effect of, “Whatever you need to do.”
The doctor said, “Thank you.” In my mind, the unspoken full sentence was, “Thank you for not freaking out like most people do, thank you for not making my job harder while I’m trying to do this, and thank you for not requiring me to convince you that this is the only way to save your life.”
My little distractions weren’t in the room long, and they soon went upstairs to the NICU.
The doctors kept working, and the anesthesiologists started getting really busy.
DH made a joke/offer about the transfusion being convenient because he is a universal donor, and rolled up his sleeve.
I asked him to tell me everything he remembered about the babies to keep me busy, and to show me the photos he’d taken.
DH, normally rather squeamish, was quite fascinated as the surgeons worked and told them as much. “This is so cool!” “From a medical standpoint, this is so interesting.” Usually I would be the one filled with intellectual curiosity for my own surgery. We weren’t entirely ourselves that day, in lots of ways.
DH didn’t tell me at the time because he didn’t want to alarm me, but there was a lot of blood. He later said that it seemed like an awful lot of blood, between the huge tub of suctioned blood and the giant puddle of blood on the floor that everyone kept having to step around. No one ever mentioned the word hemorrhage.
Later, DH asked how much blood I’d lost, because he thought he’d heard an amount mentioned but it couldn’t possibly be that much. They confirmed that he’d heard correctly. I had lost more than 6 units. My loss was 2/3 of the normal human blood volume, though because blood volume increases during pregnancy and even moreso during twin pregnancy my percentage was lower, closer to half of my total blood. That is still really a lot.
With a spinal, you don’t feel pain but you do feel “pressure.” The pressure got stronger. The way they were throwing my body parts around felt a lot like Thai massage.
Eventually the doctor said, “The bleeding is slowing down. We tried [a drug whose name I don't remember] and it worked. We aren’t going to transfuse you right now, and it looks like we won’t need to do a hysterectomy.”
DH asked, “Is that drug commonly used for placenta accreta, or did you just try that drug on a whim?”
As the doctors continued to work, they started talking to us more. Several times, DH or I made them laugh quite a bit. I don’t think either of us was trying to be funny.
The OB attending said that it was lucky that B had been breech and required a c-section. If I’d had a vaginal delivery, the bleeding would have been harder to control, they might not have had time to open me up, and I might have died.
After a while, they were done. With all the genuineness I could convey, as they were wheeling me to recovery, I told the doctor, “Thank you so much.” Thank you for saving an organ that I probably have no use for but would have missed, thank you for doing such an incredible job, thank you for saving my life.
As they wheeled me out of the OR, I started feeling pins and needles in my legs. This meant that the spinal was wearing off and they had finished surgery just in time. If it had taken longer or if they had needed to do the hysterectomy, they would have switched to general anesthesia.
Recovery did not go so well. It was supposed to be “an hour or two” but ended up being more than 3 hours — among other things, we had to wait for a shift change in the NICU then in the mother-baby unit. In my altered state, I had it in my mind that I shouldn’t go to sleep because I needed to be alert when they wheeled me to the NICU to glance at the babies. I really should have gone to sleep. I dozed off here and there, but mostly I lay there being agitated.
The nurse appeared periodically to tell me it wouldn’t be long (sound familiar?) then would disappear for far too long. During that time, they had a post-op conference to discuss my case. A Morbidity and Mortality meeting, without the morbidity or mortality. A “here is what went right with this crazy case” meeting.
I was also terribly thirsty even though I was hooked to an IV for hydration.
And I was itchy, so itchy, from the anesthesia.
Unprecedented sleepiness + agitation + impatience to see my babies + thirst + watching DH eat and drink + itchiness + not knowing how much longer + severe nausea + almost dying = a bad combination.
I remember so much about the birth, but the NICU trip is pretty hazy. I thought I’d just get wheeled by each isolette momentarily, the way that a tour bus pauses to look at a monument, but we stayed in each room longer than I’d expected. They told us that the babies were doing wonderfully. Tamale had disagreed with their recommendation for breathing assistance and had pulled out her tubes, so she was breathing room air like her brother by the time we saw them.
The next days were a weird combination of highs and lows. I’ve already talked about the contrast at Show and Tell earlier this week.
To preempt an inevitable question: They didn’t transfuse me because the preference in that hospital on that service is to avoid transfusion below a certain very high limit. I was actually kind of glad that they didn’t, because even screened blood carries a certain amount of risk, but dealing with that level of blood loss has made the recovery much more difficult.
My next post will have pictures of both babies, as well as some processing of the events I’ve just told you about. This post is long enough.
Birth details (in metric or disguised to reduce Google-ability):
Born one week ago exactly (on Sat.) around 3:30 a.m. at 33w4d
Burrito weighed 2.15 kg, Tamale weighed 2.25 kg
Burrito was 47 cm long, Tamale was 44 cm
APGARs 8 and 9 for both
Off the charts in terms of being loved
October 7, 2009
Update: Using the burrito post as a springboard, I think I’ll call the babies The Burrito and The Tamale. Those names sound as good as any I was going to come up with, since I was going to use pseudonyms anyway. A, the Burrito boy, is a bundle of yumminess. B, the Tamale girl, is a little picante.
I am working on writing the birth story for you; there is so much to tell. Not much to tell with the babies except that they are doing incredibly unbelievably fantastic. After failing at the baby lottery for so many years, I have hit the jackpot. Slightly early but perfectly healthy babies, sweet and beautiful. More baby photos on the way soon so that you can see for yourself.
Although I may not feel like it, I have been deemed healthy enough to cease being a patient today. Instead of driving over an hour back and forth to my house, I am so fortunate to be able to bunk with The Burrito and The Tamale. All of a sudden I will go from spending no more than half an hour or an hour per day with them to the entire day. Because of my recovery process, motherhood has been a slow transition. The thought of being with them all the time, of holding them for more than a few minutes, overwhelms me with disbelief and love.
You may recall that the view from my hospital bedrest window offered a mix of construction workers and fireworks. The view from my postpartum window is quite different. It’s almost directly above my old room, but it’s 3 stories higher and on a hill, so it has a fabulous view of a city, bodies of water, and the changing foliage. By day:
And one that comes with a metaphor. On the day I took the following photo, the weather was all over the place. Every few minutes it would change from sunny to rainy to overcast to clear to stormy. This is what it has felt like to be me over the past few days. I have had such a difficult time physically, quite a switch from being the perpetual bedrest non-complainer with the iron pain tolerance. The babies have made it more than worthwhile, but even seeing them has taken a physical toll. I did not throw up even once during the entire pregnancy (months of nausea, but zero vomiting), but the first time I was about to hold my son, I was so queasy from the anesthesia, narcotics, and movement that I puked just as they were about to put him in my arms. It happened again on my next visit — not the welcome that he deserves. I’ve struggled to get to the NICU (with help, via wheelchair) twice a day, usually not for long, then paid a physical price the rest of the day. Most of the time my pain has been decently controlled, but sometimes it hasn’t. At times I have wept with pain; at other times I have been in so much pain that I wanted to scream but couldn’t make a sound. All of this, while being happier than I ever dreamed. The contrast between my emotional highs and physical lows is absolutely bizarre, and the postpartum hormones just serve to magnify everything.
Forget about potato chips; two rainbows is quite an omen. I hear you, Universe. I will weather the storm, and we will all be okay. Together.
October 5, 2009
Sorry about disappearing for a couple of days. I’ve… uh… been busy.
Babies’ health is better than I could have imagined. They are big for their age and so precocious, impressing everyone with their breathing, feeding, alertness, sweet demeanors, and strength. I am desperately in love. I still can’t quite believe they are mine, and the whole process still blows my mind. Your tummy gets bigger and then fully-formed humans come out? Really?
During delivery I experienced some “complications” but I am now on the mend and I will be fine. When we were in the midst of the complications, making life-changing (and potentially life-threatening) decisions, part of my brain was thinking about what a good blog post it would make. I’ll tell you all about that, as well as give you a better picture of Burrito B and more details on both babies, very soon.
I’ve missed you!
October 2, 2009
Status: Just stopped mag. We’ll see what happens. Could go into labor, or could be waiting for days.
In the hospital, it’s feast or famine as far as excitement goes. The feast times have been a little much, so for now I’ll take famine. During these slow periods, I have to embrace the little things. Doesn’t take much to float my boat.
I’m in my room far more than 23 hours per day, and so I’m always here when the cleaning staff stops by. Sometimes they just empty the wastebaskets. Sometimes they also clean the toilet and the floor. But, on a rare occasion I was out of the room (for an ultrasound), apparently having me out of the way freed them up to do some extra cleaning.
They got rid of my used towels and set out some clean towels for me.
I am hopping with joy.
See what other surprises people have discovered at Show and Tell.