Tuesday, June 30, 2009

RIP Gracie

Our kitty is gone. She had been sick for a while with either liver or kidney disease. We had actually planned to take her to the vet this week to discuss putting her down. I guess she wanted to go on her own terms. She must have passed last night or early this morning.

She will always have a special place in our hearts because she came into our lives right around the time we got married. She had been a stray that decided to wander into our apartment one day after we had started feeding her outside. We like to say she adopted us. :)

Our sweet little Gracie. At least she's not in pain anymore.

(Gracie is the tiny gray cat on top of the couch)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Crunchy vs. non-crunchy

It's funny. When I was in high school, I wished I had been alive in the 60's so I could experience what it was like to be a true hippie. I did the best I could to recreate that lifestyle as a suburban teen in the early 90's. I became a vegetarian, tie-dyed everything I owned, and lectured everyone I knew on recycling and protecting whales and dolphins. Throughout college and early adulthood, I mellowed out and left my hippie tendencies for a more mainstream and conservative lifestyle.

Nowadays, there seems to be this push towards "crunchy" parenting. It's called crunchy, I believe, because of the tendency of "hippies" to enjoy granola :) Crunchy parenting is a loose term that includes many different things, but the big ones seem to be:

*med-free delivery
*staying at home
*cloth diapering
*making your own baby food

To me, that sound a lot like the parenting of our grandparent's generation. I am NOT knocking any of those choices, but I find it funny that so many advancements have been made to make things more convenient for mothers, and now so many people want to go back to "the old days". Again, I am NOT knocking any of these choices. Frankly, I think anyone who can commit to all this is a better person than me. Maybe I'm selfish and lazy, but I am happy for the modern conveniences. I understand why these are big trends - cloth diapering is better for the environment, breastfeeding is healthiest for baby, pain meds can slow down labor and cause unnecessary C-sections. However, they are not the only or even best way to do things.

So what makes me "un-crunchy"? Let's see where I fall on the above list:

*med-free delivery - Planned C-section, complete with spinal.
*breast-feeding - FAIL. I tried but the twins have been on exclusively on formula most of their lives.
*staying at home - I work 45 minutes from home and leave the babies in a daycare.
*co-sleeping - Babies have been in their cribs since Day 1.
*cloth diapering - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Pampers are my best friend.
*making your own baby food - I heart Gerber.

I think what bothers me the most is the pressure placed to favor one method over another. I have come to terms with the decisions I made about raising my children, and they were personal decisions, not up for debate amongst anyone else. Why does anyone give a crap how I feed my babies? Why do I care if you cloth diaper or not? I don't know why there has to be so much pressure to do things one way or another. Every parent has to make the decision that is right for their family.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Adventures in solids

The twins have been eating solids for a couple of months now. We started with rice cereal, but Danny had some issues with it being too binding. So we switched to oatmeal, and they like that. So far they've had sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, peaches, pears, green beans, peas, banannas, and applesauce. They're not picky eaters at all! We tried some of the mixed fruit containers and those have been good - with the exception of pears and pineapple. Danny broke out into a rash the day after we tried that. Since he's had pears alone and been fine, and there were no other changes (detergent, clothing, etc.) to cause an allergic reaction, I have to assume it was the pineapple. Of course, once I started reading about food allergies, I learned you're not supposed to give citrus fruit til one year because of the high risk of allergies! Glad I found out now!

I'm looking to start table foods within the next few weeks - maybe egg yolks, pasta, or waffles. We'll see how that goes!


Birth stats:
5lb 0 oz

6 month stats:
14lb 6.2 oz

Birth stats:
5lb. 8 oz

6 month stats:
13lb 13.9 oz

They are growing so quickly!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Back to blogging

It's time...I've been such a slacker since the babies were born. Understandably I've been busy, but I've decided that I really want to journal the babies' growth and milestones. It's been fun looking back on all my pregnancy posts here, and I want to continue. So here we go.

Danny and Katie are now just over 6 months old. They are the 2 sweetest and cutest babies in the world. (Yes, I am biased and I don't care!) Honestly, they really are such good babies. They certainly have their moments of fussiness and crankiness, but overall they are happy and well behaved. They started sleeping through the night at around 3 months, which was wonderful. Amazingly, they don't wake each other up! They're just now starting to notice each other but haven't really played much together. I can see them (especially Danny) getting ready to try and sit up on their own. Pretty soon they'll be teething and crawling and standing! I cannot believe they are halfway to a year old. In some ways it has taken forever but in others it has flown by.

It was a long and difficult road to get here, but I wouldn't change a second of it.

Their 6 month professional picture:

Friday, March 20, 2009

4.5 months later...my very detailed birth story

Um hi. Yeah, it's been a while. I'm a total slacker on the blogging but I've been busy! I finally managed to type out my birth story. I had journaled everything while in the hospital so it took this long to type everything out!

It's super long and detailed, but I wanted people to know the gory details of a c-section birth - AND the recovery!

Late Thursday morning I got a call from the OB telling me my platelet counts were going down and they wanted to deliver me today rather than tomorrow. We get to the hospital around 1:30pm or so, and I am quickly taken to a room. I figured nothing would happen for at least a few hours, since I had eaten breakfast at 10am and they wanted my stomach empty for about 8 hours. However at around 2pm they mentioned something about starting in an hour.

They give me an alka seltzer to settle my stomach (yeah right) and Brian changes into his scrubs. They then put these pads around my legs which supposedly would prevent blood clots by massaging my legs and keeping blood circulating. Believe me, it’s not nearly as good as it sounds. The anesthesiologist (Dr. Friedman) asks if I can walk to the OR down the hall, so he and the nurse help me get over there. As I walk in I’m amazed at how clinical it all is. I know that sounds stupid, since we’re in a hospital and this is a surgery, but considering birth is supposed to be so natural and instinctual, this seemed weird. The room was cold and I started shaking a bit. There were so many people doing so many things, that I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing. Thankfully the anesthesiologist was really concerned about me and talked me through everything. He and the nurse helped me up on the table and he started prepping the spinal and gave me an oxygen tube. I could feel him painting on the numbing agent and he told me exactly what he was doing. He warned me the needle was coming, and said I would feel burning and tingling, which I did. Pretty soon my whole lower body was warm and tingly, then I felt nothing. It is a very strange feeling. I get myself adjusted on the table and the shaking gets worse. A lot worse. But it’s only from the chest up. The nurse said that is normal and due to the cold and the spinal.

Brian comes in and holds my hand (as it shakes uncontrollably) and they pull the drape up so I see nothing. Dr. F keeps asking me how I’m feeling, and other than the shaking I feel OK. The other doctors have arrived and suddenly I feel pulling in my abdomen. I really don’t know what is going on, but I feel pressure and pulling. Soon, I hear someone say “here’s a bottom” and before I know it I hear a cry. Baby A is born, and it’s a girl! Katharine Allison is here! For one brief second I see this amazing little baby covered in vernix appear above the drape and I gasp. This is our daughter! I barely have time to process that before they whisk her away to clean her off. Less than one minute later we have another baby! Daniel Owen arrives one minute after his sister. We also get a fast peek at him over the drape, and then he’s off to be cleaned and measured. I wish I could hold him but I know he needs to get examined. The rest of the surgery goes relatively quickly, though I still have no idea what they’re doing. Soon enough though, the babies are cleaned off and they bring each to my chest so we can see them up close. They look beautiful and perfect! To our surprise, Kate is chunkier than Danny, which goes against the ultrasound measurements. Katharine Allison was born at 3:59pm at 5lbs 8 oz and 16 inches. Daniel Owen was born at 4:00pm at 5lb 0 oz and 18 inches. After giving each baby an all too short kiss, they get wheeled away again, back to the nursery.

Brian soon departs for the nursery to check the babies, and they finish up with me. At this point I still have no feeling in my lower body but they need to get me off the table and into a bed. So somehow they manage to turn me over to my side, and I swear, I feel like I’m floating on air. I have no idea what is supporting me below, but it must be something. I somehow make it back to the bed, and they tell me that because of my continued blood pressure issues and to prevent seizures, they’re putting me on magnesium sulfate. I had heard horror stories about this drug and was so glad I didn’t have to get it during my pregnancy. I never thought about the possibility of needing it post partum. Basically, it makes you feel like a zombie. It causes extreme lethargy, hot flashes and headaches. They added the magnesium sulfate (along with pitocin) to my IV. This is in addition to the morphine drip, a catheter, and the aforementioned leg massages things. I was told I was basically a prisoner to the bed until I was off the magnesium. It made sense because I truly couldn’t move on that stuff.

Because of my restrictions, I couldn’t get into the nursery that night to see the babies, so I relied on Brian to go check on them and bring me back updates. He was so amazing to me during this whole time, from making sure I was comfortable, to relaying information to me, to keeping everyone else informed and out of my way if I needed to rest. The babies were doing well, but needed to stay in the Special Care nursery because they were having some breathing troubles and needed extra oxygen.

Thursday night was pretty bad for me. After my time in recovery I was taken to a regular room and got to see my parents and in-laws. After everyone left I kept getting checked out. My mouth was so unbelievably dry, so I was allowed ice chips which were a godsend. I also started feeling very itchy in my face and eventually all over, which was a s/e of the morphine. They could give me Benadryl, which would make me even groggier. Yet even between the painkillers, the mag, and the Benadryl, I couldn’t truly sleep – I just felt completely lethargic. It was also hard to sleep with nurses coming in every hour to check my BP, my catheter, my reflexes, and my belly (they just cut it open and yanked out 2 babies so guess what – it HURTS when you press on it!) Plus, the Benadryl wasn’t helping the itching, so I got another drug (Nubian) which helped but not completely. I was also itchy on my legs from the pads all over me. They started getting sweaty and were just annoying from the constant pulsating. But I knew they had to stay on til I got off the magnesium.

After a terribly long and sleepless night (and mind you, I STILL hadn‘t seen my babies since I delivered) I saw Dr. Adibi from my OB practice in the morning. He said because of my blood pressure he wanted to keep me on the magnesium til about 5 that day (total of 24 hours). I was really really hoping I could get off it that morning so I could see the babies, so that news was so disappointing. As soon as I left I started crying because I felt cheated out of spending time with my babies. Every mother wants to be with her child, and I was chained to the bed while they were in the Special Care nursery. I was denied the basic right of bonding with my babies right away, and I was worried I would never feel that bond. I was jealous of every mom who got to be with their baby right away. They couldn’t bring the babies to me because of all the tubes and monitors, but a sneaky nurse who heard about my crying found a way to sneak them out of the nursery and into my room so I could hold each of them for a minute. She wasn’t supposed to do that, but I so needed that and I was utterly grateful to her.

Finally, at 5pm, they took me off the mag. They took out the catheter and I was allowed out of bed. I put on my robe and hopped into a wheelchair, because come hell or high water, I was going to see my babies. They looked so tiny and fragile hooked up to all the monitors, but they were beautiful.

Everything else about Kate and Danny in the NICU and Danny being transferred to CHOP is a whole other story.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween babies!

Well, the last couple of days have been interesting to say the least. I went to the hospital on Monday night for my usual non-stress test. I had dropped off my lovely pee jug that morning so I was hoping to find out the results. I did. They found mild amounts of protein in my urine. That combined with the swelling and elevated blood pressure confirmed what I was fearing - I have pre-eclampsia. The doctor on call at the hospital wanted to keep an eye on me and see if anything changed, so they admitted me Monday night. I had to collect my urine once again and they checked my BP every 2 hours. They kept saying there was a good chance I could deliver this week, before I hit 35 weeks, but they wanted to keep monitoring things. So I had been mentally preparing myself to deliver today and having the babies spend a week or so in the NICU. It wasn't my ideal situation, but I had come to terms with it.

So this morning the doctor comes back after reviewing my labs and I'm certain she's going to say we're doing the C-section today since my protein counts had gone up (up from 380 on Monday to 550 today when they want 300 or less). Instead, she says that being on bedrest at the hospital has helped bring my blood pressure down enough that they feel OK with the babies cooking another week. Plus, my protein counts are at the low end of mild pre-e (severe is considered 5,00 or more and I was only at 500). So I was released today and am on bedrest - I can get up to pee and can shower quickly and walk downstairs, but that's about it. I also need to collect my pee yet again and come back Friday and Monday for more labs and non-stress tests.

I am so happy that the babies will cook for another week, but I had been preparing myself to deliver today that it seems weird I won't be meeting them til next week. Obviously this is the for the best, since they will be born at 36 weeks and will most likely need very little if any NICU time. As of Tuesday they are measuring well - Danny is 5lbs 3 oz and Kate is 5 lbs 1 oz, which is exactly on target.

The hardest thing for me was coming to terms with the fact that it wasn't the babies who were ready to come - it was my body that was failing. I know it's not my fault or anything, but I feel bad that my body and this condition is what's basically threatening them.

So the wndrtwns have a birthday - October 31!

Everybody's Broken

...even me. And everybody needs a place to let it out. My blog about trying to have a baby, loss, and life in general.