A Good Friend

Monday, April 27, 2009

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You never know the depth of the love you can have for someone until they do something so deep and so meaningful that you least expect, and your heart is overwhelmed by the compassion and love that they show you. My friend, Terri, is one of those people. We met, by chance, some godawfulo long time ago. I was a freshman in high school and she was a senior. We met in a drama classroom. I didn't take drama but a guy I knew hung around with the drama scene and so I ended up in this room with people I didn't know. And I met Terri. She graduated that year and we only really ran into each other at the local library, where she worked. When I was 16 and a junior, she helped me apply for a job at that same library, and we worked together for the next 2 years until I went away to college. She ended up graduating from college and moving on from the library. We kept in contact via letters and, when email became more mainstream, email. She was the maid of honor at my wedding; I was one of her bridesmaids. We both traveled to get to each other's weddings and, in those brief moments, shared lifetimes. She's had two beautiful boys over the last few years and, when I needed a friend desperateley, she left her youngest who wasn't even a year old, to travel to Pennsylvania for Nick and Sophie's Memorial Mass. No questions. I sent out the date and within a few minutes, she had emailed me back and said she was making flight arrangments. I dont know what we would have done without her. She greeted people at the church. She made sure everyone had a program and memorial card. At the house, she made sure the hords of people were fed and that glasses were full. And afterwards, when the falling apart happened, she was there to catch the pieces of us. She held us while she cried with us, laughed with us, shared our memories with us. And, when each day was a struggle, she would email a compassionate note, a prayer, something... When I became pregnant with Alexander, she was the first person we told, and she walked his journey with us every step of the way. She was our baby boy's godmother and sent up, I'm sure, just as many prayers for his well being as we did. She was the first call we made after telling our parents. And, once again, she was some calm in the midst of a ranging storm.

She remembers their birthdays, even the monthlies that can get lost as days fade from one to another. She isn't afraid to say their names or to talk about them with me. And now, today, I am touched once again by her giving nature and for all that she does. See why here.

She has been supportive through every pregnancy. This time around, when I've freaked out because of this or that, she's been a voice of reason. When I'm scared, she reassures me. When I'm down, she picks me up. We live over 800 miles away from each other and I rarely get back, but when I do, she's one of the major stops on the list. We watch each other's lives through pictures and emails, but when we are together, it's as though only a day or so has gone by.

We all need a good friend. I've been blessed with many, too many to name. But today, it is one in particular that is on my mind. And for her- Thank You. For everything.

Couldn't sleep...

Friday, April 24, 2009

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I woke up around 5am (a little over 2h ago) and haven't been able to get back to sleep. Which sucks because I wont leave for the library until a quarter of 10am this morning. I'd really hoped to get some extra zzz's this morning! I stayed in bed until 6:30 but then it just became so pointless.

When I logged in, I noticed that my birthday post for Alexander was saved and not published last night. What's up with that, Blogger??? So, took care of that and my email. I'm so ready to do SOMETHING. I just dont know what. Maybe eat... That seems to be a top priority these days...

Tuesday night, I had my final board meeting for work. When I gave the board my resignation, it was so quiet. And, as the County librarian tried desperately to reassure them that she would rehire my position and all would be well, some fistacuffs broke out. A side effect of stress, no doubt, but it was a heated evening. I was glad when it was over and I came home to a delicious potato-crusted cod dinner, lovingly prepared by my hubby.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my last departmental meeting for the main library and branches. My boss brought me flowers and everyone had signed a beautiful card. It was very unexpected and so nice. The flowers are daffodils, sweet peas, and hydrangas in a square green vase that will be so lovely in the nursery (which is painted a shade of green). Truly, such a sweet gesture. After the meeting, since it is the last time I will be at the main library (at least, it is the last time I plan to be there for a few months!), I ended up there for almost 2 hours saying good-bye to the staff! (There are about 70 people who work at the main branch, although I didn't visit with all 70, LOL). People are very excited, and I had several people tell me they were praying for us, including adding us to their prayer lists. Very sweet. They all made me promise to visit around Thanksgiving/Christmas with babies in tow. God, I hope I didn't lie to them all when I said that I would. It's a promise I desperately want to keep.

Today, my entire afternoon is filled with interviews as I try to replace one my staff whose last day is Tuesday. I have 5 scheduled in 5 hours. Plus another on Monday. I hope that someone is worthwhile! Of 50+ resumes, I responded to about 15, and of those, I have 6 interviews. Eek...

Well, perhaps I will go cuddle up to my husband and try to convince him to give me an early morning backrub... :)

Happy 5m birthday, Alexander

Thursday, April 23, 2009

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Oh, my sweet cuddlebug. It's been five months since your beautiful birth. Happy Birthday, Alexander. I know you're eating a big brownie in heaven. :)

7w4d ultrasound

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

14 comments
We saw Dr. Lee this morning (forgive me for the delay, I was running around all afternoon). Everything was fine. Both babies are doing well and we have been released to Dr. Bailey. We'll be seeing him next Thursday.

Our ultrasound showed two healthy babies with strong heartbeats and measurements that are right on target. Dr. Lee has put her guess as girls (and, according to our nurse, she is usually right.) Funny... We were both feeling girl energy, too. (Of course, poor Alexander and his girl name for the few weeks of his life... We are 2 out of 3 so far!)

Twin A, whom we have dubbed Zoë Anastasia, measured exactly 7w4d and had a heartbeat of 153 bpm.

Twin B, aka Maya Eirene, measured 7w5d and had a heartbeat of 160 bpm.
My cervix (sorry, no pictures...) measured an outstanding 4.6, which is better than the last one! Yay! Zoë's bag, although she implanted high, was a little closer to the cervix than the last ultrasound, but not as close as Alexander's was. Dr. Lee didn't seem worried because of the implantation site.
It was wonderful to see the little heartbeat monitor that showed their healthy, beating hearts. Just seeing them was so reassuring.
I told Dr. Lee about the "leaking" sensation and checking with pH strips. Funny enough, she actually said that was a good thing to do, since the discharge was different than I was used to and that keeping an eye on all discharge and checking it for problems is good and proactive. Now, of course, freaking on the couch... Not so good.
Overall, a nice appointment. I called and made an appointment to see Dr. Bailey and the receptionist (who was subbing for the normal nurse who was on break) was a nightmare. Ugh... Certain people have no bedside manner and shouldnt deal with people- ever. But that is over and done and I have my 11:45 appointment next Thursday! We should get the date of the cerclage and we will go from there.

Evil Mind

Monday, April 20, 2009

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So here we are... Another day with my evil mind trying to drive me over the edge to insanity. And it's working, I tell you.

So, Saturday. I woke up and actually felt pretty good. So we went to the aforementioned charity walk for a local maternity home. Peter and our friend, Sarah, ran; I walked. They came in first in their age group (30-39), he for men, she for women (obviously). I brought up the end of the race and I don't care! I wasn't walking fast! I finished a mile in 19 minutes (yuck!) but it was a good walk. And I felt good the entire morning. Then, the afternoon hit and I was concerned. What if I overdid it... What if I did "something"... You know. The crazy mind issues. Which led me to making a permanant connection with the couch all afternoon and evening.

Sunday, we were serving 2 Masses at church, so we were gone by 7am and didn't get back until 11am. Fine and dandy. Butt to couch. And I was an absolute nutcase when I was awake. I slept a lot (thank God) but when I was awake, I was convinced "something bad" was going to happen. Peter, good guy that he is, got pH strips, since I was having a fit that I was leaking. This will give you some insight into my nutty head. So, for those who may not know, the pH of urine is around 7, but can go anywhere from 4-8. The pH of amniotic fluid is 7-7.5. The pH of vaginal secretions is 4-6. So, this gives a decent range of whether to even be concerned or not. I'd decided that, if the test was 7-7.5, I'd call the doctor, otherwise, things would be okay. So... First off, there isn't even enough fluid to do a test. We're not talking gushing or even a trickle. We're talking "I swear I feel something going on down there and there's some moistness." It could be freaking sweat for all I know. But, I digress. I end up having to put the strips against my skin because there isn't enough stuff to even saturate the pad! (For reference, imagine the strip inside of a pregnancy test or an OPK strip... We arent talking rocket science here.) I must have done a half dozen. And the ones that I could actually get a sample on read between 4 and 5. For a normal person, this would have brought relief (especially since my husband works with strips just like these for work and knows how to read them!). Not me. I was convinced they were wrong. Because, God knows, I couldn't just be okay with things being fine when I was having a mental breakdown.

On top of this, I've had two instances of vaginal "farting". My apologies for the TMI. My hope is that SOMEONE else has had this during pregnancy because it freaks me out! The first was on Friday and I was convinced I was going to miscarry right afterwards. Then, yesterday afternoon. The rational brain tells me that my uterus is expanding and things are changing, so it's no surprise that air needs to be released. The irrational part- I must be miscarrying. Then, there are the twinges of pain in my abs and lower back. Again, irrational me yells "miscarriage!!!" while the rational part says "completely normal" (not to mention that my ovaries are still the size of a massive golfball so it's no wonder they are tender!).

We have our second ultrasound on Wednesday morning. I'm hoping that seeing everything normal and okay on the ultrasound will send these fears back to Hades where they belong. I plan on telling Dr. Lee that I've been having some anxiety issues and asking for advice. My thought is that she will probably tell me to talk to Dr. Bailey about it, since she'll be releasing us to his care. But it doesn't hurt to ask.

The only way that I get to sleep (which, thankfully, I do sleep a lot) is by praying. I just repeat prayers over and over and over again until I pass out. Last night, it was several rounds of the Our Father before starting on the Hail Mary which I eventually fell asleep to. Same thing this morning when I woke up too early to get up. And, of course, the constant requests that St. Gerard, St. Gianna, St. Brighid, and every other saint I can think of who might have some relationship to pregnant women, to pray for our babies and to pray for us.

I know that the fear is natural. How can it not be when our life experiences in the pregnancy arena have been full of heartache as well as joy. But the debilitating anxiety... That's a new thing for me. And I feel so weak for it and for even sharing it, but I dont know what else to do. Especially for those parents who have done this journey, tell me, I'm not crazy. That you've been there. That we're going to make it.

Make a liar out of me

Friday, April 17, 2009

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So, thank you, Mind, for making a complete liar out of me. It looks like the peace wasnt meant to last. I've been a mess all morning, probably the worse so far this pregnancy. Just a mess. Woke up at 6am, cried, freaked, you name it. Poor Peter. All he could do was hold and rock and kiss my forehead and prayer. Nothing could calm me down.

Sorry for the TMI, but I've been having diarrhea that has been knocking the life out of me. I mean, it is not cool to go to the bathroom 4 times in 20 minutes. Not cool at a ll. And I've been having clear, watery mucus. (Don't worry- doesn't smell metallic, no tinting... Had this with Nick & Sophie, dont remember it with Alex.) So, of course, I picked this morning, with this lovely combo, to freak. I havent thrown up, but food isnt my friend. Yet I'm hungry (even though I ate some cream of wheat at 8:30, I'm starving again.) And sneezing. I hate sneexing. My water broke with Alexaner during a sneeze, and I just hate them. I'm convinced I'm going to go into labor with every sneeze. And when I'm pregnant, I sneeze ALL THE TIME. In addition, because of hte bathroom issues, my lower back hurts whenever I have to "go" and I get odd pains around my midsection.

The rational part of my brain says "everything is fine... completely normal." The other part- well, I can't repeat most of what it says.

Why couldnt the peace stay? Is it because I have an ultrasound on Wednesday and the stress and worry of "something" is pushing the good, positive mojo away? Is there something really wrong and it's intuition?

I apologize for the whining. I'm just having a really bad day (which sucks because yesterday was a really good, positive day, and I've had quite a few of those peaceful days.) I'm scared. And I just want to wake up from the nightmare. I realize that every day will be fearful and that there will always be a nagging voice in my head telling me that my pregnancy is headed for disaster. Why cant I just wish it away and have a normal pregnancy? With hopes, not fears... Is that too much to ask?

Say a prayer for my babies, please... And that I'll take a chill pill and relax, and realize that everything is perfectly fine.

Is their prozac in the air?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

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There must be. Ever since giving my notice, I've been less stressed and more relaxed. But, beyond that, I have found a new peace in this pregnancy that I didn't have even in little Alex's pregnancy- and he was my peacebearer! I still have my freakouts, mind you (in fact, I emailed my dear friend Terri and she walked me through a day of intense anxiety), but, overall, I have this overwhelming sense of... peace. As it relates to all our children.

My grief is still here. It still hurts like a constant knife in my chest. My heart aches and I mourn my children. But I feel them with me. Since giving my notice and feeling that stress melt away, I feel them more. I told Peter once that I hated coming into work because I didn't feel them. That I could feel them at home but not here and that I couldn't face that much of my day without them. I have such relief with the decision that was made and put out there on Monday, and I feel them with me so much more. And I know it is because the stress that clogs everything has gone away, leaving me more open to their presences. And it makes a HUGE difference. It makes things okay. It hurts to think about life without them, but feeling them makes me realize they aren't really gone. They aren't here the way I want. They never will be. I'll never be able to nurse them or watch them grow up or kiss their booboos. I'll never be able to hold them, physically, in my arms again. And it sucks. And it makes me angry. And I still have yelling matches with God about it where I kick my feet and beat my hands and weep openly. It's not fair... But, feeling them... And, it may sound crazy... It may be the prozac in the air... But I swear to you, I feel them as much as if they were right here. Sometimes, it's in bed, when they nuzzle into my arms and I can smell them, they way they smelled as I held them on their birthdays. Sometimes, it's in the breeze outside or the raindrops that fall and kiss us without ceasing. Sometimes, it's in church, where I can hear them singing, louder than anyone else, and I know those voices are the voices of my children- even though I never got a chance to hear them on earth. Maybe I am crazy. But if I am, I don't want to be sane. I know the ache wont end and I dont want it to. But for those moments when they are with me again, the world is right. Things are okay. We are okay. Separated by this time and place, but not in our hearts and spirits. Our hearts beat together when they were on the inside and, in those moments, they beat together again.

I have my moments with this pregnancy too. Sometimes, the peace is overwhelming. There is a sense that I am doing the best that I can, have the best care money can by, and have an army of people who care about us and are praying for us. Catholics can appear to be a superstitious bunch, but the love and the faith is inspiring to me. A friend last night told Peter that she has a handkercheif that was blessed at the St. Gerard shrine that she wants to give to us to sleep with under my pillow. Another friend gave me a novena to St. Gerard and yet another gave me a prayer card and pamphlet for St. Gerard. I have 2 prayer cards for St. Gianna. And, the biggest thing, is that I have a rosary, blessed by Pope Paul VI, specifically with the intention of keeping mothers and babies safe during high risk pregnancies. I know that, to the outside, it might sound a little strange to have these "relics" of sorts in the hopes that these holy men and women might intercede and add their prayers to ours. But, yet, so comforting. Praying that rosary does give me a sense of peace. Touching the prayer cards and asking the saints for prayer- it calms me when I'm feeling led astray by my anxiety.

I can only imagine that, as cerclage time grows nearer, my anxiety will increase. After all, great OB or not, there are risks. And, as much as I try not to think about it, there are cases where the stitching doesn't work. The thoughts terrify me. It's unchartered territory. I don't know what to expect. I don't know what will happen. Will I lose these precious babies in 4 weeks because a needle slips or the contractions that start as a result of messing with the cervix can't be stopped? And then, even if the weeks following progress okay, the 3 weeks when I delivered their older siblings will be upon us. If we make it into the 20s, will I feel better? Will the worries of prematurely delivering suddenly end? I can't imagine they will. Possibly at 24w, I will feel a little better because there will be that glimmer of "a chance". But we all know, making it to full term doesn't fix things either. There's never a safe place... Just a place where our history is truly our history and has no chance of being our present again. I'm not there.

I'm farther than my miscarriages. Our babies heartbeats have been seen and my hCG tests all rose appropriately. That gives me some confidence. But, as I near the 7w mark, I keep in my mind all the women who mourn the babies that died before the hit 11w... And I wonder if the surgery that is due around Mother's Day will happen at all or if I'll have to make that dreaded call to cancel my outstanding OB appointments.

Yet, I'm striving to keep my head up and my thoughts positive. My April 24th ultrasound has been rescheduled to the 22nd, due to a conflict that has arisen at work, so that now means, less than a week until I see our babies on the big screen again and see their flickering heartbeats. We will be 7w4d instead of 7w6d. That's okay. I'll take it. At that point, Dr. Lee will release us to Dr. Bailey, and I'll see him during my last week of work.

3w1d of work to go. It's such a surreal experience to be closing up shop and getting things ready for the next person. This was my dream job. Being the director/manager of a small town branch library was what I wanted to do and I acheived it. And it was great while it lasted. Being a mom pushed it to the bottom of the "dream job" list, along with everything else, and that is okay. To each, it's own season. I'm sure that there is someone else who will fill my shoes and take the library to a new level, beyond where I have brought it. And that will be a good thing. And I'm happy that my name has been added to the roster of women who have run this great institution.

In five hours, I'll be remembering the moment of my daughter's birth and writing in her journal. My precious Sophia was born 14 months ago. Happy birthday, my sweet.

Happy 14m birthday, Sophia!

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Today, my sweet daughter, you were born- 14 months ago. Happy Birthday and may heaven rejoice that you are the loudest saint in their choir.

Another holiday comes and goes...

Monday, April 13, 2009

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Easter was the first holiday we celebrated without Nicholas and Sophia. It came early last year and was right upon before we knew what hit us. And then, less than a week later, their memorial service... How we missed them on Easter. It hurt so much to hear about Jesus being raised from the dead when all I could think of was "Why weren't our babies spared? Why couldn't God raise them from the dead?" I remember going to Confession and seeing our pastor, who tried to explain how the Resurrection was a sign of hope, a sign that our babies were still alive, albeit in heaven. I believed him, but still... Why couldn't God just rewind the time? Give me those months back? Please? Pretty please? With sugar on top? Anything?
And this year... When we got pregnant with Alexander, his due date was technically May 3rd, but we fully expected an Easter baby. I even remember talking with a friend of mine, how I wouldn't be able to sing at church because I'd be too busy (or too fat and ready to pop!). Christmas without him was hard, but I think Easter was harder because, in my mind, I just KNEW that he'd be here. I had so much hope...

As Peter and I sat, side by side in the choir loft, on Holy Saturday evening, my heart began to crumble. This wasn't how any of this was supposed to be. We should be in the pews, two toddlers asleep in our arms, an infant carrier between us. We shouldn't be processing in with lighted candles, but rather, should have our neighbors light our candles once they returned to their seats (assuming we could even balance fire and babies). People shouldnt be asking in suprise and excitement, "Are you pregnant?", they should be asking how much sleep we're getting and if we still "want a bigger family". And I cried. I cried on Good Friday. I cried on Holy Saturday. And I cried on Easter. But, more than that, I was so filled with a sense of gratefulness. Pure and utter gratefulness for those months that I had with our children and those moments of beautiful life that we were able to hold in our hands and kiss and hug and love. Never before have I felt so incredibly grateful.
I know so many people who dont have an ultrasound to remember a baby they lost in the womb. Who dont have photos of the babies that were stillborn or who lived only moments in this world. Mothers who would give anything to have labored their children. Parents who would give up hearth and home if they could have had those few precious minutes of holding their children in their arms and seeing them off to the other side. We had that. We had the joy of seeing them on ultrasound and, especially with Alexander, being able to map every stage of growth with those pictures. We felt them all move and heard their heartbeats on our home doppler. We were able to experience three very unique labors that gave us special memories for each of them. But, most of all, for those seconds... those minutes... that they lived on the outside, we were able to watch their legs kicks and their hands grab. We were touched by them as they were held by us. We watched their noses wiggle and their heads turn from side to side. My God. What a miracle. What a lifetime of joy in those moments. And how enormously grateful I am for that. Who am I to regret what I didn't have at the expense of what I did have? I sure as hell wouldn't give that time back. Heaven knows I still want more, but in this holiday I found something else. A sense of happiness for the memories... For the beauty... For everything we were given that we could have lost. It was wonderful and, when we felt them with us, visiting us for this holy of holies, it was all the more sweet.
We have wooden windchimes outside our kitchen window, windchimes that used to never chime. The wind would blow, they would get caught in the tree, and we'd go untangle them. After last February, they haven't really tangled. They just chime and ring. We'll be talking about them and, out of the blue, chiming. We'll be looking at their baby books and pictures and their things- chimes. Kisses from heaven in the rain and hugs in the wind... It's what we hold onto these days.

And, of course, our new little ones. The joy of expecting twins again... There's the fear, of course, but also the joy. We're trying to keep the joy at the front of the line, but it doesn't always work. With every pain, there is the fear that this is it. Every time I go to the bathroom, the nervous thoughts of Am I bleeding and just dont know it??? pop into my head. But, still, we are trying to muster up the courage to be just as thrilled as we were in October 2007, when we found out we were pregnant and that there were two beating hearts in my womb. Okay. Deep breath. We can do this. (But can we???)

Thursday was such a shock. I'd expected to see an empty sac (or two or three) and to obsess for a week until I could have a repeat u/s to see whether or not there truly was life or if we were slated for another loss. We waited and waited and I felt the urge to chew my fingers to the bone (but rest assured, I still have 10 lovely fingernails!). Finally, when we got in and Dr. Lee fired up the ultrasound machine, my heart just stopped. She wasn't going to find anything and all these positive tests were in vain. And then those words: "There are two."
As she zoomed in on our little jellybeans, you could see their black sacs, full of amniotic fluid and the white shadow of placenta around them. You could see the circle that echoed their little bodies and then, the flicker. The flickers. Their heartbeats. I started crying the minute she told me that she could see the heartbeats and asked if we could see them too. Of course, we could! We could make out facial features in those little jellybeans if you gave us enough time! She looked at my ovaries (No wonder they hurt! Poor overstimulated walnuts...) and then... the dreaded cervix... "4.4" she announced. A good measurement. And, the best news, they babies implanted high. Both of them are well above my cervix, and well above where their big brother, Alexander, implanted. My uterus has already begun to swell to make room and the upper part has hardened, thanks in part to this not being my first pregnancy. She was pleased with our development thus far and said everything "looks great."

She asked about my job and I told her I was giving my notice. She expressed regret that I had to give up a job I had once cared for so much, but I told her, honestly, that I know I'm a different person that I was 15 months ago and that, honestly, I couldn't put our children in childcare- especially now. We discussed our Mother's Dayish timeframe for the cerclage, and made our repeat appointment for the 24th, when the babies will be far enough along to get their heartbeats per minute. Can't wait.

We told some of our family and friends on Easter. People have been thrilled. We have a lot of prayers on our behalf. Our pastor, as we were chatting, reached out and put his hand on my head and blessed me. It was a sweet jesture. After a long (but beautiful) Thursday night- Sunday morning, we went to Peter's aunt's for a late lunch.

This morning, I made the call to the main library and punched in the director's extension. When she answered after only a ring, I mustered up the courage and, in one breath, spilled out. "We found out on Thursday that we are expecting twins. Since this time, we know that I'll be having cervical surgery and that I'll be on some sort of bedrest for the majority of my pregnancy, I feel it's best that I resign." Once it was out, I couldn't believe what I'd said and just waited for the "WHAT???" But she took it so well and was so nice about the whole thing. She congratulated us and said she was worried, but that we had to think positively and send good thoughts to the babies, that positive thoughts were good for them. She asked if I had really thought the decision through, especially in the event that, God forbid, the babies don't survive. I had said that while it was a scary prospect, it was something that we had discussed and that yes, I was sure that this was the right decision. That I couldnt even begin to expect them to hold my job for 6 months while I was on bedrest. She told me that she would be more than happy to work with me, if I wanted to keep working, and that she would work around the bedrest. I hadn't expected that. I was really touched. I thanked her for the offer and came clean: I'd never be able to return to work after they were born. Especially after the last year and a half, I know that I couldn't put them in daycare. I just couldn't. It would kill me to be away from them for a minute, let alone a day. And she, graciously, understood. She told me how much she'd miss working with me, and how we'd work on a plan, and that we'd go from there. So, it's done. My final 4 weeks of work began today. 20 work days left. I'm telling my staff this week and we will tell my board at my board meeting next Tuesday. I dont expect it to go as well, but you never know. I was blown out of the water by today.

Such a weight has been lifted. I'm nervous, of course. I mean, financially, this is going to be a huge hit, but money isn't everything. We'll sacrifice and make it work. It'll be scary, but we've lived on much less. I'll keep praying that Peter's job continues to be safe and that everything will be okay. Really, what else can you do?

Drum Roll, Please.....

Thursday, April 9, 2009

18 comments

Twins!!! Each with a perfect little heartbeat!

Dr. Lee was in as much shock as we are. We are 5w5d and she didn't expect the heartbeats, but they were there! She found twin A's while she was measuring twin B, and vice versa. She said since they are still so primative, she couldn't get a bpm (afterall, they just started beating yesterday!) but that she was super impressed we could see them at all! We go back 2 weeks from tomorrow (at7w6d) for our follow-up and, assuming all is well, we will be released to Dr. Bailey. She is calling in a prescription for folic acid.

Right now, my fear is overrun by my joy and the hard hitting truth that my 3 babies aren't here to meet and know my 2 new babies. But, as Peter told me, they already know them... Better, perhaps, than we ever will.

Happy Holy Thursday. Prayers for you all, and blessings on your families.

Today is the day!

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Say a prayer for us! We leave for Dr. Lee's in 20 minutes and will soon find out how many babies we've welcomed into our hearts and lives!

Ramblings...

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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I feel so out of whack if I don't post. It's funny because I've never been able to keep up with blogging in the past, but now, it's more than just being a source of theraputic engagment or journaling. It's like talking to good friends. I refresh my Blogger reader so that I'm up-to-date with posts because it's like getting a text message or a quick email from a buddy. And, likewise, I feel compelled to write.

I've been sleeping a lot again. For a few days, I had some crazy energy, but now, we are back to sleeping on the couch after work, getting woken for dinner, and falling back to sleep. Over the last week, I've easily slept 12-14 hours. I get a good night's sleep, sleep for several hours when I get home and then have another nap before going to bed. And it's wonderful. Peter is spectacular. He makes breakfast and dinner, cleans up, and then cuddles or gets me upstairs to bed. Who could ask for better? He's so good to me- to us.

Last night, we cuddled on the air matress in the living room floor that he blew up so I could relax when I get home. Our living room is a mess, but, honestly, I don't care! Laying down is so nice! He has sheets and blankets all set up, so all I have to do is curl up underneath! I know he's tired after a long day, too, but usually the first thing he does is get me a tall glass of water. Then, he asks if I'm hungry and, if I am, he makes a snack. Only then, does he relax. And, as the night wears on, if I'm awake, he'll ask what I want for dinner but otherwise, he just cooks and wakes me. And it's always delicious. Last night, he whipped together some vegan pepper "steak", a baked potato, and some creamed corn. He offered to make me a salad, but I was stuffed after my plate, so I didn't eat my greens (bad girl!). I love him so much. He's so wonderful and caring.

So, one of my staff has alluded to her resignation. I expect it formally on Monday. She plans to leave the same week that I would be leaving. I feel so sad for my library. It's going to be a rough summer. I don't feel that I have other options, though; our family is the most important thing. I'm still not sure how to break it to my boss. I think what I'll say will be along the lines of "Peter and I are expecting again (and our first ultrasound showed X babies). Because I'll need cervical surgery and a fair amount of bedrest, we feel that it is best if I give my notice. My last day will be in 4 weeks." I know that she'll want to discuss it more, and I'm sure we will. I want to thank the library system for working with me and my bedrest in my previous pregnancies, and with my bereavement time afterwards. They've been VERY generous to me. It's actually one of the reasons I'm leaving. I don't want to put the library through months of bedrest and modified duty, only to leave at the end. And, honestly, after losing 3 babies plus losing my miscarried babies, I can't imagine going back to work. Financially, it will be rough, but we'll sacrifice and survive. Better that sacrifice, then losing the time with our children. You never know how long you have. I dont want to wish that we'd done things differently all for a paycheck. Perhaps one day, I will come back to work. We'd love to homeschool, but if we decide to do parochial school instead, I'm sure I will look back to the library world. It is my background and what I've done for the last 12 years. I can't imagine doing something different. I hope that I've left my library much better than I found it and that, regardless of whether I come back in 5 years or 15 years, that it will do me well in finding library work again.

I honestly dont know how she will handle it. Truly, I want to do what is good for the library. It has a piece of my heart. And I feel like leaving and letting someone else take the reigns is what is best. She has said that I've changed since having our kids, and she's right. I am different. Better that I leave while I can still fake a (mostly) positive attitude and for a good reason, than I become one of those nasty, old librarians that we all joke about. I think that, assuming I am sharing with her another staff resigntaion on the same day (which I'm 99% sure I will be doing), she's going to be hit hard and have a bad taste in her mouth. I am trying to come up with a plan that will work for the library, staffing wise, and plan on having a preliminary talk with one of my staff members tonight. Off the record, of course, but it will give me an idea of what we are dealing with.

The last few days have been rough for my BF. Please keep her in your thoughts. She is in the beginning of a divorce that she doesn't want and that could get nasty. If you could say a few prayers for her, I'd appreciate it and I know she would be too. We're trying to be supportive and just give her what we can, but emotionally, this is so trying for her. And it hurts. As I'm sure we can all imagine.

I've been thinking about the kids alot recently. I see their names all the time. Nicholas on the back of a truck... Sophia on some of the leaves at church (a special project where people write down names on leaves and pray for the unknown babies)... Alexander on several book reviews. I smile each time, but it also brings that sadness of knowing that I can't just go home and hold them. Sometimes, I just curl up with their box, wrapped in their blankets, and focus all my energy on holding them again. Other times, I just close my eyes and try to remember their smells, all the while telling myself that they are upstairs sleeping, the thought of their deaths simply too much to bear. If one more person insinuates that another pregnancy takes your sorrow away, I'd like to throw something at them. I've been tempted to say, "If your husband/child died, could you so easily replace them with another? No? Then please dont insinutate that my babies, because they died either very young or through miscarriage in the womb, are so easily replaced." But I dont. I usually try to say that "each baby is different" and that "I love this pregnancy for who he/her/they are, just like I love my other children for who they were and still are." But it makes me angry and it hurts. Another mom was talking about being hurt at comments from others; I understand that all so well. People don't *mean* to be harsh, but they are. Were we all this dumb before our babies died? God, I hope not. Please forgive me if I ever made a callous comment to a parent that was hurting.

Well, it's time to eat! My other favorite event (after sleeping!)!

Doing Better

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

5 comments
So, I feel better today. Other than the 2 times during the one hour span of the afternoon that I saw a tiny bit of peachy pink (and really, it was tiny), everything has been absolutely fine. Regular CM, back and forth between discharge and dry, regular "pregnancy" colors (the beige family), and all is well. I really think I just had a meltdown yesterday for other reasons, and that this was the thing that really pushed me over the edge. The exact thing happened with Nicholas and Sophia, around this time, and lasted, actually, a few days, and Nurse Amy told me the same thing that she told me when this happened on 13dpo of this pregnancy. Unless it is heavier than a light flow or is red and not pink, peach, or brown, it is probably fine. And, if it isn't, then there really isn't anything they can do at this point. When I talked to her last Monday, she told me that if it was accompanied by pain or menstrual-type cramps, to call her. But otherwise, I'm on progesterone supplements, so they wont give me anything more, and that a lot of Dr. Lee's patients have irregular light spotting. Of course, she chuckled, it's only really spotting if it gets on a pad. Which mine hasn't this pregnancy. It was only present when I wiped, and even then, I wouldnt have noticed unless I was really looking, hardcore, at the toilet paper. So, I'm feeling much better today.

Yesterday was a rough day all around. I worked in the morning, then left to take my dad to a dental appointment. I love my dad. Truly, I do. But he complains a lot about everything. He's had a rough life, but at times, I just cant take it. He has spasmodic torticollis/cervical dystonia, that takes a lot out of him, and I try to make allowances for that. I know he is in pain. But you would think, every day, that he is dying. He smokes and doesn't eat well, which adds to his problems, and I find it very hard to make allowances for that. Anyway, he lived with us for 2 years trying to get back on his feet, and it was a hard time for us. Very hard. I was able to get him a job at the main library, working in the circulation department, and we moved him out on his own. He now works full time and, for the most part, is very self sufficient. But he misses being taken care of. My nana took care of him into adulthood, then he married my mom and she took care of him. Now that they are divorced and he's on his own, I know there are sometimes when he just really, really wishes there was someone else to do things for him. And, because he does financially struggle (who doesn't!) and made some really bad financial decisions, which adds to the struggling, he wants things he cant afford and gets upset that he cant have things he wants or needs (like dentures). Anyway... To the dentist. He hates the dentist, but wont change. It's so stressful to me to hear how he doesnt like them, how he thinks they are cheating him, etc., yet when I say "So change dentists", he ignores it all together. On top of things, he doesn't always listen, so instead of paying $35 yesterday, he paid $70. Now, the girl told him that his insurance didnt pick up all of his last visit and that he would have to cover the difference from his last appointment. Did he hear that? No... So, he was frustrated about that. When I picked up his prescriptions, I took my BP at one of those pharmacy stands and it was through the roof. My heart raced all afternoon.

He lives within walking distance to work (good since he doesn't drive) but is 40 minutes, at least, from me. He gets upset that we dont visit. Even though, I cant stay in his apartment because of the smoke. I invite him to visit, but he doesn't like taking the bus to get to our home. (It's about an hour drive and we usually ask him to take the bus to our home, and then we will take him back.) I know he is lonely, but he doesnt visit and I cant drive 40 minutes each way while working each week to see him. Our Sundays are full of church and he works on Saturdays. Whenever I invite him over, he needs to do X or Y, which I completely understand. But I think living alone and the recent death of his best friend have piled up and made him feel very lonely.

The complaining drives my blood pressure up and makes it very hard for me to deal with him. I have no doubt that a lot of my stress yesterday surrounded that. He would like to stop working, go on disibility (which he tried for and was unable to get), and live nearby, where we would do his errands, etc. for him. This can't happen right now, and I know it is a struggle for him. Financially, we struggle to help our parents, and we do what we can, and I know it is only a matter of time before he asks for the $1000 to buy dentures. Money we don't have to give him. Telling him no, you'd think I was killing his puppy. We grew up poor, mind you.

Sorry for the vent. I plan on calling him again today to see how he is doing and I know that this will be a rough evening. He takes medication that really makes him more like this than he normally is. (When he lived with us for 2 years, he didnt take meds and was much easier to be around, even though it was still so hard to cohabitate. Now, he takes 2 different drugs, and it's a struggle to deal with him. He doesn't see it (and doesn't want to hear it), which makes it worse.

But, enough of my complaining! I do feel better. Things seem to be fine. Thank you for all the prayers and advice. Only 45.5 more hours until our ultrasound!

Update on my freak out

Monday, April 6, 2009

8 comments
Okay, so things seem to have settled down. I had a muscle twitch/spasm/flutter on my lower right side just now, but I checked for bleeding an hour ago and just now and nothing. No mucus. Completely dry. I remember having a few days of pink discharge with Nicholas and Sophia around the 6w mark and am trying to chalk it up to that. I hesitate to call and bother Dr. Lee via her answering service when I will see her Thursday and there is really nothing she could do between now and then. I'm going to take it easy, continue praying a lot, and hope for the best on Thursday. I don't want to feel so scared. I really dont. I thought I could at least pretend my way through the first few weeks, until we got close to the cerclage, but I cant. I'm just too on edge and scared. I keep begging God to please, please not call this child/these children Home too. I've asked St. Gerard, St. Gianna, and even St. Brighid (my Confirmation saint) to pray for us. I plan on praying the pregnancy rosary when I get home from work. I'm just so scared. At this point, I'll stand on my head if that will make things okay.

Peter and my girlfriend, Meg, say everything is (probably) fine. Of course they are worried, but they keep pointing to the high hCG, high progesterone, and my raised BBT as signs that things are okay. The rational part of my brain says that I couldnt go from a pregnancy to a miscarriage in a day- right? I'd have days of falling progesterone, which would result in a falling BBT, right? I keep telling myself this to make me feel better. I desperately want to feel better.

As of right now, the crisis is on hold. I'm still a mess. Trying to eat and have my cup of raspberry leaf tea, and countdown the next 63 hours until I can see what the ultrasound has in store...

Having a meltdown

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I saw some pink when I went to the bathroom this afternoon and I'm having a total meltdown. Even though my temperature was high this morning (97.8) and it was just pink, nothing red, nothing even serious (it wasnt on the pad that I wear, just in case, and was only when I wiped), I am a freaked out mess. Tell me that I'm not making stuff up to make myself feel better: a high temperature combined with dark lines a few days ago and a progesterone supplement- things are okay, right? My progesterone was 90 a week ago- it couldn't suddenly fall to the point of bleeding could it? Dr. Lee saw a pocket of fluid on the utrasound before ovulation- could it be that?

It looks like it did on 13dpo, just a little bit of peach/pink on the toilet paper. But I'm a freaked out mess right now. I feel like I'm going to puke and I know it's nerves. I see Dr. Lee on Thursday and I know that, at this point, there is nothing they can do if things are going downhill. I am trying to think positive, but I am so scared. Is this implantation bleeding revisited? What could it possibly be? For those who temp, is my BBT being the highest it's been on my chart a pretty good sign that things are okay?

I couldn't help myself!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

7 comments

Okay, so I'm completely addicted to peeing on a stick and seeing a line. I keep trying not to and had convinced myself "no more!!!" and then, last night, Peter (little instigator that he is) says "Why don't you do another pregnancy test? We can see if the line has gotten darker." And so, without further prodding, I ponied up the goods and did my duty. (And, I have to say, I'd just had a bathroom visit an hour prior, so I wasn't expecting a good hCG build up.) But here we are! A very dark line! (and a much better picture that the other ones!)

So, if the 3 bloodtests and 5 HPTs hadn't convinced us, I think we'll take this one as proof.

I'll stop. I promise. I might have to hide them somewhere, but I think enough is enough!

Foster parenting updates!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

2 comments
Our case worker just emailed me. We have our first two home study appointments set up! In spite of the name, these two are actually conducted at the Archdiocese. The third is in our home. We have one on 4/30 and the other in mid-May. I am so nervous!

We both feel that bringing a child into our home while I am on bedrest wouldnt be an ideal situation (even if CSS said it was okay). What we would prefer is to complete as much of our training as we can and then go on an "inactive" status. We will discuss this in person with our case worker on the 30th. And, by that point, we will have more information.

A Good Man

6 comments
You're all going to think I have a love thing for my doctor and really, I dont. I love my husband. But Dr. Bailey... He is truly a good man. (As is Peter, in case he reads this and wonders why I didn't add that adjective to his name!) :)

As you may remember, I called Dr. B. a few days ago, to tell him of our positive pregnancy test and rising betas. He had asked at our last meeting, several months ago, to call him with an update so that we could decide when to meet, do the cerclage, etc. So, I called and left a message with the nurse around lunch time. That evening, my cell phone rings and it is Dr. B., from his private cell phone. (How do I know this, you ask? Because this sweet man, when I was in the hospital with Alexander, gave us his cell phone number to call day or night if we were concerned about our treatement THEN gave it to us again during my time of postpartum preeclampsia, in case I had any more black outs after office hours. Like I said, a good man.) In his typical, laid back voice, he expressed his congratulations and told me how happy he was for us. He laid out, briefly, that he'd like to do the stitch between 11 and 13 weeks, that he felt that would give us the best healing time before things might try to get hairy, and that he really felt like this would help us reach full term. He wanted to make sure that we both had his cell phone number, in case of a problem or question. And then he asked me to call him as soon as we had our u/s with Dr. Lee, to let him know how many "kids" to expect. (One of the things I always found appealing was that he always refered to our twins as "the kids". "Let's see what the kids are up to", he would say before an ultrasound. With Alexander, he used to say "let's see what your little boy is doing.") We parted with me promising to call him.

Fast forward to last night. I had a long day at work and didn't get home until after 10pm. (Who knew the life of a librarian could be so exciting... Ooohh... municipality meetings!) After Nicholas's dinner, which my perfect Peter so lovingly prepared, I picked up the mail and there was a card. It was from Dr. B.! In his doctorish script, he had written a short note, telling me it was nice to hear from me, congratulations, and that he looked forward to seeing us again soon. Then he signed it with his first name. Very laid back. Very friendly.

I wanted to cry. It reminded me of two other handwritten notes I've received from him, after the children died. He wrote these notes of condolence, telling me how sorry he was, how he was thinking of us and our kids. And I remember thinking... Wow... This guy actually sent us notes to say he was sorry. He must really care about his patients.

I remember being sad that there were too many safety risks that were possible with a homebirth with our midwife, after we found out we were carrying twins. She had told me that she knew a doctor who was very friendly towards natural birth and that she trusted, and would I like his name. I took it and made an appointment, and I remember him being so relaxed. He took so much time to just talk and explain things. I never felt rushed or that I was just another number. No matter how busy the office was, he always took a seat and spoke slowly. Every question we had was well answered. He never made us feel dumb for anything we asked and was impressed whenever we brought up medical points of interest. (We researched things before going to appointments, and it helps that Peter is a biologist.) We both just knew that he was our doctor. And with each pregnancy, he has earned more and more respect.

I feel so blessed to have such good doctors. Both Dr. Lee and Dr. Bailey are more than I could ever have hoped for. I've heard so many horror stories of both REs and OBs, and I feel like, somehow, we were able to get the cream of the crop. I dont know why we are so lucky.

One more week until our ultrasound! The research I've done has said that the heartbeat is visible on u/s a minimum of 22 days after ovulation; some sites say you should wait at least 30dpo before an u/s, just to be sure. I will be 26dpo (5w5d) and will be having a transvaginal u/s, which picks up the HB sooner. But, with our previous pregnancies, we haven't seen the heartbeats until six and a half weeks, and I know friends who've not been able to see HBs prior to the middle of the sixth week. So, I'm trying not to hold my breath. But I really, really am hoping! Trying not to stress too much.

Really felt our children a lot this morning. Some days, they are so strong. It was hard to leave the house. I just wanted to cuddle with their blankets, remember their smells and their touches, their little hands moving in mine. It was a happy thought. I want to keep that all day.

4w4d

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

3 comments
Nurse Amy called and Dr. Lee is "still very pleased" with my test numbers.

13dpo hCG 189 prog 60+
16dpo hCG 461 prog 90.6
18dpo hCG 820 prog 83.4

We have our first ultrasound scheduled for Holy Thursday, April 9th, at 9am. While they feel it will be too early to detect any heartbeats (I will be 5w5d, so it is possible, just not probable), we will be able to see just how many bambinos there are. I know that I will be so scared if we dont see the flicker of a heartbeat, but I desperately want to know how many babies I am carrying. And, knowing that it is really early for HBs, I think I can handle the added stress until the following week. In a perfect world, since I have the 15th off, I would try and schedule the follow-up u/s for that day.

So... So far, so good. My hCG usually doubles every 70 or so hours, which is within the normal 48-72 hour window, so an 80% rise in 48 hours is good for me. I'll take it! I'm trying to just relax and not obsess over anything (like the nagging pain in my right side, near my leg- thank goodness I know I ovulated from my left or I'd be a nervous wreck waiting for the u/s or the stress of my job today). It doesn't always work, but I'm trying!

Happy 14 month Birthday, Nicholas

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The rains that fall are the kisses from heaven that you send your Daddy and me. You graced our life with your presence over a year and a half ago, but 14 months ago, you were born into this world and made it a better place by your strength and love. I've often thought that you and Sophia talked about who would come first... Who would be left behind to save their parents from falling into an utter abyss... And you, our little hero, chose to come at 16w. You fought to give us a beautiful hour, even though I can only imagine the pressure against your chest as you tried to breathe, the fear of being in a world unable to provide for you. You touched so many and we are all so blessed. So happy 14 month birthday, my little boy, my strength and my courage. I love you so much, Nicholas.