Sunday, May 31, 2009

Busy Weekend

Started on Sunday... finished on Monday... Too tired...

So, on Saturday, the Cardinal was coming to our church to bless our newly relocated Tabernacle and our new, outdoor stations of the cross. I was due to sing at this Mass and Peter and I were invited to the special dinner afterwards, since I am a Sacristan. This was to be my first big outing, post surgery, and I was nervous all day. I took a shower, then was ready by 3:30 to leave, since it's 10 minutes away and we were due no later than 4pm. We received many hugs and folks loved the u/s pics. By 4pm, we were in the choir area and practicing. I had made the decision to sit the entire service, save getting Communion and my song. And I did. I didnt think sitting would be a big deal; after all, I sit in bed to eat. Wrong. About 15 minutes into Mass (so about 75 minutes since sitting), my back began to hurt. And hurt. And hurt. The only relief was standing and getting Communion and standing for the aforementioned duet. Afterwards, I laid down on a pew (once Mass was dismissed and everyone went to the blessing of the Stations then the pre-dinner reception. Laying down was so nice! When it was time to go to dinner, we walked to the parish center and to the parish library, now transformed into a dining room. It was very nice, but my back continued to throb. At one point, I actually left during the meal to walk outside in the cool evening. I was just so flushed and the walking relieved the pain. We got home at 9:30 and I was totally wiped out.

On a very nice note, though, the Cardinal was lovely. He visited each table several times to make sure all was well. But most touching was, before he left, he revisited our table and put one hand on my shoulder. With his other hand he gave me a blessing and told me he would be praying for our babies. As we were leaving, I stopped to chat with one of our priests, who had mentioned our situation to the Cardinal after dinner. In most cases, I tend to write off the "I'll pray" comments. People have great intentions, but we all know how life can get in the way. But I believe the Cardinal will pray. He is one of the kindest ministers I've met. Peter and I had the pleasure of meeting him and marching beside him during January's March for Life, and his unwavering commitment to babies- both in-utero and out- is amazing.

Sunday, our house was being converged on by 13 of Peter's family, mostly maternal cousins who we havent seen in many years and were visiting. And I was sore. My abs hurt, my back hurt, and worse, the brown spotting that had disappeared was back. I was a mess. Peter assured me that this was normal. That it was no surprise that old blood that wasnt expelled because I've been in bed was bound to show up on toilet paper after a lot of movement. I had no cramping (other than everyone's favorite gas pains) but just felt sore. :( I was in bed until his family arrived a little before one and sat in my rocking chair until 2:30, when my mother-in-law insisted I go to bed because I looked so tired and then kicked folks out! The super highlight of the day was when she introduced, in both English and Spanish, to each cousin, her grandchildren. She proudly pointed to each picture and proudly said, "This is my first grandson, Nicholas, and his twin sister, my granddaughter, Sophia, and this is their baby brother, my grandson, Alexander." I held it together during that. And we hosted the luncheon in the library, where my piano is and where a lot of pictures are, since it is right off the dining room and the living room, with the bed, isnt currently meant for more than 2 visitors, so there were many pictures to show off. But afterwards, when we were alone and Peter curled up next to me and held me tight, I just wept. I will never have the words to express how thankful I am... How, in the midst of everyone's excitement over this pregnancy, that she kept the memories of our babies alive. That she showed them off and, with a grandmother's pride, pointed out her beautiful grandchildren. That they weren't forgotten.

The soreness has dissipated. The brown spotting is very light and still isnt on my pad. I am almost finished with my second book,"Adventures in Natural Childbirth". A busy weekend that I'm happy to be recovering from back in bed. No more outings until Dr. B.'s on Thursday!

Friday, May 29, 2009

12w6d- with pictures!

We had our sequential this morning with the first bloodwork and the ultrasound. Always fun to explain to ultrasounds how you've had more babies than pregnancies... She was slightly confused. I'm not sure how else to explain that I had twins, 2 weeks apart from each other. It seems so black and white. I realize it is odd... But then there is the "you've had how many miscarriages and losses? oh God..." Thank you. I know it sucks. I know it isnt what anyone wants to hear. For the first five minutes, she mumbled about how terrible this all was. But, perhaps she took pity on me and gave me 9 u/s pics because of it. (4 of one and 5 of the other).

Babies were very awake and very active. Still unable to determine gender, but until we know better, we will continue to operate under the assumption of girls (since I hate writing "Baby A" and "Baby B"... so impersonal...)

So... Zoë (aka twin A) had hiccups and was bouncing around when the ultrasound began. Very cute. She was extremely active and the tech was able to quickly do the nuchal fold measurement. She loves her toes and you could see her reaching for her feet. Heartbeat: 161 bpm.

Maya (aka twin B) was sucking her thumb and, like her sibling, was quite the athlete as well. While she was moving all around, she wasnt really in the mood to be measured, so her measurement took a little longer to get. Heartbeat: 165 bpm.

Both measured 2-3 days ahead, depending on the measurement she took and looked beautiful. We had 4 pictures of Zoë and 5 of Maya.

The bloodwork was easy. Only one stick. We were in and out of the hospital in an hour, which is unheard of. And we even grabbed juice and bagels before leaving! (since I dont eat before bloodwork)

All in all, a busy morning so far (we had to leave at 6:30am) but a good morning. Active, good measured babies in water-filled sacs, and a cerclage stitch that is holding... Thanks be to God. I couldn't ask for better today.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


With Alexander, I craved Papa John's pizza like mad. This is noteworthy because we rarely eat that kind of pizza. We have a local, Italian pizzeria near us that makes phenomenal pizza and we usually get it from there. But, the little cuddlebug wanted heavy carbed, thick crusted pizza from PJs, the closest of which is near Peter's work, about 20 minutes from us.

Tuesday, I really wanted PJs pizza. When Peter called to tell me he was on his way, I asked if he'd get it. He wasnt in the mood (pizza for lunch) so we decided on last night. So, he got home around 6pm, pizza in hand, and we ate an early dinner (we usually eat later, around 8:30). We cuddled in front of the TV on the bed and fell asleep. Around 11:30, I woke up (to, what else, go to the bathroom!) and I woke Peter up to take the dirty dishes to the kitchen and refill the water. Back to bed, we cuddle and fall asleep.

At 2am, I roll over to, once again, go to the bathroom and I hear, "Are you awake?" Poor Peter had woken up and couldnt sleep. When I get back from the bathroom, he asks "Can I turn the TV on?" I dozed as he watched things on Alzheimer's (he is a scientist, after all) and finally, a Law and Order at 4am. By this point, I'm awake and hungry. After a piece of pizza and the end of the episode, he turns the TV off. It is now 5am and the world is blue outside, slipping in from the shades. The birds are singing. We shared some moments of conversation, wrapped up in each other's arms before finally falling asleep as the world outside woke up. We slept until 8:30, when the mister had to get up and get ready for work.

On a pregnancy note... Yesterday, the babies must have been having a party in the womb. They were both on the left (where, incidentally, I have some new stretch marks!) and were moving to the point that I could feel them without touching my belly and where Peter, who has a habit of leaning his head on my belly, sat straight up and said "Did they just move?!" The doppler confirmed location, but it was insane! I hope that they decide to give this kind of show tomorrow morning at our ultrasound!

I have a call into Womb With A View. I had to leave a message, but a fellow blogger left a comment that 28-32w might be too far for twins, since they have less room to deal with. I did some online research and it seems like the biggest issue is baby fat. The babies need a certain amount of fat on them so that the images can bounce appropriately. So, since twins are usually smaller than singles, this has me wondering on two points? Will space be an issue and we need to schedule sooner? Or, will fat be an issue and we'll need to schedule later? So, I decided to call (after all, I have all the time in the world to wait for them to call me back!). UPDATE: They called back and said that 25w is considered ideal for twins. I talked to Peter and am about to schedule my appointment. (Please dont let me be jinxing this by planning this far in advance!) 2nd UPDATE: Our appt is scheduled for Saturday, August 29th. We will be 26w exactly.

Well, I think I'll ring up my dad, who called yesterday when I was indisposed, and then get back to my book (Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bedrest Mama part 2

I'm not sure how much TV a girl can watch. I mean, really... There's only so much Law and Order, the History Channel, and A&E. I have my iMac next to the bed to keep me connected. I journal. I email. I blog. I read. And, of course, people drop by.

Last night, my in-laws brought dinner over and we ate outside- me included. I sit up to eat and it was such a lovely evening. So they made up the table and I waddled outside to my favorite patio chair and we enjoyed dinner together. Beforehand, my MIL sat on the bed and she asked if we had been able to use the doppler with these babies yet. So I showed her and she was able to hear them. Her entire face lit up. She was so excited.

Earlier, I'd asked Peter if he was interested in a 3D/4D u/s in the third trimester (trying to look ahead...). He said "not really... I'd like a little mystery..." Okay... no big deal. So, yesterday, a blog friend posted 3D/4D pics of her baby and I show Peter. His response: "I want one. Can we go now???" After laughing at his change of heart, I explain that we have to wait until the third trimester (28w-32w is considered ideal). Then, we looked up Womb With a View and, for a bargain $175, we can have a half hour u/s plus DVD of the session, CD of 30-40 pics, and 8 printed pics. He's sold. There's one in Allentown, about 45 minutes away. We shall see...

I didnt plan on going to Adoration this morning. I planned on staying in bed and having Peter go alone. But I woke up 15 minutes before the alarm went off with a need to go. Given, I ended up laying down for part of it (the joys of 2am is that no one else is in the chapel) and was happy to crawl back into bed. But it was a need to go... to reach out to Jesus in thanksgiving.

Thanks for my son, Nicholas, who gave us the gift of love... Neither of us knew just how much a parent loves a child until that moment...

Thanks for my daughter, Sophia, who gave us the gift of a moment... Each second was an added gift and we had 2 more weeks of those miracles...

Thanks for my son, Alexander, who gave us the gift of peace... A peace that eradicated what could have been final days of fear and instead gave us a beautiful labor and day together...

Thanks for these babies, presumed daughters (put possibly sons), who have given us the gift of hope... The hope that they will live long, healthy lives and change their worlds for the better- as they've already changed ours...

I just needed to go. To be there. To, as Peter says, reach out and touch God's hand. To say "Than you." To just be.

The surgery was a week ago and appears to be a success. The discomfort is on its way out and the bleeding, although it was never more than when wiping (3x on Thurs morning and once on Sat morning), hasnt been back. We will have our sequential screen and our high resolution u/s on Friday at 7:30am. I'm not sure if the u/s yech will be able to see (or talk to us) about how my cervix looks. But, we shall see!

Monday, May 25, 2009


Have I jinxed this pregnancy by (gulp) updating my baby registry for these babies? After Nicholas and Sophia, I wasn't able to delete their registry. I just couldn't. Every time I tried, I would break down. With Alexander, I made the needed changes from a twin registry to a singleton registry. And, last night, I visited and began to update it. Twin stroller... Two car seats... Dual breast pump... There was some crying and the heartbreaking reality that this registry- that belonged to Nick and Sophie, and then Alexander, and now to these two, beautiful new lives- may end up being another lonely paper trail, full of things that no one will need... that no one will use...

As I was working on it, it struck me that I don't even know what to register for. I didn't know then either. I always worried that I didn't register for the necessities... That we'd somehow be bad parents who wouldn't have something. Who knew that what I wouldn't have would be my babies to nurture and watch grow... Is the registry still devoid of important things? I don't know... I currently have a beautifully furnished nursery, full of baby clothes. I'm registered for diapers and car seats and strollers... That has to be enough, right? If we can just make it?

12w2d... That is where we are. Normally, I'd hold off until 14w to celebrate the end of the first trimester, but since 36w is when the stitch is due to be removed, and our doctor believes we'll most likely go into labor right away, 12w really is the end of the first third of this journey. Is it possible that I'll be able to celebrate 24w? The hoped for 36w?

On a cerclage note, my bleeding has stopped again, although I'm still spotting brownish-pink when I wipe. My lower abdomen is still hurting, just minor discomfort, but it's still nerve wracking.

Well... As usual, I have to pee (no kidding, once an hour) and I'm hungry again. Have to go take care of business!Link

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Happy 6m birthday, Alexander!

Happy birthday, my sweet cuddlebug... I cant wrap my hands around this... 6 months... 1/2 a year... So long... So short...

We thought you'd like dessert first, so we had chocolate cake for breakfast. Daddy will be making your special meals today and bringing them to Mommy in bed. Reminds me of your birthday (only I promise not to throw up).

I love you, my sweet baby boy... My Alexander. Love you so much.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bedrest Mama

Here we are... Day 4 of bedrest. Other than some leg cramps and neck pain, things are going well. Thank goodness for my computer and the tv! ;)

So, I called Dr. Bailey yesterday morning. The bleeding was really freaking me out. To recap, I didnt really bleed in the hospital on Tuesday or Wednesday (just some light spotting). Thursday morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom to find blood on the toilet paper and a walnut size clot in the toilet. I tried not to freak out, but then, when I went to pee again- same thing: blood on the tp and a rectangular clot. Peter tried to assure me that it was probably fine, but to call Dr. Bailey if it didnt let up by lunchtime. After he went to work, I had to pee again (it's like an hourly occurrence) and, no clot, but still blood. I decided to consult Dr. Google. I searched for "bleeding after cerclage" and the first two hits seemed on point from the little blurb. Then, I clicked on them. They were both horror stories after cerclage. Not what I needed to read. One of them had clotting because the procedure had nicked her placenta. The clots were her placenta detaching! Freaked out, I called Dr. Bailey. I explained to the nurse what was going on and she told me Dr. B. would call me back, which he did, within 15 minutes.

He was very kind and explained that what I was going through sounded normal. That the bleeding was okay, as long as it wasnt really present while I was laying down and wasnt gushing. That small clots like mine were most likely blood pooling in the vagina and clotting, then releasing due to gravity and pressure when peeing. And what happened after I called? The bleeding stopped. Still no bleeding.

The kids have been on my mind a lot. Why didnt we have more time? Why didnt we have some sign of IC so that a cerclage might have looked like an option? WHY? I've really been letting myself grieve recently. There have been daily tears. I had forced myself to hide the pain when I worked and now, finally, I feel like I can be myself and let my feelings sit on the surface.

Nicholas. Sophia. Alexander. I love saying their names.

I had my first post-surgery visitor today and my second just called to ask if she could stop by. Glad I showered and put on my good PJs!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Cerclage follow-up

I'm safely home. My apologies for not emailing a follow-up yesterday but it was a long day getting settled in. I'll start from the beginning.

We went to bed around 10pm on Monday and were up at 1am to get ready for Adoration. (We were subbing 1/2 hour for the person who Adores before us, so we left at 1:15 instead of our normal 1:45). We were home by 3:15 amd wemt back to bed. At 5:30, the alarm went off and we got ready and left for Lankenau at 6:30. Traffic was very light and we made it to the Admissions desk at 7:15am for my 7:30 appointment. Within 15 minutes, I was taken back to pre-OP. where I changed into a gown, answered some questions. was taken to a bed in the pre-OP area. and had my IV placed. After that, they brought Peter in and we were together for a bit. By this point, it was 8:30 or so. I was in pre-OP for about an hour. The anesthesiologist and the resident who would be assisting Dr. Bailey, Dr. Ali, came in to speak with us. Then, suddenly, it was time. A nurse came and we said our goodbyes before they wheeled me into the OR.

I was freezing and the room was cold. The nurses were nice and gave me some blankets as we waited for the anesthesiologist to arrive. I was given phentonol (I think) as a mild sedative (my BP was in the 190s/100s- not good) and then the spinal began. Because of the duration of the surgery and the reduced meds, the anesthesiologist explained that we'd be doing a spinal instead of an epidural. He injected a local into my back which didnt burn (one of the side effects) then he inserted a needle into my spinal fluid, through which the meds were delivered. The strangest feelings were after the needle. It felt like the doctor was snapping things in a circle into my back. It wasnt painful, just odd. In retrospect, I think he was probably securing something around the needle hole to prevent infection. Almost immediately, my legs and butt began to feel like they were going to sleep. Dr. Ali helped me lay down.

My legs were placed in very high stirrups and the kind nurse covered my chest and arms with warm blankets, since I had begun shaking, both from cold and from the anesthesia. Dr. Bailey did an ultrasound and both babies were sleeping with their nice, strong heartbeats. The surgery began.

I was able to feel pressure but no pain. I wiggled my toes throughout, which was kind of odd. I just couldnt help it! I kept wanting to see if I could. Strange, I know. I dont really know what happened during the surgery. I felt the pulling as the stitches were put in place, but that was about it. Monday night, I had a dream that Dr. B. did the stitch on a picnic table with an epidural needle that came from a dirty tackle box, so it was much better than that!

It took about an hour, longer than assumed. Perhaps because I had more cervix to work with? I'm not sure. But at the close, Dr. B. told me how happy he was with the surgery and did another ultrasound. Both babies were awake and very active. Their bags looked great and he said that he didn't feel they were punctured at all. I didnt have a lot of bleeding and he was very pleased. He left while Dr. Ali inserted a catheter, so that he could talk to Peter who was in the waiting room. I was taken to post-OP.

Almost immediately, I began to feel my legs and the drugs began to wear off. The anesthesiologist was really happy with my quick response. But, as the drugs wore off, the cramping began. I got to post-OP at 11 and by 11:30, the cramping was mildly uncomfortable. By noon, it was getting painful and I was afraid. The nurse assured me the cramping was normal and that my bleeding was fine. They offered pain meds but with the caveat that I would have to stay in post-OP for monitoring. I just wanted to get upstairs to where Peter was waiting in the antepartum room I'd been assigned. So, I declined. I was also getting hungry (I hadnt eaten or had anything to drink, per my instructions, since 10pm on Monday). I just wanted to be with my husband.

Finally, around 1pm, I was transported upstairs. The AP nurse gave me my dose of indocin to relax my uterus and some tylenol for the pain. It kicked in within an hour and the cramping died down. Peter held me and told me about his morning, spent praying the pregnancy rosary and holding the St. Gerard handkerchief. He returned my necklace and wedding band. Mostly, he just held me. I ate a sandwich, we watched TV, and we napped. My bleeding was quite mild. I wasnt really moving, except to turn over, and wasnt permitted out of bed. After dinner, we napped again, but at 10pm, when I had more meds, I was starving again and Peter, sweetie that he is, had brought me a spare sandwich when he bought his dinner, since he knew I'd be hungry later. So, I ate that. We watched Law and Order, then the news, then he climbed into bed with me. I've never slept better. It was awkward because of the tubes, but it was well worth the effort. I laid on his chest and he cuddled me while his spare hand held the babies in my womb. We fell asleep and slept until 6am Wednesday.

I took my meds and my last dose of indocin. My cramps were non-existent, although the soreness began. I also felt the need to GO to the bathroom, something the catheter really couldnt help me with. Since I knew it was due to come out that morning, I paged the nurse, who came in and took care of that. I'm glad I was numb when they inserted it because I can only imagine how it felt going in. Coming out, it felt like someone thumped my urethra. Not painful but I wouldnt want it duplicated, either. The nurse said it was okay for me to go to the bathroom and shower. I went. There was no real bleeding at all. I showered and put on my own PJs. So nice...

Dr. Ali's shift ended at 7am and she dropped by to wish us well. Dr. Bailey came in after breakfast, around 9am. He, once again, confirmed that he was very pleased with the stitch. He told me to expect some mild bleeding but to call if I started leaking fluid or gushing blood, or had anything like a period discharge. Mild bleeding OK- heavy bleeding not OK. But, I was relieved that I wasnt really bleeding at all. Dr. B. told us to schedule our sequential screen (which we'll be going for next Friday morning) and to see him in 2 weeks (our appt. is June 4th). Then, we were officially discharged.

We ended up leaving around 10am and got home around 11am. While I was wheeled out of the hospital, I walked into the house on my own with very little discomfort. We cuddled up in our bed, now in the bedroom since I cant do stairs for the remainder of the pregnancy. In the early afternoon, we had lunch (thanks to Peter's mom for making food on Tuesday and putting it in the fridge so we wouldnt have to worry about cooking for a few days). My girlfriend, Sarah, came over after work to check in on us and she stayed for dinner. We talked for a while and Peter got a break. :) No real bleeding.

Of course, that couldnt last. I woke up this morning around 5:30 for my bills and a bathroom visit. There was some light staining and then some bleeding. A walnut-sized clot. I'm sure you can imagine, mentally, what this does, even though you know it is expected for the next few days. I only really spot on my pad, but I think it's because my vagina is still swollen, so I really only see blood when I gently wipe. (TMI- my apologies). I havent really been cramping or anything, just the minor discomfort. But, emotionally, it's still scary. I peed again after breakfast, around 8am, and there was thin, long clot with some more light bleeding. It's never a lot of bleeding. Just red and scary. I may call Dr. B. just for some reassurance if this continues tomorrow. From all I've read and been told, bleeding for up to a week is normal and expected. That the problem is if there is gushing or period like bleeding. But I'm still freaked out.

Right now, as it spent most of yesterday afternoon, is the St. Gerard hanky. I have it folded in half, covering my lower belly. I just keep praying that the healing goes as well as the surgery... That there really is no issue. Although we wont see Dr. Bailey for 2 weeks, we will have the high resolution ultrasound that comes with the sequential screening. In 8 days. So, we'll be able to take a peek and see that the babies are okay.

A million thank yous for all the prayers, messages, emails, and blog comments. It means so much to know that you were all thinking of the babies and pulling for their well being. I cant say thank you enough.

I'm obviously behind on my blog reading, but I promise to catch up, LOL! The joys of bedrest! Peter brought my iMac into the living room and ran an internet cable downstairs, so I can stay connected.

Once again- a million thank yous for the prayers and warm thoughts.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Tomorrow is the big day and my nerves are a mess. I've had quite a number of crying spells over the last week and I'm trying, desperately, to just relax. To tell myself "things will be fine." "this time will be different." "don't worry.". I dont seem to be a good liar these days...

After morning Mass, Peter and I met with our priest, Fr. B., who gave the annointing of the sick. As he was praying over the babies, they started to move. It was absolutely amazing. A good sign? In addition, we had signed up for a traveling Our Lady of Fatima statue. She's making her way around parish families, where you are asked to pray the Rosary each day she's in your house (a week). Guess who arrived at our house yesterday? You guessed it. The Virgin Mary. We put her in the living room, where our bed now is. It has calmed me, honestly... Providence? I'm hoping this is a sign that God is on our side, telling us that things will be fine... that this time, the stitch will make things different... that we shouldn't worry.

It's going to be a strange day tomorrow. At 1:30am ,we have Adoration until 3am (we are subbing a partial hour, which is why we are there at 1:30 instead of 2). Then, we have to leave for the hospital by 6:30 to make our 7:30am check-in time. Admission stuff and an epidural later, I'll be prepped for surgery by 9am. Pray for us... Please... Pray for your babies...

I doubt I'll post again until after the surgery. I'm finishing up the cleaning and am about ready for lunch. Once I'm downstairs, I probably wont come back upstairs for the day. Peter will move my iMac tomorrow or Wednesday (depending on when we come home from the hospital) and I'll post then.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Thursday's 10w5d appointment

First, my apologies for not writing before now. Everything has been a whirlwind since Thursday and I have been too overwhelmed. Who thought not working would have me unable to sit at my computer?

Thursday went very well. We had a 3:45 appointment, although we weren't seen for an hour. Poor Dr. Bailey had been up since 1:30am and, when we arrived at 3:30, was delivering a baby. Poor guy looked exhausted! But he was still chipper and attentive. I hope I'm like that when I've had only 2 hours of sleep (he didn't get out of the hospital until 11pm the night before- eek!)! Both babies were doing beautifully! They were asleep when the ultrasound began. When Zoë was woken up, she just waved her hands around until the annoyance passed her by, then rolled over and went back to sleep. (Peter, anyone???) Maya, on the other hand, like the drama queen clone she is, had a fit. Arms, legs flying around. Moving like a crack addict, she was PISSED off! Dr. Bailey chuckled that it is amazing to see their developed personalities already. That it is. They were both so very cute and hearing their loud, quick heartbeats is music to my ears. I still cry every time.

Sleeping Zoë

Sleeping Maya

My cervix, deceptive little $^#&$% that it is, measured 5. FIVE. Can you freaking believe it? Dr. Bailey commented sadly that, if someone just randomly looked at the shots of it, they'd never believe I have a true case of incompetent cervix. As we were leaving the hospital, I had a good cry over my cervix. Why does it have to look so fine? Why cant it look like the screwed up mess it really is?

My operating length (3) looked good and Dr. Bailey was pleased. We discussed when to start my 50mg of Indocin (3 doses on Monday, 8 hours apart) and the surgery, then our appointment was over. Our nurse wished us good luck and we were on our way.

We went farther into Philly for our CSS meeting, which focused a lot on our educational backgrounds and issues of privacy and discipline. We left at 7:30 and didn't get home until 9. Thank you, construction on 76. Lovely... It was a long day and night...

Friday, I left at 6am for Lankenau, where I had my 2 hours of pre-Admission testing. I was tired and hungry, since I fasted. (Fasting pregnant woman??? Really, not fun... Not cool at all...) 3 vials of blood, a cup of urine, an EKG (fine), and blood pressure screening (also fine) combined with 2 nurses consults and a consult with the anesthesiologist who explained the finer points of a spinal and epidural (and why she would like to avoid general anesthesia with me). I am coming to terms with the fact that a huge ass needle is going to be stuck in my back. I'm not excited about this. This is why I took natural childbirth classes. To avoid the needle! But, as she explained politely, it is impossible for Dr. Bailey to perform the surgery safely without the drugs. So a needle it is. Fun times. Poor Peter is still steaming over the fact that he has to wait in the waiting room and can't go into the OR with me. I asked him to hold onto the St. Gerard handkerchief and the special baby rosary blessed by Pope Paul VI and to just pray for the babies while I'm in surgery for the hour. While everyone tells me how safe it is (less than 5% chance of something happening), as you all know- especially those who have lost a child- a 5% chance, when it comes to your baby, is huge. You'd rather rip your own eye out than put them at risk- any risk. Unfortunately, it's 5% or it's the damn certain 100% that we'll lose them before the next 10 weeks have passed.

The weekend has gone by okay. I blew our plans to go to Jim Thorpe on Sophia's 15 month birthday because I felt so lousy. I spent the rest of Friday and all day Saturday either in bed or on the couch. Just so tired! Saturday, during the end prayers at morning Mass, I had to run out of the chapel to the bathroom, so I could dry heave the breakfast I didnt have. Poor Peter came into the ladies room to check on me before the Rosary, which he ended up leading. When I got home, it was bedtime. He brought me breakfast and lunch in bed (I know... So sweet...) Then, when I finally drug my butt downstairs, he held me while I took another nap! Later in the day, my very pregnant friend, Meg, dropped by and we chatted for a few hours. Then, more resting until Sophia's dinner.

Perhaps, we will get to Jim Thorpe sometime today, if the weather holds out!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Happy 15m Birthday, Sophia

Mommy's been in bed all day, but has been holding you in her heart. Your daddy and I are about to make your special dinner. We love you so much and are thinking of you on your special day, and remembering your birth, 15 months ago.

We love you...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Day In the Life of a Domestic Goddess

Today is shaping up to be a busy day. We have a package at the post office that I have to pick up (along with stamps and a money order.) Why the money order, you ask? Because I have to travel to the courthouse to have our marriage license changed and reissued and they wont take cash or check. Why does your marraige license have to be changed, you ask? Ah... Now there's a story...

I'm adopted. If it were only that easy... I was abandoned as a baby and my (later-to-be adoptive) father's grandmother was given temporary legal guardianship. (I was left with her and it was "temporary" for two reasons: in the event my biological mother returned or if the on-the-birth-certificate-"unknown" biological father was somehow made aware of my existance and petitioned for parental rights.) So, for 10 years, this was the arrangement. Then my grandmother died. Now, you would think that in 10 years, if someone was going to lay claim to me, they would. My (adoptive) parents went to court and petitioned for adoption and the judge, in his infinite wisdom (not that I'm still bitter) denied them! His reasons: see the reasons above. Maybe... Possibily... At some time... My biological parents might want to "assert their rights". Really? After 10 years? My mother was a mess. Their attorney, in a last ditch effort, asked the judge to continue the temporary legal guardianship status, which he agreed to do, as long as it was renewed annually. So, each and every year, my parents (who were not even close to making ends meet... in the 90s when I applied for college, my financial aid application listed $17,000 as their yearly combined income and that took care of them and my little brother and I) hired their attorney and went back to court and sat through hours of nonsense only to stand up, say their peace, and have the judge continue to order. And, several times a year, my mother would have tearful breakdowns, convinced that, for whatever reason, I would be "taken away": either someone would come back and try to lay claim to me (although, I told her time and time again, after a day, they'd bring me back and gratefully sign over paternity ;) ) or that the judge would decide we were too poor... Something... Anything... After all, who would have expected them to lose the first adoption request? Each year, the lawyer did the same thing: request an adoption, which the judge turned down, and then request the order be continued, which the judge granted. (Why are certain people family court judges???)

I turned 18, got married, moved away. You'd think this would be the end of this. After all, they were my parents. They always were. They are the ones who took care of me. But, one day, I got to thinking. I wanted to be adopted. I wanted to LEGALLY be their child. After all, I was that way in deed and action, why not in the eyes of the law? Who was that judge to deny that small thing to us? What right did he have to somehow cheapen our mother-father-daughter-sister-brother relationships? So, I talked to Peter and decided to pursue an adult adoption. I found an attorney in Tennessee (my home state) who actually had some experience with it and wasn't that far from my parents (about an hour, a county over). So, then I called him. I explained our situation and he told me that he could make it happen. Peter and I arranged a visit to Tennessee, since I'd have to present in court, and then told my parents we were making the 800+ mile trek. They thought it was a simple visit. The morning we were due in court, I told them that I had planned a special breakfast at a special restaraunt. We drove the hour, them wondering the entire time where the hell we were going. When I pulled into the courthouse lot, I finally came clean. My mother cried. My father was speechless. We met the attorney inside and were right away taken into the judge's chambers. My attorney explained why we were there and petitioned for an adoption with a retroactive maiden name change. In moments, the papers were signed and legally I was adopted. My old maiden name was erased, replaced with my parent's last name. A few weeks later, I received my copy of the adoption decree and a certified copy of my new birth certificate. It was done.

Of course, in order to get things with my new maiden name on them, I still have to go through the hassle. This happened back in early 2000 and I still havent had our marriage license changed. But, it just so happens that I have no clue where our original one is and we need a copy for the foster parenting paperwork... There's no time like the present! So I have to whip out all my paperwork and haul it to the courthouse to have the license redone. Fun times. Even though I've emailed them and found out what I need, I have no doubt that nothing will be easy and I'll have to explain (several times) what I need and why. But, hopefully, by the end of the day, I'll have a new certificate with my real maiden name on it. :)

Then, of course, it's the grocery shopping I haven't done this week... We may actually starve if I dont get to the store. Seeing as I'm slightly overweight (okay, more chunky than I'd like- even with my pregnancy weight), I probably wont starve. But my husband, who is a stick man... He might. So I have to do some grocery shopping. (After I've cleaned out our dirty fridge... Wait... That's why I haven't done the shopping yet... I really dont want to clean out the fridge!) And, have I mentioned the never ending pile of laundry? I mean, wow... Working must have really let it pile up, because I still have 2 loads of delicates left to wash and dry.

And, in a nutshell... That is my day. I've already ordered flowers for a family in mourning and had a good cry (again). I'm showered and dressed (seeing as it was 2pm yesterday before I managed this, I'm considering it a feat!). I read a story to the babies (I like to imagine our three little saints in my arms with their siblings listening attentively in-utero) and we listened to their heartbeats. And, happy housewife that I am, I made my husband breakfast this morning before scooting him off to his gainful employment! I'm feeling quite productive!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rantings of a Domestic Goddess

So, it's official. As of yesterday, I'm a housewife/stay-at-home-mother, aka "domestic goddess". And how did I spend this day? On the couch. I loaded the dishwasher and did some laundry, but mostly, I napped and had my rearend glued to the sofa. Of all the days to start to feel sick, it's my first day of work freedom. I'd hoped to make Peter a nice dinner... That wasn't to be. I didnt even get to the supermarket! Nor did I get to my email or blogs, which meant 2 hours of reading this morning.

Sunday, Peter gave me a beautiful card from him and one from the children. They are next to the bed. So lovely. I look at them a lot. And he bought me some flowers from our Mother's Day sale at church. Then, a pair of beautiful, comfy PJs so I can feel "presentable" when people come over during my bedrest. We had dinner with his parents and my dad. Some of the day, I just slept. He made me breakfast and lunch. It was nice to just spend a laid back day with him and remember and keep our babies close.

This morning, we took out the little, high resolution doppler that we were given our first pregnant Christmas. We loved it with Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander, and decided, since it picks up around 10w, to try it today (10w3d). It took a while, but we were able to pick out two distinct areas of heartbeats that weren't mine. What takes so long is finding mine, then differentiating. I cant say that we found both heartbeats, just that we picked up non-maternal HBs in 2 areas (left side and just left of center). We know the babies are to the left, but whether we were able to get one or both, not sure. But it was still music to our ears.

I have a list of things I'd like to do today, so I'd better get busy. Otherwise, I might be able to lull myself back to the couch with this sick stomach. But all is well and I can't complain.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yesterday's 9w5d appointment

First, a certain someone (hmm... husband/daddy) finally scanned in last week's pictures and here they are!

This is baby B, doing her little dance.

This is baby A, curled up and taking a nap.

Yesterday's appointment went very well. It was a short appointment. We discussed the cercalge on the 19th, and then he checked the babies and my cervix. My cervix was down to 3.75, which is within the margin of error. He assured us that we shouldn't worry, but you know me! I've worried since I saw the measurement! The stitching area was 2.4, which is still close to last week's measurement.
Both babies are doing very well. They were head down and facing each other, arms and legs moving. We joked they were having a conversation. Heartbeats were still good. All in all a very good appointment.

Baby A is on the bottom, closest to the cervix.

Baby B is situated directly above Baby A.

We will see Dr. Bailey next Thursday for our last appointment before the surgery. On Friday, I have to go into the hospital for my pre-Admissions testing. Then, we check into the hospital on Tuesday morning at 7:30am for the surgery at 9am.
Other than some cramping post exam, which seems to be common after the vaginal ultrasound, everything was fine. We came home, relaxed, had dinner, and enjoyed the night!
Yesterday, my boss took me to lunch, and then my staff threw me a going away party. They gave me a basket full of "bed rest goodies" (puzzle books, games, snacks) and a giftcard. The card they all signed was so lovely and they had a delicious, beautiful cake made. I would have taken a picture, but I was caught off guard and didn't have my cell phone with me! It was chocolate with white frosting, and had purple, pink, and yellow flowers on it. Very nice.
Today is my last day. I have 2 storytimes and then it is just finishing stuff up. My, how these last 4 weeks have flown by!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Houston, we have a date

The date for the cerclage has been set: Tuesday, May 19th. My heart is pounding and I feel sick to my stomach. That's 2 weeks from today. The nurse said that my surgery is scheduled for 9am and that I should check into the surgery center at 7:30am. I have to call tomorrow and set up my "pre-admission testing", which will take place prior to my surgery date. I am so nervous. Even though Dr. Bailey has gone through everything step-by-step, and we will see him this Thursday and next Thursday prior to the surgery, I am still so nervous. I feel like I have an understanding of what is going to happen and what the desired outcome is, but my fear of the whole thing (and, subconsciously, the fear that it wont work) are under my skin in the worst way.

We were hoping to go away for our "babymoon" to Virginia prior to the surgery. At this point, if we left on next Thursday and drove down after our appointment, we'd only really get to stay the weekend, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. It's five hours each way. I called Peter and left him a message, asking what he'd like to do. Do we pick somewhere local to enjoy a few days?
Not sure yet...

But, we have a date. Whatever you do, be it pray, light candles, chant incantations or anything inbetween, please do it for us on the 19th. We can use all the help we can get.

Monday, May 4, 2009


May 3rd was Alexander's due date. I fully expected him around Easter, honestly, but I just knew I'd be holding him yesterday. I didn't expect him to be a November baby...

I spent most of the weekend on the couch. Inside, I felt sad and rainy, just like the weather. I actually prefered the weather because it felt like Mother Nature was crying with me. I wrote in his journal and reflected on his life on the inside, his labor, his birth, and those precious few moments we had. For some reason, I kept coming back to his labor. My little breech boy who had to be different. When I woke up to a contraction and just knew it was "time", Peter assumed the position and started looking for him. That first push and I heard, "Stop, don't push. I see his foot." I remember laughing. Both at the idea that he was backwards and at the idea of telling a pregnant woman in labor not to push. But I didn't. And Peter reached in and helped his second leg, which was caught make it's entrance into the world. The next push and he told me that he was holding our son. The third push and he was completely out. I could see his little shoulders moving and his legs kicking as Peter held him and kept him warm. With my last ounce of strength, I pressed the call button for our nurse. For whatever reason, this scene played itself over and over again.

As I looked at his pictures, I remembered him putting his little hand up to his mouth, looking to suck the thumb that he had found comforting in the womb. Of all his pictures, that one is my favorite... The one where he found his thumb and went to sleep for the last time. It's the picture that crushes me and the one that brings me the most joy. They all make me smile, but that one, the most.

I know that a due date is an estimation of a child's birthday and that, once that child is born, typically, a due date is forgotten. But for those of us who gave birth prematurely and whose child or children died as a result of that (or who possibly died before we gave birth), those due dates were "the" date. They were the mark in the sand we were shooting for.... and we fell short. And it hurts. That day rolls around as a reminder of the days on the calendar that we missed. The anguish is palpable.

We sang "You Are Mine" in church... Fitting. That was the song we've sang to each of our children immediately after their births. "Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me; I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine."

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy 15m birthday, Nicholas

Where has the time gone? 15 months... Surely not. But, today, my precious boy was born and lived for an hour... 15 months ago. A beautiful hour... An hour that has to last forever.

I love you, Nicholas, and I miss you so much. So very much.

8w5d appointment

(Sorry, no pictures today... They haven't been scanned in yet.)

We had our first official prenatal with Dr. Bailey yesterday at 11:45am. It was so nice to see him again. He's really a great doctor. We discussed the pregnancy thus far and then, the all important surgery. He'd like to do it around 3 weeks from yesterday. So a new countdown begins! He discussed what goes into the surgery (basically, they'll push my bladder out of the way and then stitch a little box from bladder to cervix and back around; I'll be given a uterine relaxer the day before, day of, and day after; one night in the hospital then 2w on bedrest until a follow up appt to check the stitching and healing; expect some spotting the first few days, possibly some cramping). All in all, he seemed very confident that things will go smoothly. I'll have to have a (gasp) epidural for pain management and, primarily, to keep me still. I'm not digging that. But it is the safest for the babies (general anesthesia can cause issues, not to mention, I've never had it so they dont know if I'd have a negative side effect- not what you want during pregnancy).

So, on to the babies! Both were doing great! Baby A was curled up and asleep- so cute! Dr. B. couldnt get a good measurement because she was curled up on her side, but what he did get was 8w3d +/- 2d, which is good, especially knowing it is off by a bit. HB was 171 bpm. The cutest thing was that she was moving her arms while she slept! You'd see her little heartbeat going then see a little shadow then heart again. At first I was nervous, but he zoomed in and you could see that her little arm buds were moving. The funny thing is, when I sleep, I have this habit of rubbing my hands and my feet together, like a little grasshopper. Peter's convinced I've passed this trait on, LOL! Baby B was dancing. I kid you not. We had a full frontal and you could see little legs and arms just moving up a storm! She measured 8w6d with HB of 176 bpm. And the detail with the ultrasound! Oh my goodness! We saw facial features. While the vaginal u/s is uncomfortable as all get out, it beats the hell out of the abdomen one. We began with an abdomen and it was exactly what you expect. You could see shades of gray and black and white and make out where the babies were in their sacs, but no detail. The vaginal- you would have thought they were much larger babies. At this point, they are less than an inch tall and yet we could see sooooo much. It was wonderful.

My cervix measured over 4 and was a closed T shape. It was curved, so an exact measurment couldnt occur. But he has over 2.5cm between my bladder and the end of my cervix, so he was very happy and said that, assuming this measurement holds, he thinks the surgery will be fairly uncomplicated. It should take less than an hour on the table, minus the checking in, epidural, recovery, etc. He wants to see us once a week until the surgery, so I have appointments for the next 2 Thursdays already scheduled.

In fun news, my little Volvo was taken into the shop. Sadness.... in the amount of $750. It was 2 fairly minor problems. One of the small engine parts was old and leaking. Not a big deal you say... Except that my engine is a turbo. So, they couldnt just repair it. They had to actually take the engine apart. The cost of labor because it's an all day job? Almost $600. The part was less than $30. Fun times. Then, my A/C had to be recharged. It was completely empty. Not a huge amount of labor, but it's $100 to charge it completely. Now, I expected this. My car is over 11 years old, so this is the cost of driving it around during summers with the A/C on. I expect that the Subaru (2002) will have to be charged within the next few years. But still.... Breaking my heart and the bank account! But, all is well. The Volvo is back to Peter (he works near our mechanic) and all is well. The price you pay for the safest car on earth!

I am now in the final week of employment. I'm nervous, truth be told. I haven't not had a job since college- and I actually worked even then a few hours each week! I've been working, mostly nonstop, since 1996. And before that, I worked in my parent's business (back in the days when it wasnt illegal to have your own underage kid working in the family business for a buck or two an hour...) So, I'm actually scared! I know that being a SAHM is a full time job, but I'm more concerned about the bedrest. After talking to Dr. Bailey, I realize that it wont be as bad as we once thought. Assuming I heal, he says that I can go to church on Sundays, go to the bathroom, make myself a sandwich, sit up in bed... Just not staying up on my feet for too long at a time. Because it is a preventative cerclage and not a salvage cerclage, he has expectations that things will go very well. But, still... I dont want to be a burden on anyone else. I already feel bad that, once again, Peter will be both husband and wife. Working all day and then coming home to do the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning. He does it all with a smile. But I still feel bad.

Last night, we both had some breakdowns. I'm not sure, but usually repeating steps that we've done with Nick, Sophie, and Alex sometimes bring the harsh reality that they are not with us in this life into clear focus. There's still a lot of guilt, from both of us, that we couldnt protect them... That we failed them... Last night, after dinner, my guilt poured out. Peter held me for an hour until I cried myself to sleep, then we got up and went to bed, and things were better.

And, finally, yesterday afternoon we went to CSS for our first of three home visits. Misnomer, I know, since it isnt at home. They took our pregnancy news very well and completely understood our desire to become inactive after the paperwork, etc. is complete. They took our family histories and the history of our relationship. We were there for about 2 hours, but it was a good visit. In the past, everything has focused on foster parenting and the children involved, but this appointment was more us telling them about ourselves and where we've come from, where we've been, and where we are now. It was interesting to answer some of the questions, too. Some were things that neither of us have ever really asked ourselves.