Monday, April 30, 2012

Cloudy with a 70% Chance of C-Section

It's a cloudy and damp morning here where all I really want to do is curl back up in bed with my body pillow and nap the morning away. Instead I had to get up early to proof read some essay questions I needed to answer for an interview today and then off to my OB for a check in.

The goals of today's OB visit were to:
  1. See what his thoughts are on the growth scan results from a few weeks ago
  2. Review our birth "preferences"
Number 2 was easy. He agreed to most of our thoughts except some of them that had to do with a vaginal birth. Mostly our differences are due to logistics and me not really understanding what has to happen if we are to have baby A and B vaginally. But we are definitely on the same page.

Number 1 seemed easy, but as I have had the day to process it, my head is swarming with disappointments and worries. As you may recall when we had our growth scan over a week ago now, the babies have started to grow at different rates. This can be concerning because it could be an indication that the placenta on the smaller baby is not functioning optimally. My perinatologist gave me the advice of resting more and eating more fat and protein (ie, pizza and custard... LOL). But I wanted to see what my OB thought of this. And he didn't quite agree with the peri, that more calories into mamma = fatter, quicker growing babies. Isn't it great when you have two doctors who give you different advice? I'm going to lean towards my OB's thoughts because I really do believe that a person's body is very wise and will tell you what you need, when you need it. So if I am craving turkey and frozen custard, I will certainly eat it, but I'm not going to eat it when I don't want to. 

The thing that really bummed me out though today, is that as we were talking, he revealed that because of this difference in growth, it's much more likely that they will want to take the babies out earlier, and therefore schedule a C-section... 70% chance he said... 

As I processed what this meant, throughout the day, during weeping spurts at work, I realized that I may really not be able to attempt a vaginal birth. All of these emotions of disappointment that I have felt these last 5 years while trying to get pregnant, resurfaced. Again, I was feeling sad, frustrated, angry, jealous and wishing that for once, things could just go the way that I want them to. 

I feel strong. This pregnancy has been very easy on my body. I LOVE being pregnant. And I had been so focused on wanting to experience a natural, vaginal birth, thinking because my body can do pregnancy, then certainly it can do childbirth! Maybe I shouldn't have hoped for that so much and had gotten so used to that idea. Maybe I should have been mentally preparing for a C-section all along. But I feel like yet another part of pregnancy and childbirth is being taken away from me... a right of passage, so to speak, of understanding what it feels like to go into labor and have contractions and push through a pain that I've never felt before. And I feel like I will be jealous of a whole new group of women now... those that get to experience a vaginal birth.

I know this doesn't appeal to every woman and some women would actually like to schedule their C-section and be done with it. I have no judgments on that. There is no one, right way for everyone. But personally, I really really wanted to experience the pain and craziness that is childbirth, especially with Tidy and I working through it together... And now I may not get to do that.

In the end, our primary goal is to have healthy, thriving babies. And if a scheduled C-section is the best way to guarantee that, so be it. But I definitely have the right to grieve losing THAT part of baby making too, don't I?  

What have I had to "let go of" thus far? 
  1. Having SEX work to make a baby
  2. Having IUIs work to make a baby
  3. Having IVF and my own eggs work to make a baby 
  4. and now, I guess being able to deliver our babies naturally
We don't know for sure that a schedule C-section is the way to go yet. We will learn that in the next few weeks as we have another growth scan and follow up with our OB. I do however, think that I will be grateful for the opportunity to process this all now, instead of after 24 hours of labor or after baby A is born and we have to move to a C-section for baby B. But processing and grieving this is what I must do now. 

And now the stats:

Status: 31w4d

Weight Gain: 36 lbs up, as of today.

Symptoms:  This week has been pretty uneventful in the way of symptoms. The babies movements have change a bit from pops and kicks to more rolling movements.

Cravings: None to speak of

Aversions: None to speak of

Exercise:  Monday: 45 min prenatal yoga; Friday: 1 hr prenatal pilates

Best Moment of the Week: Having our maternity photo shoot taken by my good friend Mags. She did an amazing job. I've posted one for a quick sneak peak. I should have some more to share in the next few weeks. Tidy even enjoyed it a bit :-) I can't wait to see how they all turned out.

What I Look Forward to: Finishing the nursery this coming weekend. We've made a little progress, but not a ton recently, due to so much going on at work and busy weekends. These next few weekends will be for very focused nursery finishing.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taking One for the Team

(Side note: Don't forget that it's National Infertility Awareness Week!!! Do all that you can to bring awareness to this disease! Facebook, Tweet, Blog... whatever you can do to speak out)

Does anyone out there know what Custard is? Frozen Custard, I mean... I happen to live near the "Custard Capital of the World". It's like ice cream, but with extra eggs yolks and yummy goodness. So I guess then it has more fat and cholesterol in it. Which babies seem to like.

And thus, it's a new addition to my 3rd trimester diet.

My Perinatologist basically gave me the go-ahead to eat more frozen custard to help add more fat to my babies. And I thought to myself, "Sure... I GUESS I can take one for the team"

I think I've said this before, but... if I can't drink some good wine, then frozen custard (or ice cream) is a decent second place!

We had our monthly ultrasound last Friday and things looked pretty good, but the babies didn't grow quite as much as we would have liked/expected. Nothing alarming, but just not quite what the "average" gain should have been. Additionally, they are less close in weight than they have ever been. Last month, they were 2 lbs 2 oz and 2 lbs 4 oz (at 26 weeks) and this month they are 2 lbs 15 oz and 3 lbs 4 oz (at 30 weeks).

Because of this, the Peri decided to check the blood flow in the umbilical cords to make sure they were getting enough volume, and based on those results they are doing super! But the fact that they were a bit sluggish in growth this past month means that they want to monitor me just a bit more closely AND up the calories, specifically for fat and protein.... thus the custard. It could also mean that the placentas are starting to become a bit inefficient and so resting more is essential.

Got it... naps and custard... I can do that!

(Now some doctors don't agree that more calories into mama = fatter babies, within reason of course, like, I shouldn't be starving myself. But it will be interesting to hear what my OB says about this when I meet with him next week. My OB and Peri don't normally consult with each other unless there is something to consult on. So far, no need.)

Their slightly sluggish weight gain did worry me a bit, though. I think after a blissfully easy pregnancy so far, having something not be as fantastic as it could be put me into a worry spiral and a lot of the fear of things not going well from infertility crept back in. It's easy to let all of those other negatives and defeats overtake you and make you react to not so perfect news.

In the long run, things are certainly going to be fine, right? But one little blip and my panic button appears. Hormones, post traumatic infertility stress... however you want to explain it. I have calmed down for now... Maybe it's all the yummy goodness in the custard!


And now the stats, and a belly pic:

Status: 30w5d (but the pic is from 30w0d)

Weight Gain: I'll weigh in again on Monday.

Symptoms:  Heartburn is gone!!! No idea why, but I'll take it. Having a few braxton hicks contractions still, but not every day and only if I take a really long walk or climb up a few flights of stairs.

Cravings: Frozen Custard!!! (Ha!, not really. But I'll pretend). Definitely feeling like I'm needing more protein though, so I'll have to find more creative ways of getting that into my body, since I normally don't eat meat. I suppose I can open my diet back up to turkey and of course bacon... who doesn't love bacon. Fish is always good too, assuming it's low in mercury.

Aversions: None to speak of

Exercise:  I've lost track of a week or so. But I have cut down on this a bit too, since the Peri told me a nap would be better than a walk at this point in my pregnancy. I am stubborn though and don't really want to turn into a total slug, so for now, I'm just trying to do a little walking here and there with the dog and then prenatal yoga.

Best Moment of the Week: My parents came for a visit on Friday to attend our ultrasound. It was neat to be able to share that experience with them. I wish they pictures would have been better, since as they babies get bigger in there, it is harder to get good angles to see their faces. But it was nice to have them with. Also, Tidy and I finished our childbirth and parenting class series at our HMO. They have occurred this past Saturday and the prior one from 9a to 4:30p. It's a LONG day for a weekend, but we're officially certified now!! As if that will make us good parents, right?

What I Look Forward to: This weekend, my friend Mags is coming to visit and take some pregnancy photos... before I get TOOO big for pictures!! I honestly do love this pregnant body now and while I tend to feel fat here and there, I am finding some beauty in it. So it will be nice to document that. Also, we should have a few more things done in the house this weekend so we can finally put the majority of the finishing touches on the nursery. I hope to update on that next week.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Don't Ignore the Ignorance... Educate!

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (April 22-28) and as an entry into the Bloggers Unite event to help bring awareness to Infertility, I have written this heartfelt post:

A peaceful town was in the news a few weeks ago because a doctor wanted to build a fertility clinic in a vacant space. This space is close to a church, an elementary school and a small college. Protesters came to the city board in hopes of stopping this "immoral place" from being built. One of the organizers of the protest commented that a child born through IVF "becomes a manufactured commodity" and is "reduced to an object, a product."

This sentence enraged me.

I'm currently 30 weeks and 3 days pregnant with twins via donor egg IVF and there is NO WAY that I view these babies as a "product" or "manufactured". I view them as an amazing gift. After a 5 year war with infertility (and I say war, because we went to battle, many many times), we made the not very easy decision to be done with my eggs and try a new route. And once we moved forward, we never looked back. I've been grateful for every. single. moment of this pregnancy and I'm already madly in love with these babies thriving away inside me. I can't wait to meet them, hold them, nurture them.... To me, and my husband, they are very far from "objects".

They are OUR children.

Just because we had to spend over $35,000 to even have this chance at a child on this ONE IVF cycle, in no way shape or form, minimizes their meaning to us. In fact, I would argue, people who go through fertility treatments to have their children, MAY even appreciate the fact that they are parents more so than if they were easy to conceive. (Now I'm not arguing we are better parents here, but just that we understand what it took to get them...and that perspective is very special.)

But then I tried to calm down a bit and think this through, or at least put myself in these protesters shoes. I understand why IVF and third party reproduction scare people and why some consider it unnatural. They are right. IVF was not the way nature intended children to be conceived. (I would say, though, that nature gave us all very intelligent brains and thus doctors, the ability to create these amazing processes that have helped many of us become parents)

But I believe that some media and a lack of awareness/education has a lot to do with this fear. Stories in the news can make IVF appear as a freakish thing that creates octo-moms and fabricates babies in places where "god didn't intend" a baby to be. This misrepresentation creates ignorance and fear.

Specifically, it causes people to make ignorant statements about IVF babies as commodities...


Fertility clinics are certainly not manufacturing babies. They are actually helping to create THE POTENTIAL for a baby to be born. With all of the time, money and effort that goes into taking eggs from a woman and sperm from a man, joining them in the lab, and then putting a few resulting embryos  back in the woman, fertility clinics still have not created a baby! Those embryos have to decide to snuggle in tight and stick around for 8 more months before a baby enters the world. And there is no fertility clinic that can gaurantee the success of the last part.

Through the four IVF cycles with my body, our fertility clinic helped us produce over 55 embryos... and not ONE of them turned into a baby. Not one. I bought the chance to have a baby, many times over, but we certainly did not buy a baby. If it were that easy, to just go out and buy a baby when we faced with the disease of infertility, would so many of us need the support of this community? Would so many of us want to build awareness and educate others that it is OK to need help?

If only I could meet these protesters and tell them my story. Maybe then they would see how their ignorance only hurts those of us who need help to experience the joy of having a baby. Maybe they would see how truly life altering and devastating it is to be infertile and feel isolated, depressed, anxious, and hopeless.  Maybe they would see how much I am in love with my babies already, how grateful I am and how they are not simply a commodity to me.

For those of you who would like to learn more about NIAW and the basics of the disease of infertility, please click on the links. The more you know, and educate yourselves, the more you can educate others.

Please pass this along!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

20 Years Later

20 years ago, last week, a guy in my high school asked me to prom. He was a year younger and while it wasn't common to date someone not in ones grade, something about him caught my eye that spring. He was skinny, wore his hair a bit long, hung out with a group of guys that I think were kind of the little punks of the school and had a face that made my knees weak.

I said yes.

I really don't even know how it happened that he asked me. We honestly had never spoke before. I think we had a friend in common or he had a friend who knew one of my friends, and somehow, someone said they thought the other was cute and word got back... and... well, you know how it goes...

Before we actually went to prom, we decided it might be good to go on a date, you know, so we could see if we liked each other? A week later, he took me out to play mini golf and then for dinner. I think it was a double date with another friend of his in his class who asked one of my friends out. (Clearly it was that long ago that some of the details are escaping me).

We hit it of... and over the course of that summer, we fell in love... he was my first love and I was his.

That skinny, long haired, little punk who I fell in love was Tidy (if you hadn't guessed).

Over the past 20 years, while we were not together the whole time, we stayed connected and finally ended up getting married almost 8 years ago. He is my love, my best friend, my biggest fan, my partner in crime and my home. And there's no way I would have been able to get through these past 5 years of infertility hell without him. I could never have imagined that all those years ago, a simple prom date would turn into this crazy fun adventure we call our life.

And now, we are expecting twins and the next 20 year adventure is just about to begin. I hope you're in for a wild ride, Tidy, cuz I can't imagine it's going to be anything but!

I think these hormones are making me a bit sentimental...


And now the stats.

(So sorry I've slacked so bad on posting this week! It's been a very busy two weeks as you will see below)

Status: 29w5d

Weight Gain: Last Monday, over a week ago, I weighed in at the OB's office and it was up 31 lbs. 

Symptoms:  Heartburn if I eat too much, but ice cream seems to cure it! Also having some mild Braxton-Hicks contractions here and there, but not every day. 

Cravings: Nothing specific, but I have been extra hungry again these past few days and wanting protein

Aversions: None to speak of

Exercise:  Saturday: 30 min walk with Tidy& the pog, Monday: 45 min prenatal yoga, Wednesday: 45 min power yoga at lunch, Thursday: 30 min brisk walk with Tiday & the pog. (That was all last week, I think...)

Best Moment of the Week: We had a second shower this past Sunday with our friends here in town. Hubbies and partners were invited. It was perfect...very relaxed, good beers, great food, sweet gifts and a bunch of our dear friends who have supported us through these years, making us feel normal, accepted and part of their lives as we watched them achieve where we struggled... family building. We are blessed to have such great friends. Thanks everyone! Words can not express our gratitude.

What I Look Forward to: May... April has been and will continue a bit too busy!!! We had our first parenting & childbirth class this past Saturday, the prior Thursday I had a breast feeding class, Tidy just got back this evening from a Dog meet Baby class at the Human Society, Saturday we have our second (and final) day of parenting & childbirth and then this coming Monday we are meeting with one of the three Pediatricians we want to interview in our practice to be the twins doctors.... PHEW! I'm dizzy just thinking about it all. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Knowing His Shit

Tidy and I met with my OB yesterday to start talking about a birth plan.. ehem... I mean, preference.

(Oh, and I weighed in... fun fun. I was 1 lb less than my estimate from last week's post).

Have I mentioned that I like my OB?

Tidy thought he was a bit arrogant, well, I guess more than a bit.

But have I mentioned that I like my OB?

I think the arrogance makes me feel like he knows his shit.

Arrogance, however, does not necessarily imply knowing ones shit, but from my research based inquiries, our discussions/debates, and his ability to make a sound argument about our next steps, I feel like he knows his shit and thus can be arrogant.

And I need to feel confident that he does know his shit so we can get these babies out of me in the best possible way. Now, I suppose the term "best possible" is up for debate, but for me, that entails a vaginal birth, if at all possible.

"Best possible" though, is really not defined by an agreed upon industry method, but by the skill of the OB. Per my doctor, the amount of OBs in the US that are skilled in birthing twins vaginally is decreasing. That is why so many twin births end up in C-section... over 50%! (I even saw in a magazine saying that last year 75% twin births were C-section, however I'm not sure if that's valid or not). One of the biggest wild cards in a twin birth, is the position of baby B (the second one out). Many OB's are fine with doing a vaginal twin birth if both Baby A and Baby B are head down, but (an again, per my OB) about 1/3 of the time, after Baby A is born, Baby B will change positions.

So, a skilled OB will be able to birth Baby B in a feet first position. And it has been shown that this is still very safe and in fact preferred for the baby rather than going to a C-section at that point. The trouble is, though, is that the percent of OB's in the U.S. that will birth Baby B feet first, is getting smaller and smaller. Luckily my OB will do this and in fact, is skilled at it.

I like my OB! I mentioned that, right?

So, while we haven't created a birth "plan" or as we should call it a birth "preference" yet, I at least know a few of the extra considerations that come with birthing twins. This knowledge will also help us decide if we want to induce at some point or not. As many of you I'm sure know, in a doctor group, you won't necessarily get your OB to birth your babies unless you schedule your birth with her/him.... aka schedule a C-section or an induction. At least that's how it works for us. So, we will have to make some decisions as this gets closer, but for now, knowledge is making me feel a bit more comfortable.

(And ... to those of you who are reading this and have been through birth and are saying, silly Tippy... you have no control over this... I do know that. But I also know that having more information about how things could go, empowers us to go through this as best we can)

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Here we are, the first week of our 3rd trimester. I can't believe that I'm even writing that sometimes, and yet other times, this all just seems so... normal, natural, like I knew how to do this all along.

A few days ago, I went to bed looking at Tidy and said, "Tomorrow is the beginning of our 29th week." I got weepy. I think it finally hit me that there is a real big chance that these will be our take home babies. While of course we want them to stay inside for quite a bit longer, if they were to have to enter the world now, their chances of survival are very high. This is very  comforting.

I don't have a whole lot to update everyone on, other than my dad and mom came for a visit last weekend to help get a few things accomplished in the nursery that I simply couldn't have done at this point. We hung the light fixture (I can't count how many "M-thr, F-thrs" cam out of my dad's mouth... LOL! We certainly are carved from the same stone. When I do projects like that, while I do enjoy it, every little annoyance turns into some swear word leaking out of my mouth). We also put the baseboards back in (I had taken them out a few years ago to pain them and just never put them back in. I didn't want to finish that room until I had a reason to. I'm sure many of you understand). And finally, I changed out all of the outlet with GCI protectors on them. Now, we just need to get the windows replaced (in a few weeks) and then I can finally start putting some of our stuff away.

Each day when I spend time organizing or making lists of things to do, I get a little sense of reality, that soon, this room, these clothes, these blankets, will be filled with our babies.

It seems real sometimes, and yet other times when I'm sitting on the couch with Tidy, watching the Masters on a normal spring weekend, I realize that I truly have no clue how our life is about to change. But that's ok. It's a fun anticipation to linger with.


And now, the stats:

Status: 28w2d

Weight Gain: Will weigh in again on Monday. I'm thinking 32 lbs up.

Symptoms:  I had some mild heartburn the last few days, but I realized it was after every meal that I consumed beans. So, no more beans. Luckily it's not waking me up or causing me not to sleep. I have found a few things that help too: Papaya Enzymes (Fresh Papaya would be better, but I'm too lazy), and Almond milk (specifically in the form of ice cream! It contains a lot of calcium, so I think that's why it helps).  I also officially feel large. I think that I've lost some mobility and I've turned the corner from being "cute & pregnant" to "oh! when's she due??" I think I'm also having some braxton-hicks type contractions here and there. But nothing very obvious yet.

Cravings: None to speak of

Aversions: None to speak of

Exercise:  Monday: 45 min prenatal yoga, Wednesday: 45 min power yoga at lunch, Thursday: 45 min hike with a friend.

Best Moment of the Week: Having a little alone time with my parents last weekend. Laughing at my dad's swearing antics as he helped to do some work in the nursery, and seeing the light on my mom's face as she showed me the blankets she knit for the twins. They are going to be perfect companions on the cool fall days when we take them hiking. I can't wait.

What I Look Forward to: My appointment with my OB on Monday, to start talking more about a birth plan.