Tuesday, July 26, 2011

birth story (part 2)

Ok, now where did I leave off? (for part one go here). Oh, that's right; my first contraction at 1:42 pm on June 14th. I remember it really barely hurting at all. It was just like they say; it felt like a mild menstrual cramp. It was a different story a couple of hours later though. It definitely started being painful enough that I had to do some deep breathing and serious concentrating. They were still bearable though. I wanted to know how far dilated I was, but because my water had already broken, they were minimizing how often they checked to avoid infection. Plus, they said the contractions needed to be no more than 3-4 minutes apart in order for my cervix to be really dilating, and that wasn't happening at this point.

It was around 2:30 that a nurse brought in these "boot" things that went around my calves. They basically were like blood pressure cuffs for your calves that squeezed and released every 30 seconds or so. I had to get these to keep circulation going due to the fact that I had all the fluid retention and the factor V leiden. It felt fine; didn't hurt or anything, but it was one more thing I had to unhook when it was time to go to the restroom. I had two baby monitoring things strapped to my belly, along with one monitoring my contractions, my fluid IV and now these boots. It was quite a process to get out of bed!

Around 6:45 they decided to give me a bit of pitocin to jump start things. I was quite nervous about this, because of the stories I'd heard about the contractions coming on quickly. They gave me the smallest dose possible though, so I was hoping that would help ease me in to things. By 9:30, my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, and I was feeling really restless. An hour later though, they were really getting painful and I decided I needed an epidural then. I was a little sad about it, but I knew I'd have to get an epidural eventually, so I went as long as I could without it. My doctor said it was really the safest bet to get an epidural given the fact that I was having twins, since she may have to manually turn one of the babies (OUCH!) and also the increased chance of an emergency c-section with twins. Anyway, the decision was made and I anxiously awaited the anesthesiologist to come and numb me up.

He arrived about 30 minutes later, and I immediately was nervous. It sounds unfair, but he was quite young, and I worried about his experience. I got all these fears into my head about the risks (being paralyzed the one that worried me the most) and thinking, "um, I wonder how many of these this guy has done?"  I longed for the really funny, older anesthesiologist that had put my IV in that morning, but alas, his shift had ended. Anyway, I had to scoot to the edge of the bed and lean over and round my back; my nurse supporting me. At this point, a resident came in to observe my young anesthesiologist, which made me feel better in some ways, and more scared in others. He was so inexperienced he had to be observed??? Oh well. Just breathe. Anyway, they first numbed the area with local anesthetic, and then told me I'd feel some "pressure" from the needle going in. Um, they need to find a new descriptive word. It friggin HURT. A lot. Which caused me to panic; because um? You said pressure, so is it bad that this is hurting?? I said "Ow! It hurts!" to which they replied "well, you are going to feel some pain" in a sort of "duh" way. Well, I thought, then say "this is going to hurt a little" instead of "you're going to feel some pressure"! Big difference in my book. Anyway, it was finally in, and I laid back. They handed me a little clicker button and told me that I could push the button up to once every 15 minutes. They gave me a fairly low dose of epidural, so it took about 15-20 minutes to kick in, but when it did it was SO much better. I was able to just relax and rest a bit, which was really nice. I still felt the contractions, but barely. Another plus; a catheter. I mean, ok, not really  a PLUS, but no more unhooking of 8 million cables to get up to go to the bathroom. Ok, also, no more getting up at ALL, but oh well. :)

My mom was still en route (she had several delays and it wasn't a non-stop flight) during all of this, but she finally arrived at 1:30am. It was so great to see her! No matter how old you get; it's always nice to see your mom when you're a little nervous or scared. She hung out for a while and visited and we got her all caught up, but about an hour later we decided it was best that she head to our house to get some sleep, and that try to do the same. She was reluctant to leave, but I promised her not to have the baby until she was back the next day. :)

My mom arrived shortly after we awoke, and we were all pretty excited. The nurse shift changed at 7am, which was a bummer because I had really liked our night nurse; Tocin (pronounced just like pitocin). Our new nurse was Ida, and she left quite a bit to be desired. More on her later. Anyway, my doctor arrived somewhere around 7:45 am, and checked my dilation. I was at 6cm, and she said that it could be merely a couple of hours before I started pushing! Whoa. My mom and Ian headed out to breakfast (so HUNGRY! mmm. apple juice.) and at 8:45, the upped my pitocin to keep things moving along as my contractions had slowed a tiny bit however, I had reached 7cm. Getting closer!

So, my nurse; Ida. She was a piece of work. At first I thought I liked her, because she was super chatty and friendly. BUT; not so great at her job it turns out. Now, to be fair, they were implementing a new computer system in the hospital and it was only day 2 or 3 of it being in place. Anyway, she was spending SO much time at the computer trying to make sure she did everything right, that she kind of kept forgetting about me. My doctor had made explicit orders for her to do blood pressure every 30 minutes, and check my urine output that frequently as well. But, Ida was distracted. This annoyed my doctor greatly, and Ida got annoyed right back. This made for some awkwardness in our tiny little hospital room. Luckily, my doctor is AWESOME and she kind of straightened Ida out- well, as much as she could. At this point I was kind of hoping that maybe I wouldn't have the baby until the next shift change so that maybe I could get a better nurse, but I knew I wouldn't make it until 7pm. So, Ida it was.

Anyway, once my pitocin had been turned up, the contractions came fast and furious. And the epidural? Not helping as much anymore. I pushed that little button as often as I could but they still hurt pretty bad. I got checked again though at 10am, and- 9cm! Huzzah! Getting so close. But, I was checked again at 11:15am- and still at 9cm. Stalled. Checked again 45 minutes later, and still at 9. BLARGH. I am now informed that if in one hour I am not at 10, it will be a c-section.

At this point I'm starting to panic. The contractions HURT you guys. And I have an epidural. I'm starting to panic about the pain. I confide in my mom and Ian that I am sort of wishing for a c-section because I'm scared to push. I feel bad about wishing for that now, but at the time, it sounded easier. Sadly, I got my wish. at 12:30, we are informed that my body is stalling out at 9cm. It could be for a variety of reasons; my severe fluid retention, or just the fact that I'm having twins often causes your body to stall out. Regardless, I was not going to have my vaginal delivery I had hoped for. In that moment, I was slightly relieved, but looking back, I get really sad about it.

A little after 1pm, we roll in to the operating room. Our lives about to change forever.

(Ian, in his operating room gear :)


P.S. Part 3 coming soon! I'll be faster than I was with part 2, I promise!

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

the doubts

It stands to reason that when you're a first time parent, you're bound to have questions as to whether or not you're doing things right. Questioning your methods for feeding, changing, soothing, dressing, and burping them. I started having my doubts right away.

Recently, my doubts have mostly surrounded around breastfeeding and sleeping. I've always wanted to exclusively breastfeed my girls, but from day one there were hurdles encountered. Poppy had to spend a couple of days in the NICU, and she was fed formula while there. I was breastfeeding Amelie, but when they did some standard tests on her, they found she had low blood sugar, so they gave her some formula as well. Also, I tried to do rooming in with Amelie, because I wanted her to be with me all night, but because I was stuck in bed (more on that soon when I recap part two of my birth story. soon- I swear!) I was unable to lift her in and out of her bassinet. So, one night, in tears, I called the nurse and had her take Amelie to the nursery to sleep, where she was fed formula. With all of this happening;, right out of the gate I kind of felt like a failure. I was pumping and saving my colostrum to feed them, but it just wasn't enough with everything that was going on.

Since they have been home, I've done a combination of breastfeeding, pumping and supplementing with formula. Until the last few days, they really couldn't breastfeed for much longer than 10 minutes (usually shorter) before they fell asleep. So, the routine was: Breastfeed for 10 or fewer minutes, feed them my pumped breastmilk pumped from the previous feeding, then pump for 15-20 minutes afterwards. Sometimes this was enough, but quite often at first, (especially when my milk was still coming in) they also needed some formula.  I really never wanted to feed them formula, but it's just how it worked out. I didn't feel TOO bad, since I was still giving them all of my breastmilk, but it still wasn't how I planned it. Nowadays, they can nurse for quite a long time, and it's evident that they're getting more breast milk, because when I pump, there isn't a lot left. However, they still are hungry afterwards, so I still have to supplement. I've purchased books on increasing my milk supply and am doing all I can to help this out, but for now, supplementing is necessary. I have worries occasionally that giving them formula is "bad", and that I should be able to feed them only breast milk. But it's just not possible right now, so I hold out hope that someday soon we can cut the formula out of the picture.

And, sleeping. Well, they honestly had been doing pretty well. Actually, since they were premature, the pediatrician told us we needed to wake them every two hours to eat. And this was honestly hard sometimes; they'd be so sleepy. Once they surpassed their birth weights and were a few weeks old, we were told they could go 3 hour stretches, and 4 hours at night. They did this for probably 1 1/2 weeks (though I think they only lasted 4 hours once), but now? Not so much. Poppy is having some sleep issues now and has been waking up after less than two hours, or just not going to sleep at all. It's so confusing, because in all of the books they say that they are approaching a time (6 weeks) where they will start staying awake a little longer. BUT, it also says, if the babies are premature, it would be 6 weeks AFTER their due dates. Which wouldn't be until late August. So, not sure what the deal with Poppy is nowadays. I realize that things with babies don't always go by the book, and that there are things like growth spurts to factor in, but when you're sleep deprived and exhausted, you start to doubt things. Is it something I'm doing? Does she need to eat more? Less? Sigh. Sadly, since Poppy can't talk yet, there's no real way to know for sure. And who knows; tomorrow she could stop doing it and move on to something else.

That said, I'm trying to embrace my doubts a little more, and realize that they're just part of being a parent. I feel good about the fact that I do research, but that I don't live by what I read. I take it in and consider it, but we don't just do something becuase a certain book says so. Especially considering the next book you read will say something completely different.

I know that my doubts will grow and change as they get older. One thing I am absolutely positive of though; we love these girls more than anything, and will always be doing whatever we can to take the best care of them. Even if we doubt ourselves from time to time along the way.


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Friday, July 15, 2011

one month

I can't believe it; today my girls turn one month old! It honestly seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital delivering them; and then in some ways it seems like I can't really remember what it feels like to not have them around. They are just the best thing to ever happen to us.

Happy one month birthday, my sweet girls. We love you more than words.


P.S. Poppy and Amelie would love it if you'd click the banner below to give us a daily vote! It's all they want for their one month birthday. :)

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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

the little things

Sometimes it's the little things that make up a very nice day....

a yummy treat breakfast scone:

an iced coffee on a warm day:


losing enough fluid in your feet that you can finally tie your shoes (hooray!):


sleepy babies in a cozy coffee house:


spotting a cool bird on a nice walk through the park:

sweet babies:

Topped off by a wonderful home cooked meal and a small glass of wine. Lovely day full of lovely little things.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011


For the most part, since the girls have come home, we've stayed at home with them. It's pretty much necessary, because 1) they're really little and young! and fragile! and 2) it's really hot out in NYC right now; not the best time for traveling with two newborns. and 3) We don't have a car, so it's either the subway or a car service, and both have their pros and cons.

So far the only places we have gone have been doctor appointments of some kind, and then once, down the street to the corner deli. The first outing was to the pediatrician the day after they arrived home- just to check to see if they were gaining weight properly. The next outing was the pediatrician again- a follow up.

The trip to the deli was mostly to get a little walk in, since I was feeling the need to get out of the house, and also an excuse to use our ergo carriers. Here's us returning home:

Then, last week my mother-in-law and I took them to my OBGYN appointment. It wasn't necessary; she could have just stayed at home with them while I went to my appointment- but we decided it'd be fun if we all took a little trip. For this outing, we decided to take a car service since it was on the east side and we would have had to transfer trains if we took the subway. Not ready for that! My appointment ran a little late, so I had to breastfeed Amelie in the exam room before we headed out, because she started crying. But after that, we walked 2 blocks to a nearby Starbucks and fed them both a bottle while we had a little coffee. Amelie was WIDE awake the whole time, taking it all in:

while Poppy just napped the whole time:

Then today we had to go to Children's hospital at Columbia Presbyterian for an ultrasound of Amelie's hip. She was delivered breech, so it's standard procedure for them to do an ultrasound to make sure their hips are ok. She was just fine. :) Today we took the subway, which was an undertaking, but it worked! We had to make sure the stop we got off at had an elevator for our stroller, which it did. It was REALLY hot today, but the girls were fine- they wore the new sundresses that their Aunt Jody gave them; so they were nice and cool:

And here's them in their cool ride on the subway:

So there you go! We've already had many adventures- and all before they're four weeks old! I can't wait for more little trips ahead; and maybe a few that don't involve the doctor's office. :)


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Saturday, July 9, 2011

birth story (part one)

Here we go! I'm finally attempting the birth story, 3 weeks after the fact. I hope I remember enough, because honestly while parts of the day are clear as crystal; other parts are just sort of a blur. Luckily, my husband tweeted the whole thing (no really; he did) so that will help me fill in the gaps. I apologize in advance; it's going to be a long story, because I want to make sure I document it all for posterity. So, it will most definitely be in a few parts.

Tuesday, June 14th- 6:15 am: I slowly wake up, and realize I have to pee. Again. Nothing new. I'm working from home this week which is good because my legs are so swollen with fluid they're hard to lift. Getting in and out of bed is a major effort. As I attempt to roll my gargantuan stomach over to get out of bed, I feel a small rush of fluid between my legs. "Oh great," I think. "I've finally reached that point in my pregnancy that they talk about where I'm incontinent. Guess I should have done my kegels like they said to, because I totally just peed the bed." I finally am able to stand up and the fluid just doesn't stop. "Whoa, that's weird. I'm REALLY incontinent." (Laugh all you want; it really did feel like I was peeing!) I get to the bathroom and go pee, and realize I can't stop peeing no matter how hard I try. Hmm. Maybe I'm NOT peeing. (Betcha didn't know that so much of my birth story was going to be about pee, didja?) Maybe my water is breaking? But how could that be?

Walk back in to the bedroom, still leaking fluid everywhere. Decide that this is definitely SOMETHING, so I tap Ian on the leg. He wakes up startled, because I've turned the lights on, and am standing up by the bed; not a normal occurrence for 6:15 in the morning. "I think my water broke." Instantly he is WAY more awake.

I was pretty darn excited, because honestly; I never thought we'd get to have the "honey; it's time!" moment. My doctor seemed pretty much certain that I'd have to be induced to deliver. But here we were; at 35 weeks, 5 days and it seemed as though it most definitely was "time". I still had my doubts though, because hey; I'd never had a baby before- what did I know? I called my doctor and spoke to her answering service. She called me right back, and once I explained what was going on, she said "Yes, it sounds like your water broke. Head to the hospital, and I'll meet you there later this afternoon." Holy crap! This IS it! I mean, probably!

Next up to call was my mom. She was flying in for the birth, so I needed to give her the head's up. I called her and I think she knew what was up, as it was 3:30 am her time. I told her that I was PRETTY sure my water had broken, but that she should wait to buy her ticket until it was confirmed. She said she'd start looking for flights and stand by.

So, had I packed my hospital bag? Nope. It was on my "to do" list for that week. I figured I had time; plenty of time. I had a whole list of things I was going to get done that week that obviously weren't going to happen now! Whoops!

I kind of was just standing in my room, (over a towel- as I was still just making a mess everywhere I walked) in a daze, not really knowing where to start. Luckily, Ian pulled up our "hospital bag" list and just started packing. I decided a shower was probably in order, so I went to do that. As I stood under the hot water I started crying a little. Not out of sadness, but excitement and a little bit of overwhelmedness. "I'm going to have babies soon! Holy crap! This is actually happening! I'm going to be a mother!" To me, honestly, that was the very first moment it all felt very REAL. Yes, I realize that sounds silly, since for almost 9 months I'd felt babies kicking, seen them on ultrasounds, heard their heartbeats, etc.; but this was the first moment I really, really realized that I was going to give BIRTH, and it was going to be soon. I was going to finally meet my girls.

Once my shower was over I came back into the bedroom and Ian was making great progress on the hospital bag. I all of the sudden felt very anxious that we had to get to the hospital SOON. I wanted to make sure the babies were ok. Ian headed off to shower and we decided that the bag was packed enough; it was time to head out. We called the car service around 7:45am and were off to the hospital!

It only took about 15 minutes to get to the hospital; very little traffic which was good. Our driver was nice and didn't chat with us at all, which was good. We asked him his name when we got out of the car, so we could have it for posterity. I think he thought we were going to report him for something, because he seemed worried after we asked him. I kept a list in my iPhone of names of people we encountered; but unfortunately, I've since ruined my iPhone by dropping it into the toilet on one of the sleep deprived nights in the hospital- so that list is gone. :(

Once we arrived and checked in, it was about another 45 minutes to an hour before I was in a room and getting checked. They had a resident come in to do a check to see if my water had officially broken- and lo and behold it had! Officially in labor. :) Wahoo! No contractions at this point, but it was good to know that I was officially on my way!

First point of business was to set me up with an IV to get some fluids going. I had read that you could refuse fluids so that you didn't have to be hooked up to an IV right away, but in our childbirth class we learned that if you were going to have an epidural (which my doctor said was pretty necessary for me since we'd probably have to manually turn baby B or I may need an emergency csection) that you should get fluids because you needed to have a certain amount of fluids before you did the epidural. Anyway, the nurse tried once to find a vein and couldn't (this is always an issue for me; I have really hard to find veins) and decided to call the anesthesiologist on call to find one. He arrived a few minutes later and was really funny and kind; which made things less stressful. It took 4 tries in total; lots of poking, bleeding and bruising, but he finally got one on the back of my left hand. Which by the way, is a very uncomfortable place to have an IV.

Once the fluids were in, we just kind of hung out until my doctor arrived around 1pm to check me. I was 1 cm dialated and still not having contractions, so she administered a pill called Misoprostol to start contractions. It kicked in about 30 minutes later at 1:45pm when I had my first contraction. About 30 minutes after that, they were about one minute long and 10 minutes apart. So, a ways to go, but progress nonetheless.

Ok- stay tuned for part two! (And possibly 3 and 4.... depends on how long winded I end up being.) :)


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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

(the last) weekly wednesday update

How far along? 38 weeks 6 days! (aka- the babies are 3 weeks old today!)

Total weight gain/loss: Weighed in at the doctor today; I'm 5 pounds UNDER my pre-pregnancy weight! So, last time I was weighed, I was up 41 pounds, so now I'm down 46 pounds. This really shows how much fluid I was carrying around! The fluid/swelling isn't completely gone from my legs, but it's much improved and well on its way to being all gone!

As for the babies, Poppy now weighs 6 pounds 13 ounces (birth weight was 5 pounds 11 ounces) and Amelie weighs 6 pounds 6 ounces (birth weight was 5 pounds 3 ounces). Over a pound each gained in 3 weeks!

Stretch marks? Yes. But somehow I just don't care as much anymore. :)

Maternity clothes? Yep. Even though I'm back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, I still have a bit of a tummy, so pants don't fit the same. That's ok though; these days with all of the sleep deprivation, I'm pretty cool with staying in cozy, stretchy pants.

Sleep: Ha. Sleep. Not seeing much of that these days. The girls are up every 2-3 hours to feed and then I also have to pump after every feeding. So, not much sleeping happening, but that's ok. I know this time won't last forever so I'm really trying to just cherish them being so tiny.

Best moment this week: Really pretty darn hard to pick one. One wonderful moment was the first time I breastfed both of them at the same time. It's just the sweetest thing. They look across the pillow at each other and up at me and it's just the best thing ever. But again; hard to choose a best moment, because there have been so many.

Movement: Ha ha. Yes; all the time. Especially Amelie; she's a super wiggly baby, which makes sense because she was baby B, and I felt the most movement from here in the womb.

Food cravings: I am now always hungry. Breast feeding twins burns a lot of calories (my book says up to 1200 per day!) so I just am always feeling like I can eat.

Genders: Still two girls! :)

Labor Signs: That ship has sailed.

Belly Button in or out? It's back in. Not the prettiest it's ever been, but maybe someday it will look a little closer how it started out.

What I miss: I do miss sleep, but again; it's so worth it. I also sometimes miss being pregnant, but having my girls with me now is much more fun!

Weekly Wisdom: If you're pregnant, and can get help from your mom or mother-in-law, sibling or friend; do it! My mom was here for a little over 2 weeks and my mother-in-law is here now, and it has been a godsend. They have been so helpful and wonderful and I don't know what we would have done without them!

What I am looking forward to: More fun times with my cute girls!

Milestones: They got their social security cards yesterday! They're official!

And here's me, 38 weeks, 6 days (aka 3 week old babies!) Not the prettiest picture of me, but oh well. :)

And here's another cute picture of the girls:

~ M

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Friday, July 1, 2011

got milk?

So, I mentioned in my last post that we were having some latching issues and that I had decided it was probably for the best to reach out to a lactation consultant. I knew that they'd be able to help, and I really needed it.

After several days of incredibly frustrating feedings (two babies, both crying/fussing/wiggling because they aren't able to latch on properly), I just couldn't take it anymore. Coupled with the sleep deprivation and my crazy amounts of love for my girls; I realized I needed some help. Our pediatrician had suggested a lactation consultant that was in our neighborhood, so I gave her a call. Not only was she in our neighborhood; but she was right across the street! She told me she'd be able to come over the next day, and I was thrilled.

She brought a digital scale with her and weighed the girls before they fed so that once they latched on and fed, she could weigh them again, to see how much milk they had gotten. (By the way; Poppy has reached 6 pounds and Amelie is at 5 pounds 15.5 ounces!)

She showed me how to correctly position the babies in the football hold (at your side) and as soon as we had the right position- BAM! BAM! Successful latches. Amazing! Seriously, she just changed a few things, and they latched on right away. Since then, we've had successful latches about 98% of the time. If anyone lives in the New York area, I highly recommend you call Beverly Solow (www.bevsolow.com); she's amazing!

My milk supply still isn't as high as I need it to be every time, but I'm hoping with all of the feedings and pumping, that it soon will be. Beverly suggested I try an herb called fenugreek to help increase my supply; so I think I may do that. I gotta be able to feed my girls, and right now I'm having to supplement with formula about every other feeding or so. They are eating more than they did last week, so until my milk catches up, it's what I have to do. I always said I didn't want to have to do that, but what can you do? They have to eat!

Anyway, things in the land of feedings seem to be going smoothly, and I hope they continue to. We're still waking them up every 2 hours to feed and every 3 in the middle of the night. We'll see the pediatrician next week again and maybe she'll tell us we can spread that out a little bit; though who knows.

I'm just so happy that I contacted the lactation consultant and that she was such a big help. Yay for experts!

I am working on writing my birth story out, so I should have that in the next week or so (though it's likely to be in 2 or 3 parts); so stay tuned for that! I promise I'm trying to get better about posting more frequently, but if you had these two cuties to look at all day, would you be in a hurry to sit in front of the computer?


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