Category Archives: pregnancy

Post Script

On re-reading my birth story, I am struck by how matter of fact I was. Everything I wrote was true. That is how it happened. But there is a lot missing from that story, from my pregnancy in general.

How I felt.

I am a writer. I have journaled since I was probably 10 years old, and I wrote stories even before I could write (I used to dictate to my mother – she had better penmanship than me). I am used to dissecting and analyzing my feelings. Going over and over an event until I beat it to death with my “thoughts” and “emotions”.

But this…having two people pulled out from inside of you. Two people who didn’t exist before. This is almost beyond emotion.

How does a mother describe the love she has for her children? How do I analyze the enormity of my pregnant belly? How do I explain the complete exhaustion that has been my life for the last 5 months?

I don’t think I can, without it sounding trite or the same thing you might hear in a Pampers ad.

I am in awe, I am in love, I am frustrated with lack of sleep, I am confused by my new body, I am scared for all the mistakes I am bound to make, I am grateful for my friends and family and strangers who have reached out to help my little family.

Children offer a rebirth. I am taking my first breath, rolling over for the first time, I am looking at the dog wondering, “what IS that furry thing and why does it live in our house?!”

As I’ve said before, my expectations for this pregnancy/birth went out the window when we saw two little hearts beating on the ultrasound. I know that these little ones are here to challenge me, to force me to face my fears and to go past my presumptions and preconceived ideas.

About 10 years ago, when I was working on a farm in BC, I was struggling to carry two buckets of grain from the barn to the hen-house. My friend Veronika was passing me as I struggled, on her way to muck out the cow barn. “You’re stronger than you think you are!” She called to me. At the time, I sucked it up and carried the buckets the rest of the way, my shoulders screaming. I’ll never forget it though. I am stronger than I think I am. Well, we are all. There is untapped reserves deep down within ourselves, and only in very special circumstances do we witness our true strength. No matter our situation, twins, singletons, our partners, our parents: the challenge to love and be loved will always test our strength, and I like to believe we will always meet it head on. And isn’t that what makes life worth living?

Morning Mommy!

Morning Mommy!


Twin Pregnancy: The Birth Story

After hauling the munchkins around for 36 weeks, an ultrasound showed twin A was breech and I was scheduled for a cesarean section on August 8th. We went home to wait the two days for the operation. I wasn’t nervous. I couldn’t imagine being pregnant for another minute, so as scared as I was of a c-section, I was also glad it was going to be over! I had an outpouring of support from friends, many of whom had had c-sections and offered advice and kind words. All the research I had done on natural birth, breath work, visualizing, all went out the window as we lined up help for the first two weeks in case I couldn’t move for that long. We packed our bags and went to sleep on the 7th, ready or not to meet our children.

August 7th, 2012 - ready to meet the littles!

August 7th, 2012 – ready to meet the littles!

We arrived at the hospital, along with about 20 of our friends and family, fully prepared to get cut up!

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August 8th – let’s get the show on the road!

I was prepped, had the IV in, consult with the anesthesiologist, one more internal from my OB (ouch!) and then they decided to do one more ultrasound….

…and discovered twin A was head down, ready to come out naturally! The nurses and midwife all assured me that they would get them out that day anyway, maybe try to induce me. Once nurse promised, “you’re not leaving here without those babies!”

Well, my OB reviewed the ultrasound and sent me packing with explicit directions to let them cook a bit longer!

Out came the IV, bags back in the car, family and friends sent home and I had a good cry trying to imagine one more night of sleeping with those babies crushing my ribs, pelvis, lungs.

We were scheduled for another ultrasound in 2 weeks, hoping labour would start naturally.

2 WEEKS!

At 38 weeks my OB did a stretch and sweep (OUCHY) but nothing happened. The babies were moving around like crazy, no need to watch the clock and count movements as my doctor suggested. Each day felt like an eternity and every night I wondered how I was going to make it until the morning. I started feeling a lot of Braxton hicks contractions, but nothing that stuck.

Finally, at 39 weeks minus one day, we went back for another ultrasound and…Little Miss A was breech again! The ultrasound technician couldn’t believe it. Babies rarely move this late in the game, let alone twins! As we waited to see the OB, we could hear him making the appointment for the c-section. It was scheduled for the next day.

This time we knew the drill. In a way, it was nice that we had the trial run to work out the kinks. We knew where to park and which elevators to take. There was no question that we would meet our babies today!

August 24, 2012 - Here they come!

August 24, 2012 – Here they come!

I was led into the operating room and they sat me on the table. I was pretty nervous, but I sort of went into a dream state. Things become very surreal. The anesthesiologist was really nice and all the nurses were excited to be delivering twins. The worst part was putting in the spinal, I think she missed the first couple of times! Then I lay down and they strung up the curtain. The operating room was a bit of a circus, there seemed like 100 people in there, doctors, nurses, students. Finally my husband was ushered in, looking pale and more nervous than me. Looking back I realize how high I must’ve been, because I remember worrying if he was okay, not thinking about how I was being cut open at that moment.

In fact, all I was thinking about was waiting for the cries. Finally, my OB announced baby A is out, and I heard a few short wails. Two minutes later, baby B was born, screaming his head off. My husband was allowed to cut the cords away from the placentas, and they were weighed and checked over by the doctors. Baby A, our little girl was 7lbs 12oz, and my screaming little boy was 6 lbs 6 oz. They finally swaddled them and brought them over for me to see for the first time.

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And there they were. Our little girl was given the name we had picked out weeks ago – Thea Rose. And our boy’s name was only decided on after we saw him – Jude Joseph. Steph was allowed to go with the babies out into the waiting room were our family was, and I was stitched back up and whisked off to the recovery room.

My blood pressure was acting funny, and they kept changing the machines because it was so wonky. Finally I asked to hold my babies, and my blood pressure stabilized. Mama needed her babies!

My recovery was great, three days in the hospital and then we were all sent home. I was popping Tylenol and Advil around the clock, and my movements were very slow, but for all my fear of the surgery, it wasn’t so bad. Sitting up from lying down was difficult, and frankly I didn’t move much for the first week.

And then there was the breastfeeding, but I’ll leave that for another post!

And there you have it in a nutshell. One minute you’re pregnant, and the next you have two kids. For all the books I read on birth, I sort of wish I’d picked up one on parenting!

Because that’s the real adventure.

Me, Thea and Jude, together at last!

Me, Thea and Jude, together at last!

Thea and Jude

Thea and Jude


Twin pregnancy update: The third trimester

Well here’s the photo proof:

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That was July 4th!

Here’s August 8th, check out my swollen feet!

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Here I am with Hubby at 38 weeks at our good friends Keith and Kelly’s wedding:

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And finally at 39 weeks pregnant:

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Yes, I was huge. I was swollen all over, it was the hottest summer on record. Everything hurt. My back my front my sides. Getting in and out of bed to pee every 2 hours was so painful. I had a doctor’s appointment and a midwife appointment every week. Not that I tried, but I don’t think I would’ve fit behind the wheel of my car by the end! I was pretty sure I would go at any second…but I didn’t. Those babes just wanted to stay inside. They were kicking and wiggling around like crazy. In hindsight I should’ve taken video. It really freaked out the hubby, sometimes people across the room could see it!

I ate whatever I wanted. A lot more ice cream than I’ve had in a while that’s for sure. I lived on homemade apple juice popsicles. And ice cubes! I crunched on about 3 trays of ice a day. A lot of people have asked me if I had any meat cravings, but no I didn’t. I also haven’t eaten meat in over 16 years, so I didn’t really think about it. I did eat a lot more dairy than I should’ve, but I was craving calories like crazy and I was so exhausted that a lot of the times it came down to what was easiest. I mean look at me. I was huge!

The nursery was ready, the newborn diapers were bought. I watched A LOT of A Baby Story on TLC…

So we waited and waited…

 

Birth story coming up next!


Twin Pregnancy: Week 27 Update

Twin pregnancy: Week 27

If I can make it through today, I am officially going to part-time next week! Which means afternoon naps!!!

The little ones definitely have identifiable awake and asleep times, which don’t always correspond with mine. Little Boy has been particularly active, which I’m hoping means he’s trying to get himself into the correct position!

I haven’t been writing much about food, because I honestly haven’t been cooking much. I snack ALL THE TIME, but standing for an hour in the kitchen does not appeal to me right now. With the nice weather we’ve been having, however, The Husband took it upon himself to do a bit of barbecuing. He made some basmati rice, with veggies and spice added to it while cooking, and grilled up some local asparagus, and Gardein Chick’n, which a spicy rub from a Jamie Oliver dressing. A TAD on the spicy side for my preggo liking, but tasty non-the-less! And local asparagus! Oh how I have missed you!

Gardein Chick’n, asparagus, rice, avocado on top!

Topped with avocado to help fatten up the little ones, this was a great first barbecue of the year! Sleep is getting to be quite sparse, since no matter which side I sleep on, my belly seems to be pulling on my back muscles, or my hips start to hurt. I have been feeling some Braxton Hicks contractions too, nothing to worry about, but they’re there.

I’m almost finished my Birthing from Within book, and I’m excited to share my thoughts on that. I can’t believe next week I enter the third trimester. I’m caught in a place where I want time to slow down (before life changes forever!) and speed up (so I can finally meet the monkeys!) at the same time. 

Happy Friday, I hope wherever you are you’re having a better weather weekend than here! (Rain rain, go away!) 

Sarah


Twin Pregnancy: Week 26 Update

Twin Pregnancy: Week 26

This week we went to Toronto for a wedding (Congrats Jess & Jordan!) and I had a vain attempt at pretending I was not pregnant. First of all, I booked us a room at the Gladstone Hotel, a really cool hotel on Queen West where each room has been designed by an artist. It was awesome. Until we arrived back at the hotel on Friday night around 10:30pm, and discovered that the dance party that was happening on the main floor of the hotel made it seem like we had rented a room inside a speaker. The next morning, when we talked to the front desk person about it, he offered us the room half-price, and half-price for Saturday with parking included. This is the point in my life where sleep is literally priceless. We declined and left the really cool hotel with our tails between our legs (we would have been AT that dance party 6 months ago!!!), and we booked into the Hyatt. And that was the best decision we’ve made in a long long time. Roof top pool! QUIET rooms! Just down the street from both shopping and the Rogers Center (Steph caught a few innings of a Blue Jays game while I maxed out my visa)! It was perfect. And we let the realization sink in that we need certain creature comforts now. The “cool” option is not the best option anymore. We are…getting old, and becoming parents. And it starts right now. 

My second vain attempt at normalcy was buying a pair of fancy wedge shoes from Brown’s. I had brought my trusty Teva velco sandals that sort of pass as cute fancy sandals, but don’t really, and I just lost it in the shoe store. I want normal feet again! So I found this pair of gorgeous black suede wedges, and they made my outfit look awesome by the way, and around 9:30 that night the swelling of the feet commenced. I ignored the swelling, and I danced as much as my extra 25lbs would allow, and of course, I dealt with my giant swollen feet for the next two days. But you know what? It was worth it. For about 5 minutes, I felt normal again. And those shoes are awesome. 

In other news, we had another ultrasound yesterday, followed by a doctor’s appointment and that darn one-hour glucose test. The ultrasound was cool as always, although it’s getting difficult to decipher what exactly we’re seeing, since they’re getting so crammed in their space. The little ones are still lying transverse, but apparently there’s still no need to worry about position at this point (other than the fact that little boy is SERIOUSLY up in my ribs – ouchy). The technician confirmed that boy and girl status (although there really was no doubt about it the last time we saw them!), and she kept asking what I was feeding them because they are quite big for their age. The little girl is measuring at 28 weeks, (just over 2lbs) and the little boy is right on 26 weeks (just under 2lbs). I guess twins are usually smaller for their age, but not mine! She also said they’re going to be tall, because they have really long legs. No one in that office is questioning my diet, that’s for sure! 

I did the glucose test, and I’m waiting for the results. It doesn’t really matter what the results say, I know how sugar affects me. The rest of the day I was cranky and pouty and things were very itchy *downstairs* if you know what I mean. I wish I’d done more research on the glucose test. Frankly, I’d much rather say “Yes, sugar affects me, I won’t eat it anymore. No test needed!” I already know I can’t have sugar in the evening or I’ll be up all night, I’m happy with cutting it out completely. I still have fruit and juice to keep me satisfied. I’ve been making apple juice popcicles that REALLY hit the spot. 

Sleep is starting to allude me. I get quite nauseous lying on my back, their weight presses on some vein that prevents blood flow. And switching from side to side takes up so much energy…I registered for a fancy pillow to help with sleeping, but I’m considering just going to get it, I don’t know if I can wait until June 10th (shower day!). One week left of full-time work! And not a moment too soon, sitting all day really pushes little boy into my ribs…not comfy. And I could really use a nap. 

Have a great weekend! 

Sarah


Twin Pregnancy: Week 23 Update

Twin Pregnancy: Week 23

In the beginning, the weeks seemed to take forever. Now, all of a sudden, they are flying by. I want everything to stop and slow down, and at the same time, I’ve started having this craving to hold my babies in my arms. I’m glad that they’re safe and warm in my belly, but I have a longing to hold them and know what they look like. Pregnancy is such a strange thing, the way that your emotions are connected to your body; and how it all knows to do the right thing at the right time. 

I ordered a bunch of books from Amazon earlier in the week, (a whole whackload on Attachment Parenting, the philosophy of which I love, but not sure how it will translate with two infants), and one of the books I got is Birthing from Within. As soon as I started reading it, I knew I would love it. I will do a full review when I’m done, because I think everyone should read this book. One of the topics she touches on in the first chapter is “worrying” during pregnancy. The author explains that worrying is a healthy aspect of pregnancy, and a way for us to work out deep-seated issues. In fact, women who worry a lot often have easier births, because they have been able to work through their fears. Ignoring fears can hinder a peaceful birth, because the fears were never dealt with. I love this idea. The neuroses that pop up in pregnancy actually serve a purpose.

As I have written in the past, I am having a hard time accepting that we have to stay in our downtown townhouse (even though it’s brand new). This particular neurosis seems to climax once a week or so, when I go on a mad house hunting frenzy and usually end up driving my husband nuts. Each time that this happens though, I try to look at the reasons I’m doing this – mainly that I am worried about feeling trapped in a house that does not serve myself or my children – a carry-over from watching my mom raise my sisters when I was 16 and there were 7 of us crammed in a tiny town house. These issues, no matter how annoying and repetitive they seem, need to be addressed, and I need to come to terms with them so that I can move past my fears. 

I use my own craziness as an example, but it could be anything. It could be worrying about dying during childbirth, or that you won’t know how to take care of your baby properly. Whatever your worry is, it’s okay to worry about it! It’s a signal that there is some work that needs to be done on a deeper level. Follow your worry, keep asking WHY. Why am I worried about this? What happened in the past that might make me think this could happen? What narrative have I been dragging around that might not serve me anymore? And I got all that from the first chapter! Phew! 

We had our first pre-natal class on Wednesday (for parents expecting multiples). There were only 4 couples, but it was neat to be around people who are in the same situation we are. The class is given by someone who had twins, so that’s a bonus too. The first session focussed on nutrition…to which I bit my tongue for most of…lots of talk about dairy…but it was a good introduction.

When we were introducing ourselves, we were asked to give our names, due dates, and how we were feeling. The first 3 women, when they got to the last question, all said that they felt great, although a bit tired in the beginning. I was sitting there with my mouth open. A BIT TIRED???? When it came to my turn, I said: I have never felt so horrible in my life, I could barely eat anything, and most smells sent me retching. As I was talking, I could see everyone else nodding in agreement. Um…ladies…WHY ARE WE LYING ABOUT EARLY PREGNANCY??? It is no walk in the park! I felt like my body was being taken over by aliens and I had zero control. The freakin’ world looked different! I was depressed and struggling, and pretending you were “a bit tired” does not help anyone! Especially with us ladies who are growing two placenta, there is no need to be a hero. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe they really did not feel sick, but somehow I don’t believe it.

Anywho, other than that, the class was fine, and I’m glad I’m doing it, even though I’m not sure how much learning is going on for me. The more I read and think about it, the more I realize it’s so instinctual, and what we should all be learning is to trust ourselves, and to realize that the knowledge of birth and child-rearing is so ancient and ingrained, that we can’t NOT know it. 

There’s my message for the weekend. TRUST YOURSELF. 

Have a great one,

Sarah


Twin pregnancy: Week 22 Update

Twin Pregnancy: Week 22

We have movers and shakers! They little ones are constantly wiggling, although still not too obvious from the outside (daddy always misses it), they are making their presence known! I met my OB today, who seems like a nice man. He tried to give me a spiel about how to eat vegetarian foods so that I absorb iron better, and he was very impressed with my knowledge! Spouting out everything I know, though, made me realize I need to start tuning up my diet, now that I can stomach most foods again. I’ve been making bean and veggie salads again, and I shovelled in some quinoa the other night. I’ve also cut way back on the yoghurt and cheese, and while I will probably continue to eat eggs, I’m trying to get more vitamin C in me (to help with the old iron absorption!). Work is starting to get hard to get through, I feel ready to start focussing on my little ones, not reviewing standard operating procedures on information requests. I am trying not to wish myself home though, I know a few people on bed rest, and it does not sound pleasant! I will happily continue working if it means I am not confined to a bed. My ankles and feet are swollen and sore by the end of the day, and I am wiped out, but I wake up feeling good again. I also started my registry, with the help of my husband’s lovely cousin (thanks Katie!) and I’m so glad I did, there is SO much to think about! Crib bumper pads and play yards and bath tubs and mirrors to hang in the car so you can see them when you look in the rear-view mirror…So many little things I hadn’t thought of! In other exciting news, our prenatal class for multiples starts next week. I just hope they keep it positive, I’m starting to find that when it comes to multiples, most information (ie: the internet) talks about how high risk it is and focusses on everything that can go wrong. So far my birth team (my midwife/OB/mom) have all been so positive and acting like having twins is perfectly normal, I don’t want to start worrying (I’m having a hard enough time with this nesting psychosis – ie: house hunting when you aren’t planning on moving!). This weekend is my last yoga weekend, I will officially be able to teach yoga! I am planning a longer post all about it, because I was – ahem – distracted for the last half of the course, so I am not planning on starting my yoga career just yet. I am happy that I completed it, and I’m happy that my weekends will be free now. Have a great weekend! Sarah