My Story

The chronicle of the journey from infertility, to miscarriage, to finally raising twin girls born in June 2012.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sweet and sour and randomness

Something so sweet happened yesterday that I nearly went into a diabetic coma.

I was lying on the floor tending to Middie Biddies latest crisis (still not crawling and now teething again so she's doing a lot of whining and freaking out instead of playing) and Teeny Tiny pulled my hair to get me to look her direction.  Then she firmly placed one hand on my forehead, one on my chin, and pressed her cheek to my mouth.  Since K and I kiss our kids on the cheeks and not the lips, this was her interpretation of giving me a kiss!!!  The cuteness is just too much!!!

And for the sour.

Found a lovely puddle of water emanating from my washing machine today.  The washer and dryer were here when we moved in 8 years ago so I figured those would be the next things to break down and need to be replaced.  I'm not sure I can do anymore laundry until we get those replaced.  Do I go ahead and run a load or two and just keep towels at the ready or do I cease all use of those machines?

Random notes to my children -

  • Yes Middie Biddie, your finger does fit perfectly up my nose.  Let's declare that experiment a success and cease all further testing, ok?
  • You're allowed to pet the cat nicely even when I'm not holding your hand and doing it for you.  Just because you managed to reach the very patient kitty without me does not mean you must grab her fur and pull.
  • Teeny Tiny, when your sister finally learns to become mobile, she's going to pay you back for all the times you're now crawling over her and trying to sit on her back.  It would be wise to stop doing that.
  • Food does not change it's flavor as it exits my plate and enters yours.  I promise, just because it's on your plate, that does not mean it's now disgusting.
  • Teeny Tiny - your foot belongs inside the jammies, not sticking out between snaps.
  • My nipples are not appropriate handles for pulling yourself up or steadying yourself when bouncing on my knee.  If you keep pulling at them like that, I'm pretty sure they'll come off.
  • Your crib does not become lava at night time.  I swear, it's the same crib you napped in very happily during the day.
  • The litterbox is not filled with tasty chocolate treats.  I'm getting tempted to let you learn that the hard way.
  • 50 million toys scattered on the floor and you insist on playing with the cable outlet?  Well allrighty than, whatever floats your boat.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lean on me

Where Middie Biddie spends
a great deal of her time
We've hit the affection stage!  Both girls now want me to hang out on the floor in the playroom with them all the time.

Middie Biddie has learned to pivot on her tummy and can move a little bit, we suspect she'll be mobile in the next week or two, but she's also teething which is making her needy.  I'm trying to give her floor time so she can figure out the whole crawling thing, but she really just wants to be held all the time.  She's starting to bury her face in my chest and kind of head butts me and rubs her head on me from time to time.  I'm trying to give her floor time, but she tends to get upset.

Teeny Tiny is more independent.  I can walk away from her and she'll find something to entertain herself, but she really prefers that I be there.  She's now crawling all over my legs and prefers to lean on me as she plays with a toy.  That's nice and everything, but she's not interacting with me, just using my legs or my hip to lean her back against while she sits and plays with something.  Every once in a while, she'll climb up into my arms and give me a hug, and then she's off again!  Every once in a while I'll lie down in there and use a boppy as a pillow and she'll come and lie down with me.
My view of my lap a good portion of the day.
Middie Biddie between my legs and Teeny Tiny trying to
climb over her to get to me.

YAY!!!!  We're finally hitting a real snuggle stage!

I'm starting to pack up the baby stuff.  When K finally gets a day or two off, we're probably going to have the great baby purge.  I've decided that I can keep a few things under the bed just in case we have another - my favorite baby clothes, 2 of each type of bottle, my pumping stuff, but most of it has to go.  Apparently there's someone in my mothers friend circle who is about halfway through a twin pregnancy so once we find out if there's a girl, that will probably be the person behind me in the hand me down chain.  Being the youngest child of two youngest children and having kids so late in life, there's simply no one for me to hand down to!  Even fellow local blogger Tulips baby, who is about 7 months younger than the girls, is wearing the size clothing that I'm currently moving the girls into.

At the moment I'm leaning towards no more kids.  But I've leaned the other direction several times in the last year so we're aren't making any final decisions on that until the girls are 3 years old.  From what I've seen, when kids hit about 3, that's when parents start yearning for another one so we'll keep that option open just in case that happens to us.

This one just makes me laugh
Looks like we're about ready to buy a new car.  The girls will grow out of their car seats within 2 months give or take and there's no way I'm dealing with rear facing, full sized car seats in a 2 door car.  I was thinking a brand new car because I hate to buy someone elses problems, but now I'm thinking of getting something with the expectation of only using it for about 3 years.  Probably an old Honda Odyssey with high miles and a very low sticker price.  I only put about 3,000 miles on a car every year (my car is 13 years old and only 58k on it) and once we're done with rear facing car seats and strollers, I might not want a big giant van anymore.  By the time the girls hit kindergarten, I should have a better idea of just how many kids we'll ultimately have, whether or not I get involved in some sort of carpool situation, or just what it is a family needs in a car.  So it seems better to buy something really cheap right now, run it into the ground, and then buy a new car in a few years that I can expect to drive until the girls are driving it.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ummmmm, ok

Teeny Tiny is sleeping face down, her knees tucked under her, and her butt in the air.  How in the hell is that relaxing and comfortable?  Middie Biddie is sleeping on her tummy with her head turned to the side like a normal person.

Yup, there's a teeny tiny tushie staring at me on the monitor.  Ooooookay!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Always humbled

Over the years, I've done a lot of complaining in this space.  Oh woe is me, my challenges are so hard, boo hoo hoo.

But there's always someone out there who has a bigger challenge and appears to be handling it better despite  it being a bigger challenge.  For me, that would be the quad mom in my Mom's of Multiples group.  Jiminy Cricket I feel like such a jerk when I complain about twin challenges next to her!  I barely manage to avoid being unpleasant most of the time and she's unfailingly friendly.  I'm trying to take her word for it that she's not perfect, her house isn't as clean as she'd like, or that she has her flip her shit moments, but by all outward appearances, she's got her shit together and I bow down.

I know you're not supposed to compare children, but let's face it, we all do it.  Teeny Tiny has been mobile for a little while now but Middie Biddie is still just trying to surf on her stomach and pitching a fit when she doesn't get anywhere.  My kids do seem behind their peers (peers who match their adjusted age) in terms of milestones.  I've been trying not to be disappointed or too worried about it.  I've been told that multiples often lag a little bit because the parents can't give twins the undivided attention to be teaching skills that singletons receive.

My twins and her quads are the same age.  Two of hers are a day older and two share my girls birthday.  And all four have been crawling for a while now.  Can't consider gender a factor, she has 3 girls and 1 boy.  All things being equal, my kids really should be hitting milestones at approximately the same time hers are.  Heck, mine should be a smidge ahead because I should be able to devote more time to each child than she can.  So, all things being equal, I guess the failing factor here must

I just feel so behind.  I still want to puree all the girls food but I'm trying to resist that urge and give them the opportunities to eat more real foods.  I bought a package of diced carrots designed for babies 8m+ and left that along with some other dinner for my parents to give to the girls last night.  I assumed that the carrots would be the proper size for their current development and skills.  I get home and my mother tells me that Middie Biddie gagged on them and Teeny Tiny couldn't really chew them so she spit them out.  I looked at the pieces and they just seemed huge to me.  Is this the size that younger babies than mine are able to handle but mine can't?  I'm still cutting up food much smaller than those pieces.  Tonight, I diligently cut up pieces of our corned beef dinner for the girls.  They loved it, until Middie Biddie gagged and puked it all up.  Hoping it was just a fluke, just a bit that touched her gag reflex the wrong way, we let her have some more, until she did the same thing again.  Months of finger foods and she's still shoving it to the back of her throat threatening to choke or puke, sometimes doing a little bit of both.

Am I holding them back?  They pretty much spend their entire day either in their cribs, on the floor of the small child proofed playroom, or in an exersaucer or playpen.  All of these places are limited but I put them there because they can't really hurt themselves.  I can't imagine the girls getting into anything because they don't get the opportunity to do so.  I also don't challenge them very much in the food department because I'm too afraid they'll choke.  If it was one and I could give them my undivided attention, I'd be a little riskier, but with two, what if both are in harms way at the same time?

If she can be moving her 4 forward, I must really suck if I can barely just keep up with my two.  It's either me, or my kids are slow.  Since I don't really consider that a possibility, I have to conclude that I'm just not very good at this.  What other skills should they have that haven't even occurred to me to be looking for or encouraging?  I'm trying to consider the facebook factor - where you compare your everyday reality to someone elses highlight reel.

I still feel like I suck.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happiness is.....

I started out writing a post giving a run down of my first Mother's Day with kiddos, but I have bigger thoughts in my head at the moment.  Basically, it's the secret to happiness.

The last 50 years have seen a huge transition in the role of women in our society.  Bear in mind that I'm 38 years old so I could be considered a generation ahead of a lot of my new mom peers and I was raised by parents of approximately 3 generations ago.  Parents that were among the first to ensure that the wife had a career and identity outside of the home.  Parents that had to fight for this to be considered normal and acceptable.

As the daughter of feminists, I was raised with a lot of messages that were relatively new to girls.  That I had immense potential.  That I could be a high powered anything I wanted to be.  This is a wonderful message for all people to grow up with.  On the other hand, to some extent I became a victim of my own potential.

I've been blessed with raw intelligence and a great strategic mind.  Had I chose to pursue a career in law, I would have made an excellent lawyer.  I was also blessed with parents who had both the means and inclination to fund whatever avenue of education I chose.  To this day my parents are willing to fund any education I might choose to pursue.  Basically, I was born with advantages that would allow me to excel in anything I chose to fight to excel at.

As I floundered through early adulthood, I had trouble finding that thing that I wanted to pursue.  I couldn't figure out which potential greatness I wanted to achieve.  Every greatness seemed to require the sacrifice of things I truly wanted.  It's been a constant struggle for me and I'm sure there will be more moments in my future where I continue to struggle with this.  I almost feel like because of the potential to be great, I have a responsibility to be great.

I actually figured out early on what I really wanted, but always got the message that I should want something more.  What I've figured out is that I don't want greatness, I want happiness.  Those are two very different things.  Yes, I have the potential for greatness, no, I haven't achieved it because greatness holds no appeal to me.  Ok, it holds some appeal, but not enough to be worth going after.

Growing up with bipolar disorder, my brain did it's best to tease me with great thoughts and ideas, but to keep them just out grasp.  When I was manic, I had so many thoughts rushing through my head that I was frantic to catch hold of some of them.  It's like watching a train of celebrities rush by and you just want it to slow down enough so you can see the faces of all those awesome people through the window.  You know they're there, you know they are right in front of you, but you can't actually see them.  Greatness, right there, but untouchable.  Then during my depressions, those same great thoughts are there, but buried in a deep fog.  Mud that I'm unable to trudge through to reach what I know is there.

Because of this, all I ever wanted in life was contentment.  Something so simple that so many people take for granted seemed like an untouchable dream to me.  All the greatness that my potential afforded me seemed counter to that dream of contentment.  Yeah, I could go after a career.  I could be the next Hillary Clinton, using my intelligence to climb ever higher societies echelons, wealth, power, an impressive resume, being responsible for decisions and actions that history will remember and look back on as either successes or failures.  I admire those women who are achieving power and greatness, but I don't want to be one of them.

So here it is, the greatness that I have achieved in life and continue to achieve.  I have figured out that while I can have it all, I don't want it all.  I have figured out exactly what defines my own personal happiness and I've fought to obtain it.  I believe that narrowing down your own definition of happiness in this world of mixed messages and unending judgement from everyone around us is an incredible feat.

My personal happiness is the following:
  • A small life.  A content little life where every day I pretty much do what it is I feel like doing.
  • The security of a house that I can afford with enough room for privacy, but not so large that I don't know where everyone is.  A house that can be messy and I can put some nails in the wall without giving a crap about marring the surface.
  • Steady income.  It's a modest income, but it's steady, reliable.  I trust that my husband will never really be out of a job because retail will always exist and he has about 25 years of experience making him hire-able even if his current company were to go under.
  • A husband who works to live, not lives to work.
  • My own identity both within my household and outside of it.  I do have a freelance career and I'm very good at it.  But I've chosen not to pursue it as an all encompassing life career.  I go out, do my little video jobs once in a while, and I don't feel the need to put all of my energy into expanding that business.  Working once or twice a month is a good balance for me.
  • A hobby that I enjoy.  I love my little pottery studio.  My husband has no interest in learning that hobby, it's all mine.  It's something I do just for me.
  • A household of people that I adore, and who adore me back.  Until this last year, I don't think I realized just how much my husband really loves me.  I'm still trying to comprehend why he chooses to love me so much and I'm so grateful that he does.  Now we have two more people in the house to adore.  As I sit here, typing this out, I have one little girl taking a nap, and another in the playpen next to me, independently playing with her toys, but every once in a while looking over at me, clapping her hands and giggling, just happy that I'm here.  I'm happy she's here too.
This is my happiness.  A content little life of raising children, loving my husband, and having a few little things to enjoy that make me a complete person when they aren't around.  I have fought hard for this.  I have battled my way through bipolar disorder to achieve the ability to be content.  I fought through shyness and stepped beyond my comfort zone to find the man that I can enjoy growing old with.  I have persevered through infertility and loss to fill my house with people I love.  I'm not responsible to the world to explore my potential for greatness beyond my own happiness.  I can let those trains roll by.

I got a call from my mother yesterday.  She's got some things going on today and won't be available to call me and she wanted to acknowledge my first Mother's Day.  She said she's proud of me.  She said that I'm her hero.  That she's so proud of everything I did to bring my girls into the world, the battle I had to fight and how I fought it, and the every day success of being a good mom and a good person.  I was afraid she was disappointed that I didn't live up to my potential.  That I didn't take advantage of the choices her generation worked so hard to provide for me.  

But that's just the point, she fought for me to have choices, not to insist that I choose a career that wasn't available to the women of her generation, just to expand the available options I could choose from.

I choose to be a full time wife and mom (at least for now) and I'm proud of that decision.  To those women who choose to achieve greatness in other avenues either instead of, or in addition to being a wife and mother, bravo to you as well.  Bravo to every person who has figured out where their happiness lies and lives every day the way they want to.  Greatness isn't having it all, it's choosing what you want and having that instead.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

This must be a wonder week

Things are rapidly changing, AGAIN.

My wonderful twice a day nappers seem to have been replaced by a pair of we don't need no stinkin afternoon non-nappers.  I don't know what the hell happened!  They transitioned out of their sleep suits and into a wearable blanket pretty well but a couple of days ago it all went to hell.

They generally get up around 8:30am and go down for a nap at 10:30am.  Then up around noon.  Before this week, they would then go back down around 3pm for another hour or so, then in bed about 7:30pm and asleep by 8pm.  This week, they've just been fussing their way through the afternoon nap and never actually sleeping.  Sometimes one will try to sleep but the other will be having none of it so the sleeper gets maybe 10 minutes worth of dozing.

This makes no sense to me.  I would understand if they were condensing their daytime sleep to one long nap in the middle of the day, but they're still getting exhausted and falling to sleep really quickly so soon after getting up in the morning.  It just makes no sense to only be able to stay awake for 2 hours, and then fight sleep for a 7 hour stretch!

I'm thinking this must be a wonder week, full of developmental leaps that's making them cranky.  I certainly hope so.  Teeny Tiny is kind of flying ahead of Middie Biddie with her physical milestones.  Middie seems to be focusing on her verbal skills and while she chatters a lot, I'm not seeing any progress beyond the chatter she's been doing for a long time now.  It's so much easier to see Teeny's progress.  Will Middie suddenly start using real words one day soon and fly ahead of Teeny Tiny in that regard?  If that's where her energy is going, it would explain why she's still not crawling or making any other apparent physical progression.

Teeny Tiny is hitting development after development.  She pulled herself up to standing the first time a couple of days ago.  Then today, I saw this on the monitor:

Yep, she's up!  Within minutes of this, I saw her playing with the mobile so that finally had to come down today.  Because they like to look at the lights as they drift off, I've set it on the floor for the time being to encourage her to lie down and watch the lights.  Once that safety hazard was taken care of, I saw the camera wildly swing and I ran in to find her tugging at the cord.  Okey dokey, duct tape that sucker to the wall so she can't get her fingers on it.  I'm sure she's going to find the light switch next so I have to remember to manually turn off the main lamp in the room so if she finds it, she's only turning a night light on and off.  

When K got home from work, he dropped the crib to the lowest level.  I'm sure my back will appreciate that!

The new floor, along with the two jerks
that destroyed the carpet which required
us to put in a new floor.
We're still trying to get the floor done but because of the banging, we can only work on it when they are out of the house.  It either wakes them up if we try to get something done while they sleep, or it upsets them if we work on it while they're awake.  During K's week off last week, I took them on a lot of trips to Starbucks to give K an hour or two to make some progress.  Yesterday, they had their first excursion out of the house without mommy or daddy.  My parents babysit every Monday evening, but K is currently doing a show so he's at rehearsal in the evenings, and I'd just as soon stay home since the girls are usually asleep pretty early.  So instead of coming here to watch them while I went somewhere, I asked them to take the girls out for the afternoon so I could work on the floor.  They headed out about 1:30pm and I expected the girls to show tired signs about an hour later and figured they'd be back by 3pm so they could try to take a nap.  On the hottest day of the year so far, I was in a mad dash to get as much of the floor done as possible in the 90 minutes I thought I had to work on it.  So 3:15 rolls around and I keep glancing out the window to see if they are pulling up yet.  I was absolutely sprinting trying to get just one more board in place before they got here.  For another friggin hour!!!  By the time they got back, I was dripping in sweat, I had put in a significant portion of the floor, and I was starving because I hadn't really eaten.  
My parents had taken the girls down by Lake Washington for a stroll and an introduction to ice cream.  Then back to my parents house because it was really sunny and the strolling area didn't have much shade.  My mother walked in the door holding Teeny Tiny and announcing "This one is REALLY crawling!"  She also reports that Middie Biddie chatted her ear off.  My folks being the awesome people that they are stuck around so I could get a quick shower, then they went and got me a burger.  

I think one more afternoon like that and we'll have the primary floor done.  We still have another big family space to do and our bedroom, but those can wait.  The family room has been non-functional since the girls were born and if we have guests, the main living space will suffice.  But when we do those rooms, we're not going to do laminate, we're going to do a floating vinyl floor.  That doesn't make any noise when installing so it can be done while the girls are sleeping, and it goes in so much quicker.  There's also a curved counter to contend with and vinyl can be cut with a blade whereas the laminate requires a chop saw and I don't know how we'll deal with the curve if we try the laminate.  In a few years when the girls are in school, we'll go ahead and put in the laminate (or hire someone to do it for us), but I'd rather get it done half-assed now and have it be done, than to hold out for doing it properly and not get it done at all.

I'm also finally fully weaned off the pump.  It's been about 2 weeks since my last pump and to celebrate, I'm going to get properly fitted for some fancy new bras for my first Mother's Day present.  My boobs worked so hard, it seems only appropriate to reward them.

So here's the run-down of life around here lately:

Schedule:  Hell if I know.  Kind of giving up on leaving the house before 1pm because the girls spend all of their time before then either eating or sleeping.  They don't have any useful awake time until after that first nap and then I can't seem to get them back to sleep.

Food:  Meal planning has gone out the window for the last 2 weeks as evidenced by the amount of burgers we've eaten.  Gotta get back into doing that again.  There's enough milk in the freezer to continue about a 75/25% breast milk to formula ratio until their first birthday.  The girls really like spaghetti, yogurt, and cheerios.

Middie Biddie:  Still stuck on her belly and bitching when she wants to move.  Generally cranky lately for no discernible reason.  Babbling up a storm, but has yet to say a real word or to give meaning to her babbling.  Size 6m clothing, but we might pull out the 6-9m soon.

Teeny Tiny:  Crawling like a champ and pulling herself up.  I expect her to cruise any day.  I think she's signing "milk" but it's hard to tell.  She's experimenting with random yells.  Size 6m clothing.

Me:  I'm pump free!  The steroid shot in my ankle last week seems to be doing it's job and I haven't been in pain since then.  Going in for a complete work up on my feet on Thursday because even though my ankle seems better, my feet still generally hurt.  Size - ummmm, I'm really fat again.  I'll work on that once my feet don't hurt.

K:  Doing his first play in over a year.  Spending as much time at home as he can with the girls, but between work and rehearsals, he's not getting a lot of free time.  His show opens in a month and then his schedule will free up again.  

The House:  The scent of cat urine is mostly sitting our driveway as the garbage guys take away as much of the carpet as we're able to get to the curb every week.  One room is completely unusable due to everything that was randomly thrown into it as we got it out of the way from the main room.  We have about 3/4 of a floor.

The Cats:  Hilarious as they try to figure out the new floor and go slipping and sliding when they intend to gracefully pounce.

Friday, May 3, 2013

My birthday yielded some life information

Yesterday was my birthday.  Yay me!  I got older!  And the day before that was our anniversary.  Yay!  We still like each other!

My parents watched the girls while we went out to a really nice dinner.  When we got home, the girls were in bed, but not asleep and we heard all sorts of squeaking from the monitor.  My parents had given Teeny Tiny her Sophie to keep her happy.  Well, yeah, it did.  Until we finally took it away from her at 10:30pm.  That was our comedy relief of the evening.  Squeak squeak!

Yesterday started with a follow-up appointment with the podiatrist regarding my ankle.  As the doctor was looking over the fancy schmancy bone scan I got, he said "what the heck is happening with your toe?"  Ummmm, I dunno.  I usually just kind of hangs out at the end of my foot.  He briefly shows me that the base of my toe has a hotspot on the bone scan indicating that there's a lot of blood activity there, as in an injury type of spot that is getting flooded with blood and other bodily resources in an attempt to repair whatever is happening.

We let that go for a little bit and focus on my ankle and yup, he can see that it hurts.  We discuss options, a steroid shot to see if that will reduce the inflammation around my little bone thingy (an oscule?) which might be enough to take away the pain, or doing a minor surgery to go in and pluck the thing out.

My main concern was that only Teeny Tiny is mobile at the moment, and if I'm going to have a surgery that might make it impossible for me to put weight on my leg for a week or two, doing it now is better than doing it a month from now when they are both on the move.  He tells me that the recovery for that surgery wouldn't be immobilizing and I'd be able to put weight on it right away.  So instead we opt for the steroid shot.

Along with the steroid, the fluid also had a numbing agent.  The good news - for my birthday I got a day off from pain!  The bad news - the numbing agent has worn off and I'm pretty much back to square one today.  I'm supposed to keep track of the pain for the next month to see if it goes away or not, I'm not currently optimistic.

So about my toe.  I've mentioned before that I have mutant toes.  My big toe is especially long and my remaining toes are especially short.  It turns out, this combination of factors has been the reason why my feet have always felt sore.  Other than when I was pregnant, I didn't complain a whole lot because I assumed my feet were always sore because I hardly ever exercised and like the rest of the body, when you don't exercise and then use some muscles, they hurt a bit.  So I just blamed my sore feet on being a product of myself being fat and lazy.  Of course, one of the main reasons I've never exercised is because my feet hurt almost immediately when I do and is quite the deterrent to continuing.  Come to find out that my feet don't hurt because I'm fat and lazy, I'm fat and lazy because my feet hurt!  I had no idea that other people don't have sore feet like I do!

I also blamed my hurting feet on shoes that would be too tight across the top because the pain was often right where the shoe creases when you take a step and the pain felt like a long bruise across the top of my foot.  What a minute, when you guys take a step, does your shoe kind of fold and crease across the top?  Is that also because of my mutant feet?

We took a quick X-ray and found that I've got bone spurs in that joint and it's becoming mildly arthritic from years of unevenly over flexing with every step that I take.  Next week, I go in for a full bio-mechanical work up and by next month I should have custom orthodontics that might allow my feet to walk without becoming sore.  By the time the orthodontics come in, we should also know if the steroid shot in my ankle has fixed that problem or not.

The two major things that I've worried about with the girls is passing on my love of crappy food and hatred of exercise.  We're working on the food issue so that we can model good behavior in that regard.  I can't even begin to describe how wonderful it feels to find out that by the time my girls are 2 years old, I might actually enjoy exercise.  That going out to the park to play tag with the girls might be fun instead of torture!  By the time they are old enough to have memories of me, I might not be this blob who makes old man noises when getting off the couch and toddling to the kitchen, I might be a normal sized person who can get up and move without it being a big production.

Happy birthday to me!