My Story

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An actual, honest to goodness, Christmas

We actually had a good Christmas!  I can't believe it!  So here's the obligatory run down of the day so far.

K had to work yesterday until evening so the girls and I went over to my parents house for a simple dinner.  I dressed them up for the heck of it and the big balls my parents got for the girls were a hit.

He got home at bedtime so he got the girls into their Christmas Eve jammies and much to our surprise, they went to sleep almost immediately.  The rest of the evening was spent blowing up inflatable toys and rearranging the living room in prep for Christmas morning.  Everything the girls already owned was taken out of the room and replaced with the Christmas tree and new toys.  

K and I opened our presents for each other and had a quiet Christmas Eve.  I got a waffle maker that I'll never have to use!  You see, whenever K makes a nice breakfast, he includes pancakes.  I don't much like pancakes, but I like waffles.  So he got me a waffle maker so that HE could make me waffles!  I got him a Doctor Who tardis lunch box because he's been brown bagging his lunch a lot.

K had to go into work for an hour this morning because the animals in a pet store still need to eat on holidays.  He left around 6:30am, and as he was pulling out of the driveway, Teeny Tiny woke up crying.  She's been waking up often the last couple of weeks because of a hacking cough and getting stuffed up.  So I got her diaper changed and rocked her back to sleep.  Then I went back to bed and the next thing I know, K is waking me up because my parents have arrived.  Mom and Dad were kind enough to do our laundry last night so we now have clean clothes again.  Yay!  The washer and dryer will theoretically be installed tomorrow but I've given up on actually counting on things this time of year so I appreciate my parents helping out with things like this.  That's how it is with them, they help out where they can without being all intrusive in our lives.  They're pretty swell.  

I told my parents that the girls will probably finish breakfast and be set loose on the gifts around 9:30-10am because that's their usual schedule.  But it was 10am and the girls were still asleep!  K made us all a wonderful breakfast (including waffles and eggs benedict for me, I'm totally spoiled) and we were pretty much able to eat our entire meal before the girls woke up around 10:45am.  They NEVER sleep in that late!  It's just too bad that K had to get up so early for work, it would have been nice to let him sleep in like that.  Oh well.  

So the girls had their breakfast and we set them free in the living room to watch what would happen.  They scrambled over to the present pile and each took one of their new puppy pals and got down to playing.  I had my video camera set up just running in the corner of the room so sometime in the future I'll be able to check out the video and save whatever pieces I want.  I like that I captured it all.

After doing some playing with the unwrapped toys, I went to sit on the floor and encouraged them to rip the paper on the wrapped things.  We never sat and focused on unwrapping any presents, just when they would come over to me, I'd help them rip a little more paper.

My folks left to visit my brothers family about 12:30 and very shortly thereafter the girls started showing tired signs and seemed to need a nap.  They had only been awake for about 2 hours, but they went straight to sleep.  They've now been asleep for about 2 hours and should be awake any time.  My brothers family will probably come over this evening for pizza and no, I'm not getting dressed!  Christmas is a day for jammies.

The only bad thing is that it appears that the cold that was clearing up is swinging back around, possibly starting all over again.  It was a bit snottier this morning than I would have liked, but it certainly wasn't a Christmas killer so I'm happy!  The rest of the day will be spent with Doctor Who and more playing with new toys.  My first enjoyable Christmas!

Monday, December 23, 2013

THIS is why I hate Christmas

Yeah, I'm a Scrooge.  Everyone knows it and dislikes this trait about me.  Every year I try to pin down exactly why I hate it so much.  So here's this years explanation.

Everything fucking breaks and you can't get it fixed!  Everything is just 10x harder the week of Christmas. Even just going to the store for some milk is a pain in the ass because everyone is in every store everywhere.
So this year, here's what my week has looked like:

The baby monitor broke a couple of weeks ago.  The video portion works but the sound doesn't.  Motorola is sending us a new one (thanks!) and it probably should have arrived by now.  But of course not because everything takes longer to deliver in December.  Yesterday I said fuck it, and bought a cheap sound monitor to keep next to the video monitor.  Why was this so important to me?

Because the girls have been sick and have possibly been exposed to RSV.  That means if breathing becomes labored, they would need to go to the ER.  We can hear them cry through their bedroom wall, but labored breathing isn't something that would be loud enough to wake us up without a monitor.

Then about a week ago, the laundry room started to stink.  I wondered if it was gas, but it didn't have that classic rotten egg smell and I moved the carbon monoxide monitor into that room that never went off.  So I thought ok, maybe it's not gas, maybe it's mold under the linoleum due to water leak issues we had a while back.  But we'll come back to this.

A few days ago, our dryer died.  It still appeared to function, but it generated no heat so nothing was getting dry so we can't really do laundry.  Just fucking perfect.  Ok, not a major disaster, I can deal with this.  We've been looking at washers and dryers for a while now because we knew the washing machine would die on us at some point.  This isn't a major shocking big purchase.  We turned off the gas valve thinking maybe the smell is indeed gas and maybe it's because the ignition thingy on the dryer doesn't work so the dryer is filling up with gas.

Yesterday, my parents came over to watch the girls for a couple of hours so I could get a break.  With everyone being sick, my ankle hurts, K can't take any days off right now because he works retail, I'm just a bit overwhelmed.  I needed to get diapers and on my way to the store, I realized that a Sears appliance store was right next door.  Okey dokey, let's just throw some money at my current problem and get on the list to see when we can get my new machines installed.  Tomorrow?  Before Christmas?  Really?  SOLD!

Today they come to deliver and install the machines.  OF COURSE it's not on their paperwork that I paid for haulaway service so that's all confused.  Then they come in and freak out because they can smell gas and they sure as hell aren't going to do any installations with gas in the air.  They tell me to call the power company emergency line and they'll leave the washer and dryer in my living room so that hopefully we can get a quicker installation tomorrow since the products will already be here.

Emergency power guy comes over.  Takes a while to find the leak, there's a hole in the line going from the furnace to the house.  So for god knows how long, we've been venting methane throughout our house, and since the primary vent is in the laundry room, that's where most of it has collected.  It's basically a wonder that my house hasn't become a fireball at any point in the last week.

But we now have the gas leak fixed and the house has been aired out (and chilled down obviously).  So I get on the phone to reschedule installation of the washer and dryer and OF COURSE they can't do it until after Christmas.  So now I have two washers and two dryers in my house that currently serve zero function and piles of laundry that can't be done until after Christmas.

So that's it.  Every year, the week of Christmas it's just fucking something.  Some big problem that Christmas prevents it from getting fixed.  Ok, so it's not always Christmas fault, I mean Christmas didn't kill my girls three years ago, but whatever.  The week of Christmas is always a major problem that I can't just handle like I would be able to handle it any other week of the year.

I tried this year.  I really did.  I got a Christmas tree, it's decorated, shit, I even made most of the ornaments on it!  We came up with a plan for Christmas day, K got the girls special Christmas Eve jammies to sleep in, I seriously tried to unScrooge this year.  And yet, it nearly killed us all.  I'm off to google what kind of damage breathing in methane for a week or so has done to us.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

No comment

Today is the third anniversary.  There are no comments to make about it, but I can't let it be forgotten.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Language associations

We've spent the last 10 days watching baby TV and cleaning up snot.  I was going to try to make it the full 2 years recommended before allowing your children any screen time, but I don't have the energy to keep them occupied and they feel like crud and don't want to be occupied by fun stuff so TV has been our saving grace.  It's going to be rough turning it off again once I'm feeling better and up to entertaining them.

However, the girls have been demonstrating some major learning leaps.  Middie Biddie's language is exploding.  A few things they've learned this week -

  • Teeny Tiny will follow the directions from the TV.  When the squirrels hide the acorn, she knows to clap her hands when the one searching gets close to it, even without being reminded by the TV character to do so.
  • Middie Biddie now calls any plate of food "eggies".  Mostly because that's almost always what they eat when they get up from their nap and I when I get them up, I'll say something like "it's time to have eggies and then we'll play".  
  • For diaper changes, we've been using a spare phone to keep them occupied so they won't fight us.  Believe me, they usually win the fight, so anything to keep them happy and lying still!  On the spare phone, we've downloaded My Singing Monsters and the most prominent sound is the white monster singing "bum, bu bum....buuuuum bu bummmm".  Middie Biddie now says "bom bom" when we head for the diaper changing station.
  • Middie Biddie has also learned to say "down" when we're playing physical games where I lift her up and then drop her down.  She'll climb into the couch, stand up, and then drop to her butt saying "down".  She's quite pleased with herself when she does this.
  • Teeny Tiny now taps on counting books because we will tap and count things when reading them.
  • Middie Biddie gives kisses!  She used to just kind of bow her head if you were looking at her and asked for a kiss (we're more of a cheek or forehead kissing household), but now she's participating in the kiss exchange!
  • Teeny Tiny is fully waving bye bye and understands that it means goodbye.
  • Middie Biddie is saying "ah da!", also known as "all done", but usually she's only repeating after me rather than communicating her own thought.
  • Today, Middie Biddie said a sentence!  Watching the peekaboo show, she kept telling the character "I see you!"  This is the first time she's said something in context without it being repeating what someone else prompted her to say.  I captured a minute of this on video.

So there we have it.  "Bom bom" means diaper change, "eggies" means plate of food, and "down" or sometimes "upda" as in "up/down" means she wants to be lifted and manhandled around.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

TV, Cheerios, and Snot

That's our household this week, TV, Cheerios, and snot.

I know I've claimed the girls were coming down with things before, but it never really got beyond just threatening to get sick.  Well, now they're sick.  We went 18 months before their first illness.  I really could have gone another 18 months.

So far, I'm the only one only mildly hit.  I might not even be sick at all but just run down because my ankle is hurting and I've got some other mild things going on.  K has been hit pretty hard and called out of work yesterday which he hardly ever does.

The girls are just snot monsters.  Waking up howling with goatees of snot.  We've tried the nose frida and it does it's job, but it only gets the snot that's there, not the snot that's coming 5 minutes later.  Makes it hardly worth bothering.

During the day, they don't really want to eat meals so they are kind of living from their little snack cups.  I'm trying to put in things other than cheerios, but for the most part, they just want to sit in front of the TV and munch all day.

As for sleep, they're waking up howling pretty randomly.  Last night we had Teeny Tiny in our bed since she was waking up more often and it made her wake up times minimal.  First time we ever had a baby in bed with us.  Yeah, I relished!  But now that they are starting to get over it, it's time to redo sleep training and remind them that they know how to put themselves to sleep in their cribs.  Teeny Tiny really prefers sleeping with a person and as much as I want to make that happen, she needs to go to sleep in her crib.  If she wakes up when we're in bed, ok, she can come to our bed, but we're not, and it's her bedtime, so she's having to cry it out tonight.  I've been in there to check and she's perfectly fine when she has our attention, she doesn't really need us.  Can you tell I'm trying to convince myself that she needs to cry it out and I just keep typing to keep myself from going in there again?

A couple more days and then we'll go back our routines.  Back to real meals and playtime without TV.

This sucks.  Please calm down Teeny Tiny.  I really can't handle this.


A couple of minutes after publishing this, I caved and went in for snuggles.  As soon as I had her in the rocking chair, she was happy and began to fall asleep.  She woke up pissed off just as quickly when I put her back in the crib.  Damned if I do, damned if I don't.  If I do, I just prolong the upset and teach bad habits.  If I don't, I'm being a cruel bitch who doesn't even comfort her baby when she's hurting.

Ok, in the time it took me to type that, I think the crying has stopped.  So maybe I did the right thing.  Maybe I calmed her down enough that she's too sleepy now to keep up the tantrum.  Yup, she's now lying down, perhaps whimpering a little bit, but as long as she's lying down, sleep will eventually win.  Before, she was standing in the corner of the crib by the door just screeching for one of us to go in.  Please let this be the last word on the subject for the night.  Please let this be sleep taking over and not just a small break in the howling.  Please let me be a good mom.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

New skills means redecorating

Toddler proofing blog post!

The moment Middie Biddie learned to walk, she learned to climb.  The couches are now the favorite toys in the house.  What I used to use to blockade the children are now attractants.  Therefore, time to move stuff!

Behind this Teeny Tiny smile, you can kind of see what I used to have going on in their play room.  The corner of my desk had a gate that was nailed to the couch.  The router, modem, and lamp were tucked behind the corner of the couch and a collapsed exersaucer was nailed to the wall as a blockade.

I felt we needed to move the couch away from the angled gate because I was afraid one would climb the couch and then fall in behind it, most likely really injuring themselves during the fall and even if they didn't, they would now be caged in with every cable from my computer and uncovered outlets, not to mention full access to everything on and under my desk.

So we've moved the couch to the other side of the room, used excess floor boards to cover all of the running cables, and put up an old filing cabinet in the corner for routers and modems to sit on.  The filing cabinet is screwed to the wall, but the drawers are only taped closed at the moment.  We'll get proper latches on those soon enough.

Middie Biddie likes to hang over the edge of the couch and we had a spare crib mattress that has seen better days lying around, so I plopped that under the dangerous side.  I can't really prevent all falls, but I can at least make them less injurious if they happen.

In the main room, not a whole lot of change.  Please no comments on my housekeeping skills, the laundry will be put away eventually and the broom just roams freely at will.  The pack and play attached to the side of the couch is now storage for extra pillows and blankets.  If a kiddo should tumble into it, they'll be landing in a pillow pit.

For the first time in my adult life, I'm going to have a Christmas tree.  Scrooge no more I guess.  We've opted to go the fake route, at least for a few years.  It's easier, cheaper in the long run, lighter if it falls on anyone, and now that I'm making Christmas ornaments in my pottery shop, I'll be able to use it year round for photography.  It's not decorated yet and I haven't fluffed out the top portion, but here's my baby/cat proofing solution - we set it inside a bassinet and put the pretty ruffles back on that we had packed away when it was actually in use.  So far, the cats have left the ruffles alone which is good because it does help make it look pretty.  I'll get some twine and tie the base of the tree into the center of the bassinet and then tie the handles of the bassinet to a wall.  For now, it's sitting just out of reach of the girls playroom on the edge of our room of perpetual storage.  It helps block the view of the ugliness going on behind it.  This set up also makes the tree very easy to move so Christmas morning we can put it in the middle of the room and put presents underneath it.

Sometimes I think I should change the name of this blog to "Macgyvering my way through motherhood".

Friday, December 6, 2013

Banishing the phrase "be grateful for what you have"

Someone in my twin mom group posted a link to a list of 20 things that make having twins different from having children close together in age.  The list is meant to be a funny way of venting a touch of frustration.

But in the comments, a mom admonished the writer for not being grateful for what she has.  The commenter had lost one of her twins and spoke of the sorrow of watching one grow up while only seeing the ghost of the other.  Had this post and comment not been over two months old, I would have been tempted to reply to her about how I had lost both of my first set of twins, she should be grateful she at least got to bring one home.

But what good would it have done to say that?  If I had said that, would someone else have come in behind me about how her miscarriage lead to a hysterectomy so I should be grateful that I had the opportunity to try again whereas she did not?  And on and on the line of misery could go.

What is the purpose of this phrase?  The only purpose I can figure out is to shame another person for expressing her frustrations.  No matter what your life is like, it has some frustrations.  That's simply a truth of existence.  And along with that truth, it will also always be true that someone has it better than you, and someone else has it worse than you.

Gratefulness doesn't entertain.  Gratefulness does not help someone else feel less alone when they are having a rough time.  Gratefulness does not help you find solutions to your problems.  For those reasons, gratefulness is private.  Frustration is public.  Frustration pushes us forward, bonds people together, it entertains.  I will never be ashamed of my frustrations.  I will always know that someone else is looking at my life and wanting what I have just as I'm looking at someone elses life and wanting what they have.

The next time you are tempted to shame someone by insisting that they be grateful for what they have, ask yourself why you want to do that.  Ask yourself who in the chain of misery would say the same damned thing to you and how it would make you feel when they did.  Then ask yourself if saying that phrase will actually benefit anyone in any way.

I'll state for the record that I am grateful for what I have.  You don't have to tell me to be grateful.  I have two babies that got through the preemie stage with no ill side affects, who I can anticipate growing into beautiful, healthy adults.  As grateful as I am, I will still acknowledge and publicly work through my life frustrations, and I won't feel ashamed for doing so.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What happened to my chicken?

As of a few days ago, Middie Biddie is officially a walker!  She finally broke through her fear and started walking all around.

Unfortunately, now that she's had a couple of days of properly falling on her butt and learning that it's not so bad, she's lost a lot of that fear that kept her safe and has become a climber.  Yup, figured out how to climb onto the couch today - the couch we use to block off the router, modem, lamp, and a variety of other things I don't want babies reaching.

I think we'll be spending the next week doing a whole new level of baby proofing.

In other news, I cleaned up more puddles today than I ever wanted to clean up.  It started with finding a pee puddle right outside the litterbox.  While I was cleaning that up, I heard a small crash behind me to find that one of the girls had thrown her milk cup to the floor and the lid had popped off.  Swell.  So I finished cleaning up urine and got to work on the milk.  At the next meal, she did the same thing to yet another cup of milk, and I found that the cat had peed on a towel in the bathroom.  I'm so glad we got rid of the carpet and now have easily cleanable floors!

I know I complain a lot, but the fact is I'm a lot happier than I've been in other stages of my life.  Now that the girls are older, they're funny!  I spend a significant portion of my day laughing like I never have before.  This parenting thing has a lot more ups and downs than non-parenting, but the ups are a lot higher.