Not me, my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law lives in Louisville, KY...where they generally don't get snow. Maybe a little bit here and there, but a big storm pretty much cripples the city. And they got one! Ice and everything. Her house lost power and heat, so she's living with someone on the next street over. The kicker is that the other side of her street was fine (and, of course, the next street over). Just her side of the street lost power and everything. Oh well, as long as she's safe.
As for me, I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I was on the tocometer (the machine that records if you're having contractions) for about 15-20 minutes. There was some activity, but nothing I could feel. The doctor did another fetal fibronectin swab, just to make sure. I haven't heard the results from the swab, but the fact that she didn't call me yesterday afternoon probably means it's fine. If it had come back positive, she would've checked me into the hospital immediately to give me steroids for the babies and to try to prevent labor. I'm also going with the assumption that the contractions are Braxton-Hicks type--especially because I don't generally feel them (but I can sometimes sense that my uterus is rock hard), and when I do feel something it's not pain, just uncomfortable. The doctor isn't too worried about Braxton-Hicks, and it gives the uterus good practice for the real thing. Practice makes perfect!
I also gained a perfect amount of weight--3lbs in the last 2 weeks. The doctor wants to see me every week now, and she's VERY pleased that I'm already at 28 weeks. Our next goal is 32!
Well, at least not all media is stupid. Check out this update from the LA Times. I give the article a rousing two thumbs up!
In other news, my fetal fibronectin test came back negative. For those who don't know what this is, they take a swab and check to see if there's any fetal fibronectin present. Before 22 weeks it is normal to have some present, which is why they don't do the test before then. After 22 weeks, if the test comes back positive it means you're at a VERY high risk for delivery in the 2 weeks following the test. If there isn't any present, then you're safe for another 2 weeks (barring extenuating circumstances that could cause someone to go into labor). So, it looks like I should make it to at least 29 weeks (and beyond) IY"H. :-)
There are so many problems with this. First and foremost, it gives ART (assisted reproductive technologies) and especially IVF a bad name. Most people will read the article and think "oh they must've had IVF," which is completely off the mark. No doctor with a brain will put in 8 or 9 embryos for an IVF transfer. None. The most likely scenario here is that the woman was medicated and had an IUI (or timed intercourse). It's possible that her follicles weren't monitored, because no doctor with a brain would let a woman trigger ovulation and have an IUI (or timed intercourse) with 8 or more possible follicles. My doctor nearly changed our first IUI to an IVF because I had 4 possible. As my father A"H would've said, "if the doctor had half a brain, it would be lonesome."
Secondly, having high-order multiples is VERY dangerous--for both mother and babies. So many things can go wrong, and you notice that this is only the 2nd set that's ever been born with all babies alive. With the 1st set, one of the babies died shortly after birth anyway. It's just not safe. Now, I'm against selective reduction of embryos, so I would never put myself in a situation where I would have to even consider it.
Yes, it's wonderful that they had 8 live babies, but this is not a "happy ending" and the parents should never have been put in a situation where they would have 8 babies. We have no idea about the quality of life that these children will have or if all will survive infancy. *sigh*
My babies now have a greater than 90% chance of survival if they're born this week (and it only goes up from here)! Not only that, but I found a really cool chart that shows other preemie problems that can occur and their rates of occurrence depending on which week a baby is born. Yes, these values are for singletons, but twins generally have better chances of survival and less chance of complications than a singleton born at the same number of weeks.
My poor hubby has a terrible cold, so he stayed home from work yesterday and today. His nose is all stuffed and runny, and he's starting to cough. :-( Unfortunately, decongestants make him jittery and benadryl makes him drunk/sleepy, but he's been so miserable that he's taking cold medicine anyway. Not that it's really helping, but I think he might be getting at least a few hours of sleep.
He'd better not get me sick! Even though I wouldn't have to take time off from work, I do not need a head cold on top of being pregnant. It seems as though the whole world is sick, too. I've noticed many of my bloggie friends are suffering this week, and apparently everyone at shul has a cold too (which is probably how my husband got sick in the first place). Ahh well, nothing I can do about it now!
Two of my friends came over today for a visit, and one of them brought her 1-month-old! He is the cutest. It was so nice to have company for a little while, and they even brought me flowers! The friend w/o the baby has been so amazing arranging meals for us and transportation for me to get to and from doctor appointments and ultrasounds. I am soooo lucky.
Another thing we decided this week was to bank our babies' cord blood. After getting quotes from all over and doing lots of research, we decided to go with Cryo-Cell. Not only did they give us the best twin pricing (and we looked at about 10 different places with costs anywhere from $2400 to $3800 total), but they are also very well known, have the best credentials of everywhere I looked, and have been around the longest. If cord blood banking is something you're thinking about doing, feel free to ask me any questions you may have. And if you're considering Cryo-Cell, let me know and I can put you in touch with the lovely nurse who gave me awesome discounts.:-)
You all are going to laugh at me. After all that fuss, I made a decision. I called one of my friends who had a doula at her birth in November, and she gave me the name of a doula she interviewed but did not use. This particular doula has been used by other women in my community, and her description seemed to be exactly what I wanted. So I set up an interview with her, which I knew would be my last. I would then make a decision to use her or pick between the other two. Just to give you an idea, here are her pros & cons.
Relatively inexpensive ($750)
Came to interview well prepared with materials for me to read
Relatively close to my age (30's)
Somewhat experienced (~20 births over ~4 years)
Her voice is very relaxing
Has a detailed doula contract
Comes VERY highly recommended by a friend of mine who used her
Only does 1-2 prenatal & 1 postpartum visit
Has never done a twin birth
So, what do you think? She a keeper or what? Well, it doesn't really matter because we already hired her. :-)
I figured I'd post a big link to my babies' pool just in time for IComLeavWe, so here goes!
I will probably post this again in time for next month and then close it March 1. Make sure to leave guesses for both twins!!! Winner(s) will get some awesome prize (to be thought of at a later date...)
If you've already guessed and would like to change it, feel free. If you're having trouble changing it, email me and I can do it for you.
Ok everyone, it's time for you to help me pick my doula. I am SOOO conflicted. I've narrowed it down to two, but I honestly can't choose. All comments are very, very welcome so I can hopefully pick one by tomorrow evening. Here goes...
Very experienced (been a doula since 1995, served as assistant director of ALACE, teaches classes to other doulas, etc.)
Trained massage therapist
Been interviewed in pregnancy/parenting magazines & has even written a book on childbirth
Her voice is very relaxing
Came to interview very well prepared with materials for me to read and questions to ask my doctor
Has done twin births
Relatively close to my age (30's)
Very expensive ($1300)
Only does 1 prenatal & 1 postpartum visit
Has a very short & generalized doula contract
Very inexpensive ($400-$500)
Does 3-4 prenatal & 2-3 postpartum visits
Has a long & detailed doula contract
Came to interview well prepared with resume
Close to my age (23)
Not much experience (no births yet in Massachusetts, only been a doula for a short period of time)
Has never done a twin birth
No references (because her previous doula work was done while employed by a hospital where HIPAA laws apply)
The cost factor is a huge issue. Is it worth it for me to spend about 3x as much for a more experienced doula? What if I need to have an epidural & C-Section anyway? I can appeal to my insurance company to see if they'll cover some of the cost, but there are no guarantees there. I like the fact that Doula B is close to my age, and I respect the fact that she's just starting out and needs to have birth experience in order to get more clients. I would love to give her that chance, because I understand how it would feel to be in her position. She's also originally from the Rochester area. :-) But on the other hand, Doula A knows more than Doula B just by having so much more time at the job. I mean, she gives classes to other doulas and writes books! I am SO conflicted! Please help!
I finally decided it was time to check the Lexmark website to see if there was anything I could do about my scanner refusing to scan. Turns out all I needed to do was download a patch and POOF my scanner now scans. Anyhoo, that means you can all see the awesome 3D ultrasound photos from last week! So, here goes!
Here is Baby A's gorgeous face (Her mouth is so cute with the upper lip sticking out)
Here is Baby B's profile (He looks like I did as an infant...)
You heard right. The same person who never failed a course or exam (well maybe an exam once or twice) failed her glucose screening test...by 1 point. *sigh* They want to see a glucose reading under 140 mg/dL and mine was 141. Now even 140 isn't good, but 141 means I have to go for the 3 hour glucose tolerance test on Monday. It's going to be hell. I have to fast starting at midnight the night before and I can't eat until the test is over--which probably won't be until at least 1pm. I'm going to starve!! :-(
My hemoglobin is also low, but it's better than last time! At the beginning of December my hemoglobin was 9.8 g/dl and yesterday it was 10.8! Still below normal (which is 12), but at least it's going in the right direction. At the rate I'm going, it should be just about 12 when I deliver. Sweet.
Now for the really good news. I had another ultrasound today and my cervix is back up to 1.8cm! They want me to come in next week for yet another check, but the doctor says to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing. :-) I do have two great pictures that I want to post, but I'm having major trouble getting my scanner to connect to my computer, so I'll get those up when I can.
Last, but not least, my husband and mother share the same brain (oddly enough). This morning I awoke to find a box of Totally Light 2 Go sugar free lemonade powder waiting for me in the kitchen. And then the mail came. And there's a package from my mother with 3 packages of Totally Light 2 Go (different flavors) and hot cocoa mix. They bought the exact same brand (it's sweetened with Splenda, so it's the only sugar substitute I'm supposed to have) and it came on the same day. Go figure! It is delicious, and it's working. I've already had about 2 1/2 tall glasses of lemonade (and gone to the bathroom about 10 times) in the last 2 1/2 hours. I HIGHLY recommend this to all pregnant women who are having a hard time getting enough water. mmmmmm
I had a great appointment with my OB today. First, I did my 1 hour glucose test (ewww). Then, the doctor checked my cervix & cerclage--which both look perfect. She measured my belly, which is currently 36cm (36 weeks), so I'm measuring 10 weeks ahead. No wonder I feel like a whale! She also checked the babies heartbeats and my blood pressure. So far so good! She also answered the gazillion questions that I asked. We discussed when the cerclage would come out & when I might go off of bed rest, and she said that most likely I could start increasing activity at 32 weeks and then maybe go off of bed rest at 33 or 34 weeks. As for the cerclage, if I make it to 35-36 weeks, we'd take it out then. If I go into labor before then, the cerclage obviously comes out when I go into labor. She also tried to convince me that a C-Section is a good option, but I want to avoid that at all costs, so it was no deal. :-) Obviously I want my babies born as safely as possible, so if there's a true medical reason for a C-Section I have no problem with that. But I am NOT going to plan a C-Section for any other reasons, and if I do have to plan one, it's going to be for like 38 weeks (so I can go into labor myself anyway). I'd also like to go epidural-free if possible, but because of the circumstances they would probably place an epidural w/ no medication or a very, very low dose (just to keep the line clear) in case something happens during delivery that requires an emergency C-Section. As much as I don't want an epidural, I don't want general anesthesia much more, and if they need to get either one or both of the babies out very quickly and there's no epidural already placed, they would have to put me under.
On another note, the doctor said I can drink as much herbal tea or decaf coffee as I want. So, I don't have to suffer through gallons of plain water to keep hydrated. Woo! She checked the results of the swabs that were taken after my ultrasound last week and I don't have any infections either. She also wants me to lower my dose of progesterone and then possibly stop it altogether if my cervix looks ok in a few weeks.
That's all! I took a new belly picture last night and posted it just now. It doesn't look so different from 24 weeks even though I'm a good 5cm bigger. Oh well, as long as it's growing!
For anyone who's glanced at my ticker today, I'm officially in double digits! Only 99 days to go until my due date! Mind you I'll probably give birth in March, but that doesn't change my due date. I also can't believe that 3rd trimester is right around the corner. It feels almost like a dream!
Back at Friday's ultrasound they estimated the babies' weights to be 1lb 11oz and 1lb 12oz, which is actually more than the average for 25 1/2 weeks. Obviously these weights are really estimations, but it still makes me feel good--especially since they're twins and generally twins are smaller than average. The doctor said that they're in the 45th percentile (or something like that), which is great. Although I, who only thinks of percentiles in reference to school grades, wonder why they're not in the 95th percentile. :-) Actually, I can't expect that. According to my mother I was always off the charts in terms of height--below zero. lol (She never told me where I was on the charts for weight, though.)
My belly button is going flat. In certain positions it even is pooking outward, but in others it goes in a teensy weensy bit. Let me tell you, belly button skin is SOOOOO soft. It is really weird to have it go flat, even though I can still tell where it is because of how it's shaped. I showed it to my best friend Melanie when she was here yesterday and she thought it was funny. She almost had trouble distinguishing it from the little mole I have next to my belly button. Actually, speaking of Melanie, I have a really funny story to relate.
Melanie and I ordered kosher Chinese food last night (and pork is not kosher and would never be found in a kosher restaurant). Melanie is not Jewish, but she also doesn't eat pork--except in peking ravioli. So we were looking at the menu online and she said she was going to get an order of the peking ravioli. We were then discussing what I should get and she said, "why don't you get something with beef in it". I replied, "Why not chicken? You're getting the peking ravioli..." She said, "well peking ravioli is made with pork, but I eat it and pretend it's not." And I said, "uhhh Melanie, it's not going to be pork..." She was like, "Oh right! That's great! Now I don't have to pretend it's beef!" lol Silly Melanie.
I went for my ultrasound on Friday and they found that my cervix is down to 1.4cm--not as good as two weeks ago. So, they wanted to make sure that I wasn't contracting and sent me to labor & delivery for monitoring. I had the contraction monitor (long with two heartbeat monitors) connected for nearly 3 hours! They also did a urine sample and a vaginal swab. I have no clue what they were looking for, but who am I to argue? On the monitor they could see little blips. They said it wasn't "contractions" but really just "uterine activity". I couldn't feel the blips, so that's a good sign. However, having uterine activity is not a good thing. They thought that maybe I was dehydrated, so they gave me a full pitcher of water and said "drink up"! lol They tried to give me an IV with fluids also, but it wasn't put in properly and all of that good saline went straight into my arm and puffed it all up. Not a great feeling...and it lasted all that day until the next morning when my body finally had absorbed it all--or at least enough to make it not hurt. Luckily they sent me home before Shabbos. *whew*
On another note, I gained like 5 pounds in 3 days...I hate when that happens and hope it goes away before my Wednesday weight check. I will not be happy to see the look on the nurse's face if I weigh 165 on Wed. I can't even imagine where it's coming from, because there's no way I eat enough calories to gain that much weight. It's just not possible. Seriously, I'd have to be eating bags of cookies and entire pies to make that kind of weight gain, and I haven't had any desserts except dried fruit. Whoop-di-do. If I'm going to gain weight like this, I at least want to have gotten a nice big piece of cake or an enormous ice cream sundae out of the deal. :-)
Big congrats to Nancy who had her baby boy yesterday! Baby is great; mommy is recovering from blood loss, but is still blogging (so that's a good sign). Head on over and give her a mazal tov. ;-)
I interviewed a great doula today, but she's also the most expensive of everyone on my list, clocking in at $1300. Ewwww!! Pros: she has a lot of experience but isn't "old," she gives great massages (I got a sample during her interview), her voice is really soothing (I felt relaxed just talking to her in conversation), she came well prepared and asked questions...I could go on. Con: she is CRAZY EXPENSIVE! :-) I'd ask people to help pay for the doula in lieu of baby gifts, but that means less stuff for the baby that I really need. I can appeal to my health insurance company to try and get them to cover some (if not all) of the cost, but there are no guarantees they'll give me a dime. What do I do!!??
I don't generally post my results to online quizzies, but I thought this was cute.
Your rainbow is strongly shaded blue and violet.
What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate friends who get along with one another. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it. You share hobbies with friends and like trying to fit into their routines.
I think my husband may be scarred for life. He tried to not watch during the "gory parts" of the birthing video, but I think he caught a little of it. Now that he knows where babies come out of, he's wondering how in the heck it's possible. lol And I get to do it twice in a row! I told him he really doesn't have to watch the "gory parts" of my delivery. I think if he did he'd never want to make love to me again and that's no good at all. The twins were kicking up a storm during the video too. I think it freaked them out. "You mean I have to do WHAT?? I'll get squished! You must be joking..." The rest of the class was great too. Very informative and I think my husband learned TONS about labor and delivery. Hopefully he won't listen to anything I say during transition. His feelings get hurt easily, so if I call him names, he'll pout and be all upset about it. And that's why I'm getting a doula! So she can help me through the pain, and hopefully I won't say anything mean to the hubby. :-)
I'm still on the doula search. I've interviewed a bunch and so far no one has struck me as perfect. One lady was very sweet, but old enough to be my grandma--waaaay too weird. Most are old enough to be my mom, and that's pretty weird too. I'm hoping to get someone who is in her 20's even if it means she doesn't have as much experience. I mean it's not like she's delivering the babies, she's just helping with the pain and being overall supportive. And if she can do that, why do I need someone older with 15 or 20 years of experience? I did find someone whose fee is only $400 and she sounds young over the phone, so I'm hoping we click well. My goal is to pick someone by the end of January, and I think that is 100% doable.
Shmuel & I went to a parenting multiples class today. Shmuel learned how to change a diaper and swaddle a baby, and we got this great binder full of tips and resources. Tomorrow is our first birthing class! I'm really excited about that.
I've been interviewing doulas right and left. So far prices range from $550 to $1100 with most being about $900. Unfortunately, my two favorite are both $900. Maybe one of them will lower their price so I can afford it. The one who's $550 sounds on the phone like she's old enough to be my grandma, so we'll see how I like her when I interview her tomorrow.
I'm going to take this post to reflect on 2008. When I started the year, I never thought I'd finish it the way I have--pregnant with twins. And not only that, but twins that are now viable B"H and have a very good chance of being born healthy IY"H.
I started off 2008 just having finished 3 unsuccessful clomid cycles and was hopefully beginning my first injection/IUI cycle. I had my very 1st IUI on Jan 6 and then my very first BFP on Jan 21. I was on cloud nine for a few days until we got the news that my hCG levels were not doubling and that my pregnancy was destined to miscarry.
I began February with a miscarriage. Luckily, it was no more painful than a slightly longer and heavier period, but I did notice distinct uterine contractions. I then had my second IUI in Feb but without any medications to help with ovulation. I even tried having 2 IUIs (back-to-back), but with no luck.
In March we went back to injections w/ IUI and also had back-to-back IUIs at the middle of the month. Once again, BFN. We also got to take a weekend trip to Florida to see Trace Adkins in concert (I had won the all-expense-paid trip on a radio show). That was AWESOME!
We went back to one IUI w/ injections in April. BFN again. We had to skip May--I think because I was in Kentucky when I would've started the cycle. But the month wasn't a total waste, because it meant I could have an SHG with no worries of being pregnant or in the middle of a cycle. The SHG showed a small polyp in my uterus, so the doctor wanted to do a hysteroscopy before my IVF cycle just to make sure it was nothing to worry about.
Because I changed jobs and insurance at the beginning of June, we had to wait until the end of June to start suppressing for IVF. Instead, we had another injection/IUI cycle to pass the time. Unfortunately, that was also unsuccessful.
I finally started my suppression drugs for IVF at the end of June and then began stimulation drugs in mid July. At the beginning of July, I had my hysteroscopy, which showed no polyp and a beautiful uterus. At my egg retrieval, they harvested 8 mature eggs. Out of the 8 only 4 fertilized and out of the 4 only 2 continued to divide. I was terrified that I was left with only 2 embryos, but luckily I had nothing to worry about. :-) One of the embryos was 5 cells, grade C, with fair symmetry and the other was 10 cells, grade B, also with fair symmetry. We transferred them both into my uterus on Aug 1 and then waited...
For the first time ever I had mid-luteal phase spotting, which I believe must have been implantation spotting. I was very excited about this. :-) I also started acting funny, but there were a few times that I was so sure we had failed.
On my birthday (Aug 8), I found out I was pregnant!!! Holy cow! My hCG continued to double (and more than double) at levels way above normal for a single pregnancy. We knew there was a chance that we were having twins, but didn't have official confirmation until Aug 24.
Then I started spotting again. I was a bit nervous about it, but the doctors weren't worried, and at my 7 week ultrasound we saw that there was a small blood clot in the uterus. It wasn't affecting the twins at all, and we figured it would go away on its own (which it did). We also got to see the twins heartbeats!!! I was soooo relieved.
First trimester passed without any complications. I had a bit of nighttime nausea almost every day, but no vomiting. My dreams were becoming very bizarre. My boobs were a bit sore, and I started smelling things more. My blood pressure was a bit elevated for a little while, but that resolved itself in second trimester. Around 10 weeks I started wearing maternity clothes. I had the neuchal translucency scan done at 12 weeks, and it came back perfect.
Second trimester began pretty uneventfully. I started to be able to feel the babies move, and belly stretching was a new sensation. I also started having to watch my weight gain. I had the second part of my sequential screen, which came back with no increased risk for Down's Syndrome, Trisomy 13 or Trisomy 18. I also enrolled in a birthing class as well as classes for infant & child First Aid & CPR and a class in parenting multiples. I found out the babies genders (boy & girl) and started taking sequential pictures of my belly. Then my hubby and I picked names for our twins.
At the beginning of December, my cervix started to funnel and shorten, so the doctor put in a cerclage, and I started bed rest. The doctor also found that I'm anemic, so I started on a daily iron supplement. Shmuel & I completed the infant & child First Aid & CPR classes, which were very informative. My weight also started to stabilize at gaining about a pound a week. I started to experience very frequent urination (baby girl sits on my bladder as a hobby) and some insomnia as well. And the twins finished off the year by reaching viability!
Whew! What a year! May 2009 bring us all many brachos and simchos, healthy babies for all who are trying for them and shidduchim for our unmarried friends & family!