Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ultrasound update

I know, I know, two posts from me in one day is completely unheard of, but I think I have some good news to share. First the babies are doing well. They have each gained 11 more ounces putting both of them at 4 lbs. 11 oz. They have also completely switched positions. We know we were looking at the correct babies because baby B. still has dilated kidneys. I just don't know how they managed to do it.

About the previa...technically what I have isn't placenta previa, but the type of previa where the veins which attach to the placenta cover the cervix. Unlike placenta previa, this type is much less likely to resolve. So you can imagine the ultrasound tech's surprise (and my midwife's...she stopped in to see how things were going) when it appears the veins have moved slightly. Instead of completely covering the cervix (which they were doing two weeks ago), they have moved up to the right a bit. They are still very close, but I'm going to take this as something positive. I meet with the OB on Monday, and I'm sure we'll discuss what my options are. So please keep praying; I would love to avoid a c-section if I can. At dinner tonight, M. declared it a God-thing and I'm inclined to agree with her.

Dress rehearsal pictures

Here is a link to some pictures from Our Town which opens on Friday.

M. is Emily's mother and she starts out in a yellow apron.
B. is George; he's in a white shirt and suspenders, then is the groom
J. is the Stage Manager (sweater and pipe).

http://evanstonhomeeducators.org/ourtownphotos.html

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last hurdle

Today was the last day that the children's choir, which I direct, met. They performed their end-of-the-year musical last Sunday and today we did a reprise of the music at a local retirement home. This is the one big volunteer activity which I do, and even when I'm not pregnant, I come home on Wednesdays all worn out. Long about March I was wondering how on earth I was going to be able to finish the year. But I made it! The musical, despite the roughest dress rehearsal I've ever had, went well and several people told me they thought it was the best one we've done. I guess pregnancy is affecting me in odd ways, because though I thought it went well, I'm not sure it was the best one. I feel rather detached about it in some ways. This was the last big thing I had to do before I could just rest and concentrate on staying pregnant until week 37.

There was that other list I mentioned a while back, too. I may be as far with that as I'm going to get. I've completed TM's life book, I've done the three presentations, and I've sorted and stored outgrown clothes. For the last one most of the credit goes to A., P., and P10 (from when the P. family was staying here). Those three girls worked their tails off. We went through and tried on every piece of clothing the three youngest boys own. The outgrown stuff was boxed up and then new clothes were brought up from the basement and put away. I truly couldn't have done it all without those girls' help. A. and P. did their own clothes and all that's left is to move the three boxes to the basement. A. even boxed up B.'s outgrown clothes for me. It's a great relief to have it all done.

The one thing I haven't completed is catching the photo albums up to date. It turns out I was three years behind when I got everything out and started to work on it. Now I'm just over two years behind. The prints I have stop at just about the same time we bought a digital camera. Evidently for the past two years I haven't been very diligent about getting prints made of our digital photos. Now I'm faced with the process (and cost!) of having two year's worth of prints made in order to put them into the albums. I'm just not sure that's going to happen in the next month. If I had the prints it would be very easy to catch up...I don't do anything fancy, just mount the photos on the page and label...but I don't. It's too bad, really, because that is something I can actually do right now since I can do it while sitting down.

Tomorrow is yet another ultrasound. We'll be able to see what the previa is doing and how much more weight these girls have gained. I could have just 4 1/2 more weeks to go!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Necessities

" 'Susan,' he said, 'are babies very expensive?' I was a bit dumbfounded, Mrs. Dr. dear, but I kept my head. 'Some folks think they are luxuries,' I said, 'but at Ingleside we think they are necessities.' " from Anne of Ingleside by L. M. Montgomery

For the past few months I have been reading the Anne of Green Gables series to A. and P. and we have made it to the last book. I love the above quote that we read tonight. Actually, I love the whole series...they rank right up there with my favorite books. I'm so glad I will have two more girls to read them to in a few years.

Oh, and just so you know, the younger boys are not being left out. J. has been reading to them while I read to the girls. They have finished The Hobbitt and are now working on The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Truly, one of the great joys of parenting is getting to share favorite books with ones children.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

First haircut

You're probably wondering who got their first haircut. I've shown you pictures of the three youngest sporting new haircuts and the babies aren't here yet, so who does that leave? Well, acutually, P. , at 8 1/2 years old has never had her haircut. She has such pretty long, blond hair there never seemed to be a point, plus I have a preference for long hair on girls. But, I have become aware that the ends were getting a little scraggly (or as my grandmother would have said, "Stringy"). It would look a lot better with everything evened up.

So, here is the before shot. You can't really tell from the picture, but her longest hair goes all the way to the end of her t-shirt. She could actually sit on it.



And here is the after picture. The longest piece I cut off was probably 3 inches, but most was shorter because the ends were very uneven. It is a little sad to think I was cutting off some of her baby hair. (And yes, I did save some in an envelope.)


A. also had her hair trimmed, but I didn't feel the need to document it. She had her first haircut at the age of two when she cut off one of her ponytails. I probably wouldn't have cut hers for a long time either but for that.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Canary in the coal mine

TM has been doing so well recently that I forget that his trauma/attachment issues are not just a quick fix and we're done, but something that is long term. The past couple of days have been difficult for him...more acting out, more aggression, more inability to deal with frustration, and with very few positive traits showing through. Since I'm sometimes slow to catch on, it took me until today to realize that something was up and TM's behavior wasn't just a single incident here and there. I also realized that he and I had begun a downward spiral in our relationship. He acts out, I get upset, which causes him to act out more, which causes me to get even more upset. I think it had been days since we had enjoyed each other's company. It's bad when you can't remember the last time you laughed with a child.

Now, not to excuse my behavior, because I am the grown-up and should be more able to step outside a situation as opposed to succumbing to it, but I'm sure my sleep deprivation had played into all of this. Up until last night, I was averaging ~4 hours a night. For a woman who needs at least 8 (9 or 10 is even better) hours of sleep to be a functioning human being, this is a big deal. I had no patience with anyone and little interest or ability to do more than sit in a chair like a blob. I'm sure my other children were suffering as well, and wondered who had taken over their mommy, but they were better able to weather the unpleasantness.

I am so glad I asked for some medication to help me sleep. I slept 10 hours last night and it has made a huge difference in my outlook on life and my behavior toward my family. Because I was well-rested I could finally see that TM's fit about having to wash his hands with soap was so not about the soap. I asked him to come to me and I tried to give him a hug but instead we were off. It is difficult to hold a raging child and be so pregnant, but I managed. Plus, TM long ago stopped trying to do me physical harm...I don't think I could have done it had he also been trying to bite and claw me. When he had finally calmed down enough to listen, I started to try to figure out what was up. For a bright boy, TM is particularly unaware of his own feelings and figuring out what is bothering him is a bit like playing 20 question. I mention something that might be bothering him, such as, "Are you worried about the new babies coming?" If a thing is not bothering him, he is able to coherently say, "No" and look at me oddly as if to say, "Why would you think such a thing?" The trick is to probe to find out what is wrong without putting ideas in his head that weren't there before. So, I didn't ask if he was worried about something happening to me at the hospital...I was pretty sure that hadn't occur ed to him. Finally I tried, "Are you upset because Mommy has been so tired and cranky and we haven't done much fun stuff together?" At this question, he just starts sobbing and finally relaxes into my arms; relieved, I think, at having someone name what has been troubling him.

As this pregnancy progresses, I have become increasingly inwardly focused. This was my wake-up call that I need to fight against this tendency. While I may not be able to take them all to the park or do a fun museum trip, I can still work on being kind and giving hugs and try to make life more pleasant for those who live with me.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Quick update

Thanks for everyone's concern about the placenta previa. I saw my midwife today and she also consulted with the OB she works under. Right now things seem to be stable and there is still the outside chance that it could resolve itself, though I'm not counting on it. I have my list of warning signs that I'm to call about immediately and I will be taking it easy...because, really, that's all I can manage anyway. If I continue with everything as it is, the OB will probably schedule a c-section at week 37. I'm at week 31 this weekend, so that's 6 more weeks. I'm also going to be trying some sleep medication that's safe during pregnancy in the hope that I can get more than 4 hours of sleep a night. I'll see the OB and have another ultrasound in two more weeks.

It's good that things are winding down around here. My last big event is the musical that my children's choir will be performing on the 26th. It does require some exertion, but I can do most everything I need to sitting down. Then on the 27th, tech week begins for M. and B. (and J.) for the production of Our Town they are in. In a pinch, they can ride their bikes to rehearsals. The performances for that are May 1,2, and 3. Immediately afterward, A. and P. begin their tech week for the scenes from Shakespeare they are involved in. We have many friends who are also involved, so finding rides for them should be easy. Performances for that show are May 8 and 9. (Anyone in the area who is interested in seeing either show, let me know and I will give you details.) The schedule is a bit nuts, but at least I always am left with some helpful children around the house. We also have our history co-op feast at the end of May, but I've already let people know that costumes are not something I can do this time around. M. and A. both sew...maybe they will become inspired.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm so done, it's too bad the babies are not (Warning! Whine alert!)

I had yet another ultrasound today. For the most part, things are going well. The best news is that each girl is ~4.1 pounds, putting them in the 64th percentile for weight. The not so good news is that Baby B still has slightly enlarged kidneys, one of which is larger than it was a month ago. I've done the whole surgery-on-a-newborn-thing with P., and I'm not anxious to do it again. Prayers for Baby B would be appreciated. The other piece of not so great news is that I still have placenta previa and at this point it is not looking good that anything is going to change. This means I am probably looking at having a C-section to have these two girls. I have a lot of questions to ask my midwife tomorrow in regard to these last two issues.

The fact that each baby weighs so much explains why I feel as though I've been walking around overdue for the past couple of weeks. That makes over 8 pounds of baby, plus 2 placentas filled with amniotic fluid. I'm now carrying around more weight than I did with D. at 40+ weeks...and he was 9 pounds at birth. While my body seems to do a terrific job at growing babies, it doesn't leave a lot left over for me. I feel as though every ounce of energy has been shunted over to baby growth. Even with the extra iron I've been taking, I often feel as though I need to sit down or I'll fall down because of feeling light headed. That combined with lower back pain, sciatica down both hips, round ligament pain that feels like a charlie horse in my lower abdomen, and just my sheer bulk makes for a pretty pathetic specimen of a mother at the moment. Oh, and because of the sciatica and the babies lodging themselves under my rib cage, getting comfortable to sleep is nearly impossible. And I love to sleep. I really miss being able to curl up, getting comfortable in bed, and falling asleep. I can't roll over now, I have to wake up, sit up, and then lie back down. The other night I somehow got on my back and had to wake J. up because I couldn't move. I felt like a beetle trapped on its back waving its feet in the air. (Yes, go ahead and laugh...it's funny and I'm sure in a couple of months I'll think it's hilarious.) Last night, I was so uncomfortable I got up and went downstairs to watch a movie. It seemed a better option than just tossing and turning for most of the night.

So, that is my sob story. I'm trying to remind myself of the beautiful babies that all this discomfort will result in. But if I'm perfectly honest, some days I just don't know how I'm going to get through the rest of the day, much less 6 to 8 more weeks. I'm sure my ever patient husband and nearly always patient children will be as thrilled as I am when the babies are born...but for a different reason. Having a functioning, non-hormonal wife and mother will be a wonderful thing for them. And you can pity the phone solicitors who call our house for the next few weeks. I don't mean to be rude, but when what little patience I have is used on my family, well...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still here, still pregnant, still the size of a small country

My head cold was short lived, but then proceeded to make the rounds of several children. I'm hoping by tomorrow everyone will be well again, but D. was sounding suspiciously 'froggy' this afternoon. I also survived the 3-hour glucose test. It was not a pleasant experience. I'm assuming I passed since no one has called me with an urgent message to change my diet. On Sunday, I will be 30 weeks along. That gives me ~8 more weeks to go. I have a bad feeling that the next 8 weeks could be the longest part of the pregnancy since recently I have begun to feel that I will never be comfortable again.

It has also become increasingly difficult to go out. Not because I can't walk for long distances or because vehicles are harder to get in and out of, but because of people's comments. I realize that I'm large and look as though I could possibly give birth at any second, but that doesn't mean I need people to tell me that. The comment I hear most these days starts out as the question, "So, when are you due?" My reply is not for a while, which always brings the comment, "Oh, you must be having twins." But what if I wasn't? What if I just happened to be someone who carried large (which I do, by the way)? When I'm in a more normal frame of mind, people's comments don't really bother me, which is a good thing since my family, for various reasons, often invites comments. But there's something about all the pregnancy hormones swirling around my body that makes it difficult for me to brush aside pregnancy comments. I can't guarantee that the next time I won't just burst into tears. J. says I should just answer, "Due for what?", but I'm not sure I have the fortitude to do that just now.

I am so grateful for these two babies I'm carrying. I try to focus on what all this discomfort is for, but sometimes I'm not always successful. Everyone remains excited about adding two little sisters to our family, though some family members are still a bit confused about how the whole thing works. Make that one family member actually...TM. At first, if he saw pictures of two babies on the computer (when I was doing research), he would excitedly ask if they were our babies. Since K. was the last one to be added to our family, in TM's world, we can see a picture of a new brother or sister beforehand. It took him a while to understand we wouldn't be able to see pictures before the babies were born. The most recent funny thing was when I was leaving for the glucose test which took place in the hospital. J. was telling him I was going to the hospital for a long appointment about the babies, so TM's response was to excitedly ask if I was then going to bring the babies home so he could see them. K. understands as much as a 3 year old can. He likes to point to my stomach and say, "babies", though I'm pretty sure he doesn't think there are any real babies. It's just another one of those odd things we do that he hasn't quite figured out the purpose of.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

So long, farewell...

Today, the 'P' family parents return from their trip to Ethiopia and it's time to send our contingent of 'P' children home. It's been a great two weeks. Thankfully we had no major problems or emergencies, and everyone has gotten along together very well. (I am particularly happy about this, since sometimes when really good friends share spaces, like bedrooms, for a while, things can go awry.) The house will feel a little empty and a little too quiet for the next few days as we readjust to being just our usual 9 people.

The 'P' family parents' trip seems to have gone well. They were able to spend quite a bit of time getting to know their new children. It sounds as though the first meeting went quite well after that initial awkwardness that always happens. Now comes the hard part...waiting for all the right courts and government agencies to do their jobs so the children can come home and start life in their new family. If all goes according to plan, that will be happening in May.

So, there is much packing and cleaning and searching for lost items going on right now. I have developed a head cold, which combined with how I was already feeling from this pregnancy, means my role involves me sitting in a chair and directing the chaos swirling around me. I so hope I feel better by tomorrow since I'm supposed to go do the three hour fasting glucose test. And the worst of it? I'm bookless! Currently I don't have a book that I'm dying to read, getting to the library doesn't look promising, and what the heck am I going to do for three hours in a hospital waiting room?!?
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