Friday, October 30, 2009

No results yet!

For those of you who are keeping track, yes, we did have our 20 week u/s Wednesday but here in Canada, there are signs up everywhere that clearly state that "The ultrasonographer is NOT allowed to release the results of the ultrasound and that INCLUDES the sex of the baby". I was asking very nonchalant questions, prodding gently to see how much my ultrasonographer would reveal and she was pretty tight lipped. So, we have to wait to confirm that we are having two little girls until the doctor's visit this coming Tuesday.

The ultrasonographer did take a few minutes at the end of the scan to show both my DH and some shots of the kids. It was such a relief to see them both there...moving arond, each with her own head, arms, legs, heart, feet...they looked beautiful. One of them cracked me up - she stretched her jaws into this wide yawn right as we were looking at her as if to say "Mommy! Stop keeping us up! We want to sleep! Tell her to stop jiggling us around!" It really made me realize that there are two little people inside me with their own individual personalities. Wow.

All I was told that one twin had a HB of 157 and the other HB was 145, both totally normal heart rates and looking good. I don't know if they were measuring on target in terms of size and growth as she didn't share that info with me. I think I caught glimpses of their hearts pumping away and they looked pretty normal to me, the untrained eye. Both babies are head down which is good news for me since I want to try to avoid a c-section given my issues with keloid scars. If the babies were sideways, that would mean a definite c-section unless they somehow shifted between now and then. In any case, both head down is good news for us!

I'll scan in the two u/s pictures later this weekend as we are away visiting relatives in another city. I did get two really nice side profile shots that actually look like babies...even I can identify the heads! Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for following along.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ultrasounds Make Me Nervous & First Belly Shots

This coming Wednesday is our big 20 week anatomical scan and I am already starting to freak out a little. In hindsight, I haven't slept well the night before our other planned u/s and I seem to recall that I start feeling more nauseated right before as well.

See, I can logically explain what is going on...controlling it is another matter entirely. What I think is happening is that I worry about what we are/are not going to see. My oh so powerful subconcious mind is clinging to the nausea, making it stronger than the medication, just so I have some sort of "proof" that I am still pregnant. I haven't thrown up again yet but I am struggling again with meat and some meals just aren't going down as well anymore. My mild gagging has also come back but overall, I am still doing better than I was off medication but I am completely convinced that it's the worry about the upcoming u/s that has me nauseated again.

Some of the crazy questions I think are:
  1. Are both of them still in there?

  2. Did one of them disappear?

  3. Do they both have heartbeats?

  4. Are they still growing okay?

  5. Is one growing faster than the other and making the other one starve?

  6. Is that just discharge or am I leaking amniontic fluid?
Two nights ago I had a little mini freak out on the phone with my BFF (who is used to my craziness and talked me down quite calmly and rationally). I read in that What to Expect book (terrible, awful book) about people already starting to feel movement at the 18 week mark and since I am 19 weeks and haven't felt a thing, that got me concerned that I wasn't really carrying around babies but just two little figments of my imagination. I am not that big yet (still) and another pregnant coworker who is just 1 week ahead of me and expecting a singleton is *bigger* than I am. I know - it's not a competition but I can't help but compare and use it as a guideline as to how I'm doing. After all, I'm pretty sure she got pregnant the "normal way" whereas I didn't so I need to constantly reassure myself that my pregnancy is "normal" in its own way.

I also still have the amazing disapearing/reappearing belly. In the morning, there isn't much to look at. Some days I even convince myself that it's almost flat! At night however, after my 6 meals, my belly does seem to pop out more. You be the judge of that:

This shot was taken this morning...(19w1d)

...and this one was taken this evening after dinner...

My DH laughed...he doesn't think there is much of a difference but I think there is. Sigh - must remember not to blog while having a surge of pregnancy hormones.

Thank you to everyone who commented about the "leakiness"...makes me feel a little more like everyone else. No one else ever mentioned anything about this issue so I was really feeling like it was just me! I didn't see it referenced anywhere in the aforementioned awful resource book either and I started to think that if it's not there, than it must not be that common at all but you all proved me wrong! Yay fellow bloggers!

This Tuesday night we also start our prenatal classes at the hospital. We were wait listed for a special prenatal class for people expecting multiples and then finally got in so it will be really interesting to hear what they have to say and to meet some other people. I am going to be hard pressed not to compare tummy sizes with others around the same gestational age so I keep reminding myself that this is not a competition!

I have also bravely made my first foray into Babies R Us to start the research on the kind of stroller that we want to get and all the gear that you need to transport babies around these days. Man this stuff is expensive!! We also belong to a buyer's club and will be able to take advantage of the ability to buy without a retail markup so we are going to make good use of our membership this year. I was quite surprised how heavy some of the strollers were and I ran into another woman with twins who said that most infant strollers can't be taken with you when flying as most airlines will not allow them since they're too big/bulky/heavy. All good stuff to know but there is definitely more research to do before we buy. Besides, it still feels too early.

Anyway, that's about it for me now. Three days to go until the u/s...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Embarassing Question

So I've talked about many, very personal things on this blog - uteruses, sperm, therapy, etc. but I'm kind of embarassed about this next thing. However, curiousity has gotten the better of me and I'm going throw this question out there and see what comes back.

So here it is.

Has anyone ever lost a little bladder control when sneezing/coughing/throwing up? I never had this problem pre-pregnancy but it seems to be something I have to watch out for these days. In the split second before I sneeze/cough/throw up I have to remember to clench my muscles down there or else I just lose it...a tiny bit. I thought this was supposed to happen *after* the babies are born, not before! Either that or I guess I just have very weak Keigel muscles.

I seem to be carrying very low too so I don't know if it's just the way that everything is positioned...maybe the babies are sitting directly on top of my bladder and the weight is making me leakier than normal???

Anyone else?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Preparing My Furbaby

As many of you know, I am a dog lover and my furbaby Daisy has been a light in my life during these very long and trying 7 years it took to get to this point. She never judged me for not wanting to be social and was always willing to curl up for a good snuggle. On days where I had personal pity parties and would just lie on the floor crying, she would let me go for a few minutes and then start barking at me to get up and not feel so sorry for myself - after all, I had my wonderful DH and her right?

My DH and I have been talking a lot about how we are going to help her to adjust to the new situation. I know she will come to love our two little girls but there will be an adjustment period and we want to help her through that as much as we can. Once she discovers that they will share food with her, she will be their devoted slave forever.

Actually, we started getting her ready as soon as we got her as a puppy. We constantly touched her paws, grabbed her fur and pulled her tail, all gently of course but we did it just the same to make sure that we desensitized her to the sensation just in case a small child did it to her one day. She's very tolerant of us and she just looks at us like we're crazy and she's doing us a favour by "letting" us have our way. Have I mentioned that she is the best dog ever?

We are also looking into buying a 2nd family car, most likely an SUV and we want to do it in advance of the birth so that we can get her used to sitting in the back - the very know, the hatch back part of the SUV. Right now, she sits behind us and stretches out across the bench - she's never had to share the space so why would she start now? We don't want her to associate being demoted to the back area with the kids so we need to do this far in advance and reward her so she associates good things with sitting so far back there. She was pretty funny the first time we put her in the back of my parents' SUV - she kept on poking her head over the back seats, a little confused, looking at us as if to say "Mommy - why am I so far away? How on earth are you going to feed me cookies from all the way up there?"

We also found this great website which sells a 12 minute soundtrack of all the sounds a baby makes from laughing to screaming. Check it out:

The news article:

The website where you can get the soundtrack:

My DH was pretty funny and remarked that Daisy wasn't going to be the only one who needed to listen to this recording to become used to the sounds a baby would make!! It will do our family a world of good!

Many people have offered to take Daisy off our hands since they assume that we will be too busy with the girls but there is no way that we would give her up. She is a part of our family just like I am, my DH is and our two little girls.

We will all have to adjust but we are doing everything we can to make that adjustment easier. In my eyes, it is no different than asking a first born child to adjust to the idea of siblings. At first, they will be wary and maybe a little jealous of one another but they will soon become friends. We will still get her outside for her daily walks, run around with her and spend time being silly with her just like we are now. We need to make sure that we praise her when the babies are around (again, positive association with the two new screaming bundles) and make sure that we don't ignore her needs. We have an awesome dog walker who loves Daisy as much as we do and she has already volunteered to help us when the babies arrive so that will also ease the transition.

If anyone else has any good tips on how to make the adjustment, I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Feelings of Disbelief Still Invade My Thoughts

I can't help it. I am still in disbelief that this actually happening for us. I am over 17 weeks along now and every day I still wonder if I will see blood on my underwear or have a late term loss. I've read the stories and so have many of you - people have lost their twins in the 2nd trimester so it's not exactly improbable. Things are just more complicated when there are two floating around inside. Do these thoughts and feelings ever go away?

I still try hard to support my IVF buddies who are still fighting in the trenches and I keep up with their stories because I want to know how they're doing and how they're holding up. My heart aches with every valley they hit and it lifts when they reach the peaks. Keeping up with their stories and reading the boards at IVFC reminds me how lucky we are to have these kids are and how deeply and truly grateful I am for them...but I also can't help but reflect how fragile our situation can be.

Everyone keeps asking whether or not we've started shopping and I keep saying seems too early to start yet really, we only have about 4.5 months to go so we really should start picking things up. I have also told my family and friends that I do not want a baby shower. There's that disbelief again. Chinese tradition is that we wait until the baby is 1 month old and then we have a big party to introduce the baby to society. Now I'm not usually that traditional, but in this case, it doesn't seem to be a bad thing to wait until they're actually here. Again, it's that feeling of not wanting to count chickens (or babies) until they're hatched (born).

When I'm shopping for maternity clothes, I catch myself asking about return policies and thinking about if I could still wear certain items even if I weren't pregnant - what is wrong with me?? IVF robs us of so many things and I can't help but think about the "what if". It sure would be nice to float along on a sea of pregnancy hormones, blissfully ignorant of the things that could go wrong, secure in the knowledge that you could get pregnant "just like that" again if you had to.

Part of me wonders if this is somehow connected to my early childhood learnings, that life is just darn hard. Maybe I'm making this pregnancy out to be hard for no reason...I've often wondered if my need to make this hard is tied to my inability to give up the nausea. I seem to cling to the nausea, not wanting to give it up as it provides constant reassurance that there is something going on down there. Maybe I'll be able to give it up when I really start showing.

Anyhoo...enough heavy stuff.

In terms of how I'm feeling, the medication has virtually eliminated my nausea. I still stuggle to eat meat (to which everyone keeps reminding me how vegetarians give birth to healthy children all the time) and I do get occasional twinges of nausea here and there but I am doing a lot better than I was. My lower abdomen is really firm too - I tenderly press a little here and there and wonder when I will feel an aswering push from the other side. It's still a little early to feel movement but I am waiting for that day when I can feel what is going on inside.

I may not be putting on too much weight but I am certainly retaining water and I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. How do I know about the retaining water thing? Simple - I've had to grease my ring finger every day to get my engagement/wedding rings on and off. My hands feel kind of swollen in the mornings too and my shoes have begun to get a little tight. I figure I will eventually have to stop wearing my rings but I just love them and not wearing them is really strange for me. A small sacrifice to make though.

Feeling full is a completely different sensation too. My stomach has migrated north and when I feel full now, it's a feeling of being stretched tight across the lower ribcage area rather than deep in the abdomen.

I've been negotiating to extend my contract by a month or two just to make sure I have enough hours to qualify for maternity leave benefits. I think they may have some work for me but I haven't gotten the details nor have I gotten the official word. It's hopeful though that I will be able to get the mat leave benefits so that's good. I break into a sweat thinking about how our expenses will be changing with the coming of the twins so any money is a good thing.

Finally, I leave you with a photo of the sweetest things. My friend, L, stopped over on her way to London, UK and gave the babies their first gift. I'm okay that it's before they're actually here and she specifically asked me if it would be okay (and yes, I did squash the feeling of disbelief that accompanied the question) . I don't see her that often and it is so sweet of her to want to give us something so I thought "why not?" Maybe this will make it a little more real for us. It was just too sweet and yes, they're handmade and soft as buttercream frosting:

The pink one (and yes, that's a teeny tiny bow on top of the hat!):

The purple one (the hat is laid flat so you can check out the bow!):

Thanks L - this is what my babies will be wearing for the 1 month party!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sue - This Post is For YOU!

I wanted to make sure I answered your question about the weight gain and I have to clarify that I am referencing a book written by Dr. Barbara Luke and her research pertains to twins, triplets & quad pregnancies. I should have been more clear when I wrote my prior post so I apologize for any confusion or worry I may have caused you - not my intention at all.

Anyway, here goes with what she says pertaining to multiple gestations. She says that the pattern of weight gain matters and that weight gain up to 28 weeks has the greatest influence on growth rate. I guess her research on twin pregnancies has shown her that weight gain before 28 weeks is correlated to weight gain after 28 weeks - the more you put on prior to 28 weeks the more you can put on after 28 weeks, or so I understand it. She also makes the point that the babies takes up more and more room as the pregnancy progresses so your stomach is squished leaving less room for food. Also, she thinks that the increased appetite at the beginning is to facilitate fat stores that will also help to provide nutrition to the babies later on when you can't eat as much.

Reference: "When You're Expecting Twins, Triplets or Quads" by Dr. Lu.k.e & Ta.mar.a, copyright 2004, HarperCollins, pg 59-60.

That being said though, I have to take what she says with a grain of salt. I was so sick in the 1st trimester and unable to eat...her weight gain goal for someone like me (first pregnancy, from IVF, twins) at the 16 week point is something like 30 lbs!!! BTW, I just noticed another chart on page 60 where she says that the optimal weight gain for a singleton pregnancy by the 20 week mark is 12 lbs - you've gained 10 so you're really close!

Anyway, that's what I was talking about in my other post. Sorry again for any worry!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Coming up on 16 Weeks!!

This Saturday I will be 16 weeks along and I still have a hard time believing that I am actually pregnant. I don't look that different and I am constantly turning sideways in front of a mirror to check my profile and then flattening my shirt against my stomach area to see how big the bump is. My DH keeps reassuring me that there is definitely a bump but really, if you didn't know, there isn't much to see at this point. I think I'm just looking a little chunky around the middle but that's it.

I'm still taking the Diclectin. I asked my OB how I would know when to stop and was told that I should continue taking it for a few weeks and be symptom free before I even think about starting to wean off of it. It's interesting - a lot of the people that I've told that I have terrible nausea are pretty judgemental about the medication. I get asked really silly questions like "Are you sure it's safe?" or "Is it really necessary to take that?". Duh - no, I'm not sure it's safe and I got it in a back alley somewhere rather than through a doctor's prescription. Of course, ideally I would not be taking any medication at all but there comes a point where you have to decide what's best. There I was, 3 1/2 months pregnant, getting more nauseated with each passing day and getting to the point where even liquids were coming back up and I was -5lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight...I have to get some nutrition to the kids somehow.

A lot of people assume that a twin pregnancy is exactly the same as a singleton pregnancy except you end up with 2 babies instead of 1 - not true. I was given a stern talking to by my OB when I met him - we are at increased risk for pre-term labour, gestational diabetes, hypertension and a whole host of other pregnancy issues. I am even more concerned about putting on weight and eating properly because I am likely not going to see the full 40 week gestation period so time is very precious. Studies have shown that putting on weight in the first 1/2 of your pregnancy influences how much you put on in the 2nd half of your pregnancy and it also affects the final birth weight of your babies. I will ideally carry until 37 weeks but who knows if I'll even make it to that point and how I'll be feeling. Hope for the best and a nice long gestation period but I have to be realistic too. So, I'm trying to eat healthy, eat constantly and drink tons of water too in the hope that it will help.

I'm pretty excited to be winding down work in another 4 weeks. I was off this week but will go back next week for the remainder of October. I was looking at our Employment Insurance ("EI") benefits (this is a government program in Canada that, among other things, provides for maternity leave benefits. We are all required to pay into this and the deductions are taken off each pay) and whether I would qualify or not and I am so close to getting benefits. Basically, I have to have worked 600 insurable hours in the 52 weeks prior to the start of my leave in order for me to qualify for benefits. I am estimating that I will have worked about 500 hours at the end of my contract so I would only need another 15 days of work. So close yet so far! Either I try to find another contract or see if they'll extend my contract at the company I'm with right now. We'll have to see what happens. It would just stink if I didn't qualify after having paid into this fund for over 15 years!

I finally finished a course I've been taking over the last year which was a huge weight off my shoulders. It's a self-study course, one that I chose to take because to maintain my accounting designation, I have to do a certain number of professional development hours every year. I wrote the exam on Tuesday (open book, multiple choice) and failed the first time (boo!) but then wrote it again right away and passed the second time! Yay! No more studying!

Other than that, I'm feeling much better these days and eating normally. The medication has really helped me to function more normally. I have an appointment tomorrow with my OB's dietician and I've been faithfully writing down everything that I've been eating since Monday. My OB refers everyone expecting twins to see the dietician since I apparently have "very specific dietary needs" in his words. It will be interesting to hear what the dietician has to say about my eating habits. Two weeks ago she would have had a LOT to say about what I was eating (essentially, nothing!).

To Sherry, who posted a while back with a question about why I went gluten's why I did it. I do not have any symptoms of having celiac disease...I've always eaten bread and flour and have had no adverse effects that I knew of. At the time, I was about 5 years into this whole IF journey, frustrated with conventional medicine and decided to try to deal with it "naturally" in addition to cycling. I attended a mind-body fertility course and part of the program included some guest speakers. One speaker was a naturopath and one of the things she suggested was to go gluten free because even though you may not have any signs or symptoms of suffering from celiac disease, you may still have it. How frustrating is that?? I thought to myself, "well, I've tried everything else...what would it hurt to do this as well??" so I did go gluten free just to see. I don't know if it made a difference or not but I was not only gluten free but dairy free and sugar free as much as possible. The whole approach was to try to maintain a balanced sugar level in your blood stream, or so the thought process went. I have to say though that I started eating gluten again after getting pregnant because the nausea was so bad all I wanted were soda crackers. I hope that answers your question.

That's it for me for now...I'll let you all know what the dietician said about my eating habits after tomorrow!