Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Twin pregnancy: Week 20

Here we are, the pregnancy midpoint: 20 weeks down, 20 to go — that is, in a typical singleton pregnancy. When you've got two (or more) on board, you're blessedly spared the last few agonizing weeks of pregnancy. Full-term for twins is 37 weeks, and my doctor assured me she wouldn't let me go past 38. So what I'm saying is, I'm more than halfway there!

I have some oh-so-kind friends who jokingly claim I'm just too small to be hiding two babies in there. A lovely thought, and perhaps seemingly true, until you contrast this picture with the one from my pregnancy with Evan also taken at 20 weeks:

Also as proof, though no one but myself can tell: the constant chaos that is two babies moving in utero. I've been feeling them for weeks now, which is actually quite a delight — especially since they're too small to be causing real pain yet. The funny thing is how differently they move: Baby A (the "technical term" given by my docs for the lower twin) hangs out super low in my pelvis and makes her presence known with constant pressure and a flurry of little rapid-fire kicks. Baby B (the top-bunk twin) hardly kicks at all but instead hangs out on my right side, occasionally trying to push her way out through my skin. It's the strangest feeling, not just because of what she's doing (and because a hard little lump will pop up right where she's pushing) but because of where she is: If my belly button is 12 o'clock, then she's over between 2 and 3 o'clock. Very odd feeling indeed.

The good news about this pregnancy is, it has been entirely uneventful. Such a relief after the last time. Not only that, but although I am still pretty exhausted, am starting to have occasional intense back and pelvic pain, and have 24/7 heartburn and reflux like the eternal flames of hell, the nausea is gone and I'm actually feeling really good. I have two doctor's appointments and an ultrasound this week (hooray!), and hopefully the medical squad will confirm that all is well and we are progressing like champions.

The other bit of good news is, I'm no longer terrified. I've had nearly three months to adjust to the thought of two newborns at once, and here's what I've decided: No doubt about it, it's going to be hard. It may even be the most challenging thing I've ever undertaken, and I may be wallowing in misery and hating life for a while. But I've got two really good things going for me: perspective and help.

Although this twin business is entirely new territory, motherhood isn't. Honestly I have no idea how I made it out of Evan's newborn period alive, what with the colic, reflux, milk intolerance, torticollis, plagicephaly, and bleak postpartum depression. But we did in fact make it, and now I know this: It passes, and soon enough the rough stuff will all have been forgotten. As a first-time mom, all I knew was, "This SUCKS. My life is over. This agony is my reality. I will never be human again. Woe is me." Now I know that, yes, I will probably feel that way at some point this time around, but when my rational mind returns to me I will remember that it will not, in fact, last forever. It WILL pass quicker than expected. I'm OK to live in my pajamas, unshowered, eating microwaveable meals and surviving on four hours of sleep a night for the first few months, because it will only be a few short months. Even if those months actually turn out to equal a year (or more), eventually it will all pass and a happier, more clean and well-fed era will begin.

As for the help, all I can say is how touched I am at the offers that have already begun pouring in. I am incredibly blessed to have the support system that I do, with family, friends, neighbors and even people I barely know offering one service or another when the time comes, or even before. One amazing gal even came over to play with my child for a while I took a nap — an act that was so desperately needed and greatly appreciated. There are so many good people in this world, and I am humbled to realize I live among them.

So, onward and upward! Here's to a healthy and happy 17-ish more weeks!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The great minivan debate

A little something from the files of "Things I thought I'd never hear myself say":

"Believe me, my dear, if I ever got to the point where it was Mom Jeans or perish, I'd take the jeans. I'm not a defeatist, I'm a survivor. You do what you have to do."

This gem comes from a text message conversation with the hubby in which we discuss, yet again, the very real possibility that some day we might actually be begging for a minivan, despite our current vehement moral objections.

His position is that a minivan is certain death. This used to also be my position, that to concede to a minivan would be to admit that you no longer resemble the person you once were or ever hoped to be, and that any semblance of dignity, pride or lingering "coolness" would be smashed, ne'er to return again.

But now, I am about to be the parent of three children ages 3 and under.

Let me be clear, I do not WANT minivan, now or ever. But I can actually, for the first time, see that there might be a moment in the not-so-distant future where this kind of moral compromise would be the very thing that saves my life, in terms of sanity — precious, fleeting sanity.

So I said to my husband, "I won't admit defeat yet; all I'm saying is we may get to the point where dignity be damned, we need that freaking minivan."

I get why he's holding out so dearly. I mean, after all, becoming a parent is quite a shock — not just for the fact that parenting is mind-bogglingly difficult and OH MY GOSH IT NEVER ENDS, but that it is drastically life-altering in and of itself before you even factor in trying to do it the "right way." All those things you rolled your eyes at or swore you'd never do, at some point, you will do some version of those very things. Mark my words, friends: you will, and there will be no going back.

So yeah, I get that as a parent who had at least some semblance of identity and self-esteem once upon a time, there are certain things you want to be able to say you resisted, that you never did no matter how fiercely the demands of parenthood beat upon you.

And so I likened a minivan to Mom Jeans:

"We all have our limits," I texted to my husband. "Mine is Mom Jeans and general frumpiness, so don't worry, I'm not giving up either."

But wait a minute... At this moment, I'm only wearing half of the cute outfit I put on this morning, the funky yellow belt long ago ditched and the non-maternity leggings replaced by oh-so-divinely-comfortable maternity pants, and I am literally barefoot and pregnant right now, and I am certain that I will be wearing muumuus by the end of this twin pregnancy and loving it.

Because you know what? Dignity be damned, I need to get out of this business alive.

So, are we rushing to the dealership to trade in the 4Runner for a minivan? Nope. Not even close. Will that day ever come? Who knows. As my husband says, if he has anything to do with it, no. Never.

But I say, never say never. I just want to survive parenthood, and if that eventually means Mom Jeans and a minivan, well, sorry, husband, and sorry Lindsay of days gone by. Girl, you had no idea what you were getting yourself into.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Twin pregnancy: Week 17

This pregnancy thing is getting real. 

I'm 17 weeks along, which in a twin pregnancy is almost halfway there. Sadly, that does not mean I'm free of the fun first trimester symptoms, like nausea and if-I-have-to-take-another-step-I-will-literally-collapse exhaustion. Now, I also get to add on belly pain and acid reflux so bad I'm not so sure I'll have an intact esophagus after all this. 

I'm also pretty noticeably pregnant. It's hard to objectively say how far along I actually look, but at my 15-week appointment the doc said I was measuring about 17.5 weeks (excellent for twin growth). Even though I felt so big, I had only gained 7 lbs., so it must be all in the gut (I flatter myself).

Now, at 17 weeks, I feel crazy big -- ridiculous, because I'm not that huge. I don't have a pic this week, but it's just that compared to when I was pregnant with Evan, I look more like I did at 22 weeks: 

Oy. And I can definitely feel it. I have crazy pains all throughout my belly -- sometimes like cramps, sometimes like muscles stretching, sometimes like shocks of lightning, always like there's a bowling ball pushing down on my pelvis. It is unpleasant, to say the least. And it's only going to keep going.

The irony is, some days I feel enormous while others I worry that I'm too small and the babies aren't growing enough. Such is my paranoia. 

But all that -- that's just me being whiny. On top of the not-so-fun aspects of double pregnancy, I am really getting excited about having twins. This is largely due to the fact that, at my 14-week appointment, both the fetal-medicine specialist and the ultrasound tech were about 75% sure we are having TWO GIRLS!

Baby B with her little hand underneath her chin

Notice the line across the middle with Baby A's face peeking from the bottom.

It was still pretty early to be sure, but at my next ultrasound we should be certain. All I know is, with the kind of wacky hormones I've got going on, I know there's at least one little lady in there. There's just no other way to explain the crazy. (At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

The funny thing is, I had no idea how much I wanted two girls until they told me that's (likely) what we have. When I was first pregnant, before I knew there were two babies in there, I thought I wanted a boy. I get boys now, and Evan would have a buddy. Plus we have all boy stuff. But when they said two girls, I could not believe how excited I was. I guess I wanted this all along but perhaps didn't dare to hope. 

It's funny how, along with seeking out some sort of crystal ball to help you get any potential glimpse of the future, your mind also turns to the past when you're pregnant. At least it has for me. I've been thinking a lot about myself as a little girl. 

When I was young I was a very typical girl. I loved playing dress ups, spent hours coloring and drawing princess dresses, and watched "Cinderella" so much I had each and every word memorized. I loved to read and even used my beloved toy kitchen to play library. When I was 3 or 4 I was in dance class, but then I discovered sports and that was it for me. I was kind of on a tomboy incline from then on out. 

Now, at 31 years old, what has changed? I still love sports and play a grown-up version of dress ups whenever I get the chance. I love words almost more than anything, and I still have "Cinderella" memorized. 

It's amazing how, no matter what happens in life, so much of who we are is boldly evident almost from day one. As a parent, this is both daunting and endearing. It's fun to wonder who these little people will be and hope our mini-me's actually become the best versions of ourselves -- and yet the challenge is to understand their complexities and love them no matter how baffling they and their actions may seem. (I feel this almost daily with a wild and wacky little boy who is so often such a complete mystery to me.)

So while I may daydream of two little dark-haired, dark-eyed darlings who will twirl their princess dresses and stay up late reading their favorite books, I know that I don't get to choose who they are or who they will become. I can hope and pray they turn out OK and then do everything in my power as a parent to steer them to correct paths, but it's up to them to decide who they are going to be. They come to this earth with a spirit all their own and an important mission to accomplish. I only hope I can love my children for who they are, no matter what they may ultimately choose to do, and encourage them to be the absolute best versions of themselves, not just figments of my pregnant, idealistic imagination.