Baby shower

As I have said before, I wasn’t sure if I am a baby shower kinda girl, but you know what? This might be my only chance and who knows I might have been a baby shower kinda girl! Lilian our doctor and the midwives were all pumped to try and get me well enough to be able to get the day pass I needed to be able to attend the shower. I was very closely monitored the day of the shower, I did have a little scare when one obstetrician (that I didn’t really like much) came in and was telling me how nervous I was making her, but in my mind the babies were fine and I felt like I could cope with a little adventure! Lillian agreed and as long as the CTG scan was good then I was good to go, unfortunately the babies had other plans and they struggled to get a good trace on twin 1! I was half an hour late but eventually I made it to our baby shower! Mum had arrived and was going to take mum to to school for the afternoon, and as I walked out I felt like a champion! I had made it!

The baby shower was lovely, Jo and Kaye had arranged to have it at school as it was mostly school staff in attendance, however Alison and Bianca, Sharon and Alish, Kahlia and Eden, Sandra and a few others were also there. Jo had the day planned out beautifully, she had organised lots of games and activities for everyone, there was the diaper dash, a peg game, a play dough baby making quest and lots of good laughs. It was so lovely for Erin and I to be surrounded by so much love and laughs after being cooped up in the hospital for days on end. There was a beautiful spread of food and great company although it wasn’t long before I was feeling like I had used up all my reserves and spent the last half hour of the shower relaxing on the staff room couches.

I will be forever grateful to my friends and family for coming and spending the afternoon with us.

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Iron transfusion

So we arrived st the hospital ready for the iron transfusion, evidently it is done pretty routinely and I wasn’t the only one getting the transfer done. It basically involves getting a cannula placed VERY carefully in your hand, they are very careful with it because if placed incorrectly the iron can permanently stain your skin. Luckily I had a ripper nurse Jenny who kicked it out of the park with that one. The unfortunate part of this process is that once again the nurses took blood and did observations …. can you guess what happened? Yep! High blood pressure again! So I had the transfusion and eventually I was admitted again. This time I felt very different, I realised that if I badger the doctors to send me home again we will continue this cycle of bouncing in and out of hospital, that is an emotional roller coaster that I didn’t want to put us both through again.

So began our daily cycle, I would begun each day with blood and urine test and then at some stage through the morning, the doctors would come and see me, mostly the message was the same…. your blood results are stable, we will continue to monitor you.’ The day would then be about resting and four hourly obs as well as twice daily sessions on the CTG machine to monitors for the babies.. At this stage we were 33 weeks and 5 days so there was still no guarantee that I would be having the babies in Warrnambool. The only good thing about this time was that I was allowed out on day passes, even a night pass too! I jumped at the chance to go home for a night, but it didn’t really go to plan. On my first night release I tossed and turned all night, then I worried about keeping Erin awake, and then when she went to work I was filled with worry that I might fall or that something might happen to me and no one would be there to help. When Erin returned home from work I was almost relieved to return to the hospital.

Later that day the doctors came to see me with more bad news, my blood test results weren’t very good, firstly there were small amounts of protein in my urine, slightly compromised liver function and the tip of the iceberg was a drop in my playlets. This is of course the clotting factor in your blood. I was informed that they no longer thought it was suitable for me to go home today sleep at night, however I could still go out for short day trips if I wanted. At the time this was very important to me because I really wanted to go to the Baby Shower that Jo and Kaye had organised for me (I wasn’t so sure I was a baby shower kinda girl, but if I was I didn’t don’t want t miss it!. Jo, knowing I was on hospital text me daily that try and ascertain whether the shower should go ahead or not, but it was hard to know because neither I or the doctors could really predict what was going to happen.

So after finding out my platelets were low, I got a visit from a haematologist by the name of Dr Jen Brotchie. I must admit I didn’t quite know what to think of her the first time I saw her, she looked like she should have been a kindergarten teacher, a tall blond looking well dressed lady, she had a soft gentle voice that I can imagine little kids would respond very well too and a kindness to her that I couldn’t quite place. However when she spoke to me she used very scientific language that I struggled to understand. But the general idea behind what she said was that if my platelets drop below 80 then she thinks it could be an auto immune condition that may have been triggered by the pregnancy but not necessarily caused by the pregnancy, if it stays above 80, then we can assume it is pregnancy induced low platelets and can be a part of preeclampsia. This diagnosis really changed the goal posts for both Erin and I, the reason being that when the doctors coordinated with Jen and the anaesthetist on duty later that day the benchmark was set that if my platelets dropped below 80 when it was time to have the babies, they would have to put me under a general anaesthetic rather than the epidural that we were both hoping for.

In some ways this became the beginning of the end, I started having 6am blood tests each day so that the results were back early enough each morning that they could cancel my breakfast if needed so I could begin fasting. It was clear to the doctors that my body was behaving atypically, some days they were close to wanting the babies out, other days everything would settle and I would go about my day resting and lazing about. The good news is that by this stage we had passed the 34 week stage so I knew at least we were staying put and not traveling to Melbourne, next we just had to make it to the baby shower!

Bumps in the road

So today I write to you from a hospital bed, a place I have become all to familiar these last few weeks, but to truely understand how I got to this position we need to rewind just a few weeks.

Kodi was visiting in preparation for her big move to Warrnambool at the end of the year, we had all gone for an adventure out to Bunnings for some seedlings to start our spring vegetables. On our way home we stopped via Subway so Kodi could get some lunch …….. I don’t know what happened but I just didn’t feel good, I had decided to wait with Erin in the car but I started seeing stars and getting an all to familiar churn in my tummy, within a few minutes I was violently vomiting at the back of the car. Things settled a bit after that and we made our way home (Kodi didn’t much feel like her lunch after seeing my show, but she toughed it out!) I kept things pretty quiet for the rest of that day knowing it was the AFL grand final the following day. However by Saturday things had not really improved, I was still getting dizzy, seeing stars and not feeling 100% so Erin and I made a deal that if after the grand final I still felt like this, then we were going up to the hospital. The good news was that after watching Richmond defeat Adelaide I felt substantially better and off we went. However that night and the following night I didn’t feel the babies move around much, so much so that by Sunday night I didn’t sleep a wink and layed awake worrying all night about our two little gems. In the morning I said to Erin ‘I think we need to head up to the hospital just to get these babies checked out’ Erin readily agreed (she was feeling the effects of my tossing and turning too).

Erin called ahead and by the time we arrived Carly Ryan (coincidently the midwife who runs the antenatal classes we attended) was there and took us into a suit and gave the babies and I a once over. She put the babies onto a CTG monitor; I am not really sure what those letters stand for but it is a machine that tracks the babies heartbeat and activity levels! (This machine and I have become very well acquainted over this journey!) The good news is the babies were fine, the doctor came in for a chat as Carly was doing her checks, but I noticed that as soon as she did my blood pressure…….. she started moving just a bit faster….. she raced out and came back in to take some blood tests and had me pee in a cup, it was all done with a sense of urgency that I didn’t understand. All of this occurred under the watchful eye of Lilian, the registrar or junior obstetrician on duty, I have grown to admire and appreciate Lillian more than most because she not only gives great clinical care but also takes my thoughts, concerns and wants into consideration at all times, I think she understands that while she knows lots about lots, I know lots about me!

Anyway it became pretty clear pretty fast that I wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon and there was talk of admitting me overnight. At the time I had no clue of how dangerous a situation I was in, my only thought was ‘Woo Hoo, I have never slept in a hospital before!’ And Erin tottered off to pack me an overnight bag. This feeling all came crashing down a few minutes later when Rosie the obstetrician on duty came in to see me to let me know that I had some very worrying signs that preeclampsia was on its way and that, while they needed to confer with the melbourne doctors, if she was a betting woman she would put money on the fact that I was on my way to melbourne to have these babies. She encouraged me to call Erin to pack us all bags!

At this point I was 31 weeks and 4 days pregnant, well short of my 34 week goal that would allow us to have the babies in Warrnambool and the joy of having my first hospital sleepover very quickly vanished! Once again the combo of Lilian and Carly as well as Lorraine saved the day and kept me calm, comfortable and as relaxed as possible while we awaited the all important blood test results. Eventually to my delight and surprise we received the news that my blood tests weren’t good but they hadn’t reached a formal diagnosis of preeclampsia and that the melbourne doctors had suggested I stay put for now and be closely monitored. What a relief!

Two nights in hospital and my blood results settled enough that with some medication to lower my blood pressure, I was allowed to go home under some strict conditions. I was allowed to attend some days of work as long as they were stress free and I had to relax where possible. I was now also on a strict monitoring regime, two check ups and one ultrasound a week to monitor the babies and my health. Erin and I were happy with that and off we went. I was so relieved to be home to see the puppies, sleep in my own bed and spend some more time with Erin.

And so began our check up regime; I have definitely gotten to know so many staff around this hospital and can navigate it like the back of my hand, however I have become to really dislike the woman’s health clinic, it is always too hot, it takes forever to be seen and I didn’t really like one of the obstetrician’s I have seen there a few times. So it was music to my ears a week later when they had to cancel my check up, but they told me instead to head to the Community Midwives who could take my blood pressure and check things were going ok. Unfortunately they weren’t so good and again I was admitted. Lillian again came and checked in on me and said that she was happy with my blood results but my blood pressure was too high and it was too dangerous to send me home. Coinsidently while all this was happening, I was in the out patient area of the maternity ward and someone was brought into the bed next to me and low and behold it was Christina White, a girl who I studied at university with and who I greatly admire for her wit, charm and positive outlook on life! I soon realised where that came from when I met her lovely mother who had brought her in. It was a fun couple of hours laying beside each other laughing and joking not only about old times but also the predicament that we had found ourselves in. She is about 9 weeks behind us but was having a rough week with her little package. I am pleased to report that Lilian sorted her out and she was on her way pretty quick.

Anyway another two night stay to sort my blood pressure out and off I went again, this time it was pretty clear that I should not go back to work, and that I really need to slow down. It was discovered during this stay that iron levels were getting quite low so the doctors suggested an iron transfusion the following Tuesday. Sure doc! Whatever you say! Again we had a few blissful nights at home, cuddling our puppies and eating good food.

Check in.

While I don’t have a huge amount to report at the minute, I think a check in is important!  So we are 25 weeks pregnant and things are going along ok.  I can finally feel lots of kicking at first I thought it was gas…. but nope… that was baby dancing!  As it turns out having a dance party at 3am is their current favorite activity which was quite a novelty the first few nights but now….. I just want sleep! Finally Erin has been able to feel the kicking too which I am so pleased about, it must be so hard to be a passenger through this experience when so much is changing and happening with me and she doesn’t get so see or feel much of it.  I suspect she will have many more opportunities for experiencing this in the near future!

 

While our little world is in a pretty good place, it seems that the outside world is in a bit of turmoil, from the terrorist attack in Spain and the Neo-Nazi protesters in the US, there is unrest everywhere you turn.  Tina Fey had some very great and funny advice about these matters and they was; turn away, don’t listen, don’t give them any of our time.  My time is too valuable to waste on hate.  But closer to home there is an issue going on that does require our attention.  The marriage equality debate is currently raging throughout our country, and I can’t help but worry about what effect this debate will have on those already vulnerable in our community.  I am a confident individual but it still effects me to hear politicians refer to the family we have so lovingly created as ‘ the new stolen generation’ or that our relationships are being considered one step away from bestiality but guess what?  Opinion polls across the country and overwhelmingly in support of marriage equality, so I really want to tell those who oppose this that  you have already lost, it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ it will pass, the only question is when.  I feel pretty darn proud to know that this major step forward will happen in my lifetime so this is what I tell myself and friends often.  It will happen, it doesn’t matter how much propaganda is spread, it doesn’t matter how many haters try and create fear and loathing, it does’t matter how much you try and stop this… it will happen.

 

The next step for us in our community is to improve services for same sex couples having kids, it was incredibly embarrassing to attend a midwives appointment and have the midwives sheepishly hand over a pamphlet to Erin about how to be a supportive dad….. or the horribly deficient medical services available to LGBTQI individuals in a country area, Erin should never have to feel isolated as the non-birth mother, but I can see at times that she is and I know she isn’t the only one in that situation, I hate that she doesn’t the support she needs.  Until this happens we will continue on, relying on friends and Facebook for the support we need.

 

Anyway enough sadness, I started pregnancy Pilates the other day and I LOVE IT! It was super hard work (as everything has become) but I loved the feeling, and I loved connecting with other women in my situation, there were 5 other women in the class and all bar one are having their first baby and they are all in their second trimester so I hope that they might end up in my mothers group too!

 

The tyranny of pregnancy

I dreamed for so long of being pregnant and having our own children, but how could no one have mentioned how horrible it can be? On Thursday we will be 23 weeks pregnant and I would say that at least 20 of them have been torture! Can I blame it on the fact there are two in there? I think I should! Some highlights since last post have been throwing up vanilla milkshake out my nose while stranded at my car on a busy warrnambool street and meeting with a dietitian to discus my dietary needs and vomiting in her office!

There is however some silver lining in all of this, firstly things have gotten better. I haven't thrown up for a week and a half, I have begun to poo again and generally aside from being tired constantly I feel ok! People tell you that the second trimester of a pregnancy is supposed to be the best one but when I only start feeling better at 20 weeks….. can I get a trimester two extension? So far these last few weeks have been much better and finally I am actually looking a bit pregnant which feels great….. could it be possible that I am hitting the glowing stage??? This potential glow has been somewhat dulled with the new news that we now have a gestational diabetes diagnosis. When I heard this news I was pretty devastated, there is a huge amount of guilt associated with the diagnosis but other than having to check my blood sugars regularly…. nothing much has really changed, this tells me that I need to try and put my guilt away, that I am doing the right things and that I haven't hurt the babies. In some ways this is the best kind of complication to have, I already know about diabetes from my work at Friendly Pines Camp, if anything it has brought back some lovely memories from those AZDA days when I was an honorary diabetic. I think of Prop often when I check my blood sugars and kinda want to share some of this with her but I worry that it would be insulting to a type one diabetic to have a pesky part timer badgering her wanting to be in her betic army! I guess the important thing to remember is that so far my blood sugars have been fine and that it is likely that at some point I will end up using insulin to control my diabetes as is common with twins.

The most exciting thing that has been happening lately is that we had out 22 week scan!!! Once again we got to share this lovely experience with Lisa who always makes me feel at ease and makes an exciting time and especially fun one too. I am also constantly in awe of Erin at these appointments, she takes in so much information and is so supportive but also allows me to be myself and be a bit silly at times I need it too! Anyway so far both kiddies are doing well, both just over half a kilo and moving around and nudging each other constantly! I often worry that twin A was going to be the quieter and more submissive because in every other scan 'she' was less active than 'he' is but no! 'She' was nudging and pushing him and making sure she had plenty of space! You can see her giving him a few good shoves in the little video!

Things are getting real now, we are beginning to think about what life with our two little ones will look like! Because we don't really have any clue what the sperm donor looks like, we don't really have any clue what the babies will look like, I kinda like that surprise! I have begun to think about what we will teach them, what dinners may look like. One thing I think they need to know is that if we blame out grey hairs on them IT ISN'T TRUE!!! Both of us had greys long before they came along!!! We also have finally had the long awaited arrival of THE PRAM!!!! What a rolls Royce that beast is!!!

Pregnancy 101

Today marks the 15th week of our pregnancy, perhaps I was a little naive going in mostly because I was advised to not read to many forums, blogs etc (mostly because they are full of horror stories!).  It did however mean that I was ill prepared for what I was in for, so here are a few things I have learned so far: 1) Pregnancy isn't fun or easy (particularly in the first trimester).

2) Having a poo is something I will never take for granted ever again! Constipation during pregnancy isn't fun, neither is trying to drink the medication they give you while feeling sick, or the awful feeling when it does all finally decide to come out.  Unfortunately for me no amount of fruit/healthy eating could help me and still it isn't fun to this day……. I don't know how much longer this will last but god I hope my pooper goes back to normal soon!

3) Nausea isn't just an inconvenient feeling, it has been completely debilitating.  I tried to stay eating as healthy as possible, eat small meals through the day, snack a lot, keep up with the water etc, but I had absolutely no idea how hard that would actually be to do,  instead it became a game of eat whatever you could keep the yucky feeling at bay.  Initially I wasn't puking very much and just felt sick most waking moments.  as we passed the 12 week mark however things got far worse, a few random pukes here and there escalated to daily or multiply daily puking sessions.  It became more violent puking too, so much so that on multiple occasions I wet myself throwing up, I giggle because poor Erin didn't know whether to laugh or cry or rub my back or get me an extra towel during those days…. it is funny to look back at now but at the time I wasn't a very happy camper!  The other thing that happened on a few occasions is that I burst blood vessels across my  face from throwing up.  Imagine someone having a big red allergic reaction to something across their face….. that was me.  Unfortunately one of these days I threw up at school and  the kind young men in the room tried so hard to make me feel better, they told me that my face didn't look to bad and that things would be OK, which I nearly believed until one of my more autistic boys walked into the room and said 'no she doesn't, she looks like a red version of the hulk' thanks for that buddy!  Perhaps I should be thankful for this, as these events were occurring about the same time I started throwing up some blood.  It was a little scary so I called the doctors straight away, Dr Hall reassured me that the blood was likely to be from scratching and scraping up my esophagus caused by all the throwing up.  He prescribed me  medication for my nausea and the bad reflux I was also having, citing that we needed to control both in order to allow my esophagus to heal.  I remember feeling like quite the failure that i couldn't get through my morning sickness without medical intervention.  I felt like I wasn't tough enough to get through it, the doc basically said 'you puked up blood, I think you are plenty tough enough!' thanks Dr Hall.  Now with the help of some medication I can get through the days and function relatively well and every now and again I manage a day without medication which gives me hope that maybe… just maybe we are coming to the end of the worst of it.

4) Suddenly and randomly I can no longer eat things that used to make me happy, coffee or any hot drinks are completely off the list, most sweet feeds haven't been on the menu, I can't seem to contemplate eating eggs and despite having a love affair with Salmon……. the thought if it at the moment just leaves me feeling not quite right.  If I could survive eating just porridge, potatoes and red meat, I would be pretty happy, they all seem to stay down pretty well and not cause me any issues but of course that isn't a viable long term option.

5) Me being sick and tired constantly has been harder on Erin that I imagined, when she sees me sick all the time she finds it very difficult to understand that the babies could possibly survive while I am so flat, it seems to defy logic really.  Thankfully this all changed when we had our 12 week scan, it was such a relief to see two healthy bubbly little jelly beans bouncing around.  Lisa our poor radiographer was having some difficulty getting a clear image of twin A, evidently she was wedged under twin B so getting a good picture was difficult! I had to dance around, go to the toilet, lay on my tummy and do all sorts of strange things in the hope that she would pop out to get a clear view.  Now you may notice that we refer to twin A as a she, and twin B as a he.  Lets be clear, we have no clue what the sex of the babies are and we don't intend to find out however on the day of the insemination I had a dream that we were having a boy and a girl and that the girl came out first so we always refer to A as the 'she' and B as the 'he'.  We have made Lisa promise to not give into me and tell me the sex if I cave and start asking what they are, really we don't care, but my curiosity might get the better of me!

6) Acupuncture has been a god send, when my morning sickness got really bad, I didn't put two and two together that this started the week after I stopped my weekly acupuncture sessions, only after I went back on my three weekly rotations that I am on now did I realise the connection.  I had no understanding that the sessions I had been having with Kristy had been having such a big impact on keeping the sickness at bay and helping settle my body into a relatively happy state.  I have now been given strict instructions to contact her when and if I get stuck and sick again.

7) All is not lost, with everything that has been happening and as miserable as I have been, Erin and I are still eagerly awaiting the arrival of our two new additions! Slowly we have been collecting the supplies that we will need as well as preparing the spare room to become the new nursery, it has been very easy so far with the unwavering support of my lovely Mum.  She is so darn excited about the babies that she sends weekly packaged to us with little things for them, lots of great second hand items, clothes, bottles etc.  She has embraced our plans to use second hand and recycled items where appropriate and is loving the idea of being about to shop and hunt out good second hand items guilt free.  She loves that she can buy whatever she likes and if we don't want it we can just take it to the swap-it shop and swap it for something more appropriate.  She is in seventh heaven!

 

Finally it seems as though our morning sickness may be coming to an end, twice in the last week I have had nausea free days (although I have also had one where I puked even with the medication) and in general I don't feel so sick, could this mean that maybe the icky first phase is finally done? Could we be hitting the 'glowing' phase soon? Gosh I hope so!

 

 

So I just threw up, and it is music to my ears!  Yep, this kid is smack bang in the middle of some horrible morning sickness and I couldn’t be happier!….. well actually that is a lie….. I am miserable but I love having the constant reminder that WE ARE PREGNANT!!!! 

Being an IVF patient means that we became eligible for our first scan at 7 weeks.  Let’s be honest…. at 7 weeks you can’t see much but we saw two little jelly beans with two strong little heart beats. Yep, we are having twins!!! To be honest I kinda knew, I never really had a doubt that it was twins!  The day that we had the last embryo transfer I had an acupuncturist appointment in the afternoon, while at the appointment I had a dream that I had a baby girl and a boy.  I feel like Erin was feeling the same way, she was feeling very confused about what it would feel like to only have one survive so I think she was glad to see two too!!
Anyway as a result I currently have double the hormones pumping around in my system, twice the nausea and twice the exhaustion.  I manage to survive school ok but feel worse throughout the day.  I have lots of friends giving me all sorts of good advice about morning sickness, I have tried ginger biscuits, smelling oils, small meals throughout the day and a few other things.  Like I said I am ok to get through school usually but poor Erin gets one sad sorry sop by the time I get home, but to her credit she is so unbelievably patient, giving me back rubs if I am throwing up, letting me go and nap if I need it, carrying the bulk of the cooking and cleaning that I just can’t seem to find the energy to do.  I love her to bits but I appreciate her support even more at the moment! Thank you my love!